The term media room has evolved into a generic definition for a multipurpose space that is outfitted with a large flat-screen television, surround sound and cozy seating. Friends congregate there to watch the big game. Families go there to watch a movie together. It’s party central when guests visit.
A media room can be lots of things at the same time, when compared to a dedicated home theater designed to replicate a cinema experience. Both can create an incredible experience but the flexibility of a media room is more practical for people who need their space to serve mutiple needs.
“A media room can be a more social experience,” Paul, president of ETC explains. “You’re watching the game, chatting, playing with the kids — and that’s OK. What do you do in a theater when someone is talking? You go, ‘Shhh … we’re watching the movie.’ The lights are down, no talking, no reading. No answering cell phones. The idea is to have an immersive experience and “FEEL” everything going on in the movie. There’s not a right or wrong choice! It just depends on what your family needs and the space you have to design the perfect solution! Let us help you decide!”
The Making of a Media Room
Flexible seating: Because a media room is for more than just watching movies, furniture pieces are arranged into conversation spaces that can be “broken down” when moveable chairs are shifted to face the screen. Maybe a bar area that you stand around as well. Although both a theater and media room can have very comfortable seating, Media rooms will be more free form designs.
Ample screen size: The screen should be large enough so everyone in the room can back up and view it from a good angle. Not sure what size to buy? First, let us help you decide the right screen size! You should be able to sit back from the television two to three times that measurement for optimum viewing. “That is large enough that you get a sense of, ‘Wow — this is a big deal,'” Paul says.
Sound-absorbent aesthetics: Fluffy sofas, drapery and carpeting help quiet reflections from the sound system. And on the topic of interior finishes, all controls and media gear can be hidden so the room doesn’t look like a tech control center. Modern remote controls can talk through cabinet doors and even walls, or you can just say, “Play my favorite movie” and it begins!
Cutting-edge content: The ability to stream movies, music and more from “the cloud” has changed the way media rooms are configured. It is not just a T.V. and Blu-Ray player anymore. The quality of the content available now is greater than it’s ever been and that content is growing every day. Crystal clear 4K, Dolby Digital, THX, and ATMOS sound systems duplicate the feeling of being in the middle of the movie experience so choose your system wisely.
Designing a Dedicated Home Theater
Cinema lighting: While new projection screens perform in higher ambient light conditions, the best idea for a true movie experience is to MAKE IT DARK! Ambient lighting that highlights stairs, panels or other acoustic treatments will create the exact ‘vibe’ you are looking for. Automated dimmers that react to the beginning of the movie enhance the cinema experience as well.
Setting the mood: Equally important to the cinema experience is comfortable seating and an acoustic environment that absorbs sound. Seating is generally arranged in rows, facing forward to replicate a movie theater. Heart-thumping subwoofers hidden behind the screen let you feel every dinosaur step or space battle like you were in the middle of it. Combined with world-class set up and calibration, everyone can fully experience the impact of the sound and picture. “A dedicated home theater reproduced precisely what the director, sound engineer and producer wanted to convey in their film. Not only do you get a true reproduction, but the feeling, excitement and wonder of a movie theater comes through as well. It’s really amazing!” says movie-buff Paul.