THX can help you optimize your home audio and video experience for any type of home theater system and for any room size. We’re here to help!
THX is a Trusted Resource for Building Your Home Theater.
THX can help you optimize audio and video for anywhere from a cozy nook to a fully tricked out home theater. Regardless of room size, your entertainment experience should be the best one possible. Here are some considerations and product suggestions for systems of all sizes and best practices for set-up.
If you have a cozy room, your options expand up to 5.1 speakers. Here, you could opt for a THX Certified Compact Speaker, Integrated System, or even Sound Bar. THX Certified Compact products are for smaller rooms, up to 1,000 cubic feet in size, with an ~8 foot viewing distance from the screen.
WHERE AND HOW SHOULD I POSITION MY TV IN MY LIVING ROOM?
For optimal viewing, you want your line of sight to be more or less aligned with the center of the screen. We suggest 15 degrees or less, above or below the center, as seen in the image below.
For 4K or ultra-high definition (UHD) TV models, they have various layers of LCD enhancement that focus light in specific ways. If you elevate your TV, you’re going to distort the picture quality.
A good rule of thumb is to divide your screen size by .835. This will give you the ideal maximum gap (in inches) between your couch and your 4K set.
WHAT DO I NEED TO THINK ABOUT BEFORE I BUY?
When choosing an audio system for your home, first ask yourself what you are going to be listening to. Are you looking for an audio system to connect with your laptop? Is it for multi-channel movies or just improving how your TV sounds? If you want to watch movies, TV or play games in surround sound, then you should consider a 5.1 or 7.1 surround sound system. If you are looking to improve how your music sounds in your bedroom or desktop, consider a 2.1 or 5.1 multimedia system.
WHAT SIZE TV SHOULD I BUY FOR MY LIVING ROOM?
To determine what size TV you should purchase, we recommend you measure the distance between your couch and where your TV will be located (in inches). Then multiply that number by .835, and that should help you determine what screen size you should get.
But for 4K or UHD TV sets, the process is a little different since the nearer you sit to these models, the more detail you’ll be able to pick up.
WHAT VIEWING MODES SHOULD I BE AWARE OF FOR THE OPTIMAL VIEWING EXPERIENCE?
Different content requires different needs from your display. Many TVs include viewing modes optimized for genre-specific content. THX® Certified TVs offer THX Cinema Mode, THX Game Mode, and THX Bright Room. Read more about viewing modes here.
WHERE SHOULD I PLACE MY SPEAKER BAR?
The best placement for the speaker bar is your bar right below your TV. We don’t recommend placing the speaker bar above your TV or somewhere else in the room. For the optimal sound experience, it should be right below your TV set, should not be tilted, and it should align and face vertically with your TV screen.
SHOULD I GET HTiB OR SEPARATES?
If you prefer to buy all of your home theater components in one stop, then you should consider an Integrated System or “Home Theater in a Box” (HTiB). These “all-in-one” packages include speakers, subwoofer and an AV receiver. Some even come equipped with a DVD or Blu-ray player. The benefit is that everything is included in an HTiB, even the cables, and set up is easy.
THX Certified integrated systems ensure you don’t sacrifice power or performance for this convenience.
WHAT IS AN AV RECEIVER AND WHY SHOULD I CARE?
You will need an AV receiver to experience surround sound. The AV receiver is the hub of your home audio system. A receiver accepts all audio and video sources, including satellite and cable TV, DVRs, DVD and Blu-ray players, as well as gaming consoles. It then distributes the sound from these sources to your surround system, accurately powering all of your speakers.
THX Certified receivers range in price from $500 to $9000. The price difference is often defined by product features and technologies. High-end receivers feature a number of listening modes, calibration technologies and video processing. Higher priced receivers may also be upgradeable via firmware updates in case a new technology appears on the market.
When deciding on the right AV receiver for your system, start by making sure there is enough amplifier power to drive the speakers for your particular room size. Then, evaluate the various processing modes. If you play video games or enjoy movies in surround sound, THX Listening modes and THX Loudness Plus will greatly improve the experience. In addition, you should try to pick a receiver with enough inputs (HDMI, component, etc.) for your home entertainment system.
SHOULD I CONSIDER ON-WALL SPEAKERS?
You need to make sure that the box speakers you purchase are actually designed for wall mounting. A wall creates an acoustic boundary that reflects low frequencies (bass). If you mount traditional box speakers (not designed for wall mounting) the result could be a very bass heavy sound.
DO LARGER SPEAKERS PERFORM BETTER?
The size of your speakers make a difference in performance. While many well known speaker brands push smaller speaker concepts, THX recommends resisting the temptation to go too small. The smaller the speaker, the more you may compromise in terms of output and low frequency performance. Try to find a balance between the size you desire and the sound quality you expect. THX Certified speaker brands are renowned for their design aesthetic, creating high performing speakers that blend with any décor.
DO I NEED A SUBWOOFER?
Yes. Don’t think about getting a home theater system without a subwoofer. Subwoofers provide the low frequency bass that creates the rumbles of the jet engine in Iron Man or freeway bridges collapsing in Die Hard 4. THX recommends getting the biggest subwoofer that your living space and budget will allow. In the world of THX Certified speaker systems, a 12-inch or 2×10-inch subwoofers is a minimum requirement.
CAN I MIX AND MATCH SPEAKERS?
Yes. Mixing and matching speaker brands and styles is fine. In fact, the whole concept of THX Certification is based on the idea of being able to mix and match components from different manufacturers. The THX Certification process standardizes all electrical and output parameters, so that all THX Certified speakers and receivers work together.
You can potentially have box speakers for the Front and in-wall or in-ceiling speakers for the Surrounds. However, THX recommends that you keep groups of speakers similar. This means, the Front speakers should be from the same manufacturer and designed to work together. Surround Left and Right speakers should also be identical to each other, as should the Surround Back speakers.
HOW IMPORTANT IS SOUND TO AN ENTERTAINMENT EXPERIENCE?
Sound is fifty percent of the entertainment experience. Great sound can bring out the power of high definition video. Speaker placement is essential to experiencing the true impact of movies, music and games. THX offers speaker setup and positioning tips for immersive, 7.1, 5.1 and desktop speaker systems.
HOW DO I SET UP DESKTOP SYSTEMS?
Monitor Viewing Distance: There should be a 28-inch viewing distance from your desktop display to your seating position.
Front Speakers: If you have a 5.1 desktop system, the Front Left and Right speakers should be placed to the side of your display, with the Center Channel Speaker either above or below the display —aimed at the listening position.
Surround Speaker Set Up: If you have a 5.1 desktop system, the Surround speakers should be positioned 56 inches from your seating position.