When a client comes to us with ideas for their custom-built home, they often include plans for a home theater, and we are more than happy to oblige. A home theater is a great way to bring family and friends together and is a luxury you will enjoy time and time again. So let’s talk about the latest trends in home theaters and hopefully give you some ideas in planning for your own.
The way we view entertainment content has changed drastically within the last several years. The internet has become the most important source for most people’s entertainment. Streaming devices like Apple TV, smart TV and networked gaming consoles have become a fixture in the home and require a strong home network to function. It’s estimated that 25 percent of homes will have an Internet-connected Blu-ray player by the end of this year. Wireless is not good enough to stream video so an upgraded network is necessary, such as an Ethernet connection and replacing cheap routers for better quality ones.
The latest and greatest in projector technology is the 4k resolution projector. With more than four times the resolution of full HD, 4K offers 8.8 million pixels for a picture that’s incredibly lifelike. Every detail is perfectly clear, with less jagged edges and visible pixels than on a conventional Full HD projector.
It used to be cool to display as much of the latest and greatest in A/V equipment as the room could hold but now homeowners would rather have that technology be heard and not seen. Many people are opting for in-wall speakers and drop-down projection screens to create a tidy and minimalist look. Big-screen TVs are even being disguised as a piece of art by using fabric, a frame, or just by rotating pretty pictures on the screen using the TV’s wallpaper feature. Visible wires have become a faux-pas and many people are hanging the TV on a wall rather than placing on an entertainment center. Of course when equipment is out of sight, you have to think of how you’re going to control it. Instead of having components that need line-of-sight to be controlled, you’ll need to add a sensor, blaster, or extender to make the system work. RF (radio frequency) or Wi-Fi-based controllers, like a smartphone or tablet, can tap into components from almost anywhere.
With today’s technology, we are often taking part in various media forms all at once. It’s not uncommon to catch yourself watching TV while surfing the web and responding to text messages on your smartphone. So it’s not a surprise that some homeowners like to have multiple viewing options. Different screens also work for different purposes. For example, you could use an HDTV for daytime viewing, and a larger projection screen descend from the ceiling for nighttime films. Or you might want multiple screens on at all times. Multiple screen video walls have become hot in the home theater industry. Perhaps you want to watch the big game while keeping an eye on stock reports. Now you don’t have to choose. The woman of the house can watch her favorite drama while her husband plays x-box in the same room. A video wall system gives you the freedom to alter the viewing arrangement whenever you please. With a custom-programmed tablet, you can quickly move ESPN programming from the far left display to the biggest screen in the middle when the game heats up, or expand a window on the projection screen to get a closer look at the baby sleeping in her crib.