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a movie reviewer's man cave

Posted: Mon Aug 25, 2014 5:43 pm
by ruralcritic1
I've recently upgraded my home video viewing facilities to include 3D movies.

For those of you interested in the technical aspects of home theater, here is a brief description of my home theater, which I started building about 10 years ago, on a modest budget. I am, after all, a senior citizen living on a fixed income.

My original idea was to use a DVD player equipped with 5.1 surround analog outputs paired with at least three stereos and six speakers to make a cheap surround sound system, so I bought a pile of cheap stereos and speakers at garage sales, flea markets, etc.

I never really got anywhere with that plan, but I did end up using all the speakers and some of the amps. Then I bought my first serious piece of equipment, a used InFocus IN76 high def projector and a Sony blu-ray player and Sony 5.1 surround amp to go with it.

I used the speakers I already had (some bought for as cheap as $2) for the system, plus a new powered subwoofer (Polk Audio PSW10). I also bought an 80-inch-wide DaLite hi-gain pull-down movie screen. This is about $700 worth of equipment, and what it gives you is pretty close to a movie theater experience. I used this system for several years before upgrading again.

I did all the wiring and installation myself.

I like 3D films, so I caved in to my inner desires and bought an Optoma HD25e projector, costing $550, about $125 more than what I spent on my old InFocus projector, which I plan to sell. I also bought a Sony BDP-S5100 player which has 3D output (about $60). This is a significant upgrade from my old system. This projector has three times the brightness and much higher resolution than my old projector, and it does a fine job with 3D presentations. I'm really pleased with the Sony player, which has built-in wifi, and it does a nice job streaming Internet material. It also plays downloaded movies directly from a flash drive.

That isn't the end of 3D expense, however. 3D movies are expensive, and then there are the expensive 3D glasses, too. I ended up opting for the more expensive radio frequency glasses (DLP link glasses are cheaper), which requires an RF transmitter. It is an expensive system, but so far, it works flawlessly, with no fiddling or adjustments needed. Rechargeable 3D RF glasses cost a minimum of $60 each. The RF transmitter is $40. I also bought a new ceiling mount (about $30) because my old mount was flimsy.

I'll probably buy more equipment to simplify things, like a surround amp that can handle 3D signals (I'm using a workaround for this problem for the time being, involving extra switches and audio and video cables), and a spare bulb for the projector (those run $100 and up). I always like to have a spare bulb on hand.

I originally justified all this equipment with the idea that eventually I'd be getting blu-ray screeners, which I did, in addition to DVDs (I used to get VHS tapes) so I needed a decent home theater capable of viewing them.
It's just an excuse, but not a bad one.

Re: a movie reviewer's man cave

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 10:13 am
by Jerry Roberts
Sounds like a nice set-up. I have a similar set-up, unfortunately it's still in my dreams. I'd love to see pictures.

Re: a movie reviewer's man cave

Posted: Mon Dec 08, 2014 1:56 pm
by ruralcritic1
I'll get some pictures of it to you early next year when I'm done with all the screeners and awards-related movies.

One thing that is nice about the Sony Blu-ray player is that it can also stream online movies, baseball games, etc. directly from my home internet wi-fi. I can also download movies off the internet (such as creative common licensed, or public domain movies on and play them directly from a flash drive through the player's USB port. The player also upconverts all downloaded movies from 480 lines, or even less, to 1080p resolution. These features have proved very useful.

Eventually, I'm thinking of using my old desktop computer as a dedicated home entertainment computer in my man cave. I recently installed a card in it that can output high definition video and surround sound via an HDMI output.

Re: a movie reviewer's man cave

Posted: Mon Oct 26, 2015 10:44 am
by ruralcritic1
I've attached a picture of the screen, some of the speakers and the amp. As you can see, the room is not very wide, so that is about the biggest screen I can squeeze in -- 80-inch (100" or so diagonal) Da-Lite screen (Da-Lite 77324 with High Power finish) I bought on Ebay for about $60, which is quite a bargain. The brightness boost of this screen has really helped me get the most out of some of my under-powered projectors.

Most of the speakers you see, I bought for $5 or less at thrift stores and garage sales, except for the powered subwoofer (Polk Audio PSW10) bottom left, which I bought new for about $100. One of the speakers, next to the big center channel speaker, isn't part of the system, it's a P.A. speaker just being stored there. A couple of other speakers have since been removed from this room (you can see one on the left, underneath the left channel speaker) since I took this picture. Those speakers were once part of a separate stereo system in the room for playing CDs and TV sound that I scrapped when one of the audio output jacks on my big screen high definition TV went kaput.

The Sony surround amp (STRDH510) is on the far left, black.