What Makes The Ultimate Home Cinema?
Sound, Vision, Content and the Room itself. We believe these are the 4 key ingredients for the perfect Home Cinema. We will go through these elements in detail with you to ensure you get the bespoke Home Cinema of your dreams.
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 seamlessly deliver the whole project for you.
At our Showroom in Guildford we have a full dual purpose Media Room/Cinema so that you can see some of the technologies first-hand. We built this purpose-made room inside a large warehouse and were personally responsible for the construction, acoustics, joinery and all elements of the interior design. Please book an appointment if you would like to visit us to experience a full Dolby Atmos Cinema solution.
The London AV approach to Home Cinema
The first step when we embark on creating the best Cinema solution for your home is to discuss the room in detail with you, whether this is for a new build or as an upgrade to an existing room.
In the case of a new build, the optimum time to speak to us about a Cinema is when you are discussing and agreeing floor plans. This ensures that you will fully understand the optimum room size to suit your cinematic needs. There are a number of critical dimensions when designing a Cinema: the seating position, the elevation and the overall height of the room, plus the all-important ‘throw distance’ from the projector to the screen,
Our vast experience and knowledge in designing and installing cinema rooms will ensure that we help you optimise the space you have and provide you with the best advice in regards to the optimal number of seats and how to position them to ensure everyone enjoys a good line of sight.
If you are looking to upgrade an existing room within your property, we will advise in regards to any potential issues such as sound transfer to neighbouring rooms and unwanted daylight from windows. 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.
We will provide detailed drawings for your Home Cinema, which include cabling schematics, cable schedules, elevations and floor plans as part of our design process. This will also include detailed ‘setting out’ drawings, showing the calculations for all the speakers to ensure we meet Dolby standards.
Create the Perfect Home Cinema - the 4 Magic Ingredients
Arguably the most important element in a Cinema room. Without a well designed, high quality, speaker solution, speech and special effects can be underwhelming, bass can be uncomfortably high and you will not benefit from the sound stage created by the directors when recording the film. To enable you and your family to enjoy the film as intended we can help design the perfect sound solution for your Home Cinema.
Step 1 is deciding the room that will be used 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 help identify the right space and once this is agreed we will discuss the speaker configuration which will best suit the room. For example, if the room is small and side speakers are not possible, we may recommend a simple 5.1 solution or, for a bigger space, 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.
Choosing the right type of speakers and placement will depend upon the wall construction and other elements of the design. For example, if the room is multi-purpose with a TV and a Projector this will impact the speaker locations. Alternatively, 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 identify possible speaker brands for you to listen to and start to focus on the type of sound that you enjoy. Sound can be very subjective and some people have very differing opinions of the same speaker solution. In our Showroom we have a full Bowers & Wilkins Cinema set up 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 amongst many others.
Once the room has been identified, high level positioning has been discussed and you have chosen a speaker manufacturer we will then move to detailed design. Our in-house designer will carry out the calculations required to accurately place the speakers in line with best practice and manufacturers recommendations. A detailed set of plans and elevations for construction will be created ensuring we are providing the best sound scape for you to enjoy.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 draws you into the action and lends itself to a more mesmerising experience. We can help with a wide variety of projection screens from in-ceiling hidden screens to fixed frame, acoustically transparent solutions. The projector can also be hidden so the Cinema is completely discreet.
The perfect picture is achieved in two main ways – the projection screen solution and the projector itself.
Sony & Barco are the two main manufacturers of Cinema Projectors that we primarily recommend. 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 have solution to suit every budget – from £5k for an entry level, lamp based HDR, 4K model 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 a life-like portrayal of colour and a flawless representation of even the minutest detail. All parts are custom crafted – from purpose-built lenses and optics, to custom-made electronics processing and boards.
Multiple factors need to be considered when deciding on the choice of projector – 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 daytime 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 best options available to ensure the budget is proportionally allocated to the right areas.
To allow you to discover the Sony range in full and experience the different levels of brightness, detail and clarity that become available as you move up the range, we are able to take you to a demonstration facility in Epsom where all the Sony Home Cinema Projectors are available to view side by side.
Content is King. 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 for downloading new movies at the click of a button, using their incredible Strato series of players and their online store.
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 investing heavily in high quality Hi-Fi speakers or a Home Cinema then by adding the highest quality content you will maximise your system to deliver at its best.
The big difference is high resolution, uncompressed content. Due to ease of use, familiarity and the low cost, it can be very tempting to rely upon sources such as Apple TV to deliver streamed content to your Home Cinema. 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 the size of the content will be reduced by around a third or a quarter compared to a physical UHD Blu-Ray.
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 noticeably different. 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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It is key that the room suits the purpose and in a Home Cinema, this is more important than ever. We can help to create a comfortable balance between technical functionality, interior design and aesthetics. An acoustic room treatment solution with fabric wall systems will ensure that the perfect environment is set up. And for the icing on the cake, we can also create custom made Cinema Seating - luxurious and indulgent!
A perfectly designed Cinema will feel enticing, comfortable and alluring. It will set the scene for a family movie night or for watching big sporting events with friends. Spending time carefully designing the interior will increase the chances that the room gets used and is enjoyed to the maximum.
Concealing the technology is a growing trend and careful consideration at the outset ensures this can be done seamlessly. All the wiring can be hard-wired behind the acoustic fabric walls so there will be very little evidence of the system itself. The acoustic fabric walls can also be used to conceal speakers and subwoofers. And a coffer or purpose built boxing can be used to house the projector.
Good interior design can help towards the overall acoustic properties of the room and therefore enhance the performance of the system. For example, we will calculate the points within the room which require treatment, identifying reflection points and bass traps as part of the detailed design. 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. A common misconception is that all lights should be off whilst 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 on a practical level, helps people to move around easily if needed during the movie.
We love working on a Home Cinema project, methodically working through these steps to create a truly magical experience in your home. A Home Cinema should deliver a noticeably superior viewing experience and ensure that this becomes the most fun room in your home. We cannot wait to collaborate with you on creating your bespoke Home Cinema of dreams…Find out more
We are delighted with the new home cinema London 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!