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Complete 130" Home Theater for under $2,000, If I can do it, so can you! - Page 5

post #121 of 156
FE, great room!! First thread I've read on here where someone outright ripped on another's build! I mean maybe Chris would like to donate $50k in equipment to you to "improve" your room, eh?

I am SO jealous of all the room you have down there!!! My room is also family-oriented and I LOVE the racetrack idea, too!! We break out the slot-car track sometimes but not often enough. That track adds another dimension to things and looks like a blast!!

I have the Onkyo 607 and I am just getting around to putting my A/V system together and can't wait until I get it done!

Room looks GREAT!!!
post #122 of 156
Glad to see things are still looking good, Free! Enjoy the new gaming set up. I'd challenge you on line, but I just figured out the Wii for the kids last Christmas, so I don't want to push my luck too far!

Old Fart Hanes
post #123 of 156
Currently in the process of doing similar and had no idea your thread existed til today. I'm on an extremely tight budget I think it's even easier to do it for 2k or less(because of lowered technology cost) now a days then when you started. I'll have about $1760ish in mine with same size screen but a 1080p projector/cheaper 5.1 receiver, though I have a chance to pick up a low low hr Mitsu HC1500 for a lil less money and you have me thinking about just getting that because it would lower startup costs. Your HC1500 really puts out a beautiful picture. Much better than I would've imagined.

On the screens, for people who don't feel like searching ebay that guy actually has a site www.jamestownhometheaterscreen.com I was actually going to get a focupix screen originally but I found his site a few months ago and he offers more bang for the buck and gray in larger sizes.
post #124 of 156
Very nice. I like how you have the theater in it's own lil area.
post #125 of 156
Thread Starter 
Thanks guys. I am still in shock that I have a theater in my basement... And I have had it now for over 2 1/2 years!

My wife and I were watching Prince of Persia, on new years eve (great movie btw) on blue ray, and I was pinching myself again. It is so much better than the theater, no kids talking, crying, beefing, or kicking my seat, and talking on their phones, and I always get the best seat, and can put my feet up in my recliner...

And free food and drinks!

I don't know why anyone would want a regular tv after seeing one of these systems in real life. It is insane how cool my system is for the money I spent.
post #126 of 156
Hey Free,

Just went through your entire thread and throughly enjoyed it. That's what makes AVS work, different levels of home theater builds that make the owners happy.

I too marveled at the responses of different people on budgets for their build. You proved cost can be controlled for a great home theater experience.

Like you, every time I watch a movie in my theater, I have to pinch myself.

Well done,

post #127 of 156
Free great setup and a job well done and it is clear that you have inspired many myself included. I am also currently considering a 130 inch Jamestown screen with an Epson 8350 and just wonder if the picture still seems great after the bulb has dimmed on a screen that large. This is hopefully my last concern before I purchase my screen.

Thanks for all you've done and posted it's people like you and many others here that make this forum so great!!!

Thank You
post #128 of 156
Thread Starter 
Good question.

When purchasing a projector system, I always wondered what the "dimming" over time aspect would be...

My system has been in quite a while now, and this past weekend we had another family Wii party. And a few weeks ago I looked at the hour notice and saw that I am over 2,000 hours with it set on "HIGH" brightness. (around 2,200 hours so far).

I went ahead and ordered a new one, just in case the morning of the party mine decided to die...

Last week it arrived, and now I am trying to decide if I should go ahead and replace a bulb that still works... since the company has a 30 day warranty on the bulb I bought...

I think I will go ahead and replace it and put my old bulb in the box in case the new one goes out, I will have a "old" but still working spare.

I have not noticed any decrease in brightness. Not that it doesn't exist, but I can't tell it is less bright than it was... It could be... But, I haven't noticed.

I will let you know when I replace the bulb if there was a difference in brightness.

This many years later it still looks great. I have a projector TV upstairs (62 inch Hitachi) and I have replaced the bulb in it, and never noticed a decrease in brightness before it went out, or after it was replaced.
post #129 of 156
Thanks for the response Free it seems you are still really enjoying your system and I think I'm going to go with the 130 inch you can always go smaller but not bigger. I'll be interested to hear your take when you replace the bulb.

post #130 of 156
Thread Starter 
I am still planning on replacing that bulb... But, it is paintball time of year for me, so I have been busy shooting my friends having a "blast".

I made a video last weekend instead of replacing that bulb.

Editing video footage on a 130 inch screen is super cool btw.

Here is my latest video if you are interested in what I do in the winter.
post #131 of 156
Hey Free - I am going to be digging in to make my place outfitted with a PJ and drop down screen. My one concern about ambient light is my reef tank. I see you have one too . Mine is on the back of the room but I am curious what your expereince has been with this since it looks like your is similar. I am leaning toward the 8700UB PJ and with it's brightness I am hoping the ambiant light will be a non-issue.

here's the current situation. (scrren will drop down infront of the TV (left of image with dark wall). Going to build out the wall and drop the ceiling to "build in" the reef tank. It's a 50gal now going to be a 75.
post #132 of 156
I love what you've done with the basement! I was originally planing on having a dedicated theater room in my basement but after seeing what you've done I'm rethinking my options... are there any disadvantages to an open room setup like yours vs. a dedicated 12x15 room? (from a sound quality point of view that is)
Thanks and good job
post #133 of 156
Thread Starter 
First off, I changed my bulb over the weekend. And yes, I could tell that the new one is brighter. (but I hadn't noticed it dimming... the old one still looked fine, and I will save it for when my new one goes out.)...

But, over time there is a decrease in brightness. I had 2,200 hours on high on mine when I replaced it.

I only know about the HC1500. It is a VERY bright projector. When I was deciding on it, I looked at the "better" mitsi projector which had "more" brightness than the 1500... Except it didn't. It only cost twice as much, for less actual light...

Brightness "ratings" are a scam in the projector business. (did I just let the cat out of the bag?...). Seriously, I don't know how they come up with the lumens, as I have looked at a bunch, and ones that they say were twice what my HC1500 output looked noticeably darker than mine... So your best bet is to actually look at one for yourself if you can find one... Don't trust what they "say" the lumens are... I don't know about epsons, as I haven't even thought about projectors since I got mine. I'm totally happy with it. Especially since I put in a blue ray player. The picture quality is incredible.

IPT, Yeah, my fishtank (compact florescent bulbs 2-96 watt) is pretty bright. It usually kicks off about halfway through Friday night movies, as I have it on a timer. It does add light to the room (even though it is all the way in the back of my room). But, I don't like it super dark when I watch a movie... I like a little ambient light, and the fishtank does that well. It doesn't bother me at all.

It makes no difference on the brightness of my movie screen having the fishtank on. I can even run almost all the lights in my basement with no problem. The only issue is this time of year, when there is snow on the ground and the light coming into the basement from the sliding doors... That can wash out the image in the morning light. But, blinds fix that.

Goear. Speaker placement is key in any home theater. I like the way mine is open, as it accomidates way more people than a closed theater would, and I use the theater when doing other things in the basement (like the craft room, where you can see and hear it fine from all the way across the room) Or while playing pool... Or even in my woodworking shop across the way next to the bathroom. I can see the screen from my workbench, and I wear my headphones if the wife is upstairs and I don't want to bother her with the sound of my speakers.

I have one of my back speakers mounted on the side wall (where it drops down) on the open side, so it has proper placement, and from the theater seats... The sound is amazing.

I have never been disappointed to have it open instead of closed off. It is much more usable when you have plenty of room to do other tasks.

I even have a side business doing hand bindery projects for my families printing company.

And I get to use my theater when doing that!

As you can see I have all the lights on and it is no problem, (and that is with the old bulb...)
post #134 of 156
Thread Starter 
Quickhands; yeah go big! I have never once thought I should have gone smaller... The 130 inch is perfect for a basement. It is 10 feet wide, and really make you feel like you are AT the theater.

Nothing better than picking up a pizza and spending some family time in the basement watching a movie. Press the button for the fireplace, and pass the candy!
post #135 of 156
So have you had the urge to upgrade your HC1500 yet? I love mine but I feel a tug to move it to the HC4000 for a 1080p .
post #136 of 156
Thread Starter 
Nope... I'm totally happy with the 720 resolution, especially now that I finally got a blue ray player to watch movies.

Besides, most stuff is recorded in 720 anyway, as 1080 cameras/switchers cost a fortune, and most studio equipment was purchased in the 720 format. They "upconvert" it to 1080. Which my receiver does to the signal (albeit not as good as high end broadcast upconverters) as well.

So, no I haven't even considered changing out my HC1500. I love the picture quality, and the brightness is perfect in my area.

I did move my mount back about 6 inches when I changed my bulb and I adjusted it, so it so it needed less keystoning adjustments. Which let me get it to fit my screen better, even when playing on the wii. No more black bars anywhere on the image edges. I don't know why I waited so long to do that...

I remember looking at the HC3000 when I purchased the 1500, as it was "much better" according to the sales rep. I wasn't impressed, as the image that the 1500 put out easily beat the 3000 in my opinion, it was much brighter, and had better color saturation, and blacks.

And now that I am happy, I just can't see spending more money on the latest and greatest, as the improvements likely wouldn't be worth the price tag to upgrade. I'd rather buy something I don't have, then upgrade an existing piece of tech.

But, that is me... If getting the new one will make you happy, and you have the cash to do it... go for it. At the end of the day, we all make choices about what we spend our money on. Something that is not important to me, might really matter to someone else, no one can say someone is "right" or "wrong" with their choices (cept Chris obviously... the dealer that posted earlier in this thread. lol.)
post #137 of 156
Oh it's just now with my addtion to my Blu Ray to my HTPC the screen (PJ) is the only thing not 1080p. I just love my HC1500 but I watch lots of moves and game on it. I dont play Wii on it so that is not a factor. Just trying to decide to decide on a bulb or a new Pj and finally done with my room set up.

post #138 of 156
Thread Starter 
So I have a question and figured the experts here would have a solution...

I sold my playstation 3. (back when they lost their network for a few months...) I just didn't play it enough, once I beat the fun parts of Grand Tourismo I sold it.

So I am thinking about getting a blue ray player. But, I'm a tightwad, so I don't want to spend a bunch of money. I see Sony BR for around $79 but they don't have wifi, and I figured I need wifi so I can watch internet video (like youtube).

What do you guys recommend? Can I get a low cost blue ray player that looks good and has wifi and internet ready access to hulu, youtube, and netflix?

Oh, and I got out my racetrack this week "for my kids"... Lol Had to order more AAA batteries already as we used every one in the house!
post #139 of 156
The Panny I have looked at is nice in that it has wifi built in, and seems to access all the major streaming providers netflix, amazon, hulu plus, vudu, youtube. That would be worth the extra $60 over that sony.


I don't own it, I am sure there is a thread here on AVS somewhere, but just mentally kicking the tires it seemed to do it all.
post #140 of 156
Originally Posted by FreeEnterprise View Post

So I have a question and figured the experts here would have a solution...

I sold my playstation 3. (back when they lost their network for a few months...) I just didn't play it enough, once I beat the fun parts of Grand Tourismo I sold it.

So I am thinking about getting a blue ray player. But, I'm a tightwad, so I don't want to spend a bunch of money. I see Sony BR for around $79 but they don't have wifi, and I figured I need wifi so I can watch internet video (like youtube).

What do you guys recommend? Can I get a low cost blue ray player that looks good and has wifi and internet ready access to hulu, youtube, and netflix?

Oh, and I got out my racetrack this week "for my kids"... Lol Had to order more AAA batteries already as we used every one in the house!

On the blu ray if you haven't got one already you might check out LG's. I saw the LG 610 at walmart for $88.99 today and it does have netcast which is youtube/netflix/pandora I think. Not sure if that's a wifi or a wired connection.

And some LG's like the 550(which is a wired networking player which I've heard wired connection is better/more fail safe for streaming if you can do a wired connection) are available manufacturer refurb'd(which is basically new) for like $60.00 on amazon and other online sites.

It shouldn't be hard to get a decent blu ray player with networking for under $100.00.

Glad to see you're still enjoying it with what you equipment have and haven't upgraded. It's a refreshing thing to see. Also glad to see your HC1500 is still alive and kicking.
post #141 of 156
Thread Starter 

Well, I decided to wait, as I wanted to spend less than a hundred on a blue ray player, and I wanted wifi, and none of the ones I saw had that feature yet in that price range...

So I got a new action cam for my paintball videos instead!

Contour Roam mounted on my helmet and a Sony SR series on my gun with zoom so you can SEE the paint flying and hitting other players.

yeah! Pretty sure I am the only paintballer doing two cams one with a zoom!


Tons more videos on my youtube channel many in HD. youtube.com/trailsofdoom

Edited by FreeEnterprise - 11/13/12 at 4:49am
post #142 of 156
Great post Free, thanks for sharing your basement build! I've been lurking here off and on for about 2 years and finally got around to making an account. I'll post up my basement woes soon.
post #143 of 156
I really enjoyed the discussion with "free" here. Knowing he has a fixed budget and made great decisions overall. What wow'd me the most is he's sticking to his guns and kept the HC1500 and put over 2K on his original bulb and still didn't die.

I totally envy the 2000 sq ft basement and one day I will own that kind of space (one-day) for a man-cave or man house / dog house for all "ME" smile.gif

Free how's the PJ treating ya??
post #144 of 156
Thread Starter 
So it has been 4 years since I put in my theater... Still using ALL of the same gear, and it all works great. I had a friend over last week, and he was completely BLOWN AWAY by my system, and when I told him what I paid, he almost fell over. He has more in his TV set than I do in my entire theater. He said he wished he had known what you could do for cheap before he bought his "tiny" 65 inch tv...

I am getting close to needing to replace my bulb for the second time, as I probably have close to 4,500 hours on it now. It still looks great, and my only "upgrade" is I sold my playstation 3 (back when their system went down, I got tired of needing "updates" every time I wanted to play a game for a few minutes.) So I had no HD input except over the air.

I put Direct TV back in my house, and put a HD receiver in the basement. Wow... The quality is amazing. I have the whole house DVR, but I haven't been able to figure out how to get the video signal from my basement HD receiver to any of my other TV's in the basement?... So if anyone knows how to take a hdmi signal and make it a video signal again, so you can send it through your video cables to your other old style TV's let me know.

But, this theater has been so awesome. Our family has really enjoyed going to "the movies" at home for the past 4 years. Our popcorn sure costs a lot less. And we can pause when kids need to go to the bathroom...

And the only time my feet stick to the floor, is when I step on some velcro and it sticks to my socks!

I'm glad others have been able to use this thread to build their own low cost theaters.biggrin.gif
post #145 of 156
What's up Free. I really enjoyed the paintball videos. Wasted a whole afternoon....at work:) I too am doing the whole "budget" home theater idea. Craigslist is a wonderful tool and I have bought most of my gear from other's throw aways. We have watched only a handful of movies so far, but damn its awesome. I totally agree with the sticky floor and expensive popcorn comments. The other day my 2 1/2 year old little boy gave me the best compliment ever....we were at the local hardware and they have a serve yourself popcorn maker. He said "Daddy, i don't like this stuff. Can we make popcorn at home?" It was 9am.
post #146 of 156
Thread Starter 

Glad you liked my woodsball video work. That has been a TON of fun over the years and I am finally getting to the point, where I can capture what I see on the field while playing. I play in the fall/winter/spring, so new videos will be coming all winter. And I do everything in 1080HD now, so it looks great on the large screen. I even do my stuff in 5.1 surround sound, so when I watch them from my personal files, I can hear the guys behind me and in front of me, which is pretty cool. But, youtube can't handle 5.1 yet...

Having your own food at your own theater is so much fun. We have a special collection of good "movie" candy, and popcorn for special movie nights. Very fun.

Glad to hear others are doing the budget theater too. I still can't believe I have a theater in my basement!
post #147 of 156
Read thru the whole thread and think you did an awesome job smile.gif
post #148 of 156
Originally Posted by FreeEnterprise View Post

Made some minor changes so I figured it was time for an update...

For Christmas Santa brought me a credit card bill, and a new playstation 3 with Gran Turismo 5 with a logitec wireless steering wheel with shock.

Truly Amazing, I now realize I should have gotten a blueray player sooner... The picture is amazing, and the 7.1 surround is even better.

My GT5 user name is "FASTRMASTR" if you want to add me to your list of online players.

Playing on a 130 inch screen often tricks you into thinking you are really driving the car... Only bad thing is I keep trying to jump curbs on my way to work. (course I used to dodge banana peels, but that is a different story)

I moved my seats up closer to the screen to make room for my racing track which I get out at Christmas time, and it still has enough room for wii tennis, so I think we will end up leaving it in this position.

and I picked up a few new cars for Christmas, as radio shack is blowing them out again... (Sadly they didn't make Xmods this year...)

yes, I can run all 9 at the same time... And it is a blast.
WOW....that's awesome! I need to find out where I can put one of those tracks in my house! Xmods...are those mini-z's or something else?
post #149 of 156
Thread Starter 
Xmods were sold by radio shack here in the states up until about two years ago, they retailed for $60, but would sell them cheap when new models came out... Sadly they don't sell them anymore, but you can still find them on ebay... They are awesome!
post #150 of 156
And the Ferrari rides nice too;)
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