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post #1 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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Hello,

Long, Long, Long time lurker (seldom poster) here ready with my very own (finally) dedicated build thread.

My name is Steve, obviously, and I was given the nickname "Scuba" back in the day when I worked a the aforementioned A/V store at the release of Adam Sandlar's "Big Daddy" movie. I'm not a professional Scuba diver. I had never dove when I was given the nickname but I have since grown to love it and I may one day live up to my nickname.

I've been a theater junkie for many moons now, worked in a custom A/V shop in Indiana right out of high school that distracted me from my engineering degree for a few years, and have been into the stuff ever since. Since then I did eventually get back to school and now I'm an electrical engineer doing controls automation by day, DIY hobbyist and frequent mishap fabricator by night.


Epson 8700UB
Dalite 110" Da-Snap fixed frame screen with my DIY fabbed velvet wrapped frame
Yamaha RXV-667 7.1 AVR
Klispch RF-5 Main
Klipsch RC-7 Center
Klipsch RS-3 Side Surrounds
Klipsch RS-3 Rear Surrounds
PS3
Xbox360
Windows 8 Tower PC functioning as Home Server

Popcorn Hour C200 Media Player
3 Zones worth of Insteon Dimmers with Insteon IR module
FiCar Audio 18" IB3 Infinite Baffle Subwoofer (Currently 2, but manifold is built for 4)
Behringer EP1500 Amp powering the Subs
MiniDSP to EQ the Subamp

Dayton UMM-6 USB Microphone for taking REW measurements

The wife and I closed on our new home last month, the theater spot was one of the criteria for finding the perfect home. Even in this market (Louisville, Ky) it took us 3 months to find a house that met all of our needs. I didn't get to start from scratch, so there will be no DD+GG for me and I've had a fun time thus far fishing through the walls.

The room is a 14.75' Wide by 16.5' Deep room.

I have since purchased 4 Berkline 088s. I'm 5'10" and these puppies were on sale locally, I went in with the intention of just trying some seats out and ended up walking out the owner of 4 seats in a IOIOOIOI configuration. I've always wanted to have a theater with the impact of a riser and a "back row" of seating and I'm going to squeeze it into this build. My first through was worried about giving the rear row the minimum of 6' clearance to recline but as I venture into this project I'm thinking about not letting the rear row fully decline. I won't host 6 people often and when I do, the cheap seats can just deal with minimal recline. That and it allows the riser to be a tad shorter if need be.

One thing about this build is that for my sanity, and passion of my hobby, the room has to be semi-functional as I go along. My wife thoroughly enjoys the theater as much as I do and I have agreed to not have any other TV in the house, so it is our ONLY TV that we watch. She believes that no TV in the bedroom allows for better communication and a chance to bond each night before we go to bed, I've learned that she's right.

 



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post #2 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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This is my model in SketchUp. I had a long flight to Europe for business and made a perfect opportunity to spend time.










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post #3 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 06:53 PM - Thread Starter
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post #4 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 06:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I don't have any great shots of what I started with, but here is what I have:







This is a dedicated theater but I do get to live an amphibious (double life) in that I can open the theater up if need be. The home came with the now theater portion open to the rest of the basement by an approximate 8'-9' opening. We closed the walls in a tad and added two 3' interior doors. The leftmost door is fixed in place most of the time with a flushbolt. The right door will be the everyday general entrance to the theater. Under the occasion that I'm hosting something like a Superbowl party the door can easily be opened up giving the whole lower level the open floorplan approach. I realize this is NOT ideal for sound containment, which may one day be a concern but since I didn't start this room from scratch with DD+GG anyway there isn't really any loss. It's just me and my wife and we both usually in the room at the same time.







As you can see, I have one big hurdle on account of the one really big window. My plan is to make a window plug, then cover the plug with an acoustic panel wrapped in a yet to be decided GOM fabric, backed with OC703 (IIRC). You can see this area in my sketchup shots. I also plan to put a matching panel on the opposite wall.

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post #5 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 07:42 PM - Thread Starter
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Equipment Rack

For my equipment rack I wasn't remotely interested in shelling out for an MA rack or some other overpriced shelf. For our purpose I can't really see the benefit when something can easily be made yourself.

I basically took YW84U's approach:
http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showt...5#post13046275

Which is basically a whole in the drywall, with shelving behind it and some trim up front to make it look good. While this is pretty easy, it can be a challenge to get the shelves at the correct height while your holding things making sure everything is level and trying to mark the screw spots.

This is a shot of the "hole" where the equipment shelf will end up. The shot needs to be rotated but I was lazy.



Here it is coming together. I did one shelf at a time starting from the bottom.


Finished Product, the back is still really messy with the connections, so I don't have any shots of it but can take some if someone is interested. I have a section about shoulder level when I plan to house random things like the movie cases for the movies I just rented from blockbuster.



Does anyone know where I can get some of that thin rigid cardboard stuff that comes with the cheap Sauder (Walmart quality) assemble furniture. Its the peices that usually nail to the back of a bookshelf. I'd like to close off that "random stuff" shelf so that it doesn't appear open to anyone that gets close to the rack. I figured that stuff would be perfect.

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post #6 of 100 Old 07-31-2009, 10:24 PM - Thread Starter
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INSTEON DIMMER/LIGHTING


In my previous dedicated tiny bedroom build I just had a single zone of lighting which was controlled by a Lutron Maestro IR dimmer.

For this theater I knew I wanted multiple zones with screen wash lights, riser lights, recessed main lights and perhaps some wall sconces, rope lighting in crown and perhaps a light shined upon the equipment rack (for when I make the wife get up to put the next Blu-ray in :-) )

So far, I've installed 6 6" can lights, a single 4" Eyeball trim light and three 3" gimble trim lights for the screen wash. I had to cut a single approximate 6" hole in order to get my HDMI and power fished to the projector spot, so I chose a spot that I'd like a can to be located. This gave me my entry point to the ceiling joist to begin daisy chaining and fishing wires to other lights. The total job took about 2 days working in the afternoons after the day job to complete.



As you can see it was messy at one point. I pulled out the existing center globe. The holes in the ceiling in the upper right were from a plumbing fix. The home in relatively new (2007) and the original owners foreclosed after being in the home for less than a year. For some odd reason the bank sat on the house for over a year and they used a cheap company to winterize the home. They didn't do so well on winterizing the line that feeds the outside water spickets(sp) and when we turned the water during the inspection there was a leak. Plumbers have no remorse for ripping drywall out. I can't complain though because I got the house at a steal..

Here are what the screen lights look like


the eyeball on the equipment rack


and the 6 main cans


I loved the idea behind the Insteon product line. I can buy my lighting system in pieces and in zones as I need them and I can expand the system beyond the theater area. As a engineer that automates manufacturing equipment it's always been in the back of my mind to have a PLC controlling things in the home, unfortunately that's not practical for many reasons. One being the lack of signal and control cabling in a home that isn't new construction. The other being the resale/explanation of the PLC. With the insteon line I may get some of the features of automation, particularly if I buy one of the controllers without the resale and cabling issues.

For now, I started with 2 dimmers and an 8 button keypad along with the IR module. The theater room had a dedicated 15A feed to it and the unfinished storage section to the side of the room had a separate dedicated feed. I decided to branch of of the storage area [which only has 2 60W lights on it] to feed my theater lighting. This gave me a great access point.



Another hole in the existing drywall, by this point I feel that I could make 2d art in drywall with my keyhole saw



and the final installed result, right now it's a 3-gang/3-zone but can easily be changed to a 4-gang4-zone by opening up the hole a bit and adding another $50, so when I get around to adding riser lights, wall sconces or some rope lighting I'm prepared. I still need to take the plastic cover off the dim paddles.



My initial thought was grafik eye until I discovered the Insteon line. I'm sure the grafik eye is a fantastic product and probably easy to create scenes with, but the expandability and upfront investment made the Insteon approach a no-brainer to me.

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post #7 of 100 Old 08-01-2009, 05:16 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scubasteve2365 View Post

Does anyone know where I can get some of that thin rigid cardboard stuff that comes with the cheap Sauder (Walmart quality) assemble furniture. Its the peices that usually nail to the back of a bookshelf.

I know exactly what you are talking about and I think you are going to have a really hard time finding it. As an alternative you could pick up a piece of black vinyl at a fabric store and glue to a piece of 1/4 inch plywood or Masonite.


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post #8 of 100 Old 08-01-2009, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by BIGmouthinDC View Post

I know exactly what you are talking about and I think you are going to have a really hard time finding it. As an alternative you could pick up a piece of black vinyl at a fabric store and glue to a piece of 1/4 inch plywood or Masonite.

...or just paint the masonite black?

CJ

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post #9 of 100 Old 12-30-2009, 12:30 PM - Thread Starter
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Long time no see, I've been busy with an out of town project that limited my "enjoy-as-I-go" theater. Here is where I stand:

I've painted the theater and I finally have a flat black ceiling. This overall had a very darkening effect on the room and it makes the projected image notably better. The screen now seems to just float with all the lights off.

I used Sherwin Williams Home Duration Matte paint. It is a touch more reflective than a flat paint but has real durability to it without burnishing. Having burnishing paint elsewhere in the house has proven to me that the value sacrifice of a smidgen more sheen is worthwhile for the durability. I recomend this paint to everyone here. I did my research and poured over the threads on the subject.





This shot makes the ceiling look very reflective, when the reality is that I have a Da-lite High Power Screen fabric. With it's retro-reflective nature it casts light back to the source and in this case, it's redirecting light back to the screen wash-out lights above the screen.





This is not me in the photo. My riser is a very simple one, with some seat bump on it since I am under a soffit. I made a main riser that is fit for a berkline 088 loveseat that will eventually make it's way to the back row, for now there is an extension piece that is used to accommodate the larger traditional love seat.



At this point I just need to build a stage and get carpet in and I will be mostly done, except for cosmetic additions. Progress will continue to be slow as i have other projects going in parallel in addition to a baby being on the way.

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post #10 of 100 Old 12-30-2009, 12:38 PM
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looks great. how did you build that in-wall rack? it looks great. is it very deep? a normal wall is just 3.5" thick or something like that....


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post #11 of 100 Old 12-30-2009, 12:42 PM - Thread Starter
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looks great. how did you build that in-wall rack? it looks great. is it very deep? a normal wall is just 3.5" thick or something like that....

One day, before I'm old and gray (which should be in the next 15 months before I turn 30) I'll clean up the wiring behind the wall and show how it was done.

In simple terms I just cut a hole in the drywall and screwed shelves to the joists on the other side. The area where the rack is goes underneath the stairs to the basement.

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post #12 of 100 Old 12-30-2009, 02:03 PM
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[quote=scubasteve2365;16923212] My wife thoroughly enjoys the theater as much as I do and I have agreed to not have any other TV in the house, so it is our ONLY TV that we watch. She believes that no TV in the bedroom allows for better communication and a chance to bond each night before we go to bed, I've learned that she's right.[quote]

Dear ScubaSteve,

Do not, I repeat, do not ever mention this to my wife. The whole purpose of the TV in the bedroom is to REDUCE communication, and help me fall asleep to the white noise of dead Billy Mays trying to sell me a product I don't need!

PS. Room looks great!

Jay

3 things right, 100 things wrong.


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post #13 of 100 Old 12-30-2009, 06:25 PM
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[quote=yaj123;17816870][quote=scubasteve2365;16923212] My wife thoroughly enjoys the theater as much as I do and I have agreed to not have any other TV in the house, so it is our ONLY TV that we watch. She believes that no TV in the bedroom allows for better communication and a chance to bond each night before we go to bed, I've learned that she's right.
Quote:

Dear ScubaSteve,

Do not, I repeat, do not ever mention this to my wife. The whole purpose of the TV in the bedroom is to REDUCE communication, and help me fall asleep to the white noise of dead Billy Mays trying to sell me a product I don't need!

PS. Room looks great!

I would hate to think that my wife was pushy enough to tell me what I need and dont need. If I wanted a 60" tv sitting right in front of my bed I would. Im sorry, but you either have "communication" or you dont..

Stick in some light porn and set the mood and practice whats being seen..Never hurts..
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post #14 of 100 Old 12-30-2009, 06:59 PM
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There are times when I wish we didn't have a TV in the bedroom. It interferes with "bonding" alright. She'd rather watch TV and I'd rather, well do something else!

Mike

Where am I with my HT build?

Still Dreaming!
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post #15 of 100 Old 02-15-2010, 12:51 PM - Thread Starter
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This weekend I finally got around to adding my stage, leaving my to-do list down to carpet and IB-sub arrangement. I contemplated whether or not to do a curved lip but then while playing around in CAD I decided that I liked this better. I didn't add in sand and probably will not as there will not be any subwoofers on it.

Here are some shots














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post #16 of 100 Old 02-15-2010, 06:34 PM
 
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Nice to see another guy from Kentucky. I get up to Louisville fairly regularly since my in-laws live in Oldham County.
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post #17 of 100 Old 02-15-2010, 06:42 PM
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Nice to see another guy from Kentucky. I get up to Louisville fairly regularly since my in-laws live in Oldham County.

Kentucky?? You guys are just around the corner "kind of" from me. Im a Tennessee guy. I live about 20min from Murray Kn.
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post #18 of 100 Old 03-19-2010, 07:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Well I finally have the theater done, well as done as it could be from a hobbyist DIY perspective.

The last big item for the room was the carpet. I didn't have a huge budget for carpet and I had never purchased carpet before. Like many I underestimated what it'd take to carpet the room by a significant factor. With that in mind I couldn't afford the $5/sq ft carpet that many seem to use. I went with Lowes and purchased the Ruby Hill model. I used two colors, "Thunder Cloud" for the main floor and riser and "Ebony" for the stage. I wanted the stage to have a little bit of pop to it.

In these images the "Thunder Cloud" color is a little off. I tried to set the correct white balance but for someone reason it seems to add a touch of a purple color that isn't there. The color is more grey than anything. I'm thinking that this is a result of the lights combined with luminance reflecting from the blue walls. These images are also brighter than the room is in person, I used manual settings on my DSLR to bring in more light.







In this image you can see the "extension" for my small riser. I don't have it in my budget at the moment to purchase two more Berkline's for the back row. I have a baby coming next month. When I do get around to purchasing them, this extension piece will go into my storage room. This made a good compromise and allowed for me to finish the room before having 100% final seating.










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post #19 of 100 Old 03-19-2010, 07:55 AM
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Very very nice. I like the colors of the walls "sides, front and ceiling"..Awesome man...You have any pics of equipment? Rear of theater ect??? Enjoy that space!!!!

I see some of the rear..but more of a straight on view please..
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post #20 of 100 Old 03-19-2010, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
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Very very nice. I like the colors of the walls "sides, front and ceiling"..Awesome man...You have any pics of equipment? Rear of theater ect??? Enjoy that space!!!!

I see some of the rear..but more of a straight on view please..

I have a recent, yet very poorly executed, panoramic stitched together photo from the front facing the rear. The distortion in the image gives it an incorrect depth perception.



I'll snap some additional shots soon that more accurately represents the rear of the room. It's hard with a DSLR and no wide lens. I have an 18-55mm lens but I don't have a full-frame SLR body, therefor It's closer I guess to about 27-30mm at my widest.

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post #21 of 100 Old 03-19-2010, 12:24 PM
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Thanks I get the picture now.....Looks good. AND yes dslr's are good, but most people dont have a wide enough lens for small rooms. I have had 3 different dslr systems, but ended up selling everything and going back to a Canon Powershot SX120 IS..I enjoyed the quality of the slr's..
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post #22 of 100 Old 08-24-2010, 03:27 PM - Thread Starter
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I need the help of a few of your AVSer's. Since I'm so busy working on the Blu-ray Demo Disc (see sig for link) I don't have the time to research and I'm hoping to find an easy way out to scouring for information.

I decided to ditch cable, made no sense to pay for it cause it's about $80/mo and all we ever used it for was to watch my weekly Colts games, when in season, and a few network television series. Which is all available over broadcast DTV transmission.

So I'm looking for a way to get an HDTV tuner to the projector that does NOT include building an HTPC. I'd also like the box to have DVR capabilities. I know Tivo makes a solution, but I feel that it's not worth my while to pay them $13/mo so that I can watch OTA broadcast and capture the stream.

Any solid solutions out there?

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post #23 of 100 Old 08-24-2010, 06:50 PM
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My brother in law has a dvd recorder with a hard drive build into it so he used it to record shows. The brand was ilo i think. It lasted only a couple of years with heavy use but it pretty much did what you needed. Recorded shows through coax( antenna) to a hard drive. Nothing fancy with the software all time based. The only downside is only outputs are coax, svideo and composite. I'm sure they have a newer version with hd output now.

Always Up for a Good Zombie Flick
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post #24 of 100 Old 08-24-2010, 07:34 PM
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How about a normal old digital antenna converter (like the ones the government bought for old people a year or so ago) with component or hdmi outputs ran directly into your avr, and therefore to your receiver. No DVR, but it works.
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post #25 of 100 Old 08-25-2010, 05:52 AM
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Scuba, do you have pics of the rear of your rack? I'm thinking of doing something similar. Thanks!
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post #26 of 100 Old 08-25-2010, 08:00 AM
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So I'm looking for a way to get an HDTV tuner to the projector that does NOT include building an HTPC. I'd also like the box to have DVR capabilities. I know Tivo makes a solution, but I feel that it's not worth my while to pay them $13/mo so that I can watch OTA broadcast and capture the stream.

Any solid solutions out there?

Scuba,

I also started to research this, what I foiund: the trick will be is getting both HiDef OTA, and recording capabilities.
I know the TIVO is an option, but not sure of there are others?

A few notes:
Going with a (gov't subsidized) digital decoder box, as mentioned above? This allows you to grab the digital OTA signal, but most of those do NOT provide a HiRez video signal. They are more like EDTV, this is why you will likely not see HDMI connections

For HiRez digital OTA decoding; Samsung seemed to be the leader, or at least the most popular option when I was shopping. HOWEVER; at the time; they did not have a model that allowed recording.

Hopefully someone here will chime in with a solution

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post #27 of 100 Old 08-25-2010, 08:50 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks for all the recs.

I didn't think of the gov subsidized OTA tuners as I assumed they were all non-HD.

I may settle without DVR capability. I really wish Tivo didn't have a subscription. Really, why is that needed? Can you use the box without the subscription service in anyway?

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post #28 of 100 Old 08-25-2010, 09:07 AM
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Originally Posted by scubasteve2365 View Post

I really wish Tivo didn't have a subscription. Really, why is that needed? Can you use the box without the subscription service in anyway?

I believe so (used to be the case anyway) - but you wouldn't get the EPG info from them (would have to record by day/time/duration).


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post #29 of 100 Old 09-21-2010, 11:28 AM - Thread Starter
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I picked up a used TivoHD (3-series) yesterday from Craigslist and an attractive enough price.

So far, without paying the subscription, I've been able to pull an OTA HD broadcast AND record a couple of shows by setting up season pass by name (not time based).

I'll know tonight if those season-pass show actually records.

Either way, Cable gone, saving $1000/yr and might have 90% of my TV needs filled this route and will just have to torrent than remaining 10%.

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post #30 of 100 Old 09-21-2010, 11:34 AM
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Scuba,

Sounds like a good direction. I also seem to remember seeing someone who previously (>1yr ago) trying to sell a TIVO unit that also included their lifetime subscription...?

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