Are you surprised to see that this subject has a topic of its own? That is because after someone spends the big bucks to get a very nice home theatre system, the aspect of home theatre seating is usually last on their minds. But it should not be. Proper seating is critical to the ultimate enjoyment of your home theatre investment.
Make sure you don’t make this same mistake. Yes, you need to plan for the type of screen you want from the myriad of choices, where to place it, what kind of surround sound system to get for it, where to put the speakers, what options to get with the receiver and amplifer … but plan for the home theatre seating too. Unless you have a gym-sized room and plan to watch your big screen TV with the entire football team and cheerleading squad, you probably don’t want (or can afford) a few dozen Barco loungers in your viewing area. At the same time, you don’t want to use plastic folding chairs, since your viewing audience will likely not make it through the opening credits of the movie before they start to get uncomfortable.
First of all, consider the characteristics of the viewing angle of your system, which is based on the technology you have chosen. Rear projection systems, for example, typically have poor viewing from angles that are very far away from dead on, whereas this same viewing angle issue is not a problem with plasma or LCD screens. DLP screens have this problem somewhat, although not as markedly as rear projection systems. In fact, if you consider the home theatre seating arrangement that you desire to have, this may also influence your decision on what type of technology to use for your big screen, which is yet another reason to plan the seating at the same time you are doing the initial planning for everything else.
For the typical home theatre which probably needs to seat a family-sized group of maybe 4 to 6 people, a couple of loungers and a large sofa would be fine. Now I’m not talking about the big mamma loungers that are the size of a small Cadillac, but just a very comfortable easy chair for you to watch a movie from. Much of the decision about your home theatre seating is going to be based on the size of the room where your system is going to be installed, as well of course as your budget and particular needs.
If you really want to go that extra mile, you may want to equip your surround sound audio system with something called a “tactile transducer”, sometimes also known as a Bass Shaker. This can be attached to a couch or a lounger, and at those times in the movie when there is an earthquake or an explosion or something like that, your home theatre seating residents of the couch or lounger FEEL the action via the Bass Shaker. While some folks feel that this is going a bit too far into the Disney realm, it is neat technology that is available today and not necessarily a budget buster either. A word of caution however — if you implement this technology, it will grow on you and you will want to equip ALL the seats in your viewing area with them as time goes on!
As you shop for the perfect lounger or recliner, you will be further ahead going with quality rather than absolute lowest price. The frame should be a hard wood, not plastic or purely metal. Also note the SIZE of the piece you are considering, since the last thing you want to do as you are purchasing another seat for your home theatre seating arrangement is to have to take off your door frame to get it into the house! You would be surprised at how many people don’t consider this aspect of it and end up having to return the chair of their dreams back to the store.
Jon Arnold is an author and computer engineer who maintains various web sites on a variety of topics. More info on this topic can be found at his Home Theatre web site at http://jag-info-resources.com/home-theatre/