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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Hoping someone more experienced and knowledgeable about HT projector equipment can help me out here. Any help would be much appreciated.


Construction on my basement will be starting in a couple weeks, and I'm trying to figure out what I need in terms of pre-wiring, etc. I had always planned on having a dedicated, enclosed home theater room that would be almost exclusively used for watching movies and would definitely have a front projector. But after wrangling over the floor plan and other needs/uses for the available space, we've decided that we'll be using one room for the HT that's pretty much open to the rest of the rec room area (pool table, bar, etc) so it will also be used for general tv watching, sports, video games, etc.


So I'm wondering whether a front projector would still be the way to go. I'll have a DVD player, VCR (maybe), TiVo, HD receiver, and X-Box as part of this setup. Also, is $5,000 and under going to get me the features I want in a quality projector - 16x9, HD, enough inputs for my components? Basically I just need to make a decision so I know what kind of pre-wiring I'll need and where to run it to. Thanks for your help!!
 

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I'm assuming that with a basement you'll have light control? I would think that fp would definitely be the way to go. You can mount the pj from the ceiling and still have your room open to the pool table and stuff in the back. It would actually be ideal because the picture would be plenty large enough for everyone to enjoy while they were playing pool or sitting at the bar.


I'd pre-wire speaker cables for your side/rear surrounds, video cables (component, +/- S-video or composite) from where your receiver will be through the ceiling to where you'll mount your pj.


As for getting what you need under $5K, I would think definitely. I would use a receiver to switch component and S-video, most pjs won't have the number of inputs you list, plus you don't want to run 5 different sets of 30 foot cables to your pj.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks for the response. As far as light goes, there are just two small windows at the top of the one wall, which is the wall on which a screen would be. Plus a double French door over to the side of the theater room, but that's also parallel to the screen wall so there won't be any direct light to deal with. And of course, there's always blinds.


That was one of my concerns, about the projector having too few inputs, but I'm so used to having a receiver with no component inputs (albeit a fairly nice Sony DB-930) , it didn't even occur to me to switch all the video stuff with the receiver. (I'll be getting a new one eventually for the basement).


So are there special video cables for in-wall applications? How about wall-jacks - or would I just leave them inside the drywall until I'm ready to use them?


Since you mentioned it - what is the configuration for 6.1 & 7.1 surround systems? How many side and rear surrounds with those? I did my pre-wiring for my 5.1 system when the house was built, so aside from that question I'm a lot less clueless about running speaker wire than I am with the video stuff. Thanks!
 

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Yeah, I would really look at a receiver with component switching, or you could buy a simple component switcher, there are some for around $100 that even have a remote, I think.


"So are there special video cables for in-wall applications?"

No, not that I know of. But speaker cables are made in special versions with a protective jacket coating and are usually intertwined rather than parallel to avoid picking up electrical interference.


"How about wall-jacks - or would I just leave them inside the drywall until I'm ready to use them?"

I hope I'm understanding your question on this one. I would plan out where I was going to mount my projector, run the video cables to that spot or close to it (with some slack) and either go ahead and cut a hole for them (if I was certain about my pj and its placement), or mark their position somehow so I could fish them out if I cut my hole later after pj and placement were finalized.


"Since you mentioned it - what is the configuration for 6.1 & 7.1 surround systems? How many side and rear surrounds with those?"

Well, there is some debate about these setups. THX recommends 2 side surrounds placed on the side walls, above the ear, about even with the listening position, dipole speakers firing toward the front and rear of the room, and then 2 rear surrounds placed on the back wall fairly close together about the same height as the sides. In your setup, rear surrounds would be impossible unless you put them in the ceiling. There really isn't any advantage TODAY of the 7th channel. There are only a handful of 6.1 DVDs and no 7.1 DVDs as far as I know. The 7th channel is just matrixed from the 6th.


I didn't have room on my side walls for surrounds so I put in-ceilings over my listening position and out to the side and used bipolar speakers. I've thought of adding a 6th channel, but it's really not worth cutting another hole in my ceiling and I don't think the wife would go for it.


Hope that helps.
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Yep - helps a lot. I'll just leave the cables inside the drywall and make note of the location. The ceiling joists run parallel to the line from the projector to the screen, so I guess I can just run them down the center and leave enough slack so that it doesn't matter how far back it'll actually be placed.


Actually, all my surround speakers will be ceiling-mounted or in-ceiling, which is no problem. The walls only go back maybe 6-8 feet, then the room is open to the other areas on the sides. Not ideal acoustically I'm sure, but I think it'll work pretty well for overall enjoyment of the basement.


So it's two rear speakers for 7.1 and one rear (center) channel for 6.1? I'll have to do some research on that. Don't think I want to wire three rear locations if I'm undecided, or even two if one of them is just matrixed. Plus I imagine the 7.1 channel receivers are more expensive, and then the cost of another speaker, etc, etc. On the other hand, I guess that's the whole idea of PRE-wiring, right?


Thanks again for your help.
 

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The wiring for the extra speakers would be pretty cheap and easy. I'd probably wire it just in case, you never know. Whether you used them or not would be the issue.


The 7.1 channel receivers aren't actually that much more expensive, it's becoming fairly common. You end up paying for more ins/outs and fancy features. I have the Pioneer Elite 45TX that retails for $1200, I paid about 25% less. With it, and others, you can use those 2 extra channels (if you're not using 7.1) as another zone. Maybe you could wire a couple of rear surround speakers and you could use them either as rear surrounds in the 7.1 system OR you could use them as a stereo pair for your pool table/bar area as a 2nd zone. I can actually run some cables through the attic to my bedroom and may put a couple of ceiling speakers in there and run them off those 2 extra channels.


"Don't think I want to wire three rear locations if I'm undecided, or even two if one of them is just matrixed."

You lost me on that one. You'll be wiring at least 2 surrounds (sides/rears), and either one or two more for rear center surrounds for 6.1/7.1.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Yeah, I realize I wasn't clear...


I'm assuming (perhaps incorrectly) that in either case I'll have two side surrounds, plus for 6.1 the rear surround is in the center, and for 7.1 there are two rears, some distance from the center. So I thought that in order to wire now and decide later, I'd have to wire for three rear locations. In any case you're right though, two or three speaker runs is no big deal, certainly much easier now than later.
 

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Jeff,


If you can spend $5000 for a projector, and are concerned with a less-than-perfect light control, then you may want to consider the Sanyo PLV-70. Its 2000-lumen power will really make a difference in your situation where ambient light is sometimes unavoidable.


At any rate, the image from a front projector will have a much bigger WOW factor than a large-screen RPTV.


[added in edit] I would definitely pre-wire a component, S-video, and composite video cables from where your receiver will be placed to the projector. You might not need the latter two, but you never know. Adding wires afterward is, at best, messy. It will never hurt to have them pre-wired.
 

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Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the advice on the lighting sushi. I'm probably a while away from buying any HT equipment, but regardless of the outside light I have to deal with, we'll often be watching TV (for lack of a better catch-all term) with lights, at least from other rooms, on. So I'm sure I'll have to give a lot of thought to the direct light in the room, but ambient light will probably be a significant issue.


Will one of each be enough for the video cables? Since I'll be switching from the receiver, I would think Picture-in-picture would be the only reason I'd need more than one - do any projectors even have this feature? What about wiring for power for the projector? Just have the electrician install an outlet on (or inside) the ceiling?
 

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pjs don't have tuners and won't do PIP, at least not that I know of. One of each cable would be enough if you're going to switch via the receiver. Better to wire an outlet ON the ceiling. You could have a wall plate for the video cables and an outlet for the pj.
 

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Discussion Starter · #12 ·
OK. I didn't think they had tuners but thought maybe some of them might do a side-by-side from the different inputs, like my Sony Wega TV does. Not that the lack thereof will sway me, my mind's made up on the projector.


Since I'm quite some time away from purchasing anything (at least a year since we're spending quite a bit on the basement and I'll have to buy everything at once for the HT), how could I figure out approximately where to leave the wires so they'll be close to where I eventually install the pj? There are probably so many variables at this point - what do I need to consider? If I just want to leave a lot of slack, do I need to worry about signal degradation? I also don't want to waste money on longer cables if I can avoid it.
 

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Quote:
Since I'm quite some time away from purchasing anything (at least a year since we're spending quite a bit on the basement and I'll have to buy everything at once for the HT), how could I figure out approximately where to leave the wires so they'll be close to where I eventually install the pj?
Have you at least decided on where to hang the screen, and what size screen? Once those things are decided, the ceiling-mount location of the projector can be predicted within a few feet even without knowing the projector (you do not really mind having an on-ceiling run of wires for 1-2 feet, do you?). So you can pre-wire and install ceiling plates for the power and the component/S-video/composite video signals. Do not worry about PIP etc.; I do not think the projector makers will introduce such "TV" features for the foreseeable future.


Of course, to pinpoint an exact location for the ceiling mount, you will need to first decide on the projector model. But if you are talking about one year from now, I would not even start thinking about a specific model. I am sure that many brands will introduce the latest-and-greatest models, which are significantly better than what is available today for $5000, within the next 12 months.


Oh, and with regard to image degradation through cables, I currently run a 75 feet of component and S-video cables from my receiver to the projector, without any appreciable loss of image quality. As long as you use cables made of quality 75-ohm coax wires, you should be fine.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by jeff125va
OK. I didn't think they had tuners but thought maybe some of them might do a side-by-side from the different inputs, like my Sony Wega TV does. Not that the lack thereof will sway me, my mind's made up on the projector.

One possible solution, if you're willing to go the HTPC route is to look at the newer generation ATI all-in wonder cards. They allow dual pics (with an extra tuner) on one desktop, which would give you the pic-in-pic with one input. Might be cool to have two large TV-sized pics going (especially in playoff season) :cool:
 

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Discussion Starter · #15 ·
What is there to consider in terms of screen size? The room is about 19' x 21'. The screen will go on the 19' wall, but there are two small windows at the top of the wall which are just under 10' apart, so that would be the absolute max. Certainly at least a little less than that to account for some sort of framing around the screen.


Also, since I need to figure out where the audio/video equipment is going to go, any suggestions on ways to possibly conceal the equipment and/or have easy access to the backs, while still being able to use the remotes w/o standing up and turning around?
 

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Jeff, If you can decide where you'd like your screen, you could at least find the center of your screen position (size won't matter if it's centered on the wall, it will still be the same center regardless of size). Then you could run the video cables along that center line, the length would be the negotiable part. I would think at least 30 feet if your ceiling is 8 ft. high--8 feet from the receiver to the top of the ceiling + whatever length you wanted + some slack. PJs have different throw distances and most of us are forced to choose a pj not just on picture quality and features but also on throw distance constraints. So you wouldn't be doing anything new if you just picked a cable length and therefore you'd be limiting your number of pj choices, that's all. I wouldn't worry about image degradation as long as you're reasonable (sushi says 75 is fine for him).
 

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Sorry, my last post refers to the way that I have my system set up, with the receiver directly under the center of the screen. If you're going to hide stuff in a closet or something, that would change the route of your cables. I have all my stuff concealed in Salamander cabinets under the screen.
 

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Quote:
What is there to consider in terms of screen size?
You have to have at least a rough idea on the screen size up front, because that will determine the probable distance between the screen and the projector, and hence the location of those ceiling plates.


There is no solid "rules" on how to determine your screen size. I would consider that: (1) The larger the screen, the more WOW factor you will get; (2) However, the larger the screen, the dimmer the image becomes, translating into the lesser ambient light resistance; (3) Also, the larger the screen, the lesser the color saturation and perceived contrast tends to be; (4) Finally, I believe that, in many cases, there is the "right" screen size that brings about the optimal aesthetics of the wall and the entire room. This is the matter of overall balance. Your wife might have a wise opinion here! :D


I suggest you visit to your local AV stores, and watch the actual images on screens of several different sizes to get an idea.
 

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Quote:
jeff125va asked
I would think Picture-in-picture would be the only reason I'd need more than one - do any projectors even have this feature?
The Mitsubishi XD300U has a movable PIP function. Not that I think PIP is necessarily a good reason to run extra cables, but extra cabling will probably be useful for future functionality. (e.g. if future projectors use IR,R,G,B,UV or something :)
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
OK so big, but not too big. A dimmer picture could definitely be a problem since a good portion of our viewing will be with lights on, at least in the surrounding rooms. Or during the day with some ambient outside light. I'll have to go to a store as suggested and check out some screens.


Perhaps I'll just run some conduit to allow for the possibility of future cabling. Between PIP or other possible uses, it doesn't seem likely enough that I'll use it to justify spending that much on additional cables. I'm planning on wiring for a small TV near the bar/pool table. While the rooms are mostly open to each other, you can't quite see where the screen is gonna be from the other end of the bar/pool room. Or if the kids are watching a movie or whatever on the big screen, it will come in handy. So the PIP isn't even that big a priority.


Well my wife did have a pretty wise opinion (not that I'm surprised)... At first she wasn't into the whole projector idea at all (just appeasing me because I conceded on the separate room theater idea), but after looking at some pictures in some magazines, she's about as excited as I am about it. She shares the "big but not too big" idea, but now she's really into the idea of hiding the equipment somewhere. Now I need some ideas for that, but perhaps that's too off-topic for this area of the forum.
 
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