Great news, movie buffs. Your time relegated to binge watching The Walking Dead via iPhone in your bathroom may soon be over.
As homes get smaller the humble home theatre will also begin its slow death.
Not on our watch. We’re all about that Netflix and apartment life and we’ve previously spoken about how to maximise its interior space. Today we’re taking a closer look at how to turn that centre for ants into an effective home theatre space with a simple bag of expert tricks.
Sound Bars Are The New Cool
Sound Bars have been around for a few years now but little know their arrival coincides with the modern day conundrum of space saving. This in turn makes them perfect for use in smaller areas such as apartment living rooms or share rooms.
Lifestyle Editor at tech publication EFTM, Geoff Quattromani, explains the benefits being that the walls of an apartment are all closer so the sound can bounce around properly.
“People spend thousands on a TV and then ignore audio – huge mistake.”
For high quality audio to match the picture without breaking the bank, Quattromani recommends the Bose Solo 5 ($399) or the more capable Sonos Playbar ($999). The latter does command a bigger price tag, but it’s a much more formidable device for audiophiles who want a bigger punch.
“Pair the Sonos with the Play Sub and you’ve absolutely got a home theatre in your apartment,” says Quattromani.
Treat Your Speakers Right
Speaker positioning is an unspoken art form amongst the tech heads, so it’s crucial to pay attention to this if you want the best sound quality from a tight space.
More specifically, most of the audio experience comes down to the shape of the room and how you’re sitting within it.
“Positioning yourself in direct line of sight to the TV is a must,” explains Quattromani.
“Having the couch away from the back wall is also important, as this allows sound to bounce back at you rather than only being hit from the front.”
Another factor that often goes unnoticed in optimising the home theatre experience in a smaller space is tuning the system to work with one another (sound system, TV, etc).
Almost every system has a tool that allows users to tune their speakers to suit the location they sit in, yet the majority of people don’t tend to it. In other words, look at the manual to find out what those funny symbols on the remote does. Tweak it and you could have an aural and visual experience in your hot little hands.
A final hot tip from the experts?
“If you have rear speakers, don’t position them right next to your head – they’re for ambiance, not headphones.”
Position Your Furniture Right
As we already mentioned, speaker positioning is paramount in any tight space. Trial and error is the key since every small space is different but where possible, also move around your furniture. Do not position side tables or boxes directly in front of speakers and always have the viewing couch at least a metre from the back wall.
“This allows the audio to travel properly around you,” says Quattromani. “Sitting and facing the TV dead on is also critical for prime viewing.”
Projectors Vs Thin Panel Televisions
Ah, the million dollar home theatre question. Projectors have been around since our days in schooling but in modern times they’ve been fine tuned and elevated to theatre duties. This means high end devices which can produce astounding picture quality at a fraction of the price of televisions when it comes to comparative viewing dimensions.
Quattromani explains in a recent test he had with an Optoma short throw projector: “I put it on my TV cabinet in place of where the TV usually is (around 40cm from the wall) and managed a 110inch image. At $1,699 you won’t be able to buy a TV that big and with remarkable picture quality.”
Hence, the real decision between projector vs television will depend solely on when you’ll be watching the content and for how long.
“If you want to watch the morning show while eating breakfast then you’ll be wanting a TV,” explains Quattromani.
Televisions are naturally brighter and can produce quality images in seconds. For the movie buffs who love to binge on Netflix during the after hours, a projector would probably suit best for the cheaper cinema experience. Bear in mind though, a projector won’t have a TV tuner or built-in speakers installed, so you’ll need a set top box or Foxtel to get broadcasting stuff up and running as well as external speakers.
Finally, being honest with what you need out of your living room is most important. Interior designers will recommend a smaller television for smaller spaces since the lounge is often for socialising.
This is a fair point but at the end of the day it’s imperative to know what your priorities are since you’ll be playing with money for gear in a very limited space. Do it right and you’ll be enjoying films with friends, do it wrong and you’ve got some very expensive paper weights.