Selecting a Room for theater

Discussion in 'Home Theater Projects' started by Bobby_M, Aug 12, 2003.

  1. Bobby_M

    Bobby_M Auditioning

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    Hi,
    Since I just put an offer in on the house of my dreams, of course my first line of business is thinking about the location of my new theater. Even if I don't get this house, I will need to consider theater location in any potential house I end up with.

    Most of the places we're looking at have a formal living room (this is probably out.. this is where the nice furniture will go and will most likely not even have a TV.

    They also usually have a family room right off of the kitchen, usually an open floor plan where the rear of the room is open to the kitchen. In this particular house the kitchen is to the back, a fireplace sits in the middle of the opposite wall, and sliders to the deck are on the right side wall. Of course I would have to put drapes over the sliders, but otherwise I can get the room quite dark. The only concern I have here is the screen would have to be right above the fireplace mantle. Has anyone ever done this? Is heat an issue?

    The other option is to finish a room in the basement. I suppose this would be ideal from a room design standpoint, but there's something neat about being able to watch the screen from the kitchen area as well as you're preparing snacks for other viewers and such. I would probably use the theater system for most daily viewing as well since we watch things like CSI and other visually interesting shows. Therefore running to the basement is not the most practical thing.

    Any insight would be much appreciated.
     
  2. Parker Clack

    Parker Clack Schizophrenic Man
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    Bobby:

    I don't know what kind of money you have but I personally believe that your best bet would be to have a nice CRT or RPTV in the family room upstairs for daily viewing. Then build a dedicated HT in the basement that is just for that with all the surround setup, front projection and so forth.

    Parker
     
  3. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    Bobby,

    Here is a recent thread re: hanging a plasma TV over a fireplace: http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htfo...48#post1632248
    That will hopefully answer some of your concerns. You didn't mention what type of display device you were going to use... but I'd stay away from an "over-the-mantle" approach for most of the reasons mentioned in the thread.

    Re: basement vs. family room--
    Do you like the idea of a dedicated HT or would you prefer a multi-function room? I'm a dedicated fan, so I designed a dedicated room. Walking to a special part of the house for movies is fine for me. When I was shopping for a home, I was specifically looking for one with a well-suited walk-up attic or a basement. I preferred a basement, but they are not common in my area in newer homes within my original price range. I really think a basement is ideal for an HT-- decent sound isolation from the rest of the house, and there's usually enough room to add more interesting features, like a concession area/ticket booth/etc....

    Also, I was originally concerned about hiking up two sets of stairs to bring snacks up to my attic HT, but we've become accustomed to the routine of getting everything ready and then bringing it all up. I installed a refrigerator and microwave in the HT, so that covers most of our normal needs anyway.

    One drawback to the dedicated theater/front projector combo-- some people (myself included) don't like the idea of using the PJ for normal TV viewing (I see that Parker beat me to the post.) I'd highly recommend an alternate TV location, especially if other members of the family might not want to watch the same thing in the HT.
     
  4. Bobby_M

    Bobby_M Auditioning

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    Thanks for your input folks. I think lifestyle is going to play a large role in selecting the room. I guess a bene to installing in family room is the fact that the room is already finished (not that I'd mind the project in the basement). I'll need to buy two sets of furniture if I build a dedicated room, which is an additional cost. Wiring the projector and surrounds would be a lot easier in the basement...One thing to keep in mind, We're newlyweds and don't have anyone else in the family that would rather watch something else. My wife and I have very similar viewing habits and because of that, we only have one dishnetwork receiver feeding our main TV and the bedroom TV (PVR 721 in case you wondered). I'm sure it's been debated a million times, but I think anything worth watching should be worth firing up the projector. I typically only watch about an hour of TV per day, sometimes more but that would be in the bedroom at night. If it's something that's kind of just on while I'm doing something else, I would probably just listen to music or perhaps install an under-the-cabinet mini display. Still thinking...

    Also, for sure I'm going with a front projector. After reading a ton about the Panasonic 300u, i'm pretty sure that will be the one. Surely I can fire it against the wall above the fireplace, but I wonder if that might be too high. The mantle is probably 4 feet off the floor and my center channel is about 8" high. Again, I would have some concerns about buying/making a screen because I've never had a fireplace before and don't know what kind of heat i'm going to deal with.

    So many decisions...

    Bobby
     
  5. MikeWh

    MikeWh Second Unit

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    I really do think that's too high for comfortable viewing and depending on the height of that wall, it may make the screen smaller than you might prefer... but check for yourself-- take a sheet and fold it to the dimensions of a screen that would fit above the mantle. Tape it up there and then go sit in a position where you'd be watching.... remember you'll be looking at the middle of that screen.

    (Of course, since you don't actually own the house yet, you'll have to do this after you close.) [​IMG]
     

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