It’s one of the most sought-after additions to a luxury home, but have you ever considered you might be able to build a home cinema yourself? (With the help of trained electricians of course!)
If you have the space to spare, a home cinema can be the perfect addition to a family home, a lovely place to spend cosy nights in and can even add value to your house. It can be as expensive as you make it – but it doesn’t have to complicated, high-tech or extortionately priced. Here are our tips on going it alone.
Do you want to create a room that is purely for watching movies in a fully immersive experience or would you like it to be a bit more multi-purpose? Considering how best to use the spare space in your house will help you get the best out of your property, and it’s also important to consider where your technology will be placed. You will also want to think about how many people will use the cinema room at any one time; the answer to this question will determine the amount of seating, and therefore, the space, you need. You will need to think about the cinema room’s layout, considering factors such as screen size, viewing angles, the projection method, seat comfort, speaker placement, equipment storage and acoustics.
Television VS Projector
- Choice of OLED TVs, 4K TVs or smart TVs
- Can be watched comfortably in a light-filled room
- Good choice for multi-purpose spaces where the super-sized TV is the main TV
- Good if you want a screen bigger than 100 inches
- Speakers can be placed behind screen, resulting in best audio
- Can be drop down, meaning room can be used for other activities
- Needs to have correct light levels to use efficiently
Sound-proofing and acoustics
You may need to consider whereabouts the cinema room is in conjunction to the rest of the house, especially bedrooms, and shared walls with neighbours; sound-proofing may be required so that there is a reduced chance of disturbance. When it comes to acoustics – sound within the room – the surfaces need to absorb sound rather than reflecting or transmitting it. Think thick carpet on the floor and acoustic tiles for the ceiling, at the very least.
As a general rule of thumb, a good sound system will use a 5.1 surround sound – ‘5’ representing satellite speakers, ‘1’ being the subwoofer, which provides low-pitched frequencies or bass. 6.1, 7.1, 7.2 etc. systems are also available, but it’s important to base this your ratio on the quality of the sound, rather than how loud it is.
Cabling and connections
Where you’re able to place your equipment will align the success of the rest of the project. If you can, consult with a specialist installer but, if you’re going completely DIY, think of practical things like the position of plug sockets, cable lengths etc. You’ll need to also ensure you have good quality WIFI for streaming films and programs; Mbps, fibre, downloads speeds, bandwidth etc are all important factors to consider. Furthermore, Ethernet cabling should be solid copper – minimum Cat5e. Cat5 CCA is much cheaper, but is actually copper-clad aluminium and won’t work well. Cat6 is more expensive as it offers a larger bandwidth, but will be your best choice, particularly if you have a 4K TV.
As we mentioned before, creating your own home cinema can be as expensive as you want it to be. You can create a basic cinema room with a good TV, A/V receiver, speakers and control with around £2,000-£3,000. However, if you want a multi-purpose cinema room with sofa seating, dimmable lights, a projector, screen and surround sound, the system in its entirety will start at around £10,000. £15,000 to £40,000 will help you create luxury cinema with all the trimmings; however, at the top end, a projector alone can cost from £100,000, so a high-end home cinema can easily cost you hundreds of thousands of pounds.