Advice wanted on basement theater - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 7 Old 07-11-2013, 10:40 AM - Thread Starter
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I just bought my first house, and want to set up a passable home theater. In the house we were renting previously, I did what I could in the living room, but in the new house I'd like to make it a little more theater-like. Here's the layout I like the best so far:



Because of the storage doors and the fireplace/stove, that layout provides the most walking space, and is the only one that gives me the option of three rows of seating. I haven't purchased seating yet, but already own all of the theater components (list should be in my sig). I also don't have speaker stands for the satellites, but went ahead and used them for placement. I hope to get the seating on risers, although I didn't include those.

So, here are my questions:

Is there a better layout, or something that I'm missing in this one that won't work well?

Is there a better placement for the speakers? I've never done surrounds with multiple rows of seating before. In the old house, I was using 5.1 + front high speakers, but this room arrangement seems to lend itself well to actual 7.1.

How can I handle bias lighting without a wall behind the tv? In the past I've used a florescent light mounted to the back of the LCD panel, and it's worked well, but now there's no wall behind the tv to light up.

At this point, I'm not looking to do any renovations or new equipment purchases.

Any other feedback or suggestions? I've included a zip with the Sketchup model.

Thanks in advance for any help!

Basement layout.zip 3337k .zip file
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post #2 of 7 Old 07-11-2013, 11:25 AM
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Are you planning on three rows of seating for a 47" TV? I would think that the people in the back row, and probably the middle row too, are likely to be unhappy with their viewing distance.

Can you provide some measurements for the room?

Have you considered a projector for sometime in the future? I know you said you don't want to purchase any new gear now, but it seems as if your room plans are way too big for your current screen. If you are planning a projector in the future that may change what people recommend now for layout/seating purchases.

Do you really need that much seating under normal/frequent conditions? Something more of a semicircle facing the right wall where people can sit closer to the TV might be better in my opinion. Otherwise I think you will have the tunnel effect unless you go really big with a projection screen.

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post #3 of 7 Old 07-11-2013, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Walter, thanks for your reply. I doubt I'll get a projector; at least not any time in the near future. At this point in time, I only plan to actually put in 2 rows of seating. I actually do currently have the TV against the right wall, with the one futon we do have about 4-5' away, and an arch of regular armchairs behind it. I'm not opposed to keeping it there, if that would be the best place for it. I was concerned about viewing angle with seats too far to the sides, particularly with 3d content.

Here are the room dimensions:



I had seen somewhere or other a rule-of-thumb for viewing distance that said to take the width (not diagonal) of the screen, and multiply by 2 for minimum distance, and 5 for maximum. For my 47" screen (41" wide), that gives me a range of 6' - 17'. I take it that information was probably not very good, though?

Sometimes it's just my wife and I watching things, but we do enjoy having groups of people over. I think we've had as many as 10-12 people, which was a bit difficult at our old place, with some pretty bad viewing angles, and people sitting on the floor. My goal is to be able to have small groups like that over, with everybody in a seat, without any bad viewing angles. Most of our friends are perfectly happy to squish 4 people on a futon, so that helps. I know that I can't put together the ideal space right now (maybe someday!), and that my goals may not be achievable on my limited budget, but I'm hoping to do the best I can with the limited resources that I have.

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post #4 of 7 Old 07-11-2013, 12:43 PM
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So, you currently have your futon 4-5' away from your TV... Is that where you normally sit for your preferred viewing location? Try backing up to sit on the stairs and watch a show from there and see what you think of it...

Everyone has somewhat different preferences so the calculators for viewing distance are good for starting guidelines and not much more. I think if you are settled on components for now that it actually makes this a little easier for you to figure out because you know exactly what you have to work with. Trying to hypothetically figure this out when you don't have all the stuff on hand is much harder. For your situation all you have to do is simply try out some options.

Set up your seating at what you think would be your back row of seating and watch TV from there for a few days or a week. If the experience is something you consider acceptable, at least for guests, then go with that. If not, then you need to try a different arrangement or move closer, etc... Do the same thing for the widest seating positions and check your angled viewing. Again, do it for a few days or a week. You'll soon enough realize what works and what doesn't for you, your TV and your room.

Try some things out and find what works. Enjoy the journey and your new home!

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post #5 of 7 Old 07-11-2013, 12:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Good advice, thanks. I just got the TV unboxed from the move and hooked up yesterday, so I haven't really had a chance to get a feel for the room yet. I've always been the type to have that one place I always sit, but now that I have layout options, I'll try moving around.

Here's the arrangement I set up yesterday, except I haven't set up the surrounds yet, and I used nicer seating for the model. Front row eye distance is about 4 feet from the screen, back row about 9:


I'll leave it as-is for now, and see how it works out from different places in the room.

Time to start watching some movies! "No, really, honey... it's research."

Thanks again!

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post #6 of 7 Old 07-11-2013, 03:02 PM
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The problem with sofas / seating in multiple rows without a riser is that not only are you far from the screen, but your sight line will be difficult due to both the furniture and the people sitting on the couch in front of you.

IMO you'd be better off with the seating in an L-shape and the TV on the wall next to the fireplace/stove. The couch facing the screen would be your primary, with the other L-shaped side seating your "overflow".

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post #7 of 7 Old 07-11-2013, 03:08 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks, Jautor. I'll keep that in mind as a possible option. I do hope to put the back seats on risers... probably something cheap right now, but hopefully I'll make it nicer down the road, especially since I'd like to carpet the room eventually.

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