Home Theater Preparation
Preparing for your dream home theater room needs to be thoroughly thought through. You want to make sure that all essential elements are in place when you’re ready to finally install your AV system. Go through the home theater preparation checklist below and follow directions in numerical order to avoid missing or forgetting a step.
Best Time to Prepare for Your Home Theater
The best time to prepare for your home theater system is when the walls and ceilings are open (WITHOUT DRYWALL) to run wiring, conduits & electrical outlets where necessary.
Such scenarios include: when your house is under construction or when the room is under renovation or before you finish your basement.
Home Theater Preparation Check List
1. Calculate Projector Throw Distance
Check the specs of your projector to find out the optimal throw distance based on the lighting condition of the room & the size of the projector screen you want to install. Easiest way to calculate your projector throw distance is to use this projector throw distance calculator tool on projectorcentral.com
This step is very important because where your projector is installed is going to determine the maximum and minimum size of the image throw onto the screen when it’s time to install the projector in order to calibrate the projector video.
2. Install Electrical Outlets Where Necessary
- Where the projector will be installed (based on throw distance)
- Recessed electrical outlet behind where the projector screen will be installed (if it is a motorized screen or has LED lightning)
- Area where the AV components will be placed (home theater receiver, cable box, game console, Bluray player, etc…
3. Wiring from Projector to Your AV Receiver
*IMPORTANT: In order to “Future-Proof” yourself to the next new technology for easy upgrade, it is STRONGLY RECOMMENDED to have a conduit running from the Projector location to the AV Components Area for your wiring instead of running just a bare HDMI cable without conduit.
Historically, HDMI technology has changed for improvement every few years since it was first released and it is expected to continue to evolve. New components in the future will require the latest version of the HDMI cable to transmit the highest speed of Audio/Video data to get the most out of your new components.
By having a conduit installed through the wall or ceiling, you can change or fish a new cable easily at any time without having to cut open the drywall. Therefore, when you replace your components to the latest technology in the future, you will be Future-Proofed for wiring and not stuck to the old HDMI technology.
If Running a Conduit is NOT an Option for you for whatever reason
- Run 1 x Latest version of HDMI cable that’s available today
- Run at least 1 x Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cable
You can use the HDMI cable for now to connect your projector to your home theater receiver.
In the future, a Cat5e or Cat6 Ethernet cable can be utilized when it’s time to upgrade your AV system that requires newer version of HDMI signal.
For example, you can turn a Cat5e cable into a HDMI extension cable by using a HDbitT or HDBaseT HDMI extender over single Ethernet cable. That way, when your old HDMI cable becomes obsolete, a Cat5e or Cat6 cable will serve as an HDMI extension cable.
We recommend running more than 1 x Cat5e or Cat6 cable to Future-Proof your AV system. Because Ethernet cables are often used to control all kinds of AV electronics. So, having multiple Ethernet cables in place will give you more options to add the latest gadgets if they become necessary as part of your home theater.
4. Wiring for Speakers
IMPORTANT: Run speaker wires before installing drywall. For traditional 5.1 channel surround sound setup, you will need 3 speaker wires in the front, 2 speaker wires for rear and 1 sub-woofer cable for bass.
For the latest & best audio format, run additional wires for Dolby Atmos setup which requires minimum of 2 additional speakers in the ceiling in addition to a traditional 5.1ch setup. Those 2 additional speaker wires in the ceiling are for your Dolby Atmos height speakers.
Dolby Atmos audio format is designed to give you 3 dimensional sound by having a “dome” of speakers around you. As a result, you will hear and feel the sound coming from all directions around you, hence making you feel as if you’re in the movie scene you’re watching.
Even if you don’t intend to setup a Dolby Atmos system now, you should pre-wire the extra speaker wires for future in case you want to upgrade the AV receiver and add height speakers at a later date.
5. Acoustic Panels
You should think about adding acoustic panels to improve sound quality by absorbing the sound & noise and eliminating slap echo.
There are acoustic panels for walls and ceiling. Aesthetically, LED starlight acoustic panel for ceiling adds beautiful look to your home theater room while actually being functional to enhance the sound quality. And there are simple acoustic wall panels that you can just mount on the wall, placed throughout the room.