Trends in home entertainment and theatre rooms
1. Multiple screens
An increasingly popular trend is the use of dual and multiple screens. This trend reflects the ever-growing options in entertainment that exist in today’s home. Multiple screens can mean two or more flat-panel TVs on the same wall. A flat-panel TV for casual, everyday viewing that gets covered by a larger front-projection screen for movies and major events, or even screens on various walls in a room, which is a popular arrangement in rooms that function as party or entertainment spaces. Why so many screens? Our choices are now so vast that people often don’t want to be restricted to just one option in a room.
2. The hybrid space
Home theatre, media room, game room, family centre… it doesn’t matter much what you call it, as long as it includes two main components – a sound system and a display device. After those two criteria, what passes for a media room varies greatly.
Many people are combining their media viewing rooms with other purpose rooms such as game rooms and even living rooms. This trend is the result of so many different media sources. Today’s homes use their screens to enjoy content from gaming systems, Blu-ray players and streaming media devices.
And instead of the traditional look of a dedicated home theatre, more people are taking a hybrid approach – i.e. the incorporation of more traditional furniture (sofa and chaise lounge seating) instead of specialty theatre seating and applying lighter colours to the walls.
Why this shift? Many people want a home theatre experience, but they don’t want to limit the room to just one use. Single-family homes usually only have one room to spare, so making it a multipurpose room ensures the systems installed are used more frequently and by more members of the family.
3. Social networking
As we get more and more connected with friends and family, we are seeing media rooms being used more for social media. You might not think about the quality of your home network when planning your home theatre, but think about where your content is coming from. When you add dedicated streaming devices, smart TVs and networked gaming consoles, it’s clear that the internet is the most important source for most people’s entertainment. It’s also true that streaming content isn’t as high-quality as Blu-ray or CD, but that is bound to improve. All of this means that home networks are getting pushed to their limits, in versatility and reach.
Smartphones and tablets are not only being used to change channels and control the volume of our theatre, they’re also acting as secondary viewing screens. Social media is driving a lot of this, with users tweeting or posting status updates while watching movies or TV shows.
4. Floor standing and soundbar speakers
The types of speakers being incorporated into media rooms is changing too. There is a trend in people using floor standing and bookshelf speakers rather than in-wall speakers. The media room is still a special destination room, so users want a good experience. In-wall speakers are great if you want to hide all of the equipment, but floor standing and surface-mounted on-wall speakers produce the clearest audio.
Entry-level and midrange home theater-in-a-box systems are giving way to soundbar/subwoofer systems because they offer an easy way to fill a room with audio. Built-in audio processing, Bluetooth, wireless subwoofers and one-remote operation are making those systems attractive options for people looking to upgrade from poor-sounding TV speakers.
It may seem dubious to call this a trend, but the fact is, the price of home theatre products has dropped significantly while features and performance continue to improve.
Take projectors. Companies like Epson, Mitsubishi, JVC and others offer very good 3D projectors at half the cost of comparable projectors two years ago.