Home Theaters vs Media Rooms Explained
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Home Theaters vs Media Rooms Explained

Home Theaters vs Media Rooms Explained

You’ve probably heard the terms “home theater” and “media room” thrown around, but did you know that they’re not necessarily interchangeable?

Home theaters and media rooms actually differ from each other in fairly significant ways, and which project you choose to incorporate into your home will depend on how you wish to use the space. Let’s get into the specifics of how a home theater and media room differ.

What is a Home Theater?

A home theater is typically described as a space that is optimized for a theatrical experience. If you’re looking to replicate a movie theater experience in your home, a home theater is what you would want to build.

A home theater gives you more control over the environment, such as the ambient light and the darkness of the room. Fewer lights in the room mean a better viewing experience in your home theater. But there are many other aspects of a home theater that differentiate it from a media room.

Cinema Lighting

Newer projectors are able to perform better in ambient lighting. However, some subtle light will preserve the picture quality. The idea is to keep any lighting from falling directly onto the screen., such as light coming through a window or lights from an adjacent room.

Blackout shades or automated shades can help control the ambient lighting in your home theater if you have windows, and you’ll want to have dimmable lighting to create the perfect atmosphere.

Sound Equipment

Sometimes, when building a home theater, people may want to cut corners when it comes to sound. But the sound quality is half the experience of watching a movie.

Immersive sound is essential to bringing you straight into the movie or TV show, surrounding you with carefully crafted soundtrack and sound effects. When budgeting for your home theater, make sure you keep enough money set aside for surround sound equipment.

Sound Absorption

When you go to the movies, you’re not sitting in a completely empty room. There are chairs and bodies that help absorb the sound coming from the speakers. That is another part of the home theater experience you’ll want to focus on.

With the seating arranged in rows facing the screen, you’ll get similar sound absorption to a movie theater, and everyone in your home theater can enjoy the experience the same way as everyone else.

What is a Media Room?

A media room is what you think of when you’re watching sports or an exciting reality TV show together. Media rooms are designed to be interactive and fun, focusing less on a movie theater experience and more on the experience of togetherness. There are some aspects of a media room that differ from a home theater.

Flexible Seating

Rather than couches or chairs in rows, a media room is more likely to have flexible seating options, which means chairs and couches can be moved around to create the best seating arrangement for your event.

For example, if a group of people wants to break away and converse while others are watching the show, they can move some chairs away from the screen and keep their conversation from disturbing others. Flexible seating can also be moved to form a more intimate arrangement with a small group or open it up for a larger group.

Ample Screen Size

When designing your media room, you want a television that is large enough to see from almost anywhere. The general rule of thumb for screen size is to take the diagonal TV size and move two to three times that distance away from the TV and still be able to see what is happening. That will give you the “wow factor” you’re looking for in a media room.


A media room is less likely to be an environment where you sit down to intently watch a new movie. That’s why content is so important for a media room.

With so many streaming options, you’ll want to have as many options available as possible to keep you and your guests entertained. When it comes to watching the next big sports game or the latest episode of your favorite TV show, you don’t want to get caught without options.

Get Your Free AV Room Quote Today!

Now that you know the difference between a home theater and a media room, you should be equipped to make the decision best for you and your family.

When you’re ready, contact Audio Video Protocol for more information and a free quote on your next AV room project. You can also give us a call at 800-729-5509, and one of our professionals will help guide you through the process of creating the home theater or media room of your dreams.