Time to build a Home Theater....

It's time, My wife and I have lived for 4 years now without the poor-man's home theater we had in the other house. WE used it a LOT, and it made movie nights extra special. with our purging of stuff we decided to reclaim the basement for usable space and decided to divide the main "wreck room" into a game room and a separate small theater. Nothing too big... 92" screen, 7.1 surround with all built in speakers, seating for 6... All with a shoestring budget.

The thing is, I have years of experience doing this stuff, plus being a Crestron programmer, Integrator and technologist; I can do a few things that set it all apart from the typical DIY home theater.

Here is my plan of attack....

Projector : 720p 1080p if I can get a really good deal. Must be rs232 controllable. Under $1000.00 new. This will be my biggest single purchase.. Maybe I can get one used.

Screen : I want a negative gain grey or silver screen. I will have full light control so taking advantage of a grey screen will give me a far better looking image with better blacks.. That means I can shop for either DLP or LCD.. whatever is the cheapest.

Speakers: Other than the side and rear surround speakers, everything else will be hand built into the walls. What I want cant be bought for less than $1000.00 each. so I'll build them for $90 each. Yes.. I can build $1000.00 a piece speakers for $90.00... I'll show you how.

Sound control: It is important to keep the theater from making the house sound like a nightclub so filling the walls with insulation and covering the walls with sound control is important. I will be making my own cloth panels for the walls to control the audio..

Amplifier: Used here. I have a Kenwood Sovereign I got from a good friend that will work great and is 6.1 (5.1 is all you need really) Nobody needs new stuff for their theater unless they are filthy rich.

Video source: PC running XBMC and a RoKu box.. Yes that's really it. if I did not rip the DVD or LbuRay before hand we will not be watching it in the theater. I might add in a sattelite reciever in the future, but we have spent the last 5 years without CableTV and do not miss it. if we want TV shows we watch it streamed from Netflix. I Might add in a AppleTV so that we can subscribe to seperate Tv shows on itunes.

Video will be HDMI from the projector to a DVI converter and into the XBMC box. if I add more sources then an extron HDMI switcher will be added. From my experience only the Extron strips out the HDCP problems with switching sources.

I will have full crestron control, I bought $350.00 in old outdated junk to give me a CNMSX-PRO with ethernet card, a STX-1700C a two way gateway for the wireless touchpanel and a VC-1500 touchpanel with video. This will allow full control of all devices with feedback AND a master control touchpanel that will display the security cameras if the doorbell rings and we are in the theater. Being a crestron programmer this stuff is free to program for me (I'm only $55 an hour for others! call me!) Lighting will be 3 circuits (ceiling cans, sconces, rope light) on extron switches that respond to IR for control... cheapest RELIABLE way of controlling them.. X-10 is NOT an option as it's junk.

Seating is my only issue... no cheap theater seats are out there... I need to figure out this little problem as I am unwilling to spend $2500.00 on 6 seats.

So keep tuned. I'm going to document my project here and share my secrets of making a high end home theater for almost nothing.


  1. It looks like you’ve got everything you need. I commend you for considering sound control, by the way. Many neglect to do this, thus compromising the whole experience and defeating the purpose of having an entertainment room. Remember that sound control is influenced by several factors such as the size of your room, the placement of your equipment, and the materials you use. There are fundamentals that you can follow, but ultimately, only you can know your sound control system.

    Angel Garcia


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