14 Classic Rookie Home Theater Mistakes to Avoid

Sometimes even the best home theaters need a little help.

Reprinted with permission by Electronic House
Written by Electronic House • January 7, 2015

Even the best home theaters can have problems. We asked custom electronics (CE) pros about the blunders they encounter when DIYers or inexperienced pros can’t get their systems to work.

Looking to create one of the best home theaters? Here are some of the rookie mistakes you should avoid:

    1.) Buying the least expensive gear and finding out it doesn’t have the features you need, like discrete control codes (on and off, for example) or enough inputs and outputs.

    2.) Hooking up equipment using substandard cables, connectors and adapters, leading to poor performance and, eventually, no performance.

    3.) Compromising setups that you learn to live with, like having to leave a cabinet door open, or moving cables from one device to another.

    4.) Forgetting to install Ethernet jacks at the A/V locations.

    5.) Skimping on power protection.

    6.) Mounting video devices in poor locations so that displays are too high and projectors are not centered correctly when there’s no lens shift available.

    7.) Failing to wire distributed audio speaker locations for stereo.

    8.) Forgetting to put power where it’s needed: racks, TVs, projectors, powered seats.

    9.) Trying to use “rules of thumb” for speaker locations in unusual rooms, such as those with missing walls or angled seating.

    10.) Not calibrating your display or audio system. At the very least, take advantage of your display’s movie or cinema settings, which will greatly improve the picture. Receivers usually have auto-calibration features that take mere minutes to use.

    11.) Wiring low-voltage cabling parallel with the electrical, often done in retrofit situations when the installer or DIYer simply uses the same holes used by the electrical wires.

    12.) Inadequate ventilation for equipment, resulting in burned-out gear (and calls to the manufacturer for their “faulty” products).

    13.) Not including control in your budget or your plan.

    14.) Not updating your network for high-definition video. Most of our media now comes from the internet. A reliable and robust network is critical for any new A/V system.