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post #1 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Question First dedicated theater build - screen size based on room size?

I'm doing my first dedicated theater build. The room is in my basement and has no windows so will be completely pitch black with lights out. The total room size 21' L x 14' W. I plan to have 2 rows of seats, with the first row about 9' away from the screen, 2nd row would be at about 15' (I'm measuring about where your head would be, not the position of the furniture). I was hoping to go for a large screen, something like 120" or maybe larger. However, based on most of the online calculators, my seating distance is too close for these size screens. Based on your experience would you listen to these calculations and go with a smaller (maybe 90"?) screen?

I don't want to spend all this money on a dedicated theater room to have a screen only marginally larger than the plasma upstairs.. I've attached the floorplan design for the room.

Thanks for your thoughts.
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post #2 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 02:26 PM
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16:9 or 2.35:1, 120 inches diagonal or width?

Personally I would reconsider building a theater for twelve in that size room. 6ft of riser depth for the second row is 6 inches shy of what you really need to avoid kicking the seat in front.
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post #3 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 02:30 PM
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I have nearly the same size room, and I don't see how 3 rows could effectively work. Some thoughts:

1. Like you've noticed, distance to the screen is far too close in my opinion.

2. Not enough room to properly recline the second row of seats should that be something you are interested in.

3. Unless you went with "narrow" seating, 4-wide in the room won't leave a tremendous amount of space to walk around.

4. Unlikely that you'll have enough room to walk around the rear bar comfortably.

5. Cooling a dedicated room like this with 12 people in it would be a challenge.

6. I wouldn't consider building a dedicated room without a false front-wall/acoustically transparent screen. It adds so much to the experience.

The Big Bay Home Theater Build Thread
My personal theater build on Kempenfelt Bay, Barrie Ontario Canada
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post #4 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 02:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Sorry.. 16:9 120" diag

BTW the floor plan shows seating 4-wide but that's all that WS in the graphics library.. I plan to only do 3-wide, total seating for 9
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post #5 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 02:37 PM - Thread Starter
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Also the 2nd row of seats will be elevated about 5-6"
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post #6 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 03:15 PM
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That riser won't get the job done with a 16:9 screen. You might want to consider the basic design service offered by the Erskine group for under a $1000 for this project. If you want a first class theater, your viewing distances, screen size and riser heights are not something you want to get wrong, Put the back of the first row at 12 ft from the screen and the second at 18 1/2. Keep the 120, use a 12 inch tall riser, skip the back bar, Use an acoustically transparent screen and a false front wall.

Can you move the door?
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post #7 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 04:05 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
That riser won't get the job done with a 16:9 screen. You might want to consider the basic design service offered by the Erskine group for under a $1000 for this project. If you want a first class theater, your viewing distances, screen size and riser heights are not something you want to get wrong, Put the back of the first row at 12 ft from the screen and the second at 18 1/2. Keep the 120, use a 12 inch tall riser, skip the back bar, Use an acoustically transparent screen and a false front wall.

Can you move the door?
The design has 2 doors, 1 in the front and one in the back - that can be moved slightly. I'll have to research the false front walls.. how much space does that eat up?
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post #8 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post
16:9 or 2.35:1, 120 inches diagonal or width?

Personally I would reconsider building a theater for twelve in that size room. 6ft of riser depth for the second row is 6 inches shy of what you really need to avoid kicking the seat in front.
If I can talk my wife into dropping the guest bedroom in the design down there, I could bump the theater space out to 30' X 14' - that would be more than enough room for a 120" screen, right?
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post #9 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 06:25 PM
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I'm in the design stages of my theater as well and if you are going with your current room size read Big's post #6 about 3 times...he designed your room for you in the following statement!

'Put the back of the first row at 12 ft from the screen and the second at 18 1/2. Keep the 120, use a 12 inch tall riser, skip the back bar, Use an acoustically transparent screen and a false front wall."

My room is 20x16 and was trying my hardest to get the back bar into the design but it cannot work with a 120+ screen size. I tested and tested the front row distance for 130" screen and 12 feet away is the closest you want to be from a screen that size. When we tested viewing at 10 feet away from a 130" screen you came away feeling like you were on a roller coaster and had the onset of a queasy stomach.

If if you can kill that guest room and get the room to 30' long you definitely can get the back bar into the design....otherwise follow post #6
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post #10 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 07:44 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Cymark View Post
I'm in the design stages of my theater as well and if you are going with your current room size read Big's post #6 about 3 times...he designed your room for you in the following statement!

'Put the back of the first row at 12 ft from the screen and the second at 18 1/2. Keep the 120, use a 12 inch tall riser, skip the back bar, Use an acoustically transparent screen and a false front wall."

My room is 20x16 and was trying my hardest to get the back bar into the design but it cannot work with a 120+ screen size. I tested and tested the front row distance for 130" screen and 12 feet away is the closest you want to be from a screen that size. When we tested viewing at 10 feet away from a 130" screen you came away feeling like you were on a roller coaster and had the onset of a queasy stomach.

If if you can kill that guest room and get the room to 30' long you definitely can get the back bar into the design....otherwise follow post #6
Thanks yeah I really went back to the drawing board on my basement design and was able to recapture some empty storage space, move some rooms around and stretch that wall out to the full 30'. So now with a 120" diag screen and a 2nd row on 12" risers, Would I stick with this 12 & 18 1/2' seating placement or should they really be back further than that?
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post #11 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 08:06 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by nullvalue1 View Post
Thanks yeah I really went back to the drawing board on my basement design and was able to recapture some empty storage space, move some rooms around and stretch that wall out to the full 30'. So now with a 120" diag screen and a 2nd row on 12" risers, Would I stick with this 12 & 18 1/2' seating placement or should they really be back further than that?
I'm also rethinking 16:9, most of the material I'd be watching is movies, not TV so I should probably consider 2:35:1 right? If that were the case does anything think I'd have a problem getting a 125" screen in there?
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post #12 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 08:17 PM
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The only real way to answer your question is to do some to scale drawings of your sight lines and viewing angles. You can do that on a piece of paper or in a CAD program. See the attached for some examples. Sketchup is pretty easy to use for this purpose.


And a few useful blog articles:


Home theater seating layout: http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/201...r-seat-layout/
Home theater viewing angles: http://www.acousticfrontiers.com/2013314viewing-angles/
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Acoustic Frontiers: design and creation of high performance listening rooms, home theaters and project studios for discerning audio/video enthusiasts.
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post #13 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 08:39 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks! I totally forgot about SketchUp!
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post #14 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Ok this may seem like a really dumb question but.. since my room will be 30' long, can I put the projector all the way in the back of the room? I'm looking at the Optoma HD141X. The calculator says for a 125" screen it needs to be mounted at distance of 14' 10". So this means I'll have to ceiling mount it in about the middle of the room, does that sound right? thanks
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post #15 of 15 Old 11-25-2014, 10:52 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nullvalue1 View Post
Ok this may seem like a really dumb question but.. since my room will be 30' long, can I put the projector all the way in the back of the room? I'm looking at the Optoma HD141X. The calculator says for a 125" screen it needs to be mounted at distance of 14' 10". So this means I'll have to ceiling mount it in about the middle of the room, does that sound right? thanks
Not sure what your budget for the theater is, but if you plan to do this right, you should absolutely read the second and third sentence of post #6 a couple more times.

I cannot imagine doing my build without a professional layout. The layout provides locations for the screen, projector, speakers, columns, seating, acoustic panels, etc. You can request the three tier equipment option which will help you to narrow down your equipment choices.

To be certain, you can certainly rely on the wealth of knowledge in this forum to inform those design choices, but it takes time to find the detailed and accurate information.

My in progress build thread: Hidden in Bethesda
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