Show Us Yours: Some people hire home installers. Darrell from Illinois hired himself to build his sports-tastic home-theater room. The results are pretty astounding.
This is Darrell, also known as "Hoop," who lives in a suburb of Chicago. He built himself one of the more awesome basement home-theater setups we've seen.
Just in time for the Super Bowl, it features a football theme, complete with a gridiron backdrop for the TV.
"I'm not a professional by any means," he said of his DIY efforts. "I try to make things work with a little bit of logic and imagination."
Hoop's showcase is part of CNET's Show Us Yours series, in which we feature home theaters and other tech-heavy spaces submitted by readers. If you're interesting in seeing more, we've got plenty right here. If you want to submit your own setup, head over here.
Here's the finished room, washed in blue LED lighting effects.
Equipment includes: LG 55-inch TV, Onkyo receiver, MB Quart speakers, PlayStation 4, cable box and modem, volume meter towers.
Before we get into the details, let's start at the beginning of Darrell's project.
This is what the room looked like at the start.
Next Darrell added molding to create a frame and painted everything white.
One of the first things he built was a set of custom LED light towers, patterned after volume (VU) indicators. "It was an organized mess," he says.
Darrell went with a white, black and silver theme.
Someone was throwing away a set of "egg-like" patio chairs that Darrell scooped up for free.
Test cut and fit for the acrylic blocks. He used half-inch thick blocks, 6 by 6 inches wide and long.
The towers required 10 slots each for the acrylic light blocks.
The MB Quart tower speakers were painted white to match the color theme of the room. Darrell says he's had the speakers for 10 years.
Here's the base built and painted white.
Acrylic blocks were glued into their slots with LEDs seated and ready for power.
He next built the frame for the marquee lights around the seating area and painted it white (with black trim) to keep the color theme going.
Here's a test before making the U shape. This LED strip kit comes with more than 100 settings, Darrell says.
The wall near the stairs was painted chalkboard black. Think family games, kids' art, autographs and logos.
The centerpiece is Darrell's TV backdrop, designed to look like an overhead view of a football field. The black end zones here are ready for neon lettering.
Next Darrell added the field lines, letters and numbers.
He also made a basketball court table with backboards and lines, using a clear gloss so the chalk wouldn't rub off.
Here's the same chalkboard finish as the stairs, on a long wall with added middle detail: his model car garage.
It's basically parking for model cars, created with liquid chalk and battery-operated LED lighting. After the markings were done, Darrell again sprayed the surface with a clear low gloss to prevent rub off.
He designed it to hold models of exotic or sport cars that he wouldn't mind having in real life.
Here's Darrell's first test run, with the lights syncing to music tones.
Darrell says: "The VU power meter is peaked out here. I used used 5mm flat-face LEDs and my own color combo, and the kit came with red and green domed LEDs."
Darrell painted the chairs white and made new covers for the cushions.
The futon couch was the only thing that was store-bought and not constructed in some way.
Here's the room with the lights set to purple. Darrell says: "Neon shows up OK, but it looks better with light blue lighting."
Light blue really makes the neon green behind that TV mount pop.
One of Darrell's mantras: "Try to keep the physical representation of things you hope to obtain or experience."
Another view of the blue light on, as seen from the base of the stairs.
Or perhaps you prefer the purple?
The floor went in next. Darrell says: "Peel and stick vinyl. Inexpensive, easy to install and durable."
He added a wooden stage truss over the TV and molding around the car garage and parking spots.
He even made a sound diffuser made out of randomly placed blocks. "I know there's an equation," Darrell says, "but this isn't that."
The finished room with the sound diffuser up on the wall behind the couch is pretty impressive.
Ready to chill.
Finally we get to see the room in action, watching ESPN.
Darrell never stops. Now he's making frames for two movie posters.
Here are the posters in their homemade frames.
The posters are up!
Darrell is planning on adding more model cars (all in white, obv), including a Nissan GT-R, Corvette, Lamborghini Murciélago and maybe a Mustang.
And that's a wrap, folks. Thanks for checking out this installment of Show Us Yours. If you're interesting in seeing more showcases, we've got plenty more here.