Friday, December 16, 2005

Home Theater

Yeah, I know, I know that I love gadgets. But there is something else that I really enjoy. Watching movies. Since we moved to our new house, I started thinking about building a nice home theater so I could sit down with the kids to watch some of the hundreds of movies we have. As our basement was already 60% finished, we decided to go ahead and not only finish it completely but to build a nice home theater. After my boss aproved the budget (boss = wife) we started. Note it is not completely finished yet (I hope to get this finished sometime in the second week of January) but the pictures already show lots of potential. :-)

View from the front of the room
Components Rack and Projector
Main lights off

So why should someone build a home theater?
Well first of all there is nothing like a big screen. A 42" plasma is nice but sorry, there is no comparison with a 106" screen. This is more than four times the area. You simply feel completely immersed in the movie. It is like being at a real movie theater.
When people see my home theater the first thing they think is 'You spent a LOT of money'. Wrong. As of today you can go to Futureshop or BestBuy and buy a 42" Plasma for $1800 (even less if you shop online and get it in US). A home theater projector (that will easily get you a 100" picture) will cost you the same and depending on the model, even less (may be half of that price!). So overall the whole thing may be way cheaper! Of course to fully enjoy your home theater you will need a receiver (you can get a very decent one for $300 these days), speakers and a DVD player. But you will also need all these if you are going to buy a plasma or LCD TV!
The only drawback with projectors is the fact you CANNOT watch it if your room is not dark (completely dark is the ideal!). In my case I have a separate room, pitch black so that is not an issue.
But if you are thinking about having a projector to watch the news at 1:00pm in your living room with the blinds open, no, it will not work. In this case a normal TV (flat or not) will be a much better option.
For the gadget freaks out there, this is what I have on the home theater:

- Hitachi HDP-J52 Projector, 3 LCD panels, 1280x720 resolution, 5000:1 Contrast Ratio.
- AAD Speakers (Center, two fronts, two surrounds, two rear surrounds and one subwoofer) for a 7.1 channel setup.
- Pioneer Elite 36TX Receiver.
- Pioneer Elite M-10X Amplifier.
- Pioneer Elite PDR-W37 CD player/Recorder.
- Pioneer DV-578A SACD/DVD-Audio Player.
- Toshiba HD-A1 High Definition HD-DVD Player (Playing at 1080i).
- Sony Playstation 3, BluRay, High Definition Player (playing at 1080i).
- Zektor HDS4.1 Component Video Switch.
- XBox and XBox 360.
- Marantz RC5000i Remote Control.
- Elite Screen R106H, 106 inches, 16:9 format.

Picture is simply amazing and we do love sitting down to watch a movie! Right now we just need to paint the room, call the carpet company to put the carpet down and put the screen on the wall!
If you have a basement in your house and you are considering buying a 'Big Screen TV' make sure you consider the projector route! After all, 50 inches is not that big...

PS: If you guys have any questions on how to setup a home theater feel free to contact me at anytime!


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