Newbie - new home theatre room - suggestions

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by epeloke, Apr 5, 2013.

  1. epeloke

    epeloke Agent

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    Hello,

    I'm sure this has been asked many times before but I'm finishing off a room in our attic with plans to make it into a home theatre. The room is 15x20. Since it is in the attic, part of the celing is also slanted with 4.5 foot sidewalls. I'm thinking of mounting an epson 8350 in the center at the back of the room but am not sure yet of which surround system or what to do about a screen. We can't have a fixed screen as there is a window on the wall opposite the projector so will need a pulldown version.

    First, is that room size going to work for a home theatre?

    Any suggestions on the best surround to use as well as screen?

    Thanks!
    Eddie
     
  2. gene c

    gene c Producer

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    Room size should be fine. I don't know anything about projectors or screens but others here do. Look at the Displays forum for more info.

    You're going to have to give us a little more information.

    How much can you spend on the surround sound system?

    What components do you need? Receiver, Bluray player, etc.

    Tower speakers, small bookshelf, satellites?

    5.1 or 7.1?
     
  3. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    Is this going to be light controlled?
    How big of an image?
    How far away is the projector going to be?

    And there is no "best".

    There is "what does the job" for the money "you are willing to spend" and works with all the sources you have.

    And other "extras"...

    Do you want a motorized screen that lowers automatically...or are you going to be happy with a manual pull down?
    Is there going to be a 2nd display(such as a plasma TV) for when it might be too bright(again, light controlled) for the projector?
     
  4. epeloke

    epeloke Agent

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    I'll be hanging the projector in the center of the room approximately 17 feet from the screen. I can move it closer and have roughly 2 more feet further back I can go if needed. For the projector, I was thinking the espon 8350 would work well.

    We do have a blue ray player as I had just thought we would just use a PS3. The room itself simply has one window but will have recessed lighting.

    For surround sound, I have a budget around $500 and for the screen $300 or so. I'd like the projector to be motorized if possible and there won't be a second display, just the screen we can lower when we want to watch tv. We do also plan to run a normal cable box in the room so we can watch TV outside of the bluray.

    Thanks!
     
  5. schan1269

    schan1269 HTF Expert
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    1/3 of your budget for "all the audio"... :huh:
     
  6. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    epeloke -

    Do you already own any of the equipment for surround sound? Receiver, speakers, etc.? A $500 budget won't get you very far if you're starting from scratch. An HDMI receiver/speaker combo in that price range is likely to be a "home theater in a box" (HTiB) with mediocre sound quality. That's OK for starting out, but you may find you want an upgrade in the future. So if possible, use as much as you can of what you already have.

    Also, good motorized screens cost more than $300 ... the last I checked, more like $700+. In the $300 price range, you're better off with a manual pull-down or a fixed-frame. Can you rethink your room layout and put the screen on a different wall, and get a fixed-frame?

    If a window is opposite the screen, you'll probably want some sort of window covering for it (a couple hundred more $$$) so light won't get in. You may still want that window somehow covered/blacked out even if you put a pull-down screen on that wall and pull it down in front of the window. (I don't know how good at blocking light most projection screen backings are?)
     
  7. epeloke

    epeloke Agent

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    Colin,

    We can't really do much about the layout as since we are finishing off an attic space, the ceiling is slopped so we only have two walls to work from and one of the two walls left is near the stairs so has a half wall in front leaving only the wall with the one window. I don't have any of the equipment for the surround sound. I've read good things about an Onkyo system and a Yamaha system both around $400 but still nothing is decided for that or the screen.

    Thanks!
     
  8. ViewFinder

    ViewFinder Extra

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  9. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    Eddie -

    If you go with an HTiB system, the Onkyos I've seen combine a real A/V receiver with a basic set of speakers. I'd choose that over some of the competition for that reason alone. The Onkyos also have basic room correction (Audyssey 2EQ) whereas the Yamahas do not.

    Whatever you pick, stay away from HTiBs that merge the DVD/Blu-ray player into the same unit as the receiver. The better HTiBs have independently replaceable receiver / Blu-ray / speakers, which gives you an easier upgrade path in the future.

    It does seem your room layout is fixed. I'd recommend a manual pull-down screen that can cover the window. If you need to control light, you may need to apply paint or film to the window glass to block more light. Do you know what direction the window faces? If it's north-facing, it won't get much light. But if it faces south or west, you'll get lots of light and want to block it somehow.
     
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  10. Type A

    Type A HW Reviewer
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    Welcome to the forum Eddie :)

    For screens Ive been impressed with my new Da Lite 106" "Model B" manual screen, I spent $277 shipped for a new unit in a black case and an additional 12" drop (both extra $$$). Lots of different screen materials so do some research on their site. Never owned either, personally, but customers seemed impressed with Elite screens and Favi screens. Both these manufactures are also in your price range.
     
  11. epeloke

    epeloke Agent

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    Thanks for all the info everyone. Colin, the window faces south so I'll definitely figure out a good way to block the light. Thanks also for the thoughts on the Onkyo as I've read good things about it. Type A, thanks for the info on the screen, I'll look it up!

    Thanks.
     
  12. epeloke

    epeloke Agent

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    Just curious, why do you guys recommend a manual screen over electric? Amazon does have both Favi and Elite electric screens under $300.
     
  13. Colin Dunn

    Colin Dunn Supporting Actor

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    I've read several reviews that say cheap motorized screens are unreliable. However, Elite Screens is a reasonably reputable brand, at least for home use. The reviews at Amazon look pretty good for the Elite 125" electric screen. Reviews for Favi look good but I don't know much about their reputation.

    However, if an electric screen breaks - how are you going to repair it? They are bulky and expensive to ship. Same is true of pull-down screens, but the roll-up mechanism is less prone to failure than an electric motorized system.

    Given that 13 out of 109 (12%) of reviews were bad (1-3 stars) for the Elite electric screen, that implies 88% are positive reviews (4-5 stars). it may be worth taking the chance as you could buy 2-3 of these for the cost of one from the well-regarded electric screen brands. As an example, the Da-Lite brand motorized screens go for $665 and up into the thousands for motorized screens; but theirs are considered industrial-grade and suitable for use in businesses, commercial venues, etc. They are built to last.

    About two years ago, I paid a little over $300 for a 120" Elite brand, 16:9 fixed-frame screen. It's cheaper to build a fixed-frame than a motorized screen. That is why my initial reaction was to think that a 120-125" motorized screen for $250 is probably too good to be true.

    Given the massive price difference, if you're willing to take the risk, go for it ... but I'd be prepared to buy a second one if there are problems with the first. (Don't order two, just set aside $250 in savings in case you need to replace it.)
     

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