building a media room w/questions - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 14 Old 02-15-2007, 09:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi everyone, after quite a few visits to this forum I decided to join in on the fun...
You all seem to know a lot about what you're doing and need some questions answered about my new media room build.

To start off I'll let you know what i'm working with. 1) A low budget... what else is new! 2) a basement that is not ideal for theatre. 3) a wife that really couldn't care less about a decent place to watch movies/tv - hence the low budget.

I have been told by a friend to use coax cable for all the A/V patch cables - good idea? bad? why?

What all do I need to run for basically everything I could get my hands on (upgradability) 2 HDMI, 3 to 6 coax video, speaker, component video, composite video, r/l audio, sub, What else is there to use? Do you think it's a little overkill for one room? I plan on having the component rack back under the stairs but the next owners of the house may move the components to the front of the room at a very later date - see pic.

[IMG]media room[/IMG]

I also want to "vault " the ceiling in the sitting area of the room, mainly just to add some more insulation from the upper floor, because it is the family room, and a little bit because I like the way it looks... although it will lower the already low ceiling height.

I could use some insight from the group and would very much appreciate any!

AUSSiE
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post #2 of 14 Old 02-15-2007, 09:47 PM - Thread Starter
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oh, and by the way... I am planning on using a 50" rear projection tv (panasonic, but I don't know the model #) But at @ $1500 for the tv, I'm wondering about a projector with a larger screen - say 60" - 90"
Is the pj doable for this room with the height difference? I could use blackout curtains or some sort of movable panel for the window.

AUSSiE
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post #3 of 14 Old 02-16-2007, 04:29 AM
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Your situation seems similar to mine with the basement that isnt a designers dream. Here is what I would do. I'm not sure what you like to do with your time, but if you like sports, drinking, entertaining and movie watching (in that order) like me, consider this.

1st. Use the East (assuming up is North) side of the basement for your viewing area, with a projector showing from the North Wall (Near component rack) onto the south wall. 11 feet should be enough to get a 90" picture. With the options for blocking the window, it shouldnt be a problem.

2nd. This would allow you to use the West side of the basement to put in a bar/poker room/entertaining room. This works for me for two reasons. #1 the low celing wont bother you as much, and wont restrict your projector screen size. #2 all of your future plumbing (if you are considering it) for bathroom/bar could easily be worked with behind the wall in the storage room.

And after looking at the diagram one more time, I wouldn't rule out blocking the window and projecting over top of it.

Good luck
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post #4 of 14 Old 02-16-2007, 09:45 PM - Thread Starter
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actually, I haven't really thought of projecting onto the window wall... I just had my decision on the storage room wall and that was that. I like the idea of using the window wall for the screen though (if I go the PJ route). The only problem for the PJ is that I was told to use it just for movies and odd ocassions as the bulbs are not cheap to replace and I like to watch tv on a large screen - at this time I am *suffering* with a cheap 5 yr old 27 inch Samsung that hums.

I would like some info from you guys about the cables as well too. Coax as a component video cable and audio and so on.

Geez, I think I need to rethink this room again!

AUSSiE
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post #5 of 14 Old 02-17-2007, 11:42 AM
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Build for yourself, not for the presumptive next owners. They may want to remodel everything. Or you may stay in your house for 20 years. Don't worry about that part!

If you have all the equipment in the back (including cable box etc), then all that needs to come out is speaker wire, and the video out for the projector. I would recommend an IR repeater from the front to the back, they can be had for about $40.

Coax is a good way to run unbalanced audio channels. If you want the best interconnects (like they use in pro audio places) then go balanced, but that's probably overkill for your needs -- especially if everything is in the back anyway.

Where will you put that projector, when that 6' beam is in the way? Also, you may want to soffit the ceiling and put absorbent panels in the recesses instead of vaulting it, for sound control.
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post #6 of 14 Old 02-17-2007, 12:53 PM - Thread Starter
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jwatte.... I did think of the projector a little bit more and placement of all the gear. My thoughts are to swap the seating and screen areas, placing the screen in front of the blocked out window and mounting the projector right in front of the beam. That leaves about 10 feet of throw for it. Would that be enough to make at least a 90" screen? I think I saw a thread about how large a picture in relation to how far the pj is. Will look for that.

After changing my mind on the location of the screen/sitting places, I'm thinking the walls don't need to be insulated as well... Originally I was thinking of using resilient channel and sound insulation on the walls/ceiling to keep out noise from the mechanical room but now am just thinking of putting up 19mm (3/4 inch) MDF on the mech room side and have sound insulation between the studs and then drywall - or would that work as well as the resilient channel? I can't afford the Green Glue stuff so that's out.

Going to search some more...

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post #7 of 14 Old 02-18-2007, 07:21 PM
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"I'm thinking the walls don't need to be insulated as well... Originally I was thinking of using resilient channel and sound insulation on the walls/ceiling to keep out noise from the mechanical room but now am just thinking of putting up 19mm (3/4 inch) MDF on the mech room side and have sound insulation between the studs and then drywall"

Dual layer sheetrock, separated by a flexible strip is a well understood method of reducing sound transmission. Adding mass (plaster vs dry wall or masonry vs drywall) also works.
According to the Australian Wood Panels Association, MDF has an STC of 29 (standard interior gypsum wall has an STC of about 30).

Using double layers mounted on channels can raise the STC up to 60 according to the Canadian Wood Council

Organizations in countries not celebrating Commonwealth Day (Monday, 12 March 2007) post similar numbers .

The fact that an opinion has been widely held is no evidence whatever that it is not utterly absurd.
-Bertrand Russell
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post #8 of 14 Old 02-18-2007, 09:57 PM
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If you do decide to go FP (and I think you would be crazy not to with a basement theater with light control), check out the cost of replacement bulbs. Often you can find a deal where an extra one is included, but they definately vary in cost and life. Bulbs typically last 2000 hours. At 2 hours per day thats 3 years. You'll be ready for an upgrade by then anyways Besides a Panny 900 (a now slightly older model) would BLOW YOU AWAY and cost ~900 and leave $600 for 2 bulbs, giving you 9 years worth of FP for the same price as your 50".

I am 6'5" and am a little leery of a 6'6" ceiling for optimal seating position. But thats just me. I would also steer clear of taking any more headroom off a ceiling 8' or less. Vaulted ceilings are wonderful but they generally aren't done in basements due to the already compromised room height.

This is all my humble opinion. I would strenuously agree with JWATTE. Build this for yourself.
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post #9 of 14 Old 02-18-2007, 11:18 PM - Thread Starter
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i'm thinking i will take your advices (is that a word?) and build this for myself and not the next owner. And I have definately decided to go with a front Projector. Now i am just limited to a smaller than 90" screen due to the mounting location - thinking of going with a mitsu-hd1000... but the panasonic 900 looks pretty darn good too, with the zoom function I could have my 90" + screen.

ohh, and about the vaulted ceiling... it was a little bit of the creative side in me trying to get out! My smart side has definately come into play and it will be a flat ceiling (especially with the PJ mounted to the already low height).

coolhand... sounds like you've had experience with the 900 panny. "BLOW ME AWAY" you say. Maybe I will need to just see one for myself and put it on the list.

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post #10 of 14 Old 02-19-2007, 08:37 PM
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One thing to consider is to mount bass traps (triangular) along the corners between wall and ceiling, to give it a bit of a vaulted look, and improve the acoustics at the same time.
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post #11 of 14 Old 02-20-2007, 08:42 PM
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Obviously this is the PJ I have. If you aren't familiar with front projection anything on the market will drop your jaw. I was in the clouds for months when I got my Panny 300 4 years ago. And looking back it was garbage compared to the available PJs now. The Panny is the highest selling PJ of all time and I consider it the PJ to compare others to. Still, its at the end of its lifecycle and there are decidedly better ones out there now, even in the budget sector. The one thing I would recommend you do is look at one newer LCD vs a newer DLP in a similar environment. The pictures are very different. I have a hard time watching the DLP due to eyestrain and there are a very few people that have more substantial problems but most consider the picture to be better (better contrast, etc). The one big thing is to make sure the DLP fits your space because they won't have the flexibility of the LCDs to move the picture and have widely varying throws.
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post #12 of 14 Old 02-23-2007, 03:44 PM - Thread Starter
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so... I haven't had that much time to work on the media room lately - wife wants the boys' room reno'd first! the boys room has Finished drywall on the walls and changed over the ducts to that insulated 5" flexi duct. Will be insulating the ceiling and adding resilieant channel to that room too. My new question is: Will Roxul safe 'n' sound 5.5" batting be good for this room and the media room? For around $100 cdn at 160 sq ft. it seems like it would be a good price? Anyone have experience with this product used with resilient channel? I have 2x8 joists.

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post #13 of 14 Old 02-24-2007, 05:41 PM - Thread Starter
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I looked up the roxul site and it says the main use is in walls with 3" batts and resilient channel. From what I saw it didn't say anything about the 5.5" batts in the ceiling and resilient channel. I tried searching and I found a few about other insulation but not roxul.

AUSSiE

Edit - between talking to my kids/wife and doing other things I thought I had searched for "roxul" But did not, just "insulation". So, I tried searching again and came up with lots on the roxul insulation. Sorry for the unneeded post!
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post #14 of 14 Old 03-17-2007, 06:46 PM - Thread Starter
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going with front projection!!! A Mitsubishi HD1000 is in my budget and according to the guys on the forum it's pretty great at this price. I did a post about rainbow effect and me earlier but I think it will be ok. I AM SOOO EXCITED! I can't wait for it!

Just need to order it and all the cables and stuff - go from there.
I figure A Picture of close to 90" and a big smile on my face!

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