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Home Theater Lighting: Goals and Best Practices

Home Theater Lighting: Goals and Best Practices

One of the most neglected areas of home theater planning is lighting, and it’s obvious why: you watch movies with the lights off, right? What’s the big deal with light control, and why should it matter?

Home theater lighting isn’t just about turning the lights off when it’s time for the movie to start. There are numerous ways careful consideration of lighting can enhance your home theater experience — and home automation can play an important role in keeping everything coordinated so the process is as seamless as it is elegant and functional.

First of all, a fully dark room is dangerous; people need to move around from time to time, whether it’s just to go to the bathroom or because they need to get up and leave for other reasons. One of the goals of a good home theater lighting system should be to enable your guests to get around the room without falling on their faces; that means placing low light sources in such a way that they illuminate the floor where it’s necessary, but don’t cast glare or light onto your screen or display, ruining the movie for everyone.

One of the more common complaints among movie watchers, and this goes for the home theater enthusiast as well, is eye fatigue. Many studies have found that providing a subtle source of constant light behind your screen or display, known as a bias light, can significantly reduce eye fatigue — and it won’t make the images projected any less impressive.

Finally, remember that no one wants to watch a movie in a dull, gray box. Think about how accent lighting can reveal the best qualities of a room — architecturally-interesting corners, or works of art on display — and how that can translate into a more pleasant home theater experience.

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