Lighten Up! Home Theaters Don’t Need to Be Dark
July 31, 2012 | by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
Brighter projectors and new screen materials allow home theater owners to turn up the light.
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Posted by Lance  on  08/01  at  11:21 AM

The only downside to this trend is that people are now tending to make their home theaters very narrow on width and quite deep to accommodate the expanded entertainment use, making screen placement and especially proper speaker placement difficult - and affecting overall performance. Proper room acoustics is now more important than ever, especially due to speakers being located so close to side walls.

Posted by audioears  on  08/01  at  11:40 AM

What a feckless article.  Rating a room based on the fact you see people beside you and your notes.  How engaging an experience is that.  I think the writer is in the wrong business.  This article is a total waste of space.

Posted by Grant Clauser  on  08/01  at  11:44 AM

@audioears, A home theater/media room is going to be different things to different people, and these days more people are asking for solutions that allow them to enjoy their big pictures while still being able to engage socially with other people in the room. Manufacturers are catching on and developing products that make this possible.

Posted by hdtvpete  on  08/01  at  12:46 PM

The trend towards larger LCD TVs (70” - 80” - 90”) at lower prices is only going to accelerate this trend, as these big screens can be used under any kind of lighting and aren’t subject to contrast flattening as projection screens are.

The fact is; Americans like and want big, inexpensive TV screens and also want to leave the lights up. They also like lots of windows and tall atrium ceilings that make it difficult to control exterior light.

That’s not a ‘theater’ environment per se, but that’s what people want. We’re already seeing this trend in the corporate space - projectors are being replaced by large LCD screens that work under normal ambient lighting.

Posted by Jeff Gardner  on  08/02  at  10:52 AM

This is the first time it has been mentioned publicly, but the theme for this year’s “Home Theater Design All-Star Panel” is the challenges and opportunities of multi-use rooms.  Panelists Sam Cavitt, Theo Kalomirakis, and Tony Grimani will all be showing us case studies of this kind of project.  Lighting and acoustica issues will both be centerstage.  This session was brought back to EXPO by popular demand and should be a great one.

Posted by Alan Brown  on  08/02  at  12:28 PM

Home owners are entitled to their own set of priorities.  If they want a front projection cinema, and reference image quality is their primary goal, a dark room is required.  Should they want to subjugate picture quality for other usage priorities in the room, there are techniques and solutions for minimizing the compromises.  Most consumers have no understanding of the inevitable consequences to picture quality that certain interior design decisions will have.  Few interior designers understand these issues either.  Most viewers have never even experienced the impressive beauty of a reference video image.  Unfortunately, there is still insufficient understanding of these issues among many home entertainment professionals as well.  Thanks to the Imaging Science Foundation, THX, Joe Kane Productions, CEDIA, etc., education across the marketplace is ongoing.  A skilled home entertainment solutions provider should be able to quantify and articulate to the homeowner what the specific consequences to image and sound quality certain room design decisions will have.  Only then, can the client weigh the consequences against conflicting priorities.

“Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public.” H.L. Mencken

Posted by lisa montgomery  on  08/02  at  01:00 PM

Based on interviews with countless installers and homeowners over the past couple years, I don’t think I’m in the minority when I say I like to have the lights on when I watch movies, ball games, etc. Entertainment comes in many shapes and forms, as do people’s preferences.

Posted by Grant Clauser  on  08/02  at  02:03 PM

It’s not just regular consumers who want projectors in non-caves. Check out Sam Runco’s (founder of Runco Home Theater Projectors) livingroom/kitchen theater here:

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