Alexandre’s private Dolby Atmos and 4K theater for under €5,000

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Passionate about home theater installations as well as movie merch and memorabilia, Alexandre wanted to combine his two passions in a private room. For less than €5000, Alexandre created his own private cinema in his house. In an interior dedicated to the world of cinema, he now enjoys movies, series and concerts on a Dolby Atmos 5.1.2 and UHD 4K system.

How big is your home theater? From the technical area (electronics)?

The room has an area of 10m². The technical part was first installed in a custom-made cabinet on one side of the room, before being placed under the screen, in a cabinet.

I designed my own private cinema in a room of about 10m2.

How long did it take you to build this home theater?

The project was done in several stages, over about 6 months. Between August 2008 and January 2009 for the first version of this dedicated room. There wasn’t necessarily a lot of work, but I moved in in July 2008, so it wasn’t the only room we were working on.

When did you decide to design a room dedicated to home theater? Why create a personal movie theater?

I got the bug as a teenager at my parents’ house. I bought an old stereo at a garage sale with a pair of detachable speakers. I quickly plugged the whole thing into my TV, and I placed the speakers a little further away to create a stereo effect. Later, during the early days of the DVD, when players were still rare, I equipped my computer with a player, a Créative Sound Blaster sound card in 5.1 associated with a receiver of the same brand with 5 satellites and a small subwoofer.

That’s when the magic happened for me and I realized that I could no longer watch movies in any other way than in a home theater. I knew then that when I bought a house, I would definately need a room, even a small one, to create a home theater. At the same time, I am a fan of movie memorabilia, I own many figurines, with a penchant for horror. My collection includes many objects produced in hundreds or thousands of copies around the world. I’ve always dreamed of combining these two passions and creating a movie theater surrounded by memorabilia. For some, the latter can “disturb” and make the room look cluttered, but for me it is the perfect combination of the two universes that I love.

Fascinated by home theater installations as well as movie memorabilia, particularly horror, my home theater room combines these two passions.

How did you organize the construction work? What was the most challenging aspect?

My house had a relatively large L-shaped room that was not optimized or practical. So I decided to partition off the back of the room to make an extra room. The hard part was that it was necessary to recreate a door to enter this room. The only option was to remove a bathroom that was attached to this room and knock down the partition wall to connect these two rooms. Besides the partition, we had to remove the plumbing and rebuild a drain upstairs to move the toilet. It was the biggest technical constraint.

What was the overall budget for the system and construction?

For the build, I didn’t really spend a lot of money. It was just a few sheets of drywall, some built-in spotlights, electrical cables and carpeting for the floor and walls. For the equipment, I upgraded my room twice, the budget for the installation in progress and the build is around €5000.

Can you list the equipment used and tell us why you chose these brands?

When I embarked on the adventure, I contacted the Son-Vidéo.com team, explaining to them my wishes and restrictions. I trusted them completely with the Eltax brand, which I did not know at the time and which I am still completely satisfied with today.

How do you control the system (applications, universal remote controls, etc.)?

I mainly use a 2019 Nvidia Shield TV box associated with a plex server. I’m not a big fan of voice assistants, despite being equipped with them, and I prefer using remote controls.

Did you use an acoustic treatment? If not, do you plan to use one in the future?

The isolation was limited to adding plasterboard to the ceiling over the existing one, and all the walls are covered with carpet. The projection wall is covered with black carpet, the side walls with dark burgundy carpet, and the floor with blue carpet.

All the walls are covered with carpet to absorb sound waves and limit reflections.

What is the first movie you watched in this room? Which one gave you a taste for home theater?

The very first movie I watched in 5.1 was Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula. I first watched it in French, with a simple 2.0 track, then in the 5.1 original version, which changes the film completely and makes it more enchanting. It is the first taste I had of home theater.

How often do you use this home theater room?

With my wife, we have a ritual on Saturday evenings of having a cinema session at home, also punctuated by concerts. But since the recent evolutions of my installation, with in particular the transition from a 1.70m screen to a 2.30m model, we spend more and more time in there.

We use this theater more and more often for films, concerts and series.

Do you watch anything other than movies? Sporting events? Series? Video games? Concerts?

Yes, I’m a fan of pop-rock music so it’s only natural that we also watch concerts (From Toto to Mylène Farmer with Atmos, to Calogero, Michael Jackson, Coldplay, the Beatles, the list is very long…). It’s pure joy to listen to a live concert in these conditions. We also watch series (Netflix, Prime, Disney +…). The room is equipped with an old Xbox 360 and a Kinect sensor for my daughters. The don’t use it very often though.

Enjoying streaming services on such a big screen is a real pleasure.

How would you like to upgrade your system?

My room has evolved twice. Originally, I equipped it in Full HD with a 7.1 system. The screen measured 1m70. It was stapled to the wall with a black painted wooden frame. Subsequently, I replaced the projector with a Full HD 3D model, I switched from an Onkyo receiver to a 3D compatible Denon model and I had this configuration until December 2021. I have just made several modifications for a 2nd upgrade. First, by replacing the screen with a Lumene Movie Palace 200C 4K model measuring 2.30m. Then, by switching to a Native 4K video projector. I stuck with Denon for the new receiver with a 4K Dolby Atmos model.

I recently upgraded to a bigger screen and a 4K UHD projector to enjoy an even more spectacular picture.

Finally, I trusted the Son-Vidéo.com team who accompanied me to modify my 7.1 system (whose Liberty 3+ surround speakers were making the rear effects too excessive) to a 5.1.2 Atmos system, with the replacement of the 2 side speakers with 2 Atmos speakers mounted above the screen. The results in 4K with Atmos soundtracks are just magnificent. The only development that I am still considering is the possible addition of a dock to occasionally accommodate my Nintendo Switch.

What piece of advice can you give to someone who wants to make a room like this?

Take your time… Don’t hesitate to seek advice from professionals, trust them and listen to them, especially when you’re just starting out. Work on your project as and when possible. Read reviews of different products. Do not necessarily spend a fortune, but choose equipment adapted to your tastes, your constraints, the main thing being to enjoy yourself.

Discover Alexandre’s private cinema

a personal movie theater at home

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DJ à mes heures, grand fan de musiques Soul, Funk, Disco j’aime aussi le rock, le hip-hop, le reggae et la musique latine. The Temptations, Millie Jackson, Cerrone, Donald Byrd ou Hamilton Bohannon... Cinéphile à mes heures, je voue une passion aux westerns (Le bon, la brute et le truand, Jango unchained...), aux films de sciences fictions (Interstellar, District 9...) et films de guerre (La ligne rouge, 1917, Le soldat Ryan...). J’ai hérité de la chaîne hifi de mes parents que j’ai progressivement remplacée dès 2000 lors de mes débuts chez Son-Vidéo.com. Aujourd’hui je suis équipé avec un ensemble Elipson Planet alimenté par un ampli Yamaha en 5.1. Pas de TV mais un projecteur Epson et un écran Lumene motorisé. Deux platines Technics SL1200 avec table de mixage Ecler, platine cassette TEAC et Blu-ray Onkyo complètent mon système audio.

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