Suggestions for a very small scale home cinema

DrPhil

Distinguished Member
I realise that the thread title is probably a pipe dream, since once I start it will inevitably lead me down a rabbit hole and I'll spend the rest of my life upgrading but here goes...

I've always wanted a home cinema. When I bought this house I had grand plans for one in what was originally a spare bedroom. That ended up becoming a gym/home office so the dream went down the pan.

I'm now considering using the small sitting room for the purpose instead. Can't quite get SWMBO on board with a full conversion, but I'm thinking I should at least be able to get a big screen, projector and decent sound system. This is a picture of the current TV, and the dimensions. It's not ideal due to the position of the door but I'm hoping I can get something to work.

Screenshot_20220114-005040_Chrome.jpg

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Should I be looking at a screen lowering from the ceiling (it's a bungalow so easy access), or get rid of the screen and picture and just mount a permanent screen?

Given the relatively small area (that wall is just over 2m), would I be better forgetting about a screen and projector and just get a bigger TV?

This may well be a long term project as I don't really have the budget for it currently, but I'm happy to buy bits at a time over the next year or 2.

Suggestions welcome.
 

mazon27091

Well-known Member
What is the measurement between the door and the wall that has no measurement? I'm guessing about 3m. If so you could move the couch to the 4m long wall and then have ample room on that wall opposite to fit a large screen and a short-throw projector. This will leave you room on each side for speakers too.

I'm not sure how big your TV is but if you get a bigger one it is more likely to be in the way of the door (if it stays in its current position). Which could be a problem.
 

inzaman

Moderator
That will work and you have the throw for a pj at 4 meters. Fill the 2 metre wall with a screen, on wall speakers below the screen, plus sub, atmos on the ceiling and a couple of rears. Move the seating slightly forward and you’re good. Make the room as dark as possible, I used alligator skin wallpaper and it does the job with the side walls painted light grey.

For seating you could squeeze some Valencia cinema seats and get rid off all your dvd/blu by ripping them to a hard drive and using a media player.
 

DrPhil

Distinguished Member
What is the measurement between the door and the wall that has no measurement? I'm guessing about 3m. If so you could move the couch to the 4m long wall and then have ample room on that wall opposite to fit a large screen and a short-throw projector. This will leave you room on each side for speakers too.

I'm not sure how big your TV is but if you get a bigger one it is more likely to be in the way of the door (if it stays in its current position). Which could be a problem.
Yeah about 3m.

Problem is that the 4m wall has the window on it so I don't really want to shift the sofa to that side.

Current TV I can't remember, it's either 55 or 60".
 

DrPhil

Distinguished Member
For seating you could squeeze some Valencia cinema seats and get rid off all your dvd/blu by ripping them to a hard drive and using a media player.
The seating isn't changing. As I say this isn't a proper dedicated cinema room, I still want it to function as a normal living room otherwise. Plus there is very little budget!
 

Oswald

Well-known Member
[...] Given the relatively small area (that wall is just over 2m), would I be better forgetting about a screen and projector and just get a bigger TV?

This may well be a long term project as I don't really have the budget for it currently, but I'm happy to buy bits at a time over the next year or 2.
Yes, I suggest getting a 75" TV (or at least a 65" one) which that would fill that wall nicely as they're about 1.7m wide. Generally speaking Sony seem to be good value, well reviewed, and have all the streaming apps you could want.

In terms of sound you could use the TVs internal speakers initially, then add a soundbar and separate surrounds and a sub over time (perhaps the Sonos Beam, Sonos Ones, and rumoured forthcoming Sonos small sub - having the benefit that no speaker wires are needed)? A benefit of the soundbar approach is that you're not trying to squeeze in front speakers at either side of the screen.

I'd be tempted to leave the TV on a stand / cabinet if the door allows so you can tilt it slightly towards the viewers (given the shape of the room and position of the viewers - and because you need somewhere to store all those blu-rays!).
 

Harkon321

Well-known Member
Large TV or short throw will work. I'd be tempted to spin the room around and have seating on the 4m wall, gives you a much wider soundstage.
 

Kingchin

Active Member
The seating isn't changing. As I say this isn't a proper dedicated cinema room, I still want it to function as a normal living room otherwise. Plus there is very little budget!
Your current seating position is 4 metres (13 feet) away from the screen/tv. A 83 inch OLED is the biggest tv you could fit on the 2 metre wall with just enough space for the front left and right speakers.

And a 90 inch projector screen is the biggest that will fit on the 2 metre wall with the speakers behind the screen.

If you want a bigger cinema scale image the seating would need to be brought forward a metre or slightly more. Or reversed seating, big projector screen on the 3 metre wall.

But if you don't care about having a really big image from the viewing distance then the current seating position is fine.
 
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I would just try and make the best of what you can mate but doubt you'll really be able to create a 'cinema room' purely down to the shape/space of the room.

At best I'd get a nice 65/75" OLED on the wall where the tv is now and mount some speakers above/below the screen and paint the walls a little darker.

At the rear if the sofa is right against the wall then again you might struggle to get an sore of rear / surround effect as you obviously need a little space to give to a sense of surround/immersion
 

pm1961

Active Member
My room is almost identical to yours in terms of area, but I had the luxury of starting from scratch. It's featured elsewhere on this page, and you might get some ideas from it?

Likewise, I pondered long and hard on the PJ/TV question.

In the end I went with the TV for several reasons. To give you some idea....

The first was an audio one. I postioned all my speakers as close as I could to the "Dolby Atmos model". That, in itself put me close enough to the screen so that, if sticking to the recommended model viewing angles, meant no larger than about 70".
Secondly, my screen had to be "all things to all men." I've got big bifolds next to it. It needs to be bright enough for daytime viewing.... sport..... gaming etc.
That steered me toward a Samsung 8k TV. It's retina burning bright when needs be, but with it's local dimming and cinema mode, is great for movie night.

With your room, and your stated constraints, I would probably;

Buy the best 65" TV I could afford.
Get the best soundbar you can to go with it and some wired, or wireless, rear speakers.
For a sub, I'm well chuffed with my REL TZero.
Do your viewing from a big beanbag into the room a little to give the sound some room to "breath" around you to get as close as you can to that full surround sound experience.
 

Oswald

Well-known Member
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Kingchin

Active Member
True, but I don't think an 83" OLED would ever fit into the category of small bits along the way.
You said happy to buy bits along the way, you never said small bits along the way. But yeah a 83 inch OLED isn't cheap. I would love one to but out of my price range lol plus not enough space on my wall because of my speaker positions.

I'm sure you could get a decent used projector once the finances are eventually available. Better to save up get good used items than just get the cheapest stuff available. Can still make a great system on a modest budget. Hope your cinema room turns out good 👌🏾
 

DrPhil

Distinguished Member
I think it will most likely be a big TV rather than screen/projector. Easier to maintain the room as a non-cinema room alongside it being a movie destination, and also easier for a noob.

So taking into account that I'm an idiot and a Philistine, (an idiot because I have no clue of the items I need, number of speakers, sub, anything else) and a Philistine (I don't ever see me spending the kind of thousands that I see folk here spending)...

What kind of minimum budget would I be looking at? I see 83" QLED for a bit under £2k minimum which means that it will most likely be a 75" at most. But I can get started with just the TV that's currently there so I'll have to look at sound first.

So suggestions for that? I know that the cheap crappy 5:1 systems that you find in Argos, Currys etc are big standard and not worth bothering with, but on the other hand like I say when I see folk in the classifieds here spending £3k on a second hand set of speakers it blows my mind.

Is there a middle ground?
 

Oswald

Well-known Member
[...] I'll have to look at sound first.

So suggestions for that? I know that the cheap crappy 5:1 systems that you find in Argos, Currys etc are big standard and not worth bothering with, but on the other hand like I say when I see folk in the classifieds here spending £3k on a second hand set of speakers it blows my mind.

Is there a middle ground?
Did I mention Sonos? :)

P.S. I know they're very popular, but I would avoid Samsung TVs as they don't support Dolby Vision (or at least they didn't last time I checked).
 

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
Buy 2nd hand speakers from the likes of eBay etc. Speaker technology doesn’t really change that much, so 2nd hand is easily the most cost effective way forward.

You can do the same with AV receivers - buying from eBay a little more ‘hazardous’ I guess, but there are usually plenty of options in the classifieds here. And many dealers have stock they’ve taken in as a trade-in, so you might be able to pick stuff up from them that has some sort of warranty.

A subwoofer or two also needs to be on your shopping list. Again, plenty out there on the secondhand market.

A full 2nd hand setup could be done for around £1000 at the real budget end, £1500+ would open up many better options, and from there you could keep spending, and never stop!

You also need some form of source, whether that’s a simple Firestick, Apple TV, and/or Blu-ray player (preferably one that can play UHD discs) - so another couple of hundred quid.

Definitely wire for Atmos, even if you start with a plain vanilla 5.1 system, I’d be looking to move to 5.2.2, or 5.2.4 as quickly as possible - not sure your room would accommodate 7.x.x - depends where your seating ends up I guess. But still 5.x.x will give a decent upgrade over any TV speaker/Soundbar option.
 

Oswald

Well-known Member
You did, but what exactly do I need? Front, rear, sub, amp, bar...

And what is a reasonable target price to get it all, second hand if necessary.

Did I mention I'm an idiot? 😉
Just buy a Sonos Beam (Gen 2) soundbar to start with at £450. There's also the more capable Sonos Arc soundbar, but that may be pushing your budget at £900.

Later definitely add a subwoofer (new Sonos model rumoured to be launched soon) and perhaps a pair of Sonos One SLs as rears (£180 each). No amp required, no speaker wires required, you just need a mobile phone to set it up.
 
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DrPhil

Distinguished Member
If and when I manage to get something up and running, I'm planning to move the xbox to there for UHD and gaming (which is rare).

I'll just buy a UHD player for the main living room then to replace the xbox.
 

DrPhil

Distinguished Member
Leaked plans tonight to the missus, didn't go down well lol. In fairness when we moved here I agreed to have that room as a living room and she agreed to give up a spare room for a home cinema. That home cinema ended up becoming a gym room and office so I'm encroaching into her space and need to play cautious.

So, my next question is just how invisible can I make these speakers. And I mean invisible.

I'm sure I can get away with pulling the sofa forward a few feet, but just how compromised will the system be if I have to hide the speakers behind it? (stuff with the red x is going to be cleared, green arrows for the speaker locations)
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Same goes for the front. In order to maintain invisibility, could the speakers go behind the edge of the screen? (The candles are going too, she seriously has too many)
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Planning to put in an automated blackout blind in the window too. That's on the cards even without the cinema plans. And that picture on the wall will be shifting. There was an old 50" in that room before but when I put the Sharp in, it covered the bottom of the frame.

Alternatively, would a new TV unit be in order, one that I could conceal the speakers inside rather than going behind the TV?

Basically I want to not be able to see the speakers at all. Heard and not seen. Wireless is an option, although it's a bungalow so wiring isn't an issue, I can just run cable up inside the wall behind the TV and down through an unused ariel socket behind the sofa if wired is easier.
 

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
How are you at a spot of simple DIY?

IKEA BESTA units have been a staple of people wanting to hide things, and an open fronted BESTA unit that you then cover the front of with a fabric covered frame, would probably be the easiest, and one of the more cost effective solutions to hide stuff - both speakers and receiver.

Two or three kitchen door type hinges along the bottom, and a couple of magnetic latches along the top would give easy access. IR signals will usually pass through speaker grille fabric (which you could cover the frame with), so you’d still be able to control it all.

The rear speakers might be harder to conceal, but you could suggest placing a bookcase or similar along that wall. It’d remove a lot of the clutter, such as your Blu-Ray collection etc. from other areas of the room, and a couple of discreet bookshelf speakers in there wouldn’t be noticed.

The Atmos speakers would obviously have to be in-ceiling affairs, but the speaker grilles can generally be painted the same colour as the ceiling if required, so would blend in easily enough.
 

DrPhil

Distinguished Member
I'm not too bad for DIY so that could work.

In ceiling might actually be approved by SWMBO, not sure.

My other thought was standing mount speakers at the back that can be lowered behind the sofa when not in use but raised when needed.
 

The Dreamer

Distinguished Member
We have ceiling speakers in the kitchen - and honestly, simply never notice that they're there, until we play some music through them! They're very discreet.

If your DIY skills are up to snuff then, maybe build a floating wall that were all the rage a few years back, and incorporate your speakers and kit into it? (Though I think the BESTA units are easier to hide kit in).
 

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