With over 24 years of Home Theater Experience, ADI can design and install a Theater to fit your lifestyle and budget!

You enter your Home Theater, sit down in a plush Theater chair and pick up the stylish remote control. You press the button labeled "Watch Movie" and the movie screen drops down from the ceiling, the lighting dims to your favorite level, the Surround Sound processor comes on with all of the proper settings, and the projector turns on. Next you select the movie you want to watch from a list on the screen and it starts playing. You are now immersed in an amazing Home Theater experience. An ADI Home Theater experience. Take a look at our Photo Gallery for pictures of some of the work we have done.

ADI can make this happen for you no matter what your budget is! Call or email us today for a free custom proposal made to your specifications or read on if you would like more information:

A Home Theater is one of the most popular options to consider for your home.

Home theater systems will make your movie watching experience more realistic and more convenient than going to a movie theater! There are many components needed to put together a quality theater system. Read all about it on the following pages or click the links below to take you directly to a particular area of interest. 

The Room

Any room in your home can work, but there are some things you may want to consider. For best results, a separate room should be used (Dedicated Home Theater). But great results can also be obtained by just using an area of your home like an open Family room. (Multi-purpose Home Theater). First, the walls in the room should be of unequal length (the room should not be square). This will make the bass response smoother. Next, the room should be dark. This gives you the feeling of being in a real theater, and makes viewing the screen easier on the eyes. This is especially true if you are using any kind of projection TV, as they tend to be dimmer than LCD or Plasma type TV’s. If the room has windows, heavy curtains or blinds should be used. Lighting should be indirect, and able to be dimmed. The room should have carpet on the floor, otherwise the room may be too "live" which will make speech unintelligible due to echoes. If the floor is wood or tile, and the room is too live, area rugs, heavy curtains or cloth wall hangings can be used to deaden the room. One easy way to tell if the room is too live is to stand in the middle of the room. For high end Theaters, we can use modeling software to predict what type of treatments are needed. Keep in mind that there will always be reflections and echoes in a room, you just want to try and minimize them. We can bring in test equipment to test the room and make recommendations if we find problems.

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Dedicated Home Theater with Stewart Screen and Legacy Speakers

HDTV or DTV

Digital Television (DTV) is the next generation of high quality TV. As the name implies, this technology is transmitted in a digital bit-stream. Older TVs accept analog (NTSC) signals. The DTV standard encompasses eighteen (that’s right, 18!) different video formats. All formats are displayed in 16:9 format. This is the ratio of width to height of the picture. Old TVs are in 4:3 format (roughly square) instead of like the movie screen at your local theater which is wider than it is tall. The lower resolution formats are still much better quality than the old analog TV picture, and are referred to as Standard Definition Television (SDTV). SDTV is displayed in 480i. 480i means that the picture has 480 vertical lines of resolution, and is displayed by interlacing the signal. With interlacing, every frame is displayed by first drawing the odd lines on the screen, and then drawing the even lines. Enhanced Definition Television (EDTV) is a medium resolution display technology that is much better than SDTV. EDTV is displayed in 480p. 480p means that the picture has 480 lines of vertical resolution, and is scanned progressively on the screen. With Progressive scanning, every frame is displayed by drawing all 480 lines on the screen in sequence. Only the upper resolutions can be called High Definition TV (HDTV). HDTV is displayed using either 720p or 1080i. Most people will agree that 720p is better for fast motion images like sports programming, and 1080i is better for static or slow moving images. The latest add-on to this is 1080p. Although this is not part of the original DTV standard, it is a natural progression. This now gives you the picture quality of 1080 lines of resolution and is progressively scanned. You don’t have to worry because if you buy an HDTV, it will take in and display any of these formats for you automatically. The DTV standard uses Dolby Digital as it’s sound encoding format. All of the major markets now have many DTV stations in operation. In the Twin Cities of Minneapolis/St. Paul, all of the major stations are transmitting in HD. So you're probably saying "How do I get HDTV?". Well, read on.

DTV Equipment

First of all, you will need a display device capable of displaying DTV signals. When you buy a new TV, it will need to say HDTV or HDTV ready. An HDTV set will have an HDTV tuner built in. HDTV ready means that it is capable of displaying HDTV signals, but does not have an HDTV tuner built in. All HDTV sets will be in a 16:9 aspect ratio (wider than it it is tall) rather than a normal TV set that is 4:3 (roughly square). So, if you have an HDTV ready set, or an older set, what do you do? You can buy a set top HDTV receiver. This box will connect to your current TV and will receive HDTV signals and display them on your TV. It connects to your TV just like a DVD player would. In general, here are the different connections you could make from your HDTV set top box to your TV, and what to expect:

  • Modulated--(like your VCR to channel 3 or 4) - Low quality picture, down converted from DTV. Most HDTV set top boxes won't provide this option.
  • Composite--(this is a single RCA connection) - Low quality picture, down converted from DTV.
  • S-Video--(a single DIN cable connection) - SDTV or EDTV resolution picture
  • Component Video--(3 RCA cable connection) - HDTV resolution picture (Analog). Component is dieing in favor of HDMI
  • RGB--(4 coax or single D connector) - HDTV resolution picture (Analog)
  • DVI--(Digital Visual Interface) D connector – HDTV resolution picture (Digital)
  • HDMI--(High Definition Multimedia Interface) - HDTV resolution picture (Digital) AND digital audio over a single cable

Be sure you have like connections on your source devices and TV. For example if you buy an HDTV cable box that only has an HDMII output connector, and your TV only has Component inputs, you are in trouble. However HDMI and DVI are compatible with each other. Most new TVs will have HDMI and Component inputs.

Cable TV

Most cable systems have at least some content being transmitted in HDTV format. You will need a set top box or a TV with a built in cable HDTV tuner (or cable card slot) to receive the signals. Talk to your local Cable TV Company to find out what it is available in your area.

Broadcast TV

Just like you can put up an antenna and receive analog stations, you can also receive HDTV signals with the same antenna. Since the HDTV channels are broadcast using normal UHF channel slots, all you need is a UHF antenna and a TV or set top box that will receive HDTV signals. Check your local area to find out what HDTV stations are available.

Currently, there are 10 HDTV stations broadcasting in the Twin Cities area of Minneapolis/St. Paul as follows:

Local Station Network Analog Channel HD Channel Display Channel Power (kw) Frequency (Mhz)
KTCA PBS 2 34 2-1, 2-2  1000
WCCO CBS 4 32 4-1 1000 579.25-583.75
KSTP ABC 5 50 5-1, 5-2 1000 687.25-692.75
KMSP FOX 9 26 9-1, 9-2 691 547.75-597.25
KARE NBC 11 35 11-1, 11-2 1000 601.75-483.25
WUCW CW 23 22 23-1, 23-2  1000
WFTC UPN 29 21 29-1, 29-2 1000 513.25-517.75
KSTC Independent 45 44 24-1  1000
KPXM* ION 41 40 41-1, 41-2 
* KPXM is part of KARE and broadcasts out of Big Lake, MN

DirecTV Satellite

DirecTV has a lot of HDTV content and is adding more every month. If you are currently a DirecTV customer, you have one or more Satellite receivers connected in your home. But depending on when and what you bought, your current receivers and dish may not support HDTV signals. You can tell if your dish supports HDTV simply by looking at it. If your dish is round, then it will not support HDTV. If it is an oval dish, you will get at least some HD content. There are two versions of the oval dish. 3 LNBs and 5 LNBs. It must be an oval dish with 5 LNBs to support all HDTV stations. This is because the HDTV signals come off of different satellites. In many areas (including the Twin Cities) you can now get local HDTV channels. This requires a 5 LNB dish and a new receiver that supports MPEG4 compression. Call us if you want help understanding your options or see the DirecTV section for more info.

Televisions and Video Displays

Any quality TV will work but bigger is better. We recommend a 36-inch TV as a bare minimum. For a serious Home Theater you will need a 40, 50 or 60 inch screen or larger. There are many different types of displays. Some do not have a tuner built in, they are only a display device. Today, most will come with a High Definition TV (HDTV) tuner that will receive broadcast HDTV signals (see the HDTV section). Some will come with a "Cable Card slot" that allows you to install a card that will allow you to receive cable or satellite signals. All of the new models will come in the 16:9 aspect ratio (wider than it is tall) rather than the normal TV set that is 4:3 (roughly square). This is because HDTV requires a 16:9 aspect ratio. The TV should have low level video inputs for as many input devices that you have to connect (VCR, DVD, Blu-ray, etc). Most of the newer models do have some number of video inputs. If you have a Super VHS VCR, a Laser disk player, a DVD player or a Satellite receiver they will have "S-Video", component, DVI or HDMI outputs and you should make sure that your TV has the same. Let's look at the different types of TVs.

  • Picture-Tube TelevisionsPicture tube TVs are pretty much dead at this point in favor of Flat Panel displays.
  • Plasma TelevisionsPlasma TVs have really come down in price, and are available from 40 to 108 inches in size. The bigger models (80-108 inches) are still very expensive. They are only available in 16:9 format. They are typically only 4 inches thick, and usually come with a table stand or you can hang it on the wall! When I say hang on the wall, it's not as easy as they show on the TV commercials. The 60 inch plus sizes will weigh over 200 pounds, so a special wall mounting bracket is required. They have very high-resolution pictures, and work very well in places where space is an issue. They are subject to burn-in which is caused by the same picture being displayed for long periods of time. So they are not the best choice for video games or any application with a static display.
  • LCD TelevisionsLike Plasmas, LCDs are thin and can be hung on the wall. They come in sizes from 15 to 60 inches, and can be purchased in 4:3 or 16:9 aspect ratios, although 4:3 models are almost dead now. Typically they are not as high-resolution as Plasma's, although their picture quality is improving.
  • LED Televisions-- There is really no such thing, this is more of a marketing thing. LED TVs are really just LCD TVs that use LEDs to back light the LCD panel instead of a CCFL bulb. They are more expensive than a standard LCD, but are thinner, have better black levels, and use less power (so they are Greener).
  • Rear Projection Televisions (CRT)These TVs are pretty much dead in favor of Plasma and LCD TVs.
  • Rear Projection Televisions (DLP)Available in sizes from 40 to 80 inches, these TVs have been around for some time and are using the Texas Instruments Digital Light Processing (DLP) chips that have been used in front projection systems for years. These are very light weight and only 7 to 10 inches thick. Picture quality is very good and the price is very reasonable. DLP TVs are being phased out due to the LCD and Plasma screens coming down in price. 
  • ProjectorsWith projection systems, you hang a screen on the wall (or have it automatically deploy from the ceiling), mount a projector to the ceiling, and sit back and watch! Typical screen sizes are from 60 to 144 inches! CRT projectors are very large and very heavy which makes them hard to install. CRT projectors have three lenses on the front (red, blue and green), and can have problems with convergence over time. This is where the red, blue and green separate, and need to be adjusted by a service professional. LCD projectors are small and reasonably priced, and have good quality pictures but DLP are more common. The new DLP projectors are reasonably priced, small, lightweight and have a very good picture. Most of the DLP projectors use a single DLP chip, and a color wheel that spins with Red, Blue, and Green colors on it. You can buy these in the range of $400.00 to $5000.00. The best DLP projectors use 3 DLP chips. One each for the primary colors (Red, Blue and Green). These projectors are very clear and much brighter than the single chip models. They are coming down in price and cost $4,000.00 or more.
  • 3D--The latest craze is 3D. If you have TV that supports 3D, then you can find 3D content on DirecTV satellite and on Blu-ray discs. See here for more information.

Read more: Playback Devices | Surround Processor| Speakers | Theater Automation