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Man Cave Perfect Movie Experience under $8000

Last response: in Home Theatre
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September 17, 2012 4:39:54 PM

Background. Building a man cave in a shed. In framing stage so would like to prewire everything correctly. Watch all movies from my computer downloaded. all sports from direct tv. I have a 40 foot by 25 foot room with 11 foot ceiling. It will have a recliner (me) love seat (others) and hottub in back of room.
Perfect world i would like a projector to show movies from computer a computer monitor 42 or 52 inch to turn on to see scores of games while movie is on. then when movie is over switch game over to projector. All with at least 5.1 surround sound or more.
Do i run audio thru computer or thru a receiver so on and so on.

Thanks for any advice!

Brandon
September 17, 2012 5:22:00 PM

For a projector, I'd probably recommend something along the lines of the Epson Powerlite 8350 or the Optoma HD33. Both have multiple HD inputs so you can connect both the PC and the DirecTV set top box. The PC, of course can be connected to both a monitor and a projector at the same time, though only one video source (movie or sporting event) can be displayed at a time.

Audio should go directly from the PC and DirecTV box to a Home Theater Receiver. Personally, I'm using an Onkyo HT-S3200, but you may want to go with something else. Mine is more than enough for my small apartment.

Depending on which Home Theater Receiver you decide on, can either go from the PC/Set Top Box to the receiver using TOSLink optical or if your receiver can do it, HDMI from both devices and then running HDMI video to the projector.

Probably your best set up would be:

1) DVI to HDMI cable from your PC to the projector for video and a TOSLink Optical S/PDIF cable to your receiver for audio.
2) HDMI from your PC to your monitor or HDMI/DVI/VGA from your PC to your monitor and 3.5mm stereo audio to your PC Speakers.
3) HDMI from your DirecTV box to your receiver (audio and video) and HDMI from your receiver to the projector (video).

-Wolf sends
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September 17, 2012 8:30:46 PM

i do not see any reason to have computer speakers and home theater speakers unless you plan on playing two different audio sources at once. even if this was the case you could buy a receiver with a zone 2 and connect up two speakers to use in this manner which eliminates the need for pc speakers. you might need to run a seperate cable to the receiver from the pc and also have annoying "swap primary audio device" issues though if you do this.

depending on your preferences i would run either a hdmi or dvi to hdmi cable to the receiver and on the other video card output to the monitor (so you can control both screens at once via the pc) or run the hdmi cable to a hdmi switch and have the outputs as monitor OR projector. (so you can pick which screen it outputs to).

most new video cards support sound out via hdmi or dvi so you should not need a secondary cable (spdif). sound quality should be the same.


think about what type of speakers you want.

-satelite
*cheaper and smaller but may be lacking in output compared with other options. you can hang these on the walls rather easy which makes them easy to tuck into corners.
-bookshelf
*mid priced and mid level performance. you can still hang these on walls but this might require you putting some additional blocking on the wall to support.
-floor standing
*probably the best option for sound however they take up quite a bit of room.
-in ceiling/in wall
*easy to hide but can get expensive. also, limited options are available compared with traditional speakers.

depending on where you want to place the speakers you should hardwire some boxes into the wall where you can plug in some bananna clips. i would suggest routing the speaker wire in conduit in case you ned to replace it.

i would suggest a drop down ceiling as well. you can run the conduit above the ceiling and down through the walls. you can place a junction box in the ceiling to aid in pulling wire. this also gives you a place to put in some mounting hardware for a projector.

wherever you plan on putting a receiver i would have all of your wall plates for bananna clips right behind it. i did this with mine and it makes everything so much simpler.

for video i would suggest running conduit at a minimum. you might want to use hdmi wall plates.

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i would highly advise sketching everything out and giving it much thought at this stage of the game.
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September 18, 2012 2:48:59 PM

Thank you both. Very useful information.

My bother in law has that Epson projector so that confirms that question.

I hope I ask this question right.
If i have a dual hdmi video card in my computer can i treat the monitor and projector as dual monitors and drag programs and media players between the two? and if i go that route should i get a sound card with optical out to run to the home theater receiver?

Then i could have an hdmi switch from Directv to both monitor and projector. Should cover everything i want.

Receiver I guess i would need a dual optical input for both computer and directv?

Speakers
Recommendations? Brand?

Correct that bookshelf are better? I can easily add backing in walls for shelves. Should i wire for 7.1 to be safe? Is it also true to have speakers at head level for best result or higher/lower?

Once again thanks for input.

Brandon
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September 18, 2012 4:06:01 PM

Quote:
If i have a dual hdmi video card in my computer can i treat the monitor and projector as dual monitors and drag programs and media players between the two?
Yes, it's called, "Extended Mode" and it's just like having two monitors side-by-side.

Quote:
and if i go that route should i get a sound card with optical out to run to the home theater receiver?

Rather than getting a sound card, I'd just select a motherboard that includes optical out.

Quote:
Then i could have an hdmi switch from Directv to both monitor and projector. Should cover everything i want.

Probably don't need a switch. Just connect each device (DirecTV Box and PC) to both outputs (HDTV/Monitor and Projector). Then just switch inputs as necessary (HDMI1 to HDMI2 for example).

Quote:
Receiver I guess i would need a dual optical input for both computer and directv?

Not needed as audio is carried over HDMI. I'd recommend having at least one Optical input, however.

As for the rest, I can't say.
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September 18, 2012 4:15:22 PM

If i have a dual hdmi video card in my computer can i treat the monitor and projector as dual monitors and drag programs and media players between the two?
**yes.

and if i go that route should i get a sound card with optical out to run to the home theater receiver?
**does your motherboard already have an optical out port? if so you dont need to add a soundcard.

Receiver I guess i would need a dual optical input for both computer and directv?
**depends on how you plan on hooking everything up. if you plan on having both the pc and dtv able to use either monitor via hdmi switches and both audio signals going to the receiver via spdif then yes. another option might be to run both audio and video through the receiver if you can get one with dual-hdmi outputs and if you can control the inputs to those outputs via the receiver. read this post i googled in a few minutes to read more into this: http://www.avsforum.com/t/852812/any-dual-hdmi-output-r...

Speakers
Recommendations? Brand?
**i use a pioneer vsx-30 receiver with a 5.0 klipsch quintet IV set and a 450w klipsch subwoofer in a 12x14 room and they sound great. i have had great luck with the receiver and speakers and they were all easy to set up. both are also built well and i plan on keeping them for a good long time.

Correct that bookshelf are better? I can easily add backing in walls for shelves. Should i wire for 7.1 to be safe? Is it also true to have speakers at head level for best result or higher/lower?
***hard to say which are better. bookshelf speakers can be more powerful which does not make them better. you need to look at the quality of speaker instead of just the type. for comparison...would i want a set of klipsch bookshelf speakers? of course i would. i would love to have a set of floorstanders but my budget and space constraints did not allow it. i spent $1300 on my 5.1 satelite speaker set as is.

***you might not need shelves. you can buy brackets to hang bookshelf speakers and that will look visually better than putting shelves up i think. your choice. it might be a good idea to make sure you have a good area to secure them though.

**you have two options. wire in place or run conduit and pull the wire later. personally i would take the latter option as it gives you greater freedom and allows for future expandability. i would definitely put in a wall box for the LF, RF, LR, RR, LS and RS speakers. depending on where you place the C speaker you might want a wall box or not. since you will be using at least 5.1 you can put a faceplate with two bananna clip plugs on all but the surround speakers (the extra ones found in 7.1). you can cover these with faceplates if you dont use them. i would place enough boxes behind the receiver for the faceplates needed for 6 or 7 pairs (12 or 14 bananna plugs) to go to the receiver. you might also want wallboxes for hdmi cables from the pc to the receiver depending on where you place it. i will assume the dtv box will be under or above the receiver so you should be fine. it would be a good idea to either run conduit from the boxes to the ceiling (if using a drop down) and route the wire above with a junction box which makes it very easy to set everything up or to put a junction box or two in opposing walls and cover them up with faceplates when you are done.

personally...i'd use a drop ceiling as it hides junction boxes and cables and saves you the trouble of painting/priming/drywalling a ceiling. your call.

Is it also true to have speakers at head level for best result or higher/lower?
**generally yes, speakers should be about ear head level when sitting and should be evenly spaced around you. since the cables will all be different lengths you will be running a calculation on the receiver to make up for this (you attach a microphone to the receiver and place it where you want to sit). once it accounts for this (and sets a delay in the sigals) everything should sound perfect.

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now.. how did i set my system up?

*bought the receiver, speakers and subwoofer
*bought speaker wire, conduit, electrical boxes, wallplates, bananna clip ends.
*ran conduit and placed wallboxes.
*fished speaker wire and connected it to the wallplates
*set receiver and speakers in position
*made up short speaker wire leads with bananna clip ends for the speakers i used wall plates for and leads with one end as a bananna clip (for receiver side) and twisted ands for the speakers for speakers connected via an under the desk cable tray. (bananna clips didnt work so well for the speaker connection on my model)
*plugged everything in
*after trying to understand the manual and remote (i still dont know what half the buttons do!) i ran the onscreen display (the reason i bought a $500 receiver, i get an OSD built in), plugged in the microphone and ran the speaker calibration program.

if you ignore all time routing conduit, putting faceplates in and making cables.....i set up my system in under an hour from plugging everything in to watching my first movie with new speakers.

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