I'm looking to add a simple front projection setup in my unfinished basement and need some advice. I'm not a front projection noob, I previously had a 119" setup
in a different home 3yrs ago, but I really miss it.
Anyway, my family and I do the bulk of our HD viewing on a 56" DLP in the family room or a 50" DLP in the master bedroom, but sometimes I long for my "cave" where I could go to watch Sunday Ticket by myself without noise from the kids, or perhaps crank up the Xbox late at night and not worry about the sound waking everyone up.
So, I'm looking at the basement of the home we built last year and I'm not wanting to really finish it off (we'll probably move again in a few years, plus it's only an 8ft pour). The walls are bare concrete and the ceiling is all open joists and HVAC ducts. There are four of those small basement windows that would directly face the projector screen, but they're on the other side of the basement about 90ft away (and already have dark drapes covering them up so I can achieve pitch black if needed). I do have the entire concrete floor covered in carpet (long story, got it free from my parents due to a builder mess-up at their new home that forced them to replace the whole house carpeting, and I scooped it up and layed it out in my basement). There's no padding or anything, and I just cut everything together very rough... but it added another 1600ft of play area for the kids, plus a computer/office area, and workout area that's nice and cool in the summer, dry, and complete dark with the lights off.
Not wanting to spend much money this go around (unlike my last setup that was completely finished off), I want to do something very very easy and simple (80% of the time it will probably be used for Xbox 360 gaming or a SD DVD, the rest of the time I'll probably run a component video cable feed from my HR-20 DVR if I ever want to watch D*.
I don't plan on framing anything, but I'm concerned about how it will sound with bare concrete walls, an unfinished ceiling, maybe one couch, and unpadded carpet on the floors. I'm planning on using my Athena Audition 7.1 speaker setup. The sides and surrounds I can hang with simple brackets from the joists.
The area I'll be doing this in is sort of an alcove (beneath the hearth room, off the kitchen on the main floor), so I could put up some of those office cubicle partition/divider things to make a back "wall" to help keep the sound in the "room". For the ceiling, I'm thinking of stapling some cheap black fabric, and for the two side walls maybe run a wire on each and drape some dark fabric. This way, it's all temporary and could be removed quickly when we would sell the home down the road. The room is 13ft wide, and unlimited deep (will probably only go back as far as 14ft though, due to two water heaters @ 15ft from the front wall, and two HVAC/furnaces @ 21ft from the front wall). Due to the HVAC systems behind the seating area, this is another reason why I'm thinking about using some partitions to go across most of the 13ft width in the back of this "room" to help block the fan sound. The right way to do this would be to finish the room and sound proof it, but again I'm looking for something cheap and kinda temporary.
I'm sure someone on this forum has done something similar... feedback on my idea?
For front projectors, I'm wanting to stay under $1200. I'm looking at the Sanyo PLV-Z5 for it's ease of setup. I don't need a 1080p system, my source material is only 720p from the Xbox and HR-20. I love DLP, and had it in my previous front projection theater room (and have it in both rear projectors we use now) but this Sanyo LCD model seems to get rave reviews and falls well under my budget (with room to spare for a cheap mount and a 50ft component video cable from the HR-20). One concern I have with the front projector is dust. My old setup had a sealed light engine (DLP). Do these LCD units have filters that need to be cleaned? An unfinished basement isn't the cleanest of habitats with concrete walls, bare wood in the ceiling, insulation packed above the walls, and the occasional spider making a web in the ceiling joists.
The screen from my last setup was a DaLite 119" High Contrast Cinema Vision screen material, along with their Cinema Contour frame w/ pro trim. I don't plan to spend another $1000 on a screen, which means I'll probably go the DIY route this time.
Given my circumstances (unfinished basement, mounted to bare concrete wall), I'm open for any ideas here. It needs to be a fixed screen, and the material should be fairly durable if a stray toy goes flying into it (or if one of three children hits it with crayon). That rules out some of these photographer's paper setups that I've read about for $100, but I'm sure there are other ways to make a screen look nice enough.
I'm not expecting the world here, as I'm not very concerned with the best in picture and sound quality. I just want something big and loud that I can escape to when I feel like sitting in the dark to play some video games or watch football in the afternoon, or surf the TV late at night without bothering anyone.
Thanks for taking the time to read my post if you made it this far, I'd appreciate any suggestions on equipment (projector, mount, and screen material) as well as "room" design (wall/ceiling coverings, potentially using a partition in the "back" to help block sound from the HVAC units).