Basement Gets A/V Makeover

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Out went a rear-projection CRT, and in went a 60-inch Pioneer plasma TV. Perfect Stranger © 2007 Revolution Studios Distribution Company. All Rights Reserved.

A homeowner transforms a boring basement into a high-tech rec room and bar. And he does it himself for $10,500.


Oct. 22, 2007 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Some guys buy sports cars when they turn 40. Others get depressed. Mark Eagle celebrated his big 4-0 with a basement bash for some friends - after he installed his own recreation room entertainment system.

“I like projects, and I’m a real technonut,” the homeowner says. “It’s something that I thought I could do myself, and my wife let me run with it. It was fun to lay out the room.”

The Eagles’ basement room was already finished and included a pool table, but besides an old rear-projection CRT TV, it didn’t have an entertainment system. The family primarily used a family room upstairs that has both a front projector and a plasma screen system. “I felt we had wasted space down there,” Eagle says. “We could probably make better use of the room when the kids’ friends came over.”

So he set to work, researching products and figuring out the best way to use the space, which is approximately 45 by 25 feet in size. One area lent itself to a bar; an LCD screen would go above that. Another part of the space would be used for a future wine room. The rest would be for pool, darts and watching a big-screen TV. Speakers would go in the ceiling.

Once Eagle knew where everything was going, it was time to wire for it. His electrician found a way to route the wires through the finished ceiling for four Sonance speakers and put in some lights for a wireless Lutron RadioRA lighting system that operates on radio frequency (RF).

Eagle enlisted the help of his wife to hang the 60-inch Pioneer plasma screen, and behind it in another room are shelves containing a Denon receiver, Blu-ray DVD player, and high-definition DirecTV receiver with a DVR (digital video recorder). The bar area has its own HD satellite receiver, which is shared by the 32-inch Sony Bravia LCD over the bar and a 20-inch Panasonic LCD in the nearby exercise room.

“The challenge was figuring out in my head how I was going to use the DVRs and the best way to connect a DVR to the LCD in the exercise room,” Eagle says. That LCD shares the DVR with the plasma TV.

He controls it all with a Universal Remote Control MX-850 using RF, though he had some help programming it from local installers Elite Media, who took care of the Eagles’ media room upstairs.

The Sonance in-ceiling speakers, says Eagle, are used primarily for music, though they can be tied to the big-screen TV.

The best things about the Eagles’ new rec room and bar? The electronics came in at about $10,500, and the family uses the basement space a lot more. It sure saves if you can do it yourself.

Check out these other home theaters on a budget:

-Mini Home Theater with Tropical Flair ($15,000)
-High Tech Touch for Country Farmhouse ($50,000)
-Isolated Home Theater Still Roars ($70,000)
-Five-in-One Home Theater ($100,000)


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