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Designing an Entertainment System for Your Family Room

The big comfy couch, the fireplace, lots of windows…sound familiar?

TV placement
Sometimes it is good to put the TV over the fireplace and other times I prefer not.Over the fireplace to me is the last resort; put it there if there is no other good wall to use.If you are lucky enough to have a fireplace, this is an important focal point in the family room and my preference is to have a nice painting and to set up the furniture to enjoy the fireplace and the TV area as two separate focal points.

TV size
Size matters, as the old adage goes.These days, picture quality is very high so we can enjoy bigger TVs with nice quality.As a rule of thumb, you can go with 3-4 screen heights for your seating distance.If you like a bigger experience, go with the 3 screen heights.For example, a 65” TV is approx. 32” in picture height.You could comfortably watch a 65” TV from an 8-foot seating distance.I like to cut out a piece of cardboard and tack it to the wall to look at the size.It needs to look the right scale too for the room…think of it like choosing the right artwork.

Sound matters
For the sound, a few options to consider.I find that a lot of my clients these days like sound-bars…especially custom made ones that match the width and cosmetic of your TV.There are a few companies on the market that can make sound-bars to match the width of your TV. For example: James Loudspeakers - http://www.jamesloudspeaker.com/series/11,Leon -http://www.leonspeakers.com/horizonand Sonance - http://www.sonance.com/home-theater/soundbar .Now, with Sonance, the sound-bar comes with an innovative mechanism allowing you to adjust the width by yourself!

If you want to go with surround sound, oftentimes the best solution is in-ceiling speakers, especially when there are no sidewalls or the room is asymmetrical.The ceiling speakers should be placed above or slightly behind your main seating area and I suggest at least 8 feet apart.And don’t forget the subwoofer, a critical speaker for those movie sound effects like explosions, gunshots, jets taking off, etc.In terms of subwoofer, something small or in-wall is usually all that is needed for a nice family room setup.

AV components
AV components that will be needed include a surround sound receiver with the latest HDMI video switching, and some sources to watch like a digital cable box/satellite receiver and an Apple TV, Android box, etc.Video games can be fun too!The components don’t have to be where the TV is, they can go into a wall unit, an adjoining room or a rack in the basement; you will just need to ensure that you have an appropriate remote control system to communicate with the equipment wherever you choose to put it.

Take your time to plan it out and speak with a good consultant about it. This will be a system you will enjoy for many years to come if done right!Have fun out there planning your new family room entertainment!