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Renovating Home Theater

If you are contemplating renovating home theater and utilizing that unfinished basement space or perhaps a dormer-type space with slanting walls above a garage, there are a number of factors to consider besides the home theater dimensions.

You don’t necessarily need or want windows, because if you are planning on putting in a front projector, the screen images from a projector always look their best in a totally darkened room. Projectors have to “throw” the image 12 to 15 feet (typically) onto a separate large screen, so the image is relatively dim compared to an LCD or plasma flat-screen display. That’s why renovating home theater almost always involves finishing a space in the house that often has few or no windows. If you do have windows, you will need blackout curtains if you are planning a large-screen front projection system.

While you’re renovating home theater, you will want the room to be large enough to put in two to three rows of comfortable lounger-type reclining chairs, with two or three chairs in each row. You will also need the room wide enough to permit installing powerful floor-standing speakers like the Axiom M80 v2 or M60 v2 to each side of the screen---and you don’t want to push the speakers into the corners of the room. Doing that may degrade sound quality by producing too much bass that’s “boomy” in character.

The ceiling will need to be high enough to accommodate the typical large screen with enough space above the screen to allow a dialog center-channel speaker like Axiom’s VP150 to be mounted above the screen (mounting it below also is an option). You may want to contemplate installing risers, to elevate the second or third rows so viewer’s sight lines are not obstructed, and you’ll need a tall enough ceiling so that when viewers stand up on the risers, they won’t hit their heads.

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