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Home Theater vs Living Room Theater

Discussion in 'Archived Threads 2001-2004' started by Brian_J, Aug 12, 2001.

  1. Brian_J

    Brian_J Second Unit

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    Guys, I have been considering building a home theater but wonder if I should because I am concerned about ending up with a "museum". Having a living room theater is convenient and does not make you feel isolated, which is my biggest concern with having a dedicated home theater. Logistics wise, aesthetically and sound wise, a dedicated home theater is obviously superior but I wonder if anyone feels that they have built something that isolates them too much from the world, their family, etc?
    Brian
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    Zed's Dead Baby...
     
  2. Cees Alons

    Cees Alons Moderator
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    Brian,
    That depends heavily on the HT-habits of the rest of the family. If you generally watch movies together, it won't isolate anyone of the family.
    In our house:
    (1) The children never watched a movie (be it an animation or not) without me and/or my wife. Thus we would also be able to give the "parental guidance" when unexpectedly needed.
    (2) When I'm choosing a movie, and I reckon my wife - or children (now 18 and 15) - would like to see the film I selected, I make sure they come watching with me, or, if they can't, select another movie this time.
    (3) No-one can properly operate the HT except me [​IMG].
    This assures that the HT-experiences is part of the family activities, makes us share the art form and allows us to discuss films afterwards.
    No, it doesn't have to isolate any member of the house!
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    [​IMG]
     
  3. Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    We have ours set up in the living room. We actually use our system for TV more than movies, so hardly a day goes buy that it is not in use. Any programming can be viewed from the kitchen or dining room table, if desired. Personally I would not want an isolated room.
    Regards,
    Wayne A. Pflughaupt

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    My Equipment List
     
  4. Steve Kuehl

    Steve Kuehl Auditioning

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    Ours is in the living room also...if you have children I would have to say the living room might be a good alternative to another room (in our case due to there being a limited amount of rooms). In addition, having family functions that will involve sports, group socializing during vieiwing events, etc. the living room makes for a more approriate venue. In other words, a beautiful theater built for sound will not work too well with kids, conversations, lots of food and drink, etc.
    Another bonus is - if I (you) change your mind about the living room - I can easily remove the speakers, wiring, hardware, etc. and move it to another room - and still have an unscarred living room. The home theater rooms built just for that (that I have seen) seem to have a really hard time not being a theater room (size, amount of wall compromises, characature, architecture, etc). May not sound common, but in the Bay Area, people move around quite a bit and financial sutuations have changed drastically for some - translates to some theaters having to move.
    Hope this ramble helped.
    Steve
     
  5. george kaplan

    george kaplan Executive Producer

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    Mine's in the living room out of necessity. But if a dedicated room were an option, I'd do it.
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    13-time NBA world champion Lakers: 1949, 1950, 1952, 1953, 1954, 1972, 1980, 1982, 1985, 1987, 1988, 2000, 2001
     
  6. Mike LS

    Mike LS Supporting Actor

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    I don't think the question should be does the room isolate you from your family, but would you isolate yourself from your family?
    Where your HT is really doesn't have a thing to do with whether you spend quality time with you family or not. Personally, I can't consider watching a movie together as "quality" time.....granted, you're in the same room, but you're not interacting....you're just sitting there like a lump damaging your hearing. Not really a family friendly activity IMHO.
    I think most of it depends on the type of person you are. Now I don't have kids, but me and my wife like to watch movies (me more than her....), and we do so quite a bit together....but I do watch more than she does. Either I want to watch something she's not interested in, or it's a situation where she's seen the movie recently (she's not the type to watch a movie twice in the same year....I can watch things over and over).
    So that being the case, I spend more time in the HT than she does (I have a basement HT). I have to be careful not to spend as much time down there as I'd really like sometimes, because I can start a war. You all know the drill....."not spending enough time with me" or "not helping me enough" and on and on. Most of which is probably true......but you know.
    But really this didn't change when I finished the HT....
    Before last May, I had my equipment in the living room and there wasn't much difference. If she didn't want to watch a movie with me, then she would do other things.
    Really I think it was worse then because there were limited things she could do while I was watching a movie upstairs....couldn't really talk on the phone since the movie was so loud. Couldn't turn on all the lights in the house since it would screw up the movie etc. etc. so really it was more of a pain to her to have me upstairs, interfering with what she wanted to do.
    With the HT in the basement, I'm out of the way and the noise factor isn't quite as bad (the SVS shakes the floor, but nothing can be done about that!)
    Too, I guess you'd consider my HT semi-dedicated. I decided not to put a wall across the back of the HT part and leave it open so the room could be used for other things in the future if need be (you know how priorities change....well, maybe this group doesn't know). I've got a space for ping-pong, air hockey, arcade games, pinball....whatever in the rear of the room, so really when we have company, that's where we go instead of the the living room (smaller HT system is up there, so it's alot the same). That's kind of our party room.
    I purposely finished mine like a rec room so it could be multi-purpose.
    Of course this wouldn't work for everyone since some prefer their HT to be more of a showplace. Now this would change the situation some.....if you've got hardwood or nice rugs in your HT, you probably wouldn't want people bringing drinks in and food, but it really depends on how you decide to finish the room.
    If family/friend activities is your goal, then design your room with that in mind.
    Anyhow, to answer the original question.....if you've got the opportunity to build a dedicated room, by all means do it! Just don't design it as a museum, make it a family friendly place where you can do more than just watch a movie.
    I would post some pics of my room......but I don't have any handy!
     
  7. MarcS

    MarcS Stunt Coordinator

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    Another question is--do you use any of your HT equipment for "regular" listening, i.e. music, radio, cd etc...? Would you want it "isolated" in a dedicate HT room?
    I'm looking at building a house, and without going completely custom, most floor plans aren't too friendly to HT. I've considered expanding a bedroom, or maybe adding a finished room over the garage--but in the end, I'd rather have it in my living room...since it's also my only music system...
     
  8. Dale Rabeneck

    Dale Rabeneck Auditioning

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    I've separated the music system from the Home Theater. The HT is in the basement room (with some acoustical treatments and the like) that was constructed with the HT in mind. The music system is in the family room on the first floor.
    The stereo gear that I originally purchased 15 years ago has remained intact (mostly.) I think the only real addition in the last 15 years has been a Sony Mega Changer (the 450.) The system is fairly decent (I spent more on the equipment in 1985 than I did for my car.)
    The HT system has grown from a Denon 27" TV, a Yamaha HT in a box & a pioneer LD/DVD into the current system. I suspect you could say I've been dumping most of my money into this system.
    The family uses the stereo most every day. It provides ambient music in addition to careful listening.
    The family uses the HT 50 / 50 for TV's & movies. When a movie is going to be played we all view together. We can also "close the door" on the TV when the parents are not going to be watching as well. A significant benefit.
    I would choose to split the systems again. This has worked out well for us.
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    Dale Rabeneck
    [email protected]
     
  9. Howard_A

    Howard_A Stunt Coordinator

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    I have a dedicated HT for movies and a living room HT for casual/social use.
    As for feeling isolated...yes, I do sometimes. My wife is courteous enough not to interrupt while I'm watching a movie unless it's really important. Since I watch a lot of movies (and my wife chooses not to join me most of the time) I don't see her as often as I would if I were sitting in the living room.
    The obvious solution is for my wife to start watching more movies. [​IMG]
     
  10. Brian_J

    Brian_J Second Unit

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    I appreciate the feedback here. I think I want to stay with the living room theater at least until I can afford (and have the room) to do both a living room and dedicated one.
    Brian
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    Zed's Dead Baby...
     
  11. Jay Mitchosky

    Jay Mitchosky Producer

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  12. Burke Strickland

    Burke Strickland Second Unit

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    My living room is my home theater room. There simply isn't another room in my small house large enough to accommodate front video projection and planar speakers. When I decided to get more serious about setting up the room for HT, rather than just "casual" movie watching, (e.g., installing a permanent wall projection screen, painting the walls 18% neutral grey, etcetera) I got rid of the sectional couch that forced half the people sitting on it to crane their necks to see the screen.
    In its place, I bought seating that can be easily rearranged for conversational use or movie watching/music listening. (In winter, it can even be grouped around the fireplace for the two days it gets cold enough in Houston to enjoy a log fire.) :>) In addition to the Ekornes Stressless recliner that typically anchors the sweet spot, I also have Ekornes Siesta side chairs that are fully supportive (very comfortable) but are also relatively light and easily moved. (Just try that with a sectional.) :>)
    I have my laptop computer (networked to two other computers and the printers) on a stand next to the recliner, so I can surf the Web from my easy chair while listening to background music or scanning a movie. A task light at that chair also means I can work remotes or read a program guide (or do something on the computer) with the rest of the room totally dark. And laptop tables (sturdy trays with folding legs) make dining in the HT a breeze as well. So the HT truly is the activity center of the house, even though a number of changes have been made to help optimize the movie viewing experience.
    And I like the semi-dark grey walls. That shade really makes everything else in the room that has color really stand out. And it is very flattering to peoples' appearance as well. Interestingly, our offices at work were just remodeled and they went with "shades of grey" for the walls and cubicle dividers, too. Must be "trendy"! :>)
    Burke
     
  13. PhilipW

    PhilipW Second Unit

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    Do Both.
    A widescreen RPTV in the living room with a nice built-in cabinetry setup.
    A FPTV in a dedicated room for reference level watching.
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  14. Shaun Pressley

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    I'm almost finished with building my dedicated HT. Lots of reasons for doing this:
    1) Escape from the normal day-to-day routine. A place to go as a retreat to watch movies, uninterrupted.
    2) soundproof room for my 3 yr old's drum set. [​IMG]
    3) A great room for a quiet time or listening to music, whatever.
    4) I do consider watching movies together quality time. We get to share the experience and have good discussions afterwards. Even if that movie is the Tigger movie ... for the 35th time this week.
    5) My kids love (ages 3 and 1) to watch their shows on the big screen, instead of the 32" in the family room.
    6) If we want to watch a movie in the family room, we can. There are no restrictions. [​IMG]
    7) If I want some time to watch an action movie without kids and wife, I can without disturbing them anywhere else in the house.
    If I intentionally didn't spend time with my wife because of my time in the HT, she would resent it. I choose to put her first and take care of her needs...then go to the HT to watch my action movies. [​IMG] Win-win for everyone.
    [Edited last by Shaun Pressley on August 15, 2001 at 02:12 PM]
     

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