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Topic: Memone Family Home Theater
Joined: Jun 24, 2005
Posts: 23
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March 2008 Home Theater Magazine ; Feature DIY Theater
I began thinking of my theater build project years before I was even was married or owned a home. Mentioning this, subscribed to Home Theater magazine and began to purchase speakers and a few components here and there knowing I would use them in the future in a dedicated theater room. Knowing very well, a large investment in electronic components would be difficult to do all at once, and also hard to justify, I began to occasionally buy of equipment for the future theater as my budget allowed. I started with speakers because the technology doesn't drastically change like electronics do every other year in general and I knew it would be a few years until I would be able to use them in a dedicated theater environment.

So my wife and I found our home site, and only the foundation was in place. Immediately I was eyeing up the basement as my man domain. The goal/vision I always had was to create a real authentic movie theater look and feel. I used the preconstruction phase of our home as an opportunity to install and integrate a whole house A/V system into my future theater plans.

As time passed, I would purchase a piece of equipment as our budget allowed, finally the first steps of the build which I was looking forward to. I purchased a home design software package and created the basement design. I wanted 3 rooms, a children’s playroom, a game room, and a most importantly a theater! The software was a great help in the early stages, I was able to put dimensions of the rooms in and do virtual walk troughs’, I thought it was really cool!!! Seeing a virtual walk thru inspired me even more, and it became a passion of mine. Along the way I started a business installing high-end integrated A/V systems and custom home theaters, (

Even though my basement is bone dry, I wanted to know to feel secure knowing I would not have to deal with any future moisture problems. I painted all the walls with cement sealer. Once the walls were prepped it was time for the studs and framing and sheetrock etc..... This part of the project took me about 1.5 years, I did everything myself with help of various friends in the trades which really saved me in labor costs. In fact, the only items which I did not do myself were the electrical connections (Licensed Electrician) and rug installations. Everything else was done basically from 8pm to midnight for about 1.5 years. Now mind you, there were times where I was just plain burned out so I would take a few weeks off just to get away, or for budgetary reasons. One thing I knew which was important was the fact that I wanted the theater to be as sound proof as possible. I took many steps to insure sound stayed in the room as much as possible. These steps included, insuring there was vibration dampening barrier between the sheetrock and studs, installing acoustic foam panels in key areas and a drop ceiling. All these steps make the room relatively sound proof. If a movie is on in the theater it isn’t an annoyance through the rest of the house, which is great!

1 thing really never mentioned in any of the posts/articles which I have read, is safety. For those people building their theaters in basements keep the following in mind: Have clearly marked exits, and fire extinguishers in key areas. Install Carbon Monoxide Detectors (~$30) in key areas. Most of us building theaters in basements share the basement with our furnace/oil burner MAKE SURE YOU BUY A CARBON MONOXIDE DETECTOR!!! Have a exit escape plan/strategy, don't be caught off guard. You and your families’ lives aren’t worth a movie

If you plan on taking on a project this size here are some important lessons I’ve learned.

1) Plan, Plan, Plan.... Meaning, think placement of outlets wire runs, heating and cooling systems just to name a few....
2) If you find yourself getting tired, take a break from the project to revitalize yourself.
3) Don’t cut corners, redoing work is no fun.
4) Shop around and research on the internet for bargains.
5) Plan, Plan, Plan :-)

In conclusion, I can honestly say that this has been an extremely rewarding project for me and my family. Not only was I able to build an authentic movie theater in my home which will be used by my family for years to come. But it has also helped me realize my passion of helping others design world-class home entertainment systems. With multiple projects now under my belt, I look back and realize everything begins with a thought and a dream!


3 Carbon Monoxide Detectors, 4 smoke detectors, 3 extinguishers
Room Sizes:
Theater: W12.5 ft X L22ft X H8.5ft
Game Room: W12.5 ft X L17ft x H8.5ft

Estimated build cost = $28,000 with 95% DIY

Retail = $70,000 - $85,000 easy

All Klipsch Speakers (9.1 Surround) KLF series - SVS Subwoofer
Panasonic 3D PT-AE7000 Projector
Yamaha Aventage 3010 A/V Receiver
Panasonic 3D BMT-310 DVD Player.
Behringer EPX 4000 - 4000W 2 channel amp
6 Buttkicker Advance Units
Dedicated laptop
Stewart Filmscreen studiotek 130 screen 110"
Android Tablet controls

Directv H24 High Def Receiver.
(2) 1TB Hard drives with 600 + cd's
(2) Russound 6.4IL - 6 room 4 source control systems, 12 room total.

All components run off of dedicated HTPC in association with Cinemar Control Software, Including lighting effects.
[Edited by dukedallas on Nov 22, 2011 at 1:45 PM]


The Begining

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Unfinished view

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Future Stage area

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Looking into the Theater

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Equipment rack $$$

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Poster Light box!!!

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View of wall as you exit the theater

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Concession Stand

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Side shot

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Carpet view

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Rear view

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Stage lighting effect

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My Attempt at Movie art

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The Control Center Software

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Rope lighting ceiling effect.

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Joined: Jan 22, 2007
Posts: 11
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one of the best i've seen. i have about the same amount of space in my basement and this is about what i want to do. i was going to get a popcorn machine but having the concession stand is great. must have had to look a while for the carpet. great job, thanks for the ideas.
Joined: Jun 24, 2005
Posts: 23
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Thanks, almost everything was bought on eBay or from some website, even the carpet. There are so many websites that sell specialty stuff its really great...all depends on your budget. I wanted the "feel" of a real theater and it was one of my foremost goals. I am looking forward to having birthday parties and events for my 20 month old daughter as the years pass, she currently can't sit still for anything... :-)
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Joined: Mar 27, 2005
Posts: 459
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Nice Job really looks nice.....................what software are you using, I can't quite see the name at this ,or my glasses need cleaning!!

Joined: Jun 24, 2005
Posts: 23
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Thanks! using Cinemar, Main Lobby / ML Server / Weather Lobby / USBIR Hardware interface for IR control of all components. The support I recieved from Cinemar was EXCELLENT!!! I haven't had time to finish all the programming to fully control everything via touchscreen laptop yet (Fall Project), because its too nice out and this time of year I am too busy outside maintaing a yard after work etc....
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