Who do I call now that I’m finally ready to upgrade to a home theater?

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Gone are the old days when you plugged in a few of the largest speakers you could find and called it "surround sound." The beauty of today's home theater is its discreet high-performance—all the bells and whistles with none of the wires and cords (showing, that is).

There are many moving parts, pun intended, to creating a luxurious and high-tech media room and one important stationary factor—the size of your space. Without the right perspective, big-screen viewing won't deliver the experience you want. Acoustics count, too, as do optics—from the lighting to the color of the walls, not to mention the actual equipment. And, of course, décor factors in, to create the right chair and/or sofa configuration to meet your needs. That's why working with an experienced multimedia company that specializes in residential projects is so important. This is an expensive addition, and you want it done well.

Putting in a home theater is a lot like building a house itself. It starts with your vision, then a design, the build-out and installation and, finally, meticulous testing and refining to correctly calibrate the system, a process that includes "commissioning" and tuning.

According to the industry group CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association), a home technology professional or "integrator" is the specialist most knowledgeable to work with you to select the right equipment and install it. More than just home theater services, CEDIA members are electronic systems integration companies involved in all aspects of technological innovations for the home—security, networking, entertainment, automation, health, and energy management. Just as you would approach selecting any type of contractor, meet with a few different firms, review their past projects and talk to satisfied clients. Having confidence in the company you select is the surest way to getting the media room of your dreams.

The Los Angeles home project featured above started with a mere lighting system and distributed A/V. It grew in scope to creating a fully integrated home. DSI Entertainment Systems provided a CEDIA.org award-winning solution that met the client's firm requirement that the gear not overtake the aesthetics. [Photo courtesy of CEDIA.org]