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Home Theater Seating: Choosing a Home Theater Throne

written by: M.S. Smith•edited by: Simon Hill•updated: 5/19/2011

All home theaters need seats. The question is what kind. There is actually a huge and complex variety of home theater seating available, from basics like sofas to expensive and complex cinema seating, and choosing the right seating can be as important as choosing the right HDTV.

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    A Throne for Your Theater

    Movies aren't short. Neither are games. This means that home theater seats are an important part of any home theater. There are many types of home theater seats available, including dedicated home theater seats, sofas, and gaming chairs. All of these types of seating are useful for different situations. This brief guide should help you decide what kind of seating you need.

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    The Standard Sofa

    Sofas are plush and relatively inexpensive, but don't offer a great seating position for movies The Sofa is an obvious choice for home theater seating. Most people already have a sofa in their home, and it seems comfortable enough. The advantages are simple. Sofas are cheap and plentiful, and since most people already have one it may not even require an additional purchase. Because they're so common, a sofa is also extremely easy to find second-hand. There is a huge array of sofas available, in all kinds of different fabric types and colors. It is very easy to find one that will coordinate well with a room.

    The downside with sofas, however, is that they're aimed more at leisure than anything else. Sofas can actually be quite unsupportive when it comes to sitting upright and watching a movie for two hours. There are other niggles, as well. Sofa arms are often thick. This can make it hard to place a stand close enough that reaching over for a drink or remote is easy. This may not seem like a big deal, but people usually change their mind the first time they knock over their drink because they were reaching over a thick sofa arm in a darkened home theater to try and find it.

    If a sofa seems like a good idea, I'd suggest one that reclines. The big advantage of reclining sofas is that when that lazy feeling comes along, which can is inevitable in a good sofa, one can lay back in a more comfortable position. You'll also be able to lay back when company is over.

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    Cinema Seating

    Cinema Seating is durable and functional, but not that comfortable When it comes to replicating the theater experience, nothing beats cinema movie seating. That's right - if you want, you can buy movie theater seats just like in a real big-screen theater. There are two big advantages to movie theater seating. First, they allow the viewer to sit upright throughout the entire movie. This is a good thing because it allows the viewer to pay attention to the movie without becoming too drowsy or distracted. Second, they are relatively compact. If it is mass seating which is needed, this is the kind of seating to buy.

    Cinema seating is uncomfortable, however, which means that is only really suitable for a home theater that is really a dedicated home theater. These seats are not good for a general TV room or den because they simply are not comfortable, or attractive, enough for everyday use. They are also very poor for video gamers because while the seats themselves are actually good for keeping the player's attention levels up, the seats won't be able to move at all. That, of course, is because they bolt to the floor.

    If cinema movie seating seems like a good idea, be sure to buy seating which has cup-holders and arms that can raise. These cup-holders are standard on almost all seats of this type, but raising arms are not.

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    Home Theater Seating

    Home Theater Seating is comfortable, but far from intimate As the name suggests, home theater seating is built specifically for a home theater. What this means is a combination of the comfort qualities of a sofa with the upright viewing position and amenities of cinema seating. For the most part, home theater seats are very well padded and they are usually made out of more comfortable and attractive fabrics than cinema seats. Most home theater seating includes big arm rests, a supportive up-right seating position, and the ability to recline. Cup-holders are quite common as well.

    That said, home theater seating does retain some of the downsides of cinema seats. They don't bolt to the floor, but they're still quite immobile. The bigger problem, though, is that almost none of them have the ability to fold up the arm-rests. If you were looking for some home theater seating which will allow for some time watching a romantic movie with that special someone, well, that is just too bad.

    Still, as the name would suggest, home theater seating is one of the better solutions for a dedicated home theater. It is a good compromise between the fluff of a sofa and the non-frills functionality of cinema seating.

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    Video Game Chairs

    Video Game Chairs are simple, cheap, and often poorly built The home theater is the roost of choice for many a hardcore gamer, and for them a specific kind of seating is often required. Despite the stereotypical view of gamers as rather sloth-like, serious gamers tend to hop around like bag of microwaveable popcorn, constantly swaying with the action, drifting forward as things become more intense and then relaxing during the next loading screen.

    As such, video game chairs tend to be light. They also tend to have a seat which allows for a reclined seating position but also has ample room for the gamer to sit on the edge of their chair. Video game seating is actually not bad for movies, as most gaming chairs allow for a relatively reclined position, but not so reclined that the viewer becomes drowsy. Because they're light, they're easy to re-position depending on the preference of the individual user. They're also extremely inexpensive.

    Unfortunately, that is because they're usually made quite poorly. Video game chairs simply do not match the durability of any other kind of home theater seats, so expect to replace these chairs often. Video game chairs also tend to look as mature as the young men they're made for. One can buy any color, just so long as it is ridiculous and gaudy. Those of us in our twenties won't mind, but older buyers will not appreciate their loud appearance.