What is the difference between a 'Home Theatre' and a 'Home Cinema'?
Home Cinema vs. Home Theatre vs. Surround Sound vs. TV + Speakers
As the saying goes "A spade's a spade"...It is what it 'is'. The terms are easily mixed and interchangeable.. but here is our definition of what makes a 'home theatre' and what makes a 'home cinema'. Firstly, some would say that the difference is whether there is a projector and screen or 'no projector and screen'. We would argue this is not the definition at all.. WHY? Because more and more people are having projectors and screens mounted in bedrooms, living rooms and areas that are clearly not 'home theatre rooms'.
We've also seen some incredible 'home cinemas' where by there is no projector/screen and there is a massive, monster 100inch TV on the wall. So what is the definition then? Some would say it's whether there is surround sound or not. We argue that; that's not quite it either. We've seen some impressive systems that just have 1x sound bar or even 2x floor-standing speakers out front. So by now, you're probably cottoning on to what a 'home cinema' is and is not... it must have something to do with the curtains? the home cinema 'feel' chairs? We're getting a littler warmer; but that's not quite it either.
Is it the curtains? Or home cinema chairs? Not quite..
Our definition of a 'home cinema' is as follows:
It must be a 'designated room for watching entertainment'. It usually has a projector/screen (80% of the time).. it might have dark coloured walls (not always) .. but a home cinema can be an all-white room! It might have surround sound (90% of the time)...but it doesn't have to! It might have 'cinema-feeling' chairs / 'home theatre recliners' (but the room might have been bags and a really comfy lounge!) Our categorical definition is whether or not the room is a designated room for turning the screen on or not. If the room is also a bedroom/ a toy room/ kid's room / rumpus or living area where by you can walk around without the lights on during the day; then chances are it's not a 'home cinema' by our definition. Here is an example of where the lines get crossed.
Below are pics of 'home theatres' installed in a living room with good curtains that give that 'home cinema' feel.. but they are categorically not 'home cinemas'.
The confusion with projectors / screens. Below are 'home cinemas' without a projector/screen, just a TV on the wall... but everything else about the room spells 'home cinema' and there is categorically a 'home cinema' feel about the room. The room can be closed off, the room is quiet and not a lot of foot traffic.
The Surround Sound argument
Just like a projector/screen, a home cinema room doesn't always have surround sound. (We're not saying we agree with this at all!) A movie is just not the same without surround sound! And these 'simulated-surround-sound-soundbars' and systems don't even come close to producing the same results. Any good home theatre or home cinema really needs surround sound speakers... otherwise we call it for what it is - "A TV on the wall with a floating soundbar" (Check out photos here).