Designing & Building a Home Theater #7 – Tips for Placing Screens, Projectors, and Speakers...


When you’re ready to set up a new home theater receiver, the first step is figuring out where to put it. It may seem like a simple point, but there are several factors to consider. After all, every component and speaker in your system will need to be connected to your receiver. Correct placement of system components with respect to each other as well as within your room , is a major contributor towards achieving that much-desired movie experience in the home. It may not always be possible to opt for the best equipment placement if you are installing in a shared environment such as the living room. But knowing the basic requirements for an effective design is important. Do not be tempted to proceed with a home theater installation before doing detailed planning of your home theater room design. Inappropriate plans can affect the theater experience but can also lead to costly mistakes. Even though this article concentrates mainly on the dedicated home theater room design, most of the principles discussed still apply in a shared environment.


Screen Placement

The first step should be to identify the correct placement of your projection screen or big screen HDTV. This represents the main center of attraction . the rest of the equipment should then follow. Although centering a home theater setup around a TV is most common, video projectors deliver a really big screen viewing experience. Just as with TVs, you have the choice of 720p, 1080p, and 4k options, as well as projectors that are optimized for small or large rooms. The key thing is that the setup procedure for for a video projector is different than for a TV, and, of course, a room that can be light controlled (made darker) is best. In the case of a front projection setup, there is a further point to consider. For the best results when planning your home theater room design, the projection screen placement should be such as to allow the positioning of the center speaker behind the projection. This will help to better affix the dialog with the movie action, while yielding better spatial definition in home theater sound. However for the whole setup to work effectively, it is necessary to maintain the correct position of the center speaker with respect to the main front left and right speakers. Place the center speaker behind the screen so that the front right front left and center channel speakers should all be set at equal distance form the main viewing position.

Video Projector Placement

Setting up a video projector is definitely different than setting up a TV, but in most cases, is it still pretty straightforward, if you know the steps. Here are some tips to keep in mind that you can use to get your video projector up and running. In addition to the position and angle, most video projectors also provide additional tools that you can take advantage of such as zoom lenses, keystone image correction and even vertical and horizontal shifts of the lens assembly itself inside the projector housing. Theses features give you a certain level of flexibility when planning the projector position during the home theater room design.

  • Zooms lenses  - Get the image the right size and get the objects and/or text in the image to look clear to your eye, in relation to your seating position(s). That allows you to adjust the image size to the required dimensions over a wider range of projector to screen distance.
  • Keystone Image Correction - Using the Keystone Correction feature it may be possible to fix the image proportions. It provides a way to make sure the sides of the image are as close to a perfect rectangle as possible. Sometimes the projector-to-screen angle results in an image that is wider at the top than it is on the bottom, or taller on one side than the other. Some projectors provided for both horizontal and vertical correction, while some only provide a vertical correction. In either case, the results are not always perfect. If the projector is table mounted, one way to correct this further if Keystone correction can't is to place the projector on a higher platform so that is it more directly in line with the screen.
  • Lens Shift - Provides the ability to physically move the projector lens in the horizontal and vertical planes, and a few high-end projectors may offer diagonal lens shift. So, if your image has the correct vertical and horizontal shape, but just needs to be raised, lowered, or shift from side-to-side so that it fits on your screen, Lens Shift limits the need to physically move the entire projector to correct for those situations. Once you have the image shape and angle correct, the next thing to do is to make your image looking as clear as possible. This is done with the zoom and focus controls

Projector location

The projector is usually placed on the wall, right behind the home theater seating area or mounted on the ceiling just above the viewer's head or in a dedicated cabinet at the rear. Should space allow, plan for a dedicated projection booth in your home theater room design. This represents the ideal location as it will mask any annoying noise from the projector cooling fan during the period of silence. It will be difficult to relocate the projector once you complete the overall home theater room design. So make sure you remain within the supported projector to screen distance range for the required screen size and keystone image correction or lens tilt support.

Home Theater Speaker Placement

How you arrange your home theater speakers has a big impact on how your system sounds. Proper speaker placement can elevate an average-sounding system to an elite home theater experience. In this article, we’ll show you where to place your speakers to get the best performance. And we’ll tackle some common room challenges that often get in the way of lifelike sound. The points listed below just highlight the main issues you need to take note of when planning your home theater room design...

  • Front Left and Right Speakers - You want your front left and right speakers to focus their sound field at your listening position. Angle your speakers slightly towards the seat that’s directly in front of the TV. The tweeters should be at ear level when you’re seated. Furthermore, the distance between the viewing position and the main speakers should be equal to the distance between your viewing positions and the center channel.
  • Center Speaker - This mainly carries the dialog part. It should be placed just behind but close to the center of the projection screen. If possible, tilt it to direct the sound to ear level.
    Surround speakers: Your surround speakers are best placed on the sidewalls of your home theater room just behind your main listening position. To the left and right of your listening position. Aim them directly towards you for the best sound. If side placement isn't practical, place your surround speakers a few feet behind your listening position, and face them forward. You’ll want your surrounds one to two feet above ear level to get the best sound effects.
  • Subwoofer - There is no fixed position here since low bass frequencies are omnidirectional. Placing your subwoofer near a wall will generally result in more bass. Placement near a corner where the room boundaries come together will get you even more. It would be appropriate to experiment a bit to determine the best position since placing the subwoofer near a wall or close to the corner will enhance the bass response. Most people put their sub in the front of the room so that it’s easier to connect it to their home theater receiver. If running a cable to where your sub sounds the best is impractical, use a wireless subwoofer kit.
  • A 2nd Sub for Better Bass - Using two subs improves bass distribution by filling in gaps where the bass response may be weak. A second sub also provides more impactful dynamics and greater system headroom. The layout of your room will determine where the second sub should be placed.

Designing & Building a Home Theater Series

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