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Ok. It’s home theatre confession time. 

Bart has been a movie lover since his teens. Sure, I love a movie. But not LOVE a movie, the way Bart does. So, when our time came to get into the real estate market, a home theatre was very high on Bart’s wishlist. Every home that had our name on the purchase agreement was pre-wired for home cinema. However for many reasons the actual dedicated home theatre he’d been dreaming of didn’t materialise until  a few years ago. 

For the last few years, Bart spends every night in his home cinema. Every night. And every Friday, it’s ‘date night’ and I join him for a Friday night movie session. 

And here’s the confession: I’d never thought I’d say this but having a home theatre is awesome! I’d prefer to watch a movie in our home cinema a million times over a visit to Hoyts (Sorry Hoyts, but it’s true). I thought I didn’t care much about large screens, immersive viewing, Dolby surround sound and great contrast. Boy, was I wrong.

Of course we would say this. After all, it’s our bread and butter. But let me say this (and our regular readers would know this), it’s not our habit to write blogs that are ‘declarations of love’. Usually, they are of the informative kind, I dare say.

Last week however, it really struck me how often friends, neighbours, acquaintances and even tradies (yep!) that put foot in our house end up drooling over our home cinema. I can honestly say that not a week goes by where there isn’t somebody who lands into our cinema seats for their private 20 minute session of home cinema dreaming. Not that it’s the fanciest home cinema out there. As a matter of fact, I’d call it pretty mid-range, but we’ll get back to this topic a little later.

It’s funny the perception people (me included) have of a home theatre before they actually get to experience it. But personally experiencing a home theatre as opposed to knowing of its existence seems to speak. Obviously a home cinema is not a life necessity. If it’s down to putting food on the table or getting the projector, I’d be very, very clear in my choice. But that discussion aside, for some reason, seeing and experiencing a home theatre seems to be a whole different ball game than what people thought it would be. And it sure does bring a whole lot of pleasure and joy to ones life. It’s like having a boat, but  maybe even better. (Ok, no name calling about this one ;-))

So that’s when I got the idea to make an attempt at describing what it is that makes a home theatre blow peoples minds.

  • You can’t compare the experience of watching a movie in a home cinema with watching one on a laptop in bed or on a television in the family lounge. Experiencing a film in a home cinema is the real deal, very much like going to the movies. The word ‘immersive’ gets thrown around, but it goes further than that. There is nothing ‘casual’ about watching a movie on your own big screen. It’s special and even after several years, it’s something you remain very aware of.
  • You get a movie going experience, without the hassle. When you have your own home theatre , there’s no having to find a parking place, no waiting in line to buy tickets  and no buying overpriced popcorn. As a matter of fact, at our place, Friday night is ribs night; inclusive of beer and ice cream.  But we can do you a bowl of popcorn if you want to (yes, we do have a popcorn makerJ) There is no annoying person next to you that keeps scrunching their ice cream wrapper and no person behind you kicking your seat. What’s even better, there is no time schedule you have to stick to. The movie starts when we are ready for it to start. Oh, and that’s in pyjamas, for the record. And then there is the fact that you are the king of the domain, holding the remote control. Abathroom stop or grabbing another drink?  No problem! You can stop the show, rewind to watch that one funny scene that you didn’t quite get, or watch a long movie over the course of two nights. It’s your choice.
  •  Your home theatre is set-up for the kind of viewing that works for you. Whether it’s movies, gaming or sport event watching that is your favorite pass-time, it  all become a whole new game on the big screen. Video games become more immersive, with crisp larger than life imagery and realistic surround sound. Home theatre projectors these days handle the fast action of games really well and many have separate settings especially for this purpose. Whether you’re a Guitar Hero, or in in the front lines of Call of Duty, playing video games in a home theatre is a different experience—you’ll never want to go back! The same can be said if you are an avid sports fan. Watching the Winter Olympics or seeing the All Blacks score a try in a dedicated home theatre will have you feeling like you are right there in the stadium. And of course, these days, home entertainment isn’t just movies anymore. Netflix, Hulu and other streaming services offer incredible content that we could have never imagined. Indie documentaries, binge-worthy television series, and original content films are now added to the mix.
  • Your home theatre can be anything you want it to be. You can choose your own furniture, get the sounds system and projector of your choice, and it can be in (almost) any room.Your home theatre can be as fancy or as modest as you want it to be and it can cater for just one or two people, your family or a whole social gathering. The choice is entirely yours. Basements are often a great choice for a dedicated home theatre because they are dark and quiet, but any room can become a very sweet home theatre room, including the spare bedroom, the office, the rumpus or the garage. Add home automation, media storage cabinetry, starry skies and elevate the back row if that’s what makes you tick; or keep it very simple and basic and focus on good sound and acoustics (That’s kind of a non-negotiable).  And finally, add the most comfortable recliner of your choice because you are going to spend many, many hours in it. Or is a large sectional sofa more your speed? Or maybe you love a good beanbag? It’s your room, so what works for you goes.
  • You increase the value of your home. The biggest ‘but’ people present when discussing a home theatre is cost. But here’s something to think about: A mid-range home theatre cost about the same as a small new boat and considerably less than an inground pool. But unlike the pool, that is known not to add value to your property, a well-executed home theatre does.  Our theory is that it’s very much a Kiwi thing. Kiwi’s know that a boat and a pool are ‘a thing of great joy’. But there isn’t that shared knowledge about home theatres. Which is why it blows away so many people when they do get to experience what it is like to be the lucky person that is the proud owner of a home theatre.

So… how’s your home cinema dream coming along?

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