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post #1 of 23 Old 04-12-2014, 02:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Two years ago I started with a 70 inch Sharp TV and a Sony 2.1 Sound bar, but I wanted bigger because going to the theater was becoming less and less enjoyable with people using cell phones and having conversations during the movie.  Movie nights with the family became a common occurrence in my basement, but I wanted bigger.  I was hoping the 80 inch TV prices would fall to around $2500, but they didn't.

 

So last September I purchased a Viewsonic PJD5134 and a Logitech THX 2.1 200 watt speaker set.  Set it up by projecting it on to a plain off white wall .  To my surprise, we stopped watching the Sharp TV and every weekend the entire family would watch a movie or play a game using the Viewsonic. I mounted it on the celling to get it out of the way.

 

After about 2 months, the screen door effect of a 800X600 projector got to me and I actually dreamed one night in "screen door".  So  I wanted a true 1080p projector that I could use 4 hours a day and not go broke buying replacement lamps.  I went with an Epson HC2000 and wound up moving the ceiling mount 3 times to get the image just right.  It is now about a 169 inch image.

 

The next thing was to paint the wall and add blackout curtains to make the room darker for morning and afternoon viewing.  I am not the best painter, but I am mostly pleased with the result...for now.  I added a surround sound system (Yamaha 375 and Energy Take 1 classic speakers and another sub-woofer-BIC f12).

 

I am winding down at work and will be eligible to retire in January, so I don't want to do a retirement "quality-home theater" until I decide the "where" I want to retire.  By he way, I am not that old yet and am only 51, so I might decide to work a little longer before retiring to some place warm with a lake.

 

Here are a few pictures of my three systems which we still use.  (Of course.... they are in reverse order.)  I included photos of the winter we have had and what it looks like today since I am torn between sitting on the porch or watching a movie today.

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post #2 of 23 Old 04-13-2014, 07:45 AM
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Nice build Steve! Seeing that massive screen next to a picture of your former tv is quite a comparison! Do you like the energy take speakers? How cheap was your build? I'm looking at a similar setup and I need to stay within budget. How happy are out with how it looks and sounds? If you get a chance, swing by my build and let me know what ya think.
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post #3 of 23 Old 04-13-2014, 09:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for the nice response to my post.  Now as to the Energy speakers, if you look at my other posts in the forum, you will see I have been not completely satisfied with the Energy 5.1 speakers.  They sound good for dialog but to me they lack bass and not just the sub-woofer bass.  Last night I watched the latest Hobbit movie and used the speakers with an extra sub-woofer and it sounded okay.  After the movie, I went back to cable and Pacific Rim was on, so I switched back to my old $99 Logitech THX 2.1 system which I prefer for most of my movie watching. If I was on a budget, I would make sure the projector is where most of the money goes since you can always upgrade the sound.  I actually had a friend who had a 5.1 system listen to my Logitech and he told me not to waste the money upgrading.  I am in Virginia and he is in Texas, so I did not get to sample his system.

 

I went by your "build" and I think the Viewsonic is a good choice, but make sure you look at the write ups on this site about light tunnel issues and dust.  I use my Viewsonic PJD5134 in another room in the basement and actually watched movie on it last night when my older daughter kicked me out of the my main movie room.  I love the projector for what it is (an 800x600 image).  Also, I recently helped a co-worker install the Viewsonic 5533 in his basement and was amazed at how little difference there is between 1080p and 720p.  His screen/wall came in at around 150 inches and it looks great.  My PJD5134 with a 150 image is like looking through a screen door, but with a 90 image it looks great.   I caught a Denon AVR system with speakers on sale at BestBuy and he purchased the system (regularly $599 for $300). 

 

As to my choice of the Epson HC2000, I wanted something I could use like a TV and the $99 dollar lamp sold me.  I have 900 hours on the lamp and it is used at least 4 hours (more on the weekend) a day.  If you want a sharp clean image, I think the Viewsonic or the BenQ has a better image based on the research I have done, but the lamp cost is much more.  If my ViewSonic 5134 lamp dies, I would be better off getting a new projector verses the cost of a lamp.

 

The TV in the background of my shot is only a 55 inch Sony.  I gave my wife the 70 inch Sharp, and after moving them both up and down one set of stairs, I love my projector more. In fact, we would give the Sony to the kids for their play room but that is two sets of stairs, and we are not up to moving the tv again.  I will include a picture of my stairs and moving the TVs with a daughter and my wife was not fun. 

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post #4 of 23 Old 04-13-2014, 09:31 AM
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I will definitely look for those posts on your "take" on the energy take speakers. smile.gif One thing I'm wondering is, how big is your room, with a 169" screen you must have some pretty large square footage to work with, but it's hard to tell from the pictures. Maybe the energy takes are just too underpowered for your room?

Regarding moving large objects with your wife/daughter, I feel you there Steve. I avoid that scenario at all costs due to the fact that somehow, when I go left she goes right. If I tell her what to do her feelings get hurt, etc. just not a good situation. Run away as far and fast as you can wink.gif
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post #5 of 23 Old 04-13-2014, 10:54 AM - Thread Starter
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I have included a copy of the plans for my basement.  Thanks to the housing bubble bursting (the house set empty for almost 2 years) the "new" house already had a "mostly" finished basement as an incentive to buy.  The room we use as our home theater is a 14 x 19ish room with an odd shape for the stairs.  The other smaller room is bedroom and the other larger room is where I originally wanted a movie room since it has no windows, but it has become a bedroom/junk room/backup movie room.

 

The 169 inch image is just "right" when sitting back 14 to 16 feet.  (Sometimes I move up a chair for 3D when I am by myself for the "hit you in the face" feel of good 3D.)  On the image above, we sit in the top right and project on the wall shared with the smaller "bedroom".  I can't go bigger (image) because of the beam and electrical plugs.)

 

So my build is fairly cheap, with even the two "movie chairs" ringing in under $600.  The chairs are from HHGreg on sale for $269 each and are okay.  The brown lazy boy cost (in my original post) costs more, and we (and guests) fight over the movie chairs.  If they hold up, I may add two more.

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post #6 of 23 Old 04-13-2014, 12:54 PM
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That's one thing I'm not looking forward to actually, finding a seating solution. I'll probably start with goodwill or craigslist couches and then piecemeal something better in the future. I wish I had hhgregg and Fry's here in michigan but I'm stuck with the typical big box stores and rarely do I see any home theater furniture. Part of me wants to just run over to a junkyard and yank a few driver/passenger seats out of nice-ish cars.

I'm quite glad to see you like the 169" screen from about 14-16' back, this bodes well for what I'm planning. I know part of that comes down to personal preference but my biggest fear is that I'll make the screen too small and regret it later when it's too late to go back.

On the odd staircase setup, have you thought about hanging some heavy curtains or something to square off the room a bit? That's quite a unique staircase and I'm sure some architect somewhere thought it would be awesome, but it looks like quite a headache acoustically speaking. Kind of a dead zone where sound waves go to die, not to mention the noise of potential foot traffic smile.gif

I like it though, very spacious for sure. I know you said my layout looks good but I would kill to have your room size right about now. My 7' ceilings is a cold reality staring me in the face, give me 8-9 any day of the week. Do you have your surround speakers behind or to the sides of the rear seats?
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post #7 of 23 Old 04-13-2014, 02:54 PM - Thread Starter
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I have the two Energy speakers (tiny little things on the stands) in the back but they really don't do much.  (Sorry for the crowded picture but it is a multi-purpose room and my daughter uses the treadmill and a "stepper" machine - not pictured.)  So yes, I do think the room is "too much" for the speakers and the shape doesn't help which is why I added a sub-woofer to the back of the room behind below the "Wasp" cardboard cutout.

 

I have a wall mounted gas heater (a $1,400 addition - charged $1,200 to run a 10 foot gas line in my utility room) about a foot from where I am standing for this picture which prevents  me from using a curtain or adding a "wall".

 

I would move the exercise equipment but three DVRs from Comcast cost me a fortune and I would need to add one more for my "girls" since they like to watch their shows while exercising.  It still gives us enough room to jump around for the Wii and Xbox kinect without killing ourselves or tearing down the projector.  I use the footstool as a make shift bench for curls/etc. so it stays in the room.  The previous pictures show another footstool in front which along with an old tv stand and a 32 in TV on the floor hide the massive amount of wires I have.  I am looking for cube type stand to run along the length of the screen to house the Xbox, Wii, old Nintendo, head phones and to hide the wires.

 

Also, I used the Yamaha's (AVR) microphone to balance the speakers and after about 10 tries I finally got the back speakers "into the game" so to speak.  The sub in the back seems to help as well, but I see another sub in my future to replace the Energy one that  I "repaired" and use with the BIC f12 sub.

 

The room's "junk/shape" is why the Energy and two subs just sound okay and the Logitech sounds great.  Even the couch is an old sleeper that is too heavy to move...

 

... but let me say this, I am extremely (well mostly...it could always be better in terms of sound/image) happy with the setup just the way it is.  It has really brought the family together.  In my job I have had to leave the family "behind" in the past for months/years at a time and after the last 18 month TDY, it took my teenagers a while to get used to me being around all the time.  The movie nights in the basement for the last four years (from a 47 inch TV, to a 55 inch TV, to a 70 inch Sharp TV, to the ViewSonic PJD5134 SVGA, to the Epson HC2000) have really brought us closer as a family because movies like Frozen or Man of Steel are a family experience that you just can't get at the cinema.  If the movie is bad, we talk about how bad it is while watching it or if it is good, we respect each other with silence.   Even games like the recent South Park Stick of Truth (adult game only) became a family (me and my almost grown kids) event lasting around 14 hours over one weekend.  It has been money well spent, but I wish I had gone the projector route three years sooner and I could have saved a bunch of money.  As you can see, the 55 inch TV is a wall decoration.

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post #8 of 23 Old 04-17-2014, 09:03 AM - Thread Starter
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Update:  I am not sure what my teenager did to my Yamaha receiver and Energy speakers, but as of last night they sound much better now.  (I still need "full range" towers... and at least a 7.1 system because of the shape/size/junk in/of my room... and probably someone who knows what they are doing to set it up, but I can live with the Energy speakers with two sub-woofers for now.)  With spring break this week she has had some spare time and I think she has been playing with the system and/or "broken the speakers in".  I know she has put hours on them this week and "opened them up" while exercising on the treadmill to the music channels and while watching movies, so maybe.... just maybe, I never fully let the speakers fully "break in" before falling back to my 2.1 system.      

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post #9 of 23 Old 04-17-2014, 12:54 PM
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Nice! Must be quite a settings change to have made that much of a discernible difference. Here's hoping they only continue to sound better from here on smile.gif
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post #10 of 23 Old 04-17-2014, 02:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Cunning-Orb,   I had the wife come down last night to bother...I mean to talk about what we are going to do over the weekend (plus she wanted the room for Survivor) and she thought I had the "old" Logitech speakers on because of the bass or "richer" sound.  The "plain" sound of the speakers seems to be diminished.

 

 I later flipped over to Pacific Rim which was on cable and watched it again for the surround sound, but I still need "more" bass/sound from the fronts for my taste.  Ever since I fried the Energy sub's voice coil I have been reluctant to crank up the system, but my daughter had no such fear so maybe they weren't broken in...I think the break in is 50 hours, so I may have just hit that with her "extreme" use.

 

I still can't recommend the Energy speakers for a large room.  Also, when Amazon shipped the speakers, the "cone" inside the Energy sub had broken loose and was rattling around (which I repaired rather than send them back), so I cannot recommend the speakers...but, for the price, $299 at the time, I am "now" okay with the purchase.  Another thing is that the Energy sub's speaker is a downward firing one.  I like the Logitech's and the BIC's front firing subs better.  I decoupled (I think that is how you say/type it) the subs from the floor and that "seems to help" (of course, it may be in my mind).  I did it to the Logitech sub after reading about it on-line by using 2 inch thick "plastic" "foam" type strips under the sub, and it made a difference.  I could "feel" the lows.

 

I hope your room is going well.  I was wondering if you were going to do a DIY screen or if you were going to buy one.  Amazon has one (150inch 16x9) with good reviews for $399 and one of the indoor/outdoor (120 inch $199 or 144 inch for approximately $229) which might not be too bad.  It looks like two hooks would let you hang it (120 or 144) from your 7 foot ceiling for now (or a wall) as you set up your basement and (later) it might be good for an outdoor movie night under the stars.  (Viewsonic plus bugs plus no filter...maybe not.)  As a limited DIY person,  I am thinking about the 144 or 150 for my spare room since I am getting kicked out of the main room more and more (and my 92 inch screen seems small even with the SVGA Viewsonic), but this will be on down the road.  I'm going to wait at least 6 months before I put anymore money into home entertainment other than a replacement bulb/lamp or Blu-ray.

 

Also, on the Viewsonic...mine has dust inside the lens as well (see Viewsonic 7820hd thread).  I think when I demonstrated it to a friend at his house for about 2 hours, dust got in it (five kids = a lot of dust in a basement...kind of a wow moment for him and his wife), but it/dust has not impacted the image as far as I can tell.  To avoid this in my home, I run three fans...two box and a large floor fan with filters to try to keep "down" the dust in the basement/house.  The floor fans get the filters replaced every 2 weeks or so, and the box fans (running on low) go a month or more. Upon getting a projector, I could see the amount of dust in the air, so I had to do something since we tend to use a gas heater and gas fireplace in the winter,the HVAC filter doesn't come in to play much.

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post #11 of 23 Old 04-18-2014, 10:48 PM - Thread Starter
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This was posted on another thread, but I am including it here to show the difference between an image on an ordinary painted (off white/original to house) wall using a cheap SVGA Viewsonic PJD5134 projector verses a Sharp 70 inch TV.  The Sharp several years ago ran about $2100 verses the $349 I paid for the projector.  My family actually pointed out that I thought the 70 inch TV was too big for my basement when I first got it, and tonight we watched Enders Game with a 169 inch image.

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post #12 of 23 Old 04-26-2014, 09:58 AM - Thread Starter
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Cheap Han Solo rug added to the wall.  Not bad for a $49 purchase (wife told me I was crazy) plus it gave me an idea for placing a few black "rugs"  along my walls and ceiling to reduce reflected light.  Five small "picture" nails and done for the side wall hang.  I figure a few more nails for a couple of ceiling installs.  (To be on the safe side with the wife, I'll try the side wall first with a black rug and let her get use to it for a while.) 
 

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post #13 of 23 Old 04-27-2014, 02:57 PM
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Originally Posted by steve1106 View Post




Cheap Han Solo rug added to the wall.  Not bad for a $49 purchase (wife told me I was crazy) plus it gave me an idea for placing a few black "rugs"  along my walls and ceiling to reduce reflected light.  Five small "picture" nails and done for the side wall hang.  I figure a few more nails for a couple of ceiling installs.  (To be on the safe side with the wife, I'll try the side wall first with a black rug and let her get use to it for a while.) 

 

Ya that rug is pretty sweet. Looks 3d in the pic

"Damn, you can't get black levels like that on your projector!"
- My brother, just before he realized his LED display had died.

Link to my Basement build
http://www.avsforum.com/t/1529034/conspiracy-basement-build
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post #14 of 23 Old 05-27-2014, 01:44 PM - Thread Starter
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I am only posting this in case others have had similar issues with their sound system....After suffering (and complaining on this forum) with Energy Take 1 Classic speakers (5.1) for several months, I finally broke down and bought Infinity bookshelf speakers (6.5) for the fronts and added an Infinity center (I thought maybe the problem was my cheap Yamaha AVR verses the Energy speakers due to the "high" reviews for the Energy 5.1 on-line.)  Wow, I was/am amazed at the difference in sound the Infinity speakers provided for such a small amount of money.

 

As I have stated in this thread, I have a fairly large room and wound up frying the voice coil on the Energy sub-woofer trying to get a "richer" sound out of my cheap "setup".  Even with fixing the sub-woofer and adding a BIC f12 sub, I couldn't get an enjoyable movie "sound" experience, so I took a chance on the Infinity speakers while they were on sale (Amazon $49 vs normal $85) and a center channel Infinity speaker ($111 Amazon).  The center came a day before the bookshelf speakers and I hooked it up and used it with the Energy fronts.  The difference was noticeable (wow) and I questioned whether I needed the other Infinity speakers, but for $50 a speaker...why not.

 

Last night, I watched the Incredibles in my basement (for approximately the 20Th time) with Infinity fronts/center and the sound was amazing.  (The Incredibles was/were on TV and I never realized what a great movie it is to test the bass of a system.)  The first thing I noticed "different" was the volume on my Yamaha 375 ARV was set much lower and it still rocked my house.  My wife (who was on the computer on the third floor of my house) complained that I had it too high and was afraid that I was going to fry a sub.  (Next house will have sound proofing for the media rooms.) The 5.2 setup is now Infinity fronts/center, BIC f12 sub front, Energy speakers in rear with the repaired Energy sub behind my theater chairs.

 

I am going to have to change my review of the BIC sub on Amazon from a 3 to a 5 since with the "right" fronts/center it really does the job now.

 

Okay, I know this sounds like a commercial, but if you are on a budget or cheap like me, these speakers will not disappoint you. (If you are into music or have a real home theater, don't laugh.  This is for the cheap/budget minded only.)   Originally,  I went back and forth about getting towers for the fronts (or spending "much" more for good speakers and/or a better receiver) but I would have had to lose several inches on my image size to accommodate towers, so I took a gamble on these inexpensive speakers sitting under my "screen/wall".

 

My "system" was starting to become a (somewhat) pricey pile of .... Yamaha 375 ($200), Energy 5.1 speakers ($299), replacement sub speaker ($50), BIC f12 sub ($210).  But, the Infinity speakers transformed the "sound" for about $210.  I really tried to like the Energy speakers and once they were broken in they sounded "better", but now I have trouble believing the "high" reviews on Amazon, Cnet and the "Attack of the show" clip.  The Energy speakers should get about a 2 out of 5 in terms of sound quality verses maybe a 3 or 4 for value/cheapness.

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post #15 of 23 Old 07-09-2014, 09:54 PM - Thread Starter
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After replacing the Energy Take One Classic 5.1 speakers ($299), I now have Infinity P163s for fronts ($100 pair), a Infinity PC251 (center $110) and Infinity P153s (rears $90 pair) for a total of about $300. The Infinity speakers were all purchased on sale and are great speakers for $300 while the Energy speakers...not so much in a large room.


BIC F12 sub-woofer ($200) in the front and Polk (10 inch $89) sub in the rear. I kind of prefer the Polk in terms of "bang for the buck". Also, the BIC F12 has always had a strong chemical smell which is less after several months but still there.


Four pairs of JVC wireless head phones for after hours fun and it lets us go to the bathroom or do the laundry or get a snack without pausing while the rest of the family watches the movie. (Note: if you get a pair, when the rechargeable battery dies, get a similar battery and peel off the bottom part of the wrapper on the battery to match the original one. This resolves the issue with not being able to find a replacement battery. I have had my oldest pair for around 8 to 10 years.)





Still need to go to IKEA to clean up the bottom under the projected image with a wall long media cabinet (or several).





I was able to set up my daughter's exercise area out of the way. Only issue is the reflection off the off-white paint is more of an issue when on the treadmill.





Reflection doesn't really bother us (head on viewing) enough to re-paint with a darker flat paint in a house we do not plan on staying in much longer.


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Last edited by steve1106; 07-09-2014 at 10:28 PM.
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post #16 of 23 Old 07-09-2014, 10:32 PM - Thread Starter
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This was lost in my previous post.


Energy Take One classic speaker verses an Infinity P153. Guess which one wins.


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post #17 of 23 Old 07-14-2014, 04:21 PM - Thread Starter
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For those on the projector fence or with a low budget or lazy like me or just want something to entertain the kids, this is what I have set up in a spare room (pj at 11 feet from image)... and/or use outdoors and/or holidays and/or during travel/vacations.


(This was a hit at Halloween last year with Atmos Fear "Ghostly Apparitions. Parents had to drag some of the kids away and my wife had to run after several of the smaller kids. One injury...a kid hit his head on my door while trying to see around the other kids.)


So for $349 (Viewsonic PJD5134 tall desk shelf) and $110 (Camp Chef 92 inch -front/rear projection screen) and a nail, I get 92 inches of fun.





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post #18 of 23 Old 10-11-2014, 10:31 AM - Thread Starter
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I just wanted to update my "cheap build" since I added towers and I am thinking about upgrading the projector from the Epson HC2000 to the HC3500 plus jumping from a 5.2 to 7.2.


Started in September 2013:
Viewsonic PJD5134 $349
Logitech Z623 $109
Screen 92inch $160 to $200
(gave the wife the 70inch Sharp and 2.1 Sony sound bar - $2500ish since I bought early)
Mount $25
3D glasses and blu-ray player $250ish
November 2013:
Epson HC2000 ($749 or $799)
3D glasses and another blu-ray player for amazon streaming $300
5.1 Energy speakers $299 (mistake)
Yamaha R-375 $249 or $200
Replacement sub speaker $50 (burnt coil on Energy sub...mistake)
BIC f12 sub $219
Polk sub $90
Infinity P163s pair $100
Infinity Center PC251 $110
Infinity P153s pair $90
Infinity P363s pair $200
Cables (HDMI, game, audio @ 25 to 40 feet each plus screen paint) $250
Theater chairs 2 at $600ish
Lazy boy 1 at $650ish


So a little over $4000 not counting the lazy boy and Sharp.


With them in the mix a little over $7000.


Want:
Spouse approved the Epson HC 3500 at $1700 today (still on fence)
Yamaha 7.2 at $399


So if I get what I want, my cheap build is approaching $10000 because once I upgrade I'll need to get a real screen for the full effect.


Leftover/extra stuff: Viewsonic, 92 inch screen, Logitech 2.1, blu-ray player, 5.1 Energy speakers and now Infinity P163s.


Wow, this really is an illness! I'm just glad I'm okay with cheap stuff verses high end. It gives me room to upgrade.
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Last edited by steve1106; 10-28-2014 at 10:13 AM.
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post #19 of 23 Old 10-11-2014, 11:28 AM
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looking great Steve!

matter of fact I'm hooking up my speakers today, we will see how it goes.
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post #20 of 23 Old 10-13-2014, 09:56 AM
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Very cool how the room has evolved.

My Basement HT/Gaming/Bar Space.

Official Hip Hop Thread

Equipment

Epson 8350 on a 100" Visual Apex screen, Pioneer VSX-53, Polk RTi A5(x2) CSi 5 RTi A1 (x2) RTi 4(x2), Outlaw Audio LFM-1 EX, PS3, XBox 360 with HD-DVD add-on.
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post #21 of 23 Old 10-13-2014, 12:57 PM
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Steve I'm afraid you can officially be diagnosed as having the incurable HT upgrade bug. I better get outta your thread in case you're contagious!

But seriously, looking forward to hearing what PJ you go with next. What threads are you reading to help sway you into a decision on that?
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post #22 of 23 Old 10-13-2014, 03:48 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CunningOrb View Post
But seriously, looking forward to hearing what PJ you go with next. What threads are you reading to help sway you into a decision on that?

I've just been looking at the threads in this site since the Epson HC3000/3500/3600 series is so new, but after my initial excitement over the potential benefits of a more flexible placement and better blacks/contrast. I'm starting to think I will hold off and wait for more information. The one guy who has a rattle in his new 3500 is enough to put me off until users put some hours on their new projectors. Some of the early reviews on improved contrast/black levels are disappointing at best.


Like you, I was going to go with the BenQ W1070 or the new version over my current Epson HC2000, but I viewed one at a friend's house for several hours, and the difference between them is so close I could not justify getting one since I have had no issues with the Epson.
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post #23 of 23 Old 11-01-2014, 05:57 PM - Thread Starter
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Another successful "projector" Halloween with right at 150 kids (we had 100 bags and they were gone within 45 minutes so we had to break out the backup candy) a new record. The ATMOSFear Ghostly Apparitions, ViewSonic PJD5134, wireless remote speaker and a 92 Camp Chef screen for rear projection were a hit with the kids and parents. Some of the smallest kids had to be taken candy down by the side walk, but no complaints from any parents (other than my wife again this year). My favorite kid of the night kept saying "I'm not scared! You can't scare me! I'm not scared???" as his voice said otherwise.


So coming up to my glass storm door the kids saw and heard the following (sorry for the poor quality of the images but the ghosts tend to move too much for the camera). Also, a neighbor was using a sheet, a pj and Casper to entertain the kids as well, so I now have competition.
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Last edited by steve1106; 11-14-2014 at 12:04 PM.
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