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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Seven years in the house, time to build the kid's basement before they go to college. Too much time looking for the perfect answer, and good time to give the family a 'big' Christmas present. Plus, Mom is in a wheelchair now, and having her and Dad spend $120 a night for an accessible hotel room every time they visit is goofy.


Lurked and searched a bit, decided to just go for something that works for now, allows for me to build in stages. Any improvement in video and sound will be nice.


Currently we have a two tuner Dish Network DVR, OTA HDTV, Xbox 360, and a PC with downloads and streaming. General TV viewing is in the great room on an old 32" tube. Jumped into HD three years ago with a refurbed 32" Westinghouse 720p that doubles as the computer monitor in the playroom. Everything except general TV viewing happens there, usually from a flat futon with lots of pillows.


After thought, decided big screen more important than definition for now. And the futon with pillows is surprisingly agreeable to both us and our teens as far as a comfortable way to watch.


Equipment on the way:
  • Optoma HD66
  • Panasonic DMP-BD85
  • Onkyo HT-S5300


Got the good Thanksgiving Deal on the BD85, missed the refurbed 5300 deal, so went new from Amazon with free shipping [Update: price eventually dropped to $399, no tax, and free shipping!].


Flooring will be Delta FL with 1/2" OSB screwed down, Sam's Club laminate on top. Tile in the bathrooms, eventually carpet in the dedicated theater.
 

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Discussion Starter · #2 ·

Here's how we look now:


Temporary screen wall will go here:


 

View towards the walkout:


 

Bedroom and Bath area:


 

Future dedicated Theater room:


 

Storage now, storage later:
 

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Very nice space to work with. What are the dimensions for the planed theater room? L/W/H of room and L/W/H of screen wall. I think that after you get your PJ, you'll be bumping that into priority.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·

The dedicated room could have up to 20 x 17 x 9 to build within. I suppose seating location, the location of those windows, and things I have not yet thought of will ultimately determine the size and orientation.


The screen wall available area is about 15 x 8.5, given the stairs and plumbing interference up high (I was not around during a critical time for HVAC and plumbing when we built, so installation in many spots ate up a bit more of my 9' basement height than I would have preferred, box outs and different height drop ceiling looks like what I will have to do).


You are spot on about priorities changing as equipment arrives! Dad's gonna be like a 5 year old this Christmas time!


Towards that end, filled in a 1" divot in a corner of the slab next to the screen wall last night with some self leveling concrete:



 

Four flippin' bags at $36 a pop! And I still have another divot to play with over in the bedroom area! Gonna cost more than all the OSB combined. If my concrete guy was not a friend, and not dead, God rest his soul, I'd go kick him in the ass!
 
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·

Okay, that was a tough spell. Had TWO computers get a nice boot record virus that took 36 hours of effort to fix. Plus some travel. Plus life in general. Anyway, got the concrete bumps all around the perimeter of the slab ground down (Dusty!) and am ready to lay some subfloor. Meanwhile, need some help:


As the first step is just an interim with basic components, not too concerned but, figure I ought to try to maximize the setup with knowledge from those that know. Using the projector central calculator, they say 120" diagonal screen ought to be viewed 12'-19' away. But wall location means I need to put the view sofa 10' at most, in order to have the two side surround speakers slightly behind the viewing area, as is suggested. So here's pic of how that looks:



 

Crappy little view, but hopefully you can figure out what I'm trying to show. If i put the sofa at 10'-11', there is just enough geometry to put the left middle speaker just behind that point, at the corner of the wall around the stairs. The rear speakers will be attached to the cieling, angled down. But the Projector Central calculator says only do a max 100" diagonal screen that close.


So I could move the left middle speaker back to that lally column you see supporting the beam (attached to a square drywall column I could build), but then there would only be four feet of separation available for the rear surrounds (still have to put them in the cieling), and a big old open area to the left of the viewing sofa which would make for a fine acoustical mess I am sure.


I am inclined to just go with a 120" screen and too close seating, but am open to suggestions?
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Well, here I go, talking to myself answering my own questions.


As I was laying out the conduit to put into the styrofoam wall in case I ever want to run electric (sheetrock will screw into the plastic ties) I realized for the price of one more piece of vertical conduit, I can try the more forward location to start, and then have the option to move back if needed. As they say in France, Vwah-freakin'-lah!
 

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That actually sounds like the best idea. Give yourself some room to try things out.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·

Made some good progress yesterday, might actually be able to have a screen wall to throw an image on when Santa brings the stuff next Saturday!


Styro walls turned out not so hard to deal with, just make lots of pink 'dust'. Cut grooves for the screen wall speaker wire, ran conduit with two strings in a channel cut in case we ever want to do electric in the gameroom area. Luckily, realized I needed at least one plug for the subwoofer, so just ran a single line to front and center, hope I don't have goofy acoustics requiring a strange place to put the sub. Cut one short floor level channel to run hydronic baseboard in the corner eventually (any HVAC control guys out there? Is there a way to use the existing supply/return lines and pump for the air handler heat exchanger right there, with the air handler receiving priority when there is a call for heat from upstairs?)


Subfloor going down exactly per the instructions, so far no 'clicks', and a much 'softer' feel to the floor when compared to the slab. Rigid hammer drill was just not quite right, so bought a refurbished Bosch rotary hammer which is much more efficient at making holes for the Tapcons. One problem though is the landscape fabric or Delta FL is melting around the drill bits, causing them to heat halfway along the shaft, and then they break prematurely. Forcing the rotary hammer to work harder by applying more pressure, making the hole faster, seems to be the key to avoiding this problem.


And just when I was debating to go staggered studs or double wall on the wall adjacent to the bedroom, I realized the geometry of the room and lally column placement lend itself to a double wall, so that's how we'll handle that!

 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·

So everyone was stoked that Santa brought the makings for a home theater, and I am doing my best to at least have some temporary viewing available by the new year. Framed the HVAC / ping-pong storage closet, as well as stuff around the stairs.



 

Got drywall up for the temporary game room screen wall. Taping and mud worked out surprisingly well, surfaces smooth all over the screen area, just a few fills needed after the first coat of primer (I am not getting real picky yet, will do that down the road in the dedicated theater room).



 

Yesterday I sprayed on the primer with my brand new Wagner CS DD, and it worked nicely but a lot of effort. Did a test patch over to the side where I rolled on primer with a 3/8 nap roller, then smoothed it with a full size 1/8 foam roller I got at the hardware store for $1.49. I'm no videophile, but the results looked very similar after light sanding, so I think I'll go the rolled primer route in the future for ease of application.


Last night I couldn't stand it anymore, so fiddled and fumbled and finally got the projector mounted with a mostly rectangular blue screen in the position on the wall I planned for, at the right dimension (120" diagonal). Sweet success!



 

Penciled in the boundaries of the screen so I spray the RS-MaxxMudd only where needed. Then decided to see what an image on just white primer looks like, so hooked up the laptop with my Monoprice 25' HDMI cable and put up my all time favorite photo as the first image (thanks to Mass Communication Specialist 2nd Class (AW/SW) Dominique M. Lasco for putting my tax dollars to good use!):



 

Bright colors are good, the darks loose some definition, hopefully some light control, the screen paint, and darkened walls down the road make it better.


Fiddled around with a standard DVD on the laptop, streamed some HD surf videos from YouTube, and all is good in the world. My concern that seating will be too close was unwarranted, if anything I want a bigger image already!


Today, having trouble making the Wagner work with the screen paint, so chilling with a cold one awaiting some guidance in the DIY screen forum before I press forward.
 

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Nice progress in short time! Sorry to hear about your wife, I hope she's doing OK. My wife has severe health problems also, I know it's not fun.


Are you happy with the Delta FL? I'm still debating what solution I'll go with. I do like your idea of the temporary HT, while planning for the future HT. You have me thinking about my options now, as my build has slowed due to $$ limits. I should go with a temporary big screen.
 

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Discussion Starter · #13 ·
Very happy with the Delta FL thus far. I did installation per the instructions (landscape fabric for less than perfectly flat, but smooth, floor, 7/16 non-TNG OSB, eight tapcons per sheet of OSB) and it is a 'warm, soft' floor compared to the slab. No finished flooring on it yet, which is good because along the likely high traffic routes I have found just two spots where I will try to tighten it up just a bit by addiing one or two strategically placed tapcons (nothing too bad, just the ever so slight perception that maybe I hear a 'clack' or two that folks sometimes complain about). So just like spraying on primer, I would say don't go overboard with thiick, TNG plytanium screwed every six inches or any such thing. But that's just me, aiming for the most bang for my labor buck (time) available.


The temporary thing is becoming a better and better option. Already after just two days, I find my self wanting to 'fix' things like minor imperfections, video hot spots due to poor spraying technique, etc. After a minute or two, I tell myself: "It is just temporary, let it be, there will be more nitpicks, fix them all later after your fifteenth change of mind about what is important, and enjoy the quantum leap you have in this new viewing experience!"


That keeps the blood pressure down!
 
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