Set up your own home theatre

The right screen and sound make movie night more fun

By Gary Rudy


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Creating a theatre experience in your home is much like building a real movie theatre. Of course, the scale of your living room or den is probably smaller than most cinemas, and there may not be any gum stuck to the seats or popcorn scattered on the floor, but the basic principles are the same: big crisp picture, big multi-channel sound.

The perfect room

Begin planning your home theatre by thinking about where you’re going to set it up. There are several factors to keep in mind when choosing the space.

First, consider the layout of the room itself. A home theatre should share some of the same basic elements as a true movie theatre. You’ll want an enclosed, rectangular room with a good amount of space and not too much outside light. An enclosed space will yield the best sound quality: open-concept rooms don’t have great acoustics. To eliminate potential echoes, it’s best to have carpet on the floor rather than wood or other hard surfaces.

Once you’ve decided which room to use, you need to design a rough layout. Room size and shape will usually present only a few options for locating the television. Put the TV wherever it seems most logical, and then build your system around it. Ideally, the screen should be in a position in which it doesn’t get a lot of glare.

Screen size

The television you choose depends on a few factors. Larger screens usually cost more, so size is often a factor of budget. As well, room size will also help determine how big you can go. Essentially, the larger the screen, the more “theatre- like” the experience.

The essentials

To build a home theatre, you’ll need these four components:

1. Progressive-scan DVD player

2. Television 32″ or larger. Generally, bigger is better, although some types have limitations

3. Receiver/decoder to amplify and decode multi-channel sound

4. Speakers-typically, six or more

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