Are You Looking for a Home Cinema or a Media Room?

February 28, 2020

When it comes to home technology, the pace of change can be hard to keep up with, particularly for those outside of the industry. That’s why we’re proud to be CEDIA Members of Excellence. As one of only 14 companies in the entire world, part of our status involves regularly educating ourselves on new developments in smart tech.

To the layman, certain terms are thrown around interchangeably. However, there are key differences between some of our most popular products. One of the terms we see confused most often is ‘home cinema’ and ‘media room’. So what exactly is the difference?

Key requirements for a home cinema

Home cinemas, or home theatres, make up some of our favourite projects here at SONA. With the advent of streaming services and other media creators like Kaleidescape, home theatres are skyrocketing in popularity.

The home theatre is customised to offer that authentic cinema experience without setting foot outdoors. It also offers a number of other unique features.

Fully personalised controls

To create that immersive experience, the power is in your hands. This includes choosing your own settings, for example adding or taking away ambient light. Often, home theatres do not have windows – just like a real cinema – or we can incorporate automated blackout shades for the same effect.

Specialised acoustic treatment

Cinemas are designed to offer optimum sound quality, while preventing it from ‘leaking out’. The same goes for home cinemas – they are custom-built with sound considerations in mind. This may mean they take longer to build than other home technology projects, as installers technically have to create a ‘room within a room’ featuring special acoustic treatments. The speakers are also hidden for a better aesthetic effect.

Comfort is a top priority

Among sound and vision, home cinemas are also designed with long viewing periods in mind. Seats are positioned for the best view of the screen from all angles. That’s why you’ll often find homeowners convert a ‘spare’ room into a home cinema space – it’s not enough simply to add a few seats to an existing living space. It needs to provide its own immersive experience.

A larger viewing platform

Now for the main event – the screen! Home cinemas have larger, custom-made screens which can accommodate video projectors. With a dedicated wall, homeowners can make the most of the space available to them.

Key requirements for a media room

A media room is more relaxed, allowing homeowners to use one room for multiple functions. On the downside, it does not provide as much of an ‘authentic’ home cinema experience, but it does make the room more versatile, for example studying and entertaining.

Seating is more relaxed

With less pressure on the optimum viewing experience, seating can be better customised to the viewer’s requirements, for example entertaining or watching a sports game.

Sound systems are integrated

While there is not as much pressure to re-construct an entire room for better sound, media rooms can subtly integrate speakers into their overall design. For example, in-wall speakers, soundbars or ceiling speakers can all help to create a ‘surround sound’ effect, but are not complemented by a bespoke design.

Lighting is more flexible

Many media rooms may have windows, but again, homeowners can customise these using automated blinds or shades. There is some degree of control over ambient lighting, but media room owners may like to rely more on natural night.

Viewing platforms are more versatile

As media rooms often serve a multi-purpose role, many homeowners opt for flat panel TVs, or a motorised projection screen that can be hidden out of the way. For an even more subtle effect, designers may add motorised art, mirrors or cabinets to really wow viewers.

Home cinema or media room: which is right for me?

Choosing the right media space for you truly depends on how you’re going to use the room. Before you consult with us, ask yourself the following questions:

  • Do I have space for a single-use cinema room?
  • Do I want one kind of media only or a room with multiple uses?
  • Do I want to optimise the room for crisp visuals and crystal-clear sound?
  • Do I want a more relaxed environment for viewing different media?

Our luxury home technology team can guide you on the right decision for your next home media project. Contact the SONA team today to find out more.