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Tips for a great home cinema setup

Bring Hollywood home with your very own movie theatre…


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An immersive home cinema setup is every movie lover’s dream. Whether you’re a proper film buff, or just settling in to watch the latest big blockbuster with the family. If it’s well-designed, a home cinema system can literally transform your living room into your very own movie theatre. And let’s be honest, who doesn’t want that?

We’ve got a stack of essential tips to help you build yours. From the speakers that put you right in the middle of the action, to the TV and projectors that’ll rival the screen at your local cinema. Let’s dive in…

Room ideas

First things first – where’s your home cinema going to go? If possible, you’ll want to pick a space that has a small amount of natural light. That way, you won’t get any annoying glare on the screen while you watch. If the room does have a lot of windows, try and put your TV in a spot where the light won’t be shining on it. Then you won’t have to be getting up every five minutes to put your curtains or blinds in the perfect position.

You want to make sure everyone can see that TV properly too. Arranging your sofa and chairs in a semi-circle will really help create that authentic cinema look and feel – and give everyone a prime view of the screen as well.

Then there’s the potential sound issues. You don’t want to annoy the neighbours – especially if you live in a flat or are right next door to someone. Grab yourself some sound insulation if you can. A few acoustic panels put in the right place on your walls will help to absorb some of the audio from your speakers. You could also put up some thicker curtains which will dampen the sound reflections in your room.

Home cinema sound system

A punchy sound system will take any kind of film up a notch. After all, audio is 50% of the experience, right? With a surround sound system, you can put a bunch of speakers in different places around your room. The most popular layout is 5.1, which uses five smaller speakers and a subwoofer. Others will chuck a soundbar into the mix too.

With the group of five, you can put them wherever you want. On shelves. In front of you. Behind you. Down to your sides. While the subwoofer usually sits in the middle, or to one side of your telly – pumping out booming explosions and bass-heavy soundtracks. Having sound coming at you from all directions likes this makes everything way more realistic and immersive.

Best home cinema speakers

‘Best’ is going to be quite subjective here.

You’ll want to pick a set of speakers that match the size of your room. Having tiny low-powered speakers in a massive space aren’t going to be much good. Especially when you’re trying to hear that important dialogue during a dramatic scene! And the same goes for the opposite. Using a hefty subwoofer and being surrounded by loads of booming speakers in a tiny room isn’t going to do your hearing much good. So, have a proper think before you buy.

In terms of brands, Sony, Bose, LG, Sonos, and Samsung all make home cinema systems and soundbars. You’ll probably want to test a few out and see what’s right for you, so why not head in-store and have a chat with one of our expert colleagues? They’ll be able to point you in the right direction and help you find the right kind of system.

Subwoofers are a must

A subwoofer is a must-have part of any great home cinema sound system. They’ll add even more depth and intensity to any low-frequency sounds – recreating them way more accurately than your standard set of TV speakers. So, that means the rumbling of a tank or the force of a heavy artillery barrage in a war film will be dialled up to 11. It’ll be so good in fact, that you might feel like taking cover behind the sofa!

Do I need an amplifier for a home cinema system?

The short answer is yes. Especially if you really care about your sound. It works like the central hub which connects all of your video and audio gadgets together, providing control and power to your speakers. Before you dive in headfirst and buy one though, check that the amp is going to work with the type and number of speakers you’re using.

A lot of these amplifiers come with pro features like DTS:X and Dolby Atmos support. Which is the same kind of audio tech that’s found in a proper cinema. And that means your surround sound is going to sound even better than before.

Projector or TV?

Alien vs Predator. Batman vs Superman. Projector vs TV. These are just a few of the most important cinematic battles of modern times. Both a telly and a projector have advantages, but your choice is really going to come down to the size of your room, your budget, and your personal preferences.

Why choose a projector?

If your room is on the larger side, a projector might be just the ticket. And that’s because they can create much larger screen sizes than a regular TV. When you pair that with a proper high-quality projection screen too, you’ve got yourself a film night that even Spielberg will be jealous of.

Projectors can also be a fair bit more cost effective if you want those larger screen sizes. Making them perfect if you’re a film fanatic on a budget.

When you hear the word projector, you might immediately think of some rickety, hand cranked bit of kit from the 1920s. The tech’s come a longggg way since then though. Modern projectors offer excellent image quality, with 4K UHD and HDR capabilities. Making old and new movies alike look crystal clear at all times.

Advantages of a TV for a home cinema system

If you’re more traditional when it comes to your tech – or have a room on the smaller side which isn’t practical for a projector – go for a TV. For starters, they’re a whole lot easier to get set up. and with loads of different display tech on offer, whether that’s OLED or QLED, they’ll make whatever you’re watching really pop with vibrant, rich colours and deeper blacks. So, you might not spot what’s hiding in the shadows in that horror movie until it’s too late!

Smart TVs also make finding your favourite films and shows a breeze. With all the big streaming services built-in, you can binge a boxset or find an award-winning movie in seconds. And you don’t need any extra devices either.

Home cinema players

If you’re not streaming your films from Netflix, Disney+ or Prime Video, you’re going to want to invest in a high-quality home cinema player. Yes, some of us still own DVDs and Blu-rays. A dedicated Blu-ray player gives you great audio and video quality for all of your physical media. Or there’s media streamers like Roku and Apple TV which offer quick and easy access to all the major streaming services.

And if you want something that sits in between the two, you can use a games console instead. The PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X and Series S can double up as media players, making them the most versatile option for all kinds of entertainment.

So, you’ve got the home cinema ideas now. Feeling ready to create your own? If you still need a few more tips for your home cinema system, why not head over to ShopLive too? You’ll be able to chat with one of our in-store experts and pick out some home theatre speakers and other blockbuster gear.

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Movie stars!