What is the minimal requirments a home theater? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 8 Old 02-25-2000, 07:44 AM - Thread Starter
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What is the minimal requirments a home theater?
At what level does the home entertainment center become a home theater?
We are trying to simulate a Movie Theater right?
I see so many "Home Theaters" that I would not concider as a home theaters. The words Home Theater are being run into the ground and used so often that words have no meaning.
If I say I have a home theater IE. 131" projected image w/ DD/DTS 6 speakersand about
$7,000 worth of equipment. You have a "home theater" out of a box that you bought at Wal-mart then who is right?
Are you both right?


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post #2 of 8 Old 02-25-2000, 08:29 AM
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That is a good questions. I certainly don't have $7000 (or more) of equipment, but I consider myself to have a home theater. I would estimate that over the last 5 years since I started this journey into Home Theaters, I have gathered quite a bit of equipment. I would guess that I currently use $5000 worth of electronic (audio and video) equipment. One thing that I know is that I used to have all of this stuff sitting in my living room. I never considered it a Home Theater until now.

We moved into a new house in August of 1999. About October I started on a dedicated room for this "stuff". I now watch movies down their quite frequently. I have theater seats, some nice decorations (mainly posters and memorabillia), a nice custom sign with the name of the theater on it, etc. I think that it qualifies now, but I am sure that others here would call it junk, but they would be the ones fortunate enough to buy (or at least ask the question) "The best speakers for $10k." Boy, would that be nice!!!! Maybe if I win the lotto this week.....

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post #3 of 8 Old 02-25-2000, 01:50 PM
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Good question. At this point, I think home theater means whatever you want it to mean. Since it is a new 'buzz' word, one person's home theater may be another's TV room.

Around here, we jokingly refer to home theater as 5-speakers and a TV set (that's what Best Buy's calls it!). I view a "media room" as a room which is designed for multiple uses (similar to a family room). I view a Home Theater as a room dedicated to the purpose of watching movies, TV, etc ... in other words, it has no other function and this is without regard to how much $$$ has been spent (that's no real metric of anything anyway). In our business, we use the term "Cinema" only to separate us from the "five speakers and a TV" set market definition.

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post #4 of 8 Old 02-25-2000, 04:11 PM
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My living room turns into a Home Theatre when i turn the lights down, the HDTV on and crank the sound up loud.

Yeah Baby,
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post #5 of 8 Old 02-28-2000, 06:16 AM
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I might add my two cents in this debate. I do believe the concept of Home Theater is very much misunderstood. Yes, the marketing types have inundated the public with all types of misconceptions. But we in the "know" have allowed ourselves to be distorted by what the press and business types have been pushing (buy equipment and still more equipment). The damage is done.

I have seen this distortion all my life as an engineer. Many mistakes occur because of the marketing hype and the ambiguities it creates. Just look at the current Republican and Democratic Primary races (God help us in the general elections), the media distortions and misrepresentations are monumental. It's comical to see how gullible (and unabashadly ignorant) the American Public really is.

In My Humble Opinion (IMHO) the true essence of what a home theater is, is not about $$$ money, TV sets, front projectors or even audio equipment. These are tools used to present the elements of theater. Home theater is about the accurate reproduction of a theatrical event in such a way to allow the audience to be transported beyond their environment and into the events unfolding before them. Its about being able to get beyond ones current environment and place oneself as an omnipotent observer. Therefore home theater has three distinct characteristics of which the first two are obvious, the accurate audio reproducton and the accurate video reproduction of a theatrical event (thats the audio and video equipment). The final characteristic is often the most overlooked and misunderstood, its the creation of an unimposing "neutral" environment which permits you to involve yourself completely with the production, with no distractions. This means controlling the elements which affect the video portion of the event including viewing angles, light control and room color. It involves the elements which affect the audio portion of the event including all things which affect the rooms acoustics. Once you have addressed these elements and are able to effectively immerse yourself into the production, then and only then have you created a home theater.

Sorry guys but in most cases I feel that rules out the family room. Unless you have eliminated the myriad of acoustic and light problems which plague most family rooms. Its not too say that a family room could not become a home theater but many variables must be controlled to make it so. Like the many distractions that a family room presents, phone calls, multiple events simultaneously occurring, ambient light, openness and generally poor acoustics and viewing angles. Put simply the family room is a very distracting place making a difficult environment from which to immerse oneself in a movie.

I know many of you will disagree. But, before you disagree, go to a well designed home theater and watch your favorite movie. Then take that same movie and go back to your family room and watch it. Even with your costly very well thought out equipment purchases I'm sure the movie will not have the same effect on you and will be less enjoyable.
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post #6 of 8 Old 02-28-2000, 04:02 PM
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Quote:
Home theater is about the accurate reproduction of a theatrical event in such a way to allow the audience to be transported beyond their environment and into the events unfolding before them.
Amen!!



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post #7 of 8 Old 02-28-2000, 07:49 PM
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Mark,

I agree it is somewhat sad that the public theaters will not provide a more pleasing environment, but I am not surprised. If I may wax a little philosophical here (and bash you business types a little); the movie theater is a business and from my experience, when business people and profit are involved, the best you can hope for is mediocrity. By mediocrity I mean the least common denominator effect. Movie house operators know that the majority of the population has never enjoyed a movie in a private finely tuned acoustical and distractionless environment. Most people still listen to movies at home via a VCR on their 4:3 sets with mono speakers. That is not much competition for movie houses to beat. Therefore the only thing the movie houses have to provide is a large screen and a bit of bass and you have a better environment than most people are used to. Also, most young people will trade off the social courtesies of a quiet and well behaved listening environment for a more realistic sounding crash (didn't you when you were young).

However, I believe and hope that if the finer points of a true home theater are experienced by the masses then they will demand that experience from the movie houses or they (the masses) will just not go. Of course you still have your teens who just want to get out of the house in some darkened environment with that someone special. I also hope that the audio and video manufacturers will continue to push the quality of their hardware and software so that costs will permit the masses to become involved. (We may even have a movement here). Also, the custom installers (the ones who provide that front line technical expertise with acoustics and lighting and the finer details that create the true home theater experience) will be able to provide their expertise at reasonable costs.

Alas, I fear I have gone on too long but lucky for us forty somethings (I just turned forty this year), home theater has come of age when we can most enjoy it. Collectively, the U.S. is an aging society (the baby boomers are at or approaching 50) with wealth and education and we baby boomers demand more from our homes (more space more features) because we are cocooning more. There has been no better experience than to sit with my children in my pristine environment and close out the real world and escape to Casablanca or war torn Atlanta at the end of the Civil War or to some Galaxy Far Far Away.
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post #8 of 8 Old 03-01-2000, 02:09 AM
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Wow! Am I tired or what?
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