How Do You Want Your Movies?
home cinema

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One of the discussions we frequently have with clients in the shop is about movies at home. With the advent of many streaming services, such as Netflix and Amazon Prime, there is a vast array of content available that can be enjoyed in the comfort of your home, and if you haven’t tried gaming on a big screen, then you are missing out!

We personally still enjoy a visit to the local cinema even though we have systems at home. Based in Nottingham, the Broadway cinema is our cinema of choice. It is an enthusiast’s cinema with more than the mainstream movies playing, food that goes beyond hot dogs and popcorn, and the rare ability these days to enjoy an alcoholic beverage while watching the movie!

Anyway, I digress, and the point of this blog is to discuss movies at home.  Like many things in life, there are levels available, be it cars, clothes, watches, or mobile phones. The list continues. We classify our home movie systems into three main categories, with an additional enhanced category at the top for those who require the best and have the means to enjoy it.

Our starting point is what we describe as enhanced TV. TVs have become sleeker and better looking, but their sound has become noticeably worse. While picture quality these days is much better, particularly with some OLED models, the sound doesn’t achieve the same quality.

The answer is a soundbar which can enhance the TV audio. Sonos or Blusound, for example, supply a soundbar which connects to the TV via an optical cable and allows for connection to a wireless subwoofer for enhanced bass. This is the sort of system that can fit easily into a living room environment.

For music lovers, there is a lot to be said about a dedicated stereo HiFi system into which the audio from the TV is fed. Two birds, one stone and all that! Some of the recent amplifiers from quality Hi-Fi manufacturers, Such as Rega, Linn, and Moon, have optical inputs that can be used.

The next level is a large format TV or projection system with a surround sound system. It is more difficult to accommodate into a living room, but sometimes it can be done unobtrusively. Check out our projects page for a job we completed some time ago that does just that.

The biggest issue is to get loudspeakers in the correct positions in a room not dedicated to the purpose. Windows and doors always seem to be positioned exactly where we need loudspeakers to be placed. If the project and funds allow then in-ceiling loudspeakers can be used as a solution.

If the space and the budget allow, there is no substitute for a dedicated home cinema room to recreate that true movie experience. A projector is our preference at this level (although with TVs at 80 inch plus, they are an option for a smaller room) with a high quality acoustically transparent screen and Dolby ATMOS surround system. A screen ratio of 2.4:1 to recreate the widescreen cinema experience, a high-end laser projector such as the excellent models from Sim2 or Barco or if budget is important, some of the Sony models.

Loudspeakers positioned according to the relevant standards and amplification of sufficient quality and power to achieve the spl needed for a truly dynamic home cinema. Suitable lighting (including lighting control if the room has windows), furnishings and acoustic treatments to make it immersive and enjoyable.

While air conditioning can be desirable as the rooms can get hot and stuffy over time, it is essential that the air conditioning system is designed so that the noise doesn’t detract from the sound from the movie, particularly on the quieter passages.

Whatever the level, movies and TV series are entertaining and fun; being able to watch them in the best possible quality makes them even better!

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