Home Theatres are unique. That’s because there’s endless options to personalize and enhance any existing setup. Since home theatres are made up of components, including TVs, speakers, soundbars, consoles, video players and other components, any of them can be changed without affecting the other components.
Home theatres can be modest basic systems, or more complex entertainment hubs. There’s no one size fits all for home theatre systems and having an open mind makes it possible to evolve even the most modest set-ups into something truly great.
I’ve had my share of experiences enhancing or improving my home theatre setup with a few easy and affordable tweaks that have taken my experience to the next level, or at the very least helped me and my family find joy in our home theatre experience.
Start with the Screen
When it comes to home theatre, the TV Screen will always be the focal point. Replacing TVs for newer models isn’t always justifiable. Chances are, the TV you already have is the perfect size for your space and it’s likely that you won’t buy a new one very often.
Today’s TVs last a long time. I have a 720p Samsung 32-inch TV I bought from Best Buy in 2009 and it still works fine; the thing just keeps on going.
Having limited space in my apartment meant I could really only consider getting a TV that could fit the console which my 32-inch TV occupied.
TV technology has improved dramatically since 2009. Thanks to shrinking bezels and improving display technology, I was able to get a sweet new 39-inch 1080p HDTV to slot into my console. This is an increase of 38 per cent larger viewable area in the same space which dramatically changed the way we watch TV and streaming shows.
Newer TV technology like 4K, HDR, OLED TVs and Smart TVs are still evolving, meaning there’s new reasons to upgrade.
If you don’t want to change your TV, or you can’t for some reason, considering a video projector is another viable option for really transforming your space into a proper theatre.
Video projectors offer a lot of quality and features right now for not too much money. The bulbs, which are the most expensive component, have also gone down in price and they last for much longer.
The nice thing about projectors is they don’t have to be a permanent fixture. You can be creative and move them from place to place or even project outdoors on a blanket for special occasions like birthdays.
Favourite shows, sports events and movies take on an epic quality, particularly since you can grow the image to actually fill the wall. Pair a projector with great surround speakers that can turn any room in a house into a movie theatre.
Get Smart, get streaming
Another way to quickly upgrade a home theatre is to add Smart TV functionality. Years ago, this meant having to add a physical Smart TV.
Thankfully, this is no longer the case. There’s Blu-Ray players that now add the full scope of smart and connected features to a TV simply by plugging them in.
There are also affordable set top boxes like the ones from Roku or Google Chromecast that add instant access to streaming services.
An Apple TV is still one of the best ways to rent movies and TV shows as soon as they are made available. Then, there’s gaming consoles like the Xbox One, which also works as a TV tuner and streaming video box. You can interact with your TV purely on the Xbox and go from playing Call of Duty to streaming Band of Brothers on Netflix in a few button presses.
If you’re into streaming, you’re not alone. 60% of Canadian adults streamed content in the past 30 days and 1.4 million Canadians cut the cable TVcord last year. This is going to grow as more services are moving to streaming models.
Adding a Roku player or a Chromecast to every TV in your house is not an expensive proposition. When you consider the latest streaming boxes and sticks come with compelling features like 4K HDR, voice control, some light gaming and access to all the popular streaming services, it may be worthwhile.
Achievement in Sound
Many home theatre systems fall when it comes to the sound component. Depending on your current set-up, audio makeovers are some of the quickest and most impactful elements that can take your experience to another level.
I survived with my old TV’s built-in speakers for a long time. I didn’t know what I was missing.
Once I installed powered stereo speakers, I enjoyed my home theatre much more. Sound just completes the theatre experience and adding more speakers (i.e. going from stereo to 5.1 or 7.1 surround) quickly elevates any content you are playing on your home theatre. Getting larger speakers or more powerful speakers can significantly increase the quality of a home theatre.
Expanding sound in a home theatre set up can seem complicated but it isn’t. While there are various options ranging in price, it is best to start out with what you currently have an assess how to improve it.
If you’re just using the built-in speakers that came with your HDTV, you can opt for anything from a soundbar and subwoofer combo, to separate bookshelf stereo speakers, more powerful tower-style speakers or complete 5.1 or even 7.1 surround sound solutions and that will give you a significant upgrade.
If you like to stream music, it might be good to look into streaming speakers like the ones from Sonos or LG, which handle audio from various streaming services as well as what’s available from your TV.
Finally, no home theatre set-up is complete without a wireless headset option. There are times when you might want to game or watch an action movie late at night. If you don’t want the neighbours complaining, then getting a decent wireless headset gives you immersive surround sound without bothering anyone else. These are some suggestions for taking your home theatre to the next level.