I enter with trepidation into a thread discussing the best Home Theaters, as there are some formidable beasts in these parts....
Originally Posted by mhafner
My ideal home cinema offers perfect image and sound. The rest is irrelevant. Ok, a comfy seat is needed as well. Absolutely not my thing are multi functional or 'theme' home cinemas or any other kind of dressing up the room for looking 'nice' when the film is NOT playing. My ideal room is the room that does not exist when the film is playing. Think of an image floating in completely black space and sound coming from nowhere. Don't know if it's fully achievable these days.
That is close to my ideal as well. And I was stuck with only a main-floor living room to use. But given the compromises, I feel I've come as close to this ideal as I could (given budget). By day the room is extremely inviting, comfortable and even bright with the sun coming in. But for watching movies I can quickly transform it into essentially a "bat cave." My screen wall is surrounded by black velvet (with automated black velvet masking for various aspect ratios). All speakers are covered in black velvet so the are completely invisible during movies. I have black velvet curtains that draw quickly around the entire room. Black velvet that throws on to the area beneath the screen. And a dark brown felt ceiling (room has dark brown material furniture, very non-reflective). It is ridiculously dark under these circumstances. The projected image floats in complete pitch blackness. You can't see the floor or the side walls or around the image even if you try. It's amazing how much this increases the viewing experience. The last detail in this project is that I can still just faintly see the brown velvet ceiling which isn't as pitch black as the black velvet. So I've come up with a way to do the visible portion of the ceiling in black velvet for watching movies (to be constructed soon). Then it will truly be pitch black on every surface. Right now it takes me about 30 to 40 seconds to transform the room from "normal" and sunny looking, to bat-cave. Details in the links below my name if interested.