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Old 09-10-2007, 02:09 PM   #1
blhirsch
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need more TV advice...

Ok, as some of you know, I've been helping out some friends of mine and have so far successfully installed a couple of HDtivos with cablecards and gotten HD to his big screen tv in the basement and also set up their flat panel in the bedroom.

They are building an addition, and he wants this to be the piece de resistance of his home theater. He envisions Super Bowl parties with over 100 guests.

Originally he wanted a 100+ inch screen, etc etc. The problem is that where he wanted the screen to go, was a big bank of windows and doors out to a balcony. Why he didn't think to design the room with home theater in mind in the first place is a mystery, but the whole addition is under construction as we speak so there's nothing to do about it now.

The only way he could really do that would be to drop a screen and use a projector. Which would be fine except for the fact that there are lots of windows and window-paneled French doors in the room and this screen would be dropping down right in front of it. They could do black out curtains, but dropping those down over 12 windows and doors just to watch TV seems like a real pain in the rear.

On the OTHER wall is a fireplace with an 8 foot wide blank wall over which a big flat panel would work well. Its orientation isn't ideal for the kind of Super Bowl viewing parties he would like to have, but I'm not sure it matters much which way the audience is oriented when it'st ime to watch football. Besides, it would free up the balcony/doors on the other side of the room for milling about.

So. If you could design your IDEAL home theater experience in this room would you:

1) Just get a big-ass flat panel for over the fireplace and hope that a 60-70" flat panel is big enough for a 100 person party.

2) Get a slightly smaller ass flat panel for over the fireplace and install a projector system and black out curtains for the couple times a year you want to have a party and dazzle your friends with 100" HD.

3) Get a projector for over the fireplace and forego the flat panel altogether.

I presume that if I end up in the situation in whcih there are TWO screens running, I could get a receiver that would take the HDTivo video and drive them both individually or both together as well as some kind of speaker setup that would have zones. Yes?
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Old 09-10-2007, 02:21 PM   #2
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If a 100" drop down screen in front of the Fireplace is doable, then I'd go that route.

If not then option 1.) You can always drop another couple flat panel's around the house w/ ATSC tuners for the Super Bowl if you really want everyone to be able to view it.

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Old 09-10-2007, 05:54 PM   #3
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If you are thinking of "any" high end set "over" the fireplace, better rethink that option...

Like a smoker, the film from the fires smoke will require a constant cleaning... Not to mention that smoke will enter the monitor through its vents...
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Old 09-10-2007, 06:36 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dr_Diablo
If you are thinking of "any" high end set "over" the fireplace, better rethink that option...

Like a smoker, the film from the fires smoke will require a constant cleaning... Not to mention that smoke will enter the monitor through its vents...
Unless it's a gas fireplace that is.
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Old 09-10-2007, 08:37 PM   #5
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He's going to want black-out curtains no matter what, unless he is only going to watch movies after the sun goes down or he doesn't mind watching them in a brightly lit room with potential glare from reflected sun-light.

And if he goes with a projector light is a lot more of a concern, as they don't have the same contrast and brightness and most flat panels or rear-projection (DLP or LCoS) sets.

He should've designed the room for the purpose in the first place, of course. And it is probably best to just stop work and fix it if possible. But if he has the money, he could use LCD dimming window panels to black them out. Or one big blackout curtain that retracts into the ceiling and just covers the whole wall of glass in one shot. If the screen is big enough you could have that block the wall - but you need the screen to be blackout covered from the rear so the light doesn't shine through.

If he has the kind of money to be thinking about 100+" screens - and not a projector - he can probably afford to do it right. :-) Anything over 70-80" you probably need a projector and screen, unless he's TOTALLY loaded and can afford one of the limited production mega-plasma or -LCD screens in the 100" range. But you can get DLP in 70-80" sizes, and pricing is a lot more sane.
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Old 09-10-2007, 09:58 PM   #6
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Remote room darkening blinds for the windows. At one click of a button all the blinds drop and close.
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Old 09-10-2007, 10:30 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_anders
Remote room darkening blinds for the windows. At one click of a button all the blinds drop and close.
Sunday afternoon football party, people drinking beers and eating Pizza/BBQ, oh wait, let's black out the whole room so the TV works.

Nothing like setting the mood!
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:18 PM   #8
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i like the idea of a flat panel above the FP for normal viewing, with a drop down screen for those special occasions
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:25 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jmpage2
Sunday afternoon football party, people drinking beers and eating Pizza/BBQ, oh wait, let's black out the whole room so the TV works.

Nothing like setting the mood!
Agreed, but with a projector based unit, he needs to darken the room somewhat, and with the type of house and money that is being spent, any type of room darkening will want to be done with ease.
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:39 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by d_anders
Agreed, but with a projector based unit, he needs to darken the room somewhat, and with the type of house and money that is being spent, any type of room darkening will want to be done with ease.
That's why he should shelve the entire idea of a front projector if this room will be used for entertaining.

I speak from experience, I had a nice 1080i 51" CRT RPTV in a family room and had to lower all of the blinds, etc, to get good output from it during bright afternoons.

This seriously kills the atmosphere at a party or get together.

This guy should just consider springing for the biggest LCD/Plasma set that he can get since he didn't give more thought to the design of this room in advance. If he had designed the room properly a DLP or LCoS set probably would have done the job.
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Old 09-11-2007, 01:50 PM   #11
blhirsch
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This is ALL great food for thought. The more I think about it, the more I think it's folly to rely on the projector for anything but occasional watching where the ONLY thing you're doing is watching TV. Because it's hard to throw a general-interest party when the whole room is so dark nobody can do anything but watch the screen.

Which means I'm moving towards the later suggestion to shelve the projector altogether. I just don't think he's going to be that happy with it, and even though money is not much of an object for him (we're talking about a man who is building a $300,000 addition on an existing 100,000 sq ft mansion), a $12,000 projector setup is going to be a thorn if it's just not practical to use more than twice a year.

I'm going to print out all your suggestions and sit down with him and have a talk. If he still insists on the projector (and I'm personally deciding for him that he needs a panel over the fireplace as well) then at least he's going in with both eyes open.
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