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Gator's Bookshelf Theater


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#1 of 16 FL-GATOR

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Posted December 08 2010 - 03:42 PM

First off, I'm still six days away from closing on the new house that I plan to build this theater in. I hope to edit this line out soon.

But once we close I need to start framing things up. The more I can do, the less I have to pay a contractor. That means I want to dive into my new theater with a solid game plan. I bought this with a 203K loan, which means I bought the house and need to spend a certain amount with a certified contrator to bring it up to par.

So, this is the start of my latest theater. It's not as intense as my last one, but I want it to be better. It won't be a dedicated theater, so that presents its own challenges. I'm also out of the loop on theater technology, but learning is part of the fun. The room is 16' wide and 25' long, so it may not be dedicated...but it is bigger. Half of it is all window. That doesn't mean it has windows...this means that the north and east walls are only full sheet windows. Normally not what you'd look for in a theater. But on the good side, at night this is a very dark room, and I have full black-out blinds on every window. I'm putting in a door on the left to go to my office, so that tightens things up a bit on the 16' side.

I plan to watch an LCD screen for casual viewing, and a drop down screen and projector for movies and sports. Otherwise, this is a 'great room' where all the general living will revolve around.


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/

Concept sketch of the 'bookshelf theater.' Standard LCD screen, with the planned drop down screen above.


At first I was measuring out the bookshelf for a standard 2' deep cabinet to hold the electronics. The above image reflects almost exactly what I was originally thinking...except it is 12" deep...standard 12" cabinets on the bottom. So the built-in wall would be coming out another foot.


Why the change? In the middle of my planning i also started looking at electronics. I figured i needed the 24" cabinets for my electronics....that's pretty much what I've done before. Then I also started looking at RF repeaters for the remote since my gear would be in cabinets....and a light went off over my head. I don't need 24" deep cabinets. I can put my electronics anywhere. And then the bell and whistle went off in my head, to the left of this scene is a row of existing cabinets.


Bingo. I originally designed my bookshelf theater to incorporate and electric screen into the bookcase. Once I loose that, I can make a thin bookcase 12" deep with a LCD/Plasma/Whatever screen for casual viewing, and then a bigger screen to drop down from the ceiling.


Nice concept, but could it work? I have the realtor code to the house, so I climbed up into the attic with my flashlight and a measuring tape. Yup, I could put a beefy in-ceiling screen that would run along the rafter line with no problem.
So the new game plan is in effect. Frame out the two small 14" walls for three 36" cabinets to fit  in-between.


When the dust settles from the contractor work, I'll put in the cabinets and book shelves. That will be phase I.


After we move in, I'll put in the ceiling mount screen and projector. Most likely next fall. But for the moment this gives me what I need to start the project. I'll touch base with the contractor, since I'm having all the popcorn ceiling removed, and see if I need to do anything to prep for the projector screen. They have CAD drawings online that i can give him.


I think this is a good game plan to start off with.


But I'd be happy to hear any input. Actually, that's why this post exists. After an initial post on another thread it made me consider the size of my screen, which lead me to this point.


So input is welcome as I continue.



#2 of 16 Sam Posten

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Posted December 09 2010 - 12:44 AM

I can't help ya much on the planning front, most of my experience has been building frankensteins of mismatched parts tossed into a room as is.  But I like what you are thinking here and definitely think most people could build what you have planned without hiring a contractor.  Good luck!


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#3 of 16 FL-GATOR

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Posted December 09 2010 - 04:30 AM

The contractor is part of the house purchase. It was formerly a grow house, so most of the drywall has to be removed. The only way I could get a loan for the house was if I applied for a renovation loan and register a contractor, then I have to have a home inspector approve of everything and then the bank pays the contractor. It's a pain, but the home is 3 houses away from the beach...so it'll be worth it.


I'll be doing all the cabinetry myself, as the bank doesn't care about things like that. They just require new drywall and everything being painted.



#4 of 16 Adam Gregorich

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Posted December 09 2010 - 06:04 AM

Welcome to Home Theater Forum Don.  The house sounds like a fun project.  I would try to get the screen installed with your popcorn ceiling work of your budget allows.  That way any needed bracing can be installed and when he does the texture and paint everything will match.  Ceiling patches expecially in a room with full length windows will always show.

Since you are going to have a screen that lowers over your shelves what are you planning to do for speakers?  The shelves are out and floor standing ones may get in the way of the cabinet doors.  You may want to consider ceiling speakers which means more ceiling work.  With your windows you might not have a side wall to mount a surround speaker on as well.  I would recommend looking at the following:


http://www.triadspea...ts/icb8lcr.html I use these in my bedroom along with one of their in-wall subs.  These are great because they have a sealed box



http://www.atlantict...t.asp?NodeId=62 For the front three.  Not as good as the Triads as they don't have a sealed box, but you could make one to use.  They make an in-ceiling surround option for the rear channels too.


 Quote:

 Frame out the two small 14" walls for three 36" cabinets to fit  in-between.

Are these on the TV wall or a different wall?  If you are putting everything in a cabinet pay attention to venting.  Sealed cabinets with solid wood shelves don't breath well.  you could put a rack in the cabinet frame and that would help (but add cost), or talk to the guys at Active Thermal Management about your cabinet design and venting options.  You can put the gear anywhere, but keep in mind that you don't want to leave the room to put in a DVD.  There have been some systems I have worked on where we put the cable box, receiver and other devices you don't need to touch in a distant closet, and the DVD, Blu-ray and wii closer to the TV.  We designed it this way so everything in the closer cabinet was wired back to the distant cabinet and then it was wired to the TV.  Another consideration is gaming systems.  The Wii needs a sensor bar (wireless is an option) and the new XBOX Kinect (a lot of fun BTW) needs a wired connection from its location by the TV back to the XBOX as well.



#5 of 16 FL-GATOR

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Posted February 02 2011 - 04:10 AM

Theater Update:


The major items have been purchased. The screen is a Draper 120" Envoy electric that will be recessed in the ceiling.


The projector is the Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 8350, a nice 1080, 2000 lumen 3 LCD unit.


And the projector lift is the Focupix, which is the only thing I have my finger crossed on.


I haven't picked my electronics or speakers yet, I'll wait til everything is mounted first.


The house is currently completely demolished on the interior, so as we re-build the screen and the lift will go in, most likely next week.




#6 of 16 Adam Gregorich

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Posted February 02 2011 - 04:57 AM

Thanks for the update, glad the project is progressing.  Don't forget to post pictures!



#7 of 16 FL-GATOR

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Posted February 09 2011 - 03:26 PM

This project is starting to fall together.


Once the fact that I actually owned the house set in...I began ordering 'stuff.'

http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


The room


This was a former grow-house, so I had most of the place stripped down to the studs. But it's worth it, the house has a great view of the ocean.


And once the demo was done, the 'stuff' started arriving.


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Screen


The screen is a Draper Envoy, 120"


Then the projector lift came. This was from Home Theater Depot. This was a complete mystery with very few reviews. But I tested the unit out (as per their instructions) and it works great.


Then the projector came. It's the Epson 8350. It gave me the specs I needed as well as the lens shift.


I dry-tested the projector and lift on the location I wanted and determined the whole package...lift, screen and projector would work.


Thus began the fun stuff.



http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Projector Mount


My Home Depot didn't have the Uni-Strut hardware I had used before, so I bought a generic strut. As it would turn out, the 8 foot strut was, to the inch, the measure I would need for the whole project.


At my house, the roofing truss separation is 22.5 inches. I bought the Focupix lift, which has a lip...so this distance was perfect. I put my reciprocating saw to work and cut out the exact opening in a couple minutes. Truss to truss, and then 20 inches. The trim was forgiving or I would have cut tighter.


To mount the lift I measured, about ten times, the height I would need between my projector, the shelf and the lift. I positioned my 'hole' to fit this, and then gave myself a few inches.


And then I cut the hole between joists. I then cut some 2x4s and mounted them with screws and liquid nail to the exact position hold my struts. Lots of measuring with my level and a plum.


http://static.hometh...um.com/imgrepo/


Pre-Dry wall Day


I was told I had an additional day until the electric was inspected. Good thing. On Projector Mount Day I had run a 'runway' down a truss with 2x4s and plywood to see if I could mount the screen. It would not be possible. I called in a handful of friends and we lifted the screen and mounted it. The 2x4 frame is just for drywall, the screen is hanging from  3/8" threaded rods on trusses built for the moment.


Cool stuff


I have this nice new house (to me)  and a huge attic, which is rare in Florida. My current attic is 18 inches. My new attic is 8 feet. So I ordered 8 pairs (yup 16 total) in speaker ceiling speakers and a nice IR speaker control system which I'll run with a remote like the Harmony 900 or whatever is is the remote-of-the-moment.  I'm cutting speaker boxes for the next week or so. Yes, I could put a cheap cooler on them...but in Florida they would dissolve in a couple years.


Falling short


I still don't know how to wire my HDMI circuits.  I have a HUGE conduit to take things like my projector to my primary receiver, and I wired a single HDMI from my main box to my screen for non-projector viewing, but for future circuits and my RoKu...all receiver seem to be 4in and 1 out. I'm clueless here. I want 4 in and 3 out. Nobody seems to address this, so I need to figure out switchers and splitters. I would like a single A/V receiver to handle this, but I'm finding they don't.


And I want to control it all from my remote. So what is a good HDMI device that gives me what I want, without loss of signal?


Yes. In the grand scope of things, if this is my largest concern...somebody should shoot me.


Otherwise, on this project...more photos to follow.



#8 of 16 Adam Gregorich

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Posted February 09 2011 - 04:47 PM

Looking good so far.  You want to run all your sources through your receiver, and then out to your display?  What three displays are you going to be using (Epson, wall mount TV and ??)? Some receivers have dual HDMI outputs.  If you need more than that for some reason I would recommend the Radiient Repeat 6.  The only downside is it is no longer sold.  There is one on eBay at the moment: http://cgi.ebay.com/...=item3cb325adb7  HDMI repeating can be squirrely and these are absolutely bullet proof--designed by the number two name on the HDMI patent.  The only catch is because of how HDMI works, you can only put out the lowest common resolution video.  In other words if you have three displays hooked up, two are 1080P and one is 720P, it will output 720P to all of them, so make sure you get all 1080P displays.



#9 of 16 Sam Posten

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Posted February 10 2011 - 12:52 AM

Former grow house eh?  Funny you should mention that, I'm doing real estate searches now.  I've walked in on two former meth labs as foreclosed homes in the area I'm looking at.  The first one I was shocked, the second one was just sad, they destroyed absolutely beautiful homes...

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#10 of 16 FL-GATOR

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Posted February 10 2011 - 05:51 AM

I understand the toxins used in meth houses can be a concern.


For grow houses, the humidity and resulting mold are the problem. We removed all of the drywall below 4 feet and then any suspect drywall as well as all the ducts and then installed a new A/C. To be on the safe side, at the recommendation of my mold mitigation expert who inspected the house for me, I soaked all the studs with a fungicide to keep any growth from starting back.


The house was destroyed on the inside, they just poked holes in the walls and ceiling to run their gear around.


But it'll be nice to have a 'fresh' new interior when all is said and done.



#11 of 16 Sam Posten

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Posted February 10 2011 - 08:30 AM

Awesome, best wishes with it.  I helped gut my parents house one room at a time from age 7 to 30, and redid most of my own first home.  This time, I want move in ready.


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#12 of 16 Adam Gregorich

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Posted February 10 2011 - 08:35 AM



Originally Posted by Sam Posten 

 This time, I want move in ready.



Where is the fun in that? Posted Image



#13 of 16 FL-GATOR

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Posted February 21 2011 - 11:44 AM

Time for home base electronics.


I've ordered and received my in-ceiling speakers, I've run my line(s) for the SW. The projector, lift and screen are all set.


As noted, I've also run two 1 1/2" conduits going to a junction box to the base of my electronics cabinet (contractor has ordered them, but we'll wait for the flooring to be installed before they're constructed).


All that is left is the electronics. I've covered some of this before, but here's my update on what I'm about to pull the trigger on, and would like to hear any input.


My 'theater' is the great room, which is center to the house. I'm running a 5:1 system, with the 5 being in-ceiling.


Past that I have six other speaker zones in the house. Office, bedroom, gallery, front porch, garage, back porch, running on Speaker "B" which is a 7 zone IR system which I have the module for.


In short, I have my main theater running off the usual A/V system, and then Speaker B, which goes to my 7 zone controller.


The host to all of this (I hope) will be my Pioneer VSX-1020-K Receiver. I have NOT bought this unit yet.


I'm planing to run a BDP-430 Blu-ray player on the unit, which will give me both DVD and internet access (I love Netflix).


I feel very good about all of the above (unless someone here warns me otherwise).


My only concern (as I have noted earlier) is splitting my output from my receiver. The specs tell me I can run two zones, which is nice. I can work in my office watching a movie while my wife watched Jeopardy in the theater/great room.


BUT, the theater/great room is one in two rooms. One will be an LCD screen for normal viewing, and for movies and sports, will be the 120" electric screen and the projector.


So, how do I BEST spit the signal to the LCD TV and the projector. The LCD TV will be about 12 feet away from the A/V system and is wired for both Coax and HDMI, the projector is about 35 feet away and will be HDMI. Only one, obviously, will be used at a time. The screen covers the TV when the projector is in use.

I guess what I'm looking for is for someone to say "buy THIS splitter. I don't think I have to worry about switchers, since the A/V unit can handle two zones nicely.


The goal here is to get the VERY BEST input to my projector, despite all the other things going on.


The house is looking great, and the drywall is almost done.


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#14 of 16 Robert_J

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Posted February 22 2011 - 08:42 AM

In-ceiling speakers are rarely recommended for surrounds and never for the front 3.  Why are you going that route?


7 zones on the B speakers?  Do you have an impedance matcher?


Have you checked the specs on the receiver because I think that zone 2 is audio only.  So you will need to send video to your office as well.  You mentioned an HDMI splitter.  What sources do you want to split?  I use a 4 input / 2 output HDMI matrix splitter.  That allows display devices to choose 1 of 4 different sources.  In my system, that includes 3 high def DVRs and a Blu-ray player.



#15 of 16 Adam Gregorich

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Posted February 22 2011 - 09:58 PM



Originally Posted by Robert_J 

In-ceiling speakers are rarely recommended for surrounds and never for the front 3.  Why are you going that route?


7 zones on the B speakers?  Do you have an impedance matcher?


Have you checked the specs on the receiver because I think that zone 2 is audio only.  So you will need to send video to your office as well.  You mentioned an HDMI splitter.  What sources do you want to split?  I use a 4 input / 2 output HDMI matrix splitter.  That allows display devices to choose 1 of 4 different sources.  In my system, that includes 3 high def DVRs and a Blu-ray player.


I'll respectfully disagree with Robert on the in-ceiling speakers.  There are some rooms where they are the best option depending on the layout.  I have one 7.1 system using only in-ceiling (the .1 sub is actually in-wall) and it sounds fantastic.  I have another 7.1 system where the 4 surrounds are in-ceiling that sounds great, and of course the dedicated theater with conventional speakers.  If you use high quality speakers designed for in-wall or in-ceiling use you can have a great sounding system if you room can't accommodate conventional speakers.


I'll completely agree (still respectfully) with Robert on the 7 zones of speakers.  Even if you are going to use an impedance matcher you are still asking for trouble.  Your best bet for the 7 zones is to get a multiroom audio system.  Look at Russound, Niles, Nuvo or Sonos  (we are currently working on a review of the Sonos system).  Long term you are not going to be happy with a 7 zone system controlled through a speaker selector.


If you want to send one output to multiple TVs either get a receiver with two HDMI outputs, or look for a Radiient Repeat 6 to spit the signal.  It auto senses deals with HDCP and EDIDs flawlessly.  Its a commercial grade device with a residential look.  It is the only one I ever used that worked flawlessly each and everytime, and was designed by Jano Banks the number two name on the HDMI patent.  It has one input and 6 outputs.  That would cover your displays in the main room.  


#16 of 16 Robert_J

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Posted February 23 2011 - 12:33 AM



Originally Posted by Adam Gregorich 




I'll respectfully disagree with Robert on the in-ceiling speakers.

There will always be the rare case where it works.  But the average person coming to this site for help doesn't know the drawbacks of using them or how to overcome them.  It's also the same situation when we tell people to NOT connect everything to the TV and then run the optical cable to the receiver.  There is only 1 model of TV on the market where that configuration will work but it is easier to just stay consistent with information.