Upgrade your home theater experience without having to drop big bucks.
Start off with these simple tips and see what happens.
Change the lighting
Sometimes you just need to turn out the lights. Making the room disappear can help you immerse yourself in the on-screen action. A darker room improves colors. Projector don’t actually project blacks – they are created by the lack of light on screen. So ambient light is a natural enemy of home projectors because it bleaches out blacks and reduces contrast. Dimming the lights or re-arranging them so they don’t shine on the screen vastly improves what you see on the screen. Natural light can be reduced with some black-out curtains or shades. They are not expensive and easy to find online. If creating a darker room is not possible then consider replacing your outdated projector any projector offering 15,000 to 2,500 lumens.
Installing shades or curtain against windows can also lessen the reverb effect which happens when the sound hits the glass and echoes back with distortion.
Upgrade your speakers
Sounds is often the feature that really kills the home theater experience.
TV and computer speakers are notoriously bad and most certainly don’t give that surround sound experience. The easiest (and cheapest) solution is to add a sound bar. They are self-contained and don’t take up a lot of space. But they don’t work well in large rooms. For really good sound consider adding building the basic setup of stereo speakers and a receiver or integrated amp. If you get a multichannel receiver then you can hook more speakers including surround speakers and a rear speaker (also called the subwoofer). More than one subwoofer is going to smooth out the bass and spread the sound around more.
If you already have speakers, you may just need to move them. There’s been this décor trend to hide speakers in custom cabinets or behind plants, but this does affect the sound quality. Try changing the setting in your main speakers to small so your subwoofer will handle anything below 80Hz – the bass range.
Read more in our article Soundbars vs AV Receivers
Convert and calibrate your sound
You can further enhance the music in your home theater by adding a digital analogue converter (DAC) to your sound system. What it does it decompress digital music coming from Bluetooth connections, computers, CD or MP3 players into a more analogue style which just sounds better. This will make streaming sound even better.
Try a manual calibration of your speakers. Download an app like Sound Meter that shows you the decibel levels (dB) and then measure the distance between the projectors and speakers. Set the channels on the receiver to accurately measure out the output. You may be blown away by the improvement. Read more about calibration here.
Get a universal remote
Do you really need all those remote controls? Just streamline everything so there aren’t so many buttons to push. Invest in a universal remote that make it hassle free to get everything up and running.
Upgrade your cables
Cables are a hotly debated topic with some claiming that only the state-of-the-art HDMI cables can deliver the connections needed for great performance. But not all of can afford the high price tag of these cables. You can replace the generic cables that came with your speakers or other peripherals. These are the bottom of the scale for performance and can affect the signal being delivered. If you have a lot of static or surges, consider upgrading your connection cables.
And for some esthetic upgrade but also some added protection to your wires, consider a cable management system. There a wide choice of reasonably priced kits helping you organize and cover up all audio/video cables.
Change your seating
Seating makes all the difference in your home theater. Consider getting a more comfortable couch or investing in some home theater seating. Nothing beats a sofa chaise or lounger where you can lean back and enjoy the show.