Thursday, April 23, 2015

Riske Business: Help Me Build Up My Home Theater

by Adam Riske
Tell me about your home theaters! I need ideas to spruce mine up.

Hello F This Movie! Community,

I recently moved into a new apartment and I’m in the finishing stages of decorating my new place. Very important to me, as I’m sure it is to many movie buffs like you, is re-doing my home theater. First, let me tell you about my current set-up which I like but do not yet love. It feels like it’s missing something/a few things.
Décor – My home theater is in the living room. Rather than turn the room into exclusively a movie room, I decided to do something I’ve seen in some of my favorite movie theaters which is to give it a theme. My living room is themed after the beach and the ocean. I have framed signs, tin signs, plants, a noise machine, a ship steering wheel etc. I find it very relaxing. Is your theater room themed a similar way or did you make the theme of your theater room movie-exclusive (e.g. framed posters, autographs and memorabilia, DVD and Blu-Ray shelving etc.)? As of right now my movie gear (see examples above) reside in my bedroom/office. I have framed posters of Fast & Furious 6, Grindhouse and Pulp Fiction, as well as framed autograph posters for Kill Bill: Vol 1 and Army of Darkness. In addition I have framed movie refreshment signs and my DVD/Blu-Ray shelving. What do you think? Should I move them all into the living room (where I watch all of my movies) and make it a movie/beach hybrid theme? Or keep it beach-themed exclusively?
Equipment – I have a 52” Sharp television (that I bought from our own JB!) which I love because it has great picture and excellent sound. It sits on a multi-tier TV stand along with my Comcast-Xfinity cable box, as well as a Sony Blu-Ray player and a Roku that I stick into the TV to get my Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Pandora and YouTube (where I make trailer playlists before movies when I have DVD marathons with friends). Do you have your television on a stand or mounted on the wall? If it’s a screen on a wall (maybe you have a projector??), does it make the experience that much better in your opinion? I also have the standard living room furniture – leather couch with reclining seats and a leather chair – aka, my spot.
Intangibles – Not too much, just some LED accent lights from LED Glow, random figures (POP figures of Pulp Fiction, FunKo action figures of Jack Burton and a Xenomorph (thanks Patrick!)) and fake food like a bag of Skittles spilled out, a box of popcorn and full glasses of Coke.
I’d like to hear all about your home theaters – tell me about the décor, the equipment and any other unique intangibles you have in your own set-up that make it that much more special. Leave comments, links etc. If you’re doing something really cool with your home theater I’d love to know about it and get inspired by your ideas. As I said, I like my home theater but it’s not quite there yet.

Thank you!

30 comments:

  1. This all sounds and looks awesome, Adam! Much more than my humble townhouse could accommodate. To me, the most important items are TV size/quality and Sound. I have a 55" Panasonic LED and a 60" Panasonic Plasma in the basement, both mounted to the wall with an Onkyo 5.1 receiver and a Sony 5.1 HTIB (which is pretty good actually). I do find that now I have mounted the TV's that I enjoy watching them more than when I had them at sitting eye level on a stand. Not sure why, but I just do.

    5.1 sound is an absolute must for me. I have experienced movies at home that I like even more because of the sound design. A good example - I just re-watched Prometheus and although I liked it the first time I saw it, with the 5.1 I was blown away at the intricacies that were included in every channel. It was a whole new experience. That's about the only advice I have. At some point, I would upgrade the 52" to a 60". There are some killer deals out there for TV's at the moment.

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  2. Wish I could help buddy but the layout of the place we moved into last October totally F'ed my setup. I've got no practical way to set up even 5.1 speakers, let alone the 7.1 I used to have, so I'm down to a lowly 3.1 - fortunately with a baby in the house my sound-pounding days are over for the next couple of years anyway I guess. I use a virtual 5.1 Sony headset most times which actually makes for a pretty good experience but it's not quite the same...geez, thanks for making me wistful for bachelorhood, enjoy all your free time and disposable income! :P

    If anyone has a good tip for a decent, affordable wireless speaker setup, if such a thing exists, let me know - thanks!

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  3. Its a tricky one and It is very personal to each person, I am very lucky to live in a detached house so I literally went the whole hog with sound and vision, I firstly use a bright 3000 lumen projector so it still works in the day time projected onto a 10ft electric screen that retracts into the celling, I also use blackout curtains for when I want the proper darkened room effect, to me any size tv is just a tv, movies need to be projected and not backlit, I personally don't get the movie experience from watching a movie on a tv no matter how big, but I understand not everyone has a room to set up a projector so of course a large screen tv for most people is great,, I have always had Yamaha amps and for a long time I have said they make the best amps in the world and I am still of this opinion, I am at present using a model from the Advantage range, speakers, I always liked B&W, a British company that make beautiful looking and sounding speakers, THX Approved when they had the license, I totally believe in all your main 5 or 7 speakers all being from the same company for sound balance with no harmonic distortions, all speakers sound different, some sharp, some warm, its important they match sound, it doesn't matter what speakers they are but they do have to match in my opinion, another company in the UK "im sorry" make hand made subwoofers and I run two BK electronics 500 watts subs called Monoliths 12 inch driver units that weigh 48 kg each, and sit on Half inch Marble plinths for perfect bass dispersion, I like to run 2 stereo subs to spread out the bass so it doesn't feel like its from just from one area, bass is supposed to be non directional sound but two works better than one for me, it fills the room evenly, these are the best bang for your buck speakers in the UK and on all AV forums everyone agrees, they are simply room shakingly crazy,


    lastly as a nice finishing touch that works really well I use a harmony remote, you put all your devices into the remote, but what's nice about harmony is you can set a turn on and turn off command set up, so when I press watch a movie on the remote it turns on the amp, turns on the dvd player, turns the amp the AV1, turns on the projector, turns it to HDMI 1, and turns on the electric screen so it comes down all from one button, then when your done press off and all is reversed, screen up, all off, its pretty cool rather than messing with 10 remote controls,

    finally as a little touch to bring color into the room I removed all the cloth from the speaker grill covers and replaced them with cloth from ladies red tights, I am not kidding, ;) the speakers look great in black with red grills and the cloth from the tights is so thin it works perfectly as Acoustic cloth

    I have a crazy set up I know, good luck getting yourself sorted with a great set up ;)

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  4. Ps another cool idea for people that like big tvs is to backlight them. Just like on the last picture in the column. In a dark room your eyes your eyes relax to the darkness of the room and the bright tv is un-natural to the surroundings and can cause eye strain, backlighting tvs is well known to help make the contrast better, blacks seem much darker and the effect is easier on the eyes, it a great idea for anyone with a tv set up

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    1. I have the backlights on my tv. They're not bad. My only issue with them is I began to ignore it after a while (once I got used to them) so it's almost like not having them at all. It's weird but I guess it's better than if the lights were distracting.

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    2. Yeah I see what you mean getting used to them but if you turn them off I bet you would instantly notice the difference in the contrast and blacks not looking as black

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  5. I agree with Dennis: a projector is a must, not just to eliminate eye strain in an otherwise non-illuminated room, but because there's a fundamentally different experience watching light bouncing off a reflective screen than having light straight-up zapped into your eyeballs. I don't have a projector or home theater setup now as I live in a barracks, but definitely intend to get one when I get out of the services. A retractable ceiling-mounted screen is ideal, too, assuming one doesn't have a room to dedicate to movies exclusively.

    As for decor, I'd keep it old-school classy and understated. So many lavish home theaters shown in web site collections don't look comfortable at all, with huge, ungainly chairs (many of whom have terrible viewing angles) and garish decorations. One comfy couch would be quite enough for me and a guest or two. The main experience, after all, should be the (projected!) movie/episode itself.

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  6. Yeah sounds like the effect is working, easier on the eyes and if you turn them off you notice the blacks are not as good. Its a great idea for enhancing picture quality.

    I like your beach themed room idea. Thats cool, I hope you get it so you love it. Good luck

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    1. Thanks Dennis! I like the beach theme a lot. I got the idea when I was watching the original The Fast and the Furious. Most of my life decisions have sprung from that movie series :-)

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  7. I envy all of you, for I would love to have my own home theater, but I don't yet have my own place nor the means to fund it.

    ABT has an incredible home theater option. It comes complete with a150" screen ( that can be divided into 9 separate TV's if like) 9 recliner seats, great sound system and a state of the art projector. They even have an option for a star ceiling. The cost of all this: $650,000!

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    1. Lol, thats crazy money, hd quality projectors are not that expensive these days, you can certainly have the big screen experience without spending a fortune. Worth every penny and every film feels special on a big screen if youve got the room for it,

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    2. Let's start a kickstarter so I can get $650K. The perks will be worth it. E.G. Donate $100,000 and I'll let you ghost write my column :-)

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    3. If i win the lottery I will certainly sponsor Fthismovie, I will be your J K Rowland ;)

      If I kept mentioning Vhs and Evil dead maybe people would catch on

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  8. Wow these setups are incredible. I'm on a very small budget so I just have the 4k vizio on a stand. Still saving for the 5.1 surround. Other than that its really nothing special.

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    1. Hey Patrick, this is a really good HTIB from Onkyo that is really well priced for a 5.1 system. http://www.amazon.com/Onkyo-HT-S3500-5-1-Channel-Theater-Receiver/dp/B0077V88V8/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1429823161&sr=8-1&keywords=onkyo+home+theater

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    2. Thanks guys! That does seem like a good deal. I have no history with Onkyo, though so I'm not sure how good it is. Do you, Chaybee?

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    3. Absolutely. Onkyo is extremely well respected and trusted. I have this system and think it's fantastic. If you can splurge a little more they also have a 7.1 system and an updated version of this one with all the bells and whistles such as Bluetooth but its double the price?! A bonus about their systems are that the speakers are not proprietary to the receiver, so you can use whatever you want and whatever gauge wire as well if your not happy with the wire it comes with although I think the Onkyo speakers are great and have never had a problem. I still use this system and have had it for almost three years. Great sound for the price in my opinion.

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    4. I agree. Im stuck in my roots with Yamaha but Onkyo are making top end Surround receivers, I hear good things, if I tried another range I would like to try onkyo for sure

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  9. I sold some of my stuff when I moved to a new city last year, so my set-up isn't spectacular. Right now I'm just rocking a 55" LG LED with a Panasonic Blu-Ray and PS3 to run Netflix. I've got my DVD/Blu-Ray collection on 2 rotating shelves and a few framed movie posters on the walls; large posters for Pulp Fiction, Casino and The Godfather, and 12x18's for Heat, Blade Runner and a Die Hard poster I designed a few years ago. I'm currently working on a massive American Psycho poster, hopefully I'll have that done within the next few months. I sold my sound bar and surround sound last year, and don't really miss it much. My place isn't huge, so I don't feel a need to replace the sound anytime soon, but I would like to get some LEDs to backlight.

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    1. I like the LED lights but I only use them at night since I get too much sun coming into the apartment even with the shades closed. I'd love to see that Die Hard poster you designed. That's really cool.

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    2. Thanks Adam! It's not my best work, just what happens to be hanging on my wall right now. I did it when I was first learning Photoshop in college, it was an attempt to reconstruct the facade of the Nakatomi building using nothing but text, but I couldn't get it quite right, it always just looked like jumbled text, so I had to overlay a photo of Nakatomi. Anyway, I'd love to show you, I don't think you can do it on Google+ here, but maybe I could send it over facebook (if that's not too intrusive) or e-mail? Whatevs, yo.

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  10. I'm a 22 year old broke kid from Brooklyn. I have a tv and a blu ray player. That works for me. LOL I wish it was better. I can't wait for it to be better. Anyway I'm no help here.

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    1. It takes time. When I was 22 I had a TV and a DVD player!

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    2. Haha! When I was 22 I was going around to all of the Hollywood and Blockbuster Videos buying up all of the VHS tapes they were getting rid of!

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    3. I had a portable tv and a vhs player when I was 22, dreaming of a 30 incher instead of my 18 inch tv ;)

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  11. http://www.buttkickergear.com/Wireless_ButtKicker_kit_BKA300_p/bk-kit-4.htm


    Heres is a crazy piece of kit for you home cinema lovers, this is for people who dont want a large bass speaker because it would annoy the neighbors, it a wireless ultrasonic room shaker, basically you screw it to the frame inside of your favourite chair or couch, once the sound goes below 80 htz into bass frequencies it starts to vibrate, it gives you the bass effect without annoying the neighbors. Good fun, worth a look

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  12. Can one of you adopt me please? These are so beautiful and I am so poor! (Silently weeps into pillow as I declare I own a TV with a video player in it and that's all) I love the beach meets movie room. I am sure a certain few fellas from the F Crew will help with some movies that might suit that for inspiration!

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  13. I have been checking out a few of your stories and i can state pretty good stuff. I will definitely bookmark your blog Saul Mishkin

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    1. Adam's stories are all bullshit!! The jokes on you Roman!

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