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Quick lighting question for home theater room...

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7 replies to this topic

#1 of 8 OFFLINE   BrianS


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Posted February 07 2005 - 01:14 AM

I have a small room devoted to my home theater and had a couple of lighting questions. (Moderator, if this is the wrong forum or if there is a better forum for this question, please move this thread. Thanks.) I did a search but could not find an answer. My room is approx 15' wide X 16' long with an 8' drop ceiling. This is in my finished basement. The room only has 2 normal walls and the other walls open into to adjoining rooms. The ceiling has very bright florescent lights scattered in the rooms. They are too bright in the other rooms for watching movies and of course to bright in the room itself. I tried a couple of various lamps but anywhere I put them in the room would cause an obnoxious glare. I was told or read somewhere sometime that you should have lights behind your TV to help on eye-strain and just normal "getting around" your room while it is dark. I have a 65" HD RPTV. If the lighting statement is true, what are the best lights to put in. I was thinking of one or two small recessed dimmer lights above the TV but then wondered if that is correct. Should the light go below the TV and shine up? What are the best lights to get and best placement? Should I look at the lights you hang on your wall (sconces I think they are called)? Any suggestions would be appreciated. I am looking for a quick and inexpensive way to get a small amount of light in the room but not enough to detract from watching the TV. Thanks!

#2 of 8 OFFLINE   Kevin_Spradley


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Posted February 07 2005 - 01:34 AM

Hello Brian, I'll tell you what I have done and what I have seen done. I mounted some small halogen lights to the back of my TV with double sticky tape. The lights are the small circular ones that you see under kitchen cabinets a lot. Home Depot sells these in sets. They are about 2-3" diameter. They plug into a AC outlet and then through a very small transformer to the lights. I plugged mine into an X-10 controller to vary the brightness. While watching a movie, I would dim the lights to where they were just barely on. (very nice glow coming from the back of the TV). If I needed to pause the movie for any reason, up the brightness and it would provide enough light to see to get out of the room with out spilling my drink. I have also seen other setups with this, but they had the lights brightness controlled from their pronto remote to whenever pause or stop was pressed, the lights would automatically dim, and vice-versa with the play button. Just the set of lights is very cheap and there is no running wires in walls or anything like that. Just an idea.

#3 of 8 OFFLINE   BrianS


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Posted February 07 2005 - 02:07 AM

Kevin...sounds interesting. Do the lights get hot or make the TV hot?

#4 of 8 OFFLINE   Kevin_Spradley


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Posted February 07 2005 - 03:55 AM

The lights do get a little warm on the glass cover. But I never notice the TV warming up. One of the setups I had was a 36" TV on a stand. The lights were mounted on the stand with screws. The other setup included 2 lights also, but were on the TV with tape and I never noticed any performance degradation on the TV. In fact, I am still using that TV for my main room right now until I can get the SO to okay a better TV purchase.

Here is a link to the lights on Home Depot website. If this doesn't work: go to Homedepot.com, shop, then lighting and fans, then accent and undercabinet lighting.

http://www.homedepot....4 4233&pos=n12

#5 of 8 OFFLINE   nolesrule



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Posted February 07 2005 - 09:11 AM

Kevin, which lights on the Home Depot site do you recommend? I'm looking to do something similar since I use home automation controls in my home.

#6 of 8 OFFLINE   Kevin_Spradley


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Posted February 08 2005 - 12:15 AM

Any of the small round ones should work just fine. When I bought mine, they only came in white. Now you can get black or silver also. The main manufacturer is Hampton Bay, but I think there is another maker as well. Don't limit yourself to Home Depot either, I'm sure Lowe's carries similar products. There may be some good online shops to get the lights from but I do not know of any. Also, when I bought mine, they were not technically dimmable, but I did anyway. Now they are being touted as dimmable, so they should work well with X-10 or something similar for automation.

#7 of 8 OFFLINE   Jon Gum

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Posted February 09 2005 - 03:19 AM

Bryan - Regarding the TV lights, I use similar lights that Kevin described. I built a false wall with a top that was one foot short of the ceiling and put the halogen lights ups there. That was a huge project, but I am happy with the results. Regarding the room lighting, I had the same situation you had. The prior owners of our house used the basement to run a small business out of, so they had a drop ceiling with flourescent lighing right down the middile of the room. I went to the trouble of putting sconces in the front of the room, but I put canned (recessed) lighting in the back of the room. The sconces are quite a bit of work due to the drywall issues, but a cheap and easy solution for you may just to put in canned lighting in your whole theater. Go to a home improvement store and see if they still carry your matching tiles. Get four to eight canned lights and place them strategically through your HT. I put the cans in myslef (secured them to the floor joists), replaced 10 tiles and cut the holes in the tiles for the canned lights. I payed an electrician to do the wiring (since the wiring is already there for your other lights, this should be pretty easy for a good electrician) and I think the paid him about $200 to it (although he had to run lines for the wall sconces for me too). Overall, I think I spent about $450 and think it was the best money I ever spent. Good Luck, Jon P.S. I can e-mail pictures if you want to see what I did.

#8 of 8 OFFLINE   Douglas Scott

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Posted February 09 2005 - 03:23 PM

Brian My HT room is 20x45, one large room. I have used a variety of lighting options and switches as follows: 1- There are 9 wall sconce lights (40w) in this room. These lights are on a RC dimmer switch. I dim these lights when watching TV. 2- In the HT seating area, I used 6 halogen pots in the ceiling. These are on a 2 way switch. One switch in the HT seating areas and one switch near the basement stairs. 3 - Halogen track light in the other half of the basement. These are mounted to tracks for the drop ceiling and are lighting movie posters on the wall. 4- I included 2 halogen track lights behind the TV, I used them when I need to do some work behind the TV and receiver. 5- One small pot light over the bar sink and microwave, switch close by. 6- 5 Halogen pots on the basement stairs and landing, also on a 2 way switch. 7- Rope lighting and indirect lights for the basement stairs when we are watching TV. This is gives enough light to safely go up and down the stairs Good luck

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