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Looking for New Home Family Room TV and Audio Advice (1 Viewer)

mp92174

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I would greatly appreciate any advice in planning my video and audio layout for the family room of a new home we are building. They are about to break ground at the end of this month so I've got plenty of time and the ability to change things still so I figured I'd start thinking about this now. My questions are as follows:1) Based on the layout of the room I'd like to go with a flat screen TV over the fireplace which is a 36" gas fired unit (mantle not yet selected and ceiling height is 9'). I've read a lot of complaints by others who have done this and those that say this isn't a good idea however our mind is made up that this is the way to go. That being said what should we do to minimize the complaints people generally have about this placement? Is there a preferred mount that allows for the best viewing angle? Is there a preferred type of TV for this (LCD or LED)? How do I know what size flat screen "fits" the room and the fireplace? Any recommendations on brands or models would be awesome.2) I want decent "surround sound" but we're more sensitive to the look of the room than we are to re-creating the complete movie theater experience. In fact we'll probably use the speaker system as much if not more for daily music listening as we will for television and "movie/surround sound". I like floor standing speakers - she likes satellites - but with an infant who's just starting to walk the thought of buying a good pair of floor standing speakers would be enough to keep me up at night. I just sold the Bose Acoustimass 2.1 system I had installed in my old house and was gad to see it go. While I'd give it a 9 for appearance I'd give it a 5 for performance. I could never get enough bass response for my tastes and besides the flat bass the sound was never as full as I was used to with floor standing speakers I owned (our taste in music is mostly rock with some pop and classical/oldies thrown in). I've gone in several homes with the rectangular in-wall speakers next to the fireplace and rears in the ceilings and I'm not crazy about the look. Even those that painted the grilles stand right out to me. Ideally I'd like to find a 3.1 system (in white if possible but black is a good second) that is small enough for either all 3 speakers to fit on the mantle or for at least the center channel speaker to fit on the mantle and the left and right speakers to be installed on the wall next to the TV. My question though is will eliminating the rear speakers leave a decent surround sound experience? The wall behind the couch is a 1/2 wall. Should I consider having rear jacks installed along that 1/2 wall and place the rears on top or consider in-ceiling speakers above the couch? If I can get a decent experience without them I'd go that route. Any recommendations on these speakers, including a subwoofer would be great.3) Speaking of the audio rack - if I put this where I drew it in which puts it out of sight, will I have problems adjusting the TV channels (satellite or cable - not sure yet) or are those remotes typically RF these days?4) Lastly (for now anyway) what would be a good way to allow for future modifications of the wiring to the TV and the audio rack? I'd like to be able to pull in new/different cables as needed and I'm envisioning something along the lines of PVC piping but is there a product out there made for this?I truly appreciate any assistance you can provide and thank everyone in advance for any help.
 

schan1269

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1. There is no "LED TV" . LED is the backlight for LCD. Your choice is plasma (preferred) or LCD. Your seating distance is how you choose display size.2. 3 speakers is not surround. Sounds like you would be best served by a Yamaha YSP, such as the 5100.3. Either use RF or IR remote sending.4. Use conduit in the wall.
 

Dave Moritz

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It is a bad idea and if you get to much heat coming off the fireplace you could damage your TV not to mention a soar neck from looking up all the time. I would seriously locate the tv in a different location.
 

GregC

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When mounting a TV high up, the best advice I can give is to buy yourself a recliner to watch tv, otherwise you will be constantly complaining of neck pain. In addition, you should get a bracket that will allow the TV to be angled downward (and set back to plumb when done viewing) so that your viewing will be perpendicular to the screen.

Instead of mounting the speakers on the wall, I would suggest that they be mounted at the top of the wall (where it meets the ceiling) and angled downward towards the sitting position. This is a more aesthetically pleasing look, especially if you paint them the same color as the wall.

Like this: http://www.orbaudio.com/productimages/MI4a.jpg

If the usual surround speaker mounting options at the back of the room are not aesthetically pleasing, perhaps you should consider a sound bar with "surround processing" directly under your TV. Otherwise, without rear speakers, you will not be enjoying "surround sound".

Here's one (of MANY): http://www.bestbuy.com/site/soundbar-with-wireless-subwoofer/2903538.p?id=1219082285242&skuId=2903538&st=categoryid$abcat0205007&cp=2&lp=10

Lastly, if you can find a way to configure your room to allow the TV (and speakers, for that matter) to sit at eye height, you will be glad you did.
 

mp92174

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Thank you all for the replies. I toured a house similar to mine this week with the exact same gas fireplace, ceiling height and with the TV mounted over it. The fireplace emits no noticeable heat at the TV level and I was OK with the viewing angle so I'm continuing down that path but appreciate the concern and warnings. After some thought I think I'm going to go with a 5.1 setup with the following:2 Polk RC65i front channel in-wall speakers1 Polk CS10 center channel speaker (on fireplace mantle)2 RC60i in-ceiling speakersSince I also plan to go with a subwoofer I'm wondering if it is wise to stick with the 6.5" fronts and 6" rears or upgrade to their 8" brethren. The cost difference is minor, it's more about the aesthetics really. I'd like to get away with as small as possible. Would there be a very nocitceable difference or are these "good enough" when paired with a sub? Also any recommendations on a sub I should pair with this package?Lastly, is there a rule of thumb for the height and spacing of the front speakers and the spacing of the rears?Thanks much everyone
 

schan1269

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The major difference with the 8" version, is they are slightly more efficient...Otherwise, no.Sub...ok with a box in the room...or want that hidden? There are in-wall subwoofers. Polk in that regard is fine.The front in-wall "should be" as far apart from each other...as you are from them. If 10', they should be spread 10'...
 

GregC

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Your front and rear speakers are a good match with the same tweeter being used in each. However, the center channel uses a completely different tweeter. You may wish to contact them and find out which center they recommend to be the best match to that set of front speakers. Another option is to have all three speakers mounted in-wall. That way you will be sure to have matching sound in the three fronts.

As to mounting width, it is dependent on the speakers, the room, the seating position, among other things.. If possible, I would test this BEFORE actually mounting them in the wall by hooking them up and experimenting with speaker height, width, and tweeter angle, looking for the the widest point that still sounds coherent (i.e. centered voices remain centered). Do this for both the front and rear pairs. Or, just ask the manufacturer for their placement recommendation and hope for the best.

Sub? What size is the room? Budget? Aesthetic requirements? Are their a number of possible positions it can be placed (front of the room and back of the room)? Having some flexibility in sub placement goes a long way towards making the bass better (do a search on "sub crawl" on this site for some detail on this issue). There are in-wall subs, but you would really need to experiment with positioning before installation to be sure of a satisfactory experience.

Oh, I almost forgot .. be sure any wires you run inside a wall are rated for that purpose. Using a "pvc runway" of some sort has no bearing on this issue.
 

Dave Moritz

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The only problem for you I just though of after posting is that it has an external smart hub where the HDMI and other cables hook up along with USB flash drive ports.
 

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