Bringing the Cinema Home
Cinema tickets and popcorn prices are eyewatering, with big screens, projectors and state-of-the-art surround sound systems why bother when you can get it all at home. The generational shift away from the cinema and towards on-demand streaming services threatens the existence of historic cinemas, which is sad, but are we really going to grieve for extortionate multiplexes producing lacklustre sequels? Some balance is required, but in the meantime; whether you’re already on board and want to level up your home cinema or are just coming round to the idea after a disappointing day at the flicks read on for the Best Reviews ideas.
The largest flat screen TV you can currently buy is the Samsung 110-inch Ultra HDTV. If you’re not working in imperial measurements that’s 279.4cm, so a good deal longer than your tall friend and probably, but not definitely, too big for your front room. Hence why the garage is becoming your home cinema.
When it comes to the technology behind the screen, or the technology of the screen, OLED is the current king of the hill. OLED stands for Organic Light Emitting Diode, an upgrade on the well-known LED screen and the slightly older LCD (liquid crystal display). OLEDs are common in new phones, the size of the screen on a phone compared to a huge TV meaning they touched down first in our pockets.
The advantage of OLED is that each pixel produces their own light, as opposed to LED LCD screen which are backlit in order to illuminate their pixels. Where the OLED comes into its own is the contrast range. LCD screens in dark rooms, as in cinema-esque rooms, do not show blacks as pure black. You can see a faint glow of the backlight shining through. OLED screens simply turn their pixels off, meaning no glow and the contrast ratio is infinite. What makes the performance truly great is contingent on the brightness an OLED screen is capable of, so when you’re shopping for an OLED screen, make sure it has a high lumens rating.
An alternative to a TV is a projector, while the biggest TV is 110-inches you face a limited choice, whereas projectors are a technology with a longstanding history and plenty of development behind them. You can find projectors capable of 75-inch display size and a lower price than cutting edge TVs.
Furthermore a projector takes up less room. If you’re creating a temporary home cinema in a space such as a garage, loft or spare room you can pack away the projector and screen thus saving the room for another purpose.
When shopping for a projector our tops tips are
- Remember the lumens – get something bright
- Don’t buy cheap – projectors can be very very cheap but you do get what you pay for, if you’re after a cinema experience you’re unlikely to find it for £100 on eBay. However those little gadgets are interesting and useful for other things
- Long throw or short throw – how close is the projector going to be to the surface you are projecting onto? Far away? Long throw. Close up? Short throw.
Cinemas not only give you great big screens but great big sound. If you’re working with a lot of room Which? magazine has found that you are best opting for standalone speakers. These rang from 2.1 to 7.1, the first number dictating the number of speakers. So 5.1 has five speakers to position around the room and 2.1 has two speakers next to the TV, with each having a subwoofer placed somewhere else to pump up the bass.
A soundbar virtually recreates the effect of having distributed speakers, and although not as good as the physical thing, they do a good enough job if you are pushed for space.
You could opt for a regular sofa, sofas are good, they’ve been around for a long enough time. But how many people can you fit on one? Where will the other people sit if you’re having a little viewing party? We’d suggest some huge bean bags, not only can these be stored elsewhere if you’re building a temporary home cinema but they introduce an element of novelty to the occasion. No surprise they are a favourite of new, hip cinemas in metropolitan areas.
Snacks, snacks, snacks. For the price of a couple of large popcorns down at the Odeon you can have a machine to endlessly pop out enough popcorn for the longest of marathons. Smeg recently teamed up with Dolce & Gabbana to produce some glorious kitchen appliances, amongst them a popcorn maker. Yours for only £499,99. Or VonShef offers a more reasonably priced machine, though less extravagantly decorated one, for only £12.99