Now updated for 2021 with the latest technology and revised costings
It's not really a single figure, but we can look at and explain the cost ranges.
There are three main elements to a cinema room installation:
- System hardware
- Your choices
- Installation works
But also, the main variables are:
- 'How big is the room?' and
- 'How good would you like it?'
These are the main building blocks - the surround sound system - processor, amplifiers, speakers and acoustic treatment, and the video system - projector and screen.
The main factor is room size. All these rooms would make a great Home Cinema, but the cost to equip them - to let's say 'Level I' standard - varies like this:
3 x 4 x 2.2m, Vol 26㎥
Screen: width 2.8m, area 4.4㎡
4 x 5 x 2.8m, Vol 56㎥
Screen: width 3.3m, area 6.1㎡
6 x 8 x 3.2m, Vol 154㎥
Screen: width 4.2m, area 10㎡
You'll see how much the room volume and screen area increase, and how in larger rooms we need more speakers.
The viewing angle is what dictates how big the picture looks to you, and it's the same across all three rooms. It's like you're about two-thirds back in a commercial cinema, which most of us prefer (some cinemas charge extra for those seats).
To get these figures we've worked everything out, according to film industry standards - the correct speaker positions, enough sound pressure level for all seats, reduced echo (RT60) for the room, ensured plenty of screen brightness and worked out the sightlines so that everyone can watch in comfort.
You say 'Level 1' - what's the catch?
No catch, but you can make improvements. These upgrades are all well worth having:
• Laser-based projector - comes on instantly, no replacement lamp costs, better blacks and contrast, brightness never drops over time
• High brightness - really useful for a multi-use cinema/media room in daytime
• Uprated amplifier power makes the whole performance more effortless
• Extra speakers create a more immersive, convincing, and three-dimensional sound
• Aspect masking - this is where the black border moves, to match what you're watching - no more grey bars.
The performance aspects can be hard to pin down to a number, but very easy to experience. It's a bit like driving - functionally, a Panda or a Porsche will both get you there, but one of them is much more fun!
We've got seven high quality demonstration cinemas to choose from, so we can show you the differences.
Stores all equipment safely, allowing good airflow and super-tidy cable management. It's not optional, but the size depends on your system.
Fire up the system, dim the lights, switch inputs, operate all the equipment, switch everything off again afterwards - a control system is a must. It's a dark room, so a backlit handset with real buttons is what you need.
Great lighting makes a huge difference to the feel of the room. In cinema rooms we use lighting for dramatic effect - plus task lighting for the seats so you don't spill your drink.
Lights should be remote controlled and dimmable.
Sofas, cinema style seating, or both? 'Cinema sofas' are popular too - the clean look and feel of a sofa but with motorised reclining for ultimate comfort in a mixed-use space.
Dedicated cinema seats from £1250 per person.
Wall finishes and treatments
The cleanest look in a cinema room is a fabric wall system to hide away all the acoustic treatment and loudspeakers, so the room looks great despite all the technical equipment.
Different levels of luxury finish and audio performance are available - a 'Level IV' or 'Platinum' cinema system will need a suitable finish.
Home Cinema Installation
This is the biggest single variable.
The basics of a home cinema installation are to run all the cables neatly, install loudspeakers and set up the display, then calibrate the audio and video systems.
For larger spaces, one or more tiers for seating becomes appropriate - then everyone can see properly. For this we need a good strong platform for the seating.
We're very keen on fabric wall systems to hide the tech and the acoustic treatments - this will need building out from the existing walls.
For these more involved tasks, we can either work with your builders, or bring our trusted trades.
Critically important but often missed - your system must be properly documented and labelled up. This will help you upgrade in the future, or assist the next householder if you move on.
Our in-house documentation is excellent, and achieves the exacting standards of a CEDIA Award winning project.
So what happens now?
You should have a good idea of the room size, or how many people you'd like to entertain, and anything special you'd like to add.
The guidelines above should give you a feel for the main costs.