6 Setup Tips for the Perfect Entertainment Center

Moving may be one of life’s most stressful events, but for those who love their television rooms, it does provide an exciting opportunity: the chance to create a new and perfectly set up entertainment center.

Sure, you can start by setting up your kitchen or bedroom, but once that’s done, here are some basic tips to help you create a new entertainment mecca.

1. Don’t rush setting up

You might be tempted to speed through your setup. After all, there’s that new season of House of Cards you want to binge watch as soon as possible. But Kevin Spacey can wait. Don’t rush. Taking your time will not only allow you to enjoy the process, but it also gives you the chance to really think about how you want to create a fresh entertainment center experience in your new home — not just recreate your old one.

2. Study your space and adapt your entertainment center to it

You can’t force your entertainment center into a space it won’t fit in. That’s why before you unpack anything, you need to know the lay of the land. Channel your inner architect: Measure the room’s dimensions and draw it out on a piece of paper. Then measure everything else — couch, television, receiver, speakers — and start to slot them into your drawing to get an idea of what the best arrangement for your new entertainment kingdom should be. Some even suggest taping placeholders on the floor and walls to help visualize the layout.

3. Pick the spots for your TV and couch first

Your TV and couch are the epicenters around which everything else in your entertainment setup will revolve. That’s why you should place them first. But you have to place them properly. How do you do that? The size of your TV dictates where your couch should be. The rough formula to use, according to WikiHow, says “you should be sitting 1 ½ – 2 ½ times the screen size away from the TV.” You ideally also want to ensure the couch isn’t against a wall, because that will diminish the effect of surround sound.

4. Be precise with where you put your speakers

If your sound system needs don’t extend past a sound bar, then setup is simple… plop it in front of the TV. But if you have a five- or seven-piece sound system, you’ll need to do some homework. You’ll want to study examples of ideal layouts, but the basics are: 1) two front speakers placed to the left and right of your TV and aimed at 45-degrees angles toward your ears; 2) a center channel speaker on a shelf above your TV; 3) side speakers parallel and slightly behind you; 4) a subwoofer ideally below the TV; and 5) rear speakers centered directly behind you.

5. Get control of your cables right away

There is no greater eyesore than a mess of HDMI cables and power cords around an entertainment center. Even if the cables are not in plain view, having them disorganized is a pain to deal with (as you may have discovered when moving). When you’re setting up your entertainment center, get ahead of any potential problems. Invest in solutions (like twist ties) to keep the cables tidy, and be sure to label every one so you don’t have to play endless games of “What does this one do again?” You should also prepare to potentially have to buy new cables. Depending on your new space, old cables may not reach the various components they need to connect to.

And what about your TV service? One way to make things easier is free installation services with special moving deals from DISH. If you’re a current customer, DISH makes moving your TV service a breeze.

6. Make sure you’re power-surge protected

If you’re going all out with your entertainment center, then chances are you’ve got a TV, sound system, Blu-ray player, streaming device, Xbox and more all vying for electricity. You’re going to want a good power strip to plug all of them into. Ideally, you should get one with surge protection as well. Is your system likely to fry in your lifetime? Probably not. But do you really want to risk it?

There you have it. If you follow these tips, you’ll be well on your way to having a perfect entertainment center setup in your new home that will serve you well — whether you’re watching Netflix, a Blu-ray disc or playing the latest Call of Duty.