When you do a Google search for “home theater” you will get almost 2.5 billion hits.  Most of those websites are focused on equipment.  Very few of the sites talk about the thrill of having a private screening room.  They seldom talk about the pleasure of family time spent together.  Occasionally, your read about the visceral impact and goosebumps raised when we are swept away by the story—and have forgotten all about the gear.  Christopher William Design specializes in delivering goosebumps.  Let’s find out how we get there.



Home theaters come in all shapes and sizes.  Some home theaters look just like a comfortable family room.  At the other extreme, dedicated rooms modeled after the famous motion picture palaces of the 1920’s speak of a true passion for the movies.  Some New York City home theaters have front projectors and screens, and others use flat panel televisions.  Specialized seating is nice, but the single common denominator of all home theaters is great sound.  After all, it is the squeaky violin that tells us when to start getting scared in a horror film.  And it is the subwoofers which make the earth shake when the brontosaurus stomps to the ground.  “Bohemian Rhapsody” just wouldn’t be the same without high fidelity surround sound to recreate Queen’s performance at Live Aid.  In short, the picture is important, but home theater is really about sound.



The first benefit of having your own movie theater is watching what you want and when you want to.  The second benefit is always getting the best seat in the house.  The third benefit is no sticky floor and no popcorn left by the previous audience.  Actually, that could be the first benefit…

More Than Movies

Just because it is called home theater doesn’t mean it’s only for movies.  Ball games have been broadcast in surround sound for decades, so watching a game in your theater is the next best thing to being in the park.    Concert videos take on an intimacy when watched in a home theater that is quite compelling.  Even plain old TV viewing is way better in a home theater.  And video games…  I think you are getting our point—anything you might watch on TV is simply better viewed in a theater.


Living With A Home Theater

There is a lot to be said for having a dedicated theater room.  With no traffic through the room or sounds from a nearby kitchen, distractions are much less likely to interfere with the onscreen drama.  If you like the idea of a really big screen, having a separate room is the best way to keep stray light from washing out the picture.  It is also possible to soundproof a room to help keep peace in the family. 


How Much Space Does It Take?

Not everyone has the space or the budget for a dedicated room.  The next best alternative is to beef up the audio for the family room TV so that it becomes your home theater.  This is an extremely popular option that we can fit into even the smallest New York City apartment.  There is no reason why every TV in the house cannot have home theater sound.  We can pipe the sound from a kitchen TV into the ceiling speakers.  Bedroom televisions are ideal candidates for soundbar-based home theater systems.  Top of the line soundbars even do a surprisingly good job of presenting Dolby Atmos™ soundtracks the way they were meant to be heard. 


How Much Is A Home Theater?

The price of a “ticket” to your own personal theater can vary quite a bit.  Clearly a dedicated room with a front projector, movie screen, theater seating, fancy décor and soundproofing is going to cost substantially more than a hybrid theater in a family room.  Most economical are the soundbar-based theaters.  It is fair to say that the price can range from a few thousand dollars to several hundred thousand.  Let us know what your vision is and Christopher William Design will help you achieve it. 



As we discussed on the TV Installations page, modern flat panel televisions simply do not have room in their slender cabinets for decent speakers.  Therefore, your theater needs a home theater receiver and several speakers to recreate the movie theater experience of being surrounded by sound.  We have recently seen a few soundbar based systems which do a credible job of immersing us in sound.  However, there is really no substitute for properly positioned external speakers, whether freestanding, in-wall or in-ceiling. 


Specifications for home theaters usually involve strings of numbers, such as 5.1 or 7.2 or perhaps 7.2.4.  The first number refers to the number of channels of home theater speakers.  There are always at least three speakers on the front wall near the screen—left, center and right.  The other two speakers in 5.1—or four speakers in 7.2 or 7.2.4—are the “surround” channels which are placed on the side and/or the back of the room.  The .1 or .2 refers to subwoofers which are primarily used for sound effects.  The preferred number of “subs” is 2 (or 4 in larger theaters).  More subwoofers is not about more bass.  It ensures that every seat gets good bass. 



Finally, the third digit—the .4—is for the number of overhead channels needed to create a three-dimensional or “immersive” soundfield.  The best known version is Dolby Atmos™.  Hundreds of movies have been produced with immersive soundtracks, and better home theaters now include the overhead speakers required for playback.  Stealth Acoustics™ speakers are ideally suited for use as overhead Atmos™ speakers.


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Christopher Williams Design of New York City Designs, Installs, Programs and Services Home Theaters in and around the following neighborhoods:

Alphabet City
Astor Row 
Battery Park City
Bloomingdale District
Carnegie Hill
Central Harlem
Civic Center
Cooperative Village
Downtown Manhattan
East Village
Financial District
Five Points

Flatiron District
Flower District
Fort George 
Gramercy Park
Greenwich Village
Hamilton Heights
Hudson Heights
Hudson Yards
Kips Bay
Lenox Hill
Lincoln Square
Little Australia
Little Germany
Little Italy

Little Syria 
Lower East Side
Manhattan Valley
Marble Hill
Marcus Garvey Par
Meatpacking District
Morningside Heights
Mount Morris 
Photo District
Radio Row
Rose Hill

SoHo South Street


Stuyvesant Square
Stuyvesant Town
Sugar Hill
Toy District
Two Bridges
Union Square
Upper East Side
Upper Manhattan
Upper West Side
Washington Heights
Waterside Plaza
West Harlem
West Village