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Home Cinema Deluxe - That's How Cinema Works!

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If you want to set up your own deluxe home cinema, you face a major challenge. But it is always a task that will be worthwhile. So no film e...

If you want to set up your own deluxe home cinema, you face a major challenge. But it is always a task that will be worthwhile. So no film enthusiast should shy away from this work. Although there are some points you need to be aware of. In the end, you will be the proud owner of a home theater where you will spend many pleasant, stirring, and unforgettable moments.

Here we explain what needs to be considered when planning, what requirements should be met, and what details need to be taken into account:

This is probably the most important tip: think carefully about how you want to transform which room into a home cinema!

Planning is the Starting Point!


Draw a sketch or use room planning software. Consider not only where the doors and windows are, but also which wall is the sturdiest one that will hold strong anchors. The better you plan, the more likely you are to avoid mistakes. Of course, you should always get your partner on board. Setting up a home cinema often involves redesigning the apartment.

If you run out of ideas or need a little inspiration, simply search Google for some photos of ready-made home cinemas. There are so many creative and useful ideas to be found. Then, when you've finished your plan, feel free to show it to some friends. Especially the do-it-yourselfers among them can certainly give you one or the other tip.

Then simply put your plan on hold for a few days to gain some distance. If you still like it after this time, you have done everything right and the work can begin.

Unfortunately, a home cinema has never fallen from the sky. As with all larger projects, funding should also be secured here.

Money Comes Before Work

Put together a table listing all the costs. And remember that it's often the small parts, from the anchor to the extension cord, that can put a strain on the budget. You certainly want to avoid that your project suddenly has to pause or even end because there is no more money left.

As beautiful as home cinemas are and as much as they increase the quality of life - home cinema components are luxury items. Don't go into debt for luxury. Credit should only be taken for absolutely necessary things. Installment payments for a home theater can get you into trouble if one of the components breaks before the loan is paid off. So you better take your time. It will be worth it! So before you buy everything at once, you can also buy the individual components step by step. Start with the essentials and then expand your equipment step by step. It is often also worthwhile to use used items for some components, which can be exchanged for new one's overtime if necessary.

It doesn't always have to be the most expensive equipment. If you are willing to make a few compromises, you can save a few euros.

Have you ever dealt with room acoustics? Many people confuse room acoustics with soundproofing. But that is not what is meant here. This is about the best sound that is feasible for your home cinema!

Now it's Time to Get to Work

Of course, the speakers also play a major role here. The most grandiose action scenes are spoiled by speakers that make an explosion sound like opening a beer bottle. And yet the room acoustics themselves make up the largest part of the absolute sound experience.

Poor acoustics, for example, can mean that effects are too loud, but the dialogue is barely understandable. Here, absorbers should ensure that the reverberation in the room is reduced. Until you have succeeded, you should switch on the dynamic compression on the AV receiver or increase the level of the center channel.

Curtains and carpets are only partially suitable for improving room acoustics. However, a carpet is mandatory in front of the front, in order to reduce the reflection, especially of the bass. Large window areas should not only be covered with curtains because of the incidence of light. But too much carpet and curtains can muffle the highs almost completely. Everything then sounds dull and the stereo effect says goodbye.

Start with the corners of the room. Very good results can be achieved here simply by attaching absorbers. Then take a closer look around the room and look for bass traps. These can be found in the nooks and crannies of the floor and ceiling or under the furniture.

Test out absorbers before attaching them. Very few of us are acoustic or sound engineers who can see at first glance where acoustic traps or sources of reverberation form for which frequency.

But don't worry. These acoustic measures do not have to be expensive. There is an excellent insulating material made from Basotect or similar high-quality boards, but stone wool and other materials from the hardware store also have a similarly good effect. These building materials may not be as attractive, but they cost a lot less money. We recommend the following rule: there are absorbers that are effective, beautiful, and cheap. The only thing that should not be skimped on is effectiveness right from the start.

If the room is large enough for your home cinema, you can also set up diffusers. You can make massive wooden diffusers yourself. Then set them up in the room where the sound has to travel too far. This makes the sound much more lively. As lively as good films need it.

Complete soundproofing is something you can forget about. Strong bass is always transmitted through ceilings and walls. One measure can be to seal the keyholes and crevices on the doors. Many people are unaware of how much sound travels through these small openings.

The sound pressure decreases the most when it has to pass through media of different thicknesses. This is where double doors can work wonders.

The appearance of a home theater is often neglected on the grounds that one wants to concentrate on the film. But we know from every visit to the cinema how important the ambiance is.

The Optics Also Count

Every visit to the cinema lives from the moments before and after the film.

It is best to stick to an accent color. Then you should avoid too strong contrasts. Even the fastest action thriller can still benefit from a calming environment.

And now don't say that you have two left hands! Everyone can be creative! And especially you, who want to build a home cinema. Just start slow and start with the simple embellishments. Little by little, your home cinema will become a movie palace.

Think and work in a modular way. That means don't screw everything on straight away but give yourself some leeway. At some point, you will want to hide more cables or attach more accessories. Then it's annoying when everything is irrevocably fixed. There are skirting boards that are excellent for use as cable ducts. Frames covered with fabric, for example, are good for cladding.

If you want to set up your home theater in the basement, be sure to think about mold prevention. In basement rooms, there should always be a distance of at least 5 cm between larger installations and the basement wall. If the room is already susceptible to moisture, inexpensive room dehumidifiers can help.

Also, ask yourself when you should hire an electrician. You can do many things yourself, but you are not allowed to. If the worst came to the worst, your home cinema would not be insured.

So that your home cinema does not degenerate into a domain of cable clutter, you need cable management in the right home cinema. With our advice and tricks, every cable can be hidden perfectly.

Loudspeakers are a dime a dozen. We have no way of knowing which speakers you'll like. Neither optically nor in its tonal properties or in the handling.

And Now for the Sound

You should therefore put speakers through their paces beforehand. Technical data such as wattage is often unreliable.

However, one thing is certain: the size is still decisive when it comes to loudspeakers. There are excellent active speakers for small rooms or on the go, but they are never enough for a home cinema. Loudspeakers, where more than one side is shorter than 12 cm is a so-called Howler Cube. He can be loud. But a good separation between the frequencies, which is so necessary for films, these little things can't be done.

Some time ago, the THX seal was a term for particularly good quality. Today it still stands for this quality, but loudspeakers without this seal do not have to be inferior in the meantime. It's a matter of price. A THX seal today often only means a higher price.

Old Hifi warhorses will always be happy to tell you that expensive and thick speaker cables produce the best sound. But there is no so-called cable sound. As long as you're not using plain bell wire or poorly insulated wire, you're fine.

Nevertheless, expensive cables simply look better and their shielding is often better, as are the high-quality connectors attached to them. As long as your cables have a cross-section of 2.5 mm² and are well shielded, they won't stand in the way of perfect sound enjoyment.

Another rumor is that the speaker wires need to be the same length. This may be true in large halls. With a home theater, however, you won't be able to hear any differences.

Banana plugs are of great benefit. At least when connecting to the AV receiver. They don't give you a better sound, but they make it easier for you to make any modifications. Just look at how rock bands act on stage. There you can collect some aha experiences.

You've probably already asked yourself whether a home cinema is really better than a conventional cinema. 

Sometimes less is more here! Many speakers do not necessarily result in better sound.

How are the Speakers Distributed in the Room?

You will have more fun with a well-thought-out 5.1 system than with a 7.1 that is difficult to implement in the room. A Dolby Atmos with 2 correctly aligned loudspeakers on the ceiling brings a lot more than 4 additional loudspeakers pointlessly distributed.

For the front, you should always choose the longest wall. The true sound experience only develops from a distance of 3 meters from loudspeaker to loudspeaker.

Keep in mind that movies thrive heavily on stereo effects. So make sure to keep to the famous stereo triangle. Center loudspeakers belong in the front in the middle, next to them you place the left and right front loudspeakers as far apart as possible. The left and right surround speakers at seat height provide the surround sound, and the subwoofers can be placed at the back of the room. Even though subwoofers have little to do with the stereo experience, you should find out their best place by testing them. Subwoofers first fill the room and then the full sound comes to you. So what matters is how the room sounds and not how the subwoofer sounds.

Then calmly point the other speakers towards the seats. And if the center speaker, in particular, is positioned lower than head height, tilt it a little. Let all front speakers beam at you. Unlike in a concert hall, with films, you need the sound directly to your ear so that all the effects can take full effect.

Then, as the Enterprise heads into uncharted territory, you can hear her fly through your home theater.

You've probably heard of keystone correction. This is an electronic correction of the projector that you should definitely avoid when operating a home cinema.

Now the picture is on the wall

You should always set up the projector exactly horizontally and never at an angle to the side walls. Then you don't need a correction that only produces flickering and blurred edges in the picture. The keystone correction is good for PowerPoint presentations, but nothing for watching movies. If you need to adjust the image on the screen a bit, the lens shift function is sufficient.

You should keep the area in front of the screen dark. It goes without saying that the whole room should be darkened, but sometimes that doesn't work. However, white walls create a stray light that turns black areas of the image gray. The black level in the picture gets better the more dark areas your own cinema hall has. Above all, the two meters in front of the screen must be protected from light and as dark as possible.

Image sharpness is a great thing. Especially in photos. But an artificial sharpening of the projector often leads to flickering edges in films. Excessive image sharpness can even cause artifacts and foreign bodies to flit across the image from time to time. A slight increase in image sharpness brings the best results. Should disturbing artifacts nevertheless appear, set the interframe calculation to a low value?

However, this interframe calculation is otherwise important for a smooth image. Today there are still many films with 24 frames per second. However, technology cannot be stopped and this value will increase. If there are no disturbances, you can set this interframe calculation high so that you can get used to faster sequences now.

Hands off cheap roll-up screens! Many of these canvases tend to curl after a short period of time. This will annoy you very quickly and spoil your movie enjoyment.

From the Canvas to the Hush Box

If at all possible, get a higher quality framed canvas. You have to dig deeper into your pocket for this, but then only once. In this case, if you buy too cheaply, you always buy twice.

It is a wonderful thing to move the projector to an adjoining room. This is particularly possible if you are currently building a house and have planned the cinema at the same time. Separating technology from cinema has many advantages. You banish the ventilation noise and everything that can distract from the film. A projector behind drywall not only looks professional but also raises the enjoyment of the film to a much higher level.

If you cannot move the projector to another room, we recommend a hush box. You can build this box yourself. It's nothing more than a larger box into which the projector disappears, but offers enough space for operation and ventilation. Instructions for building such a hush box can be found online.

Masking in front of the screen is particularly cool. These are deep black and non-reflective frames around the screen. This avoids the impression that the image is bleeding or blurring. The film has clear boundaries all around. This makes it appear much sharper, clearer, and more distinct. You can also build these masks yourself if you want to save on the cost of finished products.

If you take it very seriously and have enough financial resources, you can also take the different projection formats into account. The 21:9 and Cinemascope formats are of course absolutely top, but taking these into account with the screen and masking means that many components are significantly more expensive.

Just a few years ago, this chaos was an eternal bone of contention in every family: the hodgepodge of remote controls on the living room table.

Technology and Comfort

For your home cinema, you should rather use a universal remote control. With some of these models, the light can also be controlled. Then you too, as a projectionist, can sit comfortably in the cinema chair and enjoy the film.

If your receiver has an automatic calibration system, then feel free to use it, but then correct the results. Because your hearing counts for your own home cinema and not the distances of the loudspeakers measured by the technology.

WLAN is much more elegant and you don't have to lay any cables, but we recommend LAN. Even if you think you won't make any losses with wireless streaming, you can never rule it out. The data rates are often reduced bit by bit unnoticed.

In addition, Blu-ray and UHD are still superior to streaming.

Dolby Atmos is definitely a great thing! But even the most perfect ceiling loudspeakers can disappoint if the ceiling reflects the sound too much. Then the mids mix with the highs and some dialogue will be difficult to understand. Especially if they are accompanied by music.

Ceiling sails, with which you can eliminate this problem, are very comfortable and also good to look at.

First of all, you should consider whether you should really buy every movie on Blu-ray. Is it worth it?

Which Medium?

These discs have a depreciation value that only clears after you've watched the movie 5 times. Unless you're a movie collector. Then of course it's something completely different.

You can also rent films by post. Or rent the films from streaming providers. Again, you don't have to buy them. There are bound to be movies that you want to have in your possession forever. But is it really worth it for every film? You might be better off putting the money you save aside and investing in the further expansion or decoration of your home cinema later.

Even municipal libraries often have excellent film archives. The rental fees are very cheap. And above all, you can browse through classic films here. There are many old films that you simply have to see.

And a little tip by the way: Get some nice music too. You can run these before and after the movie. A home cinema lives not only from the films but also very much from the overall ambiance. Music is definitely part of it!

Please always be considerate of your neighbors. The best movie night is useless if you sit in your own cinema seat with a bad conscience.

And to Finish

If you live in an apartment building, feel free to tell your neighbors that you're installing a home theater. If you really want to turn it up, ask your roommates when they might not be home or invite them to this movie night. You definitely want to show your cinema to others, don't you?

And then don't take every criticism too seriously. Criticism is always easy and many people are fundamentally better at this or any other thing. Constructive criticism is always good. Especially if you ask for it. You can simply ignore derogatory comments. You must like your cinema. And when you've finished it for the premiere, you know that no one will be able to do it for you anytime soon.

But to keep this joy alive, you should take out household contents insurance or have an existing one recalculated. If you also create your own film collection, keep a record of it and photograph it at regular intervals. So you can always prove what needs to be replaced if the worst comes to the worst.

If you have children, then, of course, you take them to the cinema. It is best to set clear boundaries. Children will always find technology fascinating and admire it. But of course, they should know that beamers, receivers, loudspeakers, and screens are not toys. You will surely understand and appreciate the cinema. That's better than having to put a cordon around each device.

We wish you every success in setting up your magnificent home cinema! Look forward to the result! And with some problems, remember that the path is a little bit the goal here too. You will have a lot of fun planning and building, a lot of anticipation, and of course, all the more joy when everything is finished. Good, succeed!

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Digital Gamepad: Home Cinema Deluxe - That's How Cinema Works!
Home Cinema Deluxe - That's How Cinema Works!
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