Maximum Value Technology Projects: Theater

Who doesn't love going to the movies? The cinema experience has been adored by fans young and old for a number of years, but with the soaring cost of tickets and concessions, to some, pinching pennies just to enjoy a night at the movies just doesn't make sense. Instead, we've resorted to movie rentals and microwave popcorn, all while sitting in front of the 10-year-old television that just doesn't cut it anymore.

Entertain guests in the home;s gorgeous, state-of-the-art theater.

Entertain guests in a gorgeous, state-of-the-art theater.

There has never been a better time for homeowners to consider a home theater. With more media options available now than ever, a home theater can be recreated at almost any price point. Unlike the movie theater, a home theater can be customized to your particular design, all while saving you the hassles of long lines and crowds. Take heart-- you will never miss a preview again!

CURRENT TRENDS

  • Multi-purpose space. Popular in homes where space is an issue or being able to entertain is a highly-desired feature, turning the designated area into a media room allows for the space to have more flexibility. A media room is more of a social experience, where watching the game with friends, playing with the kids and listening to music can all be achieved in this kind of space.
  • A true movie theater atmosphere. Key elements of a theater, such as lighting, furniture and sound are what make a movie theater atmosphere really come to life. It's not always about the screen itself, but more of an equal blend of sound, aesthetics and picture that bring the magic home. More homeowners are investing in better quality amplification and sound technology as well as accessories that mimic those in a real movie theater.

BIGGEST MISTAKE

According to appraisal expert, Leslie Sellers, president of the Appraisal Institute, a homeowner's biggest mistake is dishing out top-dollar for a media experience while thinking in terms of a big return on investment. "Owners need to be mindful of the fact that a home theater is for personal use only," says Sellers. While theaters can be a great marketing tool, in the case of low-range and mid-range markets, there is always little to no return on the cost put into home theater technology.

EXPERT TIPS

  • On a Budget: For those on a budget who still want the luxury of a home theater, consider the "home theater-in-a-box" systems that contain most -- or all -- of the components needed for a basic home theater. Speakers, surround-sound receiver and many times a DVD/CD player is included in the system. Ranging anywhere from $200 to upwards of $4,000, any room can be turned into a theater experience with this type of media package.
  • Mid-Range: The foundation of a home theater is always the television. Investing in a larger-screen television with high-definition capability is the most crucial starting point. Homeowners are now investing in at least a 5.1 sound system (five full-range speakers and one subwoofer) to bring the sound up to par with a movie theater experience. These two key features can be attained at a mid-range price point, and with this firm foundation, other elements -- such as aesthetics -- can then be added according to what your budget allows.
  • High-End: On a higher-end budget, the sky is truly the limit when designing a home theater. Consult a media room or home theater designer who specializes in building systems that are in accordance with your particular desires.Their specialized knowledge covers lighting, acoustics, sightlines, audio/visual installation and other areas inherent to theater design.
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