Hey, guys! I just put up a photo album of my new basement theater. It's an iTools site at http://homepage.mac.com/mikebrantley/PhotoAlbum.html -- free Web space courtesy of Apple Computer. A basement is an unusual thing in south Alabama because of the high water table, so my wife and I knew we had to have this house when we found it last summer. It's built into the slope of a hill, so there is a full basment floor -- including the theater room, which has no windows whatsoever! So, I cobbled together some new and some old equipment and refurbished some theater seats I bought off eBay. They were in rough shape, but I put some effort into removing the rust, painting and re-upholstering them. The two rows (eight chairs) sit on platforms. I made the front row platform a couple of inches high, so I wouldn't have to put bolts for the seats into the concrete slab. The back row is higher, of course. The whole thing is not attached to the floor in any way, but it's too heavy to move without considerable effort. Acoustically, you will probably think I was wrong to simply stick vinyl tiles onto the concrete slab instead of putting in a false floor and carepting. But this was a good compromise because of the economy and our pets. Besides, the room sounds fine now that I have the seating in, plus the blown ceiling helps keep the room from sounding too live. The ceiling, front wall and the equipment alcove (wide closet with doors removed) are painted a flat black color called India Ink. Bought it at Wal-Mart. The side walls are painted Asphalt Gray, and the floor tiles are a shiny black texture. All of these dark colors really improved the image from my LCD projector -- a 4:3 data model made by 3M. A friend built the projector mount from scratch -- no sense paying too much money for one of those! The screen is nothing more than several coats of flat white paint, sanded smooth between coats. Some half-inch molding painted flat black creates the border and the crisp edges. I went with a flat white because it provides even illumination with no hot spots. I experimented with some semi-gloss, but there were hot spots and it showed every single imperfection in the wall. The flat white looks beautiful, and you cannot tell where there might be slight bumps and dips in the wall. I did all my sanding with a random orbit sander. The big 16mm projector you see is a RCA TP-16 telecine projector that was discarded by a local TV station. I'm good friends with an engineer there, and he gave it to me -- as well as a ton of 16mm material (Mighty Mouse cartoons, tons of old news footage, PSA announcements, documentaries and even a print of "Murder on the Orient Express"). Ironically, this huge projector makes a rather small and dim image as compared to my video projector and my portable Bell & Howell 16mm projector. But it's the only thing I have that will play the magnetic tracks on all this old news footage. My Bell & Howell is optical sound only -- perfect for the cartoons and "Orient Express." I haven't yet figured out how to get the audio from the film projectors into my AV system, but that's my next project. I'm going to get a roll-around tall cart to put the portable projector on, so I can also use that for my super 8 projector. I still shoot super 8 film, by the way -- there are a few of us left. Check out my Web site at http://www.super8filmmaking.com if you are interested. Mostly, my theater is used for DVDs, laserdiscs and watching stuff off my Dish Network receiver. I have one of the Dishplayer models that records programs onto an internal hard drive for later viewing and/or taping. It's very similar to Tivo. Audio sources include a 300-disc CD changer, minidisc deck, cassette tape deck and turntable. I have a reel-to-reel deck in the den, but no more inputs on my AV receiver in the theater! I recently switched from Dolby Pro Logic to a Dolby Digital/DTS setup. What a difference! I really didn't think it would be such a dramatic difference, but it is. As for the merits of DD vs. DTS, I haven't done enough A-B comparisons to comment on that -- but I did get cool signs from both Dolby and DTS to hang on the back of my door. Otherwise... been buying movie posters. The den outside the theater eventually will house the concession counter with an industrial popcorn machine. There will be plenty of posters there, too, as well as movie and TV publicity photos and stills. I have a fair amount of stuff autographed, so that will be in my movie-themed den outside the theater. On the inside of the theater next to the door is an autographed picture of a good friend -- retired actress Jean Byron. She lives in my city and became good friends with my wife and me when I did a story about her for the newspaper where I work as the TV critic. She played the mom on the old Patty Duke show. I have posters and/or lobby cards for a couple of her old sci-fi B pictures of the 1950s -- "The Magnetic Monster" and "Invisible Invaders." She was one of the first guests we had in the new screening room. We watched "The Philadelphia Story" together. You can tell from the screen shots and the 4:3 screen that I like to watch a lot of really old stuff that is not widescreen, as well as a lot of current and old TV material. As we move into the 16:9 world, I'm going to have to figure out how I will adapt my screening room. I have no more width for the screen, and I sure do hate the idea of sacrificing height for the old 4:3 material we watch so frrequently. But... I can't afford another projector anytime soon, so I'll think about that another day. Probably, widescreen for me will come in the form of a digital TV set destined for the living room upstairs. Letterboxed material on my 4:3 projector downstairs is perfectly acceptable for now -- or, it will have to be! Other tidbits.... the overhead light and the four sconces (located on the sides of the two surround speaker columns) are remote-controlled via X10. Right now, I'm running everything with a cheap Radio Shack 15-1994 remote that I like quite a lot. Too bad it doesn't have more memory, because I've got it filled up. I used to have a Marantz RC-2000, but it died a horrible death. I have the Sony touchscreen remote, too, but I've decided I prefer hard buttons to touchscreens. The learning remote that came with my Sony receiver is cool, but it's confusing to operate. The speakers are Polk Audio RT-55s on front left and right, CS-400 in center and RT-35i's for surround. The subwoofer, a Yamaha model, is the oldest speaker in my array. I was going to upgrade it right away, but to tell you the truth now I'm not so sure now. It sounds so much better in the new room than it did in my old living room that I'm now in no hurry to upgrade. My wife says I must spend money on our kitchen next, so the theater project is finished for now. All comments are welcome, and I'll answer any questions I can. Sorry I didn't take construction photos, but I really didn't do anything to the room other than paint, put in the floor tiles and build the speaker columns (from cherry-stained Birch plywood) and seating platform. Oh... none of the wiring is in-wall. I ran it along the baseboards and through my speaker columns, building narrow little enclosures to hide the wire as it runs across the baseboards. The equipment rack is adapted from some heavy-duty utility shelving units augmented with Birch plywood pieces. Thanks for the wonderful forum. I've gotten many ideas here!