General Media/Gaming Room build advice. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 17 Old 01-21-2013, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello all, I just joined this server a couple of days ago and It seems like a very nice place so far, I like it. So I've done a little bit of research on this kind of thing but that does not help very much considering every one has a different scenario. This is a medium/small sized room which we're building into a General Media/Gaming room. I've got numerous questions In which I'd like to ask varying from Inwall LV cable to layout and such. That said, here are some photos of the room in its current state. I apologize for the poor image quality, the light down there is not good. I also have a Sketchup model in just about 1:1 Scale.

My first major question is how should I layout the room? We're working on a budget here, so we can't afford any crazy furniture. My second major question for now is what should I run in wall? I want to have all of my AV and Ethernet in wall, at keystones. The devices I will be using are an xbox 360, possibly a PS3 and HTPC, and a cable box. I'm not sure what to do because I may upgrade to a better surround sound system and such. Any input is welcome.

About the sketchup model:
The model shows how I would like the end product to be. One minor problem is I need to get a desk for my computer, and there doesn't seem to be very much room for one.
(download link: https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B9r5j6ZWrSA0NmRNVmJjR0pubW8/edit)
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-Ryan
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post #2 of 17 Old 01-22-2013, 09:07 AM
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Wow that's a lot of outlet boxes.

My advice would be to run 1-1/4 or 1-1/2 conduit to whatever boxes you want ethernet/hdmi/whatever in. Then you can easily fish any wiring to them. That being said I ran Cat 6 to a few blue boxes and only did conduit from the front to the projector to the rear wall. But looking back even 1" conduit would have been a lot more useful than just the cat6 and I'm not sure I'll be able to ever use the cat 6 to pull something else through to those boxes.

Also keep things easy and only have LV or full AC to each box. They make boxes that have compartments for both but I wouldn't want to deal with the inspection and it's cheaper to just use the blue ones you have for everything.

It looks like the vapor barrier is behind the studs (which is good) and I assume you will insulate those stud bays? Hopefully pressure treated bottom plates I see right on the concrete but you still might consider drycore or platon or some other way to float your floors above the concrete to keep them warm but also to allow water to flow to the drain.

I can't see your sketchup but your pictures make it look like you've already chosen your layout. Still I think you'd get better feedback if people could see the layout.
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post #3 of 17 Old 01-22-2013, 02:45 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is an image of the sketchup file. Layout wise I'm open to other suggestions if anybody has good ideas. Like I said though I am kind of space limited and Need to fit a computer desk in there somewhere in there. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

I will definitely keep in mind running conduit through the walls, that is a good idea. Yeah the stud bays will be insulated except for maybe the one that the room's doorway connects to, since that is the only interior wall.

About the in wall LV though- What should I have running up the wall from where the entertainment cabinet will be to the TV itself? A few HDMI, some audio? I'm not sure.
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post #4 of 17 Old 01-23-2013, 01:07 PM
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I would run an outlet and a piece of conduit, and possibly an ethernet (though this could go through the conduit) to behind the TV. I didn't run any permanent LV cables except cat6 ethernet and speaker wire. I just don't know how long HDMI will be around, or how long the current high speed cables will be around. Hopefully your drywall job lasts longer than that.

Assuming that red thing is a post I think you have the room setup as best you can. If you put the tv on the opposite wall all the space behind the couch gets wasted. The other two walls have the window and the post so they're more or less out of the running.

R13 or R11 insulation is so cheap (I think I paid 7 bucks for a 48sq ft roll or about 6~7 linear foot of wall) I did all the interior walls. It really cuts down on the furnace and water heater noise. I also did the whole ceiling with R19 unfaced and I'm glad I did. If you're going to drywall you can never go add that back.
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post #5 of 17 Old 01-23-2013, 03:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Yup, less than ideal. We should have done better planning considering the whole room (before) was around 20x20. I think I may have to put my computer in that small closet... I like the idea of the conduit but I was going to do wall plates with keystones for everything I want. What do you think? Hour HDMI, component/analog? At a computer forum I asked a similar question and gave me two options for cat6: One run with a switch at the entertainment center or Multiple runs with a switch where its all being terminated. What do you think? Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
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post #6 of 17 Old 01-24-2013, 07:07 AM
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I work in IT. I prefer not to cascade a bunch of switches if it can be avoided, or at least not plan it. I have all my ethernet cables home run to the corner of my basement where one switch does it all. Really you could probably do one behind the TV and two or three to the "media center" and you probably won't even need to make them all live. The way wireless is going it will probably be builtin to all gaming systems and all but the cheapest bluray players you would buy from here forward. N is fast enough for HD video and it will only get faster from here. I still hard wire everything but worry I'm wasting my time.

I think that post will put the couch too close to the TV. If the room was 20X20 then the post is 10' from the wall, but probably less than that since you take away half the diameter of the post and whatever wall you're adding.
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post #7 of 17 Old 01-24-2013, 10:15 PM - Thread Starter
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If this is a double post, I'm sorry I was having some little complications with it a second ago. Anyways...

Yeah I figured the same thing, just run more cable through the wall although its more expensive. So I figured out how to accommodate space for the desk. Its kind of cramped but I could fabricate one to fit nicely. We could knock down the door frame in five minutes. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)

So I guess I could figure 3 Ethernet at the media center, two at the computer desk? I won't run one to the TV because many smart TV's come with wireless N, although I'm probably just going to buy a "dumb" TV.

I want all the AV integrated into the wall so its nice and organized. Should I Do three HDMI from the cabinet to the TV, component & composite, maybe optical audio? I'm not sure. I don't know what Im going to do for Sound considering my tight budget. maybe just a sound bar. I could hide speaker wire under the floor's moldings I suppose. I'm also going to do an HDMI from the Computer desk to the TV, since I've got a Gaming PC. I've got lots more questions still, AV Equipment recommendations are coming up, but this is all for now.
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post #8 of 17 Old 01-25-2013, 06:51 AM
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I think you need to consider your AV needs. If you bought a tv and receiver with HDMI upconversion and audio return channel you could get away with one HDMI up to the TV and nothing else even if you had a smart tv and used that to stream things like netflix. I'm not sure if you already have a tv and/or receiver.

I wouldn't buy a soundbar you'll just wish you had gone surround. I would wire 5.1 or 7.1 now and wait for something like the energy take 5 to go on sale, or maybe a couple pairs of polk monitor 35's, martin logan surround package, andrew jones pioneers... plenty of ways you could get 5 speakers and a receiver for 500 bucks and buy a sub down the road, or build one when you miss the remodeling.
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post #9 of 17 Old 01-25-2013, 04:07 PM - Thread Starter
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I do indeed need a TV and possibly a receiver. We'll probably change the layout of the basement to something else, I'll post up a new rendering soon. My original intention was to use that closet for the AV stuff if we bought a receiver but since the computer is going there that's out of the question. Could I fit a receiver, xbox 360, PS3, and possibly an HTPC in a cabinet like that with storage? or should I place a standalone cabinet elsewhere? (probably next to the larger of the two closets door, on the wall the landing is on)

I'm not sure what to buy for a TV. I'll be sitting 8-9' away and want to wall mount it. I don't want a smart TV.
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post #10 of 17 Old 01-26-2013, 12:57 AM - Thread Starter
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This is what I might try for, hopefully this setup would work I'll have to measure it out. Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
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post #11 of 17 Old 02-22-2013, 10:29 PM - Thread Starter
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Alright I understand bumping old threads is generally frowned upon but rather than start a new thread, I figured I'd just add to this one. I'm just curious, how many and where should I put the recessed light receptacles?
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post #12 of 17 Old 02-25-2013, 08:10 AM
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Is the room something like 14x20 now? I'd consider 9 cans in a 3x3 grid but you might be able to get away with 6 in a 2x3. One area I have is 12x18 and I have four lights which is the minimum I would recommend. It's a comfortable amount of light but it is augmented by the light from a nearby area. The area is carpeted and has 4 6" cans. I also installed some switched outlets which could have been used for adding lights if needed (but isn't) but is also handy for things on walls that would light up (like a beer sign or poster light).

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post #13 of 17 Old 02-26-2013, 09:22 PM - Thread Starter
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My father beat me to the lighting, I forgot about it with all the other stuff I asked. he did 3 in a row spaced out one stud bay each (not sure how wide that is) near where the coffee table would be in the above picture, and two spaced the same way by the door to the larger of the two closets. a sixth can will be added centered in the doorway above the landing. I hope that is a sufficient amount of light because I'm not sure. Apparently he bought Warm LED lights though, I guess.

I am still not sure what kind of AV to bury in the walls though, I believe that needs to be done soon. On Jan. 25th you said I Should consider my AV needs and I figure I'll need for sure:
1 Xbox 360 (HDMI)
1 HD Cable Box
Room for possibly another console, HTPC.
Should I run Speaker wire? and where?

I Don't have anything yet, I need a TV first though, I think I'm looking in the 42-52" Range and I Don't have money for top of the line stuff. Audio equipment will come later.
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post #14 of 17 Old 02-27-2013, 07:59 AM
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Wait to buy a TV until you are all done, six months is a long time when it comes to TV's. I'm waiting until fall since we just don't spend much time indoors in spring/summer. I think it's realistic to think that if you have a 50" tv budget now (600 bucks I'd guess) that might stretch to 55" by then. At the very least Samsung (and I'm sure others) still has yet to clear out 2012 and release 2013 models so that should bring some deals.

Warm LED lights will be fantastic. We have LED cans in our kitchen and they are as bright as incandescent, dimmable, efficient... only downside is price and no fancy trims.

I didn't prewire for speakers and had to deal with it after the fact, which wasn't horrible but it wasn't the most fun thing either. I'd prewire for two or four rears (5.1 or 7.1) even if you just leave the wire hanging in the wall cavity for later. I didn't run my fronts or center in wall since I'm still not sure what sort of builtin or media cabinet we're going to do there once we get a new TV/projector/???.

If you really need four things wired for internet up front you might run one cat6 and buy a five port switch for up there. I always prefer to home run all the ethernet jacks back to a central spot and into one big switch (fewer points of failure, easier to setup and upgrade) but at some point running that many cat 6 cables to one spot seems silly.
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post #15 of 17 Old 02-27-2013, 10:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Hmm... that said where (based off of my previous sketchup image) would you say be good locations for speaker wire wall plugs? I drew up a diagram for what I think I might need behind the TV.
Warning: Spoiler! (Click to show)
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post #16 of 17 Old 03-06-2013, 09:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Update on electrical:
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post #17 of 17 Old 06-01-2014, 01:26 AM - Thread Starter
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Been a long, long while since I've posted anything. To be honest I forgot about this thread, and didn't really have any questions anyway. Progress as of 3/15/2013 (Click to show)



Progress as of 4/9/2013 (Click to show)





Progress as of 9/10/2013 (Click to show)




Progress as of 9/13/2013 (Click to show)







Alrighty, with that aside here comes my next onslaught of questions.
Here is what the basic color scheme looks like
:
Brown painted drywall, Pine boards stained with Minwax's Red Chestnut, and Pine Carsiding.

Is it just me, or does the brown paint look a like it has a little green to it? they are crappy pictures but even in person I feel it has a little green in it. I don't even know what color to call it because we obtained brown and white paint from the local recycling center, then proceeded to mix the two. The stained pine boards could've turned out better, as my father decided it wasn't worthwhile to use a sanding sealer. Because of this, the stain didn't absorb that evenly in spots and looks a little blotchy. The pine carsiding doesn't have any sort of finish on it.


What are some woods/materials that will go good with the already established color scheme? I need to build a desk, book cases, entertainment center, etc.. yet. I love walnut but to be honest I'm not sure how it would look. Also, is there anyway we could hide the ugly joints in the pine trim boards? They have been sanded to 120 grit, stained with the Minwax Red Chestnut, and sprayed with iirc two coats of polyurethane.
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