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Home Theaters

Discussion in 'Homeowners Corner' started by afgm, Aug 18, 2005.

  1. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Anyone have experience with home theaters they can share? Did you hire a company to install it? Any regrets? Any success stories?
     
  2. sasha_j

    sasha_j New Member

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    If you're talking true Home Theater with a projector, (opposed to a general Media room or family room with big TV for instance) it is my feeling that unless you have a basement with 9' or more ceiling height, don't bother.

    AVS Forum has a dedicated area with success stories and tips.

    http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/forumdisplay.php?s=&daysprune=&f=3
     
  3. swatimutyam

    swatimutyam New Member

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    We have a projector and a screen with the reciever , subwoofer and DVD connected. Its Awsome !!! And we have 9 feet high ceiling in the basement and so it makes it all the more better.. We did the installation ourselves as our pieces are not one brand . We selected different parts of home theatre at different stores/brands.

    One thing though with a projector and screen, you cannot see the screen wheren there is lots of light in the room...
     
  4. sasha_j

    sasha_j New Member

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    This is why a basement location is preferred for home theater with projection. Front projection is inherently an inefficient means of light delivery as it is predicated on reflected (ie, non-direct) light to viewers eyes. In order to be used successfully, front projection relies on the absence of ambient light for sufficient contrast and visual quality. If you can't get your room dark, and by this I mean no more than 3-5 foot-candles or less on the screen, don't bother with front projection. You'll be wasting your money. Get a direct view display of any kind instead.
     
  5. MJD

    MJD New Member

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    afgm,
    It is really going to depend on your room size/layout, how much money you want to spend, and what screen technology you want. It is also easily DIY with a little research. I think the hardest part of the project is hiding your cables.

    I went front projection for my theater room and will never go back to a big TV. Nothing like sitting on your own couch watching a movie. Because of my room size, I only went with an 82" screen size. I won't step food in a public theater anymore. I find I get a much better picture and sound quality than any theater I have been to in the last 5 years or more. Plus I don't have to deal with all the rudeness you get these days.

    As swatimutyam says, light control can be an issue for front projection as well as some of the rear projection technologies (LCD and DLP). Some of that can be alleviated with window coverings and painting your room a dark color. I highly recommended doing that anyway whether you go with a front projector or with some kind of plasma/lcd/dlp screen.

    The AVS Forum is a great place to read up on everything from choosing the right technology for your room size/budget, to how to put it all together.

    If you have any specific questions, please post away. We can try to answer them or steer you to the right Internet resources.

    - MJD
     
  6. mburton

    mburton New Member

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    I went front projection (LCD on a 100" 4:3) with a 7'6" drop ceiling in basement, and it worked out perfectly for me. Windows have blinds, and velvet drapes that make it almost pitch black on a Sunday afternoon. Wall color is a deep olive - flat. 1st row seating of a comfy couch and side chairs, second row is 4 old theatre seats.

    and I endorse the suggestion on reading Avsforum. It gave me the guts to build it all myself, and I'm glad I did.
     
  7. afgm

    afgm Ashburn Farm Resident

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    Great in put folks. A few more things to chew on.

    1. I've had Tweeter and Myer Emco out to view the space and make bids. Are there others that can do the same type of "consulting"?
    2. Only thing that seems to be complicated (i.e. lot of time on the learning curve) is programming the remote to work with everything.
    3. I am looking a projection system, and a motorized screen. MJD: How far is your seating from your 82"? I am at about 10 feet.
    4. I am looking at in-ceiling speakers. Boston Acoustics has some nice ones.
    5. Room is shaped in a "L". One leg will be the screen, on the other leg of the room is a bar and I am looking to put a monitor in their and two remote speakers.

    The AV forum is great, thank you for suggesting it.
     
  8. neilz

    neilz New Member

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    I don't have a 'full' home theatre, but I installed a Bose minispeaker surround sound system. The speakers sit high on the wall, and aimed to cover the room on all sides. They're relatively unobtrusive, and the subwoofer will shake the rafters.



    Neil Z.
    Resident since 1999
     
  9. MJD

    MJD New Member

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    I'm sitting right about 12 feet from my screen. But keep in mind, screen size and viewing distance will greatly depend on what projector you use. The minimum optimal viewing distance for my particular projector is 2 times the screen width (82" diag is approx 72" wide). Much larger or closer than that and I would see to much SDE (screen door effect) for my liking.
     
  10. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    With a proper reflective screen and good projector you can show in plenty of ambient light. This was not the case years ago.. but now the intensity and contrast that is achievable even in full room lighting is quite good with current tech. A dark room will always be better, but wash-out isn't that bad with proper gear.

    In many installations we do, people don't even turn the lights down anymore. Movies are higher demand then say business materials, but you don't need to kill all light to be effective.

    -Steve
     
  11. boomertsfx

    boomertsfx Booyakasha!

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    have any cheap screens Steve? =) right now I'm using blackout cloth.. sigh =) Are there any cheap reflective (not retro-reflective) screens out there?

    I'm still waiting for 1280x720 DLPs to drop in price.... currently i have a XGA DLP.
     
  12. neilz

    neilz New Member

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    What about the large plasma screens ??

    Neil Z.
    Resident since 1999
     
  13. sasha_j

    sasha_j New Member

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    For home theater applications, I have to respectfully diagree. While this certainly can be done with the use of a high gain screen fabric, I woudn't do this myself as you will loose both H and V viewing angle cones as screen gain goes up. And this is only one of the problems with this type of screen. Hot spotting and lack of color uniformity come to mind too.

    Projector advertising in both consumer and trade magazines can be, IMO, very deceptive. I see ads all the time with projectors displaying full contrast, even images in light challenged environments. This is completely unrealistic and I'd at least like to think that I know, being involved in the ProAv business for 25 years and attending every INFOCOMM since 1989.

    The only way a projector is going to look it's best is in a space with controlled lighting and a matte screen with little or no gain. The room doesn't have to be completely dark mind you, it just needs careful attention to the lighting design to prevent spillover onto the screen.
     
  14. Lee

    Lee Permanent Vacation

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    OK here is a web site that is everything you ever wanted to know about home theaters this is also were the pros go as well. http://www.avsforum.com

    Second best site

    http://www.hometheaterforum.com/

    That said people are ripped off on this stuff like crazy.

    Plasma and lcd are going to drop like a rock after christmas. China has built a bunch of factories and will be flooding the market in the next year with this stuff.

    Projectors are a whole other thing.
    Best project out there for less then a 1000 bucks at costco yes not the rip home theater stores is the infocus 4805 but it does need a light controled room, people that spend much more are either fanatics or are being ripped off. Yes there are other good projectors in that price range but the 4805 has run away with it see the avs forum.

    I have a 4805 in my theater and believe me I was willing to spend 10 times more this projector gives a incredible picture right out of the box. A friend of mine who spent over 30,000 on just his projector almost fell over dead when he saw my picture then asked what kind of screen do I have I said it was white paint on the wall with a touch of silver in it from lowes with a black frame around it. I thought he was going to lose it right there after that. :D especially what he spent on his entire theater.

    I can go on and on about this and all the equipment, speakers amp pre amps etc etc dvd players. When you see my picture in hi def it is superb and this is not a true hi def projector just up converts.

    I do plan to buy another project soon and use this one in the bedroom there is some new stuff coming out later this year and next that is cheap and even better then this one.

    If anyone wants to know more email me privately lbuividas@gmail.com and if you want I can show you my theater which is not decorated yet but the equipment is running even my wife loves it she won't watch the INXS show on any other tv screen. :D

    Lee
     
  15. sasha_j

    sasha_j New Member

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    My point was not to call out specific projectors. It was to simply state that all of them, highend, midrange and low, require careful and well thought-out integration into the user's intended environment.

    The manufacturers would like consumers to think that projectors are just like a TV, bring it home, plug it in and "instant theater". It does not work like that, let me tell you.....of all display types, front projection is more demanding of infrastruture and needs knowledgeable design and planning. In my opinion, if you're not willing to educate yourself or hire an expert, you're probably not making the best use of your home entertainment budget.
     
  16. sasha_j

    sasha_j New Member

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    I'm sure there are others. Maybe others here can give you referrals. Our company doesn't do residential work. Your final pick of contractor should give you detailed submittals consisting of:

    - Signal flows for video/audio/control
    - Floor plan showing furniture and AV placements
    - Elevation and section drawings with lightpath and AV placements
    - Rack elevation
    - Scope of work that calls out in plain language:
    1.) What the system will do (and maybe NOT do)
    2.) What specifically the contractor will do, including programming
    3.) What if anything, the contractor expects of the client
    4.) Payment terms tied to key events, sucessful acceptance and a final checkout proceedure

    - detailed equipment list

    Note that contractors, rightly, won't produce this level of work for a speculative job, so you will either have to get a good sense of the firm beforehand, or if it's a really big job, hire a consultant to generate the total design package to then use as a means of bidding.

    I would not agree with that.

    In addition, consider adding a PC or laptop connection in your system. Easy to do with most projectors. Using a fixed wall mount screen would simplfy the system and reduce your budget.

    Sounds like a nice layout.
     
  17. Lee

    Lee Permanent Vacation

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    I am in the building business and design extreme high end homes some way in excess of 30,000 sq ft.

    It is nice to have an video audio expert if you have the money but they are not going to save you a penny.

    Unless you are a fanatic that looks for dead pixels and really is not enjoying the movie because you are always studying worrying how your good the picture and sound are those people do exist. Speilberg once said I always see my movies on a 26" tv and if they look good and keep me entertained there they will phenomenal on the big screen.

    Most people don't need any so called expert high priced expert if they spend a little time doing their home work. Hey if anyone wants a expert I will give you names and numbers of several that won't screw you. Meyer Emco????? give me a break. The profit margin in home theater equipment is phenomenal especially in the lcd and plasma thin screens. Does anyone here know the real life span of some these lcd and plasma tvs, you might be surprised. I will throw out another little tidbit you are wasting your money away if you use fiberglass insulation for sound proofing that is for heat transfer NOT vibration which is what sound is in laymans terms. Yet I see so many people talked into this bull by these so called experts. I can go on and on.

    Another thing amount of light you have in the room has a lot to do with what determines the type of tv projector you need. A totally dark room just about any decent projector looks good add light and you need to match the equipment to the amount of light and of course the price goes up. Your so called experts love to show you screen door effects and rainbows etc etc that 99% of you would of never noticed until then so they can sell you the most expensive equipment they can. If you want real calibrating again there are mostly crooks out there snake oil salesman especially locally again go to these forums I mentioned before where you can get the real scoop. Hey it is your money if you want to throw it away throw it away my friends

    Check those forums I posted above and see what the real experts and and pros say.
    My theater cost practically nothing and believe me it would blow most of you away.

    Lee J. Buividas
     
  18. flynnibus

    flynnibus Well-Known Member Forum Staff

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    my comment about reflective screen was to mean a proper surface, rather then a random wall in a house :)

    I not only goto Infocomm.. I present :) But not in the true AV portion.. I'm in conferencing. I skipped this year tho due to workload and someone else had to teach my class in my place.

    I still think the best part about infocomm is playing playstation 2 on jumbotrons, etc :)

    -Steve
     
  19. sasha_j

    sasha_j New Member

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    We seem to be blessed with a bounty of AV expertise and viewpoints here on this board.

    For myself, my comments are directly based from both my professional and personal experience. I do this on this board to be neighborly with no interest in financial gain. I call 'em the way I see 'em, as I would handle my personal home theater. My career plate is full in other words and it is in the commerical, not residential arena.
     
  20. brim

    brim Member

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    At least you're modest.
     

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