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Suggestions for Improving HT Experience

Discussion in 'Beginners, General Questions' started by JohnWyn, Dec 11, 2003.

  1. JohnWyn

    JohnWyn Auditioning

    Dec 10, 2003
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    Hello All,

    Any advice you can provide would be very helpfull, I'm new to the whole HT thing and want to improve upon the equipment/setup I already have as well as change the layout/asthetics of my setup.

    First, let me describe my possible locations as best I can:

    I have two locations that I can use to build my HT, one of which is an unused bedroom that is about 11ft by 13ft. I can expand the length from 13ft to about 18ft by removing the closet doors(and maybe even the closet itself), but I would like to avoid this. The other location is where I currently have my TV setup. It's our living/great room (24ft by 14ft) and my only complaint is the HUGE amount of windows in the room (one entire wall, and two large windows on another wall). Also, this room would have to be 'liveable', meaning it would have to retain some "sitting room" functionality.

    If my explainations of the rooms are poor, I can send floorplans/pics if needed.

    Second, let me run through the equipment I have available to start with (I'd like to use what I have and upgrade):

    TV: Sanyo 35" CRT

    Projector: Older Sharp LCD Projector (I don't have specs but it's somewhere around 600 lumens at 800x600) I also don't have a screen yet.

    Receiver and Speakers: Kenwood HTIB Setup w/ RCA Powered Sub

    DVD Players: Hitachi DVD Player and Kodak VCR/DVD Combo both have S-Video out. The Kodak has some kind of RGB? output (3 RCA Connectors, A Red, Green, and Blue One).

    Finally, let me run through what I'd like in a HT:

    1) Big Screen (I like front projection setups, but I'd consider a 60" DLP or Rear Projection TV)

    2) Good Sound, obviously I'd like to hear my DVD's the way they are supposed to sound.

    3) Budget: I don't have a $100,000 to spend. So I'd like to get the best bang for my buck. I don't want to cheap out on anything but, I have to be frugal. I would of course expect to spend ALOT more than what I currently have invested.

    My thoughts on upgrades:

    1) I cosidered replacing the projector with an inexpensive DLP model ($1200 range) and getting a good ?DA-LITE? screen once I decide on the location (Retractable Celing or Fixed Mount).

    2) I had wanted to get a new set of speakers. Athena Audition F2's for the front, R1's for the rear, C1 for the center, and a velodyne (or other) sub. After the speakers, I'd considered getting a high end tuner that does DTS or a setup with a seperate amp(s).

    3) I don't have the slighest idea about using a HTPC, what can I gain from doing so? If I use a HTPC, can I get better quality video from my DVD's? Can I use a HTPC as a DVD Player too?

    4) What kind of DVD player should I upgrade to? Do the higher end brands really offer that much of a difference.

    5) If I use the bedroom, I'd like to paint the walls a dark navy blue and add some adjustable lighting to help give it that Movie Theater feel. If I use the living room, I can't do that [​IMG] .

    6) Again, money is an issue here.

    Thanks for any suggestions you can provide me.

    Best Regards,
  2. JawhnM

    JawhnM Stunt Coordinator

    Aug 9, 1999
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    Provided you don't need to much seating (single row or sectional) I would use the bedroom. Although the size of the other room is better, it would cost quite a bit more to get a satisfying HT experience in that room (window treatments (especially for FP), more powerful audio system and larger speakers (more physical space to fill with sound). Also the compromises you would have to make the room multi purpose ('liveable', meaning it would have to retain some "sitting room" functionality), doesn't sound like what your're looking for.

    As far as equipment goes, you have +'s and -'s. Your video is better than most start out with (not HIGH END by any means, but not bad). The 35" is a good size for TV viewing. And the PJ should be OK for movie watching until you can upgrade. BTW: Don't rule out a used CRT FP as a replacement, you can get great "bang for your buck" and an INCREDIBLE picture. You could either get an inexpensive pulldown screen or build a DIY one. The DVD's and VCR should be fine for NOW.

    Your WEAKEST link appears to be your audio. I would invest in a GOOD A/V receiver (Denon, Yamaha, Onkyo) and speakers/sub. The Athena's are a good choice, so is the Velodyne, also look at(Paradigm, PSB, Klipsch, JBL and others)(STAY AWAY FROM BOSE).

    I don't know PERSONALLY much about HTPC's (I don't use one) except they can do an amazing job on Picture Quality as well as a host of automated theater features. They CAN also be a pain in the rear, just like any computer. And YES you can use an HTPC as a DVD player too?

    There is a wealth of info here (also look at AVSforum.com).
  3. keith jay

    keith jay Auditioning

    May 29, 2003
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    personally, i would put the theater in the family room because it has a more inviting atmosphere for family and friends and can accomodate more people. my room is 17x45 including kitchen and dining area so the theater/family room takes up about half the space. you get the most bang for the dollar with crt rear projection as well as a better picture in my opinion. also, the bigger room will accomadate a bigger screen. i dont think that amplification will cost you much more. i recently ordered some blackout roman shades for the room but they haven.t arrived yet so i don't know how well they'll work. if light is a problem you'll probably have to go with dlp or lcd. as far as dvd progressive scan players are already very affordable and if music is important there are universal players to fit almost any budget. check out pioneer and denon for a large selection at various price points. if you could mention what your budget is it would be alot easier to toss you a few ideas. aloha keith

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