How to setup a Home Theater in your apartment

We all love going to the movies. It’s a wonderful choice to spend our weekends with friends or family when we want to escape from the unavoidable pressure at the office. However, standing in queue for hours’ end to pay for the overpriced movie tickets and popcorn can get quite tedious. After all, all you want is to relax, spend quality time with your loved ones, and get away from the mighty big giant called work!

Sometimes all the chaos of pushing through the crowd to win that golden ticket so that you can watch your favorite characters on a big screen is not worth it. You might not get to watch the movie of your choice; the seats in the movie theatre might worsen the back pain that emerged from sitting in front of your laptops at work; Gulliver the giant might be sitting on the front row and blocking out the screen- there are endless possibilities of occurrences that can ruin your almost-perfect movie night experience! When the harsh reality fails to reach your expectations, what can you do?

Many people these days are interested in building home theaters. When you hear the word “home theatre” the first image that pops into your head is a luxurious room with a huge flat-screen HD TV mounted on the wall, supported by large audio systems and plenty of seating that celebrities in the rooms in their mansion. In reality, building a home-theatre could be simple, affordable, and relatively convenient if you know just what to do.

You might be worried about the availability of space or the money required to build a home theatre for your apartment, but this guide is going to help you get the best home theatre experience at home in the most convenient manner possible. After all, wouldn’t it be amazing to lie back on the sofa and enjoy a cinema experience at home?

The Basics of Home Theatre

Building your own home theatre might seem intimidating at first, but it’s not rocket science. In fact, the elements involved in a home theatre are fairly simple. Generally, a home theatre system is composed of a large video display device- which can either be a projector/screen or television; a surround sound speaker setup, and some quality source components which include Blu-ray and streaming devices. The next guideline will help you set up these individual components.

Planning a map

Before you start, we would recommend you to map out the available space. Bring out your pencils and get creative! Draw a diagram of the room where you will be installing your home theatre system, positioning the video display and audio systems in your desire place. Once you have a rough sketch, be sure to measure out the distances between the video display, audio system and the seating. This step is vital since it will help you decide what systems to get in the following steps.

The Sights

As long as the video display is big enough for an immersive experience, it can be any size or style you want. As we’ve mentioned earlier, you can either use projectors or televisions for your setup.

Is getting a projector a wise choice?

A projector is a favorable choice if you want the best multiplex experience. However, setting up one can be quite a hassle. You should keep in mind that your projector has to be free of obstacles. Therefore, it would be best if you can position it hanging from the ceiling, which in my opinion, is not that feasible.

Next, you would have to calculate the distance between the lens and the screen, which is known as the throw distance. This calculation will in turn determine the size of the screen that is required for you to purchase. For small apartments the throw distance is likely to be short, meaning that the image being projected is going to be relatively small.

Selecting a TV

All that being said, your best option would be a TV, especially if you’ve got a small apartment. With the modern technology available today, there are a variety of sets to choose from.

There are many things such as size, brightness, contrast, resolution, color accuracy, and ease of installment, that should be considered before getting a television.  An Ultra HD Television with 4k Technology is highly recommended if you want to be amused by the picture quality. We would recommend you to get a television that is between 50-60 inches for the perfect theatre-like experience.

Setting up your TV

After you’ve selected a TV that meets your criteria, the next step is the setup. Mounting the TV on the wall is considered to be the best setup for a home theatre. However, you can also place it on a television cabinet or high stand.

A mount can be of two types- one that is static and the other that can be moved. At first, you need to decide which type of mount you want. Usually, it’s a safer option to go with the static mount as your TV will remain in its position. In order to mount your television, you have to calculate the optimal distance, height, and location to determine exactly where to place it. Once you’ve chosen the positioning of the TV, you can use a number of essential tools such as a drill, electric stud finder, screwdriver, and screws to set the TV on the wall.

Choosing a Video Player

How do you stream movies now that you have set the television? You can either

  • Watch TV from cable or on-demand
  • Connect a DVD or Blu-ray player to your television
  • Stream directly from online applications

A Smart TV and the internet will help you stream movies of your choice from applications. Some of these famous applications include Netflix, Youtube, Hulu, and Vevo. You need to subscribe to get access to the movies. Although Youtube is free, YoutubeTV requires a monthly payment. A smart TV is very convenient as it will help you stream movies without having to connect a DVD or Blu-ray player separately. This saves up a lot of money and time.

If you do not have a smart TV, you can get a media to stick that you can plug into your television to stream from the applications.

Television recommendations for your home theatre

We have picked up a few televisions that are suitable for home theatre systems below:

TCL 55R617 – 55-Inch 4K Ultra HD Roku Smart LED TV 

Specifications:

  • 55 Inch
  • TCL Brand
  • Resolution of 4K
  • LED Display Technology
  • Wi-Fi and HDMI connections available
  • Dimensions include 48.5″ W x 28.1″ H x 2.9″ D
Reasons to buyReasons to avoid
•Affordable
•Excellent color contrast
•Supports Netflix, Pandora and other streaming applications
•Consumes a lot of power
•Does not include headphone in remote jack

Sony A8H 55 Inch TV: BRAVIA OLED 4K Ultra HD

Specifications:

  • 55 Inch
  • Sony Brand
  • Resolution of 4K
  • OLED Display Technology
  • Wireless connections available
  • Dimensions include 48.38 x 12.88 x 28.88 inches
Reasons to buyReasons to avoid
•Wide viewing angles
•Excellent color contrast
•Provides instantaneous response.
•Has a risk of permanent burn in

The Sound

You would need the best audio systems if you want the perfect home theatre experience. The audio systems in the movies are huge and trying to mimic that in your small apartment is not only impractical but also costly. But don’t worry, modern technology has made it possible for speakers to be compact and powerful at the same time!

Surround sound speakers

The surround sound technology in sound systems provides the optimum theatre experience. This modern technology helps to create the illusion in the minds of listeners, making them feel as if the sound is coming from all around them.  Although a 7.1 surround sound setup is preferable, it can be difficult to manage in a smaller apartment.

Hence you can substitute these for 2.1 and 5.1 surround sound speakers. The difference between the two is that in the 2.1 surround sound speakers, there are two speakers and one subwoofer whereas the 5.1 system includes five speakers and one subwoofer.

Setting up the surround sound speakers

The 2.1 surround sound speakers require less room than the 5.1 surround sound speakers. If you could squeeze in a bit of space in your setting, 5.1 surround sound speakers should be a better choice.

To set up the 2.1 surround sound systems, you can place one speaker on the right and the other on the left of the television. With the 5.1 system, there are more speakers added, so the positioning is as follows:

  • Two speakers on the front with the television at the center
  • Two speakers at the side of the seats
  • One speaker at the back

Subwoofers

If you want to avoid sound pollution, you can select small subwoofers in sizes of 8 to 10 inches. These subwoofers can be front-firing rather than down-firing into the floor to avoid the bass from getting too loud.

Soundbars

Soundbars are even more appropriate if you do not have a spacious room. The 2.1 and 3.1 soundbars provide acceptable sound quality and also help to save up room space. The 5.1 soundbars have the true surround sound technology, so they are in the higher end in terms of quality. Setting up a soundbar is very easy. It can either be placed above or below the television. If you want to save up more space for subwoofers, you can even mount the soundbar to your wall.

A few tips to follow

We have noted a few tips that you could follow to adjust the audio system in your small apartment.

  • Compact speakers are perfect for you if you are looking for something that can be adjusted in your limited space without compromising the sound quality.
  • Mounting the speakers on the wall is very helpful as you will have more space for seating.
  • Watch out for angry neighbors! You don’t want to annoy them while Godzilla roars through your speakers! One solution is to decouple your speakers. Usually when the speakers are on the ground, the vibration transfers through the floor. By decoupling the speakers, you are elevating them on a shelf or platform so that the vibration does not travel through the floor.
  • Another great technology to reduce sound pollution is Audyssey LFC. This device limits the level of frequencies, preventing the devices or materials around it to resonate.
  • You can also use a wireless speaker kit to save up space.

The best sound systems for small apartments

Bose Soundbar 700 5.1 Home Theater System

Specifications:

  • 5″ x 2.25″ x 4.25″ dimensions
  • Weight of 10.5 lbs.
  • HDMI output with Audio Return Channel (ARC)
  • Enhanced Audio Return Channel (eARC)
  • Consumer Electronics Control (CEC)
  • Optical TOSLink
  • Power input
  • USB input
  • Supported audio formats: Dolby Digital, DTS
  • Video source compatibility: HDMI
Reasons to buyReasons to avoid
•Wide sound stage and clear dialogue
•Amazon Alexa built-in
•Options of expandability

•Only 1 HDMI port

SVS Prime Satellite 5.1 Package

Specifications:

  • Dimensions of 8.85″ x 4.9″ x 6.3″
  • Weight of 6.5 lbs.
  • 1-inch tweeter
  • 4.5-inch woofer
  • The frequency response of 69 – 25Hz ± 3dB
Reasons to buyReasons to avoid
•Small in size so it helps to save space
•Great sound quality


•Low sensitivity

Monoprice 10565 Premium 5.1 Channel Home Theater System with Subwoofer

Specifications:

  • Dimensions of 7 x 18.9 x 23.7 inches
  • Weight of 2.6 lbs
  • ¾ inch tweeter
  • 100-watt power
Reasons to buyReasons to avoid
•Immersive sound
•Compact size
•Minimized floor vibrations



•Subwoofer cannot handle high volume

The Seating

If you are someone whose first priority is comfort, your sofa, couch or chair will be sufficient for your home-theatre. If, however, you are looking for something fancy and you want the full home-theatre experience, you can get professional theatre seats. Compact seats are a great choice if you want to save up space in your apartment.

For premium viewing pleasure, there is a specific arrangement of seats. There should be a distance of one point five to two times the size of your screen between the video display and the seating.

The Atmosphere

Lastly, the theatre-feel would be incomplete without the proper atmosphere in your apartment. You can get some blackout curtains for the windows and carpet for the floors. Other accessories that will make your movie night more enjoyable include acoustic panels.

Final thought

Now that you have an idea about how to set up your video and audio systems for your home theatre system, you can relax and start settling for an exciting night of epic movie mania. Grab your popcorn and get ready to chill!