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Creating the Ultimate Home Theater

June 30 2008

It used to be that only the mega rich could install lavish home movie theaters. Yet today, with Blu-ray discs, big screens and comfortable seating, installing a home theater is easy, great entertainment and a distinctive feature when listing your property.

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If you’re planning on building one, consider how the following helpful hints will make sure you’re screening Spielberg’s latest – in style and in no time.

Location, location, location

If you’re planning on putting in a home theater, like everything in real estate, the first thing to consider is location. You want a room without windows, blank walls and a rectangular shape (for optimal sound quality). Finished basements are ideal. If you have to put your theater in a room that has windows, set your TV screen next to the window to cut down on glare.


To do justice to your home theater, purchase a 40-inch or larger High Definition (HD) television. Most likely, you’ll pick between a Plasma or LCD (liquid crystal display). Plasma TVs contain gases that produce pixels to create an image, while LCD TVs rely on liquid crystals to create a picture. Both are sleek and relatively lightweight compared to the now antique behemoth models. Picture and sound quality are superb in either Plasma or LCD sets; however, price does differ slightly.

You will also want to get a high-definition disc player. They offer far superior picture and sound quality than a standard DVD player. A set of powerful speakers are also vital—half-a-dozen or so strategically placed around your room will provide cinematic surround sound that will dazzle your friends and family.

Furniture and Seating

The furniture you chose for your home theater will have a direct bearing on the mood and ambience of the room. The best HD TV in the world and a ton of speakers mean nothing if your guests have to sit on wooden crates. Reclining chairs and comfy couches are par for the course.

Place your seats directly in front of the TV screen (just like at a real theatre). Hint: for best viewing position, take the width of your television set, multiply by three and then place your seats that distance from your TV.


Lighting can enhance—or take away from—your home theater experience. Track lighting or at the very least, a dimmer switch, is a must. Sconce lighting would make an interesting addition to your home theater. These are light fixtures attached to a wall that direct their illuminating beam straight upwards. You can see them in real movie theaters and they add a nice touch of class to your theater space.


For people who want to go all out, you can buy popcorn machines, movie posters, even real movie theater-style seats (complete with foldable arms and cup-holders). Home theater projectors and screens are also available, for the well-heeled movie buff.

Setting up a home theater takes work, but once you’ve done it, you can kick back, pop the corn, and enjoy a night at the movies without leaving the comfort of your home. If you build a custom room, you may also have a unique feature on your hands that will pique homebuyer interest later on.