To Ron and Parker, the origins of the 'HOME THEATER FORUM', what made you create it?

Inspector Hammer!

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John Williamson
First off congrats on the new server! I surf this site VERY frequently, it's the first thing I do when I open my eye's in the morning and i'd go insane without it. And then I realized something, I have no idea of the origin of this site! I've been posting in a place I love so much, but I really have no idea of where it came from.
So, my question to you guys is, how did you come up with it? What was the germ of the idea? Obviously you must have had a love of home theater to be inspired to create a site of this magnitude. I am very interested to know this, tell me the whole story in as much detail as you can please. Thanks.
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God bless the USA and the men and woman of our military and their families!
 

Vince Maskeeper

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John,
I think Ron avoids AH like the Plague (he's always the first to suggest deleting it entirely!)-- so I moved this here where they would see it!
-Vince
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AIM: VinceMaskeeper
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Parker Clack

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John:
HTF is the result of a lot of things happening at the right time. A small group of us got together on Prodigy in the Movies Forum when it was free to use. When Prodigy started to charge for our online time we all left them like bandits and looked for another place to hang out. First we started with Delphi and then back to Prodigy and then back to Delphi and another site called AVN (that is no more) and then we started up our own site on a shared server. Within days we were killing that server so we moved to another site and it too couldn't handle our traffic. Then we were fortunate enough to have 800.com as an advertiser at the time and they paid for a new server. We also were fortunate enough to find Tim Flavin with Internet 1st and he provided us with the bandwidth we needed. We were flying until about a year ago we started having problems again with our growth until it was determined a couple of monhts ago we had to have a new server.
The site was created because of the fact that we were pushed into starting up our own site in the first place because the PTB at Prodigy and Delphi wanted to tell us how to run the place. Ron and I thought that this was something that we could do ourselves. So HTF was created. The whole idea behind the site was to give people a chance to come and enjoy discussing their passion for anything Home Theater in a flame free environment. Basically we wanted to create a place that WE would want to go to ourselves. In most of our daily dealings with people very few of them even have a clue as to what we are talking about when we talk about DVDs, etc. So this gave us a place to share our passion with others with the same situation in their lives. I guess there where a few people on the net that felt the same as we do.

Parker
 

Inspector Hammer!

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Thanks Vince for the move, and thanks Parker for the info.
So how many members did you have when you started it?
I also am amazed, and proud too I might add, that this site has become the most prestigious HT site on the net, we've got a live chat with John Landis himself coming up! Did you ever dream that your humble little site would evolve to this?
Could a live chat with Speilberg or Lucas be far off? Hey, I can dream can't I?

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Ronald Epstein

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Basically, there is not much to add to
what Parker has expressed already.
It's kind of funny that we started a rinky-dink
forum over on Prodigy (around 1992) then went
on to NVN and Delphi. During that time we only
had 50 members. Some of them, like Robert George,
and Robert Fowkes were with us from the
very beginning.
We never had aspirations of HTF becoming anything
more than a rickety little club where we could all
just hang out and talk about laserdiscs.
Three things that changed everything for us....
1. DVD. It was DVD that catapulted us to where
we are. If not for the advent of the format, people
would still have laserdiscs and VHS and the progression
of Home Theater would not be where it is today. DVD
has so much changed Home Entertainment, that more
people are putting Home Theater systems in their homes.
2. THE INTERNET. By far, the net is one of the
greatest advents of the 20th century. through a
simple phone connection, people all over the world
come together and share their passions with each other.
3. PARKER CLACK. Everything you see in this forum
has been inspired by Parker. When it was just I
left running HTF on DELPHI back in 1996, it was
Parker that said he could move us on the web. He
taught himself how to design web pages and to deal
with software coding. This forum could never have
come this far without his expertise.
Yes, it amazes me that we have come this far, and
that studios pay attention to our forum more than
others. I also have to pinch myself about doing a
live chat with John Landis. I spoke to him
on the phone yesterday, and he is a real humorous
individual. I think he's a little shaky about doing
this (this is his first net chat), but damnit - he is
is doing it and we couldn't be happier.
As always, it is the members here that we thank
for supporting us.
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Ronald Epstein (pronounced like the English "Ronald Epstein")
Circa 2000
Home Theater Forum Administrator
All forum questions & to get on our private forum mailing list (new members)... Email: [email protected]
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Email Packy [email protected]
 

Parker Clack

Schizophrenic Man
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Ron is too modest to even suggest that he had anything to do with the success of this site. But quite frankly it wouldn't be more than just those 50 of us if he hadn't started to go after the studios and set things up in LA. I never would have done that. So in addition to everything that has already been said the other thing that really helped us out is that I was ignorant of the amount of work that would involved with get a site like this up and running and Ron didn't know enough to be told that people like us don't get to the studios. Fortunately for us neither one of us listened and we just did it anyway.
It would all be moot in the first place though if the membership didn't support us. This server for instance would not have been possible without everyone chipping in to help out.
Parker
 

Inspector Hammer!

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John Williamson
Thanks for the replys guys. I learned quite a bit. It sounds like you fellas did a damn fine job considering everything you had to go through to get this running! And now it's the most successful HT site on the web, and the most polite, amazing.
Thanks again, and keep up the good work!
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God bless the USA and the men and woman of our military and their families!
 

Jack Briggs

Senior HTF Member
Joined
Jun 3, 1999
Messages
16,805
Getting John Landis to do a chat was a real coup, Mr. Epstein. I am genuinely impressed. And you're right: the guy has a tremendous sense of humor. (Remember that IFC documentary about horror films, American Horror? He was one of the most interesting persons interviewed.)
As for the thrust of this thread: the day is fast coming when the HTF will be more important to the field than any of the consumer magazines. Just you wait and see.
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