TV or projector set up
The best scenario would be to place your TV directly in front of the sofa and to be seated straight on, but if this isn't possible you need to make sure that any glare is kept to a minimum. The distance between your seating position and the TV should be about three times the size of the screen. For example if you have a 42" TV, you should ideally sit around 10ft away from the screen.
The ideal viewing height for your TV is eye level, so while you may be tempted to place your TV above a fire place, it will not offer very comfortable viewing.
If you have a projector, the distance between the screen and projector will determine how large an image can be projected on the screen, while the seating position determines the optimum viewing distance. Different models of projector use different lens type, so you should consult the manufacturer's manual to establish how far from the screen you should place your projector and where you should be sitting.
Surround sound set up
Your home cinema system is divided into three parts; front and centre speakers to provide clear, unbroken sound at the front of the room, rear speakers for ambient sound and effects, and lastly, the subwoofer to provide the deeper bass sounds.
Connecting: Make sure your system is powered down and unplugged. To avoid creating a short circuit that could damage your system, connect the wires to the speakers before the amp
Tuning: If you want to receive radio through your set-up, many modern devices will automatically scan the airwaves for you. Although this is quick and easy, you may find adjusting manually will provide better results; you ear can identify your ideal reception better than the machine
Speaker placement: Most set-up guides and pictures assume your room is a perfectly square box. In the real world, rooms aren't often shaped like that and the ideal speaker set up just isn't possible. Your home cinema setup can still be perfected for your room. Follow these tips to get the optimal sound quality.
Front speakers: Place these at an equal distance either side of the television. A metre or more will provide the best stereo separation.
Centre speaker: This needs to go right by the TV - If you can place it directly above or below this is best
Subwoofer: This can be put near a wall or in a corner near the television. You may need to experiment and move this if you get any bass vibrations or feedback
Rear speakers: As far as is possible, mirror the position of the front speakers with these. They need to go behind or to the side of your viewing position.
Many home cinema set ups will allow you to adjust individual levels for each speaker. You can use this function to balance the sound so the audio is perfect where you'll be sitting. If your system lets you put a test signal to each speaker this makes things much easier; you can sit in the chair and adjust the signal to each speaker until they all sound like they're at the same volume. If not, many DVD and Blu-ray discs have speaker calibration special features; Pixar movies are a prime example. You can also adjust "by ear" while watching a movie, but this won't be as precise
Hiding cable wires:
- Use cable ties to tidy slack or hanging cables behind your home cinema equipment. You can get ties that attach to devices and furniture for convenience
- Cable runners will hide leads that go across the floor. Run these around the edge of the room, if possible, and secure them to the floor where needed
- Try to set up the home cinema equipment in a permanent location. This saves time, effort and money in moving everything around and re-cabling each time
It may take a while to get your perfect home cinema set up. But what's the hurry?
You decide when the film starts.
Always refer to the manufacturer's manual for specific details.