So you have the big screen, you have the speakers, you have the receiver, you have the cables, you have the big chairs, so now what? A home theater is like a car in the sense that you can buy a low end model or you can buy a high end model, but youre not going to get your best performance out of either unless you have tuned it up to optimal performance. We all know what a car tune up involves, but how many of us know what we need to do to give our home theater the tune up to make it run at optimal levels? The fact of the matter is that there are some things that you can do that are really quite simple to get the most out your home theater.
When setting up the television or projector the first and most obvious thing you need to consider is light conditions. High light levels will disturb the image on even the most high end television, so you want to do everything in your power to keep the light levels low. The same way you cant see the screen in an actual movie theater when the lights go up the same applies to a home theater.
When setting up your speakers you will need to experiment to find the optimal positioning. Try to keep the front three speakers off the ceiling and position the other speakers in accordance with their desired setup positioning, but from there you will really need to judge the best spot for each speaker subjectively. Once your speakers are in place make sure that the sound wave is not being blocked by an object that is in the way. The potted plant may look nicer than the speaker but youre better off having an un-obscured speaker than a pretty object and a dead sound.
Next consider the walls of the theater. Drywall is okay but curtains on all sides are best, and again you can obscure light with curtains that would otherwise interfere with the television image. If you have paneled walls you will defiantly want to consider some kind of curtain or covering. Same thing goes with the floor. If you have a hardwood floor start looking for a serious area rug to help with some of the sound trapping. Also look to avoid having sound reflecting materials on the walls or ceiling. Avoid hanging pictures on the walls of your home theater, and you might be better served again by not having that potted plant or a sculpture in the theater.
These are just some of the things to consider when you are setting up and calibrating your home theater. A good deal of what you will do to make your theater sound and look its best will come down to tweaking once everything is installed and setup. So get it all hooked up and sit down and enjoy but start thinking about some of the things mentioned and consider making changes to improve your experience in the future after initial setup.