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post #1 of 24 Old 01-04-2014, 06:34 PM - Thread Starter
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My wife and I have decided to build a home theatre for our 3 children(and us too),their ages are 10, 8, and 6 and we want them to have fun viewing memories from our Sat nights... Our budget is very tight $1500.00. The family room is 19' by 21'. Any advice would be greatly appreciated!

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post #2 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 05:02 AM
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What equipment do you already own that can be used for this room? Your budget is tight but careful shopping could yield a serviceable result!

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post #3 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you for responding to our cry for help. We have a LG Blue Ray and a 42" LG TV. So not much... Any advice would be greatly appreciated! We are hoping to get a projector, a pull down screen, and a set of cheap computer speakers, but in truth we really do not know where to start... Looking forward to hearing from you.

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post #4 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 01:43 PM
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Best advice is to break your project into parts - Audio then video. You already have the TV and BR player. You mentioned wanting computer speakers for a rather large room - if you have 8' ceilings, you are looking at 3,200 cu. ft. You wont be happy. Here is what you will need to start out.

Receiver (AVR) - look for an inexpensive one around $200 - $300 if you can - take a look at the Onkyo TX-SR313 as a starting place. It's on sale at Amazon - you can also see other options. You can also run your DVR and gaming system (assuming you have these) through the AVR as well for surround sound.

5 Speakers and subwoofer: I'd abandon the computer speakers and perhaps think used speakers through ebay or a local second hand/pawn shop. You will get a lot more for your dollar.

Cables: You will need speaker wire and most likely another HDMI to connect the AVR to the TV. Your existing HDMI will connect the BR player to the AVR. Speaker wire can be purchased economically at monoprice.com or even radio shack.

Projector and screen - I'd apply the same initial search process as the speakers given your budget. Or at least stagger your purchases over time spreading out the cost. However, you may want to check out BenQ and Optima projectors as a low cost alternative. There are DIY methods to create your own screen using screen fabric or simply paint part of a wall.

You can go in a million directions and take my advice as just one possible solution.

Hope this helps,
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post #5 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 02:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Dan, thanks for the great ideas. It is going to be a fun learning curve. I almost feel as though I could get addicted to this home theater thing. Again, thank you for the help.

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post #6 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 02:09 PM
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Please keep in mind 5.1 surround sound is nice but a decent stereo with some quality speaker large enough to fill the room properly can suffice on a budget. A standard stereo receiver and floor standing speakers off craigs list can get you going at a faction of the cost of a new 5:1. For that matter a used 5:1 can also be found on criags list but typically they are small systems that would not be all that great. Focus your budget in projector and screen as audio is probably not your thing or you would have stereo gear you could use. Another option for audio is to ask friends and family if they have any older gear in storage they do not use anymore. Folks that spent big bucks in the 70s and 80s for audio gear may still have it in the attic and be willing to lend/give it to you.
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post #7 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 03:10 PM
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Great idea on asking friends and family. I typically give my older gear to family members since storing it makes no sense if you don't plan to use it. That reminds me. I still have a VCR, dual tape deck and multi disc CD player sitting in their boxes. The speakers and receivers always go quick. smile.gif

Sound is more important to me as I think it creates more of the "feeling it experience" and makes movies come alive. But that's just me. However - next step is setting up a pj to complete the HT

Ps: nice theater set-up Doug.
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post #8 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 03:31 PM
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Great idea on asking friends and family. I typically give my older gear to family members since storing it makes no sense if you don't plan to use it. That reminds me. I still have a VCR, dual tape deck and multi disc CD player sitting in their boxes. The speakers and receivers always go quick. smile.gif

Sound is more important to me as I think it creates more of the "feeling it experience" and makes movies come alive. But that's just me. However - next step is setting up a pj to complete the HT

Ps: nice theater set-up Doug.

It is all a compromise Dan but thanks! I hate the little box (TV) so I work with what I have and try and keep the cost reasonable. The OP has a small budget that could be blown on a Projector alone that is why I suggested the simple audio route. A good sound system with a TV or a so so sound systems with a big projection image.. but you are correct good sound does make a difference.. Especially a decent sub!
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post #9 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 06:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Doug, since our current idea of good sound is coming from our used 42" LG TV we had already decided to work from the projector, to the screen, and then the audio. Our budget is $1,500.00, what projector and screen would you advise us to purchase? I know what good sound is, but it is going to have to wait for a few months. I have a feeling that this could turn into a hobby. Thanks for your help...

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post #10 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 06:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monty hodges View Post

Doug, since our current idea of good sound is coming from our used 42" LG TV we had already decided to work from the projector, to the screen, and then the audio. Our budget is $1,500.00, what projector and screen would you advise us to purchase? I know what good sound is, but it is going to have to wait for a few months. I have a feeling that this could turn into a hobby. Thanks for your help...

I agree with the others that you should spend on audio first, since you're starting from zero on that front. A $300-400 AV Receiver (I'd recommend one of the units with Internet streaming / app control, which adds ~$100 to what Scout suggested - but do your shopping and watch the used markets!) and a speaker package would fit into your $1500 budget, and you wouldn't need to upgrade that for a long time. You already have a decent sized screen - wait on the "upgrades" / replacements for after you've "got" everything else, IMO.

Audio is easily 50% of the movie experience - I had movie nights with a room full of friends for years and years with a 27" TV, but a full surround setup... And when that TV got upgraded to a 50", then a 60" - none of that audio gear had to be replaced...


Jeff
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post #11 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 07:47 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by monty hodges View Post

Doug, since our current idea of good sound is coming from our used 42" LG TV we had already decided to work from the projector, to the screen, and then the audio. Our budget is $1,500.00, what projector and screen would you advise us to purchase? I know what good sound is, but it is going to have to wait for a few months. I have a feeling that this could turn into a hobby. Thanks for your help...

Sorry, I do not keep up with the budget projectors. You will need to spend some time in the < $3000 projector forum to see what the current hot seller is. I went with a mid level new unit on sale at an entry level price spring of last year and did not like it. Sold it and bought an older high end projector used for the same price. I can not really recommend used to you, as you are new to the hobby and have much to learn. A use projector is worse than buying a used car since if the projector fails, most likely you will not be able to have it repaired and you are out your money. Start reading and take all recommendations with salt as everyone will recommend what they own.. Good luck and PM me with any specific questions that are not related to any one brand if a search of the forum and google leave you without resolution.
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post #12 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 08:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Very good advice. Thank you.

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post #13 of 24 Old 01-05-2014, 08:31 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the help. I have been looking at some of the HT's of the month and it was very humbling!

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post #14 of 24 Old 01-06-2014, 04:13 AM
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Thanks for the help. I have been looking at some of the HT's of the month and it was very humbling!

Don't let it bother you, everything we normal folks do is a compromise when it come to HT. We just need to be educated so we can make the correct choices and get the most enjoyment from our dollar. There will always be something newer, bigger, faster, better, more expensive etc we just have to realize we can't have it all and what we do have is better than the average home owner has.. Just think about it, of all the people you know, how many have a projection screen? Bet that number fits on one finger!
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post #15 of 24 Old 01-06-2014, 12:12 PM - Thread Starter
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I do not know anyone with a HT. Our children will love what we finally create. Our goal is to instill wonderful childhood viewing memories... I appreciate the wisdom in your post. Thank you. I will let you know what combination we finally come up with. What ever it ends up being, the kiddo's will love it!

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post #16 of 24 Old 01-06-2014, 01:09 PM
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Here are some basics put together from popular items on this forum. These items are all available on on amazon with free shipping. The total is $1,429.94 and includes from top to bottom: 30ft HDMI cable, two floor standing speakers (you can upgrade remaining speakers in the future), 5.1 HDMI/3D A/V receiver, 120" pull down screen and 1080P 3D projector. I'm sure you could shop around and get comparable products at better prices at sites such as Newegg.com or at Fry's. I didn't include a mount. I don't know how where you were planning on putting the projector. Hope this helps.

Aurum High Speed HDMI Cable with Ethernet (30 feet) - Category 2 Certified - Supports 3D and Audio Return Channel - Full HD - Aurum Cables

$13.99

Pioneer SP-FS52-LR Andrew Jones Designed Floor standing Loudspeaker (each) - Pioneer X 2

$126.99

Onkyo TX-SR313 5.1- Channel Home Theater A/V Receiver, Black - Onkyo

$199.98

Elite Screens M120UWH2 Manual Series Projection Screen (120" Diag. 16:9 58.8"Hx104.6"W) - Elite Screens Inc.

$162.99

BenQ W1070 1080P 3D Home Theater Projector (White) - Benwin

$799.00
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post #17 of 24 Old 01-06-2014, 01:19 PM
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I'd second the advice on audio first.... Might not be obvious, but if you do a projector and screen first, you are also committing to some sort of speakers and AVR to play them... i.e. - you won't be able to drive even computer speakers most likely from the blu ray player directly.

Myself, I purchased some Dayton Audio 6.5" bookshelf speakers to mount across the front from Parts Express... Some here may scoff, but they are about $20 each, and drive easily from any AVR. You can't do a whole lot better for the price, and could easily start with 2 in the front, and a sub from Parts Express for ~$100... I like OneCall audio or Accessories4less as good sources of factory refurbished equipment to save some money as well...

Since you will need audio equipment anyway, why not start with an AVR, and a couple speakers, and leave some room for the projector and screen. You may find that you want another 3 speakers for surround (5.1) for the $60 or so before committing to a screen...
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post #18 of 24 Old 01-06-2014, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
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Thank you very much for your time. Your ideas are within our budget. We are getting excited about this, I think it could turn into a hobby...

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post #19 of 24 Old 01-06-2014, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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thanks for your advice, and the info

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post #20 of 24 Old 01-06-2014, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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should we get a subwoofer? Our family room is 19' by 21', how big could we go on the screen size? Thanks for your help.

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post #21 of 24 Old 01-06-2014, 04:40 PM
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Quote:
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should we get a subwoofer? Our family room is 19' by 21', how big could we go on the screen size? Thanks for your help.

Sure a sub is something that is kind of needed to get any real bottom end.
Screen size is determined by a bunch of things.
Seating distance
Light output of the projector
Size of screen wall (do you have room for speakers on either side)
Rule of thumb is seating distance is 1.5 x the screen width (not the diag but width)
Google seating distance from projection screen, you should find some articles that are helpful.
This may be more confusing than help full but..
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1004723/chart-distance-x-screen-size-standards-smpte-and-thx/0_100
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post #22 of 24 Old 01-06-2014, 05:46 PM - Thread Starter
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We are going to be seated right at 12' away from the screen. We are going to go with the BenQ projector. The screen wall is 19' across by 8'. The speakers will be able to go on either side of the screen. We are going to go with Elite's 120' manual pulldown (or even bigger if we could) So that would be 120' devided by 18'?

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post #23 of 24 Old 01-07-2014, 07:47 AM
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should we get a subwoofer? Our family room is 19' by 21', how big could we go on the screen size? Thanks for your help.

If you indeed decide to go 2.1 (Left and Right stereo speakers, and a subwoofer - the .1 part), you obviously need the sub. As stated by airscapes, you pretty much need it. If you've never had one before, it will make a huge difference to fill out the sound. In a space your size and with your budget you are looking more for lowend extension to help out the other speakers to fill out the sound. Even going DIY, you can't really build something to get great power delivery in the lower frequencies.

Here is a link to some self contained units with decent reviews, and are a good gateway to get you started... if you decide someday to build some speakers or subs of your own, parts express will be your new best friend... : )

http://www.parts-express.com/cat/powered-subwoofers/95


I'd also say that with movies as your goal, you may be more impressed/enveloped in a movie with a 2.1 setup than you would be with say 5 bookshelf speakers in a surround sound setup. I say that because movies, in general, place much more emphasis on low frequency sounds than most music.

Because of our home design, and WAF, we are using 2 of the Dayton bookshelf speakers I mentioned in my previous post with a cheap Onkyo AVR with a sub, and the difference in dialog intelligibility alone vs the tv is incredible... it is about the best I can do in my space (speaker mounting is horrendous for sound quality, but looks good to the wife). Do they compare to my Paradigm Reference speakers? No, not at all, but they are nice gems that get the job done and are a huge improvement over what the TV does and saves you budget to spend elsewhere... There are some other bookshelfs i believe that Best Buy used to sell (Insignia's maybe? can't remember) that were also considered a decent value...

Here's a link: http://www.parts-express.com/dayton-audio-b652-6-1-2-2-way-bookshelf-speaker-pair--300-652

I got mine based on a recommendation and review from Zaph... http://zaphaudio.com/Dayton-B652.html
He seems to know what he's doing... : )

Feel free to PM me if you have any questions that you want to take offline...
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post #24 of 24 Old 01-07-2014, 08:21 AM
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Here is a calculator for figuring out your screen size. You can play with the variables including zoom to get a good idea of your possibilities. You generally want to buy the projector first and test out different sizes to find the one that fits your needs before purchasing your screen.

http://www.projectorcentral.com/BenQ-W1070-projection-calculator-pro.htm
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