We at PMI find there are some inconsistencies in our industry about terminology around the difference between a home theater, screening room, media room, etc. The definitions we find provide the most clarity for professional and end-user alike are:
Screening Room (often called Home Theater) - a dedicated space for watching movies and media - Lights down, curtains open, and the entertainment begins (no dancing girls, please). The focused purpose of a Screening Room gives it the aura of exclusivity, cache, and a wonder to behold in and of its own.
Multi-Purpose Room (often called Media Room) - this type of space typically has additional functions beyond cinematic presentation; it may include living space, a bar, family play space, art gallery, perhaps even dancing girls.
Although these rooms are engineered and treated differently, it's entirely possible for them both to have stellar performance quality, depending on what the client's specific needs and desires are.
Looking specifically at two of our CEDIA award projects - one a screening room and one a media space - when all is said and done, through intelligent engineering, installation, and tuning processes, they sound and look consistent.
So, how do YOU say tomato?