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Topic: Building my basement Home Theater Many Questions
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Joined: Mar 4, 2021
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Hi All,

I am new to this forum. I am currently finishing my basement and the room is about 18 x 20. I am framing the room now and I plan on putting in wall speakers, a projector and screen. I was thinking to put down a power screen but now I am thinking a fixed screen mounted on the wall. The throw distance between where I would hang the projector to the wall screen is 12.5 feet. I am really unsure what projector or to choose along with what fixed screen. I also want to run all the wiring now for the speakers, cable and HDMI cables. I am thinking I need a 20ft HDMI cables from the ceiling where it will connect to the projector mount to the low voltage box in the wall, where the HDMI ports and speaker cables will be in the wall. I am looking for recommendations on a 4K projector type within the 2,500-3,500 price range along with the recommended HDMI cables fiber or CL-2? and the screen types. In addition what are good in wall speakers? Thanks for the support. Would like to get this moving before I close up the walls.
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You definitely need to make sure you take your time and plan things out properly.

First: RUN CONDUIT!!!
1.25" or larger conduit between the equipment location in the room and the projector location. HDMI didn't exist 20 years ago, it won't exist 20 years from now. First generation HDMI cabling didn't support 1080p, and 1080p cabling didn't support 4K... So, your cabling between the equipment and the projector will need to be replaced at some point in the future. You don't want to have to tear down sheet rock to replace a $100 cable. That turns a $100 installation into a $1,000+ installation.

Please read the FAQs in each section of the forums.
Also, please read: https://www.projectorcentral.com/What-Type-of-Cable-Should-I-Run-for-My-Projector.htm

At the end of the day, you will want at least a 18Gb/s HDMI cable between the equipment and the projector. You will NOT want to terminate the cable at the wall, but pass it out of the wall directly into the output of your AV receiver. 4K does not support passing through a wallplate connection (no matter what is advertised!!!).
So, plan on at least 25' or 30' for the HDMI cable to ensure you have enough slack to make it from the equipment, into the wall, up the wall, to the projector location, out of the ceiling, and down to the projector itself.

RUIPRO has some 8K fiber certified cables and they are considered a highly respected brand...
https://www.amazon.com/RUIPRO-Dynamic-Flexible-Projector-Theatre/dp/B081SQXPWB/ref=sr_1_14

So, HDMI plus 1.25" or larger conduit.
Note: Use Carlon flexible conduit with a pull string inside, like this: https://www.homedepot.com/p/Carlon-1-1-2-in-x-25-ft-Electrical-Nonmetallic-Tubing-Conduit-Coil-Blue-12010-25/207160098

That will take care of your projector wiring.
Please be aware that you should pick your screen size before you plan your projector location. 12.5' lens to screen (throw distance) is NOT VERY FAR! You will end up with about a 120" diagonal screen max. If you are sitting at 12' away, this may be fine, but if you decide you want to go a bit larger, like 133" diagonal, you won't be able to do it without moving the projector backwards a few feet (depending on projector model).

I guess my follow up questions are as follows:
1. How far away from the screen will you be seated?
2. MUST the projector go at 12.5 feet? Or was that just a random guess for placement?
3. How tall are the ceilings?
4. What colors will your room be?
5. What color will the carpet be?
6. Are you zoning up lighting and putting it all on dimmers as you should?

Yes, I would get a fixed frame screen over a retractable screen in a second. You get much higher quality for much less money.

If you aren't going with good floor standing speakers, I would figure out how good I want the sound to be and how much of an audio setup I want to get into. Audio can run from about $1,000 to $100,000+, and you often get what you pay for. I would probably get a new Yamaha receiver which supports (kind of) 8K, for the new gaming systems. On a budget, I might get Monoprice 8" 3-way speakers:
https://www.monoprice.com/product?p_id=6816

Depending on the wall size/screen size, I might put the speakers behind the screen and use an acoustically transparent (AT) screen.
I would almost definitely get a Silver Ticket screen. They have both woven acoustically transparent as well as standard white.
https://www.amazon.com/STR-169120-Silver-Ticket-120-Diagonal/dp/B00DGW15NU/ref=sr_1_3

Be sure of what you want before you go to far down the road of buying it. Separate out your projector budget from your screen budget and your audio budget and the rest. $1,500+ will go to audio, screen, cabling, and projector mount. If that comes out of your $3,500 top budget, then that only leaves $2,000 for a projector. If you have $3,500 for a projector plus money for audio/screen/etc. then I would lean towards the Epson 5050UB projector. It is one of the best you can get for a more dedicated space and at about $2,800 or so, it's a great performer with a ton of placement flexibility. You will want to place it about 15-18 feet away from any typically sized screen.

Learn to use the Projector Distance Caculator:
https://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-Home_Cinema_5050UB-projection-calculator-pro.htm?id_=135

With a 135" diagonal, the lens to screen distance must be between 13'3" to 27'10". So, you would need a minimum distance of about 15' from the center of the mount to the wall for this to work well. Move the projector BACK!!!

Do not put equipment at the front of the room! Blinky lights don't belong there. Your speakers and screen belong at the front of the room exclusively.

With your room size, I would seriously consider doing a 7.1.4 Atmos setup. The room may support it nicely.

Draw everything out on paper, spend some time doing it all, wire appropriately.

Ask about specifics and take your time reading answers.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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Thank you so much for answering a ton of questions. I will definitely go out and run the conduit into the ceiling and down the walls for future, I was always thinking about this as I know the HDMI cables change, plus if you have any issues and need to replace.

I was looking at a variety of HDMI 4K cables that support up to 48GBs on Amazon.. I assume because of the long run and the fact that you mentioned it has to come out of the wall and not to an HDMI keystone receptacle makes a huge difference. But do I need to run Fiber Optic HDMI because of the length or the new HDMI cables that support 18-48GBS that are non fiber optic but CL-2 would work? I also plan on running cat6a cable which I have 1000 feet into the ceiling and to all the main boxes where the cables will be in the room. For future hardwiring of internet and any use. It all comes into a patch panel in my office next room so its easy to run all of this now.

The exact dimensions of the room are 23.5 x 18.5. The ceilings are 7ft.8in high. There are two small areas in the corner of the rooms one will have a small bar the other a place for the treadmill and gym weights. There is a steel beam that separates the room that 11 in down from the ceiling. I was thinking of mounting the projector in front of the beam on the wider part of the room which would be right about 12.5ft throw distance. I could mount the projector after the beam, it would just have to be lower than 11 inches so that it obviously projects past the beam and onto the wall. The steal beam doesn't split the room evenly. So where I would mount the projector would be along the 18.5ft span in front of the beam. The seating from the screen would be short as well and after measuring the couch end would probably be about 7.5-8.5 feet away from the screen. I am ok with a 100in viewable screen picture. The wall paint color hasn't been decided but I can go dark. The floor will be porcelain wood design tile. It will be a dark grey with some variant colors. The lighting is LED slim high hats that are in the ceiling all on dimmable remote controlled wifi switches.

My budget for the projector itself was closer to 2500-3000. I know I would have to account for the other costs for cables, audio, AV receiver, speakers etc.. I have existing left, right and center Audes standing speakers and an existing Yamaha 7.1 receiver now in my upstairs living room. I might use my AV receiver upstairs because that is 7.1 and has THX, NEO, and few other audio features but doesn't support 4K. I would run the speaker cables in the wall and can always connect free standing outside but it will be there to attach in-wall speakers.

I'll look at the throw distance of the Epson your recommending. I am ok with the 100in screen and probably only being seating about 8-9 feet away. On the other side of the room there is a pool table so I won't be able to bring the couch or seating too far back.

Also, if I don't have the AV receiver and Satellite receiver in the front, do I have to run RF remotes for all the AV receiver and Satellite receiver so that it can be controlled. I could put the receiver behind the side wall where my boiler and Hot water tank are currently located.. there is a plenty of room to put a shelf and have the equipment there, I would guess.
[Edited by Bernstma on Mar 8, 2021 at 5:47 PM]
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A lot going on here, so if I mess up or repeat myself, I apologize.

With your seating distance, I fully expect you to be very happy with a 100" screen. That will be quite immersive from your seating distance and should work well. In fact, I might hold off on buying a screen until after you have the projector in place and test it at that size from your seating distance to ensure you are happy with the 100" size or if you want to tweak it a bit larger or smaller.

Make sure when discussing throw distance to understand that the distance is measured from LENS TO SCREEN. So, if it is 12.5 feet from the beam to the wall, then your throw distance will be 18" or 24" less because of the depth of the projector. The lens itself will end up a couple of feet closer.

Yes, you can mount it further back, just behind the beam, for example, and have the lens just under the edge of the beam and have more variation in the size of the image. While I'm happy to point this out, you will have to figure out what works best for you.

HDMI Cabling:
Just as an FYI, CL2 is a fire approval rating which means you may run the cable inside your wall legally. It doesn't mean the cable is copper, or fiber optic, or made of a specific material. It typically just means that the cable has a proper jacket on it and may be used in walls. CL2/CL3 and other ratings are often used on cabling to state which type of walls they may be used in.
CL2, CL3, Plenum, CM, CMR, and CMP are all different types of fire ratings.
Hey look! A whole page about this:
https://monopricesupport.kayako.com/article/32-what-are-the-fire-safety-ratings-that-your-cables-are-available-in#:~:text=The%20main%20difference%20between%20the,the%20place%20of%20a%20CL3.

I'm not sure what copper cabling supports 48Gb/s at the length you need. I would not use them. I would buy a single cable from a reputable company with good reviews. RUIPRO has been one of the better rated cables over the years. I've used them a few times with very solid results on 4K (18Gb/s) content. No problems.

It is good to run networking cable between the projector and a network closet.

REMOTE CONTROL!
Hey! There are a ton of remote control options that you have. If you are putting your equipment off to the side, you should run a piece of raw Cat-6 cable between the equipment location and the screen location. You can put an IR extender right under the screen or by your center channel. That will take signals from your remote controls to the equipment location. Xantech is the best.
https://www.xantech.com/products/all/ir-kits/all

They aren't cheap, and you may want to try a cheaper version from one of the well reviewed kits on Amazon.

I use a RF remote in my home setup. It's very high end, so I can't speak too much about other systems that are out there, but when we need IR repeater kits, we always use Xantech because of their extremely high reliability.

If you want to get fancy, get a universal remote control. The Logitech Harmony remotes are still considered one of the best consumer programmable universal remotes on the market. I believe it uses both IR and RF to allow for devices to be hidden away more easily.

There will be a bit of work understanding how IR emitters work and should be attached to equipment and how to test them.

On budget, if you can swing the Epson 5050, then that's the way I would go. It's bright, has good contrast, and has extensive placement flexibility. It would be my first choice for overall quality.

The LG HU810 may be my second favorite choice in this price category. But, it is more suited to less ideal conditions. A very solid performer, but it doesn't have the contrast of the 5050. It may appear a bit sharper.

Moving the needle to a 100" diagonal, the Epson 5050 can have a throw distance between 9'10" and 20'8".
https://www.projectorcentral.com/Epson-Home_Cinema_5050UB-projection-calculator-pro.htm?id_=100

If we lock the throw distance at 10'6" you can throw an image size from 51" to 107" diagonal. So, it will work from your distance to the screen at the size you want, no problem.

As for lighting. Just walk the space a few times. Remember that NO LIGHTING should fall on the screen while watching a movie, but you may want light at the back of the room, or an adjoining space, which is good for that space, but doesn't fall on the screen. Just walk around and imagine where you want light, and where you don't, then ensure lights are installed which support that scenario.

You may find that having a solid surface flooring in the theater space is too bright. That is, reflective and noisy, creating audio that doesn't sound as good as you would like. It is very common for theaters to be carpeted to help deal with that. You can address that at any point you would like to.

I'm a big fan of separate rooms, even if combined, having a clear designation of separation. So, if the I-Beam is the separation point, then definitely have one side as dark as possible, for the theater, and the other side can be to your choosing as appropriate. A dark theater is a real bonus to getting the most from your theater.

It also creates a different space in your home that simply feels different. Very peaceful.
AV Integrated - Theater, whole house audio, and technology consultation during the build and installation process in the Washington, DC metropolitan area.
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So there are some updates. I found someone that does home theater installs and is very reasonably priced. For my layout as described they are recommending the Epson 4000 projector. It is an older model but from what I read is a good projector. What are your thoughts? Also, I am running the conduit as you suggested, but couldn't find the ones from Home Depot. I found a similar brand that is in the 1 inch over 1.5in as I couldn't find. I also did order the HDMI cable for the correct length. For the speaker setup they are also recommending KEF Ci160.2CL.speakers for a full 7.1. The AMP was an Yamaha RX-A2ABL and Yamaha Subwoofer. Also the idea was to hide the equipment into a closet in the basement for a cleaner look up front. I presume that I need an extender for the remote controls that would be in front of the room.

Looking for your thoughts on the suggested above..
[Edited by Bernstma on Mar 23, 2021 at 10:30 PM]
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