Theater Room in New Home Advice - Build Out Questions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 12 Old 06-20-2012, 10:17 AM - Thread Starter
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First off, I would like to thank everyone for the plethora of valuable information throughout the site. However, since I am a newb when it comes to home theaters, a lot of this information goes right over my head. So please explain things to me as you would a regular Joe (or a half-retarded regular Joe). I am in the process of purchasing a new home, and here is brief background on my current situation:

The community we are moving to does not allow 3-car garages, so I am asking the builder to convert the third car garage into a home theater/media room. I am not sure of the dimensions off hand, but think the size of half a garage (possible 10 x 11 or so), pretty standard rectangle-shaped room.

Our final meeting for the options in the design studio is tomorrow. Please help me answer the following questions before our meeting tomorrow:

1. What exactly do I need to make sure the builder includes in the media room (i.e. pre-wiring for the projector overhead? pre-wiring for surround sound)? Is there anything else I should consider now and ask the builders before it is too late? Please advise.

2. I am envisioning the media room to be pretty basic: a couch on the back row (it will probably not be raised, which I actually like a lot and would want, but probably not going to happen), and possibly 2 recliners/chair on the sides, with a tv or projector in the front. I would like to hook up my cable box (uverse, if that matters), 360, and PS3 to the projector (and possibly a computer, but that is not necessary at the moment). How hard/easy would it be to hook up everything like that?

3. I would like a projector and a screen, but that would probably be determined by price. If it is way more expensive than a flat-screen tv, it might be in my best interest to start off with a tv for the time being. How much is an average projector going for these days? I would like 1080p and HD, but I don't need ultra high-end right now. I would use the media room for watching sports and playing videogames. So just for a average to slightly above average projector and screen, how much should I budget for that? Also, how long do these projectors last? Would I need to replace the bulbs or something in 3-4 years? If so, how much would replacing the bulbs cost? I hear it is pretty expensive.

Is there anything else I am missing? Again, I am very new to this, but have always wanted to set up a theater/media room. I know this is a long post, and I am asking a lot of questions on short notice, but any and all advice is much appreciated.

Thank you all for your time.
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post #2 of 12 Old 06-20-2012, 06:00 PM
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I'll start by adding a few basic comments/suggestions to think about. One of the biggest pieces of advice I would give is to not rush the decisions until you are better educated on HT and what your needs are today and tomorrow (future proof)
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The community we are moving to does not allow 3-car garages, so I am asking the builder to convert the third car garage into a home theater/media room. I am not sure of the dimensions off hand, but think the size of half a garage (possible 10 x 11 or so), pretty standard rectangle-shaped room.

Response: 10X11 sounds very small for what you are describing - if you are modifying a garage space, I would think you should have at least a 12X 20 space t work with - You would want this for better speaker spacing and seating distance from the screen

Our final meeting for the options in the design studio is tomorrow. Please help me answer the following questions before our meeting tomorrow:
1. What exactly do I need to make sure the builder includes in the media room (i.e. pre-wiring for the projector overhead? pre-wiring for surround sound)? Is there anything else I should consider now and ask the builders before it is too late? Please advise.

Response: Depends on what you want - 5.1, 7.1, 7.2, etc. If you are looking for the basic set-up, then 5.1 (main left, center and right plus 2 side surrounds and a subwoofer) In addition to having wires run for speakers, you will also want to have a conduit run from your equipment area to the ceiling for a projector (for at last an HDMI and cat5/6 cable) If you also plan to put a flatscreen on the wall, run a conduit to this as well with at least an HDMI cable through it. Remember to have power run to the ceiling for the projector and upper wall for the TV (if hanging a TV). I'd run a least two RCA powered subwoofer cables to two locations within the room for flexibility later (plus you could add a 2nd PSW later)

2. I am envisioning the media room to be pretty basic: a couch on the back row (it will probably not be raised, which I actually like a lot and would want, but probably not going to happen), and possibly 2 recliners/chair on the sides, with a tv or projector in the front. I would like to hook up my cable box (uverse, if that matters), 360, and PS3 to the projector (and possibly a computer, but that is not necessary at the moment). How hard/easy would it be to hook up everything like that?

Response: If you are planning on having your seating along the back wall, then stick with 5.1, the rearr surrounds from a 7.1 system would be too distracting. Hooking up and powering the gear can be solved later when you buy a receiver than can handle multiple inputs such as a DVD player, cable, gaming systems, etc. Check out Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer, etc.

3. I would like a projector and a screen, but that would probably be determined by price. If it is way more expensive than a flat-screen tv, it might be in my best interest to start off with a tv for the time being. How much is an average projector going for these days? I would like 1080p and HD, but I don't need ultra high-end right now. I would use the media room for watching sports and playing videogames. So just for a average to slightly above average projector and screen, how much should I budget for that? Also, how long do these projectors last? Would I need to replace the bulbs or something in 3-4 years? If so, how much would replacing the bulbs cost? I hear it is pretty expensive.

Response: You can get an entry level projector for around $1K, and there are a few forum threads on making DIY screens to save some money
. Projectors bring the true HT experience to life over a TV IMHO. I still don't have one, but it is on my short list.

Is there anything else I am missing? Again, I am very new to this, but have always wanted to set up a theater/media room. I know this is a long post, and I am asking a lot of questions on short notice, but any and all advice is much appreciated.
Thank you all for your time.
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post #3 of 12 Old 06-20-2012, 07:26 PM
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Ss gave some solid advise. I went throughh a similar situation a few years ago. You would be best served running everything through an avr receiver equipped with hdmi switching. A room that size would be fine with 5.1. Projectors are in the same or sometimes lower price range at a good flat screen. I did a DIY screen, lots of good info on them can be had in the DIY screen forum. The main thing is deciding where everything will be placed for the pre-wire ( speakers/pj/sub/receiver etc) some people do in wall speakers which is another option.

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post #4 of 12 Old 06-21-2012, 06:18 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for the great advice. You explained everything well enough for even a novice like myself to understand, well most of it anyway! I'm not exactly sure what this part means: "I'd run a least two RCA powered subwoofer cables to two locations within the room for flexibility later (plus you could add a 2nd PSW later)" This is related to a subwoofer that usually is in the front-middle of the room right, usually right under the screen? If I were to ask for a 2nd location, where would you recommend I do that?

And I think you are right about the dimensions. 10 x 11 sounds wrong because that is more like a square, and I know that this will be more of a rectangle, so your guess of 12 x 20 sounds more reasonable (although it might be a little smaller, let's split the difference at 11 x 18 maybe?)

I plan on going with a projector and screen combo, as opposed to a tv. The projector/screen combo doesn't sound cost prohibitive. That being the case, just to confirm my understanding, I should ask for the builder to do the following as they make the house:

1. Power outlet on the ceiling for the projector
2. Conduit from the equipment area to the ceiling - quick question on that. Where are common places to put the equipment area? I am assuming that since I want to hook up a 360 and a PS3 to it, it basically has to be somewhere in the front of the room (so it can read the wireless controllers), probably in a shelf/entermainment center type thing right under the middle of the screen?
3. Pre-wiring for surround sound. From reading around, it looks like getting the 2 side surrounds on the wall as opposed to the ceiling is definitely the way to go. I'll also have to decide on 5.1, 7.1, or 7.2, but you recommend 5.1 if we put the sofa and the back of the room. If we move the sofa more towards the middle, then I guess it would make more sense to go with a 7.1 system.
4. At least two RCA powered subwoofer cables to two locations within the room for flexibility later (plus you could add a 2nd PSW later)?

Again, thank you very much for all of your help, any and all information is very helpful at this point.
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post #5 of 12 Old 06-21-2012, 09:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g_bartman View Post

Ss gave some solid advise. I went throughh a similar situation a few years ago. You would be best served running everything through an avr receiver equipped with hdmi switching. A room that size would be fine with 5.1. Projectors are in the same or sometimes lower price range at a good flat screen. I did a DIY screen, lots of good info on them can be had in the DIY screen forum. The main thing is deciding where everything will be placed for the pre-wire ( speakers/pj/sub/receiver etc) some people do in wall speakers which is another option.

Thanks for the advice bartman. I think the most important thing at this point is to figure out and make sure that I have all of the wiring. I just don't to miss something big now that will be a pain to do later (i.e. wiring). So making sure the pre-wiring is set up and that I have the proper power outlets and conduits seems to be the big things before the house is built. If I am missing something big, or not considering something I should, please let me know! Thanks again, I've always wanted a nice media room set up where I can watch sports and play videogames on a big screen, and this is just the first step. I will have to continue to educate myself and read a lot more about this to be as efficient as possible. It is just finding a good starting point for beginners and then building up my knowledge from there. This site has a wealth of information in it, but if it is going over my head, then I am not getting much out of it. First world problems, I know! I would have a pretty modest budget at the moment, and will hopefully upgrade later.
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post #6 of 12 Old 06-21-2012, 03:22 PM
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You should check out projectorcentral.com. They have a calculator to tell you how big your screen should be from seating distance and the throw length of all projectors. ie, you go with a 100" screen and are going with brandx modelz. it will tell you how far away to mount the pj from the screen so you know where to put the ceiling outlet.

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post #7 of 12 Old 06-21-2012, 08:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nippystix View Post

Thank you very much for the great advice. You explained everything well enough for even a novice like myself to understand, well most of it anyway! I'm not exactly sure what this part means: "I'd run a least two RCA powered subwoofer cables to two locations within the room for flexibility later (plus you could add a 2nd PSW later)" This is related to a subwoofer that usually is in the front-middle of the room right, usually right under the screen? If I were to ask for a 2nd location, where would you recommend I do that?

Response - I was recommending that you have 2 powered subwoofer cables run to two different locations providing you with flexibility later when trying to locate the best bass response location in the room when setting up your subwoofer. You can put the subwoofer pretty much any where in the room since they are non-directional. I have found you will get the most response near a corner, but that is preference. I noted using RCA cables since that is typically what is used on subwoofers. Higher-end powered subwoofers also have balanced cable inputs, but not necessary for your application/budget. Regarding locations, I would try to place in opposite locations in the room. However, location tends to be dictated by room design and space availability.


And I think you are right about the dimensions. 10 x 11 sounds wrong because that is more like a square, and I know that this will be more of a rectangle, so your guess of 12 x 20 sounds more reasonable (although it might be a little smaller, let's split the difference at 11 x 18 maybe?)
I plan on going with a projector and screen combo, as opposed to a tv. The projector/screen combo doesn't sound cost prohibitive. That being the case, just to confirm my understanding, I should ask for the builder to do the following as they make the house:
1. Power outlet on the ceiling for the projector

Response - YES - you may also want a Cat5 or 6 cable and some type of remote cable if required to simultaneously turn on the projector with receiver


2. Conduit from the equipment area to the ceiling - quick question on that. Where are common places to put the equipment area? I am assuming that since I want to hook up a 360 and a PS3 to it, it basically has to be somewhere in the front of the room (so it can read the wireless controllers), probably in a shelf/entermainment center type thing right under the middle of the screen?

Response - Many folks here like to place the equipment in another room with an IR repeater located in the wall - this helps eliminate excess light/glare in the front of the room. You can also locate the equipment in a front corner - which is what I do and have not had any issues.


3. Pre-wiring for surround sound. From reading around, it looks like getting the 2 side surrounds on the wall as opposed to the ceiling is definitely the way to go. I'll also have to decide on 5.1, 7.1, or 7.2, but you recommend 5.1 if we put the sofa and the back of the room. If we move the sofa more towards the middle, then I guess it would make more sense to go with a 7.1 system.

Response - correct - IMHO, you will want your speakers at least 4' away from the listening area to create the surround sound field - if too close, they can be distracting. You can use in-ceiling surround speakers, but side surrounds are better.

4. At least two RCA powered subwoofer cables to two locations within the room for flexibility later (plus you could add a 2nd PSW later)?

Response - see reply above
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post #8 of 12 Old 06-25-2012, 06:02 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by g_bartman View Post

You should check out projectorcentral.com. They have a calculator to tell you how big your screen should be from seating distance and the throw length of all projectors. ie, you go with a 100" screen and are going with brandx modelz. it will tell you how far away to mount the pj from the screen so you know where to put the ceiling outlet.

Thanks for the great resource in projectorcentral.com. I will definitely use this website to plan out the spacing of the room. Once we get a finalized plan of what our room will be looking like with respective measurements, I will try and scan the layout here and get feedback on the room. But thanks again for the feedback and the great website recommendation, I appreciate it!
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post #9 of 12 Old 06-25-2012, 06:09 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Scout's staff View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by nippystix View Post

Thank you very much for the great advice. You explained everything well enough for even a novice like myself to understand, well most of it anyway! I'm not exactly sure what this part means: "I'd run a least two RCA powered subwoofer cables to two locations within the room for flexibility later (plus you could add a 2nd PSW later)" This is related to a subwoofer that usually is in the front-middle of the room right, usually right under the screen? If I were to ask for a 2nd location, where would you recommend I do that?
Response - I was recommending that you have 2 powered subwoofer cables run to two different locations providing you with flexibility later when trying to locate the best bass response location in the room when setting up your subwoofer. You can put the subwoofer pretty much any where in the room since they are non-directional. I have found you will get the most response near a corner, but that is preference. I noted using RCA cables since that is typically what is used on subwoofers. Higher-end powered subwoofers also have balanced cable inputs, but not necessary for your application/budget. Regarding locations, I would try to place in opposite locations in the room. However, location tends to be dictated by room design and space availability.
And I think you are right about the dimensions. 10 x 11 sounds wrong because that is more like a square, and I know that this will be more of a rectangle, so your guess of 12 x 20 sounds more reasonable (although it might be a little smaller, let's split the difference at 11 x 18 maybe?)
I plan on going with a projector and screen combo, as opposed to a tv. The projector/screen combo doesn't sound cost prohibitive. That being the case, just to confirm my understanding, I should ask for the builder to do the following as they make the house:
1. Power outlet on the ceiling for the projector
Response - YES - you may also want a Cat5 or 6 cable and some type of remote cable if required to simultaneously turn on the projector with receiver
2. Conduit from the equipment area to the ceiling - quick question on that. Where are common places to put the equipment area? I am assuming that since I want to hook up a 360 and a PS3 to it, it basically has to be somewhere in the front of the room (so it can read the wireless controllers), probably in a shelf/entermainment center type thing right under the middle of the screen?
Response - Many folks here like to place the equipment in another room with an IR repeater located in the wall - this helps eliminate excess light/glare in the front of the room. You can also locate the equipment in a front corner - which is what I do and have not had any issues.
3. Pre-wiring for surround sound. From reading around, it looks like getting the 2 side surrounds on the wall as opposed to the ceiling is definitely the way to go. I'll also have to decide on 5.1, 7.1, or 7.2, but you recommend 5.1 if we put the sofa and the back of the room. If we move the sofa more towards the middle, then I guess it would make more sense to go with a 7.1 system.
Response - correct - IMHO, you will want your speakers at least 4' away from the listening area to create the surround sound field - if too close, they can be distracting. You can use in-ceiling surround speakers, but side surrounds are better.
4. At least two RCA powered subwoofer cables to two locations within the room for flexibility later (plus you could add a 2nd PSW later)?
Response - see reply above

Wonderful, thank you very much for even more great help. After our meeting on Thursday, this is where we stand. I asked for the following things for the media room:

1. Power outlet in the celing for the projector
2. Conduit
3. Pre-wiring for surround sound
4. Dimmer - probably completely unnecessary, but I figured it would be a good idea to add it to the media room - is it necessary for the room to be completely dark for the best results from a projector? If so, I can go ahead and take away the dimmer.

They said that I will need to get with the builder for the exact locations of what I ordered above. I still haven't finalized what the layout of the room will be exactly, but once I get that, I will make sure to put together a little floorplan of the room, and get some feedback from you guys, who actually know what they are doing! Thanks for all of your help thus far Dan, I really appreciate it.
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post #10 of 12 Old 06-25-2012, 07:26 AM
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I installed a remote control dimmer. Full darkness will give the best results but in some situations it is nice to have some light in the room.

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post #11 of 12 Old 11-16-2012, 02:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Wow - I haven't realized it's been almost 5 months from my last activity. So finally, the builders will begin construction soon - hopefully either next week or right after Thanksgiving. I have a few updates and another question.

So I finally got better measurements for the room, and it is 10' x 14 1/2 or a shade under 15'. How is that size-wise? Seems smaller than most theater rooms, but this might provide me with a perfect test-run at my first theater room anyway. I am just worried that we won't get to put a nice couch in the back row that fits at least 4 comfortably (I was envisioning having a sofa in the back row, with perhaps individual theater seats in the front row. Also, what size projector screen should I realistically be targeting? Again I am completely new to this, so these might be dumb questions.

Secondly, there will have to be a window in the back of the room. The reason is that this was supposed to be a 3 car garage, this is the space that would have been for the 3rd car, and so the back of this room actually faces the front of the house. So a window is a must. Now the builders told me that they can essentially cover up by putting up sheet rock inside the window. However, I am thinking about potential re-sale value, and putting up a wall to cover the window seems pretty permanent to me. While I was browsing around this website, I know there are other ways people have been blocking out windows, so perhaps I let them keep it as is for now, and then cover it up myself? That is what I am leaning towards anyway. I can ask if they can tint the window, to at least help reduce sunlight, would you guys recommend that? Also, if it makes a difference, the top of the window would be curved. Aesthetically I am sure it will look nicer, but it might complicate ways to black out the window myself.

So, with this updated information (size and window), I would greatly appreciate any and all suggestions/advice/help. Thank you!
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post #12 of 12 Old 08-09-2013, 09:08 AM - Thread Starter
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Good morning all,

So with the house completed and after getting settled in, I think it is now time to address this theater room. I figure with the next gen consoles coming out during the holiday season of this year, that gives me a 3-4 month deadline to try and get everything done with my theater room.

For the surround sound system, I purchased a used:
Onkyo HT-S3300 5.1-Channel Home Theater Receiver and Speaker Package (Black)

I paid $150 for it, and I know it is not top of the line or anything, but I'm hoping it is a nice starter system. As I've never had surround sound before, I will probably think it's amazing, even if it isn't! I'd love to get any feedback on the surround sound system.

Now I am at the projector/screen combo stage of the game. I have been looking around and doing as best research as I can, and I have the following combo in mind. Please keep in mind that my budget for this combo is around $2,000 (but I'd go up to as high as $2,500 if it meant receiving a huge boost in quality). Obviously I understand that my budget means I won't be getting any top of the line stuff, but I'm hoping for a great starter combo.

Projector: I'm thinking about the Epson Powerlite 3020, which is $1,600 at Amazon. I think my use for the projector is fairly typical, sports and gaming will be the biggest factors, so please keep that in mind specifically. While 1080p is a must, 3D is not important to me at all, and I'd rather not pay extra for a feature that we won't utilize anyway. That being the case, would this projector be a good choice for watching sports and playing xbox one/ps4? I ready something about either ghosting (not even sure what that is to be honest) or a lag during videogame play. Are these valid concerns? Is there another projector around the same price range that would be a better buy for me?

Screen: I've read on here that there are simple ways to make your own screen, and you can do so at a fraction of the cost. I've also read that screen are really important, and some even pay more for the screen than for a projector. I'm not sure if the latter is simply a sales pitch or not. That being said, I was thinking of something in the middle. Someone suggested to me:
Screen Innovations HDTV Matte White 1.1 Theater Sensation Fixed Screen, which is currently $641.22 at amazon (though currently out of stock)
Is this a good screen? There is a window in the back of the room, so even though I have a dimmer in the room, it's not entirely light-controlled. Apparently these screens keep the picture bright and crisp, even in lit rooms. Same questions as with the projector; are there any better screens around the same price point?

The 2 options I'm considering are just a shade under $2,250. Before making the plunge and getting these 2, I was hoping to get any and all feedback if these are wise choices or not. Would you recommend spending a little more in order to get greater performance? Also, how many years to projectors/bulbs last? I'm hoping to get about 5 years on it. Is this realistic? Sorry for the plethora of questions, but as I stated earlier, this is my first theater room and I'm trying to obtain all information/adivce/suggestions I can before spending what I consider to be a lot of money. Thanks in advance!
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