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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
In my research, I've seen things such as the HT room height should be 75% the room width. First, is this true?

Second -- much like a sunken living room, I'm debating to sink my home theater room down into the concrete foundation (which has yet to be poured) by a foot or two... The plan is to have mostly-open sides to the rest of the entertaining space and I thought this might help delinieate the space better as well as make it easier/better for putting half-walls/counters around the space. -- the same way many of you have a 'bar' at the back of your theater to sit at... but on 3 sides instead of just behind.

Is this idea terrible? Any gotchas?
 

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Well a lot of basements in standard houses go with standard height ceilings. Like an 8 foot ceiling. And then add joists, beams, etc and you even lose inches from there. The overall construction of the above ground home itself is independent of the "depth" of the basement below it. But if you want the basement to have higher ceilings, that means the foundation must be deeper. Hence the "deep pour". 10' ceilings in your basement give you a lot of room for things like a theater. Besides the extra digging and concrete, you have that extra height for framing and drywall, and then things like your pipes, wires, ducts need to be longer, which also adds cost. However, it is much easier to do during construction.

Any person with a basement will tell you that they would gladly of had more height to work with. The higher the room is, the more rows of seats you can have. You can also do a lot more design wise with the ceiling itself.. domed, arched, coffered... you have more wiggle room to lose space with. Your screen can have more space, and that is where the width ratio comes in usually.

As far as an "open" theater goes, I'd point you to BIGmouthInDC here, who built a completely open basement with a bar, and he said if he did it again he would isolate the theater. It just makes the acoustics worse in general, but it also opens you up to a lot of additional distractions like light and background noise. A lot of people will add a bartop for a 3rd row, which I think is much more practical as it gives a dedicated space for eating or working with a laptop, but still leaves the theater itself boxed in. If you are going to leave the space open, even with half walls on 3 sides, then it sort of ceases to be a theater and instead is just a projector/screen in a rec room. Other people like Snickers1 here from Falcon Screens have flipped your scenario having a theater on 3 sides, with a open-backed space for a bar in the back. It is personal preference really. Depends on what you really want.

Doing it with 3 open sides like you suggest is nice in the case of a "sports bar" type of feel, but it will really cut down on the home theater experience itself. With projectors, you really want your space to be as dark and as quiet as possible.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I built an open room thinking large TV....and have come to regret having the open plan. Next house?
Care to elaborate? I'm very interested in your reasoning...

My thought is that movie or TV nights are very often a social affair. Locking away my best viewing platform in it's own room, completely cut off from the wetbar, food service, etc seems to run counter to what one is trying to do.

... and when you don't have people over and really just want to 'immerse' ... you can just turn off all the other lights in the connected spaces.

I'm open to having my mind changed.
 

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My biggest complaint is without a back wall the surround sound has no surfaces to reflect off of and I can tell from my experience with other theaters some of friends and others I've built that their surround sound is more surrounding. A certain degree of rear wall audio reflection is desirable. I did the best I could with ceiling mounted rear surrounds, but it is not the same.

Second is it is a large space and you can't fill it with chest pounding bass without shaking the whole house and incurring the wrath of my other.
 

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On this movie night as a social event,my friends want to come over have some drinks, act stupid and maybe play party games. they are not prone to coming over siting in the dark and shutting up so others can enjoy the movie.

I can see sports on the big screen as a social event.
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
My biggest complaint is without a back wall the surround sound has no surfaces to reflect off of
That's a good point. Other than walling in the room, is there a way one might solve that problem? Doubling up on the surround speakers somehow? Putting some low in a half-wall and some high above the opening?

Second is it is a large space and you can't fill it with chest pounding bass without shaking the whole house and incurring the wrath of my other.
Luckily, my 'other' would be watching with me. That is a good point though, that I'll need to worry about filling the entire connected space with bass ... not just my little corner.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but that means my bass will end up a bit 'boomy' compared to a tighter bass I could get in a smaller space. Is this right?

On this movie night as a social event,my friends want to come over have some drinks, act stupid and maybe play party games. they are not prone to coming over siting in the dark and shutting up so others can enjoy the movie.
Bingo. "Social movie night" is part movie watching, part socializing and perfect isolation from each other and what is going on around you isn't the goal.

On 'isolation movie night' ... well, no one is around, so the distractions aren't there anyway.

It's not like I'm going to be aiming for 'the perfect isolation movie viewing experience' while there is a party going on elsewhere in the house.

Thank you very much for your input. It's helped a lot, actualy.
 

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In my research, I've seen things such as the HT room height should be 75% the room width. First, is this true?

Second -- much like a sunken living room, I'm debating to sink my home theater room down into the concrete foundation (which has yet to be poured) by a foot or two... The plan is to have mostly-open sides to the rest of the entertaining space and I thought this might help delinieate the space better as well as make it easier/better for putting half-walls/counters around the space. -- the same way many of you have a 'bar' at the back of your theater to sit at... but on 3 sides instead of just behind.

Is this idea terrible? Any gotchas?
Just something I had to deal with, assuming you need a sump pump, the pump needs to be below your theater floor.
 
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