I have waded through your whole build thread today and must say that I'm astounded at your level of detailed planning and your attention to all the little things going into the build of your theater. Not to mention your perseverance! I truly hope you meet your wife's due date deadline and I'll say a prayer for you that she doesn't go into premature labor. Believe it or not, the OB's recommend a glass of wine to settle down premature contractions near term! Seems that works great for dads around that time as well...
I'm sorry to go back to the beginning of the conversation, but that's the stage where I am at right now in my theater plan. The basic shape and size of the room are set and I have to nail down the screen size and seating distances and configurations now as that helps me settle a host of other decisions that are still pending so I can get my project off the ground. In looking at your top-down plan sketch, you've listed a front row seating distance of 9.5' and and a second row seating distance of 15.5'. In conjunction with your amazing 141" x 60" screen, I've calculated your viewing angles as (H/V) 63 degrees/30 degrees for the first row and 41 degrees/19 degrees for the second row. It seems that the second row seats are close to ideal (at least as determined by THX and SMPTE) who seem to gravitate to somewhere around 36-50 degrees H and 15-20 degrees V. But the front row seems awfully close with viewing angles significantly wider than generally recommended.
My question is whether the first row viewing angles were considered at all in the room layout design or if it was a matter of designing for the second row and putting in the first row and telling those guys to deal with it and be thankful they got a ticket to the show! I don't remember if it was your theater build thread or another that was considering getting rid of the bar in the back. But would moving everything back a couple of feet help equalize the experience for people in each of the two rows?
I am dealing with exactly this question now in my design which, with 2 rows like your set up would put my first row at 1x the screen width of 120" (1.78 screen) or viewing angles of 53 degrees H and 32 degrees V. I was able to test sit a theater at the local Magnolia which had a 120" wide 2.35 screen (120" x 51") which would be viewing angles of 53 degrees H and 24 degrees V. We found this image to be very large (and enveloping would be the positive spin) but near the upper limit of what we would find acceptable. Extrapolating in my mind to a 1.78 image, I can see how that could start to get uncomfortably large. I think that for a 120" wide screen in my room, an ideal seating distance would be at about 15' from the screen but that would limit me to one row given my other room constraints. So the dilemma is whether to go with one ideal row, or two rows where one is close to ideal (1 foot difference) and the other is quite a bit away from ideal (5 foot difference).
The one seating arrangement that may get two rows closer to ideal may be to have non-reclining seats in the second row at about 16' from the screen (1 foot off of ideal) and the first row could be pushed back to close to 11.5' (or 3.5 feet off of ideal). I think that 1.5' feet would make a pretty big difference, but I haven't run across any setups in stores with screens/seating distances matching what I'm trying to design for to do a test sit.
So I guess I just wanted to know how you analyzed and rationalized the inevitable compromises that we make all along the way in bringing our design concepts and dreams into physical reality.