Kitchens, bathrooms, family rooms and master bedroom suites have each in turn been the fashionable room to remodel or add in American homes.
Now the media room has been added to the list. The media room in which television, audio equipment and sometimes a home computer are arranged for maximum user convenience is being ushered in on a wave of increased sales of videocassette recorders, home computers and video games.
Another development is the improvement in television sound. stations in most of the country's major metropolitan areas have already instituted or are planning stereo television broadcasts, according to a survey by a trade publication.
Most television manufacturers are introducing models with built-in stereo sound. They are also providing adapters for existing sets. Some sets can be connected to separate stereo speakers an individual may already own.
According to author Philip Mazzurco, media rooms require close attention to lighting, seating, wiring and placement of equipment for acoustic performance as well as visual attractiveness. To illustrate the ways components can be arranged, Mazzurco wrote "The Media Design Book," which provides ideas for integrating components into home and office media rooms.
Lighting is crucial, Mazzurco said: "Never watch in total darkness. Never allow anything to shine onto the screen or obstruct a view of the screen. Place the light source behind the viewer's head where diffused lighting will not reflect onto the screen."
A room with nonreflective surfaces offers the best viewing environment. Bright primary colors should be avoided.
Images are best seen head-on with large projection screens, while the viewing angle can be much wider if a standard glass-enclosed set is used.
Mazzurco predicts that voice-activated systems will become the rule, and that personal-record, tape and disc libraries will become obsolete in favor of a central library network from which subscribers will be able to retrieve selections by computer hook-up.
Even before this change will be the demise of the long-playing record, he said. Compact discs will eventually replace the LP, Mazzurco said.