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How to Build Your Own Home Theater - Part 1 of 4

post #1 of 102
Thread Starter 
How to Build Your Own Home Theater - Part 1 of 4
Author - Len Calderone


This is the first of a 4 part series that will walk you through the process designing and building a home theater.

Many people buy a LCD television, such as a 55 or 65 flat screen, add a $200.00 theater in a box from Wal-Mart, and call it a home theater. Of course, the couch or lazy Boy is the seating. This is as basic as it gets.

Let's step this up a notch and see how to have a large projection screen (70 or better) and a projector, as the basis for a true home theater. We will look at what's available to make a comfortable home theater that you will be proud to show off.

Read the complete article at HomeToys.com
post #2 of 102
Comes across a bit arrogant, no.
Not all of us have thousands to spend or rooms that are 25 x 25.
post #3 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakstone View Post

Comes across a bit arrogant, no.
Not all of us have thousands to spend or rooms that are 25 x 25.

Not arrogant, factual. If you can't afford to build a true theater, that's completely fine, build what fits in your budget and suits your needs and space.
...but don't make the arrogant leap yourself by calling the system you have built with a television display in a living room a "theater"
post #4 of 102
FTA:
Quote:


The new HDTV movies are all in the 16:9 format.

What is that supposed to mean? What is an "HDTV" movie? Many (most?) new movies are still in 2.35:1 aspect ratio....
post #5 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by sound dropouts View Post

FTA:

What is that supposed to mean? What is an "HDTV" movie? Many (most?) new movies are still in 2.35:1 aspect ratio....

Many of us prefer OAR ..
post #6 of 102
"Some people paint their wall a bright white to be used as a screen rather than buy a screen. This is not a good idea, and you will not be satisfied with the projected images, unless you buy the paint from Goo Systems, Inc., which manufactures a special blend just for projection. "

I'd guess most of the folks in the DIY area might take exception to this statement ...
post #7 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

Many of us prefer OAR ..

2.35 or 2.40 is the OAR for most of the movies shown on TV.
post #8 of 102
Rather poor article... If I need aspect ratios explained to me, I probably fall into the camp of "Big TV is sufficient" or "Better hire a professional".
post #9 of 102
Yeah, Here is my home theater:

Optoma HD20, Polk 60s in the front with a Polk CS1 for a center, a JBL Venue Series SUB12 12-Inch 500-Watt Subwoofer, two generic 3 way indoor/Outdoor speakers for rear surrounds being pushed by a Sony STR-DG510 5.1 receiver. All this shinning a 131" screen on my bare living room wall. Not a bad setup for $1300 total.
post #10 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by hakstone View Post

Comes across a bit arrogant, no.
Not all of us have thousands to spend or rooms that are 25 x 25.

I agree.

As for the article. I'm sorry but my 7.2 surround with a 65inch plasma set. Comfortable furniture is plenty "theater" like for me. My room isn't a huge 25x25 area so 65 is HUGE in my set. Area can be blacked out by a simple push of a button. The article was crap.
post #11 of 102
It was a poor article as it felt like it tried to cover too much topic with each paragraph. A reader would learn little about theaters let alone how to plan one. Also, I don't necessarily like the idea of configuring the screen for the last row of seats and prefer the method of using an ideal seating position for every performance measurement. (throw, screen size, speak placement...)

The paint comment is flat out wrong and there's a dozen threads or more on this site indicating why. All in all, not impressed with the article.
post #12 of 102
wow, a lot of hostility for this article, and yet it's Friday when most folks tend to be a little bit more cheery...

I think it's quite evident that this article if written for the person who has little to no home theater experience and is getting a fairly basic introduction into the topic. I was in this same boat just 10 months ago and can appreciate most of what the author is trying to convey. With my theater being about a month away from completion, I didn't find a lot of "new" information, but it was reassuring that most of the decisions I made in my own theater were echoed in this article. Makes me feel better to know that it's less likely that I didn't do something that purists would view as "wrong".

Enjoy the weekend!
post #13 of 102
I also sensed a bit of hostility. I seemed to go more out of its way to define what a home theater is that actually anything else.

To a home theater is what works for you. If you want to use couches instead of theater seating, more power two you. I was actually at a theater while in bar harbor (after going to the Criterion) that used couches as seating and served pizza while you watch. Nothing wrong with comfort or non traditional seating. If a person when easter style and had a mat on the floor you would sit on, would this not be considered a home theater.

When I first built my first home theater, I tried to make mine as much like a commercial theater as possible. I am going into a new house now and have learned what I actually want and do not want in my own home theater. Also learned what things I found to be a waste of time and effort.
post #14 of 102
My friend has an 82" Mitsubishi DLP set. Does that fit the author's definition of a "true home theater?"
post #15 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by bjmarchini View Post

I also sensed a bit of hostility. I seemed to go more out of its way to define what a home theater is that actually anything else.

To a home theater is what works for you. If you want to use couches instead of theater seating, more power two you. I was actually at a theater while in bar harbor (after going to the Criterion) that used couches as seating and served pizza while you watch. Nothing wrong with comfort or non traditional seating. If a person when easter style and had a mat on the floor you would sit on, would this not be considered a home theater.

When I first built my first home theater, I tried to make mine as much like a commercial theater as possible. I am going into a new house now and have learned what I actually want and do not want in my own home theater. Also learned what things I found to be a waste of time and effort.

Exactly. It's what you make of it. That's why its a HOME theatre.
post #16 of 102
Theo Kalomirakis, the man credited widely as the father of modern home theater, says it is a space that recreates the experience of a commercial theater ..

That's not a multi function room, a lounge area, a living room or what not .. it is a dedicated Home Theater ..
post #17 of 102
You know when an article is titled "how to build" a home theater and the first thing they talk about is carpet. It $ucks.

If the title was furnishing and equipping a home theater I would cut some slack.

The first step in building a home theater is planning followed by all the myriad of tasks you must do prior to drywalling the space. For instance there are many considerations and decisions to be made about sound management to make the theater quiet and keeping the theater sounds from reaching the rest of the house. Those decisions affect framing methods, running HVAC duct work and wiring. Where is that in the article?

Most of the guys showing up in the Theater Building section of this forum have raw space in an unfinished basement, garage or new addition and want to build a theater.
post #18 of 102
A Ferrari is an automobile. A Volkswagon is an automobile. They are both automobiles, but what a difference in style and performance.

Bottom line, the guy with the HTIB setup and the LCD TV does have a home theater. Just a big difference in style and performance with the guy that spent $50,000 on equipment and room decor.
post #19 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyinokc View Post
A Ferrari is an automobile. A Volkswagon is an automobile. They are both automobiles, but what a difference in style and performance.

Bottom line, the guy with the HTIB setup and the LCD TV does have a home theater. Just a big difference in style and performance with the guy that spent $50,000 on equipment and room decor.
Very well said and very true.
post #20 of 102
I wouldn't go comparing a 4cyl to a 8-12 cyl either..

I agree to the sentiment of the article though he is somewhat flawed in specifications of original film stocks, not to mention the blurb on hd tv and so forth..

not to mention that material hddvd/brd/dvd can vary from 640x480-720x576-1080x2040, film aspect can be from 1:45.1-1:59.1-1:65.1-1:78.1-1:82.1-1:85:1-2.35:1-2.39:1-2.40:1..
post #21 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeyinokc View Post

A Ferrari is an automobile. A Volkswagon is an automobile. They are both automobiles, but what a difference in style and performance.

Bottom line, the guy with the HTIB setup and the LCD TV does have a home theater. Just a big difference in style and performance with the guy that spent $50,000 on equipment and room decor.

I agree.
post #22 of 102
I'd like a refund of my mouse clicks.
post #23 of 102
I was about to chime in and tell all you guys to chill, that the article isn't that bad - but then I read the article. Black walls are bad? Opt for a puny screen? Put the screen as close to the ceiling as possible? No mention of risers for multiple seating rows, and impact on screen mounting height?
post #24 of 102
HAHAHAHA this is one reason I love AVS...im not gonna even READ the article lol thanks guys... now what to do with the 5-7 minutes you have all saved me...
post #25 of 102
From the article...
You can find projection screens in the yellow pages under audio visual equipment.


Who still uses Yellow Pages?
post #26 of 102
When I dim the lights and the screen casts a picture and the sound fills the air the enjoyment begins.
This article has the typical elitist attitude that personally ditracts from the true meaning of the home theater enjoyment,
It reminds me of a conversation I had with a fellow worker. He said he would NEVER drive a common folk car like a $20,000 minivan. 6 years, marriage and two kids later; he owns a Honda civic and a midline used Honda odysses. He is happier than ever.
He laughed at his arrogance and admitted he had more things to enjoy than just the one.
Whether it's a $600 home theater or a $600,000 hometheter, it's how much you enjoy something that matters.
post #27 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by bruinsrme View Post

When I dim the lights and the screen casts a picture and the sound fills the air the enjoyment begins.
This article has the typical elitist attitude that personally ditracts from the true meaning of the home theater enjoyment,
It reminds me of a conversation I had with a fellow worker. He said he would NEVER drive a common folk car like a $20,000 minivan. 6 years, marriage and two kids later; he owns a Honda civic and a midline used Honda odysses. He is happier than ever.
He laughed at his arrogance and admitted he had more things to enjoy than just the one.
Whether it's a $600 home theater or a $600,000 hometheter, it's how much you enjoy something that matters.

I don't disagree ... however, a multi purpose room, rec room, living room etc, is not by definition a Home Theater .. I suppose that a TV and a sound system of any sort could be considered a Home Theater if the only purpose of the space it is located in is to watch content ..

As I mentioned earlier, a Home Theater is designed to replicate the environment of a commericial theater .. that's why it's called a Home Theater ...
post #28 of 102
Excellent points about human nature in this thread. Of course I'm going to be "elitist" about the huge amounts of time and effort I put into constructing my "true" Home Theater and be dismissive about a TV + HTIB being called the same thing. Maybe it's not right but that's the way I feel. My wife has done 13 Ironman triathlons. That's a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. Recently, with the proliferation of short courses, the sport has exploded in popularity and participation. Some pork chop saunters into the office on Monday morning and says smugly, "Yeah, did an Ironman this weekend." NO! You did a sprint triathlon - a 1/4 mi. swim, a 12 mile bike and a 3 mile run/walk. Congratulations -I'm sure you are enjoying the result of your 90 minutes of effort. Well done. But it ain't the same as 12 hours in the lava fields of Kona and it irks me that a lot of people don't know the difference. Right or wrong, people like to receive appropriate recognition for the results of their efforts, be it two years of do-it-yourself on a budget or being successful enough to hire a pro. As far as I'm concerned, it ain't the same as a quick trip to Wallyworld and and 20 minutes plugging it in. But then, I could be wrong.
post #29 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

I don't disagree ... however, a multi purpose room, rec room, living room etc, is not by definition a Home Theater .. I suppose that a TV and a sound system of any sort could be considered a Home Theater if the only purpose of the space it is located in is to watch content ..

As I mentioned earlier, a Home Theater is designed to replicate the environment of a commericial theater .. that's why it's called a Home Theater ...

to me, HT is defined by some simple criteria;
big TV, multiple speakers, chair, and a reasonable amount of darkness = home theater.
Of course there are various levels of HT. A house is a house some are bigger, more expensive. But if a structure has a kitchen, dining area, bedrooms, sitting area and bathrooms well to me that is a house.

Not everyone has the same criteria that defines a house. Some will say it needs a 7 car garage, others will say a pool. Not every house offers the same quality of living as the next.
Only a man can define what makes his castle his castle.

I have been to some very crappy theaters in my lifetime where my HT experience is far better. Then again, I have been to some theaters where my HT can't offer 1/100 of the experience.
post #30 of 102
Quote:
Originally Posted by trimule View Post

Excellent points about human nature in this thread. Of course I'm going to be "elitist" about the huge amounts of time and effort I put into constructing my "true" Home Theater and be dismissive about a TV + HTIB being called the same thing. Maybe it's not right but that's the way I feel. My wife has done 13 Ironman triathlons. That's a 2.4 mile swim, 112 mile bike and a 26.2 mile run. Recently, with the proliferation of short courses, the sport has exploded in popularity and participation. Some pork chop saunters into the office on Monday morning and says smugly, "Yeah, did an Ironman this weekend." NO! You did a sprint triathlon - a 1/4 mi. swim, a 12 mile bike and a 3 mile run/walk. Congratulations -I'm sure you are enjoying the result of your 90 minutes of effort. Well done. But it ain't the same as 12 hours in the lava fields of Kona and it irks me that a lot of people don't know the difference. Right or wrong, people like to receive appropriate recognition for the results of their efforts, be it two years of do-it-yourself on a budget or being successful enough to hire a pro. As far as I'm concerned, it ain't the same as a quick trip to Wallyworld and and 20 minutes plugging it in. But then, I could be wrong.

Let me ask this, did your wife do a FULL triathlon the first time she did a "triathlon" or was it a reduced triathlon where each segment has a lesser criterion? Is every triathlon the same exec degree of difficulty, distances and terrain?
Those events that aren't a full triathlon are still called triathlons because they have certain components that fulfill the criteria to call it as such.
Some have the swimming segment is in a lake, some in the ocean, some have runs on the beach some only on asphalt, cycling is all flat where others encounter hills.
Does anyone think Greg Lemond first road race was the Tour de France?
How about Jeff Gordon, think his first race was in a Nascar car? no but the various levels of racing met the criteria of a race.
Does a Nascar car have the exact engine of a cart, no but it has the same basic components that make it a "race car"
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