DIY Theaters of the Year Awards 2008
DIYer Creates 2.35:1 for Under $15K
Matt Standing didn’t need a huge space or bank account to pull off big home theater.
2.35:1 for Under $15K
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April 07, 2008 by Rachel Cericola

Some are willing to spend thousands of dollars to keep their hands clear of the home theater process. Matt Standing, on the other hand, decided to put his money into the machinery that makes his home theater standout. 

“I don’t know of any other theaters under $15K that have a 2.35:1 acoustically transparent screen with a higher-end Optoma Anamorphic BX-AL133 lens, 1080p DLP, Blu-ray, and sound treatments with such a clean and elegant interior for under $15,000,” Matt says proudly. 

Using the free software program Google SketchUp, Matt spent over 80 hours working on the design of the room. While the previously mentioned folks might consider their money well spent on the time saved, he actually loved every minute of it. 

He also didn’t need a professional (aside from help with the carpet installation). He found inspiration and strength in the numbers of visitors on the AVS Forum. That’s where he found help when it came to choosing equipment, developing acoustical treatments, and general construction information. He also discovered a group of 2.35:1 devotees, who helped seal his screen decision. “Once I saw some screen shots of some home theaters with the super wide screen and most importantly no black bars, I was hooked,” Matt says. “This was also where I discovered the SMX acoustically transparent DIY screen material, which I used to create the screen so I could hide my center channel directly behind the screen.”

The screen wall is actually Matt’s favorite part of the room. “I love the clean lines, the black surrounding the 2.35:1 screen, the adjustable side masking panels that convert the screen from 16:9 to 2.35:1, and that the speakers are hidden behind the screen and side columns,” he says. “The sound is absolutely stunning when it comes at you from directly behind the screen!”

Another innovative piece of Matt’s theater is the homemade equipment rack. It may not be the prettiest showpiece (although it does get help from the velour curtains Matt’s wife made), but it certainly does its job well. Aside from housing equipment, it also makes access a breeze. When Matt needs to reach a device, he just unlatches the rack and it swivels out like a door for easy access to the wiring behind.

Besides the A/V install, another thing Matt didn’t need was a mega-mansion. The basement of his townhouse created a killer 13-by-15-foot room that was good enough to replace his need to visit any Cineplex. The basement layout, with dead-air space on each side of the theater, also made for a nice cushion, so he wouldn’t have to disturb the neighbors. “The acoustical panels in the room do a great job absorbing sound reflections allowing for less ear fatigue at louder volumes,” he says. 

He might watch movies a bit louder than he had originally anticipated, but no one seems to be complaining. “My theater is like an oasis in the midst of a hectic day,” he says. “Escaping to the basement and watching a blockbuster Blu-ray or HD DVD movie is nothing short of amazing, it is like the crowning jewel of my day.”

Quick Hits
Year Completed: 2007
Room Size: 13 x 15 feet
Length of Project: 3 months (construction)
Total Cost: Under $15,000

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

Equipment List

Denon AVR-2805 Receiver
Home Theater Direct Series 2 Bookshelf Speakers (5)
JBL E250P Subwoofer
Microsoft XBox 360
Microsoft Xbox 360 HD DVD Add-On Player
Oppo 981H DVD Player
Optoma BX-AL133 Anamorphic Lens
Optoma HD80 DLP Projector
Sony PlayStation 3
Custom Swivel Rack
Homemade SMX 103-inch 2.35:1 Screen

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