Creating a beautiful home theater isn't just the act of purchasing the best performing individual components...it's also the careful consideration of how each component integrates with one another, and an often forgotten aspect is how all these disparate elements come together within the space it occupies. With each added piece of your home theater pie is an additional wire/cable or two (or ten!). We think anything that reduces clutter and the presence of wiring/cables is a big plus, so we've compiled our best tips for reducing home theater clutter for the regular and small space home theater setup...
We're in the process of changing out a nasty, large HDMI cable that spans across our apartment's floor. Many of you out there share our renter's dilemma of needing to run home theater cables across rooms without drilling, and thankfully manufacturers like ATLONA are offering flat form-factor cables like these super flat HDMI 1.3b certified cables. These cables are Kiera Knightly thin and come in a wide selection of lengths, offered in interior wall compatible white, so they should blend in well when we run them along the floors against the wall...a renting home theater enthusiast's dream!
Perhaps home theaters of the wealthy are seemingly wire-free affairs, but for average folks as ourselves, our system require the addition of the clunky eyesores known as surge protectors (we do hide our surge strip up against a wall, minimizing its presence). Why not go for a slim profile surge strip like this one from Belkin...or just hide it completely away with a concealed system with wire management built in!
We thought HDMI was supposed to reduce the amount of cabling snaking across our home? The truth is with the popularity of HDMI connections, an HDMI switcher is likely necessity at some point in your home theater lifetime. We're fond of the features and aesthetics of the Xtremehd 4-PORT HDMI Switcher, with an Apple TV-inspired form factor and a remote to make switching between your PS3 and digital cable a breeze.
Clutter can extend to our coffee tables, since each component usually comes with its own remote control. We prescribe to the ways of the Highlander: THERE CAN ONLY BE ONE! And our "one" is a Logitech Harmony 880 with hopes of upgrading to the newer Logitech Harmony One model in the near future. We were able to banish our audio, TV, digital satellite, projector, LCD monitor, and Apple TV remotes to one (fairly) easy to use remote control. The programmable universal remote would top our list as our number one clutter-busting solution.
Oh Apple Airport Express, how much we loved you before you passed onto the afterlife of electronics. No need for wires or an additional set of speakers (though they need to be powered or amplified to work with this) to enjoy the tunes that reside on your computer into the living room and beyond with this wireless audio and printing solution.
The flat panel has been beautifully mounted onto the wall, but now you've got a collection of cables and wires that gives your home theater system the appeal of a dirty jellyfish. Hide them all away with a textured or smooth cover to match your wall!
Eliminate one of the biggest culprits of wiring clutter: home theater speakers. If you live in a rectalinear room with three equidistant walls, you might want to consider using a digital sound projecting speaker system like the Yamaha YSP-900. We use the older 800 model and have to say although we're not completely immersed in a real home theater experience, the effect is noticeable and sure beats the integrated TV speakers of our LCD set.
One of the biggest upgrades we've made in the past 12 months was going from a dinky 40" LCD to most satisfying 92" projected image, thanks to a ceiling mounted DLP projector. Since the wires/cables are located behind us, instead of in front of us like the LCD setup, the impression is there is a lot less noticeable mess...allowing us to focus on the grand picture instead of a tangle below.
Let's get this straight: nothing is going to beat a true 5-8.1 surround system. But small spaces often don't require such excess in sound capability and the additional clutter will make your interior look less like home theater and more like the domestic version of the returns section at Fry's and Best Buy after Christmas. We normally recommend discreet components for quality assurance, but if you're looking for space saving and clutter-free performance, you're not going to do bad looking at something like this CS-700 2.1 Home Theater with DVD and Wireless Audio. The wireless subwoofer won us over, alongside the small space friendly DVD/CD player, AM/FM tuner.