I’ve been designing, building, and optimizing dedicated home theaters for more years than I’d like to admit. Over those years. trends in home audio video technology and interior design have changed these spaces but the core idea is the same: Create a space that emulates the movie theater experience and eliminates all distractions so the moviegoer can fully enjoy the cinema experience at home.
This means the client must have a separate room where acoustics, décor, and lighting can be carefully designed to achieve a distraction-free environment. These spaces continue to be popular with those who love movies.
Over that time, we have also sold and installed countless surround sound systems and the vast majority have been in family rooms or great rooms where it is difficult or impossible to optimize the space for distraction-free movie watching.
These range from OK to great, depending on how media friendly the room is and the quality of components installed. None though approach the performance of a true dedicated theater. In fact, most homes with dedicated theaters also have a family room system for casual viewing.
But recently there has been a trend to create dedicated spaces that combine the best elements of a private theater with those of a family room system.
These hybrid rooms are still in dedicated spaces but are designed to be more than a single purpose movie room. Lighting can still be carefully controlled, and attention can be paid to room acoustics, but the seating arrangements and interior décor more closely resemble a conversation oriented gathering room than a multiple row theater.
These rooms can get very close to the performance of the best home theaters but are much more “friendly” spaces, suitable for gatherings where people can interact and relax. They also are better music spaces in most cases, as you can relax and read in a well-lit and aesthetically pleasing environment.
Which of these three are right for you?
If you are considering an upgrade in your home entertainment system, here are some questions to ask yourself:
Does your home have a room that can be used specifically for media entertainment?
If yes, a dedicated theater or hybrid may be for you, and the following questions apply:
- Do you plan to entertain while watching or listening to media?
- Will you use your system for purposes other than watching movies (such as gaming or casual sports viewing?)
- Is flexibility important to you?
- Do you want to mimic the cinema experience?
- Do you already have a space in your home where the family gathers socially to watch TV or play games?
Think about these questions, and if you’d like our expert guidance we’d be happy to arrange for a free consultation.