Setting Up the Perfect Home Entertainment Center

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If you’ve been eyeing that basement rumpus room and thinking about ways to make better use of it, consider finally setting up a home theater or entertainment system. Get ready for setting up the perfect home entertainment center.

Pick the Room First

If you don’t choose the right room, your home entertainment center project is doomed from the start. Pros recommend a room that is at least 20 feet by 13 feet, without windows, if possible. If you don’t have a basement room that fits the bill, think about other spaces in your home that you can modify to limit outside light intrusion and where you could add sound insulation.

Measure distances from power outlets to where you’ll set up your components and the height and width of the wall where the screen will be. Ideally, you’ll want the screen to be at eye level and the side speakers to be at ear level.

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Some home theater enthusiasts will redo the whole room with cabling within the walls, dimmable lighting, and black walls and ceilings. Unless you’re an experienced do-it-yourselfer, you’ll probably want to engage the services of a professional home theater design/build company to prepare the room and make sure everything complies with local building codes. And if you’re opening walls and running cables or wiring, you’ll probably need a permit and an inspection before you close the walls again.

Choose Your Screen Size

You’ll have either a big HDTV or a screen and projector system for your home theater. Figure out where you’d place seating so you can calculate how big a screen the space can handle. Viewers should be able to see the entire screen without turning their heads or craning their necks (that uncomfortable feeling when you sit too close to the screen in a movie theater.) On the flip side, you don’t want the room to dwarf the screen and make all your efforts seem out of proportion.

Select Your Sound System

Most home theaters use a 5.1 surround sound setup. These include a subwoofer, center speaker, two tower or side speakers, and two surround sound speakers. The center and the towers go in the front of the room near the screen (on either side, below, and/or above) and the surround sound speakers go just behind your last row of seating.

Receiver and Remote

The receiver is a hub that connects all your components—screen, speakers, and auxiliary devices like Blue-Ray players, gaming consoles, and streaming devices. With the right kinds of cables, power cords, and connectors, the hub will work as a centralized controller for all the devices.

Add Theater Seating

You may need just one row of seats, or if you want to invite guests to enjoy your media room, you could create a second row of seating on a platform, stadium-style. Think about stability and sightlines for your home theater seating.

The perfect home entertainment center will be different things to different people. Whether you go basic or luxury, home entertainment systems bring movie and TV viewing to a new level.

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