The goal of a theater room is to recreate the cinema experience in the comfort of your home. It requires more than just a big TV and surround sound. Whether you dedicate a room or have your theater in a family room or den, you can create an experience that your whole family will enjoy.
There are two main parts of a theater room: sound and video.
The sound is actually the most important part because it creates the most engaging effect - the feeling that you're actually in the environment on the screen. The standard for theater room surround sound is Dolby Digital®. It is far superior to its predecessor, Dolby Pro Logic. It delivers clearer dialogue and a more realistic sense of atmosphere. It is sometimes referred to as 5.1 because there are 5 full range channels of sound plus another channel dedicated to low frequency effects, called LFE. High quality surround sound requires a Dolby Digital® processor (part of an A/V receiver or preamplifier), 5 speakers, a sub-woofer, and amplification for the speakers. The processor decodes the surround sound information from the DVD, HDTV, satellite or cable broadcast then sends the signal to the amplifier and on to the speakers. The left, center, and right front speakers reproduce on-screen action: dialog, music, and sound effects like left to right motion. The two rear speakers create the 3D effect - the illusion of space. They are essential to creating front to back motion effects like jet aircraft fly-overs. Finally, a sub-woofer (sometimes more than one) is used to reproduce the LFE: the very low sounds of explosions or earthquakes. The placement of the speakers in your room is critical to the over-all effect. So is the character of your floors, walls, and ceiling (hard surfaces reflect sound, soft surfaces absorb sound). Believe it or not, properly addressing the shape and character of your room can have a greater effect on the quality of home theater sound than buying better equipment. It is easy for professional home theater designers to predict many aspects of how a room will sound - before the system is even installed! They can recommend seating positions, speaker placement, and acoustical treatments that dramatically improve the home theater experience.