2020 Trends in Home Theater: Our Top 2 Predictions

Now that it’s 2020, it’s time to take a look at upcoming trends in home theater. As with any area of technology, new developments are happening all the time. So what are the most significant developments that look to trend in 2020? Here are the top 2 predictions from the Experience Audio Video team.

Soundbars Reign Supreme

We know, soundbars aren’t exactly a home theater aficionado’s dream, but trends are trends. 2020 looks to be a promising year for soundbar technology. All sorts of manufacturers are trotting out improved models at CES. Functionality, intuitiveness and sound quality are all on the rise.

Of course, as a custom home theater installer, we’re never going to recommend you settle for a soundbar alone. Your home theater needs more. But consider how much bang for your buck you could get for any secondary TVs in your home—ones that aren’t a part of your main home theater setup.

Some of the new offerings include innovative approaches to accommodate 5.1 channel sound and more. While these soundbars can’t match a full surround setup, they are nonetheless impressive.

8K Ascending

The other trend we’re watching is toward 8K displays. We’ve been seeing prototypes at shows like CES since 2013, but displays have only become available at retail in the last couple years. They’re still quite expensive, but prices are dropping. Samsung’s 55-inch 8K display is offered at around $3500 today, a reasonable price for cutting-edge equipment.

There isn’t a ton of native 8K content available yet, but it’s a mistake to dismiss 8K as a trend on this basis alone. That’s because, according to Digital Trends, 8K displays will upscale 4K content, giving a significant difference in clarity. In simpler terms, your 4K content will look even better on an 8K display than on a 4K.

 


Why You Want a Media Center PC for Your Home Theater

One home theater component we get a lot of questions about at Experience Audio Video is the media center PC. What’s the value of having a media center PC? In the age of streaming sticks and smart TVs, what makes a media center PC a worthwhile investment?

It’s true that smart TVs and streaming devices have changed the landscape somewhat, but for a truly deep, immersive home theater experience, you’ll still want a media center PC. Here are a few reasons why.

A Media Center PC Simplifies Your Home Theater

First, a media center PC simplifies your setup. Have you ever visited someone’s home and been invited to “help yourself” to the TV? Easier said than done, right? A typical TV setup can involve 4 or more remotes, and good luck recovering if you turn devices on in the wrong order.

This is one problem you can solve with a media center PC. With one device controlling all your entertainment options, you simplify the process of running your system and accessing your content. With a few basic instructions, your guests can control what they need so they can enjoy your home theater.

A Media Center PC Gives You Greater Consumption Options

Streaming sticks and smart speakers are great, but they have their limits. You’re limited to the subscriptions you’re paying for, and even then, not every service works on every device. Want to watch an obscure foreign film from the 1980s? Good luck finding it on a major streaming platform.

To make matters worse, most smart devices can’t play the media you own outright. Most of us have a hefty collection of purchased music and movies that we can’t access on our Rokus, Fire TVs or Apple TVs.

A media center PC is the solution to your back catalog of content. And a quality modern media center PC can handle your streaming services, too.

 


Why You Want a Media Center PC for Your Home Theater

One home theater component we get a lot of questions about at Experience Audio Video is the media center PC. What’s the value of having a media center PC? In the age of streaming sticks and smart TVs, what makes a media center PC a worthwhile investment?

It’s true that smart TVs and streaming devices have changed the landscape somewhat, but for a truly deep, immersive home theater experience, you’ll still want a media center PC. Here are a few reasons why.

A Media Center PC Simplifies Your Home Theater

First, a media center PC simplifies your setup. Have you ever visited someone’s home and been invited to “help yourself” to the TV? Easier said than done, right? A typical TV setup can involve 4 or more remotes, and good luck recovering if you turn devices on in the wrong order.

This is one problem you can solve with a media center PC. With one device controlling all your entertainment options, you simplify the process of running your system and accessing your content. With a few basic instructions, your guests can control what they need so they can enjoy your home theater.

A Media Center PC Gives You Greater Consumption Options

Streaming sticks and smart speakers are great, but they have their limits. You’re limited to the subscriptions you’re paying for, and even then, not every service works on every device. Want to watch an obscure foreign film from the 1980s? Good luck finding it on a major streaming platform.

To make matters worse, most smart devices can’t play the media you own outright. Most of us have a hefty collection of purchased music and movies that we can’t access on our Rokus, Fire TVs or Apple TVs.

A media center PC is the solution to your back catalog of content. And a quality modern media center PC can handle your streaming services, too.

 


Recliner-Style Theater Seating: The Ultimate in Home Theater Luxury

Are you thinking about installing a home theater? Perhaps you already have one, but you’re looking to renovate or upgrade it. Here at Experience Audio Video, we love helping our customers achieve fantastic results with their home theaters.

One area where customers can differentiate their home theater experience is with seating. We looked recently here on the blog at two seating options: stadium and theater style seats. Both are great options, but some of our customers want something a bit more luxurious: recliner-style seating.

Recliner-Style Seating Is the Ultimate Home Theater Luxury

Recliner-style seating is the ultimate luxury upgrade for your home theater. It’s a combination of two great things. Everyone loves the comfort of watching TV in an overstuffed easy chair, and everyone loves the experience of sharing a movie with friends and family. With recliner-style theater seating, you’ll get both of those at once.

There are many options available, of course. Most will have cup holders and trays between seats perfect for storing snacks, devices and remotes. Less expensive models may be finished in an imitation leather like at the movies, while higher-end versions are outfitted with luxurious real leather.

A few newer, nicer movie theaters have innovated in this way, providing a recliner experience in every seat. It’s a nice touch of class to be sure, but it’s nothing compared to the intimate luxury you can get at home. You can have larger recliner seats in a more intimate space, and you don’t have to worry about rude guests (unless you invited them yourself!).

Ready to Learn More?

If you’re considering new seating for a home theater room in your home, contact Experience Audio Video today.

 


HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC: What’s the Difference and What Do They Do?

If you’re running cable to carry video signals in your residence, you’re almost certainly using HDMI cable. The HDMI cable has become ubiquitous in residential applications, connecting nearly every video device in your entertainment system.

Did you know that there are actually many different types of HDMI cable with differing capabilities? Most consumers don’t. That’s because most of the time, the cables work perfectly, and users don’t need to think about the technical specifications.

If your system involves any audio more complicated than the speakers inside the TV, you may have come across the terms HDMI ARC or HDMI eARC. What’s the difference, and what do they do?

HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC: What They Do

The ARC in both terms stands for Audio Return Channel. All HDMI cables carry both video and audio signals. That’s why you can watch a Blu-ray (with sound) over just a single cable. But often this isn’t quite enough. If you’re using an A/V receiver to distribute audio to a speaker system, you also need to send an audio signal from the TV back to the receiver.

Before ARC, you’d need a separate cable to do this. But HDMI cables with either ARC or eARC can send audio both directions—in other words, they have an audio return channel.

What’s the Difference between HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC?

ARC can handle stereo and 5.1 surround signals. eARC is newer and can do more, including technologies like Dolby TrueHD and Atmos. HDMI cables with the 2.1 specification or higher include eARC, while those following the 1.4 specification have ARC. Older cables have neither.

The Takeaway

So, what’s the point? Well, if you’re buying new cables, get those with the HDMI 2.1 specification so you’ll be prepared for any future expansions. And if your fancy new audio gear isn’t working, make sure your HDMI cables are following the needed specification.

Of course, if you don’t want to worry about any of this yourself: give us a call. We’ll happily take care of it for you!

 


2 Seating Ideas for Your Home Theater

The team here at Experience Audio Video loves assisting our clients in building out the home theaters of their dreams. Of course, a great home theater matches the style and personality of the owner. Seating is one great way to customize your home theater room, giving it a flavor and feel all its own.

There are plenty of great options available for home theater seating. Today we’ll look at two of them.

For the Sports Fan: Stadium-Style Seating

One of the simplest ways to choose your seating style is to consider how you’re planning to use your home theater. Is your family crazy about sports? Are you die-hard Dodgers or Lakers fans? Then consider stadium-style seating for your home theater.

Yes, there are vendors who will sell you the iconic fold-down seats found in stadiums around the country. Colors and even team branded options are available as well.

Are you a true die-hard fan? Most teams have either renovated or moved to a new stadium in the last decade or so, and you might be able to find actual seats from their previous stadium. These tend to be collector’s items and pretty expensive, but it’s worth taking a look.

Of course, most of us don’t find baseball stadium seats to be the most comfortable. If you agree, consider a hybrid of sorts: padded seating in the style of stadium chairs.

For the Movie Buff: Theater Seats

If your idea of relaxation is less sports and more cinematic in nature, consider theater-style seating for your home theater. Install a row or two of comfortable, limited-recline chairs complete with cup holders and even food trays, if you like. With theater-style seating, your home theater gets one step closer to a truly immersive cinematic experience.

 


Projector vs. TV Screen: How To Choose The Right Home Theater Display

When you’re shopping for the right home theater display, you’ll find you have two main options: getting a TV screen, or a projector.

Most people are comfortable with TV screens, and consider projectors to be the stuff of movie theaters and conference rooms. However, for both TV screens and projectors, you can now find high-quality options for far less than they used to be.

But which is right for your home theater? It all comes down to what you want in terms of features.

Care

Your TV is pretty much maintenance-free for its lifespan. Modern LEDs are long-lasting enough that you don’t need to worry about replacing them. But with projectors, you may find you need to replace internal lamps.

Cost

The great thing about projectors is that one box can make a huge screen. With TVs, you could be looking at 80-inch plus screens, which will cost more and be a lot more unwieldy. 

Resolution

While HD and 4k screens are all the rage, it’s crucial to think about your screen size when you’re concerned with resolution. Most new TVs feature this technology, but they also have to be a large enough size to make it count. HD projectors, on the other hand, will give you the resolution that you want.

Brightness

In a dark room like a home theater, your projection screen will shine. But if you’re in a bright room, a TV screen will handle any additional light with ease.

Room space

While a projector can provide you with a massive screen, you’ll need to be far enough away from it to truly appreciate the quality. If your home theater is small, you may need a TV screen as you can’t get far enough away to enjoy a projector.

 

About the Author

Experience Audio Video has been serving Orange County and Area since 1999 for residential and commercial audio and video installation services. 5 Star Yelp Ratings, Thousands of Referrals, there is not a better choice than Brian Chappell and the Experience Audio Video Team. One phone call and you will know right away the difference in working with Experience Audio Video vs. others in the area. Contact us now at 714-744-4455 or info@eav-inc.com for a Free Consultation.

 


5 Extras That Will Make Your Home Theater Better Than The Rest

Home theaters are a great way to add value to your Orange County home, not to mention the endless entertainment they’ll provide for your family and friends.

The essential elements of your theater will be related to audio-visual systems; you want a screen large enough for viewers, and sound that enhances the viewing experience. But other accessories will add even more excitement to help you create a truly unique home theater space.

  1. Sound Control

You don’t want to get up to adjust the sound in the middle of the film, so a remote system that allows you to control audio content and precise sound variations will ensure full relaxation at all times.

  1. Headphones

Do you like to watch movies at the volume they were intended for? Sometimes sound can bleed through walls, so when your wife doesn’t want to listen to the latest action flick, comfortable, high-performance headphones will allow you to watch at any volume.

  1. Power Cord Management

You don’t want power cords running through the middle of your theater, so be sure to have outlets installed in strategic places. The more wires and machinery you can hide, the cleaner your space will feel.

  1. Posters

Get the real-deal effect by hanging movie posters for your favorite films around the theater. Rotate these with easy-to-change frames or go with classic film posters that are timeless.

  1. Popcorn Machine

Finally, make your movie-viewing experience just like the theaters with a popcorn machine. Find an old-fashioned inspired machine and have your home theater installation team create a nook to keep it out of the way.

About the Author

Experience Audio Video has been serving Orange County and Area since 1999 for residential and commercial audio and video installation services. 5 Star Yelp Ratings, Thousands of Referrals, there is not a better choice than Brian Chappell and the Experience Audio Video Team. One phone call and you will know right away the difference in working with Experience Audio Video vs others in the area. Contact us now at 714-744-4455 or info@eav-inc.com for a Free Consultation.

 


Worried About The Noise? How To Soundproof Your Home Theater On A Budget

The beauty of a home theater is that you can watch your favorite movies in the way they were intended to be watched. The bad news is, this means disruptive sound may permeate other areas of your home.

Placing your home theater away from bedrooms or living areas where family members tend to congregate will help reduce the effects of leaking sound, but in some cases, you’re going to have to get creative with ways to reduce the noise.

Acoustic paneling is what theaters use to ensure no sound disrupts movies playing next door. However, these panels are often quite expensive and depending on the size of your theater’s room, may not be a reasonable option. Instead, try these four tricks to cut back on disruptive sound without needing a big budget.

  1. Place Curtains At The Door

Home theater doors can be the weakest spot for sound to escape, so cover your entries in a heavy-paneled curtain. Not only will it feel more like a theater when you walk through them but you’ll help reduce sound significantly.

  1. Hang Rugs Or Textiles

A similar technique can be used on walls either by draping heavy curtains or by placing adhesive squares of carpet or textile around your theater’s walls. If possible, hanging rugs can transform your space into a more intimate one while blocking escaping sound.

  1. Use Cork

You can also try using cork or other low-cost acoustic dampeners on your walls. Find self-adhesive cork with a significant enough depth so sound won’t be as apparent on the other side of the wall.

  1. Ask For Help

Working with a home theater installation company to customize your room’s acoustic properties is the ideal way to solve any sound problems. You won't need to guess about where to place tiles or other items, and you'll learn more tricks on how to improve sound control.

About the Author

Experience Audio Video has been serving Orange County and Area since 1999 for residential and commercial audio and video installation services. 5 Star Yelp Ratings, Thousands of Referrals, there is not a better choice than Brian Chappell and the Experience Audio Video Team. One phone call and you will know right away the difference in working with Experience Audio Video vs. others in the area. Contact us now at 714-744-4455 or info@eav-inc.com for a Free Consultation.

 


How To Choose The Right Spot For Your Home Theater

Whether you’re designing a new home or have plans to renovate, adding a theater to your California home can be enjoyable for your family and a smart investment. Entertain with the latest Hollywood blockbusters, or stay in for a quiet night in your personal movie theater.

Where should you put your home theater? If you only have one transitional space available such as a spare bedroom or den, your decision is easy. But if you have the choice, there are some things to keep in mind that will help you find the ideal spot.

The Room’s Shape

The ideal room for a home theater will be rectangular so you can maximize screen size while placing seating far enough away to make it comfortable. A square room may distort sounds and make it harder to find the right screen distance, and irregular shapes will make it harder to maximize space usage.

The Room’s Ceiling

Your high, vaulted ceilings may be ideal for dining and enjoying casual TV, but in a home theater, they’ll obliterate your sound. Rather than providing viewers with an immersive experience, you’ll struggle to hear quieter parts and miss the full effects of louder ones with a weakened sound.

The Room’s Windows

The theater is probably the one room in your home where you don’t want windows. Not only will light from outdoors disrupt your viewing experience, but open windows run the risk of washing out projector screens and damaging sensitive equipment.

What You Can Do When You Don’t Have A Choice

All of these setups will create the ideal home theater system, but you can still get by with creative adjustments. Non-rectangular rooms can be measured so that seats are still placed far enough from any screens, and acoustic panels can be added or drop ceilings installed to help damper sound loss. When you have windows, motorized blackout systems will be your best bet in combatting unwanted light.

About the Author

Experience Audio Video has been serving Orange County and Area since 1999 for residential and commercial audio and video installation services. 5 Star Yelp Ratings, Thousands of Referrals, there is not a better choice than Brian Chappell and the Experience Audio Video Team. One phone call and you will know right away the difference in working with Experience Audio Video vs. others in the area. Contact us now at 714-744-4455 or info@eav-inc.com for a Free Consultation.