Can't get tickets to the Big Game? Then bring the action to you with a home theater! Here are tips on what to consider before and after installing a home theater.
Have you been looking to take your TV viewing game to the next level? If so, circle February 5 on your calendar. The day of the big game is almost here, and you won’t want to miss any of the action or the commercials. So get pumped, and check out our two-minute drill for creating the ultimate home theater experience for the Super Bowl.
Establish Excellent Starting Field Position: Where to Install Home Theater?
Installing a home theater doesn’t necessarily mean dedicating your family room to binge watching and cheering on fan favorites. The ideal setting for a home theater system is a dedicated space that balances roominess, comfort, sound-proofing and good lighting. You certainly want to avoid glare as much as possible. As such, relatively dim interior rooms with fewer windows and recessed lighting work best for home theaters.
Whether you decide to convert a spare bedroom, renovate a section of your basement or construct something new altogether, your home theater shouldn’t feel like a disruption, but like an amenity you and your family are happy to have.
Analyze Your Screen's Statistics
Chances are your family room isn’t going to accommodate a stadium-size video display, which is one longer than half a football field and nearly as tall as the nosebleed section. But the same picture quality that’s available to teams from San Francisco to New York is accessible to the average homeowner. Look for a TV capable of at least 1080p resolution. Many TVs on the market are now advertised as either being 4K or offering Ultra HD/UHD (high definition). Such devices can handle 4K broadcasts and the unprecedented realism of their 3840p, (the same resolution served up by high-end digital cameras).
If it’s a true big screen you’re after, you’ll have to disqualify any model sporting less than 65 inches from corner to corner. However, the larger the screen, and the fancier the picture-rendering technology — e.g., OLED vs. LCD — the higher the premium you should expect to pay.
Finally, don’t overlook the finer details when shopping for a big screen TV. Check its connectivity. Do you need a to study a playbook in order to make sense of the remote control? If you’re weighing your Smart TV options, what streaming platforms does it support? How many HDMI inputs can it handle? Is it compatible with that surround sound system you’ve been eyeing?
More and more manufacturers understand that TV is about more than watching. As the MVP of your home entertainment system, the TV is an interactive device.
Take the Proper Angle for Setting Up Home Theater
Once you’ve got your TV installed in your preferred home theater location, be mindful of some basic ergonomics. Avoid situating your television too high up or too far away from your seating area. You certainly don’t want your guests incurring a neck injury or eyestrain just from watching the game. The Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers (SMPTE) recommends a viewing angle of 30 degrees and a seating distance of between 8 and 9 feet (or no closer than 1.5 times the screen's diagonal measurement). With these recommendations in mind, consider investing in an adjustable mount or stand for your large screen. These peripherals allow you to raise, lower, pivot and otherwise calibrate your TV for optimal viewing conditions.
Also, remember that you and your guests will probably be getting up frequently over the next three and a half hours of scoring drives and goal-line stands. Make sure your home theater can handle the foot traffic. If possible, widen the lanes linking your seating areas to the snack tables and bathroom facilities.
Stay on the Headset
From the strains of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to the roar of the crowd, from the hoarse play calls of the starting quarterbacks to the sharp crack of a momentum-shifting tackle, football is an immersive sonic experience. Are your TV’s built-in speakers up to the task of making sure you and your guests can hear every last detail of the year’s biggest contest? Try doing an audio test before game day. How well can you hear your TV over a room full of rowdy fans?
If the answer is “not so well,” you have multiple options. You could install a surround sound system. These systems are available in wired and wireless configurations. They offer six channels of audio, with three speakers positioned at the front of the theater space (or room) and two at the back. Installing such systems can be tricky, as you will need to place each speaker at an equal distance from each other. The advantage of surround sound, however, is in how it accurately reproduces the acoustic space of the stadium itself.
Of course, surround sound isn’t the only game in town. A sound bar is a more affordable option that often requires just a couple of cables to install. These sound bars offer traditional stereo sound and come equipped with some form of amplification or a subwoofer. With a sound bar, you can easily tweak the highs and lows of your TV’s audio output to effectively compete with the other sounds (crying, cheering, bragging rights, etc.) in the room.
Now that your home theater is ready for a truly super Sunday, don’t forget to prepare for your tailgating and post-game festivities. Set out your refreshments, hang your decorations, show off your swag and, most importantly, have your good luck charms on hand.
Remember: Fortune favors homeowners protected by an AHS Home Warranty. Even if your furnace goes on the fritz just before kickoff or your refrigerator ends up sidelined for the second half, you can soldier on, confident that AHS's backup services can help you lead your watching party to victory.