I think I might hate my Bat Cave. - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 02:04 PM - Thread Starter
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What's up? Long time no hear. Anyway after the years of controversy and discussion about "family room" vs "Dedicated Theater Room" I "caved" in. I did get a new house (purely coincidentally) with a big attic and too many windows and a screwed up floor plan in the family room so it just wouldn't work. So I stuck my pj in a bedroom and suffered for a while. Well the theater is done. And I discovered the reality. Yes it is cool, but....you don't want to spend a lot of time in a dark theater. The family room is much more conducive to longer stays. I get claustrophobic trying to watch TV in there. I mean, I can do a movie or a couple of TV shows but then the antsies set in. Now some of you may say I need to get away from the Boob Tube anyway, and it's good for me and God didn't intend me to watch TV for 5 hours a day, and to that I say (something insulting). I notice the same thing with guests. We will watch a movie and then get right out of there. You just can't hang out and socialize in a claustrophobic, dark room, even if it is really nice and large. It's just oppressive physiologically. So now I know. Crap.

Joe -----

The harder it is to tell the difference, the less difference it makes.

 

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude." -- Thomas Jefferson, translated from Latin

 

Also translated as "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" 

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post #2 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 03:47 PM
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Sounds like you need to get some good focused lighting over the seating area for the more "social" part of the experience. Run with the lights on when you just want to "hang out" with the tube on. The lights make it nice and bright around the seating area, but thanks to it being a bat cave, they don't have a "huge" effect on the screen/picture. Then when you want to settle in for the feature presentation, drop the lights and you're good to go.

I've had plenty of guests over and my HT is pretty dark, but I've never experienced anything like you've described.

See what an anamorphoscopic lens can do, see movies the way they were meant to be seen
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post #3 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 04:30 PM
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JHouse,

I'm really sorry to hear of your current feelings about your home theater room.
Your experience resonates with me given I'm currently finishing a home theater room in my house too. Although I completely understand many here enjoy building a "getaway" room, I personally prefer a room that is integrated into the rest of the house. I've been renovating our living room, which is the first room in our house, just off the front door hallway. It has been very tough balancing aesthetics with my desire to ensure controlled light and audio reflections for maximising the performance of the system.

Decor-wise, I'd been going darker and darker, for fear of compromising the image. I'll have a dark brown rug, big dark chocolate brown sofa, and a dark brown (fabric treatment) dropped ceiling - a sort of big square above the seating area, which would also house the pot lights for the room.

At the same time I didn't want the room to feel like a cave. At the last minute I switched the wall fabric to a much lighter shade, because I was fearing the original choice would be too dingy. Very, very glad I did it as it allowed more light contrast in the room. Then the painting started. We had the ceiling perimeter painted a very dark brown, as originally planned, so the dark dropped-down portion of the ceiling would blend in. Once I saw it I felt "yikes!" It really gave a cave-like atmosphere to the room. It really had an "I don't think I'd want to spend time in here" vibe that I think you are getting at. So I immediately had the painters repaint it the same light color as the wall fabric. HUGE difference. Now the room feels taller and airier and more light filled, even though a large central portion of the ceiling is still dark. Now the room does feel like a place I could hang out, day or night.

The way I'm combating reflections of this brighter wall is having matching chocolate brown velvet curtains at the side of the screen that I can pull out along the walls when watching a movie. Also, I made sure to have plenty of lighting in the room so it won't feel dark even at night.

Although all the furniture is not in the room, it seems I've got just the balance going that I need: allowing a good portion of the room to be light colored (walls/part of ceiling not near screen) gives the lightness, contrast and balance to the room, keeping it from being oppressive. Then when movie-watching time comes, curtains will help ensure good performance picture-wise.

If you keep finding your room oppressive, I'd think you can always add changes that lighten it up, but in a smart way that won't (hopefully) compromise performance much, if any.
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post #4 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 05:24 PM
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You just can't hang out and socialize in a claustrophobic, dark room, even if it is really nice and large. It's just oppressive physiologically. So now I know. Crap.[/quote]


I totally agree.
A cave may be a good science experiment for measuring the "best numbers" color, contrast etc. but I could never live with a dark cave for a room.

Brad
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post #5 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 06:48 PM
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I'd never do a Dedicated Room again. I spent a lot of time reading about acoustic treatments, light control, etc. My theater was on a very small budget, but it's still nice. When you walk down the stairs to my basement, you enter the Family Room. You go through that door to the other area of my basement where I have a candy counter, a gym area, and an area for nothing at the moment. You go through the gym area, then into the Dedicated Room with no windows. I've had this room for over 4 years now. I have a whopping 235 hours on my PJ in FOUR YEARS!!!!!! I have a plasma in the Family Room, and that's what i normally watch. By the time we get the kids to bed, I don't feel like going through two doors in the basement too a deep dark room that feels unattached to the rest of the house. The family room has a very cozy feeling to it. My buddy has a nice PJ and sound system in his family room, and I love going there. He would like to have a room like mine, but I feel the same about his. It's like the grass is always greener on the other side. Everyone goes on and on about my room, but when I tell them i rarely use the room, they can't believe it.

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post #6 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 07:07 PM
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Wow, looks like a confession thread is starting for HT builders. "My name is Ed and..."

Again, sorry to hear it Tony but...that's just how I think I'd feel too. Whenever anyone finds out I'm doing a home theater reno they immediately presume I'm doing it in the basement. Nope. That reno we did a few years back for the kids to play down there and I'm very glad to have that space for them. And I frankly just wouldn't care to have to go down into the basement to watch movies. I don't go for the isolated vibe.

We had one of those living rooms done up nice - the one no one ever would actually go in. Because like most families we do much of our living in a family room, kitchen and lots of playing in the basement (and outdoors of course). So the living room has long been my de facto high end audio music listening room. I've absolutely loved having it so accessible, on the main floor, because it's cozy, right there, and I don't feel isolated or detached from the rest of the house or family when I go in there.

Which is why that is becoming the music/theater room. And I chose to have a custom designed, big, deep sectional sofa built for the room (rather than HT-type chairs) to keep the inviting cozy, cuddle-with-the-family vibe going.
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post #7 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 07:28 PM
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Thats why in my man cave i have three windows which i will cover with black fabric when watching my pj, but will also have a 50" plasma to watch tv with, take fabric off windows and everthing should be fine.
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post #8 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 08:19 PM
 
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I think the opposite. I've had foil on my windows to keep out all light for a few weeks now and I'm loving it. Besides blocking light, it helps trap and keep out heat at the same time, saving on heating and a/c bills, with the added bonus I can now watch my projector whenever I want and not wait for night! My CRT projector has now become my main TV. If I want light in the room I just open the window. I don't feel anything like JHouse does. Different strokes for different folks. So just try it, and see if you like. Line your whole room with velvet blackout drapes which can be bought real cheap at Walmart. A batcave for me is the best thing ever.
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post #9 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 08:24 PM
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Jhouse... I share your pov. Coming from 2 bat caves, I now have a dedicated room that looks like a family room with a white ceiling for goodness sakes . A dark isolated room somewhere in the basement is definitely not as inviting as a nice family/media room that's integrated into the main floor of the house. But if I could dream, I'd actually have both... a completely isolated bat cave for critical alone time viewing and then a nice stealth theater in the family room... I'm thinking something like a plasma + dropdown screen or a huge rearpro setup. So I'm basically telling you to keep your batcave and just build another one in the family room too.
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post #10 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 08:32 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stanger89 View Post

Sounds like you need to get some good focused lighting over the seating area for the more "social" part of the experience. Run with the lights on when you just want to "hang out" with the tube on. The lights make it nice and bright around the seating area, but thanks to it being a bat cave, they don't have a "huge" effect on the screen/picture. Then when you want to settle in for the feature presentation, drop the lights and you're good to go.

I've had plenty of guests over and my HT is pretty dark, but I've never experienced anything like you've described.

I tried to head that off at the pass. I have halogen spots on dimmers over the seating, wall sconces on dimmers for front and back, and a Chandelier with a dimmer in the center. The room is only about 18 x 18 but there is some decent walking room.

Joe -----

The harder it is to tell the difference, the less difference it makes.

 

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude." -- Thomas Jefferson, translated from Latin

 

Also translated as "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" 

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post #11 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 08:45 PM
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post #12 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 08:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pocoloco View Post

Jhouse... I share your pov. Coming from 2 bat caves, I now have a dedicated room that looks like a family room with a white ceiling for goodness sakes . A dark isolated room somewhere in the basement is definitely not as inviting as a nice family/media room that's integrated into the main floor of the house. But if I could dream, I'd actually have both... a completely isolated bat cave for critical alone time viewing and then a nice stealth theater in the family room... I'm thinking something like a plasma + dropdown screen or a huge rearpro setup. So I'm basically telling you to keep your batcave and just build another one in the family room too.

We have 65" LCD flat screen over the fireplace in the kitchen/family room and it's nice. But when I really want to WATCH something, it's too small, because it is so high and so far away.

I used to have a nice bright set-up in my family room in the old house, so I always needed at least 2000 lumens on a High Power and black out drapes, though it never got really dark until evening, and then the walls were a almond color so, the room was pretty bright with reflected light. That environment made me love high lumens to fight the ambient light. With my Panny 2000 the picture is killer up here (with the chocolate walls, ceiling, carpet and furnishings.

BTW, aren't you guys just loving this 1080p Video on Demand? It ROCKS.

Joe -----

The harder it is to tell the difference, the less difference it makes.

 

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude." -- Thomas Jefferson, translated from Latin

 

Also translated as "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" 

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post #13 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 08:49 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

Downer of a sig you got going there Joe.

Ok, I mitigated it (but just barely).

Joe -----

The harder it is to tell the difference, the less difference it makes.

 

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude." -- Thomas Jefferson, translated from Latin

 

Also translated as "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" 

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post #14 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 09:00 PM - Thread Starter
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Here is the room. There are a couple of more on page 4 of the thread, I think.

Joe -----

The harder it is to tell the difference, the less difference it makes.

 

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude." -- Thomas Jefferson, translated from Latin

 

Also translated as "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHouse View Post

Ok, I mitigated it (but just barely).

You're a lawyer and only have a AE2000?

Prosecute a few more of those evil doers and get yourself a Man Projector to go in that Man Cave. Put the Panny in the living room with the petit-bourgeois.
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post #16 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 09:15 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troglobite View Post

You're a lawyer and only have a AE2000?

Prosecute a few more of those evil doers and get yourself a Man Projector to go in that Man Cave. Put the Panny in the living room with the petit-bourgeois.

Did I get the price mixed up with the model number? And surely you jest. I recognize that I bought it about 10 minutes before the 3000 came out, but I gotta say it looks incredible. The picture quality is what keep me trudging up these stairs and sitting in the dark. (tonight with my laptop).

Joe -----

The harder it is to tell the difference, the less difference it makes.

 

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude." -- Thomas Jefferson, translated from Latin

 

Also translated as "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" 

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post #17 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 09:16 PM
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JHouse,

I always thought you had several theatres in your house.

We have both a batcave CRT theatre for critical viewing in the basement, and a stealth theatre with a cheap high lumen 720p combined with an electric HiPower in the un-controlled ambient light livingroom.

We don't watch a lot of TV, and the livingroom projector is now our only TV display, however we use it pretty much every day.

We probably use the livingroom theatre twice as much as the bat cave, but, you still can't beat having the option to go downstairs to 'the movies' ( livingroom 92" screen vs batcave 165" screen ).

Jonathan
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post #18 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 09:18 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JHouse View Post

Here is the room.

Wow. Doesn't look that dark to me. You would be suicidal in my room.

Seriously, I have a most black velvet small theater room and a setup with a lot more seating and comfortable couches in my 2 story living room and dining room combined, where the walls are off-white. For bigger groups and "normal" people I generally watch in the living room setup, but for by myself I watch more often in the dark theater room where I have light control. I don't tend to spend 5 hours in there at a time though.

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post #19 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 09:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jrwhite View Post

JHouse,

I always thought you had several theatres in your house.

Jonathan

Different house. And I mean actual house, not person. I moved. And you may be remembering how many times I changed equipment. I can't believe I've had DirecTV now for 15 years. Those commercials have been a shock.

I guess I did technically used to have two. And then another in another place.

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The harder it is to tell the difference, the less difference it makes.

 

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude." -- Thomas Jefferson, translated from Latin

 

Also translated as "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" 

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post #20 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 09:27 PM - Thread Starter
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Darin, I really think I might be a TV/Movie junkie. And it's probably good for me to go up and down those stairs.

Joe -----

The harder it is to tell the difference, the less difference it makes.

 

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude." -- Thomas Jefferson, translated from Latin

 

Also translated as "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" 

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post #21 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 09:34 PM
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Actually, I realised that there is a basement theater that I find pretty cool. It's a forum member's basement (Mr.littlejeans), a real bat-cave all lined with black material. Maybe because it's not a massive house, but going into the basement doesn't feel completely in the middle of nowhere. It's small, but "high performance" and it is certainly very cool watching movies there.
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post #22 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 09:39 PM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by darinp2 View Post

Wow. Doesn't look that dark to me.

That's his "Man Cave?" ......

I thought it was his old stealth theater in the living room!

No, I don't jest. I can see someone on a budget using a AE* projector, but not for quality. The Pannies drive me nuts. The left side and right side are different colors with say a snow scene. The convergence doesn't match on both sides. 0 IRE is so bright, it looks like my projector with 100 IRE.
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post #23 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 09:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by troglobite View Post

0 IRE is so bright, it looks like my projector with 100 IRE.

In other words, your white is so dim it looks like JHouse's 0 IRE.

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post #24 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 10:19 PM - Thread Starter
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Yes, I still love a bright picture. But the contrast is a WHOLE lot better now, between the pj itself and the environment. (and the color is quite uniform, thank you very much)

Joe -----

The harder it is to tell the difference, the less difference it makes.

 

"I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude." -- Thomas Jefferson, translated from Latin

 

Also translated as "I prefer dangerous freedom over peaceful slavery" 

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post #25 of 356 Old 06-14-2009, 11:25 PM
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I think furniture arrangement can have something to do with what makes a room comfortable for entertaining and conversation. Our basement theater (front PJ) is quite comfortable, however like most dedicated theaters is has all the seats facing one way, which obviously hampers conversation... but without a focal point of a screen what's left to look at besides one another without windows and a more open floorplan? and then all the food is on another floor. So our basement theater is a good place to view movies or do some critical music listening or reading and really good place to snooze because it can be made soooo dark and with or without mood music. But to hang out with friends, shoot the breeze and watch TV with the gang, multi-task like eating dinner and watching TV or reviewing papers while listening to music, etc those activities don't workout so well in a dedicated basement theater, so we also have a relatively descent theater (LCD flat panel) set-up in our living/family room where the furniture faces each other and the outside walls have big windows, good lighting and that whole space is opened to the kitchen and dinning room and the front door leads directly into the room. The way I see it is a dedicated home theater has a different function than a family room theater... and we enjoy both by choosing the most comfortable space for the activity. If we could only have one theater in the house then I would agree a family theater space is of the first order and if the circumstances allowed then a dedicated theater next as the luxury.

I find our basement theater the very best place in the house to quietly nap in the middle of the day... its sooo quite, cool and dark and if I don't turn any equipment on, nobody ever thinks to look for me down there. We actually have a hide-a-bed in one of the sofas down there. BTW, a side benefit to acoustically treating the dedicated home theater is that conversation is actually very easy to hear. I'll bet it would have been a great make-out room during my bachelor of days long, long ago.

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post #26 of 356 Old 06-15-2009, 08:30 AM
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I have a dedicated 2 row, 12 seat bat cave theater. It is designed to be my movie theater. The room acoustics are superb for talking and surround sound.

Let me put it this way. we have a nice house, There is a lobby area room in the basement where the HT room is, a few chairs, soda machine, popcorn machine, a small TV yada yada. Bath room.

My HT is a special purpose area, say just like a powder room is. One goes in their for a purpose. Actually several purposes come to mind but the powder room is for one to cunduct his\\her business and then their are other rooms to enjoy in the house. Just like a commercial movie theater one goes to my HT there to watch a movie or a sporting event. Sometimes its just me, sometimes its one or two friends, sometimes its a party mob. For a party there are lots of places in the house to watch the game. One can pretty mutch go where one wants. The biggest screen and the most serious watchers, watch in the black pit.

Now. Sometimes I watch on a 65 inch plasma in our great room. Overlooks a lake. Dog, other pets, wife around. Can observe weather changing. But its for casual viewing or viewing for a short duration. Catch the score, catch the last inning yada.

Its all life style and the room you have. I have a 6000 sq ft house and my wife and I had only one child. so I had the room to make a dedicated black pit. Its my hobby. Some people put in pool tables. Some use it a lot, some don`t.


I don`t have an extra room big enough for one. If I did, I might get one but I bet I wouldn`t use it that much.

Summer is coming. Sports are winding down until September. I`ll hardly use my HT all summer now. Maybe a few movies and a little sports. But there are so many other things to do. Movies can wait until the weather gets cold

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post #27 of 356 Old 06-15-2009, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mark haflich View Post


Now. Sometimes I watch on a 65 inch plasma in our great room. Overlooks a lake. Dog, other pets, wife around. Can observe weather changing. But its for casual viewing or viewing for a short duration. Catch the score, catch the last inning yada.

It's funny where we've come to. A 65" plasma (I assume the Panasonic) used to be my dream display. I saved for one for years (they were much more expensive at the time). Until I got diverted by catching the projector bug.

65" of plasma still is, to me, a fairly astonishing viewing experience.
So it kind of blows my mind that we've come to the point that folks like you would have one only to consider it worthy of catching sport scores and short viewing durations.
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post #28 of 356 Old 06-15-2009, 09:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R Harkness View Post

...

65" of plasma still is, to me, a fairly astonishing viewing experience.
So it kind of blows my mind that we've come to the point that folks like you would have one only to consider it worthy of catching sport scores and short viewing durations.

I do the same. Pioneer 151FD with view of Lake of the Ozarks upstairs and cave theater in basement for serious viewing.
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post #29 of 356 Old 06-15-2009, 09:12 AM
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Yeah my cave ( no windows, grey walls, black up front ) is used for movie watching only. Just like the cinema, you only stay long enough to watch the movie then get the heck out. Same with my theater, except when we get those hot and humid summer days. It's mighty cool down in my cave ...
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post #30 of 356 Old 06-15-2009, 09:14 AM
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Rich. Nothing exists without a background. Our greatroom layout means sitting about 14 ft away from that 65 incher. If I were able to sit 4 or 5 ft closer, I could get enveloped but I can`t. With my 54 x 96 sitting about 12.5 ft away, I can see a lot better and its like being there. Not exactly, its closer than being there. I rarely go to live sporting events anymore, I can see it better in my HT.

But I do go to big horse races and I am off to catch the Tuesday practice round at Bethpage. Why? I want to walk the course, put it into perspective for when I watch the actual four rounds on TV. Also observe a few players practising, up close. Now thats 480 miles driving RT to my friends house in Northern NJ this afternoon. Then up at 5AM tomorrow to catch a bus to NYC, then a train ride and shuttle bus to Bethpage. Then ten miles of walking, the bus, train, bus back to my friends house about !!pm. Then drive back to MD at 6am Weds. Hell going to my basements is a lot easier.

Mark Haflich
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call me at: 240 876 2536
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