Any regrets on building a dedicate theater? How's the dedicated theater with kids? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 06:38 AM - Thread Starter
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I keep going back and forth, we have an empty room that I could make into a theater but I'm worried we'll never really use it and just default to the 60" TV instead. We have one kid and another two planned. How well do the theaters work with kids, do they enjoy them as they grow up or do they just prefer the quick and easy TV? If I built the theater we'd have the upstairs living room tv which we watch in the mornings and just hanging out since it's off the kitchen, the downstairs 60" which has a bar and is next to the playroom and then the theater. I keep having nightmares of spending months and money on it to just it a few times a year.

Thoughts, opinions? Did anyone go through the same thing?
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post #2 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 07:48 AM
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FWIW, my teens spend more time in the theater than I do, but it is mostly XBOX and online streaming content. Console and PC games are awesome on 120"
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post #3 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 09:28 AM
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No regrets here, our daughter loves playing in the room - but my theater did come with a built-in ball pit smile.gif

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post #4 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 09:54 AM
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You may just end up using it a few times a year and it's one of the right questions to ask on the front end. A 60 inch screen is very nice. I use my HT for movie viewing and listening to music. Kids of all ages enjoy watching movies in the room. I like watching sporting events on the bigger screen. The blu-ray sound effects in the HT are awesome. Depending on the HT setup, it could get ample use. I am glad to have the option.
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post #5 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 10:26 AM
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I have 2 boys, a 4yr old and an 8 month old (and no more will be coming). Right now because of our busy lives with a baby, work, t-ball nights and getting the older one to bed earlier (and in a routine for school preparation), I'm not going to lie it's hard to find family time down there.

But when we plan for a movie day like a Saturday afternoon or a rainy weekend, it fits the bill perfectly. I let my son pick the movie he wants to watch while I get a giant bowl of popcorn ready. We do this once or twice a month and spending a couple of hours with him down there just feels more special, he can asks questions without a baby whining or other distractions upstairs like toys. I imagine when the younger one gets old enough to sit through a movie it'll be that much more fun. I also like to think when the younger one can go to bed earlier like his brother than my wife & I will have a place for date nights again.
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post #6 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 11:08 AM
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I have two teenage boys and they have been asking me when the theater will be done since I started the project two year ago.  They have even had a couple of tours with their friends as things progressed.  Now that I am very close to being finished, they stopped asking when I will be done and just went ahead and scheduled a premier next month when some of their friends are in town.  Nothing like a little pressure to finish!

 

My sons have a few friends with theaters in their house.  Some are pretty elaborate.  Others are just a projector, a screen and a couch, but in all cases they love watching movies or playing video games with their friends on the big screen.  You have nothing to worry about - kids will definitely love to use it.

 

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post #7 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 12:37 PM
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My regret is I built a Large Multi-Purpose room instead of a dedicated space. I regret it so much that I relieve my anxiety by building dedicated spaces for others. With large rooms you can't control the quality of sound in the room and you can forget about adequate soundproofing. I was young and foolish.
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post #8 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 01:06 PM
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My question to you would be; Do you or would you like watching movies, TV, Sports, Games, etc on a 10' (or so) sized screen and have the time and money to build it? If the answer is yes, then build it.

I would have built my theater even if I was the only one that would watch movies in there. My wife also loves movies/tv so we watch something almost every night. I also use it for my console gaming.

My 7 year old loves movies and watches any kid movies in the theater, my 10 year old doesn't for the most part as he would rather play his 3DS or other handheld device. Oddly enough he is the first person to show off the theater when a guest comes over, go figure.

In the end if it would make YOU happy, do it. You are going to be doing a lifetime of things for others if you have 3 kids eventually. I even put a key lock on my theater to keep the kids out, haven't used it but its there. smile.gif

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post #9 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 02:17 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

My regret is I built a Large Multi-Purpose room instead of a dedicated space. I regret it so much that I relieve my anxiety by building dedicated spaces for others. With large rooms you can't control the quality of sound in the room and you can forget about adequate soundproofing. I was young and foolish.

BIG, we of course have never met but, from what I've read here on AVS, sure you were young once but, foolish?...say it isnt so!
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post #10 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 02:22 PM
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My previous setup was a space that had a 63in plasma and an electric screen that dropped in front of it. It was a general purpose room that basically converted to a theater space (though the room was an open structure so sound was an issue).
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post #11 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 03:38 PM
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I am a little worried about this too - I go back and forth. My space is very limited (about 500 sqft. total) but I would have room for a theater in a 22' x 16' room and then a small kitchenette/arcade area right outside in the adjacent 12' x 12' area. The last thing I want is to build a dedicated room that no one uses (other than me). I watch a ton of sports and play a ton of video games so I feel like an open design might work a little better in terms of having people over to hang out rather than for the specific purpose of watching a movie but... movie night every weekend with the wife and/or kids would be awesome in a dedicated theater.

I'm trying to think of a way to get the best of both worlds. I'm not big into sound (probably because I don't know what I'm missing) so an open concept with a projector may be doable anyway. I'd like to think of a way to be able to close off the "theater area" when I want to watch a movie but have it open otherwise - something like THIS maybe? It looks like if you had the football game on people (the wives) could still watch from outside while talking and not being 100% glued to the screen. Other than sound escaping is there any real downside?
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post #12 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 04:02 PM
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I did my first build at the time our eldest was born, and my only regret is that I had to sell the house and move to the other coast.

Three years and one little girl later, we miss that space terribly. My wife has been bugging me for the past year to get going on 2.0. With children that age (i.e. "another two planned") it's more about you than them. Everyone's different, but we find it hard to plan a night out - what with scheduling, babysitting, rushing home etc. What a dedicated room provides over a multipurpose space is a feeling of really getting away. Without having to worry about the kids. We infinitely preferred putting the kids to bed early, ordering good takeout, and hanging out in our own theater instead of lining up at the cineplex, overpaying for popcorn, and then rushing home to pay the babysitter.

Our boy is now turning 6, old enough to really enjoy things like Pixar films. My new projector showed up last week, so I hooked it up to test on a bare wall covered in pencil and blue tape. Called him down, and youtubed the new trailer for "Planes". The look of wonder on his face was great - I had to pick his jaw up off the floor. So, yeah, at least for us... dedicated room + kids = priceless.

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post #13 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 04:03 PM
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Good question.
If you are thinking it will be like having a swimming pool or a hot tub... In my experience it is not. It will get used everyday.
We use our Family room theater at least 8 hours everyday. I will be building a dedicated theater this winter out of our garage.

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post #14 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 04:53 PM
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Funny but when I was hanging my projector my 3 year old daughter came down stairs and looked at me like I was a god and with a big grin asked if she could watch nemo on it. We don't use ours frequently but when new movies come out I buy them and we watch them as a family. There is generally a bit of a build up to it. I changed my seating around in my theater so the front row is a reclining coach with no dividers in the middle and all 4 of us sit together and watch. We have been doing this for 8 years and while it gets used a couple times a month it was worth the money I spent. My theater is in the basement and my wife goes to bed early and is not a big "let's watch a movie person" so we don't watch a ton.
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post #15 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 05:28 PM
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From the Bethesda build, Theater as baby sitter.

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post #16 of 24 Old 06-19-2013, 06:14 PM
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My kids are the REASON we are turning the room into a dedicated theater smile.gif it isn't done yet and we snake around construction materials to get in the door that has a blanket covering it, to watch a movie on a sheet with only the center channel hooked up. smile.gif we pop popcorn in the commercial machine and have theater candy boxes set up on our boxes of DVDs but every time we do it, it is an EVENT. We have Friday family movie nights that they are excited about from the moment they get off the school bus. They can't wait to have friends over!!! My girls are 10 and 6
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post #17 of 24 Old 06-20-2013, 02:19 AM
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Your kid may love playing games on the iPad or watch movies on the tablets and phones rather than utilizing your theater.
YMMV.
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post #18 of 24 Old 06-20-2013, 02:48 AM
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that's an awesome photo jeff
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post #19 of 24 Old 06-20-2013, 04:48 AM
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that's an awesome photo jeff

Jesto took that. Now they have Two!
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post #20 of 24 Old 06-20-2013, 06:47 AM
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Quote:
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Jesto took that. Now they have Two!

My kid (19 months) will watch TV or videos or whatever for about 5 minutes total and then he is done. But as he gets older I'm sure he will watch longer. And just like that pic, he likes to look at the screen from about 2' away. Or listen to music with his head next to the speaker grille.

This thread is relevant to my intrests, with my afforementioned 19 month old son and hopefully another on the way soon.
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post #21 of 24 Old 06-20-2013, 06:56 AM
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When you have a dedicated theater, it becomes more of an event when watching movies than if you were to just pop in a movie and sit down on your living room couch. My 6 year old daughter loves it.

And she likes to have friends and her other cousins over to watch. As they get older, they may also become interested in televised professional sports.

I can say the theater has definitely been used more in the past 4 months than our dining room has in the past 8 years.
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post #22 of 24 Old 06-20-2013, 12:03 PM
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I built a dedicated HT in my first house and had to move w/i a month of completion. My eldest was two and a half at the time and she loved to nap down there (quiet & DARK) and enjoyed a couple movies.

After a couple years I finally got my PJ hung in my kid's playroom in the basement of the next house. Inwalls, dropscreen, etc as the room is still primarily a playroom. We also have a 55" plasma on the main floor. The tv gets vastly more use and the PJ gets used on friday nights many weeks for family movie nights, and about the same amount by me for "worthy" viewings and maybe once a month by me and the wife for a couples movie. The frequency ebbs and flows with the schedule. I admit to using it less than I would like to, but still feel I get plenty of value out of it.

Family movie nights are the bomb. My kids are now 7.5 and 4.5, pick up a pizza on the way home, my wife makes up a batch of popcorn in the $20 whirly pop (coconut oil, flavacol) and we watch a kids flick. The kids in pajamas with sleeping bags. Its great. The kids don't get full access to the PJ, so it is still special to them. We have also had the neighborhood kids all pour in from time to time which is great.

I don't get down for personal viewing as much as I thought since its still a playroom and often a wreck. My wife isn't comfortable with clutter, so if I want to be social and don't want to pick up the toys myself the plasma is the better play. Also, we then have to run the baby monitor to make sure we can hear if the kids are upset for any reason. Finally since it isn't as soundproofed as the dedicated HT, late night LFE action fests are not ideal.

I expect as my kids get older and gaming becomes bigger for them it will be a natural fit for them to do so in the basement. On a similar note, when dress-ups, train tables and the like fade away my wife and I have visions of possible adding a sink and fridge, things like to make entertaining better since its right off the patio. It should be get more use from us since the clutter will be less and the kids will be perfectly able to come find us. Also, a seating upgrade will help, but after my four year old and his cousin cut loose with a bottle of shampoo and a bunch of bottles of water on my couch to give his trains a wash, that was pushed back another year.
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post #23 of 24 Old 06-20-2013, 12:13 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcascio View Post

I can say the theater has definitely been used more in the past 4 months than our dining room has in the past 8 years.

Quoted for truth!

Our dining room never gets used and now that my nephew is very allergic to pets there are no family events that would require its usage and my wife still won't let me turn it into an office. That is the only space in the house that is worthless IMO.

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post #24 of 24 Old 06-20-2013, 08:52 PM
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This motley crew certainly enjoyed our room on my son's 14th birthday !

boys_zps66b28f47.jpg

Cheers,
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