Dedicated Home Theater vs. Media-Friendly Living Room - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
View Poll Results: Dedicated Home Theater vs. Media-Friendly Living Room: Which do you prefer
Dedicated Home Theater 134 51.94%
Huge TV in Living Room 111 43.02%
Projector in Living Room 13 5.04%
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post #1 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 05:20 AM - Thread Starter
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Dedicated Home Theater vs. Media-Friendly Living Room

TVs keep evolving. After abandoning plasma, adopting 4K, flirting with the curve, debuting OLED, dumping 3D, and doubling down on LED/LED FALD the industry is returning to one of the most fundamental of all specifications: Screen size. There are now many options at 75" and above that perform great whether showing sports in the daytime or playing a movie at night. A projector is no longer a requirement for having a cinematic experience at home.

On the other hand, dedicated home theater benefits from a plethora of highly affordable "e-shift" type 4K projectors that deliver a crisp image, as long as you control for ambient lighting and reflections. With a minimal budget you can exceed the screen size of any TV aside from the micro-LED mega-TVs sold for six figure sums. However there's a catch, which is that projectors are simply not able to reproduce HDR content as it's mastered because projectors lag far behind TVs when it comes to peak brightness.

Having recently moved, I have given up a dedicated home theater but gained a larger living room that can accommodate an 82” 8K Q900 (arriving this week) as well as other, even larger TVs. Moreover, with ultrashort-throw laser light-source projectors, it’s possible to put projection into the living room without having it get in the way. This got me thinking about the question of the dedicated home theater versus equipping a living room to deliver an enhanced media viewing experience that does justice to movies.

Ultimately, this is a poll about preference… which of these options is the most appealing?

-----

Dedicated Home Theater

Pros

Replicates the distraction-free environment of commercial cinema
Optimal speaker placement
Total control over lighting
Huge screen sizes are achievable with front projection
A basic rig is not expensive
Acoustically transparent screens are available for realistic dialog placement
3D still supported
Dedicated seating includes features like reclining and cup holders
Maximum immersion for movies and gaming

Cons

Requires dedicating a room to nothing but home theater
Can’t do “true” HDR (i.e. reproduce 1000-nit highlights)
A high-end room is very expensive to put together

-----

Huge TV in Living Room

Pros


You have an excuse to put a huge TV in the living room
Reproduces HDR as its mastered (>1000 nit highlights)
Compatible with Dolby Vision
Also usable for sports and gaming and regular TV
Living rooms already have seating, no need to buy more furniture
Usable in the daytime

Cons

Huge TVs are expensive
Limited speaker placement options
Easier to get distracted in a living room
You still need to control lighting (shades, dim lights) when watching movies
Limits in terms of screen size, extremely high prices above 85”
A great projector in a dedicated room can look better than most TVs when playing SDR content

-----

Projector in Living Room

Pros


You can have a huge screen in your living room, larger than any TV
Roll-up screens can make the system “disappear” when not in use
Can be combined with a TV for “best of both worlds”
UST laser light source projectors sit inches from the screen and last for years
Affordable 4K e-shift projection gets bright and looks good

Cons

Installation costs are high
UST laser light source projectors remain expensive
No true HDR (i.e. reproduce 1000-nit highlights)
Limited options for acoustically transparent screens
Requires control over ambient light for daytime use
Limited speaker placement options
Easier to get distracted in a living room

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Last edited by imagic; 07-08-2019 at 07:36 AM.
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post #2 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 06:48 AM
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I'm no Home Theater expert, but I have pretty simple standards and tastes. As long as the living room is a nice universal, comfortable place for other people to hang out with me, the TV doesn't have to be super big. Personally, I'd always prefer a theater room.



As far as I'm concerned a theater room doesn't necessarily mean Projector. I don't have a dedicated room yet, but I may be looking into a 3 bedroom apartment for one soon enough, hopefully this time next year. My theater room would likely be extremely small, a guest room, no bigger. It would be well insulated and sound proofed, providing some decent acoustics. Wall mount a 75-82 inch TV, say about 10-15 ft viewing distance, that means full HDR compatibility, and maybe a singular leather reclining couch. Surround wired, with perhaps some custom cut blackout curtains lining the walls for cleanliness and design. A dedicated 4K player and at LEAST a 5.1 sound system(but 7.1 or atmos could be entirely possible). This is the room where I'd store all of my movies and games, leaving some nice space in the living room.


I'd install some remote control wall light sconces with dimming, maybe some atmospheric lighting around the bottom of the couch, some subtle bias lighting behind the TV if necessary, some nicely framed movie posters, and you're pretty much good to go. I would only ever have to accommodate MAYBE 3-4 people at a time, max, so a singular couch would do the trick, or 4 separate matching recliners(depending on shape of the room, if it's more rectangular or square). It's just my Girlfriend and I for the foreseeable future, so I wouldn't need anything highly expensive or extravagant, just something atmospheric, comfortable and enveloping. A place to escape into for a few hours.


On a budget, I can likely accomplish this for under or around 3,000 bucks. That's not too bad in my mind. That way I can have the best of both worlds, a nice open living room, simplistic decoration and design that I can leave my girlfriend to handle much of, with a decent 55" TV with cable. A game room (which We've had for the past 6 years), with retro game consoles a CRT TV and my old 43" Plasma with good ole component connections. The bedroom with a cheap 23" for night time decompression, and a stylish, yet simple dedicated theater room with a 75"-82". Say, TCL 6 - 8 series for a nice budget, good performance TV. Though I'd ultimately love to have a curved TV in there, those are becoming extinct sadly. My dream would be a curved 82 incher for my theater room, but not likely to happen.


I obviously wouldn't be against a projector, but I gotta have that full, beautiful HDR brightness, so I'd lean more into a TV. It's just a lot more versatile, especially for the much smaller room that'd I'd have.
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post #3 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 07:26 AM
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I have 11 televisions on the wall in my home, including 4 excellent 4K TVs put up within the last 1.5 years. The new tv’s are 65 to 85” with both televisions in the 2 family rooms being 75 and 85 inches. These are excellent sets for viewing tv programs and sports.

Having said all that, not a single one of those televisions comes remotely close to offering the cinematic experience of my dedicated movie theater with complete light control, 125” 2.35 screen, and 4K hdr laser projection. The movie experience in the movie theater is completely different than watching the same movie on any television, even an 85”er. The two experience aren’t even close to comparable.

If you love movies and have the means, and dedicated home theater is the only way to go.
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post #4 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 07:32 AM
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I voted dedicated Home Theatre, however I use an OLED TV in mine for best possible picture combined with 9.1.6 sound.
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post #5 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 07:39 AM
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1 huge Pro for Dedicated Theater NOT listed here is sound proofing. This was my #1 reason to build one. I can play movies at any level in my dedicated basement theater without getting yelled at by wife or kids!
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post #6 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 07:53 AM
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Dedicated theater can't compare to anything else. A high contrast JVC in a bat cave just is assume even at 1080p SDR. Using Madvr to tone map HDR to SDR 4k/HDR content is only slightly better on my E shift JVC.
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I vote for media friendly family room. People will resist moving to a dedicated room, whereas the family room is the natural gathering room. My family room is equipped with 65" 4K tv, drop down 120" screen, and a 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos sound system. The room is heavily decorated with movie related pictures and signs, but still has light ceilings and walls. It is located in the center of a large single level house with no outside windows to deal with (well a door and a window open onto an enclosed porch but are readily light blocked with heavy fabric curtains). Nobody in the house is far away from each other or from the entertainment action going on.
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post #8 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 08:21 AM
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While I *PREFER* a dedicated theater - I don't have the room for one, so I have to use my living room, and do the best I can with that space.

Light-control + significantly reduced aesthetic compromises in terms of design/layout/equipment choices would be the most important benefits to me. The option to soundproof and the potential to achieve a lower noise floor are also quite nice to have
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post #9 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 09:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tezster View Post
While I *PREFER* a dedicated theater - I don't have the room for one, so I have to use my living room, and do the best I can with that space.

Light-control + significantly reduced aesthetic compromises in terms of design/layout/equipment choices would be the most important benefits to me. The option to soundproof and the potential to achieve a lower noise floor are also quite nice to have
^ What he said!

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post #10 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 09:29 AM
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I voted for what I have, which is a multimedia family room. If I really wanted I could convert it into a dedicated theater, but I've found that I actually enjoy having the ability to have natural daylight coming in when watching sports or using the room to entertain. I might do a projector someday, but I don't think I will ever do full acoustic treatments or the traditional black walls/ceiling. The other benefit I have is because it's more general purpose I can justify it being one of the main rooms in the house, thus I get use a 500 sqft room over a smaller bedroom. This allows me to have large groups of people over to watch a movie, and though the sound/viewing angles aren't perfect for everyone it's better than what they have at home so they still enjoy it. In the last year I've had groups of 10-15 over many times, and to me getting to share the communal movie experience is worth more than a smaller dedicated theater that can't hold more than 4-6 people.

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post #11 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 09:35 AM
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I am putting together a combination sports bar / theater in my basement. Walls are painted a dark maroon and lighting is minimal for the most part. 7.1 sound for now. TV still needs to be upgraded (currently just a 47" VIZIO we bought years ago), but I am planning for an 82" 4K minimal. Also need a pinball machine and SuperChexx bubble hockey table. Should have it all in place by retirement in three to four years.


Oh, there is also second smaller tv (32" for now) behind the bar for multisports viewing.

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post #12 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 10:03 AM
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Thinks this topic is in the wrong forum.

I love my dedicated home theater room. When I bought a house having a useable basement was a big priority.

TV is always TV... doesn't matter if they get big and you add surround sound (actually that does matter but it's still TV.)

I do think in the future things will be smaller and more mobile and there's a chance some sort of VR AR glasses tech will be my favorite way to consume media.
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post #13 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 10:30 AM
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Great topic!

Dedicated HT rooms are super cool to be in from my standpoint. yesterday i visited two demo rooms; room 1 was a three level seating full on dedicated HT with a very nice ceiling mounted front projector. Nice rows of luxury leather recliners with all of the bells and whistles. Movie posters/bar area -- theater carpeting etc.

Room 2 was a luxury master bedroom set up. In front of the bed was a sitting area with a small table for tea and lightfood between a couple of comfy fabric type chairs with modern arms. At the front of the room was a small fireplace with a nice viewing screen. The front projector was a Sony located over the bed actually. IN ceiling speakers to go along with L-C-R associated with the drop down screen.

Which could I see in my future? ---> The bedroom set up. Would get far more usage and shared viewing. same with a nice audio-video set up in a living room as well.

Time and preferences have changed for me it seems.
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post #14 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 10:34 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gassynizz View Post
I have 11 televisions on the wall in my home, including 4 excellent 4K TVs put up within the last 1.5 years. The new tv’s are 65 to 85” with both televisions in the 2 family rooms being 75 and 85 inches.
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post #15 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 10:56 AM
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None of the above. Tiny closet theater is the best.
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post #16 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 11:28 AM
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Those of you with an 85" TV, are you happy with your center channel placement? That's one of the things I always wonder about when considering a larger TV.

I turn the sharpness on my TV all the way up, because that's how I like my picture... real sharp.


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post #17 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 12:26 PM
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I'm striving for the large TV in a living room setting...in the basement. Large TV, couch, in ceiling and in wall speakers moving toward 5.2.4...sleek and clean. Complete with a pool table, bar, poker table, and a bathroom.
Currently have a 75" mid level LED 4K TV, 4.1.0 system in place...nice pool table...dry walling the bar now. Rockwool/bat insulation in all the walls and ceiling.
It all takes money and time. 3 years in and still piecing it together.

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post #18 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 12:40 PM
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If I had the house and $$$, I'd do both. I see "big screen" entertainment as two modes: Social/interactive as in sports events, or maybe a gaming gtg. The other is immersive, like a good movie. A classic HT seating layout doesn't seem suitable for socializing (although the noisy teenagers at the multiplex would disagree)

I see dead pixels.......
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post #19 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 01:08 PM
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Easy for me- super cool living room/family room. It's more inviting to guests (mine anyway), more inviting to me (the one that counts) and easy access to kitchen and drinks and eats and bathroom. It's just a much more pleasant experience over a cold dark recliner concentric room. Yeah I get how nice it is to be soundproof, acoustically awesome etc. and I would bet while HT as a whole may be growing a bit I have a sneaking suspicion dedicated rooms are on the decline.

I was looking at some properties not too long ago and there were a couple with dedicated rooms and I did not want that and they were nixed from my list. This coming from a guy with a fair amount of money invested in gear. Probably more than average. I didn't want the expense of tearing a part the room and turning into something else whatever that something else may be. I just dig a family room where you are not tied to built-ins and the gear becomes a part of the art and look. Sports- some are seated and glued like me while others up and chatting making us drinks. Easy access to the patio even more for the talkers.

Dedicated rooms are now a bit like swimming pools. Some want them but I imagine most potential buyers do not. At least that is what my realtor tells me. It may actually lower your resale value. A tough pill to swallow if you have a fortune invested.

I didn't always feel this way but times they are a changing.
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post #20 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 01:26 PM
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As a single person living alone I prefer the living room setup (I don't have a family room). Less space means less space to clean. When I purchased my home I specifically looked at how the home would accommodate a good home theater in the living room.
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post #21 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 02:00 PM
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Thumbs up Great Post!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post
TVs keep evolving. After abandoning plasma, adopting 4K, flirting with the curve, debuting OLED, dumping 3D, and doubling down on LED/LED FALD the industry is returning to one of the most fundamental of all specifications: Screen size. There are now many options at 75" and above that perform great whether showing sports in the daytime or playing a movie at night. A projector is no longer a requirement for having a cinematic experience at home.

On the other hand, dedicated home theater benefits from a plethora of highly affordable "e-shift" type 4K projectors that deliver a crisp image, as long as you control for ambient lighting and reflections. With a minimal budget you can exceed the screen size of any TV aside from the micro-LED mega-TVs sold for six figure sums. However there's a catch, which is that projectors are simply not able to reproduce HDR content as it's mastered because projectors lag far behind TVs when it comes to peak brightness.

Having recently moved, I have given up a dedicated home theater but gained a larger living room that can accommodate an 82” 8K Q900 (arriving this week) as well as other, even larger TVs. Moreover, with ultrashort-throw laser light-source projectors, it’s possible to put projection into the living room without having it get in the way. This got me thinking about the question of the dedicated home theater versus equipping a living room to deliver an enhanced media viewing experience that does justice to movies.

Ultimately, this is a poll about preference… which of these options is the most appealing?

-----

Dedicated Home Theater

Pros

Replicates the distraction-free environment of commercial cinema
Optimal speaker placement
Total control over lighting
Huge screen sizes are achievable with front projection
A basic rig is not expensive
Acoustically transparent screens are available for realistic dialog placement
3D still supported
Dedicated seating includes features like reclining and cup holders
Maximum immersion for movies and gaming

Cons

Requires dedicating a room to nothing but home theater
Can’t do “true” HDR (i.e. reproduce 1000-nit highlights)
A high-end room is very expensive to put together

-----

Huge TV in Living Room

Pros


You have an excuse to put a huge TV in the living room
Reproduces HDR as its mastered (>1000 nit highlights)
Compatible with Dolby Vision
Also usable for sports and gaming and regular TV
Living rooms already have seating, no need to buy more furniture
Usable in the daytime

Cons

Huge TVs are expensive
Limited speaker placement options
Easier to get distracted in a living room
You still need to control lighting (shades, dim lights) when watching movies
Limits in terms of screen size, extremely high prices above 85”
A great projector in a dedicated room can look better than most TVs when playing SDR content

-----

Projector in Living Room

Pros


You can have a huge screen in your living room, larger than any TV
Roll-up screens can make the system “disappear” when not in use
Can be combined with a TV for “best of both worlds”
UST laser light source projectors sit inches from the screen and last for years
Affordable 4K e-shift projection gets bright and looks good

Cons

Installation costs are high
UST laser light source projectors remain expensive
No true HDR (i.e. reproduce 1000-nit highlights)
Limited options for acoustically transparent screens
Requires control over ambient light for daytime use
Limited speaker placement options
Easier to get distracted in a living room
Great Post and Conversation!
I didn't vote as I have a 75" TV in the same room as a 14 foot wide screen. I like the combination as the TV takes care of daytime TV programs, news casts, etc. while the screen is great for night viewing of movies, football games, special events, etc. I may be the only one here that would "prefer" that combination but without a voting voice, I can't vote!
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post #22 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 02:12 PM
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Voted for dedicated HT. As pleasing as a room may be with a large tv and speakers, not the same experience. A dedicated HT built to an acoustic analysis and then the look of a projector throwing light onto a screen - transcends to my definition of a cinematic experience.
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post #23 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 02:26 PM
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My most wanted feature is a low noise floor. Then light controlled. So dedicated and projection based, is my vote.
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post #24 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 03:17 PM
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Made the switch from a dedicated theater to a huge tv theater in the living room and it was the best decision that I ever made! It’s so much more practical and gets way more use. Plus, I don’t feel like I’m missing all that much tbh.

I’ve come to the realization in recent years that I don’t have the disposable income or the space required to have a room dedicated for home theater use. Plus, it helps when you have an understanding wife that allows an 82” tv and a full JTR speaker setup with a couple monster subs.

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post #25 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 05:12 PM
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I wonder how many people who voted for living room home theater have actually had a dedicated home theater?



I have had both and while I like the drop down screen and projector in the living room theater the dedicated theater experience is superior. My house in Colorado Springs has both mancave/living room 7.1 and dedicated 7.1.4 theater. All movies are watched in the theater because it's a way better for many reasons. That being said, I prefer to watch sports in my man cave/living room.
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post #26 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 07:47 PM
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Having used my living room as my main home theater space for 15 years and then finally completing my dedicated HT, there is noc comparison, dedicated HT all the way. Every time we watch a movie in the room, it’s like going to the theater, only with better picture and sound. My wife and kids love it and having a sound proofed room with controlled lighting to watch a movie at anytime in the day is just perfect.
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Routh Family Theater - My Dedicated Home Theater Build - 7.1.4 Atmos Setup
Seymour AV 100" Electronic Masking Screen - Klipsch RF-7 II's, RC-64 II, RS-62 II's, RS-52 II's, CDT-5650 II-C x 4 - PSA V3600I Sub
Marantz AV7704 with TK421 Modification - Panasonic UBD 820
Emotiva XPA -7 & XPA-5 - Sony XBR-75x940c with Ideal-Lume Panelight (Living Room)
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post #27 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 08:18 PM
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I voted huge tv in living/family room. I had both before I downsized from a gigantic house to a nice condo in retirement. I must say I enjoy watching the big TV with my wife and grandkids (when they are over) much better; as opposed sitting alone and in solitude watching a movie in my former HT setup. My wife & family avoided that man cave like it was the plague. So I really don't miss anything about it. My home office (for occasional consulting) has a great setup of 27" Monitor and 43" 4k UHDTV for TV viewing/Movies/PC & console Gaming when I need my space alone. Bottom line...I wish I had done this much earlier in my life. I feel like I missed out on a lot of my family life by barricading myself, alone in that man cave.
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post #28 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 09:50 PM
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Nothing can truly beat a dedicated Home Theater to really replicate the Cinema Experience. I LOVE my LG 77' OLED. Love it..BUT miss my dedicated HT with projector. A good looking big screen like that just makes you feel YOU ARE THERE!
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post #29 of 141 Old 07-08-2019, 10:28 PM
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For me, good sound is as important to the home theater experience as a good picture is. Evidently, you don't agree, since you hardly mention sound. Having an optimal bunch of speakers in a room with good acoustics implies a dedicated room.
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post #30 of 141 Old 07-09-2019, 02:42 AM
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If I could have anything, it would be a small/medium dedicated home theater room with two rows of 3 seats, but with a large OLED/emissive display. I generally dislike projectors, in large part because I don't like to be in a completely dark room when watching movies or playing games. In a room like I mentioned, a dimmer set to very low light would be perfect for me.
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