What to Ask Before a Home Theater Installation
Ask Your Professional These Three Questions When Getting Started
Home theater technology keeps moving forward at a rapid pace. In the past few years, we’ve seen a huge reduction in cost for the latest audio and video technologies. You may have heard of these technologies like Dolby Atmos surround sound and 4K resolution with High Dynamic Range (HDR).
What does this mean for the home theater you’re considering? You will need an installation professional that understands these technologies and the infrastructure that supports them. Even if you’re not planning to take advantage of the new technology now, you want to be sure your installation will easily support them when you are.
If you’re upgrading or thinking about a new home theater room (or space) in your Portland home, here are three good questions to ask your home theater installation professional. Naturally, we at Room Service Integrated Solutions have the answers to these questions and any others you may have.
1) Do I Need Special Cabling to Support 4K Video?
Without getting into the weeds on this, it depends on the design of your home theater. We can’t always use standard HDMI cables – the ones that carry audio and video signals – in a custom theater.
Depending on the length of wiring runs to your projector and audio equipment, you may need different cabling. One option is fiber optic HDMI cable, which can handle transmitting high bandwidth signals – the kind used for 4K video and high definition surround audio – over long distances.
Ask your installer about fiber optic HDMI and HDBaseT. These are cabling options for longer runs in theaters or media rooms and distributed video. He or she should know and explain in clear terms why they would use or not use them for your particular installation.
2) Will My Home Network Just Work With My Theater?
4K video and high definition surround audio (like Dolby Atmos and DTS-X) require higher bandwidth than previous formats. With the advent of streaming services – be it 4K movies from iTunes, Netflix, Amazon Video, and others – the ability for your network to handle the increased load is critical.
No one wants a 4K streaming movie interrupted because elsewhere in the home the kids are downloading a new game, watching the latest Snapchat videos, and working on their homework online - all at the same time, straining the network.
Ask your installer about MIMO routers and dual-band versus Tri-band technology. Ask whether the theater will rely on wired or wireless technology, and why they recommend it. Depending on your desires and the design of your theater or media room, some combination of wired and wireless may be appropriate, and they should be able to explain the advantages of different approaches clearly.
3) Are There Differences in Speaker Wiring?
There are a couple of standard gauges of wiring used to run through walls for speakers. If you are an audiophile, you may want some high-end speakers in your theater. There are some very-high end in-wall speakers and subwoofers, but few can match the sound quality of a floor-standing or high-end bookshelf model. These speakers benefit from thicker gauge speaker wire that can bring about their best sonic characteristics. In this as well as in other cables, distances matter too.
It’s important to let the installer know your preferences, and what other uses the room may have, like watching sports and listening to music, that can make a difference in the wiring decisions. Lastly, don’t forget to ask about wiring for height speakers for Dolby Atmos – even if you may not employ it all the time, it’s wise to have your setup ready for that when you want it.
We hope you start with us to ask these three questions and many more about your home theater installation. Reach out to our team of installation experts today.