Indulge in the big-cinema feel from home with a personal home theatre

Whether you want to indulge in the brilliant colours of Gone With the Wind, storm the beaches of Normandy with Saving Private Ryan, or tickle your funny bone with a classic like Animal House, indulging in a home theatre can be just the ticket.

In a survey by Coldwell Banker, home theatres ranked sixth on the list of most important amenity in the home, following open-floor plans, home automation, pools, outdoor kitchens and home gyms. The importance of home theatres jumped 23 per cent for people under the age of 55, according to the survey.

When planning your home theatre, the best place to start is an undeveloped basement, which will allowing the sort of customization and ease of access needed to bring the cinema experience into the home. While any living room can benefit from the addition of a quality sound system and television, the ideal space for a proper home theatre, primarily in terms of acoustics, should be longer than it is wide – much like a traditional movie theatre.

Once the space is established, the next step is deciding what sort of system you want to install. According to J.P. Aucoin, sales manager and partner with Home Concepts Inc. of Calgary, today’s media rooms can cost as little as $4,000 and as much as $400,000.

As to how one spends nearly half a million dollars on home theatre, it’s all about technology.

“One of the newest innovations in home theatre is Dolby Atmos, which is a new way of processing sound in a theatre room,” said Aucoin of the newest in home theatre audio, which can easily eclipse the $5,000 mark on its own.

“Adding speakers into the ceiling of a theatre allows for a 3D sound stage. It’s one of the most significant advancements in home theatre that I’ve seen since the inception of 5.1 surround sound.”

Turning to the newest in visuals, the old adage that “the bigger the better” still applies, with a few other features to take into account. Gone are the days when simple 50-inch LCD screen was enough to impress the neighbours. Instead, the newest offerings in cutting-edge visuals can top 100 inches, with price tags topping $10,000. Samsung recently announced a 105-inch “bendable” TV with a price tag of $105,000.

While the urge to go bigger is tough to extinguish, the general rule is to select a screen size that is around one-third of your viewing distance. Once you’ve established which size is right for your room, consider features such as 3D and the newly introduced 4K, which promises higher resolution than the 1080p sets of old.

Having wired in the audio and installed the video, putting final touches on your custom home theatre often involves ambiance and ease of use. Combining both is the ability to automate the whole system – as well as the in-room lighting – through the use of apps like iRule and Control4. Providing the ability to tie in a personal computer, cue media selections and bring the lights down, homeowners can sit truly in the director’s chair.