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Help Me Choose the Correct Room, Please


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#1 of 21 OFFLINE   UTHTNoob

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Posted March 02 2012 - 05:57 AM

I am closing on a new home purchase at the end of this month and my wife has given my permission to spend $5,000 on a home theater. I already own an Onkyo 7.1 receiver with 5 Klipsch speakers and a 12" Klipsch subwoofer, so I'm hoping $5,000 will be enough for a quality projector/screen combo with a little leftover for remodeling the room. I have two rooms to choose from and I need help deciding which is best. I've been lurking around this forum for a few weeks and have learned a lot, thank you, but I'd love some opinions. Room #1 - 300 sq. ft Bonus room over garage. 18x15x8 Pros -Dedicated room - I can board up the window so there's no light in the room - Easy attic access to run the wiring - Fully enclosed for better sound - It's upstairs, the kids rooms are in the basement - I can watch movies all night without waking the kids (at least until I upgrade to a 7.2 receiver and add a second sub) Cons - smaller than the other room - less seats available and we'll be closer to the screen - 8' cieling - Over the garage so it may be harder to regulate temperature - The cieling has trusses above it which slope down on both sides, the walls are all straight but I may not be able to put speakers or components into the wall because of the slope Room #2 Basement Family room - 600 sq. ft. 15x40x9or10 Pros - Much bigger - more seats, better viewing angle - I could add a pool table, Xbox Kinect, etc. and have my Man Cave - More room on side walls to hide components - Taller ceiling means 2-3 rows of stadium seating Cons - The kids rooms are in the basement and I may have to turn down the volume (what's the point if I have to turn down the volume?) - 3 big windows (I could put covers over the window wells on the outside, and curtains on the inside to block most light - It's an open room with a hallway at one end and stairs at the other - no doors to contain the sound I'm sure I've left off a ton of pros/cons to each of these two rooms which is why I'm asking for your help. Do I take the bigger room that gives me more options but will probably have lower quality sound/picture and will also have kids running through it? Or do I take the smaller, dedicated room that would have great acoustics but might get crowded during March Madness?

#2 of 21 OFFLINE   Martino

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Posted March 02 2012 - 06:22 AM

Moving from the beginners section - sending you to the home theater projects section....hopefully they will be able to answer your theater setup question a little better...

#3 of 21 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted March 02 2012 - 07:32 AM

I would use the room over the garage. How old are your kids? You could always move the theater to the basement when the kids are older.

#4 of 21 OFFLINE   UTHTNoob

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Posted March 02 2012 - 07:57 AM

The kids are 1 - 6 yrs old so it may be 10+ years before I'd start to trust them around my equipment. I did think about starting in the bonus room and then building my Man Cave in the basement when the kids are older. They could use the bigger space to play in now, and would love the Man Cave toys when they're teenagers.

#5 of 21 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted March 02 2012 - 09:31 AM

A 15' X 18' room is a decent size for a home theater. Our projector room in our basement is only 13'X 17' and it works great for us. Are you looking for projector recommendations yet?

#6 of 21 OFFLINE   UTHTNoob

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Posted March 02 2012 - 10:01 AM

I'll gladly take recommendations. There is a home theater company here in Utah called Xtreme Theater (theaterdesigncenter dot com) that is near my house and they have a great showroom. They have a package for $3,000 that includes an Epson 3010, 106" screen, blu-ray, and some other stuff. When I decide which room to use, I'm going to have them come out and make some recommendations, but I'd love to have some unbiased opinions from people who aren't trying to sell me. I am a total beginner so I haven't even narrowed down which type of projector I want. 3D is not super important at this point since my oldest is 6 and won't keep the glasses on anyways. I figure I'll get a good projector now and hopefully in 3 years when I'm ready to upgrade the technology will be out to watch 3D without the glasses. I'm also hoping to install a home automation system. They sell a Control4 server with 3 or 4 switches installed for $1,500. He said I could start with that to control the lights in the theater room along with the A/V components and then I can add to it as my budget allows (thermostat, intercom system, security, kitchen appliances, garage door, etc.).

#7 of 21 OFFLINE   Bobofbone

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Posted March 02 2012 - 01:09 PM

Everyone has different tastes-that's what give us variety on a site like this. From what you describe, my choice would be the room over the garage. You might want to go to a site like projector central and look at some of their research tools and pick some projectors. You can go to the web sites for the company, and download their manuals. They have specs you need for calculating throw distance that will give you the size screen you can use. I think you will find that the dimensions of the room over the garage will give you a throw distance long enough to put up a 120" diagonal 1.78:1 screen (16:9). For your budget, I'd also suggest that you consider a do it yourself screen. There are several companies that sell screen material that's the same as used by several screen companies. Use the search function on this forum and you will find enough information on how to make a screen several ways. You can probably make one for under $150 that will look as good as one for 4-5 times as much. As far as how many people the room can hold, that would depend on what you will use it for. If you're a party animal that likes large groups, you may want the bigger room. I'd make sure the room temperature will work out as well over the garage. Is the house being built, or is it already existing? If the former, you can do some things at little or no cost that may be of use-like laying out the HVAC system to minimize flanking noise, and run a separate power line to your AV equipment that doesn't have a washing machine or refrigerator kicking on while your watching something. Wiring is easier before drywall goes up, as well.

#8 of 21 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted March 02 2012 - 06:42 PM

The first thing you need to decide is what projector technology you prefer(LCD, DLP or LCos). They each have a different look to them, and of course they all have pros and cons. I would not recommend the Epson 3010, it can be an installation problem(no lens shift). Will you be doing the projector and screen installation yourself? If not, the labor charge will eat up a lot of your budget. 2 good websites to learn about projectors and read reviews are Projectorcentral.com and Projectorreviews.com. Screen size is determined by your seating distance from the screen. Another choice you have to make is whether you want to mount projector to the ceiling, or use a rear shelf. If a rear shelf, you will need a projector with horizontal lens shift.

#9 of 21 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted March 02 2012 - 11:39 PM

Cons - smaller than the other room - less seats available and we'll be closer to the screen - 8' cieling - Over the garage so it may be harder to regulate temperature - The cieling has trusses above it which slope down on both sides, the walls are all straight but I may not be able to put speakers or components into the wall because of the slope

- Smaller = better bass response. I have seating for 7 and 99% of the time it is just 2 people and 2 cats. Closer to the screen isn't always bad. I sit 11.5' from a 103" diagonal, 16x9 DIY screen. - Nothing to be concerned about. You will be sitting down to watch TV. - As someone who works above their garage, I do consider this a con. When it hits 95, the dedicated AC can't quite keep up. - You don't want to put speakers into the wall. On the other hand, I've seen a few pictures of these types of rooms and you can do a lot.

(at least until I upgrade to a 7.2 receiver and add a second sub)

Upgrading a receiver will be hundreds of dollars. You can add a 2nd sub for $3 with an RCA "Y" adapter. Most receivers just split the LFE output to add a 2nd RCA connection and call it a .2. It's just two .1's. There's no additional process nor can you magically change the .1 on the soundtrack to a .2 anyway. Your money would be better spent upgrading your Klipsch sub. They are a great speaker company but an average sub company. As for a projector, I have an older Panasonic AE series. It has worked great for years and I wouldn't hesitate to get their latest model in this series. For example, the AE7000U is $2,999 right now at projectorpeople. If you don't want 3D, get last year's model and save even more. You can build a DIY screen for about $100 and a few hours over the weekend. Learn to install the equipment yourself. It will save you money over the long run. In reality, it just allows you to spend more on hardware or like me, on subs.

#10 of 21 OFFLINE   UTHTNoob

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Posted March 04 2012 - 11:45 AM

Thanks for the advice on the 2 subs. Will it matter if the two subs are different brands and/or power (I know power probably isn't the right word but hopefully you know what I mean)? I'd love to keep the sub I already have and just add a second if that would work. I think I paid around $600 for the sub, and I'm assuming a better sub would cost more so if I only have to buy one that leaves more money for other things.

#11 of 21 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted March 04 2012 - 01:19 PM

I would hold off on a second sub until after the room is done and everything hooked up. I doubt you would need a second sub in that size room. But you'll know for sure at that time.

#12 of 21 OFFLINE   UTHTNoob

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Posted March 04 2012 - 02:31 PM

That's probably a good idea. We don't close on the house until the end of this month so I have a few weeks to read up on projectors, screens, and everything related to sound. I'm feeling a little overwhelmed trying to take it all in. I want to have my room up and running as soon as we move in, but I don't want to set it up wrong so I'm trying to do my homework. After reading more about projectors it looks like an LCD would be the better overall projector, but the DLPs have less visible pixels which could be important if my front row is only 9 ft from the screen. I haven't even looked at pricing yet, except for the one's that have been mentioned in this thread. I'm sure price will play a big role. I've read that the general rule is to sit 1.5 - 2.5 times the screen width away from the screen. In an 18 ft room I could use a 106" screen and be just fine on the back row but the front row would be too close. I want as big a screen as possible, do I just make the kids sit in the front row and I take the back? If the screen is too big, does it look pixelated if you're seated too close? Or is it just too much to take in and you're constantly moving your head around?

#13 of 21 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted March 04 2012 - 08:06 PM

The popularity of LCD projectors is because of 2 main reasons. 1) Versatility in setting up due to long zoom range and 2) easy to place on a shelf due to the lens shift. I don't know why you say LCD would be the overall better projector, but I don't agree with this. You need to buy the technology that looks best to you, and will work in your room. You should base screen size on your "primary" seating distance from screen. The rule of thumb is to multiply the screen width X 1.5 for your seating distance. EX: 8' wide screen(110" diagonal) X 1.5 = 12' seating distance. And yes, you should sit in the ideal seats, and the kids in the front. Even with a quality 1080p projector, if you sit too close it will not look good.

#14 of 21 OFFLINE   Robert_J

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Posted March 04 2012 - 11:12 PM

Will it matter if the two subs are different brands and/or power

It does. Different subs will have phase issues and make integration more difficult. A more powerful one will either make one work harder to keep up (more distortion) or you will turn down the other one and it's not reaching its full potential.

I'm assuming a better sub would cost more

No. Klipsch makes average subs compared to internet direct companies.

Or is it just too much to take in and you're constantly moving your head around?

That's it. Your screen is wider than your field of vision and you either miss something or your eye dart back and forth which will lead to fatigue. http://www.projector...html#calculator

do I just make the kids sit in the front row and I take the back?

I set mine up so the front row was ideal. That way I get the best sound quality. Guests sit in the back which sometimes has people in the front row blocking direct lines to the speakers.

#15 of 21 OFFLINE   UTHTNoob

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Posted March 05 2012 - 03:37 AM

[quote name="Robert_J" url="/t/318981/help-me-choose-the-correct-room-please#post_3903389"][QUOTE]I set mine up so the front row was ideal. That way I get the best sound quality. Guests sit in the back which sometimes has people in the front row blocking direct lines to the speakers.[/quote] I would prefer to do that but the room is only 18' deep so the front row will be 9-10 feet from the screen which would limit my screen size. I'm thinking I'll build a platform for the back row and make that the main seating area so that I can have a bigger screen. If I do that, I'll have to move the surround speakers back to the second row. Would I still need/want to add rear speakers if the second row is against the back wall? That would put the surrounds at 90 degrees and the rears probably right above my head.

#16 of 21 OFFLINE   UTHTNoob

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Posted March 05 2012 - 03:41 AM

The popularity of LCD projectors is because of 2 main reasons. 1) Versatility in setting up due to long zoom range and 2) easy to place on a shelf due to the lens shift. I don't know why you say LCD would be the overall better projector, but I don't agree with this. You need to buy the technology that looks best to you, and will work in your room. You should base screen size on your "primary" seating distance from screen. The rule of thumb is to multiply the screen width X 1.5 for your seating distance. EX: 8' wide screen(110" diagonal) X 1.5 = 12' seating distance. And yes, you should sit in the ideal seats, and the kids in the front. Even with a quality 1080p projector, if you sit too close it will not look good.

I'm going to stop by the home theater store this week and spend some time checking out the different projectors they have setup. So far I've just been reading this forum and using Google and it seemed like LCD was a more popular choice. Right now I'm thinking the projector will be on a shelf on the back wall. My ceilings are 8' and my second row will be on a 12" platform so I don't know if I could hang the projector from the ceiling without blocking the screen.

#17 of 21 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted March 05 2012 - 05:38 AM

You cannot use a 7.1 system if your seating is against the rear wall. You need at least 4' behind your seating. I see no problem ceiling mounting the projector with a 8' ceiling height, even with a 12" riser. If you put it on a rear shelf, the projector will be even lower. Either way though, it won't be a problem when people are seated. Here are 2 great websites to learn about projectors and read reviews: Projectorcentral.com and Projectorreviews.com(most thorough reviews out there). They also have articles explaining the pros and cons of LCD, DLP and LCos. If you use a rear shelf, you will need to buy an LCD projector(for the vertical lens shift).

#18 of 21 OFFLINE   UTHTNoob

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Posted March 07 2012 - 06:55 AM

Thanks, I've been spending too much time on those sites, but I'm starting to get a grasp on the different projectors. I went to a local home theater company and checked out their showrooms. After seeing ESPN3D I decided that I have to have 3D. That helps me narrow my choices because there are only a handful of projectors in the $2,000-$3,000 range that offer 3D. I also had the chance to see what it looks like to have too big of a screen. I'd heard people say "too big" and I thought they were crazy, bigger is always better right? I sat about 11 feet away from a 120" screen and it wasn't fun. My back row will be 17 feet from the screen which would be perfect for 120" but my front row would suffer. I've mentioned before that I'll make the kids sit in the front row, but I'm wondering how often I'll have friends over - I don't want them to suffer through a movie when it's an amazing experience just a few feet back. For now, I've narrowed it to the following projectors (I still need to see this projectors in person, but just based on 3D, price, and reviews, I've picked these): Epson 3010 and 5010 Panasonic PT-AE7000U Sony VPL-HW30ES Optoma HD8300 (probably out of my price range) I've read the reviews on these, but if anyone has any opinions I'd love to hear them.

#19 of 21 OFFLINE   Jim Mcc

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Posted March 07 2012 - 12:39 PM

When you have 2 rows of seats, you always have to compromise on screen size. But remember though, how often will you even have people over? I wouldn't use a smaller screen just because you might have guests over a few times per year or something. This room is your's, and you are the KING OF THE CASTLE !!! I wouldn't buy a screen until after you set up the projector and test out different image sizes. I would base the screen size on where you and your wife will sit. And if you want to be nice when you have guests, let them sit in your and your wife's seats. Did you decide on a mounting method yet? That plays a role in whether you need a projector with lens shift. Until you decide that, it's silly for us to recommend a projector. Also, the projector needs to work with your throw distance and screen size. Why is there only 1 DLP on your list? By the way, Projectorreviews.com has an article comparing the Pan. 7000 vs. Epson 5010. I wouldn't even consider the Epson 3010, it doesn't even have lens shift. And the Sony is inferior to the Panasonic and Epson 5010.

#20 of 21 OFFLINE   UTHTNoob

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Posted March 07 2012 - 01:19 PM

That's a really good point, we probably won't have people over watching movies too often so the bigger screen is probably the better choice. I looked at the three different types of projectors in the showrooms and I didn't see a huge difference. The guy at the HT store said that he didn't think it would be a problem to mount to the ceiling even though I have 8' ceilings. He just said that I may need to only raise the second row 6-8" instead of 12". Does that sound about right to you guys? If that's the case, than the throw distance is less of an issue since I can mount it anywhere on the ceiling, right? The Epson 3010 is definitely at the bottom of the list. I haven't had a chance to see it in person yet, I just kept it on the list in case my budget shrinks. One site claimed that the Sony was just a half step down from Sony's next model up which costs $9,999. This one was in one of the showrooms and it looked pretty good to me. The 3D glasses weren't too bulky, and it has an IR sensor that mounts above the screen so you don't lose the signal. I still need to see the Panasonic, but I've read good reviews and you're the second person on this forum to say it's a good choice. I wish I had some better answers so that you could give me better advice, but the problem is that I don't know that much about this so it's difficult to say which type of projector I want and how I want to mount it. Going from a 50" plasma to a 120" 3D theater screen, I'm probably going to be thrilled with any good setup.