This thread will chronicle the transformation of my general purpose media room, seen here, into a dedicated home theater room as seen below.
I'm not fortunate enough to have unlimited space or an unlimited budget, so I have strived to create the best Home Theater experience that I can within the confines of space and budget available to me. Hopefully sharing my experiences will help someone else out there to create their dream theater as well.
--- CURRENT STATUS (as of May 6, 2013) ---
--- PRIOR STATUS (as of August 26, 2012) ---
My Equipment List: (as of May 6, 2013)
EliteScreens SableFrame series 120" Fixed-Frame CineWhite 1.1 gain Projection Screen
Oppo BDP-93 Blu-ray/Universal Disc Player
DishNetwork Hopper 2000 HD DVR
HTPC Intel Atom/NVidia powered
Xbox 360 250GB Slim
Nintendo Wii U Deluxe 32GB
- Front Left & Right- Polk RTi12 (x2);
- Center Channel- Polk CSiA6;
- Surround Left & Right- Polk RTi4 (x2); &
- Surround Back- Polk CSiA4.
- Velodyne DLS-3750R 375w peak (185w continuous) 10" subwoofer
Future Plans: (as of April 20, 2012)
Although the major changes are done for now, I plan to continue to keep this thread updated as I make modifications and add or exchange components in the future.
I've been collecting 3D Blu-rays for awhile now and really have quite a few, so the next step will probably be a 3D capable projector. Not surprisingly, I'm leaning towards the Epson Home Cinema 5010 but considering "splurging" on the Epson Pro Cinema 6010 as I am a sucker for the black chassis. I'm also interested in what the fall brings...
The first step for me was to enclose the "Entertainment Room" off the back of the kitchen/dining area. As you can see in the earliest photos, the room originally contained an open archway and doorway between the dining area and the "Entertainment Room." I had previously hung curtains to control the light entering the room. I intended to do this properly by framing and drywalling the openings and hanging a door. An accordion door was chosen, not due to cost of simplicity, but due to space concerns as there would not be a good direction for a traditional door to swing without either blocking another doorway, blocking a light switch or just opening towards the center of the room which is not aesthetically pleasing. Unfortunately, due to the existing archway, there was not sufficient clearance to hang a pocket door.
Please excuse the mess in all the photos while work is actively being performed.
January 12, 2012
There are many of these archways scattered throughout the house and are an important design element. As such, I was careful to frame in a manner that preserved the character of the original archways as much as possible.
January 13, 2012
Drywalling & Plastering-
During the process, in inner-side was drywalled first and then the gaps were spray-foamed from the outer-side to create a solid core prior to putting up the drywall on the outer-side.
January 14, 2012
After finishing the framing and drywalling, it was time to hang the door and trim the door frame. I forgot to take any photos during these steps.
Now that the room was enclose and fully light-controlled, the next step was to transform a general purpose media room, containing a plasma display as well as a front projector, a manual roll-down screen, bookshelves and a section sofa into a more traditional, dedicated theater room.
February 24, 2012
First, the furniture was removed.
Next, the bookshelves along the front and side of the room were moved to the back of the room. The three shorter bookshelves that originally ran along the archway were slightly to wide to fit. To rectify this, another similar shelf was purchased (unfortunately, the identical model was no longer available), as dis-assembling these admittedly cheap shevling units often results in their distruction, and all of the horizontal components were cut to an exact length and the backing was cut to fit the new dimensions.
Here are the results-
Next, the Plasma was taken down (at about 160lbs, this is quite a chore) and the wall-mount was removed. The shelf on which the center-channel speaker used to sit was removed (it will now rest directly on the entertainment center) and the brackets that supported the pull-down screen and the boards to which they were attached were removed. After removing all of this hardware, there was quite a bit of drywall damage- especially from the wall-mount. As such, all of the plaster was patched and left to dry overnight.
Today, the plaster repairs were sanded and painted. After allowing the paint to dry, the "annex" which contains my HTPC & Laserdisc & S-VHS players (which originally rested along the right-side wall) was moved to the front wall alongside the entertainment center. The right-channel speaker would rest here.
Next, the screen- an EliteScreens SableFrame series 120" Fixed-Frame CineWhite 1.1 gain Projection Screen- was assembled and hung.
Finally, I had to locate an appropriately styled end table or other accessory of the same height as the entertainment center and "annex" upon which the left-channel speaker would rest. I actually have to thank my wife for finding a perfect little hardwood table at Pier One. It wasn't inexpensive, but it was worth it!
Here are the results-
The seats were placed so that the viewing distance is approximately 11 feet from a 120" screen, 104" wide, for a viewing angle of just over 40 degrees. Although it is ever so slightly closer than the THX minimum viewing distance, neither myself nor anyone else who has watched a film on the screen have any complaints about too wide of a viewing angle. At this viewing distance, the experience is very immersive and allows a respectable 42" aisleway behind the seating area to browse my DVD and Blu-ray collection between viewings.
Here it is-
Replaced a VERY poor quality composite video switch that was really affecting the quality of LaserDisc & VHS sources. The newly purchased Monoprice CPX-401 is actually a component video switch, but can easily be used as a composite video switch by passing the composite video via the "Y" connector and using the stero audio outs as normaly. The internals seem quite good, the interference from the cheap switch is gone & I notice no degredation in image quality, and the unit is surprisingly solidly built for the price point, typical of Monoprice components.
Its a minor update but it does significantly improve the viewing experience for VHS & LaserDisc sources. I wouldn't normally upload photos of such a minor addition, but the little "box" improves the look of the room in general a bit by filling in an ugly hole in the "annex."
Here it is-
Front Left & Right- Polk RTi12 (x2);
Center Channel- Polk CSiA6;
Surround Left & Right- Polk RTi4 (x2); &
Surround Back- Polk CSiA4.
(Yes, my camera really is on its last leg...)
(and new camera; thank god...)
Its quite the undertaking to move all the equipment out of the old conole and into the new and I just didn't have time to finish this weekend.
As soon as I get a chance to make the move, I'll update the thread with more photos.
And some new photos using a tripod with the new camera this time:
(The halo around the "Oppo" logo is thanks to a camera artifact.)
I have not tweaked the brightness or contrast. However, the camera has a tendency to exaggerate what light there is in the room. The ambient light levels actually appear lower to the naked eye.
Any, a new update.
New flooring with a few component changes...
Simplification mainly: removed the LaserDisc player (it will migrate to the front room) and VHS deck which also allowed me to remove the component switch. A black 32GB Deluxe Wii U replaces the Wii as of November 2012.