Home Theater Overview

In today's Connected Home families enjoy the movie theater experience with large screen images, dynamic surround sound, and simple one button operation. Home theaters and media rooms are without a doubt the most glamorous segment of our craft. What could be more fun than creating a big screen entertainment system that everyone in the family wants to experience?

Media rooms (the name for the traditional family room or recreation room with a surround sound system installed) typically use a rear projection display measuring 45" diagonal or more. Media rooms are great for people who enjoy sporting events, network programming and movies. Click here to learn more about multi-room audio.

Home theaters are dedicated rooms with very large pictures, typically 84" diagonal and greater that use separate screens and projectors. Dedicated home theaters are most suited to creating the cinema experience at home.

While these systems vary wildly in price, each share the same basic elements. First is a large screen picture. Screen sizes and configuration (standard or widescreen), and the system's ability to display high definition images have the greatest impact on the price of the system.


Here are the basics:

Two piece front projection systems utilize a stretched vinyl screen that has been treated with a coating to optimize it's reflectivity. Various "gains" or level of reflectivity are available depending on the screen size selected and the projector's ability to create light. Care has to be taken not to exceed the capability of the projector. Too often people purchase a screen that is too large for their environment and/or their projector. Consulting with a trained theater designer will result in a much more impressive image and extend the life of your projector.

We are still fans of CRT based projectors. Without spending more than $40,000 nothing else can create an image that looks as much like film. While other technologies may have an advantage in brightness, they cannot match a CRT's ability to produce deep blacks and color accuracy. As technology progresses DLP (a technology that uses microscopic mirrors to create the picture) has the most potential. Currently these projectors cannot produce the level of black that the CRT can, but they have the advantage of being small and easy to place in the room.

Digital surround sound is required. All quality surround processors have the ability to decode both Dolby Digital and DTS soundtracks. Whether one is better than the other is irrelevant as both provide magnificent sound quality. New on the block and to be included in a higher performance theater is Dolby Digital EX (also called 6.1 surround). It uses an additional decoder to create a center rear image that crafts a more complete surround sound image.

Speaker systems must be matched to the room size and the scale of the project. Tiny speakers with a big screen will yield little satisfaction. The same is true for the opposite. Although it is little discussed these days speakers built to THX specifications are still appropriate for the home theater.

The most important home theater inclusion is a control system to make operation extremely simple. Control systems like Niles Intellicontrol, AMX Viewpoint and Elan Via! make the system accessible to every member of the family. Simply choose your movie and press one button and experience the magic.

Experience and training have a significant impact on your satisfaction. Connected Technologies has over 60 years of home theater experience. Our designers make the technology simple to understand, carefully integrate your performance desires with your budget, and assist you in creating a pleasant atmosphere. Our installation technicians have been factory trained to properly connect, calibrate, and maintain your system.

You can experience true home theater in our home theater showroom. High definition images with THX certified sound are a wonder that must be experienced in person.