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Topic # 86876 14-Jul-2011 19:23
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This is my first post at Geekzone, but I have lurked here a while.  I live in Auckland, and any specific suggestions on places to shop etc are appreciated.  EDIT: Seems I'm unable to post links, sorry, I had all my gear linked, the infinity stuff is still easy to find, maybe the receiver too.

Basically I'm looking for help on setting up my home theatre now I own my own house.  So theres a few parts to this thread.

A. The Soundsystem:

My equipment has been gathered over a few years and I think the receiver at the very least probably requires replacing.

My AV receiver is a Pioneer VSX-d1011.   I bought it with my floors in 2004, got a great deal, but it has no HDMI :(
Speakers are 2 floors Infinity alpha 50
2 surrounds Infinity beta ES250
A centre Infinity beta C250
And a Wharfedale Powercube 12+ as a sub 

The speakers have not been thrashed and still run very well. 
There is some minor damage to the cones as shown. 

This was from a friend helping move them.

This is from me trying to repair the damage he did moving them.

I assume this isn't going to affect the sound quality, but can I repair this easily?? 

The receiver not having HDMI is a PITA.  The volume dial is also broken, and needs repair.  If you had this system, would you entertain keeping the reciever??  Otherwise what would you look at upgrading the receiver to??  Lets say I want to spend less a couple of grand, but this limit is somewhat arbitrary.  I need atleast 4 HDMI and a component in.

Would you consider changing anything about the rest of the speaker system??

B. The Screen

My TV is a Panasonic Plasma TH42PV700AZ, I think from the shape of the lounge it will be best positioned above the (currently blocked, and not working) fire

There are a couple of questions I have about this.  

The first is about that funky wallpaper 'feature wall thingy', There is a chimney behind it, but I dont know what supports the facade, or if it backs straight onto the chimney.  From examining through the window, it looks to only stick out 2-3cm (about an inch) from the front of the chimney should you follow the vertical line down from the roof.

If I got an electronic stud finder, or some such device, would I be able to figure out whether the chimney is in there and its dimensions??  What if there is an air gap between the ?gib and chimney??

Would those bricks be a smart place to mount a tv??  I would be gutted to come home and find my TV smashed on the floor with 4 bricks still bolted to the back of it. 

Finally, the fire, I'm currently thinking of either replacing it with a closed 'kent' fire (if I can get a line on some cheap wood).  Or maybe some sort of fake gas fire, as we're on mains, but thats next winters problem.  This winter were just doing the heat pump thing. 

Anyway, would mounting a TV on a wall above a fireplace be a problem as far as temperature is concerned, what difference would a closed fire or gas fire make??  Does temperature adversely affect the TV, or only being able to view it (we actually use it very rarely).

What would the logistics of actually mounting it here be, I cant imagine running cables through a wall with a chimney in it is very feasible.  What do you think it would cost to just get someone else to do it ;)

Thanks for your time

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Ultimate Geek

Reply # 493488 14-Jul-2011 19:37
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Others will offer advise on your set up.....But please get rid of that horrible wallpaper above the fire place.Yell
You don't wont anything too busy behind the TV.

"In the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years." -
  --  Abraham lincoln

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  Reply # 493491 14-Jul-2011 19:43
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It came with the house, but my partner wants it gone anyway.  I think its just too much without something breaking it up.  Thanks anyway Wink

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  Reply # 493627 15-Jul-2011 09:50
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Right, a quick few things here.

1st, I assume you own the house?

2nd, wood floors, old open fire, = expensive power bills, but hey moving on....

Get up in the roof space, wander over to the chimney and shine a light down into that area.  That will quickly tell you what is making up the actual wall.  Chimneys get smaller as they leave the main fire box, so there's most like a 10cm gap etc between the wall inside and the actual bricks.

I've done just what you're proposing so it can be done.  Lost to think about though, like:

Height.  Putting a TV up where a picture looks good seems great, but really it's too high to watch when you head is only 1m off the ground when you're sitting down.

Heat.  I found that with a deep fireplace surround that the heat from the fire was deflected away from the TV above it.  If you have a shallow fire place shelf then the TV will get very hot.  TV's dont like to get too hot.

If your house is 1920's it might be match lined, which means the walls are all covered in 6 or 8x1" rough boards of solid wood.  In that case there are no dwangs and you can hang anything you want anywhere you want.  If it's the more modern/traditional studs with dwangs and only gib board between them then your tv bracket will require mounting to a stud or dwang or you'll have to rip the gib off and build some meat in behind it.

You'll need power up to there as well.  And cables from the receiver and a centre speaker and an aerial.

It can all be done, but you need to plan for it and be prepared to get your hands dirty.

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  Reply # 493636 15-Jul-2011 10:13
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Technically I own it.  In reality the bank owns it, and I have the right to live in it, maintain it and, most importantly, hit holes in the walls.

It's 1940's, and wood, but it's been insulated completely, the heat pump/HRV combo seems to heat it efficiently.  But then we're in Auckland, so I guess all it really needs to do is hold the rain and wind out.

I'll get into the roof and have a look down, thanks for the advice.  I didn't really consider being able to look down from above, I only saw the pink batts and thought it would be solid;).  Do you think a closed fire, or gas fire would make any difference in heat distribution??

I was wondering about the comfort of the viewing angle, the room is L shaped, with the fireplace just opposite where the lower part of the L comes off.  The closest seating would be at 2.5m from the TV.  Is there some sort of distance to height of TV mounting equation/guideline??  Or does it just come down to figuring it out??

Im already going to run cables for the speakers under the house, and have a good line on some cat poo protection overalls.  Im happy to get a bit dirty for a nicely set up home theatre.  And the planning is obviously underway, I haven't cut/drilled/smashed any holes just yet.

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Ultimate Geek

  Reply # 493701 15-Jul-2011 12:30
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Looking at the pic i wouldn't want the TV any higher than basically the lower edge resting on the mantle. Most people I have seen tend to hang the TV too high so you end up with either a sore neck from looking up or a sore back from slumping into the couch.

I find looking up at about a 5deg angle is good (what appears to be straight and normal when seated on a couch), much more and it gets annoying after a very short while.

Just my 2 cents. And all the best. Setting up a HT can be enjoyable if you take your time and remember the rewards :)

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  Reply # 493711 15-Jul-2011 13:08
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BlackSunEmpire: Technically I own it.  In reality the bank owns it,

No you are right, you own it and you've done a deal on the side to get the funds to pay the last guy for it.  It's yours now, your name is on the documents as the owner.

Yep, look down inside and you'll be right.

I can't find easily a photo of our old lounge here at work, but as above, you'd really want to think twice about putting it above the fire place in my experience.  Architects etc love it, but to look good like a picture it gets mounted 2/3rd of the way up the wall. 

Our current TV is mounted about 1m up off the floor, almost midway up the wall.  People initially stop and look at it strange, then realise why when they sit down to view it. 

We did it high at the last place, which was a character home, but we wouldn't do it again.  The aim then was to sell the house and a flat screen wall mounted looks the part.  If it was for me, like in our current house non character, then I wouldn't do it again.

Fire wise, if it's got a fan in it then it tends to blow the heat out and this is better than having it just naturally rising.  Better TV wise that is, not if the fire needs power to work etc, but that's another story.  Just check first is all I'd say, put a thermometer up where you want to put the TV and see how hot it gets.  Put your hand on the wall and see at what point it warms up as you go higher up the wall.

That old thing of cutting out a box to the TV size and sticking it on the wall temporarily is actually good value to work out if you're going to like what you end up with.

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  Reply # 493718 15-Jul-2011 13:35
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Hmmm, good idea on the cardboard box faux tv.

I was hoping to put the centre speaker on the mantle, but I guess it's hardly going to push the TV too far up the wall.

I had a climb around in the roof (over all the c**p I've already got stored up there).  And it does have a gap between the chimney and the wall as you suggested.  The wall is supported by joists and dwangs. There is even technically a space to run cable through the wall, though I'm not entirely sure the best way to approach such a thing.  Or atleast, I know how I would do it, but cutting a hole in the middle of a 'feature wall' seems drastic, Im sure I will come around though (must focus on the end result).

Basically if I have HDMI capable receiver, I would want to run an HDMI cable, and the centre speaker wiring through the wall.  TV comes through a freeview set top box, which runs through HDMI, would you still run aerial cable through the wall??

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  Reply # 493731 15-Jul-2011 14:22
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In my experience it pays to put everything you could ever think of in there now. Doing it next year when you get a freeview enabled TV can become a pain in the a$$.

Cable is cheap. There's heaps of info here on approaching this sort of thing but I'd include analogue connections for that weird device you're gonna get next year (unless your receiver can upscale analogue video to hdmi?). I'd include lots of draw wires as well so adding anything at a later date is easy etc.

Like a surgeon, you're gonna have to cut some holes sooner or later. Face plates can cover quite big holes you know. Also, I'm personally a fan of running one cable from source to speaker etc. You can spend a lot of money on fancy face plates you'll never see, which introduce an extra failure point or two and are only really useful if you're going to be plugging/unplugging speakers a lot etc. My opinion there, but basically save the money and spend it on better cable or the wife etc to smooth the operation.

Try the cardboard approach. Could save you a lot of disappointment down the line, and suddenly that gap to the side of the fire place feature wall might start looking pretty good. Or go the whole way, rip out the earthquake hazard chimney and replace it with a heat pump etc so you can lay the room out the way you want it. It's all good fun man.

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  Reply # 493743 15-Jul-2011 15:20
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Cool, thanks a lot a lot Jaxson, I'll have a bit of a read about wiring on the rest of the forums, I think I have a bit of a plan on what I want to achieve now, thanks for all the advice (likely won't be the last I need, but it's been good so far).

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  Reply # 494496 18-Jul-2011 10:11
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Found some pictures you may (or may not) be interested in from my previous character house TV above the fireplace install. 

This was a 1920's house, with sarking or match lining on the walls.  This means no dwangs, which means a full void from ceiling to floor between the studs, which means really really easy cable runs down from ceiling or up from underfloor.

This is the back of the 'wall' above the fire place.  It shows what I was talking about with the chimney bricks.  The 'fire box' is right up against the wall down low, but the bricks come away from the wall as it becomes the more narrow chimney up to the roof.  (You can see the bricks in the picture above actually too.) 

I ran cables from behind TV to the base of the fire place/out the side at floor level.  Those cables to speakers and the TV etc all have to go back to your gear somewhere.  Architects tend to forget that too.

In my case I had some plastering/wall papering to do before moving on to painting.

But in the end it all ended up like this:

I got a slim line centre channel speaker so I could lower the TV a bit.  It was a huge compromise in sound quality as the centre channel content is right up there in importance in movies.

Looks the part, (for selling especially), but to be honest, if I was to do it again for me then I would have just put the TV over to the side on a cabinet.  As I said before, in my new house I've mounted my new TV at no more than 1m up off the floor I'd say, and that's in a new house with smaller ceiling heights.  In general there is a tendency to go 2/3rds of the way up the wall, which in character homes is even worse due to the higher ceilings in the first place.

As always, your results will vary, just something to think about.  Hope some of that is useful and good luck!


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  Reply # 494510 18-Jul-2011 10:28
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Here is another set of photos that may give you some ideas - I particularly love the "hidden" deep sets of drawers.

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  Reply # 494535 18-Jul-2011 10:47
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@Jaxson, those wires inside the chimney space, do they need to be heat shielded in any way??  Or just keep them off the bricks??

Thanks for the pics guys, I think I might audition cardboard TV for a week or so and see where we get to. 

As for the receiver, Ive been looking at the Onkyo nr609, on special at JB at the moment for just under a k. But then while doing that, I've stumbled down the slippery slope of looking at the nr709 and nr809.  (sorry, I'm still too much of a newbie here to link any of the stuff).  Anyone have any experience with these receivers?? 

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  Reply # 494589 18-Jul-2011 11:28
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BlackSunEmpire: @Jaxson, those wires inside the chimney space, do they need to be heat shielded in any way??  Or just keep them off the bricks??

Really depends.  In our case the gas heater had it's own flue up inside the original brick chimney so the bricks never got hot to touch at all where the cables are.  There's really not a lot of room to move down there once you get into it all though.  Removing some gib to gain access and do it all nicely would be a better (but more involved) way to go.

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  Reply # 494617 18-Jul-2011 12:07
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  those wires inside the chimney space, do they need to be heat shielded in any way??  Or just keep them off the bricks??

I would think if the bricks got hot enough to have any effect on the wires then the chimney would be a real fire hazard.

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  Reply # 494650 18-Jul-2011 12:53
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Well, as it is, I don't even use the chimney/fire, and the current plan is to either get a closed fire system, or a 'gas fire' installed in the space by next winter (first things, first, entertainment system).  I would imagine either a closed fire system, or a gas fire would have its own flue inside the chimney, but I don't know for sure.  So I just have no clue about how hot it will or won't get, as it were.

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