Image of a professionally installed home cinema Despite the current recession, the home cinema market has continued to grow over the last three years.

The UK’s AV Magazine, which has plotted the peaks and troughs of the industry since 1996, predicts that in 2012, the AV market in the UK is expected to grow by around four percent, excluding any bonus from The London Olympics. Therefore the home cinema market is strong, resilient and showing real signs of growth!

There are two ways to install a home cinema, you can either do it yourself, or if budget permits, hire a professional installer. We have put together a simple guide to home cinema installation using professional installers.

Quick Links: Choosing | Installation Overview | Consultation & Proposal | Installation | Sign off & Aftercare

Choosing your home cinema installation company

There are a number of home cinema installation providers in the UK, therefore you have a choice in who you choose to deliver this process. Use the Internet to source a supplier but consider the following things:

What to consider

  • Your project brief
    Does the company deliver solutions to your entire brief?
  • Project budget
    Ensure your chosen company can work within your budget
  • Professional installers
    Check the installers are professional and qualified. Installer qualifications include an associate’s degree in electronic systems project management or a related field or CEDIA. There are several other different consumer electronics certifications available, therefore just ask on enquiry.
  • Aftercare
    Does the company provide aftercare? This is imperative, as you need to ensure that you will be given on-going support once the system has been installed.

Installation Overview

Choosing and installing a home cinema system is an expensive and complicated process, therefore unless you are a qualified engineer or electrician, outsourcing this process to a professional is the simplest, and most pain free solution.

There are three stages to sourcing home cinema installation using professional installers:

The three stages of home cinema installation

  • Consultation & Proposal – This is the process of communicating your requirement to your professional project manager (PM). The PM will then scope out solutions i.e. equipment solutions, planning and producing a detailed system project plan prior to the installation process.
  • Installation – The PM will work alone or with other appointed professionals (i.e. Project / Site Manager and Electrician – if you have already appointed these) to identify schedule i.e. for cabling / placement of power sockets etc. The fitting of all of component parts e.g. items that are to be fixed to the floors, walls & ceilings. Finally, the electronics will be installed and connected.
  • Sign off & Aftercare – Once you are happy that everything is installed and working, you will sign off the project. There should be aftercare factored into your contract in the event of product failure etc and to provide on-going support.

Consultation & Proposal

Image of a successful home cinema projectThis is essentially the ‘planning’ stage. This is the most important stage as thorough and detailed planning leads to a successful installation.

You will get many hours of enjoyment from your system, therefore take some extra time to make sure you plan correctly. Examples of bad planning are things like buying a screen that’s too big for the room, purchasing the wrong cables, buying non-compatible components, or under-estimating the total cost of a home cinema project can all put an installation on hold.

Although your professional PM should steer this process, it does not hurt to have an idea of the things you need to spec out. Therefore consider the following:

What to consider as part of your spec…

  • The Room – What room will you use for your home cinema system? Take into account the characteristics of your space as you choose your home cinema and décor.
  • Lighting – For optimal viewing, control outdoor light with blinds and curtains, and consider adding behind-screen down-lights. A dimmer switch can bring interior lights to perfect viewing levels.
  • Sound – Carpeting floors and curtaining walls can help kill echoes, and adding sound insulation can prevent noise from escaping to other parts of the house or beyond. Consider upgrading to surround sound as it really transforms your room into great home cinema .
  • Seating – Many people overlook this element, however comfortable seating is a must. Keep the number of people you’ll want to entertain and proper viewing angles for your HDTV’s display technology in mind.
  • The Picture – Think about how you want to use you home cinema to choose the right HDTV for you. I.e. to watch films. Make the screen the focus of the room.
  • Functionality – Linking your PC to your home cinema means that you can have the power to share your own photos, home movies, music and Internet content to the best screen and sound system in the house.
  • Wiring – Installing a home cinema system requires a degree of wiring to bring all of the components together in a workable manner. Also, with the increased number of components comes an increased need for power outlets. Most rooms are not designed for so many devices. As your home cinema is going to pull a lot more power than a typical TV or stereo, this will have to be taken into account during the planning of the room’s layout. Discuss this with the PM to see if they can provide this service.
  • Delivery – Ask how the process works and whether there are delivery fees. Identify if you need to be home all day or between certain hours, what will happen once your HDTV is at your house and whether delivery includes removal of packing materials. Once you have decided all of these elements, your PM will be in a position to recommend which home entertainment systems are most suitable.

Once you have chosen your solution, you will be in a position to discuss installation dates.

Installation

Installation of a Home CinemaIt is in your best interests to be at the installation so that you can project manage the process. If you are using different manpower for installation and electrical works, make sure that you have co-ordinated them to be on site at the same time.

The first stage of the installation is using the detailed cabling schedule project plans to ensure correct placement of power sockets, cable positioning, speaker plates, wall boxes etc.

Next is the placement and fitting of all of your component parts e.g. items that are to be fixed to the floors, walls & ceilings (e.g. plasma wall-mounts, projector ceiling mounts, sensors or brackets and any In-wall / in-ceiling speakers).

Finally, when the room is a dust free, the electronics are installed and connected. Make sure that the installer programmes the remote control and the sound and picture to your personal preference. It is vital that you complete a final test before the installer leaves the site to ensure that the system is working correctly.

Sign off & Aftercare

To sign off the installation, you need to be certain that you are happy with the installation and how to use the system going forward.

A complete home cinema installation service does not stop at the installation. A professional job is where an on-going service is provided to give you peace of mind. Therefore make sure that the handover is thorough and includes the following:

What should be a part of the final handover

  • An instruction guide explaining basic equipment usage.
  • On-going telephone customer support that can be reached by email or phone.
  • A warranty which should cover you for parts and labour outside the manufacturers normal warranty period.

Enjoy your new system!!

About The Author: Oliver Carding is an English content writer, he has written this post on behalf of CTS Networks
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