What Makes a Good Home Theater Setup?

Tips for setting up a home theater system

To get the most out of your home theater equipment, you need to think carefully about how you set up your media room or living room. A good home theater setup is simple and uncluttered, with easy access to equipment and controls. Speaker positioning is very important, particularly if you have a surround sound system, and the layout and orientation of your seating is also a central consideration. All the parts of a home theater need to be carefully arranged to create a streamlined entertainment experience.

Strategies for Setting Up a Home Theater System

Here are some helpful tips to get you thinking about your home theater setup options:

  • Orient the entire room towards your television. Your TV should effectively be the centerpiece of the room. Most people place the TV in one corner of the room, though you certainly don't have to adhere to this common strategy, especially if you're setting up a downstairs media room and don't have to content with large windows. All seating should be placed so as to facilitate easy viewing, without strain or sharp angles.
  • Eliminate barriers between seating areas and the TV screen. Create clean sightlines by making sure the space between the television and the seating area is open and free of clutter.
  • Control those wires. Cable raceways and cable tacks are great for keeping wayward wires under control and eliminating tripping hazards. You can also bury cables under carpets and rugs.
  • Keep acoustics in mind. Generally speaking, you want your speakers oriented so they are projecting sound towards the center of the room. This principle holds true regardless of whether the speakers are facing the viewer, or behind the viewer. Multi-channel surround sound setups require additional considerations; you'll receive an optimization guide when you purchase your system, and it's recommended that you follow manufacturer suggestions.

As far as setting up your individual pieces of equipment goes, the rule is to always follow manufacturer specifications. Not only will this help you enjoy your equipment the way it was meant to be enjoyed, but it will also help protect your warranty. Failure to adhere to manufacturer directions when setting up your equipment can result in the invalidation of your warranty, which could leave you on the hook for repair or replacement costs if your efforts result in damage.

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