What Makes The Ultimate Home Cinema?
We believe that there are four ingredients for the perfect Home Cinema – Sound, Vision, Content and the Room itself. We can help and guide you in discussing each of these topics and put together a recipe which suits your requirements.
We can work with your own project team if the Cinema is part of a larger refurbishment or if you would like to convert an existing room to a Cinema we can deliver the whole project for you.
We have a full dual purpose Media Room/Cinema at our Showroom in Guildford. We built this purpose-made room inside a large warehouse and we were personally responsible for the construction, acoustics, joinery and all elements of the interior design. If you would like to visit us to experience a full Dolby Atmos Cinema solution please book an appointment.
Our approach to Home Cinema
If you are considering a Home Cinema as part of a new build project or as an upgrade, our first step is to discuss the room in detail with you. If you are embarking upon a new project and are discussing and agreeing floor plans, it is a great time to speak to us about a Cinema so you can understand the optimum room size to suit your cinematic needs.
There are a number of critical dimensions when designing a Cinema such as the ‘throw distance’ from the projector to the screen, the seating position and elevation and the overall height of the room.
We can help you to optimise the space you have and provide you with advice in regards to the optimal number of seats and how to position these to ensure everyone has a good line of sight.
If you are looking to upgrade an existing room within your property we can advise in regards to any potential issues such as unwanted daylight from windows or sound transfer to neighbouring rooms. We can work with you to overcome these issues by introducing motorised roller blinds for example or sound-proofing the room to prevent noise transfer.
As part of our design process we will provide detailed drawings which include cabling schematics, cable schedules, elevations and floor plans. We will also provide detailed setting out drawings showing the calculations for all the speakers to ensure we meet Dolby standards.
The 4 Magic Ingredients to create the Perfect Home Cinema
Some would argue that the quality of the sound in a Cinema is of paramount importance, more so than any other element of the room. Without a well designed, high quality, speaker solution you will not benefit from the sound stage created by the directors when recording the film. Speech and special effects can be underwhelming, bass can be uncomfortably high. We can help design the perfect sound solution for your Cinema to enable you and your family to enjoy the film as intended.
The first step is to decide upon the room which you will use as your Cinema. This can either be a purpose built space or an existing room which can be repurposed. We can work with you to identify the right space and once we have done this we can then discuss the speaker configuration which will suit the room best. This may be a simple 5.1 for example if the room is small and side speakers are not possible or a full blown 9.4.4 Dolby Atmos setup with dual side channels and multiple subwoofers!
A 9.4.4 system equates to 3 front speakers providing the 3 front channels (Left/Centre and Right), 2 sets of side channels (Left and Right), 2 rear channels (Left and Right). A channel is a speaker. The second number relates to the number of subwoofers and the last number relates to the number of height channels/speakers.
We will then look at the wall construction and other elements of the design to choose the type of speakers and start to discuss placement. If the room is multi-purpose with a TV and a Projector this will impact the speaker locations for example. If the room is a dedicated Cinema we can use in-wall front speakers and then choose a fixed frame, acoustically transparent projection screen to allow the sound to pass through.
We can then start to identify possible speaker brands for you to listen to so we can start to focus upon the type of sound that you enjoy. This is always quite subjective and some people will have very differing opinions of the same speaker solution. We have a full Bowers & Wilkins Cinema in our Showroom and we also have access to some of the best private Home Cinema demo suites in the country where you can listen to Wisdom Audio, Steinway Lyngdorf and many others.
Once we have chosen a speaker manufacturer and the room has been identified and high level positioning has been discussed we will then move to detailed design. Our in-house designer will then carry out the calculations required to accurately place the speakers in line with best practice and manufacturers recommendations. We will create a detailed set of plans and elevations for construction.Book a Showroom Visit or Consultation!
Watching a movie in a Cinema with a dedicated projector and a projection screen is an immersive experience. The sheer size of the screen lends itself to a more mesmerising experience, drawing you into the action. We can help with a wide variety of projection screens from fixed frame, acoustically transparent solutions, to in-ceiling hidden screens. We can also hide the projector so the Cinema is completely discreet.
The perfect picture is achieved in two main ways – the projector itself and then the projection screen solution.
We primarily recommend two main manufacturers for our Cinema Projectors – Sony & Barco. Sony Home Cinema Projectors are beautifully styled projectors that bring movies, sport, games and more to life in detail-packed 4K HDR with rich, vibrant colours and spectacular contrast. They range from £5k for the entry level, lamp based HDR, 4K models right through to £80k + for their top of the range, 10,000 lumens laser projector.
Barco are a Belgium based company who make exceptional Home Cinema Projectors, guaranteeing flawless representation of even the minutest detail and a life-like portrayal of colours. From purpose-built lenses and optics, to custom-made electronics processing and boards, all parts are custom crafted.
The choice of projector is made based upon multiple factors – for example the design of the room and the requirement for brightness. If you have a dedicated Cinema with no ambient light then you can opt for projectors with less lumens (brightness). If you want to project with ambient light or in day-time with minimal control of the light levels then a high brightness projector is required. Budget also plays a large part in the decision making process as solutions such as Barco are costly – we will help you navigate the options available to ensure the budget is proportionally allocated to the right areas.
We are also able to take you to a demonstration facility in Epsom where all the Sony Home Cinema Projectors are available to view side by side. This allows you to discover the range in full and you will experience the different levels of brightness, detail and clarity that become available as you move up the range.
Top Quality Content
Content is King ... this is just as relevant when discussing Home Cinema as it is with other industries. If you have invested heavily in your Cinema then we highly advocate high resolution, uncompressed content to complete your Cinema Experience.
We recommend solutions from Kaleidescape using their incredible Strato series of players and their online store for downloading new movies at the click of a button.
Top Quality Content
The phrase ‘Content is King’ is widely used in marketing and other disciplines but it is also equally relevant to our industry. We believe that if you are heavily investing in high quality Hi-Fi speakers or a Home Cinema then by adding the highest quality content you will stretch your system to deliver at its best.
It is very tempting to rely upon sources such as Apple TV to deliver streamed content to your Home Cinema due to ease of use, familiarity and the low cost. However the content is compressed and reduced in size in order to reduce the demand on the network and the bandwidth required to stream it. Therefore compared to a physical UHD Blu-Ray the size of the content will be reduced by around a third or a quarter.
We believe this is noticeable and in our Showroom we can compare a movie clip on Apple TV with the same clip shown via a Kaleidescape Movie Server and the difference is noticeable. The audio quality and content is superior when watching a movie on Kaleidescape or a UHD Blu-Ray compared to an Apple TV.
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Inside the Room
It is really important that the room suits the purpose and in a Cinema, that is more important than ever. We can help to create a comfortable balance between interior design, aesthetics and technical functionality. We can provide acoustic room treatment solutions with fabric wall systems and acoustic room treatment to ensure the perfect environment is in place. We can also create custom made Cinema Seating as the perfect finale for the space!
Inside the Room
Creating the perfect interior for your Home Cinema is important for four reasons. A perfectly designed Cinema will feel enticing, comfortable and alluring. It will set the scene for a family movie night or for watching sports with friends. Spending time designing the interior will increase the chances that the room gets used.
Secondly, it provides a way in which to conceal the technology. Acoustic fabric can be used to conceal speakers and subwoofers. A coffer or purpose built boxing can be used to house the projector. All the wiring will be hard-wired within the fabric of the walls so there will be very little evidence of the system itself.
Thirdly, the interior design can help towards the acoustic properties of the room and therefore enhance the performance of the system. As part of the detailed design we will calculate the points within the room which require treatment for example, identifying reflection points and bass traps. We can then use acoustic treatment panels to address these, again hidden behind the fabric solution.
Lastly, lighting is crucially important for a Home Cinema. The common misconception is that lights should be off when watching a movie. We actually believe some level of low lighting such as an LED coffer or lit stair treads actually enhances the viewing experience and allows people to naturally move around if needed during the movie.
We love working on a Home Cinema project, working through these steps to create a truly magical experience in your home. We look forward to working with you on creating your bespoke Home Cinema of dreams…Find out more
We are delighted with the new home cinema Surrey AV Solutions created for our family home. All of our friends and family are equally impressed with the results. The quality of the experience they have created for us means we will never have to go to the cinema again!