Dolby Atmos Immersive Home Cinema

When an avid movie enthusiast came to SONA with a transformative home cinema brief, we could not have imagined that it would be shortlisted for Best Home Cinema at the 2018 CEDIA Awards.

The challenge

We were approached by the client with a unique challenge: to create a home cinema experience that would incorporate the benefits of a media room. Specifically, it would feature several small and one larger picture window – eschewing the traditional windowless design. The setting was an under-used music room with a basic surround sound system, but the client wanted much more.

They were also discerning about the technology: it had to be Dolby Atmos, known for its superior audio compression. We would combine this with a super-widescreen projection system to offer unparalleled viewing and listening.

Bringing the vision to life

We started by measuring the room, calculating where exactly the speakers could be positioned to fit the client’s desired 7.2.4 arrangement. This involved shrewd testing, including projection throw calculations to determine which areas would offer the best sound.

After deciding that a 13-channel speaker system would work best, next it was time for us to focus on comfort. The client wanted a relaxed feel – more of a ‘media room’ to suit their varied collection of movie and other viewing memorabilia. This involved accurate height measurements to keep the screen within viewers’ sightlines. We suggested a tiered seating layout, akin to modern cinemas.

Using computer-aided design, we ‘drew’ the room with the proposed technology in situ. For an even more immersive experience, we created a 3D layout and animation. This helped us to comply with Dolby specifications, and assured the client that all tech would fit the brief.

Building a reality

With the design approved, it was time to get to work. Comfort was at the forefront of the project – keeping speakers unobtrusive while ensuring viewers would enjoy the best angles.

We started with an overhaul of the internal structure – building out the side walls to subtly integrate recessed speakers. Second to comfort came customisability, so we gave the client total control over their environment. This included motorised blinds and radiators, which remained flush with the walls to maximise space.

Finally, we would work on the pièce de resistance: the projector screen. We added a deeper ‘false wall’ onto the front wall, where we could hide both front speakers and add an acoustically transparent projection screen. With an anamorphic 4K display, this centrepiece would offer both crisp visuals and booming acoustics, without intrusive audio systems.

We were incredibly proud of this project, not only for its recognition at the CEDIA Awards, but for how we responded to its challenges. The space was small and the requirements were unlike most home cinemas. Despite this, we used subtle integrations and cutting-edge technology to deliver the final product. The client was thrilled, and now has a cinema room that can be enjoyed for hours on end.


This CEDIA-shortlisted cinema room was built using:

  • Dolby Atmos Surround Sound technology
  • A tiered, two-row seating system
  • An anamorphic 4K super-widescreen projection system
  • A 13-channel speaker system with a 7.2.4 arrangement
  • A fully customisable motorised blind and heating system
  • Intuitive artificial lighting