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The COVID-19 pandemic has practically shut down the movie theater networks across the world. Some old-fashioned drive in theaters are thriving, but most standard movie theaters are either still closed or very empty, due to both limited capacity regulations and general consumer fears about sitting in such close quarters with a bunch of people when an airborne virus is still very much at large.
Movie studios have been left with two choices. Delay the opening of their films indefinitely, or make them available to the public at home, and as the pandemic continues more and more new films are getting the latter treatment.
This is great for consumers being asked to spend more time at home, but if you are going to pay up to $20 to watch a brand new, first run movie in your living room then you want the environment to be as conducive to doing so enjoyably as possible.
As the concept of the first run movie release to homes is unlikely to go away, even when the pandemic subsides, now is a great time to start thinking about creating an environment in your home that will make movie night in your living room/spare room/basement more like the real thing while also overcoming some of the difficulties you can face. when trying to stream such ‘heavy’ content.
Here are some tips and ideas to get you started.
Planning Better Seating
Relate screen size to seating distance when designing ‘home theater’ seating. Professional home theater installers advise a seating distance that is 2 to 2 1/2 times the width of a screen for optimal viewing. So, for example, if yours is a 48″ TV then seating should ideally placed around 90 inches away.
That’s a long way though – over seven feet – and some may simply not have that much room. A little closer is OK, just test drive the seating as you place it to ensure that everyone will have the best possible view.
Calibrate Your TV
Have you ever taken the time to properly calibrate your fancy big screen TV? As we explained here a while back, these settings can make a world of difference and can be hard achieve alone. That’s why if you are going to be watching ‘should have been in theaters’ movies often – and why not? – then investing in professional help to get your TV calibrated properly will be a worthwhile investment.
Work On the Sound
One of the great things about watching movies in a theater is the sound. The good news is that it’s getting easier and easier to recreate that audio experience at home. Great home speakers are getting smaller – without losing ‘power’ – and sleek soundbars are becoming more efficient and effective too.
These things are far more affordable these days too, but again, for the best possible results call in a pro to help you get the most out of these purchases.
Ideally you should place speakers in a ventilated cabinet or on roomy shelves so components don’t overheat; be careful not to block the vents on the equipment.
For easy access to the backs of the electronic components, construct the shelving or cabinet units 4 to 5 feet in front of the wall to create a narrow “hallway” behind the units.
Light the Space Better
Lighting is also an important factor in ‘home theater planning’. In a room with windows, be sure to have adequate light-blocking shades so the midday sun doesn’t disturb your viewing.
Ambient, or overall, lighting on dimmer switches gives you control over how much light is emitted. Task lighting in the form of table lamps or wall sconces is useful for viewers who are multitasking while they watch TV (ie on their phones, something that’s banned in theaters, but may be OK in your home.)