I think I might hate my Bat Cave. - Page 12 - AVS Forum
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Old 03-27-2014, 05:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

...
Your mind leaves the rest of the house behind and the adventure carries you away that much easier.

Exactly how we feel, but we use ours all the time... almost every night after dinner my wife asks, "What are we going to watch?"
Ours doesn't feel like a cave. It doesn't feel disconnected from the house, either. Our dedicated theater is on the main floor, 16' by 21' with a vaulted ceiling the goes from 9' to 21'. My wife is a little claustrophobic and says that vertical spaciousness makes all the difference to her ability to enjoy it. Movies take over in there. Personally, I can't imagine getting near the same level of experience in a lit room. The screen and the (substantial) sound system become the experience and the room fades away.
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Old 03-27-2014, 06:56 PM
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Exactly how we feel, but we use ours all the time... almost every night after dinner my wife asks, "What are we going to watch?"
Ours doesn't feel like a cave. It doesn't feel disconnected from the house, either. Our dedicated theater is on the main floor, 16' by 21' with a vaulted ceiling the goes from 9' to 21'. My wife is a little claustrophobic and says that vertical spaciousness makes all the difference to her ability to enjoy it. Movies take over in there. Personally, I can't imagine getting near the same level of experience in a lit room. The screen and the (substantial) sound system become the experience and the room fades away.

If you you use it and like it... Awesome.

Trouble is when folks are dreaming about building, they wont know if they will like a cave (long run) until AFTER they build it.

This is true of any room in a new house... I built a "study" but never use it. I prefer to sit in the theater room on my laptop if i need to get work done... With music going and the motorized shades open. The lighting and paint color in our room is even light/bright enough that I dont need to open the shades to make it comfortable.

I think it all depends on how you like to live... Which you usually further discover after building a new house.
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Old 03-27-2014, 07:15 PM
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Trouble is when folks are dreaming about building, they wont know if they will like a cave (long run) until AFTER they build it.

 

Often I think resell value comes into play too. I know I kept my room rather basic on the premise if and when I wanted to sell the house it wouldn't be a negative. Little did I know theater rooms would become so mainstream. If I had boy I would have had some fun. My builder asked about a sloping floor and whatnot...

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Old 03-28-2014, 07:18 AM
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In a custom house, build what you want... You generally lose money on resale of customs anyway.

I will likely never recoup the $50-70k pricetag on control4 part/labor. The appraisal guy adds almost no value to the house based on electronics parts.

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Old 03-28-2014, 07:33 AM
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I just tell them, if you do not want a great theater room and are not willing to pay for it, don't buy my house. If you don't want to pay extra for a great lake view or property on a lake, very very rare in my county, don't buy my house. This will slow down the time needed to sell your house. Meanwhile I get to enjoy it.

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Old 03-28-2014, 09:25 AM
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I agree with above --

The problem with any dedicated space/feature of a home, means that it is just that. A room designed to be a library will be a library...or an unused space. A bedroom can be just about anything....office, gym, storage, etc.

A dedicated HT serves the same purpose. You either love it, or you don't.

I have a (mostly) completed HT in my basement. Black ceiling, dark walls. Light controlled. Mechanically isolated from the rest of the house. Sound treatment in progress. My wife thought (and still thinks) I'm nuts....but she enjoys the space.

My compromise to this basement HT:

I put a LOT of light in the room, all dimmable/controlled by a Graffik Eye. Turn 'em out = black, dedicated space. Crank 'em all the way up, and it is bright/well lit. Pull the heavy curtains aside and you can see outside. I have a pool table,wet bar, and a pub table down there that we use to play board games, etc. with friends.

It is a good compromise.

I make it feel separate from the rest of the house by putting sound absorbing material / fabric and movie poster frames in the stairwell leading to the basement. I wanted to make it a destination from the rest of the house for a reason. Drink a beer, pop some popcorn and leave the rest of the world behind for a few hours, at least!

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Old 03-28-2014, 11:32 AM
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I know home theaters are a liability when selling. But I built my house with the plan of never selling... no stairs, 3' doors, etc. But just in case I framed in a large window and have a window and glass outside door just in case. The projection booth would make a great hall closet and the theater is big enough for another br/ba suite with ease.
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Old 03-28-2014, 12:05 PM
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Being able to downgrade a HT might broaden your market.

Pools drop buyers by about 50% in some areas

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Old 03-28-2014, 12:14 PM
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Being able to downgrade a HT might broaden your market.

Pools drop buyers by about 50% in some areas

I can understand that. I had a pool when I lived in a place that even got HOT in the summer (Orinda, CA). But it was so much work all year. I wouldn't want one again unless I could afford a weekly "pool guy". And then that's another liability anyway. You either have to do the work yourself or pay someone else to do the work. Not for me.
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Old 03-28-2014, 01:51 PM
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That's all very nice. you can google my home at 22200 Zion road, Brookeville, MD 20833 and watch the virtual tour and see my HT. It isn't changing. It cost $125K to build and I am in the business. Resilient channel, double sheet rock and every inch under the fabric on the walls treated acoustically. Screen is built in. Cost of it doesn't include the electronics or projector.

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Old 03-28-2014, 01:57 PM
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That's all very nice. you can google my home at 22200 Zion road, Brookeville, MD 20833 and watch the virtual tour and see my HT. It isn't changing. It cost $125K to build and I am in the business. Resilient channel, double sheet rock and every inch under the fabric on the walls treated acoustically. Screen is built in. Cost of it doesn't include the electronics or projector.

And you're not moving ever.... right??
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Old 03-28-2014, 02:16 PM
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Beautiful place Mark. You have it all going on there. I would pull my chair up a lot close to the screen though smile.gif
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Old 03-28-2014, 06:57 PM
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I can understand that. I had a pool when I lived in a place that even got HOT in the summer (Orinda, CA). But it was so much work all year. I wouldn't want one again unless I could afford a weekly "pool guy". And then that's another liability anyway. You either have to do the work yourself or pay someone else to do the work. Not for me.

Robotic pool cleaner took most all the work out of my father's pool. He spent a lot of time cleaning it and when he got sick for a year, I bought the pool cleaner and it was one of my better purchases. His pool is all cast in place concrete.

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Old 03-28-2014, 07:04 PM
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That's all very nice. you can google my home at 22200 Zion road, Brookeville, MD 20833 and watch the virtual tour and see my HT. It isn't changing. It cost $125K to build and I am in the business. Resilient channel, double sheet rock and every inch under the fabric on the walls treated acoustically. Screen is built in. Cost of it doesn't include the electronics or projector.

I quoted almost $200k to do my room, from a couple people. Same thing - no electronics, no screen, no seating, or any other equipment. HVAC + electrical already pre-run to the room, including 240v service. I wasn't going for spectacular either. Paint grade wood, GOM instead of TK, source my own equipment. It's insane what HT dealers want to charge. Then you've got the DIY guys coming in at $30k - $50k everything included. No middle ground. I've got a 20x30x12 room in the basement sitting empty for the past year. It's drywalled, but sadly a batcave without even a PJ for light.

 

 

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Old 03-29-2014, 12:42 PM
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I had to put in a cross beam and two end poles to support it in order to remove a center pole,15 years ago with the engineering cost me around $10K. Then the tear out, new low noise electric system, resilient channel, damping on the studs, channels, between sheet rock layers, yada yada. Then acoustical treatments, the cloth covering everything. It adds up. drilled the poles and filled them with sand, carpet covering the poles. If I could afford to do it again in a new house, I wouldn't. I am a lot older now and use a large theater seating many a lot less. A small room with only a few seats and painted black will do me fine. The only thing I won't compromise would be my projector and a good 1.0 gain screen.

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Old 03-29-2014, 04:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blazar View Post

In a custom house, build what you want... You generally lose money on resale of customs anyway.

I will likely never recoup the $50-70k pricetag on control4 part/labor. The appraisal guy adds almost no value to the house based on electronics parts.

Because I had a built in, and therefore hidden, dropdown screen and the projector hanging from the ceiling in the family room of my last house, and turned it on during the showing, I think it clinched the deal. I saw the husband's eyes when I talked about football. biggrin.gif He could see himself there. cool.gif And the house sold for a ton, based on what I had paid, so your mileage may vary.

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Old 03-31-2014, 10:55 AM
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A lot of great info here about the choices and the advantages / disadvantages of each. My dedicated HT room compromise was that it is in the unfinished part of the basement and is ugly as hell with the lights on and I sometimes wish it was beautiful to look at like many others' setups. However, I watch movies with the lights off so what the room looks like is irrelevant to my movie watching enjoyment and the cost of a room that looks great with the lights on would require I compromise on my equipment. In fact probably all of it as even the most basic finished room probably costs more than all my equipment combined. The other "compromise" is that it has no HVAC but being in Atlanta, GA it is just a little cool in the winter and in the summer it is just about perfect. I had been living in my current house for 5 years before setting up the HT room, and that was after coming from my previous house where I did have one. I just couldn't sacrifice any regular room for a dedicated HT and that is an issue I see many people have. Plus my projector was a Sony G70 CRT so it needed a total light controlled room and a way to hang 200lbs from the ceiling.

I also have run into the issue where the family doesn't always want to watch a movie in a dark, dedicated HT room so it would have been quite an impact if I had to take one of the existing rooms to create a HT. My kids are now teens and they now know how to run the equipment themselves but they hardly ever use it. The theater use goes from 3 times a week for a month straight to not being used at all for 2-3 months and most of the use is me by myself. The family only uses it about 15-20 times a year. I'm sure if the room was a normal finished room with HVAC and I put in couches instead of narrow wingback recliners it would be used by the family a little more but the extra cost would probably equate to $500 per additional use.

Dedicated HT rooms are like RVs. They are for allowing a certain lifestyle and while the claim of saving money is sometimes made, they rarely actually save money over the alternative of going to the theater (or staying at a hotel for the RV) once all of the costs are factored in unless you use it all the time and spend far more than you would have without it. During the 5 years we didn't have a HT room, we watched few movies and didn't spend very much on such entertainment. During the last 6 years of having a HT room again, even with cutting way back on movie buying after lessons learned with DVD and always buying movies very on sale at $5 to $12 for 2D and $10-$20 for 3D, I would say we spent at least $8K additional money over what we would have spent had we not had the theater room. Yes it saved money over going to see at the theater the 400+ Blu-ray movies we bought or rented but the reality is we wouldn't have gone to the theater anywhere near that much. Also most of the movies are older ones and couldn't be seen in the theater even if we were so inclined. Reminds me of the shopper's phrase "Look at how much money I saved!" ignoring the part about how much money was spent to "save" all that money.
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Old 03-31-2014, 11:28 AM
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However, I watch movies with the lights off so what the room looks like is irrelevant to my movie watching enjoyment and the cost of a room that looks great with the lights on would require I compromise on my equipment.


I don't think the room's environment is irrelevant for many and not just from a performance level rather the overall enjoyment itself. The satisfaction arrived from creating an environment to your liking is its own reward whether you can see it or not with the lights outs. Of course it varies by the individual but I think often it increases the actual movie experience. Just because you close your eyes your environment doesn't disappear from your experience does it? I'm guessing some say yes, some say no...

 

Really bad example... I happen to have preserves, a pond and a golf course roughly 300 degrees around my lot. If I walk into a room with the blinds closed I still have the same sense of enjoyment knowing the view is there even if I can't see it. :) 

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Old 03-31-2014, 12:00 PM
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...
I'm sure if the room was a normal finished room with HVAC and I put in couches instead of narrow wingback recliners it would be used by the family a little more
...
Well, there's your problem! I never understood why someone would go to the trouble to build a home theater and put in "one seat, one person" type seating. How do you snuggle with your Labrador in such a theater... or your wife? or your Labrador and your wife??!! I put in reclining couches.
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Dedicated HT rooms are like RVs. They are for allowing a certain lifestyle and while the claim of saving money is sometimes made, they rarely actually save money over the alternative of going to the theater (or staying at a hotel for the RV) once all of the costs are factored in unless you use it all the time and spend far more than you would have without it. During the 5 years we didn't have a HT room, we watched few movies and didn't spend very much on such entertainment. During the last 6 years of having a HT room again, even with cutting way back on movie buying after lessons learned with DVD and always buying movies very on sale at $5 to $12 for 2D and $10-$20 for 3D, I would say we spent at least $8K additional money over what we would have spent had we not had the theater room. Yes it saved money over going to see at the theater the 400+ Blu-ray movies we bought or rented but the reality is we wouldn't have gone to the theater anywhere near that much. Also most of the movies are older ones and couldn't be seen in the theater even if we were so inclined. Reminds me of the shopper's phrase "Look at how much money I saved!" ignoring the part about how much money was spent to "save" all that money.

Agree. On a purely economic basis a dedicated home theater is a loser. But that's not what we're talking about here. A dedicated home theater has the following advantages that make it worth the extra cost to me and my wife:

1. Better picture (including no exit signs)
2. Better seating
3. On our schedule
4. In our home (no driving)
5. Beer, wine, spirits are available
6. Any type of food or snack is available... for cheap!
6. A pause button to give the beer back
7. The dog can join us
8. We can snuggle (with the dog and each other)
9. You don't have to see smartphone screens as the audience texts
10. You don't have to hear the audience's conversations.

Given all that, yes, we do watch many more movies than if we had to brave the driving, the masses, the price of popcorn and leave the dog at home. And it's completely, totally worth it to us. We must watch something 3 to 4 times a week and we've had it since 2007. It hasn't worn off yet. And I'm not a couch potato either.
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:15 PM
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I'm not saying no one should get some sense of increased enjoyment out of a really nice room, I'm just saying I don't (at least compared to the cost of doing it) and therefore it would be "wasted" money. I still would prefer the room to look nicer and I have done simple things to improve the aesthetics a little, it just isn't where I spend much money. If I had the money to finish out the room, I would rather buy a 4K projector with it but I totally understand the pride and enjoyment out of using something you created. It is no different than some choosing theater like seating versus couches and loveseats for a more social environment. I realize a big issue for people who haven't had a HT room before is they don't know what they might prefer as far as looks, light control, and furnishings and I'm sure many times they want it all depending on their mood at the moment. I'm just adding my personal experience about what I did, why I did it, and what I thought of it after many years. My first priority is to the quality of the image and that is all the budget I have so the rest is short changed. That is also why the rest of the family doesn't use it very much as that is not their priority and tend to prefer the TV in the living room most of the time for the "everything else".
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Old 03-31-2014, 12:56 PM
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Quote:
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Quote:
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...
I'm sure if the room was a normal finished room with HVAC and I put in couches instead of narrow wingback recliners it would be used by the family a little more
...
Well, there's your problem! I never understood why someone would go to the trouble to build a home theater and put in "one seat, one person" type seating. How do you snuggle with your Labrador in such a theater... or your wife? or your Labrador and your wife??!! I put in reclining couches.

There are several reasons in our situation for the seating chosen. At the time in the previous HT, we wanted 4 across and the chairs were just barely narrow enough to fit. Love seats took up more width than two chairs. The chairs were also cheaper. Finally it is much easier to move a simply designed reclining wingback chair than move a reclining love seat for both size and more importantly, weight. Personally I also like having two armrests instead of just one with the loveseat and having a fold down armrest really adds width to a loveseat. However, we were recently considering the possibility of a love seat and after reading this thread, I think we will look at it very seriously. It should be possible to be able to swap configurations pretty easily depending on mood and the number of viewers.
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Old 03-31-2014, 01:00 PM
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There are several reasons in our situation for the seating chosen. At the time in the previous HT, we wanted 4 across and the chairs were just barely narrow enough to fit. Love seats took up more width than two chairs. The chairs were also cheaper. Finally it is much easier to move a simply designed reclining wingback chair than move a reclining love seat for both size and more importantly, weight. Personally I also like having two armrests instead of just one with the loveseat and having a fold down armrest really adds width to a loveseat. However, we were recently considering the possibility of a love seat and after reading this thread, I think we will look at it very seriously. It should be possible to be able to swap configurations pretty easily depending on mood and the number of viewers.

It's worth considering for sure! Glad if I added any inspiration.

We use a 3 across sofa in the back row with a recliner beside it if necessary. It works for us because each side of the sofa reclines and the dog gets the middle section. Guests get the front row! smile.gif
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Old 03-31-2014, 04:21 PM
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A lot of great info here about the choices and the advantages / disadvantages of each. My dedicated HT room compromise was that it is in the unfinished part of the basement and is ugly as hell with the lights on and I sometimes wish it was beautiful to look at like many others' setups. However, I watch movies with the lights off so what the room looks like is irrelevant to my movie watching enjoyment and the cost of a room that looks great with the lights on would require I compromise on my equipment. In fact probably all of it as even the most basic finished room probably costs more than all my equipment combined.

Dedicated HT rooms are like RVs. They are for allowing a certain lifestyle and while the claim of saving money is sometimes made, they rarely actually save money over the alternative of going to the theater (or staying at a hotel for the RV) once all of the costs are factored in unless you use it all the time and spend far more than you would have without it. During the 5 years we didn't have a HT room, we watched few movies and didn't spend very much on such entertainment. During the last 6 years of having a HT room again, even with cutting way back on movie buying after lessons learned with DVD and always buying movies very on sale at $5 to $12 for 2D and $10-$20 for 3D, I would say we spent at least $8K additional money over what we would have spent had we not had the theater room. Yes it saved money over going to see at the theater the 400+ Blu-ray movies we bought or rented but the reality is we wouldn't have gone to the theater anywhere near that much. Also most of the movies are older ones and couldn't be seen in the theater even if we were so inclined. Reminds me of the shopper's phrase "Look at how much money I saved!" ignoring the part about how much money was spent to "save" all that money.

I agree with you on the point that no one is saving money by building a dedicated home theater versus going to the movies. Honestly, I don' think I have ever seen someone serious about designing and building one say that. We all know that dedicated, finished rooms are a losing proposition both from saving money versus going out and from the resale perspective (although Media Rooms and Home Theaters can make the difference between someone choosing your house over another nowadays). If someone was naive enough to think they would save in the beginning, they won't be after their first visit with the builder/designer or their first trip to home depot. smile.gif You don't spend money on a home theater to save it by staying home. You spend it because you love movies and TV to the point that you want a space tuned for maximum audio and video presentation...I do not believe that is possible without a dedicated space.

Additionally, all that wall covering, carpet, dark paint, etc. is not just about making the theater look good. In my case, less than 10% of the total theater cost was on the fabric and carpeting...the cosmetic stuff (most of the labor was there tho). Most of the theaters cost is around acoustic treatments, sound isolation...the room treatments. Second was speakers, third was the amps/receivers, fourth was the projector, fifth was the seating and last by a large margin was the cosmetics. Having only had mine for a bit over a year, I can tell you from my experience that there is a world of difference between a treated space and an untreated space, even with the same equipment. You get more out of your speakers (although initially it may seem like less since you lose the audio reflections) and your projector will never look as well as it will in a room with minimal light reflections. Putting the speakers behind the screen makes a huge difference as well. While these are luxuries that not all people can justify, they are tangible benefits that should not be glossed over. I rarely go to the theater any more and it is not because of the cost or the crowds or the convenience. Going to the theater simply bugs me because I know how much better it will look and sound in my house. I have one all-digital theater in the Portland area that I will go to if I cannot wait for a movie to be out on BR. It is the best commercial theater, by far, that I have ever been in, but it still pales compared to what's at home. And that is the real goal of a dedicated theater, at least in my case. It was not about having a room to show off to my friends, it was about getting the best possible video and audio for the money I had to spend. In my room, the surface and acoustic treatments make the room disappear when the lights go down. It just gets out of the way and lets the equipment do its job. Granted, some design their theaters with a bit more of the budget poured into cosmetics...to each his own.

When it comes to the seating choices, that is tough. When I am watching a movie with the dogs or a gal, I often long for a comfy, cuddly couch up front. When my friends are over, I really appreciate the private space theater recliners provide. The biggest issue with home theaters is that there usually is not enough room for a ton of seating and people tend to be more comfortable when they have their own defined space. If I was designing for me alone and not for the enjoyment I get out of sharing the theater with friends, I would have went with couches or love seats. All comes down to how you want to use the room. In the end, I am glad with the way I went, but I can see the value in other approaches as well.

As I said in my post earlier, I think having both a dedicated room and a shared room with good video and audio is the best of both worlds. While I have never had my friends want to watch a movie in the living room over the theater, sometimes I don't want to sit in the dark and watch a movie or TV show so I'll watch it in the living room or even the bedroom. But its great to have the theater when a movie I really want to watch in the most high performance environment comes a long. I usually watch 8-10 movies a month in the theater. On Saturday a few friends came by and we did a 5 movie marathon. smile.gif That said, far more of my video watching is in my living room and, even more so, my bedroom. I am lucky enough to be able to have good audio and video equipment there as well, but it still does not compare to the Miniplex. :P

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Old 03-31-2014, 04:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post

That's all very nice. you can google my home at 22200 Zion road, Brookeville, MD 20833 and watch the virtual tour and see my HT. It isn't changing. It cost $125K to build and I am in the business. Resilient channel, double sheet rock and every inch under the fabric on the walls treated acoustically. Screen is built in. Cost of it doesn't include the electronics or projector.


Gorgeous house. And yet Zillow shows you listed it for sale last year, reduced the price twice, and it didn't sell. I thought the price was reasonable, but then I live in the SF Bay Area, where your house would cost at least double compared to your location.

 

Tell me about the little tray tables on your theater seats? Are those an add-on or specific to those seats?

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Old 03-31-2014, 05:05 PM
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We rarely watch tv and almost never watch tv with friends... And on top of that most of my family doesn't use my theater...

Its mainly just for me... Which suits me just fine lol. The only aesthetics that matter are my aesthetics!

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Old 04-01-2014, 06:14 PM
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When we built our room I didn't have many plans. I decided how large the room should be and that I wanted xps against the foundation for mold resistance. I hired my cousin who frames houses for a living. We literally just went down there and started building. My uncle that works in hvac and is quite good as a handyman did the rest of the work with me helping. I also stained the concrete floor for low maintenance and further mold resistance. We do use a large area rug though. Some of the rooms here are in a completely different league. Mine is very basic but I do have 2 powered berklines and acoustic panels. I think a unfinished area could still be fun if you can find a way to deal with acoustic and projector reflections. My Wife lies down and sleeps while the dogs and I use the chairs. We so rarely have people over that I may have been fine with 1 berkline.

I'm still debating on moving everything back upstairs even though we do enjoy the basement. It just seems like our weekends were more fun in the living room and we are less likely to nap through movie time. I'm also more likely to use it during the week.
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