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Building HT room; I've got a few questions...

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Jeff_Jergerian, Oct 10, 2001.

  1. Jeff_Jergerian

    Jeff_Jergerian Auditioning

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    I’ve found this forum to be an excellent resource to learn about the topic of building a dedicated home theater. I’m in the process of having a room finished in my basement, which will be used exclusively as a home theater room. The theater portion of the room is about 20 feet deep and 12 feet wide, with 9 foot ceilings and no windows. I plan to use a front projector, with a 7 or 8 foot wide screen (16:9). I am having all of the construction done by professionals (walls, carpet, ceiling, electrical). However, I am going to run all of the home theater cabling myself. Before I begin, I have some basic questions that I’m hoping I can get answered here. Hopefully I ask these questions in a way that makes sense…..(I apologize in advance for the length of this. Feel free to e-mail me privately or post your answers here).
    Is there anything in particular that I should keep in mind when running speaker wire through the walls? I plan to use wall plate terminals located behind each of the front three speakers. Do the wall plates need to be backed by a box behind the wall, or is it OK to just anchor these right into the cut drywall?
    What recommendations can anyone provide for component cables to go the projector (ceiling)? I’m guessing that I’ll need cables that are around 40 feet. I plan to run two sets--one for Prog DVD now, and a set that is in place for a future upgrade to a HD DirecTV tuner. I’m assuming that I don’t want to use wall plates for these cable runs, and that I should just run them directly from the source to the projector. I’d like any thoughts on how to finish off the wall so it doesn’t just look like a ragged hole with cables coming out of it (both on the ceiling and behind my equipment rack). FYI: My equipment will all be hidden in a closet, but I still want it to look somewhat professional.
    On the topic of component cables, I’ve noticed that some projectors offer two sets of HD inputs, but that one of them is BNC (or even a 15-pin connection). How do you connect a second component source to this type of input? Since the component cables have three ends, and the BNC has 5 ends, how do these two ends match up? Or am I going down the wrong road with this question?
    I will need to use an infrared repeater system to distribute the remote signals. I know very little about this (other than what I’ve read on Niles product boxes and the Xantech website). It seems like a fairly straightforward setup to use mini IR blasters for this process. Is there anything in particular I should know before proceeding? I plan to put the receiver “eye” in the front of the room below the screen, with mini stick-on blasters over the IR windows of each of my components (including the projector and remote-control light dimmers). What type of cable is best to use, considering the supplied cables won’t be long enough to reach the dimmers and projector from the spot where I plan to have the control unit.
    Is there anything special that I should do in the ceiling from a structural standpoint before it is finished off (to accommodate the projector)? I will be going with a lighter weight model, such as the Sanyo PLV60HT or the Sony 11HT. Even though it will be relatively light, I’m not sure if it is safe to just mount it right to the drywall in the ceiling. I’m not totally sure which model I’ll be going with yet, but I’m estimating a throw distance of about 11-12 feet for the dimensions I’m working with. Is there any advantage to building a drop down shelf for the projector instead of going with a pre-fab mounting bracket?
    I’m sure I’ll have other questions as this project progresses. For now, these are the major ones that have been on my mind. I’ve searched through a number of topics to get me to this point, so I apologize if I’m asking questions that have been covered already. I’d appreciate any other feedback or suggestions to make this go as smoothly as possible. Experience is the best teacher, so let your experience guide me down this path :)
     
  2. Eric Trombley

    Eric Trombley Auditioning

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    Jeff:
    Your room dimensions are almost exactly the same as the one I am building (19'L x 12.5'W x 8.2' H).
    Here's what I did:
    Cable runs in walls:
    Use CL3 rated cable. Monster Cable makes some decent CL3 that I bought at Audio King in bulk off of a spool. I used 12 guage for my LCR, and 14 guage for my surrounds. I do not thing it is necessary to use wall boxes, but in my opinion, it looks more professional if you do. They are about a buck apiece, so the investment is minimal. You could always have the electricians install the boxes when they wire your room.
    Component cables through ceiling:
    www.compvideo.com - not sure if they have plenum www.blackbox.com - they have plenum, VGA cables, not sure of they have component vid cables. Definitely worth a call, as their technical phone support is superb.
    I did run VGA cables, and didn't use wall plates. I went to a DIY store, and bought 2" 'mouse hole' flanges that would typically be used in a desk to run computer cables through. I cut a 2" hole in my ceiling, popped the flange in, and it looks real nice.
    Cables are sometimes sold as 5 BNC to 5 BNC, or 15 pin VGA to 5 BNC. For the BNC to BNC, you only use 3 of the five cables; for the VGA to BNC, you still only use three of the five, typically R (for Y),G (for Pr), and B (for Pb). The device outputting Component on the VGA connector has to be configured to do so. You can convert a BNC connector to an RCA by buying an adapter plug at Radio Shack or Fryes.
    IR Cabling:
    For extending IR cable (as I am doing this also with my Niles kit), use a 22 AWG 2 conductor + shield line-level audio cable, like West Penn 291. That's what I used and it worked great. No need to buy Monster-style cable for it, but make sure it is CL3 rated if running through walls.
    Projector Mounting:
    I would avoid mounting your projector directly to the drywall. Fasten some 2x4's between your rafters before the sheetrock is installed. For a light projector, a drop down shelf should be OK, but a pre-fab mount will generally have pitch and yaw adjustments for minor adjustments, but a shelf is pretty much fixed. I used a pre-fab mount for my 150-pound Sony CRT, and reinforced the mounting area by spanning 2x4's across ceveral ceiling joists.
    Hope this helps:
    - Eric
     
  3. RobV

    RobV Extra

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    Hey Jeff,
    I just built my Theater Room It also is 22' By 15'.
    I can tell you that I baught Canare V3-3C component cables
    with BNC on one end and RCA on the other, For a 35' run.
    I got them made from WWW.Electroniccity.com for about $70.00. To me they are the best, Dont get taking in by all the monster freaks, It's just a name. Same with speaker cables, I got a spool of 12 gage from home depot for about $60.00. Oh, You have to call electroniccity.com and tell them what you want they don't have them on the web site.
    I also would go with the wall plates to cover up the wholes for your speaker wire, I built a hush box for my projector that I built into the ceiling before I put the sheet rock up. I cut a hole in the back of the box for a four inch fan
    and ran an air duct from the projector down to a extra bonus room next to the theater room.I also put a thermostat
    in the back of the box on the inside to turn on at a certain
    temp.On the side of the box I cut out a whole for a three outlet plug so I coud plug the projector and the thermostat into. The component cables and the extention cord for the box all run thru the ceiling and end up at the rack which the back of is in a closet and the front is flush to a wall that faces the theater. I built the whole room myself from the subfloor to the paint, If I could do it you can to.
    P.S. You will need a support put in the ceiling befor you put your projector up there, Either a four by four or somethig simelar. Make sure your screen goes up last so you can adjust it up or down or side to side, I have a 5' by 9'
    screen and it looks good, so will yours.
    Hope this gets you started, If you have any questions feel free to E-mail me.
    Rob...
     
  4. SamRoza

    SamRoza Stunt Coordinator

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    Rather than wasting money on line for your IR repeater, I usually just find a piece of scrap CAT5 cable I have laying around and use one pair.
    I do not believe that low voltage wire requires a box in any state-just a "wall caddy"-which is available in any home improvement place.
    Sam
     
  5. Steve Schick

    Steve Schick Stunt Coordinator

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    a good source for good in-wall (CL3) speaker cable is Parts Express
    This is the cable I used in my HT. I doubled up the 4 conductors into 2 (creates approximately 10 gauge).
    It's a great price and the cable is just as good as Monster or others.
    ------------------
    You liked the movie? ......Try it on a nine foot screen.
    My DVD Profiler Collection
     
  6. Jeff_Jergerian

    Jeff_Jergerian Auditioning

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    I appreciate the responses. I'm not totally clear on how to extend the wires that are provided in a typical IR repeater kit (niles, Xantech, etc). How do you "integrate" the wire into the chain between the base unit and the stick-on repeater bug? The wire runs in the kit are around 10 feet for each repeater. Do you just cut it in the middle and strip/twist the ends together? Any help with this would be appreciated, as I will probably start wiring the room pretty soon.
    Thanks,
    jj
     
  7. Bill Lucas

    Bill Lucas Supporting Actor

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    Do NOT run plain component cables to a projector. Use 2 or 3 runs of Mini-HR (5 BNC) cable. Run raw cable and when you install the projector you can terminate it as BNC, Component, S-Video, Composite or you can use a BNC to VGA breakout cable for the computer connection. It's really silly to run anything but Mini-HR (or Maxi if you're into fat cables). One cable can serve multiple purposes (i.e. component AND composite from the same cable run). Good luck.
     
  8. SamRoza

    SamRoza Stunt Coordinator

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    Jeff, for your IR system, you typically will use an IR pickup in the front of your theater, and THAT gets connected to the cabling(CAT5 or whatever cheap cable that will support low voltage). That cable runs to the IR box(which should be mounted near your equipment) which the "IR blasters" plug into.
    Niles IR pickup has very very tiny wires that you must be careful with. Pro installers use a crimp-on connector called a "bean" to connect these very small gauge wires. It's like a crimpable wirenut, only it's designed for small gauge wires.
    Very few IR blasters are needed to operate all of your equipment, so don't go overboard on those. At my last house I had one IR blaster plugged in and laid on the floor(I never really "moved in" to that house so I didn't go all out with my HT), and it operated all 8 of my boxes. So if you use one or two, mount in front of your eqiupment rack and it shoudl work well.
     

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