(Editor’s Note: Today we are joined by Jack Frey. Jack is a freelance writer based out of Salt Lake City, Utah. He loves all things tech, entertainment, and the arts.)
Creative media setups can elevate a plain living room to a home entertainment oasis. But don’t let the latest pricey electronics or large, plush home cinema rooms cloud your idea of what makes a great entertainment space—small rooms can be just as great for gaming and viewing arrangements.
By getting innovative with your space, your electronics, and your decor, you can transform any room into an exciting media center. Here are a few of the top myths (and solutions!) that can hold you back from designing an ideal home entertainment space.
Myth: You need a large theater room for best viewing
Solution: Pair electronics to your space
Bigger isn’t always better. Home entertainment options don’t require a large home theater room. If you’re in an apartment or a home with a small-to-average sized living room, your entertainment set up can still be stellar—you just need to pick entertainment solutions that will match your space.
It’s essential to consider the size of your room and the distance of your seats to the TV. Pixel density is why your eyes hurt when you sit too close to the TV or a movie screen. The closer you are to the TV, the more pixels you are viewing and the greater the strain on your eyes. RTINGS has compiled charts that outline the optimal screen size for the distance you’ll be sitting from the TV, so check that out before buying to make sure you find the right fit.
Surround sound quality won’t necessarily suffer just because you’re in a smaller space, as long as you have a setup that matches what you watch. Speaker company Dolby has recommendations for pairing speaker arrangement and content:
- A 5.1-channel setup will give full surround sound for DVD and Blu-ray, television, and streaming sources.
- A 7.1-channel arrangement will improve sound effects, especially in 3D.
- A 9.1-channel system gives height direction to the sound.
Myth: Quality entertainment equipment is too expensive
Solution: Invest in a few affordable, quality electronics
Home entertainment doesn’t have to be a budget buster. There are entry-level TV and speaker models that offer high-end quality at affordable price points. The TCL 43-inch Ultra HD Smart LED TV is considered one of the top TVs under $500, praised for its easy video streaming options and superb picture quality.
Speakers are a critical component of a home entertainment setup, and the Yamaha YAS-106 Sound Bar is a great high-end sound solution without the high price. The sound bar has full-range sound and a sleek design for wall-mounted or tabletop placement. It features Bluetooth capabilities to stream audio from a connected phone and a simple HDMI attachment to connect with your TV.
Myth: There’s nowhere to hide messy cords and bulky devices
Solution: Use creative design to camouflage your setup
Today’s home design trends call for discreetly masking entertainment setups. You can keep the attention off the black box of your TV screen by hiding it so it doesn’t overwhelm your room or decor.
- Mount the TV and other devices against dark colors, light a dark background wall or a black entertainment center.
- Balance the setup with light accents or rectangular shaped art.
- Frame the TV with tall lamps or an od number of objects, using the rule of threes design principle.
- Hide the cords against a striped wall section or use a cord cover kit.
Myth: Incorporating smart devices is too complicated
Solution: Buy a smart lights starter kit
To fully access the home-theater experience, you’ll want some dim-able lighting to complement your TV setup. Luckily, pairing the rest of your room with automated smart devices is easier than it sounds.
A Philips Hue Starter Kit will bring mood lighting to a new level in your room, letting you customize lighting setups for the right ambiance. The lights can even sync with select TV content, too. Just pair your Hue lights with your TV for a true immersive experience with programming like 12 Monkeys on SyFy.
Myth: I need an expensive TV/Internet plan to utilize an entertainment setup
Solution: Use an inexpensive streaming service
When you think about the ultimate home entertainment setup, you probably imagine a group gathered around to catch a live televised event like the Super Bowl. And while cable TV can be a big part of the viewing experience, it’s not the only thing that matters. You can help maximize your entertainment situation by investing in a streaming service.
Until recently, most streaming services only offered older content. That’s no longer the case. Sites like Netflix and Hulu now produce their own exclusive content, while options like DIRECTV NOW bring live cable offerings to the streaming universe. By subscribing to a few streaming services, you can build out an impressive show selection—without the high costs or long contracts that usually come with cable plans.
Map out your room and start laying out the design of your ultimate media den. You’ll know you’ve nailed an outstanding home entertainment setup when your friends want to come over to watch movies at your place rather than the movie theater.
Have questions or suggestions about setting up your home entertainment space after your move? Drop us a comment below.