Videophiles Unite.

bNeta86

Member
May 7, 2002
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My inlaws are building a new house and in it they have plans for a theater room. The room will be in the basement so 100% dark.

They are going to be about 15-20 feet from the wall which they will be viewing the movie / TV on. The wall will be painted with the special paint needed to do so.

I unfortunately cannot view the avs forum from work - which is why I am posting here.


The budget for this room is quite sizable - they want good surround sound - HD projector with reasonable bulb life - and great quality.

I am curious to hear how you all would go about outfitting this room knowing that you can basically spend up to whatever you want...within reason - no $50k projectors - but a $4000-$5000 one I think would be justified.

Watching movies / TV mostly / and occasionally have a gaming console hooked up. Also would like to have computer inputs so they could surf on it with a wireless set-up. Let me know what you guys would go with - and any advice would be great. If you have a link to good review or somehting on avsforum - feel free to quote it here as I cannot surf there from work - which is the only place I am bored enough to go ahead and bother reading about this stuff. Thanks in advance
 

YOyoYOhowsDAjello

Moderator<br>A/V & Home Theater<br>Elite member
Aug 6, 2001
31,203
45
91
Can you view http://www.projectorcentral.com/ at work?

What about http://www.hometheaterforum.com/htforum/index.php?

You should have your parents (EDIT: inlaws ;)) go out and look at some properly hooked up projectors. They can see if they are bothered by rainbows for DLP projectors etc.

The most expensive projector I've seen is an Infocus 7200 and it looked very nice. There's a newer 7205 model out now. EDIT: crap, the 7210 is the new model now (show how much I've been keeping up with things)

I haven't really been looking at newer models since I got my own projector (don't want to get upgraditis too soon) but I've heard from Quasmo actually that there are some new LCD 1080p units coming out in fall. I'm not sure on the price of those.

Right now the Sanyo Z3 and Panasonic AE700 are popular LCD options.

These are all well below your $5000 mark though. I haven't really looked much at the projectors that were that much above my own pricerange :p

You can always use the money saved on a more expensive sound system though :evil:
(says the guy with a $1000 projector and $3000 of sound equipment)

EDIT: oh, and if you can't get to projector central, I'm going to post this for you to look at quickly to get some ideas of ones to check out:

Top 15 Home Theater Projectors
Rankings based on popularity.
Last updated: Aug 21, 2005
Low Cost
1. Panasonic PT-AE700U See Dealers Request Quote Review
2. Optoma H31 See Dealers Request Quote Review
3. InFocus ScreenPlay 4805 Review
4. Sanyo PLV-Z3 See Dealers Request Quote Review
5. NEC HT1100 See Dealers Request Quote Review



Mid Range
1. BenQ PE7700 See Dealers Request Quote Review
2. Sony VPL-HS51 See Dealers Request Quote Review
3. InFocus ScreenPlay 7205
4. Optoma H57 See Dealers Request Quote
5. SharpVision XV-Z2000 See Dealers Request Quote Review



High Performance
1. Optoma H79 See Dealers Request Quote Review
2. BenQ PE8700 See Dealers Request Quote Review
3. Optoma H77 See Dealers Request Quote Review
4. Optoma H78DC3 See Dealers Request Quote
5. InFocus ScreenPlay 7210 Review


 

Matthias99

Diamond Member
Oct 7, 2003
8,808
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Solid advice there. A few more things:

They are going to be about 15-20 feet from the wall which they will be viewing the movie / TV on. The wall will be painted with the special paint needed to do so.

If you're building a home theater room, it seems a little silly not to at least get a nice screen to project onto (tends to give a better contrast ratio than projecting onto a wall, even if painted well). If you feel it's a waste of money, you can buy screen material and build your own for a lot less. Also be sure to check out a throw distance calculator to make sure the projector can give you a big/small enough image at the desired distance.

Also, in your price range, I'd definitely be looking at the 720p (1280x720) native LCD/DLP projectors (basically, the ones listed under "Mid Range" above, and a few of the "Low Cost" ones). If it's going to be in a completely dark room, you can probably get away with a cheaper model with a lower brightness. 1080p models would be great, but they're likely to be well above the $5K mark, at least at first.
 

bNeta86

Member
May 7, 2002
176
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Good stuff - I can get to projector central at work.

I dont know what resolution I want - seems like the figures dont add up right though - I guess I just dont know enough about it but it seems odd that the only 1080p projector can only do 1280x1024.

Anyway - what is the standard for HDTV now? Do I need to get 1080p or is 720p enough. If I recall correctly 1080i is worse than 720p right?

Bleh - such a newb but of course I am the techno geek in the family so they all look to me.
 

YOyoYOhowsDAjello

Moderator<br>A/V & Home Theater<br>Elite member
Aug 6, 2001
31,203
45
91
Originally posted by: bNeta86
Good stuff - I can get to projector central at work.

I dont know what resolution I want - seems like the figures dont add up right though - I guess I just dont know enough about it but it seems odd that the only 1080p projector can only do 1280x1024.

Anyway - what is the standard for HDTV now? Do I need to get 1080p or is 720p enough. If I recall correctly 1080i is worse than 720p right?

Bleh - such a newb but of course I am the techno geek in the family so they all look to me.

I don't even know what kind of 1080p source material is out there really.

I've heard conflicting things over which is better for 1080i vs 720p. I think most HD signals are 1080i right now.

Also, resolution isn't everything. You can have lower resolution and look better than things that have higher resolution. I think 720p would be a good thing to look at.

Just thinking here... if they're doing mainly movie watching, do you mean DVDs? Those aren't very high res at all. I think DVDs look great on my 4805 which was only $999 with a 76" screen around Christmas time.
 

rbV5

Lifer
Dec 10, 2000
12,632
0
0
720p and 1080i are HDTV. 1080p = mostly marketing BS (no 1080p broadcasts even on the horizon). There are 1080p source videos like WMV HD (1080p/24) A display that truely supported 1080p/60 would be great for a gaming rig, but would have to upconvert virtually every HD broadcast (not that thats bad, but probably comes at a price premium and would be almost indistiguishable from just plain 1080i if it did a proper job at upconverting)

HDTV formats are:
1920x1080i/60 (1920x540 interlaced fields, 60 "fields" per second: 30 FPS
1920x1080p/30 (1920x1080@30 FPS
1920x1080p/24 (1920x1080@24FPS) <--excellent for film
720 HDTV formats are:
1280x720/60
1280x720/30
1280x720/24


720p is "supposed" to be better for motion, but it really depends on the source material. 720p/60 has almost the same pixel count as 1080i per second, so its a debatable issue. They both look good to me when they are good, and both can look like crap when they try to pass some upconverted SDTV off as "HDTV".
 

Matthias99

Diamond Member
Oct 7, 2003
8,808
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0
Originally posted by: YOyoYOhowsDAjello
Originally posted by: bNeta86
Good stuff - I can get to projector central at work.

I dont know what resolution I want - seems like the figures dont add up right though - I guess I just dont know enough about it but it seems odd that the only 1080p projector can only do 1280x1024.

Anyway - what is the standard for HDTV now? Do I need to get 1080p or is 720p enough. If I recall correctly 1080i is worse than 720p right?

Bleh - such a newb but of course I am the techno geek in the family so they all look to me.

I don't even know what kind of 1080p source material is out there really.

I've heard conflicting things over which is better for 1080i vs 720p. I think most HD signals are 1080i right now.

Also, resolution isn't everything. You can have lower resolution and look better than things that have higher resolution. I think 720p would be a good thing to look at.

Just thinking here... if they're doing mainly movie watching, do you mean DVDs? Those aren't very high res at all. I think DVDs look great on my 4805 which was only $999 with a 76" screen around Christmas time.

Most network TV shows are filmed in 1080i. Fox, however, seems to have settled on 720p (e.g., last year's MLB playoffs were all in 720p, as is their NASCAR coverage, and I think most of their shows are as well). Cable HD channels (InHD, HBO's HD channel, etc.) vary depending on what they are showing.

DVD movies are normally 480p (720x480, progressive scan), and look pretty good upsampled to either 1080i or 720p. If you mostly want to watch DVDs (and not HD content), you could easily go with one of the lower-res projectors and not lose too much PQ (although it looks nowhere near as good with real HD content).

Which is "better" has been debated since the standards came out. 1080i has a higher resolution (1920x1080), but is interlaced -- you only get 30 full frames per second, and interlacing can introduce artifacts in fast motion scenes. 720p is lower resolution (1280x720), but gives 60 progressive frames per second. On just a theoretical basis, 1080i should be better for looking at highly detailed things that don't have a lot of fast motion, whereas 720p should be better for things like sporting events, where the action is constantly moving and interlacing might look ugly. A LOT of it depends on how good the source material is and how heavily the signal is compressed, though.

There's not really much for 1080p right now unless you have a computer hooked up to your projector/HDTV. Some DVD movies include a 1080p version you can watch on your computer (Terminator 3 has this, IIRC), and there is some 1080p HD content you can download. Of course, there aren't many remotely affordable native 1080p displays yet (except the Dell 2405FPW). :p
 

tbradsha

Member
Jun 9, 2005
28
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0
There is no such thing as 1080i native on a projector, since all projectors are "progressive scan" (i.e., every pixel is illuminated all the time). Also, every projector these days can convert 720p and 1080i to its native resolution.

I recommend 720p since there really aren't too many 1080p options at the moment, and so any current 1080p projectors probably jack you big time on price. You are better off with a 720p projector with all the latest features. Also, Xbox 360 and PS3 will likely output games in 720p (and not 1080i). During the lifetime of the projector -- the next five years or so -- I think 720p will be the more dominant standard. The price of 1080p is not worth the premium right now.

I recommend DLP (as opposed to LCD). Maybe the upcoming release of the next-gen LCDs will turn the tide, but at the moment I think DLP is king. The one big downside of DLP projectors used to be the rainbow effect, but color wheels are now so fast (4x and up) that the rainbow effect is not noticeable in current generation models. If you get DLP, look for a projector with an HD2+ chip (not just plain HD2 -- the plus sign means something). HD3 is worse than HD2, so be careful. There may be a better chip on the horizon, I'm not sure.

If the sky is the limit, you probably can't go wrong with the latest Infocus, like the 7210. Projector technology changes so fast that I think you're better off at the $2500-3500 price range than you are at the $5000 price range, so you might want to dump the extra into better speakers or something. Truly, your in-laws would be blown away even by today's $1000 offerings like the 4805. All other things equal, get a projector that comes with a free bulb. It'll save you another $450 a couple years down the road.

If the budget allows, get a Stewart Firehawk screen which will run you over $1000. The screen will last much longer than the projector, and by all accounts it makes a very noticeable difference in image quality. Screens have a "gain" (white/reflectivity property) that should "match" your projector, so make sure you consult the avs forum (or a helpful salesperson) before buying. In any event, if you have a decent budget, you should spend at least $300 on a high quality screen.

With this kind of setup they should not skimp on the sound. Better to get a cheaper projector than have a weak stereo. (The sound system will last way longer anyway.) One possible breakdown might be:

$2500-3000 for a nice 720p DLP projector with free bulb -- Infocus...
$200 ceiling mount
$1000 screen -- Stewart Firehawk
$600 5.1 surround receiver -- Denon, Yamaha, Harman Kardon...
$2000 5.1 speakers -- Boston Acoustics, Energy, Paradigm...
$200 professional calibration
$200 cables/misc
($500-1000 professional installation/calibration??)
__________
$6700-7200 (or $7700-8200)


Make sure you do your diligence on avsforum before buying anything. The one (huge) problem with their site is that you can't mention prices (?!?), but otherwise it's very helpful.
 

YOyoYOhowsDAjello

Moderator<br>A/V & Home Theater<br>Elite member
Aug 6, 2001
31,203
45
91
Originally posted by: Matthias99
Originally posted by: YOyoYOhowsDAjello
Originally posted by: bNeta86
Good stuff - I can get to projector central at work.

I dont know what resolution I want - seems like the figures dont add up right though - I guess I just dont know enough about it but it seems odd that the only 1080p projector can only do 1280x1024.

Anyway - what is the standard for HDTV now? Do I need to get 1080p or is 720p enough. If I recall correctly 1080i is worse than 720p right?

Bleh - such a newb but of course I am the techno geek in the family so they all look to me.

I don't even know what kind of 1080p source material is out there really.

I've heard conflicting things over which is better for 1080i vs 720p. I think most HD signals are 1080i right now.

Also, resolution isn't everything. You can have lower resolution and look better than things that have higher resolution. I think 720p would be a good thing to look at.

Just thinking here... if they're doing mainly movie watching, do you mean DVDs? Those aren't very high res at all. I think DVDs look great on my 4805 which was only $999 with a 76" screen around Christmas time.

Most network TV shows are filmed in 1080i. Fox, however, seems to have settled on 720p (e.g., last year's MLB playoffs were all in 720p, as is their NASCAR coverage, and I think most of their shows are as well). Cable HD channels (InHD, HBO's HD channel, etc.) vary depending on what they are showing.

DVD movies are normally 480p (720x480, progressive scan), and look pretty good upsampled to either 1080i or 720p. If you mostly want to watch DVDs (and not HD content), you could easily go with one of the lower-res projectors and not lose too much PQ (although it looks nowhere near as good with real HD content).

Which is "better" has been debated since the standards came out. 1080i has a higher resolution (1920x1080), but is interlaced -- you only get 30 full frames per second, and interlacing can introduce artifacts in fast motion scenes. 720p is lower resolution (1280x720), but gives 60 progressive frames per second. On just a theoretical basis, 1080i should be better for looking at highly detailed things that don't have a lot of fast motion, whereas 720p should be better for things like sporting events, where the action is constantly moving and interlacing might look ugly. A LOT of it depends on how good the source material is and how heavily the signal is compressed, though.

There's not really much for 1080p right now unless you have a computer hooked up to your projector/HDTV. Some DVD movies include a 1080p version you can watch on your computer (Terminator 3 has this, IIRC), and there is some 1080p HD content you can download. Of course, there aren't many remotely affordable native 1080p displays yet (except the Dell 2405FPW). :p

My T2 set has the 1080p version. I'm not sure if T3 does also.
 

YOyoYOhowsDAjello

Moderator<br>A/V & Home Theater<br>Elite member
Aug 6, 2001
31,203
45
91
Originally posted by: tbradsha
There is no such thing as 1080i native on a projector, since all projectors are "progressive scan" (i.e., every pixel is illuminated all the time). Also, every projector these days can convert 720p and 1080i to its native resolution.

I recommend 720p since there really aren't too many 1080p options at the moment, and so any current 1080p projectors probably jack you big time on price. You are better off with a 720p projector with all the latest features. Also, Xbox 360 and PS3 will likely output games in 720p (and not 1080i). During the lifetime of the projector -- the next five years or so -- I think 720p will be the more dominant standard. The price of 1080p is not worth the premium right now.

I recommend DLP (as opposed to LCD). Maybe the upcoming release of the next-gen LCDs will turn the tide, but at the moment I think DLP is king. The one big downside of DLP projectors used to be the rainbow effect, but color wheels are now so fast (4x and up) that the rainbow effect is not noticeable in current generation models. If you get DLP, look for a projector with an HD2+ chip (not just plain HD2 -- the plus sign means something). HD3 is worse than HD2, so be careful. There may be a better chip on the horizon, I'm not sure.

If the sky is the limit, you probably can't go wrong with the latest Infocus, like the 7210. Projector technology changes so fast that I think you're better off at the $2500-3500 price range than you are at the $5000 price range, so you might want to dump the extra into better speakers or something. Truly, your in-laws would be blown away even by today's $1000 offerings like the 4805. All other things equal, get a projector that comes with a free bulb. It'll save you another $450 a couple years down the road.

If the budget allows, get a Stewart Firehawk screen which will run you over $1000. The screen will last much longer than the projector, and by all accounts it makes a very noticeable difference in image quality. Screens have a "gain" (white/reflectivity property) that should "match" your projector, so make sure you consult the avs forum (or a helpful salesperson) before buying. In any event, if you have a decent budget, you should spend at least $300 on a high quality screen.

With this kind of setup they should not skimp on the sound. Better to get a cheaper projector than have a weak stereo. (The sound system will last way longer anyway.) One possible breakdown might be:

$2500-3000 for a nice 720p DLP projector with free bulb -- Infocus...
$200 ceiling mount
$1000 screen -- Stewart Firehawk
$600 5.1 surround receiver -- Denon, Yamaha, Harman Kardon...
$2000 5.1 speakers -- Boston Acoustics, Energy, Paradigm...
$200 professional calibration
$200 cables/misc
($500-1000 professional installation/calibration??)
__________
$6700-7200 (or $7700-8200)


Make sure you do your diligence on avsforum before buying anything. The one (huge) problem with their site is that you can't mention prices (?!?), but otherwise it's very helpful.

I'd bump down the screen budget and get a nice subwoofer in there :)

For $2000 speakers, I'm very happy with my Onix Rocket Ultra HT I just got :thumbsup:
http://www.av123.com/products_product.php?section=speakers&product=21.1

For a sub, try SVS.
http://www.svsubwoofers.com/animation.htm
 

Matthias99

Diamond Member
Oct 7, 2003
8,808
0
0
Originally posted by: YOyoYOhowsDAjello
My T2 set has the 1080p version. I'm not sure if T3 does also.

Uh, yeah. :p

It's the Terminator 2 Ultimate Edition (or whatever they called the last one they put out) that had this, not T3.

 

YOyoYOhowsDAjello

Moderator<br>A/V & Home Theater<br>Elite member
Aug 6, 2001
31,203
45
91
Originally posted by: Matthias99
Originally posted by: YOyoYOhowsDAjello
My T2 set has the 1080p version. I'm not sure if T3 does also.

Uh, yeah. :p

It's the Terminator 2 Ultimate Edition (or whatever they called the last one they put out) that had this, not T3.

extreme dvd :)

(Got it used from gamestop for $9.99)

I tried playing it on my computer but I had a hard time installing the software package to play it. I got it working after a while and it dit look pretty good :) (monitor doesn't go up that high though heh)
 

bNeta86

Member
May 7, 2002
176
0
0
WOW...awsome info guys I really appreciate it.

I just talked to them at it appears that the builder is quoting all the crap in the room right now at about $16k. HOLY CRAP!!! I said I could build them a movie theater for that...geeze. Granted that includes the install and everything and building it all into the room.

I was thinking keep the room under $10k and they should be absolutely BLOWN AWAY. and get much better stuff. These builders werent even going to be doing a screen. Now this "theater room" is part of the spec home and just one of the things they do on a regular basis but I was thinking they should hire someone to come in and do this room that does it for a living...like you said - $1000 for someone to come professionally calibrate it and make everything work perfectly so they can just turn it on. Do you guys have any companies that you know that are nationwide that do this well or should I just have them shop around (St. Louis area)

I am liking the 7210 from infocus at first glance but seems like it might be a bit pricey considering what you all said about 720p really being just fine...hmm

Thanks again and heres to spending your inheritance!!
 

YOyoYOhowsDAjello

Moderator<br>A/V & Home Theater<br>Elite member
Aug 6, 2001
31,203
45
91
I wish I had $16k to spend on a theater room :)

So how much of this is the cost of the actual electronics? Being 22 and a college student, I've never had the pleasure of having someone build a theater for me so I'm pretty unfamiliar with the process. Do you pick out the components or do they just say something like "we sell product x or product y, which one do you want?"

I really like researching purchases before I get them so there's no way I would personally let someone pick out a bunch of stuff for me.

What are your inlaws used to? I know my parents who are used to a 27" CRT are blown away by my set that cost a whole lot less than $16k. There's also definately a point of diminishing returns in AV stuff. Spending 16k vs 8k will get you better stuff, but is it going to look and sound twice as good? Probably not as an 8k set is going to be very nice already.

Is this with inwall speakers and speaker wire etc? I don't know what it is about inwall speakers, but I just don't like the idea. I know some are very nice, but I couldn't see myself getting some.

Would it be possible for them to just run speaker wire to the right places in the room and then let you guys figure out what you want?

I'm just concerned that they might be charging you way more than the stuff is really worth. Do you have a list of what's included that makes it $16k? For 16k without a screen, I think looking elsewhere would be a good plan.

If you want someone to come in and do it, maybe go to some local AV stores and see if they have any recommendations.

Oh, the 7210 is a 720p unit. Whoa, I'm a moron, I just noticed the 4800/4805 = 480p while 7200/7205/7210 = 720p. duh!
 

kylebisme

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2000
9,396
0
0
Originally posted by: Matthias99
DVD movies are normally 480p (720x480, progressive scan)

That is actually a common misconception, DVDs are interlaced. Progressive scan DVD players just deinterlace the image.

Also, someone spoke of upconvertion 1080i to 1080p; but there is no upconversion there, simply deinterlacing.
 

YOyoYOhowsDAjello

Moderator<br>A/V & Home Theater<br>Elite member
Aug 6, 2001
31,203
45
91
Oh yeah, I meant to mention this before... I just got a Logitech Harmony 880 remote control for my set, and once you set it up (which isn't too bad), all you have to do is hit the button for the activity you want ("Play DVD" for example) and it will turn on all appropriate components and turn them to the right settings.

Even my parents could figure it out :)

(This is if you thought maybe you'd set it up for them or something)
 

kylebisme

Diamond Member
Mar 25, 2000
9,396
0
0
Yeah, I haven't been able to justify droping the cash on one of those Harmony remotes yet as I'm fairly content with just useing a wireless mouse or my media pad, but they sure do look like damn fine peices of hardware.
 

YOyoYOhowsDAjello

Moderator<br>A/V & Home Theater<br>Elite member
Aug 6, 2001
31,203
45
91
Originally posted by: TheSnowman
Yeah, I haven't been able to justify droping the cash on one of those Harmony remotes yet as I'm fairly content with just useing a wireless mouse or my media pad, but they sure do look like damn fine peices of hardware.

I wasn't planning on it either, but my gf was thinking of things to get for my birthday. She said "what about a remote?" and I saw a nice deal on the 880. The original deal actually died, but I got it for $183 shipped.

I would have programmed my receiver remote to control everything, but I really didn't like it much.
 

carpenter

Platinum Member
May 31, 2003
2,880
0
0
If that contractor is building that room and supplying the electronics for that price, it's a steal. We did a kitchen for a Dr. last summer and it was just over 40,000. Yep, you are reading it right. That did include appliances. And they didn't like living in the mess for the 2 months that it took to complete, so they went way up north and bought a $300,000 condo to stay in. Must be nice.

 

knyghtbyte

Senior member
Oct 20, 2004
918
1
0
Originally posted by: tbradsha
I recommend DLP (as opposed to LCD). Maybe the upcoming release of the next-gen LCDs will turn the tide, but at the moment I think DLP is king. The one big downside of DLP projectors used to be the rainbow effect, but color wheels are now so fast (4x and up) that the rainbow effect is not noticeable in current generation models. If you get DLP, look for a projector with an HD2+ chip (not just plain HD2 -- the plus sign means something). HD3 is worse than HD2, so be careful. There may be a better chip on the horizon, I'm not sure.

If the sky is the limit, you probably can't go wrong with the latest Infocus, like the 7210. Projector technology changes so fast that I think you're better off at the $2500-3500 price range than you are at the $5000 price range, so you might want to dump the extra into better speakers or something.

I dont remember seeing a HD3 chip released, only the DC3 (DarkChip)...or is that what u meant? If so, saying its not good is a bit silly when you then say the 7210 is probably something you cant go wrong with as it uses the DC3....lol

For the OP, my suggestion, if its for inlaws would be to get the 7205, it can be bought for a steal now as the 7210 is out and to be honest there isnt anything different between them except quality, but the 7205 is quality already....has all the inputs you are likely to need as well....

for electronics i would go with a Denon amp, i reckon they'd probably enjoy the sound more from that......the 3805 would be more than suitable....(i own the 3803, which is fantastic, the 3805 replaces it, i have listened to that when i demoed my DVD player)
then match that with the 3910, i own this beast and its beautiful, really high quality sound regardless of the disc format....
speakerwise i cannot sadly say much as im in the UK and i would be recommending UK brands that you may have trouble finding in the USA.....but look out for Monitor Audio, KEF, B&W to name a few, oh and for your sub, if you can find an REL dealer, believe me, check it out, Strata5 is just amazing......however one thing i would recommend, go for full size floorstanders as main front speakers, make sure the centre speaker is the same kind of speaker, ie same size and type of mid/bass driver.....for the side surrounds go with bi/dipolar switchables that can be wall mounted, for the cinema rear speakers do the same, bi/dipolars, then you need a final set of standmount speakers from the same range as the main front floorstanders to put in the rear corners of the room for multichannel music (such as that on DVD-Audio and SACD discs...aside from a few DTS 6.1 discs most of them are recorded in 5.1 to be listened to with the speakers in the corner of the room, not sides or directly behind you)


one thing people often say is its better to spend your money on the speakers rather than the electronics as you will need to upgrade the electronics sooner......well thats not strictly true.....far as im aware there are no plans to bring in more than 6.1 actual recorded tracks on the source in the near future (meaning 5 years) so any reciever amp you buy now will be more than useful for the next 5-10 years.....so you might as well balance it out and get a decent one, ESPECIALLY if its used for music as well.....a surround amp in stereo is only as good as a dedicated stereo amp half its price at the best......however a DVD player such as the 3910 is so well constructed that its probably the equivelent of a CD player mebbe 2/3 its value compared to a cheaper model will would only be good as a CD player under 1/2 its value as the video circuitry is too close to the sound circuitry.........and i have done my own testing on this in shop demo rooms so i'm not just talking bull like a lot of people do when they say stuff that they are just quoting from magazines/web articles....lol

best thing you can do is to get to a dealer who can demo the stuff you are going to buy...
but i can personally vouch on the 3805/3910 combo, Monitor Audio speakers, REL subs and Infocus projectors as being definitely worth the money you pay for them.....its possible you could get something for the same price that to you will seem better, but you'd be hard pressed too with these items.......thing is, sound and vision is about what YOU like....given this isnt even for you its a bit hit and miss.....lol

oh and there are plenty of programmable remote controls around that let you set up one button macros to turn on the whole lot, but probably a couple hundred is the right figure to spend for one thats well made and wont break when its dropped of the armchair by accident...loll

sorry for being longwinded on this, but hifi/home cinema is a love of my life...hehe

good luck with it all anyhow.....btw, dont let the builders charge you that money, you wont get anything near the value for it.....buy the equipment, if you get it all from one dealer you should be able to get them to come install it (for a modest fee)......oh dont skimp on the stand either, vibrations DO affect sound/vision quality.....but dont go overboard either, solid metal frame construction with nice thick glass shelving is good.....seismic sinks are for setups costing at least 2 to 3 times what you are forking out...lol