What a More Common Home Theater Looks Like
A more realistic home theater for the middle-class American. What does it look like?
We all have images in our minds of the dream home theater. Ginormous professional grade screen, huge speakers, stadium seating with theater style seats, antique props from real movie sets, etc etc. You know, the kind we’ve seen on MTV Cribs. But for the vast majority of us, this type of movie theater might not ever make its way into our homes… at least not in the near future.
So does that mean that, because we can’t (or choose not to) afford the elaborate, Hollywood style movie theater in our homes, that the dream of having a home movie theater will never become a reality? Absolutely not!
Lucky for us, normal everyday Americans, having a movie theater in your very own home is much more practical than you would think. And you don’t even have to be next door neighbors with Shaq or Puff Daddy.
Let’s take a look at what a more realistic middle-class American home theater looks like:
1. Projector or LCD Screen
Most home theaters definitely do not include a huge movie theater-sized screen. For the average family, it is not realistic, and absolutely not necessary, to spend thousands and thousands of dollars on a screen that size. Instead, middle-class families have found that they can still achieve the same feel of a movie theater, but without that extra cost.
In most home theaters, instead of a gigantic movie screen, you will see either a decent sized LCD TV, or a small screen with a projector.
Either option is pretty economical. The prices on large LCD TVs are continually dropping, making them much more affordable for the average American family than they used to be. It’s not just the rich that can afford big screen TVs anymore.
Many families are choosing to go with a projector and a projector screen. This provides even more of a wow factor, and gives the room more of an actual theater feel. Projectors are another item that have become much more affordable in the past several years.
In homes where the home theater has to double as another room (think home theater/office, home theater/living room, home theater/guest room, etc), many families are choosing to pair their projector with projector screen paint instead of a typical projector screen. This provides the same viewing quality as a projector screen, but can be more discreet (and easier to care for).
2. A Simple Audio Setup
Surround sound, and base, and soundproofing, and subwoofers… the list goes on and on. It is very rare to see a complicated, overly expensive sound system in the average home theater. When it comes to spending that much money, most families would rather invest in a family vacation, or say, a couple mortgage payments, than drop that much cash on a sound system.
Instead, what you will find in most home theaters, is a simple audio setup. A couple main speakers, maybe a few smaller speakers tucked in the corners to give a surround sound feel. And that’s it. No expensive or elaborate sound systems here. Just a few speakers to give a nice, quality sound.
3. Sectional Couch
Another thing you won’t see most average families spending their money on are fancy theater-style seats. Sure, they sound nice, but in reality they just aren’t practical for most families. No, instead, in most home theaters you will find a nice, cozy sectional couch. This provides for comfort and usability. You can fit the whole family on it, you can even sleep unexpected guests on it when needed, and you don’t have to shop at a specialty store to find one. Just the Labor Day sale at Sears is good for us.
4. DIY Elements
Middle class Americans are definitely do-it-yourselfers. In any middle-class home theater, you are sure to find at least a few do-it-yourself elements. Most average Americans would rather do it themself if they can…saving a whole lot of money in the process. They will probably have done things like dimmer lights, wall paint, projector screen paint, maybe even a stage on their own.
If you look closely, you might find a few errors: an upside-down light switch, some bleeding in the paint, an uneven projector frame. But that is what gives these home theaters their character! You have to love seeing these minor flaws. They’re what show you the time and love that was put into this home theater. Being middle class is all about hard work… and that does not include perfection.
Any home theater, no matter how basic or complex, no matter how humble or flamboyant, has got to include some popcorn!
As you can see, the common home theater isn’t anywhere close to the extravagant theater you may have pictured. There is no need to feel like you have to choose between Junior’s college fund and a home theater. Most average Americans don’t spend fortunes on their home theaters. With a few, simple elements, and maybe with a bit of a perspective change, you can have your very own home theater in no time.