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New house, new HT build, but going to take a while

post #1 of 9
Thread Starter 
Well, just finishing up the move into a new home, and have a nice full unfinished basement to play around with.

The DoT decided to build a bypass through old my living room, then once they'd signed the purchase contract, the bypass project was cancelled. Gotta love government spending.

Anyway, I have a large area, approximately 20x30' in which to set up a theater. I thought I'd post the progress, slow as it may be, in here as it goes. It'll take a couple of years, since I'll be low on funds while my wife finishes nursing school. Right now I'm doing planning and making a grocery list of what to eventually get. HVAC will be the first thing to take care of, since there's nothing installed at all in the basement. I'm leaning towards a split ductless system at the moment. I'll also have to replace the breaker panel with a larger one.

Most of the rest of the basement will be an arcade, with a fair amount of room to add more games.

Pictures and exact dimensions will follow shortly.
post #2 of 9
I am happy to be your first post! I have been working on finishing my entire basement for over 5 years. I have fianlly started dedicating my efforts specifically on the theater. Hang in there...it is a long journey but very rewarding. I have done all the work myself (I am not a trades person) and get a great feeling of accomplishment.

20' x 30' is a great amount of space for a theater. You can do a good 2.35 : 1 with that width.

I also have a small area set up for an arcade, mostly pinball machines and a couple of stand-up video games...but an arcade none-the-less!

Looking forward to progress pictures...

post #3 of 9
Hopefully you have a projector and screen set up somewhere to use while your multi-year project goes forward.

Remember that Theater in the Home is first a visual experience and second much enhanced with surround sound.

All the rest is very nice to look at and stroke yourself about but when the lights go down and the screen lights up one realizes that all that other stuff - marqee, or lobby area or concession stand or popcorn machine and stage and funny/fancy lighting and posters and on and on and on is just eyewash that has not a thing to do with the HT viewing experience.

So if you already have a PJ and screen waiting to be installed in your one day it will be finished theater area then forgive me. However, if you don't have a PJ and screen then get your priorities squared away and make a projector and screen the first things you buy so you and your family can start going "WOW, this is just like being at the movies"!!!

To get the WOW in our house in our multi-purpose space I put the PJ on a shelf facing the fixed screen I mounted on opposing wall and as far as we are concerned Home Theater began at that moment.

Nothing fancy needed for the arcade area. Make sure you invest more in the games than in the eyewash (decorations). Much better to have pins like LOTR or Twilight Zone or Monster Bash than a spiffy room with lower level games. Our advice is get the stuff that matters first so the enjoyment can begin NOW and build out the rest over that looooong two years - substance first and eye candy when you get around to it.
post #4 of 9
A couple notes on HVAC -

If you are going for a mini split (or ducted system), you'll probably want to have your framing further along before you install. It would be good to know where the screen and other bits are going. It may turn out that you want the unit(s) where there is currently only a concrete wall. You may also decide to add an extra room or two (such as a bathroom) that you want cooled/heated as well.

This is also true if you decide to go for a ducted system (which is what we did). After the framing was mostly done, they came in and ran the duct work and put the equipment in place. After the drywall was done they came back and hooked everything up and installed the registers.

We decided to go for a ducted unit since we had a fairly large space and a 1/2 bath away from where the mini split would have gone. Our HVAC guys thought that the bathroom might not get enough conditioned air.
post #5 of 9
Thread Starter 
Ok, first update. The room dimensions are 29' 3" by 15' 11". Some of that will be lost when a studwall is put up in the rear.

The reason I'm leaning towards a ductless AC unit is the ceilings are fairly low, and I don't want to lose more height by adding ducts. There's space on the wall where understair storage is that the inside unit will fit nicely. I'm going to rough-in the pipes and wiring as the walls go up, then buy the unit(s) later on.

The projector will probably be one of the last things I buy, simply because there will likely be better, more affordable units available then.

When looking at the From_back.jpg, the screen will be on the far wall. I'll close off the entryway to make a solid wall. The Closet_jpg is where the equipment rack will be, with the AC unit just to the left of the door.
post #6 of 9
Thread Starter 
Here's the slowly growing arcade collection. Robotron will be added in a few weeks.

The Star Trek cockpit is a restoration project that's slowly coming together. I'm having to rebuild the lower part of the front cabinet due to wet particle board. Hyperball's backglass was still stored in a closet when this picture was taken. I didn't trust it with the movers.
post #7 of 9
Very nice!! Did you own an arcade or obsessed? Either way thats great.
post #8 of 9
Thread Starter 
Never owned an arcade, just keep finding deals on 'dead' arcade machines. Spend a few hours cleaning/repairing each one and they're good as new.

Added Robotron, Vanguard, and Omega Race last weekend.
post #9 of 9
Looking Good! you have to love that Gyruss Machine, one of my favorites.
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