Here are 5 Important Things to Consider
You’ve heard a lot about 4K, Ultra HD, and other terms. You want that razor-sharp picture in your home theater.
Maybe you already have a home theater. In that case, you may be wondering what you’ll need to upgrade.
If you don’t have a home theater system, the good news is you can plan to get new equipment with less concern about what will be compatible with the old.
Let’s look at five important considerations for achieving 4K home theater nirvana in your Maui home.
4K Screens: Flat Panel or Projector?
The traditional approach to a full-on home theater has been a ceiling or rear projection system, but recent trends have developed new options. Flat Panels are now available up to 100 inches in size, with 75-85 inch models becoming quite affordable. If you don’t like integrating projectors in your room, a large flat panel may be the way to go. LED backlight dimming, OLED screen technology, HDR (high dynamic range) and Dolby Vision (Dolby Labs’ special version of HDR) offer incredible sharpness, detail, and black level performance.
Projectors have not been standing still. There are many models to choose from that offer 4K resolution, but one of the things to watch out for is support for HDR. Look for models that support both HDR10 and Dolby Vision, or at a minimum are software upgradeable for those features. Ultra short-throw projectors are also a viable option now; these models are more easily installed and calibrated than ceiling mounted or rear projection setups.
4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
The next generation of 4K Blu-ray is here, and the prices of players have come down to mainstream levels. More titles are being released in the 4K format, and many old popular titles are also being released in this format, as has typically happened before when the technology changes. 4K Blu-ray is a must for the best quality picture and sound in a theater. While an increasing amount of 4K content is being streamed, typically the actual picture quality will not equal local playback from a disc. Further, streamed 4K content will not have the highest definition sound formats like Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. Movies in 4K Blu-Ray will particularly wow you with their enhanced contrast and brightness.
You likely know about streaming devices like Apple TV, Google Chromecast, Roku, and Amazon Fire TV. All these vendors have 4K versions of their devices available now. Apple, Amazon, and Google have varying amounts of movies and shows in 4K. They all support HDR, but only Apple TV currently supports Dolby Vision. Netflix has an ever-growing number of shoes and movies available in 4K. Movie service VUDU (available on all but Amazon’s Fire TV) has a growing library of 4K movies as well.
AV Receivers and Preamps
If you’ve had a home theater audio setup for a while, chances are it’s not compatible with 4K. You need support for passing HDCP 2.2 signals, which is the standard for enabling 4K video content. If your receiver or multichannel preamp is not compatible with this, then it may make for some tradeoffs in your video source switching and audio playback possibilities. We can guide you through those considerations, and decide whether your current equipment can be used in a 4K theater upgrade.
Networking and Internet
Last but not least, 4K video puts considerable demands on a home network. If you want to stream or distribute 4K signals around your home – including your theater – you may need a router and perhaps cable upgrades.
If reading this has created more questions than answers, you are not alone. There’s much to consider in planning a 4K home theater. Contact us; we will guide you through all the choices to create the perfect Maui home theater for you.