Repthrd's Theater Build - AVS Forum
General Home Theater & Media/Game Rooms > Repthrd's Theater Build
repthrd's Avatar repthrd 07:14 PM 01-22-2013
Hi all. I have been lurking on here for awhile trying to learn as much as I can. I am not building a totally dedicated theater room, but the basement will have a theater / wet bar / pool table game area as well.

I have just finished framing the entire basement and am now beginning to run electrical. I am currently agonizing over how to build my riser. Mainly the height and to let it float or build it in. There is too much to read and too many differing opinions, so I would like to start there.

Here is a rough drawing of the whole space. You can see the pool table and the wet bar to the right. You can see the theater room to the left. There is no wall there - there will be just 1 pillar and I have the dimensions from the 2 walls to the pillar. They are both about 94".



Here is an up close image of the room. You can see my ceiling height is going to be 93 1/8". I currently will be hanging a 63" Plasma that I have only had for about 1 year. I will be wiring for a future projector if I choose to go that way. I put little squares to symbolize my 2 fronts and center channel around the TV. I also have a little area cut out for my components down in the corner. I expect to put my sub up here as well. I am thinking of making a 7' x 10.5' riser. That will keep is just within the back section behind the pillar. I am planning on 2 rows of theater seats that recline. They are Southern Motion and the 3 together create a row that is 110Wx38D. They are 68 deep reclined. The backs are 41" high and my head sits at about 46" high when I sit fully straight up in the chair. Lastly with where the chairs are going, I am going to have to put the rear speakers in the wall and not above due to some pipes that take up the last rafter. Also, I am thinking the bottom lip of the TV will be at 51". The plan is also to do theater curtains we can pull closed between the pillars to close it off when we want.



So a few things I currently am trying to figure out.

1. How tall should I make my riser. I used the calculator and the minimum said 4.5 inches. I know a step is 7 3/4. I would like to keep this to code, so if I do a 7 3/4 riser will I regret it. Should I just make it taller like 10"? If so and I do a step - do I just need to make one step or would it need to be all around the riser? What do you think the tallest would be with my ceiling height?

2. Should I build the riser into the wall? I am thinking it will be cheaper and easier to just build it in now rather then just carpet the whole floor and then have the carpet layers carpet the riser. Then I can plan my electrical around it being a permanent fixture.

3. I need to factor in if I do a bigger screen in the future - TV or Projector - I really do not know how far back I should wire the projector. I have a 30 ft HDMI cable on order. My plan is to put it and an outlet somewhere in the ceiling.

4. Does anyone see any problems with anything I am doing, or anything I am not thinking about?

I appreciate any feedback.

Picture of Theater Room from the Wet Bar



From the Back Corner of the Theater - Riser Side





From the corner where my AV rack inset will be





RTROSE's Avatar RTROSE 08:02 PM 01-22-2013
Hello and welcome. You will be sorry you showed up here at AVS now it only gets more maddening from here on out. I would skip the TV and go right to the PJ. I know 63" is a great for a TV but you are building a theater while not dedicated a theater still and a 63" will just not cut it. Typically a pj can be mounted at a range of distances depending on how big you want the screen. My screen is 114" diagonal 16:9 and I have the PJ back at about 13-14 feet (Epson 8350). As for risers basically the higher the bottom of the screen the lower the riser has to be so that you can see over the head of the person in front of you. With a TV mounted with the bottom of the screen at 50 some odd inches off the floor a 10" riser sounds about right. I have a 10.5" riser and mine could have been a couple of inches taller (ran out of head room) but my screen sits lower so that makes a difference as well.

You might as well get used to the idea of people suggesting a PJ, as I bet those who decide to chime in here will also make that suggestion. Good luck, it looks like you have a great space to work with.

Regards,

RTROSE
jmhug's Avatar jmhug 09:30 AM 01-23-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by repthrd View Post


So a few things I currently am trying to figure out.

1. How tall should I make my riser. I used the calculator and the minimum said 4.5 inches. I know a step is 7 3/4. I would like to keep this to code, so if I do a 7 3/4 riser will I regret it. Should I just make it taller like 10"? If so and I do a step - do I just need to make one step or would it need to be all around the riser? What do you think the tallest would be with my ceiling height?

2. Should I build the riser into the wall? I am thinking it will be cheaper and easier to just build it in now rather then just carpet the whole floor and then have the carpet layers carpet the riser. Then I can plan my electrical around it being a permanent fixture.

3. I need to factor in if I do a bigger screen in the future - TV or Projector - I really do not know how far back I should wire the projector. I have a 30 ft HDMI cable on order. My plan is to put it and an outlet somewhere in the ceiling.

4. Does anyone see any problems with anything I am doing, or anything I am not thinking about?

I appreciate any feedback.

I'll chime in to give you some input. Keep in mind that I'm far from completing my build as I'm still in the tear out and rewire/replumb/new concrete/level floors/ move hvac etc. phase.

1. Your riser height will be determined in part by whether you go with a projector and how large your screen will be. I would start with making that decision (yes projector/no projector) as it will inform if not dictate your riser decisions. There are some great projectors which can be purchased for about the same price or less than a large plasma or led/lcd television.

2. I'll leave it up to the more experienced to chime in on this, however some people have built a base riser and then additional lift directly under the chairs to keep the riser lower but get the chairs up higher. Not sure if that would work in your space.

3. This will be determined by the projector and screen size for the most part. I would run multiple (minimum 4) lines of cat6 cable to a low voltage box in the ceiling as well as your HDMI cable (and an electrical outlet) if you are considering a projector in the future. It allows you to use HDMI over cat or HDBaseT technologies in the future should your HDMI cable go bad. Also consider running a large conduit to that location from your equipment location for future cable pulls if necessary. Many people use the large diameter gray conduit you purchase easily at the big box stores- Schedule 40 is the designation.

4. I would suggest walling in the area where your riser will be if possible (one of the 94" sections?). You will want that space for side surrounds and to block some of the noise/light from the rest of the space. Also pull speaker wire for more speakers even if you aren't using them right away. I'm going with a 5.1 setup to start but wiring for 11.2 even though I doubt I'll ever go there. Speaker wire is relatively inexpensive. I think once you get the bug for the theater-like experience you will be regretting not considering future upgrades while you have have the room unfinished. Also- your chair rows will only leave you about 13 inches of width if I'm reading your plan correctly (123" minus 110"). If you center the seats that leaves you about 6" on each side of the chairs. That's not much room.
repthrd's Avatar repthrd 09:44 AM 01-23-2013
1. I am not doing a projector from the get go, but my plan in the future will be a larger screen or a projector. We recently moved to this house and I already have an amazing TV that I just bought and I cannot justify purchasing a projector right now.

3. I will measure out a screen size when I get home and try to figure out what my maximum would ever be. With my wall there being 123" wide and 93 1/8" what size of screen should I shoot for? I have also heard it is based on the projector how far it needs to be away for that screen size, so I am probably just going to have to guess to start with. I don't have any CAT 6 spools. I am just running CAT 5 in the basement - can I do what you are speaking of with CAT 5?

4. Walling this off is not an option for me. I want to leave it open. We will be using theater curtains for this purpose. Also if I wall it off I would not have the room to get up to the risers in the back. I am not an audiophile at all. I just want some decent sound and a nice picture. I realize there isn't a ton of extra space in the back, but its just a riser to sit 3 chairs on. I do not want the riser to come out farther then that column.
repthrd's Avatar repthrd 09:52 AM 01-23-2013
Also, if I am thinking of a projector in the future. I have read there are certain screens I can buy that will allow me to put my speakers behind it? So I shouldn't have to worry to much about my Fronts and Center placement right now? Or should I try to take that into account and move the fronts farther to the left and right and the center either higher or lower - depending.
jmhug's Avatar jmhug 02:12 PM 01-23-2013
Quote:
Originally Posted by repthrd View Post

1. I am not doing a projector from the get go, but my plan in the future will be a larger screen or a projector. We recently moved to this house and I already have an amazing TV that I just bought and I cannot justify purchasing a projector right now.

3. I will measure out a screen size when I get home and try to figure out what my maximum would ever be. With my wall there being 123" wide and 93 1/8" what size of screen should I shoot for? I have also heard it is based on the projector how far it needs to be away for that screen size, so I am probably just going to have to guess to start with. I don't have any CAT 6 spools. I am just running CAT 5 in the basement - can I do what you are speaking of with CAT 5?

4. Walling this off is not an option for me. I want to leave it open. We will be using theater curtains for this purpose. Also if I wall it off I would not have the room to get up to the risers in the back. I am not an audiophile at all. I just want some decent sound and a nice picture. I realize there isn't a ton of extra space in the back, but its just a riser to sit 3 chairs on. I do not want the riser to come out farther then that column.

Also, if I am thinking of a projector in the future. I have read there are certain screens I can buy that will allow me to put my speakers behind it? .

Screen size will be relative to your seating distance as well. Too big and it may be uncomfortable to view. Most projectors should be able to throw a good image at the relatively short distance in your room depending on the amount of ambient light. SInce you plan on using curtains you may not have too many issues with it. If you go to the projector central web site there is a calculator there that let's look at throw distance and screen size for projectors. I'm guessing around 100" diagonal (49x87) for your seating distance although you could be comfortable with something bigger.

HDBaseT and HDMI over CAT appear to work with CAT5e and CAT6 currently. If your cable is 5e you should be fine (although some manufacturers recommend Cat6). If not then just run the conduit up there from your equipment location and put a blank plate over the low voltage box. You'll be able to pull cat6 when/if you need it.

Acoustically transparent (AT) screens allow you to place speakers behind the screen. They are perforated. If you go to the screens section here on avs and search for acoustically transparent you'll get lots of info there. (I ordered a DIY screen from Seymour AV so I have the fabric) Typically people place their AT screens in a false wall built just in front of the main wall where you will be projecting the image. That gives you many speaker placement/movement options.
mn_hokie's Avatar mn_hokie 07:32 PM 01-27-2013
Screen size varies from person to person. There are some general rules of thumb, but it all comes down to personal preference. I recently wrote an article about this that might be useful to you. Feel free to check it out:

http://www.twincitytheater.com/2012/10/dont-know-where-to-start-start-here/
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