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Special Feature: Building a home cinema

Home cinema systems have become increasingly popular with families as they provide a great place to enjoy films together in the comfort of their own homes, as well as a way to entertain friends. With the proper planning, home cinemas can actually provide a viewing experience that's right up there with that of your local cinema. You need an expert The process of designing and installing this sort of dedicated home entertainment system will require the help of experts who have the appropriate level of systems and applications knowledge, in addition to installation skills and project management. To find someone to help, get in touch with the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association (CEDIA for short).

The room
Both the size and shape of the room in which you plan to install your home cinema will have a definite effect on sound quality. This is why planning a room from scratch will enable the acoustic properties to be optimised, which will allow for proper sound-proofing and prevent arguments with the neighbours over noise levels. The room needs to be large enough to house the screen and for projection. With this in mind, the largest screen available may not be appropriate for the room, relative to the seating positions. This is because the human eye needs to far enough away from the screen so that grainy pixels are not visible. The placement of the speaker system is also pivotal.

The screen
Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) and plasma screens are very small in terms of width and may be wall-mounted will little fuss. Some retailers will even offer advice about where in the room to place the screen. Screens and projectors Many are of the opinion that to create the authentic cinema experience that a screen and projector are needed. For more information, visit the CEDIA website. You also need to consider whether the room will be dark enough for people to view the screen if not. If the answer's no, consider placing black curtains or blinds behind the screen.

And finally ... the décor
Most cinemas use a combination of dark purples and blacks to decorate their walls and ceilings. This is because these colours and tones are well-known to enhance the way in which the picture is projected into the room for added picture quality. Adding your favourite movie artwork is also a great way to add a theme to your room. Wall mural firms such as Photowall offer a range of movie posters, from The Godfather saga to Marilyn Monroe. However, if you're on a budget, a number of prints from a site such as Popartuk.com should still have the desired effect.
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