Home Theater Seating Layout Setup Guide

Seating position affects audio performance:

dark theater picture

Straight to the point?

1. An ideal spot for optimum home theater seating layout would be 2/3 back into the room from the front wall. Not all rooms are large enough to achieve this distance so set your seating positions as close to this ratio as possible.

2. Sitting exactly in the middle between the two side walls.

This would be considered the audio and video sweet spot.

The only problem with this location is that not everyone can sit here.

But what if you are having a party? What if there are 10 people in your theater room? Your home Theater room layout may need to be wider than optimal if you tend to entertain a lot.

Either a wider room or a deeper room with more rows of seats from front to back will be necessary. In either case, some viewers will be outside of the optimal range for viewing.

3. I usually encourage consumers to set up their theater chairs with the front row, center chair being the optimal location. Or, the second row center chair is also used quite frequently. My first pick is the front row! My home theater setup guidelines always center the prime location front and center.

In fact the center chair is usually the theater owner’s personal spot.

He or she is the primary user of the theater anyway. Optimize everything for that prime location.The other theater chairs will get a good experience also by being located in the general vicinity of the prime spot.

4. The next best seat will usually be the chair directly behind the first row center position.

In most home theater-seating layouts the second row seats are elevated so that the second row can see over the first rows heads.

But the second rows are usually staggered so that you can see between the front row viewers.

The second row will be off center (laterally) making the second row’s middle two viewers share the sweet spot.

How the seating positions affect Video performance:

The size of the screen will be the major determining factor for home theater seating layout and viewing distance.

Below are some general guidelines for viewing distances.

Very large projector screens can be estimated based on the ratios below.

26″ 3.25-5.5 feet

32″ 4.0-6.66 feet

37″ 4.63-7.71 feet

40″ 5.0-8.33 feet

46″ 5.75-9.5 feet

52″ 6.5-10.8 feet

58″ 7.25-12 feet

65″ 8.13-13.5 feet

70″ 8.75-14.75 feet

80″ and up 12.00-20.00 feet (projector screens)

These guidelines are a minimum distance so that you are not seated too close.

Video performance is best viewed straight on from the center

Audio will be better too.

Off center viewing angles are different for each TV type and set.

LCD and Plasma generally have a wider viewing angle than a rear projection screen.

These parameters are determined by each individual set and viewing distance.

In all of the above situations the outside theater chairs will experience slightly less light output from the screen. The outside chairs will also have less than optimal audio quality.

Elite Screens Manual Pull Down Projection Screen, 16:9 Aspect Ratio-135in (Matte White)
Your best home theater system setup should also include a careful review of your theater chairs and their locations. The home theater seating furniture locations will all affect the performance that you experience to some degree. Plan ahead for best results.

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