Have no clue about HT but need advise

TRick

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I recently moved into a new home that has a 28' x 16' box with a door upstairs. It was built with the intent to be a media room but currently has nothing in it. I have ability to purchase a Bose Lifestyle V35 sound system at cost (thanks to a family member). I have toyed with the idea of a 80" HD LED TV but honestly would like something larger in the room. I would appreciate suggestions that will not break the bank on a ceiling mount projector and screen and something that could utilize the Bose system. Comments and suggestions are appreciated. BTW, I have not clue about this sort of stuff. My intent is to find someone to do the total installation. I am not a DIY type guy. My real intent is to get my wife and kids off my case about not getting this room up and running.:) If it matters, I live in the Greater Houston Texas area.
 

schan1269

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Bose "at employee cost" still sucks. Buy something, anything, else. And we can't "throw out ideas for a projector" without knowing exactly what size screen, 16:9/2.4:1, throw distance, light controlled...yada, yada.
 

TRick

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schan1269 said:
Bose "at employee cost" still sucks. Buy something, anything, else. And we can't "throw out ideas for a projector" without knowing exactly what size screen, 16:9/2.4:1, throw distance, light controlled...yada, yada.
Which is exactly why I said I have no clue about this stuff. Other than room size, I have no idea of what questions to ask or answers to give. The reason I was seeking "HELP" here. If I am too stupid to ask the right questions here, my apologies. This is definitely not in my comfort zone. DId not mean to offend by asking the first question.
 

schan1269

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You didn't offend. How big is your room? The wall you intend to use is how wide? Ceiling height? Plan on putting it on a table in front of you? Mounting to the ceiling? Mounting on the back wall? How do you plan to get signal to it? Direct HDMI? Wireless HDMI? What color are your walls? Ceiling? Windows?
 

Jason Charlton

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Originally Posted by TRick
I have toyed with the idea of a 80" HD LED TV but honestly would like something larger in the room.
I would appreciate suggestions that will not break the bank on a ceiling mount projector and screen and something that could utilize the Bose system.
My intent is to find someone to do the total installation.
Unfortunately, when you start talking about a front projection system, and if you're NOT inclined to do the work yourself, you quickly erode the cost savings (in terms of screen size) that front projection offers.
We can't really begin to offer recommendations until we have a solid budget. Keep in mind, if your'e starting from scratch, you'll need:

[*] Projector
[*] Screen
[*] Projector mount
[*] HDMI cable
[*] A/V Receiver
[*] 5 speakers
[*] 1 subwoofer
[*] Blu-ray player (?)
[/list] For the first few items on the list:
Does this room have complete light control (i.e. can it be reasonably close to dark at ANY time)? If not, then a front projector system may not be the best solution.
If you do have good light control, then the process of choosing the right projector begins with your intended seating distance, which provides insight into the size screen you should expect to have. That, combined with whether or not you plan to ceiling mount or shelf mount the projector can help narrow down the number of candidate projectors that will "work" given your room geometry.
There are two main display technologies for front projection - LCD and DLP. There are pros and cons to each technology, but often it boils down to DLP projectors having better black levels/contrast, but at reduced placement flexibility compared to LCD (these are generalizations and don't always hold true, btw). Decide which technology you prefer and you can usually narrow your choices to a few models based on your budget. For 1080p home theater projectors, most decent models will fall over $1k.
Expect to pay an extra $50-100 for a ceiling mount for the projector as well.
Then there's the screen. Again - the cheapest option is DIY, followed by purchasing from a manufacturer and assembling/installing it yourself, followed by a custom installer's recommendation. For reference, I purchased a 96" screen from Carada and installed it myself for around $700.
The final component that's usually specific to a front projection setup is the HDMI cable run. If ceiling mounting, you'll need a long (25'+ HDMI cable that is in-wall rated (CL2) to run from the projector to wherever your equipment will be set up. Get your long cables from Monoprice.com - they are quality and don't cost what you'd expect ($30 for this that will suit your needs).
The A/V receiver and speakers are a whole other can of worms. To recommend a receiver, it's best to know what devices you're planning to connect to the system. Most mid-range receivers in the $300-400 range will work for most folks.
A room that size will need a decent subwoofer - something like the BIC F-12 ($200) or the Lava 12" (~$300). The remaining speakers will depend on your personal taste. You need to listen to speakers to know what you like. The most basic 5.0 speaker set can be had for $300-400, but you should plan on spending most of your budget on the speakers.
So, absolute bare-bones, DIY you're looking at no less than $2-2.5k. If you really need to include an installer, expect the price to go up considerably - at least $1k.
If this seems in line with your goals/expectations, let us know and we can help with specifics.
 

TRick

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schan1269 said:
You didn't offend. How big is your room? The wall you intend to use is how wide? Ceiling height? Plan on putting it on a table in front of you? Mounting to the ceiling? Mounting on the back wall? How do you plan to get signal to it? Direct HDMI? Wireless HDMI? What color are your walls? Ceiling? Windows?
As I stated originally, the room is 28' x 16'. The ceilings are 10'. The room is a box basically with 2 doors, no windows. Had the room (walls and ceiling) painted dark brown when we moved in. The intent would be ceiling mounted projector. The screen would go on the 16' wide wall. There is attic surrounding 3 walls so there is plenty of space to work outside the room for any type of wiring that is necessary. As I know nothing about it, I am totally open to how the signal gets there. TV service where I live is satellite. Right now, we have DirecTV. Receiver box is sitting on the floor in front of the wall where we intend for the screen to go. For equipment, installation and seating, I have a $15k budget.
 

TRick

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Jason Charlton said:
Unfortunately, when you start talking about a front projection system, and if you're NOT inclined to do the work yourself, you quickly erode the cost savings (in terms of screen size) that front projection offers. We can't really begin to offer recommendations until we have a solid budget.  Keep in mind, if your'e starting from scratch, you'll need:
[*] Projector
[*] Screen
[*] Projector mount
[*] HDMI cable
[*] A/V Receiver
[*] 5 speakers
[*] 1 subwoofer
[*] Blu-ray player (?)
[/list] For the first few items on the list: Does this room have complete light control (i.e. can it be reasonably close to dark at ANY time)?  If not, then a front projector system may not be the best solution. If you do have good light control, then the process of choosing the right projector begins with your intended seating distance, which provides insight into the size screen you should expect to have.  That, combined with whether or not you plan to ceiling mount or shelf mount the projector can help narrow down the number of candidate projectors that will "work" given your room geometry. There are two main display technologies for front projection - LCD and DLP.  There are pros and cons to each technology, but often it boils down to DLP projectors having better black levels/contrast, but at reduced placement flexibility compared to LCD (these are generalizations and don't always hold true, btw).  Decide which technology you prefer and you can usually narrow your choices to a few models based on your budget.  For 1080p home theater projectors, most decent models will fall over $1k. Expect to pay an extra $50-100 for a ceiling mount for the projector as well. Then there's the screen.  Again - the cheapest option is DIY, followed by purchasing from a manufacturer and assembling/installing it yourself, followed by a custom installer's recommendation.  For reference, I purchased a 96" screen from Carada and installed it myself for around $700. The final component that's usually specific to a front projection setup is the HDMI cable run.  If ceiling mounting, you'll need a long (25'+ HDMI cable that is in-wall rated (CL2) to run from the projector to wherever your equipment will be set up.  Get your long cables from Monoprice.com - they are quality and don't cost what you'd expect ($30 for this that will suit your needs). The A/V receiver and speakers are a whole other can of worms.  To recommend a receiver, it's best to know what devices you're planning to connect to the system.  Most mid-range receivers in the $300-400 range will work for most folks. A room that size will need a decent subwoofer - something like the BIC F-12 ($200) or the Lava 12" (~$300).  The remaining speakers will depend on your personal taste.  You need to listen to speakers to know what you like.  The most basic 5.0 speaker set can be had for $300-400, but you should plan on spending most of your budget on the speakers. So, absolute bare-bones, DIY you're looking at no less than $2-2.5k.  If you really need to include an installer, expect the price to go up considerably - at least $1k. If this seems in line with your goals/expectations, let us know and we can help with specifics.
I have a $15k budget for the entire room...equipment, installation, and seating. The screen will go on the 16' wall that is 10' high. Projector, I want it ceiling mounted. The room is totally dark when all pod lights are out in the ceiling. They are dimmable, so the light level can be totally bright to so dark you can't see you hand in front of your face. Would like a very large screen size and since the room is 21' deep, seating can be set back quite a ways. I appreciate all the feedback.
 

Robert_J

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Receiver box is sitting on the floor in front of the wall where we intend for the screen to go.
That's probably the worst location for it. The lights on my DirecTV DVRs are the most annoying things in my equipment rack and they are behind my seating area.
I have a $15k budget for the entire room...equipment, installation, and seating.
We are big DIYers here. Even if you don't build it, we can help you install it. How handy are you with basic tools?
The screen will go on the 16' wall that is 10' high.
My room is about your size and I use the 16' wall for a 103" DIY screen. Took me a weekend to build. Parts would run you about $100 or a little less now.
Would like a very large screen size and since the room is 21' deep, seating can be set back quite a ways.
Seating distance should be based on screen size. http://myhometheater.homestead.com/viewingdistancecalculator.html If I were starting over, I'd go with the latest Panasonic AE series projector. Mine has served me well for years. Reciever, - whatever has the inputs I need and could drive 4 ohm speakers. Speakers - I build my own. If I didn't, I'd probably go with SVS. Sub - I build my own. If I didn't I'd go with Power Sound. Blu-ray - latest from Oppo. Satellite - DirecTV (been a customer for almost 20 years except for trying Dish for a year and week) Roku for streaming content. Monoprice for all cables. Seats - not sure. I use an extra love seat and couch we had. Harmony 890 for the remote. I know it is discontinued but I like the shape and the RF part seals the deal for me.
 

Bobofbone

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Sounds like you have a fun project ahead of you. Some advice: Projectors-check out www.projectorcentral.com. The have a projector finder link that lets you put in parameters like screen distance, type of projector and other information and gives you a selection of projectors. I'd second using a Panason AE series. I have a Panasonic AE 7000U (last years model)-its an LCD projector, that has vertical and horizontal shift, allowing you to mount off axis from the screen and shift the image. It also has auto processing that can be programed to use differnet maginifcations to sense the image size, magnify it to fit the screen and mask the image. I bought a ceiling mount from the same company that sold me the projector for around $60. They threw in a 20' HDMI cable free of charge to hook up. If you are going to ceiling mount it, you need to anchor the mount, or whatever you anchor the mount in, to studs in the ceiling-not dry wall. I planned ahead-it you have a stud finder power drill, some wrenches (socket wrenches make it easier) and an assortment of screw drivers, it isn't difficult. This is a link to my set up http://www.hometheaterforum.com/t/321936/southern-q-n-vu scroll down and you can see what the ceiling mount looks like. Don't buy Panasonic's ceiling mount-as I recall, it was 4-5 times what I spent. The one I bought works fine,. Screens-get the projector before you buy or make a screen. Try it out on the wall, and see what size works. The figures on web sites and in the manual are not exact-trying it out where you put it may be closer. You can also save alot on a DIY screen made from fabric on a frame (I did) or using paint on the wall. Projector Central has some good articles on it, and the other forum (AVS Forum) has a whole section on DIY screens. http://www.carlofet.com/build-your-own-projector-screen/ has a good description of how to build a screen with fabric. That's where I got the fabric I used. Speakers-I agree with the above. Don't get Bose. There are much better, especially for the size room you are getting. I got Paradigms, but I really looked at Axiom Audio and Aperion-both are online direct companies. I started with an empty space for my current theater, but I also did a couple of set ups in an established room-I went through a basement that was unfinished in the first and through a crawl space on the second. Crawl spaces are a bit dirtier, but there weren't as many bugs as I thought there would be. The little one don't taste too bad if spit them out or swallow them quick. If you are going though the attic, it isn't difficult to pass wires behind drywall. Try a "How to" search on You Tube to see how. You do have to be careful about not stepping stepping between studs. 5/8" drywall won't support much more than a leprecann. If you are not a DIY'er, I'd suggest you make a detailed set of specifications and plan out whatever you plan to contract out. Get everything you need before you have someone else do the work. You might also try pricing cable and wire with Blue Jeans Cable-I found thme less than Monoprice for some of what I bought. Both are less than Monster Cable at Best Buy. I might mention that you need to use cable that is rated for in wall use- CL2 or CL3. Regular cable unrated for in wall use can help propagate a fire, should one occur. There is more information about this on the Blue Jeans Cable web site.
 

Robert_J

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5/8" drywall won't support much more than a leprecann.
I wasn't installing in audio equipment but I found your statement to be very true. My right leg was dangling above the bar in my kitchen and my left leg was stretched out on the floor of my attic. My right elbow kept me from falling between the ceiling joists. I physically felt that one for months and still feel the sting of the house painters in the kitchen laughing at me.
 

Bobofbone

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Robert_J said:
I wasn't installing in audio equipment but I found your statement to be very true. My right leg was dangling above the bar in my kitchen and my left leg was stretched out on the floor of my attic. My right elbow kept me from falling between the ceiling joists. I physically felt that one for months and still feel the sting of the house painters in the kitchen laughing at me.
I found being perpendicular to the studs when you fall through also helps. You have just enough time to think "Oh s**t", bring your elbows down to have the backs of your arms hit the studs and slow you down enough to catch the studs going by, and then admire the staircase below as you hang. It leaves a nice shade of purple on the back of your arms, and you have the opportunity to make up a different story for everyone that asks about it in the locker room for awhile. It's handy to be doing some other construction at the time. You can place thick plywood over the studs to avoid gaining wisdom like this to pass on. It also can make the attic space more useful for storage later if you nail it down. Unless you have a really thick layer of blown in insulation..
 

TRick

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I have a house full of tools and am somewhat handy. Not afraid of electrical stuff and could probably handle building up the floor a couple of levels for the seating. My issue is I know absolutely nothing about where to position the mount for the projector on the ceiling. I would be better off buying a screen than trying to build one. I have read the article on how to build one for under $100 and easy as it may sound, I don't think I would end up with something that did not look homemade. I know nothing about what equipment components are required or why. Much like the computer equipment I deal with, I like plug and play. That I can handle. The room will be easy to install speakers and even lighting for that matter. Everything is open behind 3 of the 4 walls and the other wall has enough space above it to drop wiring down between the 2 rooms and fish it out where it needs to be. To me, it is the need to know what equipment to buy and why I need it. I just have no clue about this equipment. I have gotten some great info from this post. I want to thank all of you who have responded. I have gotten some great information and some entertainment too! I can relate to falling thru the celing. Been there, done that.
 

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The screen was the easiest part of my build. 1. Build the frame and hang it with a cleat. The cleat allowed me to make slight changes back and forth to make sure it is centered on the wall. That's my ugly mug in the picture to give an idea on size. I have long arms for someone who it 6' tall. And the frame size is my picture size plus 2" in each direction.
2. Cover with fabric. Standard blackout material stapled to the frame. Stretch and staple. Repeat about 500 times as you make your way around the frame. 3. The border was a step above what most do. It can be as simple of black felt glued on the screen material that will give you the final dimensions. My wife wanted something special so I used door casing and decorative molding corners. There are thin strips of wood behind it holding it all together. I have two pieces of wood glued to the top that support the weight when I hang it on the screen frame. Four brad nails hold the entire thing to the screen frame. I built it like this so I could try paint formulas on the screen and replace the fabric if I didn't like them. I liked it so much the first time, I haven't touched it in 7 years. Here's the door casing border.
You can see the decorative corner in this one.
The curtains were made by a family member. The pole to hang them one is 3/4" galvanized conduit pipe. No use buying a $50 extra long curtain rod when a $3 pipe works better. If you are wondering about the subs, I was just testing a few different ones. I'm not using any of those currently.
 

Robert_J

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I just have no clue about this equipment.
Let's take this another route. What are your goals? Movie experience or just a man cave for sports? Combination? What audio systems have you had in the past? Do you have a critical ear? What TVs have you had in the past? Do you have an eye for detail? What movies and music do you enjoy? Have you gone full digital (movies and music stored on a home server)?
 

TRick

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Robert_J said:
Let's take this another route. What are your goals? Movie experience or just a man cave for sports? Combination? What audio systems have you had in the past? Do you have a critical ear? What TVs have you had in the past? Do you have an eye for detail? What movies and music do you enjoy? Have you gone full digital (movies and music stored on a home server)?
Goals - not interested in a man cave. Now that we have moved here, goal is to be able to entertain. We have game room with wet bar adjacent to this room and pool outside. Lots of adults and teenagers around and want more of a movie experience as well as being able to host World Series, BCS Championship and SuperBowl parties. Never been much into audio systems. Previous house was wired with speakers in every room but honestly I listen to FM radio more than anything. Wife and kids are into MP3. Not my thing. Just give me a simple FM country station and I am good. TVs - currently have Sony, Samsung, Sharp. All are newer technology(1080) flat screen HD. BTW, 3D means nothing to me. Legally blind in one eye so never been able to really see 3D. I'm sure wife and kids would enjoy it but not me. Eye for detail -I like most action movies but don't care for stuff like Transformers, zombie movies, movies with strange animal looking creatures, etc. Not my cup of tea. I watch more TV (recorded DVR stuff) than movies. Summer and winter Olympics, golf, NASCAR (yes, I'm redneck), college and pro football, college baseball and softball. My wife likes the typical chick flick movies, Titanic or stuff with Julia Roberts in them. Kids - they watch everything including most stuff that I don't or never will. Full digital - movies...nope have not. Wife and son has extensive iTunes library.
 

TRick

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Robert_J said:
The screen was the easiest part of my build. 1. Build the frame and hang it with a cleat. The cleat allowed me to make slight changes back and forth to make sure it is centered on the wall. That's my ugly mug in the picture to give an idea on size. I have long arms for someone who it 6' tall. And the frame size is my picture size plus 2" in each direction.
2. Cover with fabric. Standard blackout material stapled to the frame. Stretch and staple. Repeat about 500 times as you make your way around the frame. 3. The border was a step above what most do. It can be as simple of black felt glued on the screen material that will give you the final dimensions. My wife wanted something special so I used door casing and decorative molding corners. There are thin strips of wood behind it holding it all together. I have two pieces of wood glued to the top that support the weight when I hang it on the screen frame. Four brad nails hold the entire thing to the screen frame. I built it like this so I could try paint formulas on the screen and replace the fabric if I didn't like them. I liked it so much the first time, I haven't touched it in 7 years. Here's the door casing border.
You can see the decorative corner in this one.
The curtains were made by a family member. The pole to hang them one is 3/4" galvanized conduit pipe. No use buying a $50 extra long curtain rod when a $3 pipe works better. If you are wondering about the subs, I was just testing a few different ones. I'm not using any of those currently.
Nice job!!!
 

Robert_J

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Price some seating online or at one of those stores like this (we have one locally) - http://www.familyleisure.com/Home-Theater-Seats Projector - I like Projector People (where I got mine). They have the older Panasonic AE model on sale - www.projectorpeople.com They may have a decent screen as well. Speakers - Towers for left and right. center and 4 surrounds. Paradigm, BIC or something along those lines. Receiver - A good Denon or Pioneer Blu-ray - Samsung since you don't need a top of the line model. Sub - http://www.powersoundaudio.com/products/xv30 Yes, it seems like overkill but you will feel like you are IN a NASCAR race. We can look at wiring after you pick out items. For my ceiling mount on the projector, I found a power plug and wiring setup in the electrical section of Lowes. It had a single outlet and a section for video cables to run through. Sports an a 100"+ screen is awesome. I'll be watching the Hogs and the Tigers tonight.
 

TRick

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Robert_J, thank you very much. Very, very helpful. I appreciate the time you have taken with me on this. I have been checking the prices on the websites you provided looking at prices and you definitely did your homework. Found seating at the Star Furniture Outlet store here. Probably going with them. Wife sat in them, reclined in them (that would mean sleeping for me), and liked them so pleasing here is a plus.
 

Robert_J

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Those are just my suggestions. Other people here like other equipment. At least this gives you an idea of the pieces you need and the approximate prices.
 

Bobofbone

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You definitely want a recliner that is comfortable to sleep on. That way, if you are being sensitive to your wifes needs and wishes in what to watch, you can make full use of the time. Post pictures as things progress.
 

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