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Todd Erwin

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Todd Erwin submitted a new blog post

A Beginner’s Guide to Home Theater
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Continue reading the Original Blog Post.
 

Lord Dalek

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Oh wow. My tv set is 6" shorter than the req'd minimum. Guess I am failure at home theater building. >_>
 

Wookie Groomer

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I think there is some confusion on what a "Home Theater" is vs an elaborate home entertainment system. First of all, if you use a soundbar or a TV in a living room, den or any other part of the house that is a regularly used living space, it is not a "Home Theater". I see too often people with 55" TV's and soundbars setup in their living rooms where their kids play and dogs hang out with a the kitchen within spitting distance calling it a theater. Yes, people try to simulate the experience the best they can but lets not fool ourselves. Here are the best guidelines for a proper home theater if you want to take it seriously. And yes, I am fully aware this will piss off a lot of people because everyone considers whatever they have thrown together to be a real home theater. Hey, if you see Brad Pitt when you look in the mirror, that doesn't make you Brad Pitt now, does it.

1. Dedicated light controlled room used exclusively for viewing movies or a large format gaming experience.
2. Projected image from a ceiling or shelf mounted projector creating a screen size of 100" or larger 1080p or greater resolution image.
3. Minimum of 5 timbre matched speakers of discrete surround sound from the same manufacturer. Front Left, Center, Front Right, Surround Left and Surround Right Channels.
4. Minimum of 1 subwoofer with a min 12" driver size capable of producing 20hz or below at listening position. (Unless main towers have built in subwoofers)
5. Room for at least one row of seating consisting of two seats or more.
6. Acoustic Treatments consisting of either sound panels, sound dampening curtains, media shelves, etc... capable of passing either the clap test or placed at first reflection points.

There you have it in a nut shell. No sugar coating, political correctness or worrying about your feelings. Aspiring for a true home theater experience takes a lot of work, a lot of research and a deep pocket. You're not likely to going to accomplish it in one visit to Best Buy.
 

Todd Erwin

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I think there is some confusion on what a "Home Theater" is vs an elaborate home entertainment system. First of all, if you use a soundbar or a TV in a living room, den or any other part of the house that is a regularly used living space, it is not a "Home Theater". I see too often people with 55" TV's and soundbars setup in their living rooms where their kids play and dogs hang out with a the kitchen within spitting distance calling it a theater. Yes, people try to simulate the experience the best they can but lets not fool ourselves. Here are the best guidelines for a proper home theater if you want to take it seriously. And yes, I am fully aware this will piss off a lot of people because everyone considers whatever they have thrown together to be a real home theater. Hey, if you see Brad Pitt when you look in the mirror, that doesn't make you Brad Pitt now, does it.

1. Dedicated light controlled room used exclusively for viewing movies or a large format gaming experience.
2. Projected image from a ceiling or shelf mounted projector creating a screen size of 100" or larger 1080p or greater resolution image.
3. Minimum of 5 timbre matched speakers of discrete surround sound from the same manufacturer. Front Left, Center, Front Right, Surround Left and Surround Right Channels.
4. Minimum of 1 subwoofer with a min 12" driver size capable of producing 20hz or below at listening position. (Unless main towers have built in subwoofers)
5. Room for at least one row of seating consisting of two seats or more.
6. Acoustic Treatments consisting of either sound panels, sound dampening curtains, media shelves, etc... capable of passing either the clap test or placed at first reflection points.

There you have it in a nut shell. No sugar coating, political correctness or worrying about your feelings. Aspiring for a true home theater experience takes a lot of work, a lot of research and a deep pocket. You're not likely to going to accomplish it in one visit to Best Buy.
Not everyone has the means or a dedicated room to follow your definition. This article was aimed at the novice, someone looking to get into "home theater" and gets easily intimidated and flustered on what to purchase. The Forum gets a lot of requests daily from such people asking for advice, and this was written to try and point them in the right direction. The Forum also published a podcast on Defining Home Theater.
 

Sam Posten

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I cannot state this more plainly: @Wookie Groomer is wrong.

If you have a 27" CRT on your shelf and that's your hometheater, more power to you.

Wookie, someone once told me something profound and I think it might help you:

It doesn't matter what brand of motorcycle you ride. It matters what brand of motorcycle _I_ ride.

In other words:
bdb.jpg
 

Edwin-S

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I'm of the opinion that the.minimum standard for a "home theatre" is the ability to recreate or simulate a surround sound environment whether it is done virtually through a sound bar or headphones or by use of discrete speakers and a multichannel receiver.

The room may be a dedicated media room or regularly used living space but creating the surround sound atmosphere of a theater is a must for a "home theatre". Everything else is icing be it screen size, resolution, seating and room treatments,

My first " home theatre" was a 27" CRT TV with a Prologic sound system. It was just TV until I got that first Prologic receiver with front and back surround speakers. It suddenly felt like a home theater when I watched "Raiders of the Lost Ark" on a laser disc rental and heard that first whip crack that sounded like it was flying over my shoulder and past my ear.
 

Sam Posten

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@Edwin-S again missing the point. You can set whatever criteria you want for your own theater. Whenever someone wants to set limits on minimum specifications others can have before they can say they have a home theater they are going to have a hard time here and will find no support at HTF. We’re here to be friendly enthusiasts for all theaters however you define them. Anything else is unacceptable elitism.
 

Mysto

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Piffle - Setting up rules is silly. "Must have surround sound and a massive woofer."
I watch mostly movies from the 30's and 40's they didn't have (and don't have) surround sound and they were shown in "real" theaters that didn't have surround sound and massive woofers.

It is a slippery slope. I could contend that your screen must be acoustically transparent. Your screen must be much larger than a miniscule 100" (what theater were you ever in that had that small a screen) and so on and so on.

Each of us builds our "special place" that we optimize for our viewing of movies based on our room and budget. Each of us has a hot button for what we like. For some it's all about the sound system. For others clarity of image. I'm a big screen guy. My screen (when in wide screen mode is 10' across (I'd make it bigger if I had a higher ceiling)

I say it's a home theater and I love it - hope you enjoy yours.:popcorn:
 
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Wookie Groomer

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I can't help those that won't help themselves. You have been given the proper minimum specs for what constitutes a "Home Theater". Sitting on the toilet taking a dump and watching Ren & Stimpy on youtube from your cell phone is not a home theater, sorry. Good luck living the lie if that's the case. You've earned it.

I've noticed how the value of things have taken a nose dive over the last decade. Meanings have turned into lose approximations and all things with clear definitions have been distorted for the political correctness of giving everyone the ok for open and wild interpretations of whatever they see fit. I don't care if your feelings are hurt but a closet is not a concert hall and a living room is not a movie theater.

We have literally set the guidelines for what a real Home Theater is on this very forum over 15 years ago when old timers like Mike Knapp were around. Things couldn't have possibly declined so much as to accommodate everyone's interpretation of what things are. Dare I say millennial's have started this whole thing.

You can say I've been hibernating when it comes to these forums but what I am discovering is not only shocking, it's heartbreaking and extremely disappointing. It's as if true enthusiasts have all died and were replaced by clones that try to pretend they are serious but only imitate what the larger consensus of social media sites are saying.

Digital streaming as a valid source for testing displays? How many apps and how quickly they perform to review a TV? Physical media is dying and people are ok with that? Again, soundbars being called home theaters? WTF people. Have hipsters taken over?
 
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Mysto

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I can't help those that won't help themselves. You have been given the proper minimum specs for what constitutes a "Home Theater". Sitting on the toilet taking a dump and watching Ren & Stimpy on youtube from your cell phone is not a home theater, sorry. Good luck living the lie if that's the case. You've earned it.

I've noticed how the value of things have taken a nose dive over the last decade. Meanings have turned into lose approximations and all things with clear definitions have been distorted for the political correctness of giving everyone the ok for open and wild interpretations of whatever they see fit. I don't care if your feelings are hurt but a closet is not a concert hall and a living room is not a movie theater.

We have literally set the guidelines for what a real Home Theater is on this very forum over 15 years ago when old timers like Mike Knapp were around. Things couldn't have possibly declined so much as to accommodate everyone's interpretation of what things are. Dare I say millennial's have started this whole thing.

You can say I've been hibernating when it comes to these forums but what I am discovering is not only shocking, it's heartbreaking and extremely disappointing. It's as if true enthusiasts have all died and were replaced by clones that try to pretend they are serious but only imitate what the larger consensus of social media sites are saying.

Digital streaming as a valid source for testing displays? How many apps and how quickly they perform to review a TV? Physical media is dying and people are ok with that? Again, soundbars being called home theaters? WTF people. Have hipsters taken over?
:rolling-smiley:
 

Todd Erwin

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I can't help those that won't help themselves. You have been given the proper minimum specs for what constitutes a "Home Theater". Sitting on the toilet taking a dump and watching Ren & Stimpy on youtube from your cell phone is not a home theater, sorry. Good luck living the lie if that's the case. You've earned it.

I've noticed how the value of things have taken a nose dive over the last decade. Meanings have turned into lose approximations and all things with clear definitions have been distorted for the political correctness of giving everyone the ok for open and wild interpretations of whatever they see fit. I don't care if your feelings are hurt but a closet is not a concert hall and a living room is not a movie theater.

We have literally set the guidelines for what a real Home Theater is on this very forum over 15 years ago when old timers like Mike Knapp were around. Things couldn't have possibly declined so much as to accommodate everyone's interpretation of what things are. Dare I say millennial's have started this whole thing.

You can say I've been hibernating when it comes to these forums but what I am discovering is not only shocking, it's heartbreaking and extremely disappointing. It's as if true enthusiasts have all died and were replaced by clones that try to pretend they are serious but only imitate what the larger consensus of social media sites are saying.

Digital streaming as a valid source for testing displays? How many apps and how quickly they perform to review a TV? Physical media is dying and people are ok with that? Again, soundbars being called home theaters? WTF people. Have hipsters taken over?
I guess we can agree to disagree on this.

Home theater is a fun hobby, and if you start out right, it can bring decades of enjoyment as you upgrade and update your system as both your tastes and technology evolve.
 
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Jeffreybomb

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Wookie, someone once told me something profound and I think it might help you:

It doesn't matter what brand of motorcycle you ride. It matters what brand of motorcycle _I_ ride.

I know I’m late to this, but that’s a pretty bad analogy.

Putting a 27” tube TV on an IKEA shelving unit and calling it a “home theater” makes about as much sense as buying a Schwinn and calling it a “motorcycle” because it has handlebars, a seat, and two wheels.

I’m actually building a home theater in my basement. My living room is not a home theater. I don’t know why people feel the need to have this all-inclusive mindset as if they’re worried about stepping on toes or hurting someone’s feelings over something so trivial.
 
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Sam Posten

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Good for you. Build your home theater to whatever standard you want. Come at people and tell them what they consider their home theater, even if it's a mobile phone on the shitter, doesn't qualify, and we are going to have issues. That's it. That's the bottom line. If't not up to you to determine what the minimum specs are for anyone but yourself. If you don't want to help someone who has what you consider a sub par setup that's on you. But if you rag on them, even a little, your input is not welcome here.
 

Jeffreybomb

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Come at people and tell them what they consider their home theater, even if it's a mobile phone on the shitter, doesn't qualify, and we are going to have issues.

You think a "mobile phone on the shitter" qualifies as a "home theater"?

I guess you're going to have a problem with me, then, because that's about the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in a special interest forum -- and I belong to a number of forums.

This kind of reply stinks of you fishing for a reason to flex moderator muscles by being intentionally provocative, and I think that's wrong.
 
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JohnRice

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You think a "mobile phone on the shitter" qualifies as a "home theater"?

I guess you're going to have a problem with me, then, because that's about the most ridiculous thing I've ever seen in a special interest forum -- and I belong to a number of forums.

This kind of reply stinks of you fishing for a reason to flex moderator muscles by being intentionally provocative, and I think that's wrong.
Sam is fond of hyperbole, but it's possible to understand the gist of what he's saying. I don't know what the percentage of people who have a dedicated HT room is, for example. It has to be low. I have one, and it's the biggest room in the house. Most people don't. The point here is, there's no use in declaring some level as being the minimum to qualify as a "Home Theater", whether it's a teenager living at home, with a 32" LCD and a soundbar in his bedroom, or someone with a dedicated laser projection room with CIH and 9.2.8 Atmos. The point is to help others. Not compete.
 

xx Brian xx

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Is there a reason we have to define what a home theater is? Would it satisfy the purist to call it a home entertainment system if the room doesn't fit certain criteria?

By the definition below I have a home theater but I have never thought of it as such. It is just my living room.

1. Dedicated light controlled room used exclusively for viewing movies or a large format gaming experience.

Lights automatically dim when projector turns on. Projector is only used for watching movies.

2. Projected image from a ceiling or shelf mounted projector creating a screen size of 100" or larger 1080p or greater resolution image.

1080 Projector with 100" powered drop screen that is programmed to drop when projector comes on. Also programmed to turn off TV at the same time.

3. Minimum of 5 timbre matched speakers of discrete surround sound from the same manufacturer. Front Left, Center, Front Right, Surround Left and Surround Right Channels.
4. Minimum of 1 subwoofer with a min 12" driver size capable of producing 20hz or below at listening position. (Unless main towers have built in subwoofers)

Nine B&W speakers and 2 subs capable of hitting down to 17Hz.

5. Room for at least one row of seating consisting of two seats or more.


Plenty of seating right in front of the screen.

6. Acoustic Treatments consisting of either sound panels, sound dampening curtains, media shelves, etc... capable of passing either the clap test or placed at first reflection points.

Floor and window treatments to eliminate sound reflections.

Does this mean I can start calling it a Home Theater?

This reminds me of the debate on the Dodge Challenger forum about certain stripes being considered "up badging". Who cares. If someone can only afford a 32" TV and an Insignia soundbar and want to call it their home theater - go for it, it has no bearing on my life. And if I have a quick tip to help them make that Insignia soundbar sound better, I'm going to let them know so they can get even more enjoyment out of their "Home Theater".

Brian
 

Sam Posten

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This kind of reply stinks of you fishing for a reason to flex moderator muscles by being intentionally provocative, and I think that's wrong.

Well, one of us has to deal with the fallout of people arbitrarily defining what is and what is not a legit home theater and the other doesn't. One of us is working from the owner's definition of what makes a fun and informative forum and the other isn't. One of us has to deal with the ego of posters who think their definition of what makes an acceptable home theater is law and the other doesn't. One of us has 27,000 messages on this forum being as helpful, kind, courteous (and hell, let's throw the other 9 points of the boyscout law in for good measure) as they can be to people of all walks of life with all kinds of budgets, and the other has determined that they can set the minimum specs for a real home theater after posting here 60 times in 10 years.

If that's flexing, I'm flexing.

@JohnRice Guilty =p
 

Sam Posten

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By the definition below

Brian

Mine fails on at least 2 of your 6 criteria. I guess I am not turtle-y enough for the turtle club =(

Oh wait, that's just my MAIN theater. The other 3 in my house fail on most others. They are still fully capable home theater systems.
 

JohnRice

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1. Dedicated light controlled room used exclusively for viewing movies or a large format gaming experience.
2. Projected image from a ceiling or shelf mounted projector creating a screen size of 100" or larger 1080p or greater resolution image.
3. Minimum of 5 timbre matched speakers of discrete surround sound from the same manufacturer. Front Left, Center, Front Right, Surround Left and Surround Right Channels.
4. Minimum of 1 subwoofer with a min 12" driver size capable of producing 20hz or below at listening position. (Unless main towers have built in subwoofers)
5. Room for at least one row of seating consisting of two seats or more.
6. Acoustic Treatments consisting of either sound panels, sound dampening curtains, media shelves, etc... capable of passing either the clap test or placed at first reflection points.
The funny thing about these lists is they tend to be determined by what the poster has, rather than being determined by some undeniable standard. If I was the type to make iron-clad requirements, which I'm not, I'd tell everyone that if they power their system with a receiver, it's not a real "Home Theater". Interesting that's not on "The List". After all, show me one Movie Theater that runs their system with a receiver. That would achieve the real goal of these types of standards, which is to feed the ego.
 

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