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CONTEST: Tell us your Greatest Home Theater Moment Ever

post #1 of 137
Thread Starter 

CONTEST: Tell us your Greatest Home Theater Moment Ever and enter to win a $100 gift card to Amazon!


For our latest contest, we thought it would be a great idea for you to share the defining moment in your home theater’s history. This would be the moment when all the planets aligned: when set, setting, company, and content all came together to create your most memorable experience.


Ideally, try to describe what made this moment meaningful to you personally – a moment when all the time, money, and effort you put into your home theater to create the perfect viewing experience was instantly justified. It could be triggered by synchronicity or pure coincidence, but we’ve all experienced those times when for a moment, everything was just exactly perfect. We want to hear them.


Because it’s moments like this that make it all worth it.


We will choose a winner from all entries submitted in this thread until 11:59:59 PM PT, Thursday, August 30, 2012.


Full Contest Rules:



Edited by espodo - 8/22/12 at 10:40am
post #2 of 137
40" Sony LCD that made everything look like it was being seen through a candy wrapper. Just so nice...
post #3 of 137
I had just finished building my home theater twelve years ago. I was very proud, as I'd spent so much time researching most of the major magazines and AVS forum for my various electronic components. I'd chosen Vandersteen for all my speakers, and had ordered the surround and rear speakers finished in Mahogany, as they would be visible, and that finish would match the woodwork in the theater. I'd purchased a few good DVD's to demo the system. I received a call from my audio dealer, Robert Taylor of Taylor House Electronics, who only dealt in high end two-channel, but did deign to sell me some good speakers (despite looking-down on anything other than great 2-channel audio). Mr Taylor told me that Richard Vandersteen had just flown in his private plane from California for a dealer visit, and my dealer asked if I'd mind doing a demo of my home theater for the man. Turns out that Mr Vandersteen was curious as to why a customer would want so many of his smaller speakers in what he considered an unusual finish.
I was so excited that someone so well respected in the audio field would consider visiting my country home! I chose the Roy Orbison "Black & White" as the demo DVD. Mr Vandersteen and Robert Taylor and seemed quite pleased with my demo, despite it being a good 7.2 sound system instead of the usual (in their world) 2-channel. All in all, it was a great experience for all involved.
post #4 of 137
I can't say if there was a greatest moment as every step of the way, always on an upgrade path as money became available, personally, for me was a greatest moment from the day I acquired the Klipsch, Epic, CF-3's and subs to the day we finally got a 60" LCD; now that's what I'm talking about.

The point, the process itself was the greatest moment.

As with most, it's a journey of personal satisfaction with an amplifier/pre-pro upgrade to come.........as money becomes available.


post #5 of 137
the totally epic moment when i finished hooking up my surround sound, popped in the empire strikes back dvd, cranked the sound up to +4, and watched the THX deep note commercial/ pre-movie " thing" as it literally shook the house.(and then was subsequently chewed out by my mother)
Edited by swarm87 - 8/17/12 at 9:05am
post #6 of 137

That time when I, after a night of drinking with friends, apparently went on Amazon and ordered a 52-inch Bravia. Best mistake I ever made. That thing coupled with my existing surround sound system made me the happiest man alive. 


Prior to that, the time when I rigged up 10 speakers in my parents' den, including 4 surround sound speakers attached to the ceiling, and properly tested it out with Die Hard 3.

post #7 of 137
My greatest moment also happen to be the worst beginning of my Home theater experience. I was so fresh with it all, that I couldn’t be called a neebie, I didn’t reach that level yet.

I had a 65” DLP, PS3 and a $150 HTiB, and I was ok with it. I came across a forum online to research blu-ray movies. I made the mistake of seeing what else was available with the forum. I was told about how great HD audio was, and someone suggested an Onkyo 605.

When I heard DTS-HD Master Audio, I was speechless, and just loved it.

It was by far the greatest and again, the worst beginning, because I have been spending money ever since!

I'm broke! ! ! smile.gif
post #8 of 137
Had to be the first time I put in a DVD after finalizing my Home Theater in 1999. Threw in Ronin, sat back with jaw dropped ..... watching my Sony 32 inch. Going from VHS to DVD, I just couldn't believe the upgrade to the video. Was this real life? Looked so life like...I got dizzy. But then...I took notice of the audio. First time these virgin ears heard 5.1 in the home. I sat there in shock, from the left, right, rear left, rear right. SUBWOOFER......and Bobby D. It was too much. Sensory overload.

I think I fainted. I don't have proof though.

Man...good times....
post #9 of 137
Probably the best (certainly most fun) time was when I auditioned the Mitsubishi HC9000 with a collection of 3D titles. I have owned a Constant Image Height [curved Scope AT screen and Cylindrical Anamorphic Lens] with Active LCRs mounted in a treated baffle wall for some time. 3D just brought the system up to a whole new level.
post #10 of 137
Getting my first "real" HT subwoofer (EPIK Tower 15" ported 18hz tuned, 500 watts RMS) and popping in War of The Worlds DVD for the first time. Feeling my couch tremble. The walls and ceiling of my 6000 cubic ft opened room shake with almost convincing intensity in just the first 15 minutes of that movie.....as if I were there. Priceless. I knew then and there that subwoofer performance would be something I'd be persuing- chasing, as I got more into this new found hobby of mine. Now, four years later, with 1 new sub and 2 DIY sub projects currently in the work, I still am smile.gif . I haven't stopped dreaming about subwoofers.
post #11 of 137
Absolutely stumbling on the AVS forum projector area. I always thought CRT RPTV's were the big screen. In the Projectors forum they're talking about we size our screens in feet not inches. Caught my attention so I bought the popular NEC LT150z, had it delivered to my cigar store. Popped on Harry Potter 1 it was the hot movie of the time. Then amazed at the colorful large image I was able to shoot through the air to a screening area. Wow that was a happy day, I still smile just thinking about it.
So many projectors so little time. smile.gif
post #12 of 137
The very first time I popped in the Blu-ray version of Blade Runner I had a smile on my face so wide & it stayed there all the way to the end of the credits. It's such a good feeling when you get to experience one of your favorite films of all time looking & sounding better than it ever has!!
post #13 of 137
My greatest home theater moment ever was actually not a positive event, but a heart-breaking one which eventually culminated in satisfying results after a 6 month escapade of hard work and determination. This event was Tropical Storm Lee in the fall of 2011.

I had setup my home theater 4 years before in the large basement room of my home. Over that time I had upgraded both equipment and room furnishings, constructing many of those furnishings myself; a carpeted stage for my front speakers , a bar counter for second-row seating, media shelves, and even a keg refrigerator I converted from an upright freezer. The room had wall to wall carpeting, curtains on either side of the screen, reclining sofa, and a nice snack bar area in the back leg of the L-shaped room. I thought I had a fairly nice, cozy setup for hosting my regularly scheduled Monthly Movie Nights, held on the first Thursday and Saturday nights of each month for up to ten friends and family members each night. Then, “Flood Lee” struck on September 7, 2011.

Over 10 inches of rain fell that day and overnight, on top of 5 or 6 inches from the previous few days. All that water ran down the large hill in my backyard and pooled up behind the house, until it began to overflow the foundation walls, pouring down behind the paneling in my basement like a rushing waterfall… water was running across the carpeted floor as I scrambled to move valuable items up off the floor, piling them on top of counters and desks or carting them upstairs and stacked up in my living room and dining room. Exhausted, I finally gave up around 3 AM and went to bed, dreading what I would find the next morning.

I awoke to 2” of water covering the entire basement floor. The only reason it didn’t get any deeper was because the garage is located under the house, so all the water was flowing out the doorway into the garage, and pouring down the drain in the middle of the garage floor. That drain ran for two days straight. The carpet and padding in the theater room were saturated, and the baseboards and paneled walls sucked up the water like a wick and proceeded to warp in big waves. I spent the next two days sweeping and vacuuming as much water as I could. All the carpeting, baseboards, and warped wall panels had to be ripped out and tossed into a big roll-off dumpster I had placed in my driveway. After two weeks of drying out with fans, reconstruction began – all completed myself, with some assistance from my mother and a neighbor.

The most horrid work was scraping and sanding 4 layers of massively loose, peeling paint off the concrete floor, which had been on the floor long before carpeting was added. For two more weeks we used sidewalk ice scrapers, sharpened to a razor’s edge on a grinding wheel, to scrape the paint off the floor so new flooring could be installed. I decided to lay commercial vinyl composite tile instead of carpeting, and I replaced all the damaged wall panels and repainted the walls in the entire basement. I installed 4 new 20 amp electrical circuits for power and lighting, seven wall columns with light sconces, and vinyl baseboards which would not absorb water in the future. I also upgraded my projector to a new 3D model – I figured since I spent thousands of dollars on materials for all the repairs, what's a few more thousand for a nice 3D projector?!

After 6 long months of spending almost every evening and weekend in my basement constructing and installing, I was finally rewarded with what is now a much more attractive theater than I had before the flood. Tropical Storm Lee actually gave me the incentive to complete a lot of the projects I had put off for quite a few years, so the devastation of my theater room was actually a big blessing in disguise… That's why I will call it my greatest home theater moment - it was the greatest disaster but also the greatest blessing!

From This / To This...

And From This / To This...

Edited by FreyTheater - 8/18/12 at 1:55pm
post #14 of 137
My greatest Home Theater moment happened recently. I had previously put together a Home Theater, Samsung 52 inch, Onkyo 805, and it was by the far the best system my friends & family had seen. However, after 5 years, I felt it was time for a change and an upgrade. This year I attended CES and had the oportunity to see all the upcoming items. While there I fell in love with the LG series of televisions. While some feel there may be drawbacks to Passive 3D, there was nothing like LG's booth at that show, and none of the 3D impressed as much. I knew then I wanted to go with them for my new monitor. So over the next 6 months I pieced together a new system, LG 55LM8600, Onkyo tx nr 818, Infinity primus speaker line, Panasonic DMP BDT500 Blu Ray BIC 12inch Front firing sub. During my summer vacation, I spent a week straight ripping everything out, putting everything together. This time around making sure my wires were correctly hidden and clean, everything was properly connected, and the all the pieces were in their optimal place. Well after all the work, it was time to plug and play and I had the first part of my my "moment". First to test everything out I popped in Thor 3d Blu Ray. Unbelievable picture, but my moment came when I saw DTS HD Master Audio across the receiver instead of Multichannel. (I had previously used a PS3 for Blu Ray). While this may be a simple moment for some, for me it validated the savings, time, countless visits to Frys, Best Buy, reviews on Amazon, etc and made it all "legit". The second part of my moment was after all that, I was ready to shut down for the night, but my girl could not stop watching the olympics and proceeded to stay up long past me because she was so captivated by the television. This ultimately told me, you know what this system is Pretty Good! 2012-08-17_01-36-42_564.jpg 965k .jpg file
post #15 of 137
My greatest moment happened several years ago, when HD players and software were becoming available in the US. I live in Paris, France; I already had a HD projector, but neither the discs nor the players were available in France yet. I thus imported a first generation HD DVD player from the US, together with a few discs (and I joined the AVS forum!). I played with some of the discs but there was one movie that I decided to left untouched till I had the time to watch it in its entirety, undisturbed and relaxed. This was to be my first complete movie in HD. The movie was The Searchers, which is one of my favorite films of all times. Finally, two days after having received the software, I put the disc in the player, which took some time to load it (remember this time???) and then...WOW! I remained speechless, mouth opened in awe, and I was literally moved to tears. I felt so much emotion that I started crying, not only enjoying the movie in HD for the first time but also realizing what a privilege that was, and thinking of all the people, including my father, who would have loved to share this privilege.

That's my greatest home theater moment. I remains fresh in my memory as if it were yesterday. I think it will forever.
post #16 of 137
EASY PEASY on this one guys! The very first time my brother, father and two nephews came over for their first taste of "Saving Private Ryan" on dvd in DTS 5.1... After the first battle scene for Omaha Beach...Dad yelled "pause"...the whole group of guys got down on the floor on their knees, pointed in the direction of tv and gear, wailed and chanted ,as if it were the Mecca of home-theater nirvana..... saying " All Hail the Ninth Wonder of the World"!!!!

It was absolutely hilarious but....it was the first time they had been exposed to good hometheater with regard to both crisp video as well as rib-shaking audio assaulting the senses from all directions. My poor father looked like he was plastered to the recliner as he had never ever ever heard or felt the rumbling of a subwoofer.

Going forward my house became the central location for "first" with regard to seeing Hi-def tv, bluray, hdDVD etc etc....

For what its worth, the gear at that time was simply:
-Sony 35" XBR crt
-Pioneer BUDGET 5.1 avr
-Toshiba 2nd generation flagship dvd player
-JBL bookshelfs and 12"sub
post #17 of 137
For me that moment came just a short time after I completed our home theater. My friends and co-workers had grown tired of my obsessive talk of building a theater in my basement. For many of them the entire idea was ludicrous. They thought and said I was crazy to spend so much time and money over something they already got with the TVs in their living rooms.

So when I held a party for several friends from work I was pleased when they all murmured words of approval as they saw the lobby, got their drinks and snacks from the snack bar, then settled in to the theater to watch "The Matrix."

At then end, one friend, a man with a cutting and acerbic wit and never afraid to say exactly what he was thinking said, "That was the finest experience I might have ever had in a movie theater."

That was the moment that I knew that I'd done good. I loved the theater, but it was clear to everyone that this wasn't just watching TV. They know understood that home theater was something completely different, desirable, and worth working towards. My boss immediately began planning his own home theater and the others were always looking for an invite. When we played poker, many were happy to lose out so that they could adjourn to the "Loser Lounge" and pick a movie while the rest of us played.

It's always a pleasure for me and my family to settle into the theater for a movie, but when I can share it with friends it's a special pleasure.
post #18 of 137
Telling my wife that i was going to develope the basement and by that I meant putting in a home thater. My wife kept saying that she really didn't see the need for something like that becasue we had a 42" RPTV upstairs in the bonus room.

Having completed the room and hanging the 125" diagonal screen, mounting the projector, finally setting my wife down to watch a movie for the first time. It was when the glorious large image with full 7.2 surround sound that my wife finally said "OK now I get it". Now we have a long list of friends (hers mostly) that have to come over and watch a movie in our basement.
Edited by Ronzai - 8/22/12 at 1:47pm
post #19 of 137
My favorite HT experience is short and sweet:

My first 5.1 was a cheap Polk Monitor setup I pieced together off eBay. I set it up on a Sunday and had a buddy come over to watch football. The crowd cheering was all around us now, which was great as expected, but what really surprised us were the audio effects accompanying on-screen graphics. That was only the first example of hearing little things I didn't even know were there. What makes me giddy even to this day aren't the large-scale effects and SPL, but the little details in movies and TV shows that I'd otherwise miss. And when it came time to upgrade I had no problem selling the Polks to that buddy.
post #20 of 137
i was watching act of valor on my 40" LCD 1080p HD with a newly tweaked soundbar and i shook the entire room when that boat came around the corner with its mini gun blaring biggrin.gif.
it also made everyone in the room want to go join the navy seals.
post #21 of 137
Best Home Theater Moment Ever was when I received my copy of "The Dark Knight" on Blu-Ray disc. I had read that the Blu-Ray used the correct aspect ratios for not only the "dialogue" scenes but also the IMAX scenes. I couldn't wait to see how the changes in aspect ratio and image quality would translate to the big screen.

I popped the disc into the player, turned on the TV, and cranked up my 5.1 surround system to the highest level.

IT WAS AWESOME! The first scene of the Joker's bank heist lit up the screen with crystal-clear IMAX quality images, filled with loud gunshots and explosions that literally shook the walls to their foundation!

I can't wait until "The Dark Knight Rises" is released on Blu-Ray in December. It'll be a must buy for me! smile.gif
post #22 of 137
For my birthday I say 2 -3 years back I was hoping to buy my first receiver ... a standard Pioneer VSX-1019AH-K and then on the day of my birthday I hear a knock on the door around 8 AM, when I opened the door my brother and my father were there to surprise me with a brand new Pioneer Elite SC-05:eek:... I screamed like a little girl and by the end of the day I was officially done setting my first home theater. That day I'll never forget specially coming from my Dad and bother.smile.gif
post #23 of 137
Building my dedicated home theater has been a battle. An absolute battle.

From reclaiming the square footage of my basement from ten years of “Hoarders” clutter/storage, to cutting and nailing every framing stud, to hauling every sheet of drywall, to slathering every roller of paint… It was all me. No help from the missus. Buddies kept promising to help me with the heavy work, but always ditched at the last minute.

From the technical “I’m going to really do this” starting day until yesterday when the carpet guy did his thing, it has been two years and two months. I found a theater build on AVS from a photographer in Detroit named Stenbro (since deleted). I modeled my build after his.

The two years and two months includes the time it took me to hold three garage sales to clear out the clutter. I had to build two storage closets first, just to shift all my wife’s “antiques” and catering supplies away from my build area. (I still had to build the walls around an embarrassing amount of clutter, shifting it from side-to-side as each new framed wall tilted into place.)

Finances were tight and I’d stop-and-start, stop-and-start as the budget allowed. Two hundred dollars worth of lumber and drywall one payday and zero the next. Somehow I eeked it out. I slowly accumulated every electronic component as a refurb, or a Craigslist steal, or the clearance rack at Best Buy.

Somewhere along the years, my wife stole my Stenbro paint schema (Windsor Blue) for three other rooms in the house. When it came time to paint the theater, the family turned their collective noses up at a fourth Windsor Blue room. My wife kept saying a theater should be red. She picked a red (Apple Polish). It was awful. It was awful before I saw it paired with the black ceiling and realized my precious theater had been painted the exact colors of my high school sports teams. I was embarrassed.

But worse, the paint, the good Behr Primer Plus paint, was absolute fecal matter. FIVE coats and I was still getting roller streaks and seeing white stipple patches of primer through the paint. (Yes, I was stirring it.)

All that work. All that effort. All that money. My theater looked like complete amateur crap.

I was so depressed. I hated the theater and avoided going near it because every time I stepped inside I just wanted to bang my head on the ugly walls.. I hated myself. I was angry at my wife, blaming her for screwing up my paint plans and gorking up my project.

My wife walked through the theater, noting all my complaints and nodding. “Which roller did you use? That one? The ninety-nine cent roller? Really? How many times? Every time? I think I know how to fix your problem. Go drink a beer. I’m going to run to the hardware store.”

She bought some quality painting supplies. She singlehandedly repainted the walls, ceiling, stage, and trim. The next time I walked into the theater I swooned. Amazing. It was perfect. The paint was perfect. Without all the streaky roller marks, the color scheme seemed perfect for the first time. My missus repainted the riser fronts and stage accents and baseboards and crown molding and door with a dark grey accent paint that tied the red and black together impeccably.

My depression lifted. Angels sang. Finally it was right. Finally it was done. Finally I was proud.

It’s hard to ask for help, but man, it made all the difference. When my wife talks to her friends and family she keeps referring to it as “the theater we built.” Fair enough. But for one eight hour intervention, it wouldn’t be the same theater.
post #24 of 137
Well this takes place many years ago before most people thought about home theater. At the time I was running a 2ch all separates system and came across a little company in the bay area called SSI (Surround Sound Inc.) They had a magic little box that extracted the rear channels out of movies that were just coming out on VHS in surround, not even DD surround. Anyway I picked one of these up and found it worked remarkably well for music too. At the time I had more vinyl than CD's since these had only been out a couple of years. A buddy of mine brought over the LP called The Power and Magistracy. It was a kind of sound effect album but one whole side was a thunderstorm that started out as a trickle. But the big surprise was the live recording of a Southern Pacific Train coming across a valley and finally running right past you from left to right. My system then and now consisted of a pair of Klipsch La Scala's for my mains and some Advent New Louds for my rears. There were about 5 of us sitting there listening to this and you could see the anticipation on everyone's face as the train drew closer and closer until the point it was coming right at you and past you. I had this cranked so loud in this little 12x15 room it literally scared one of my buddies and he flung himself out the door. I swear I could see the bass bins breathing. I as well as my buddies to this day have never ever experienced a moment like that... Incredible! Now my HT is modern with all the latest but my La Scala's have remained. The only change to them were the ALK crossovers I installed.



post #25 of 137
My best time was just last weekend with field of dreams on the 10 foot 2.37:1 screen. With 6 of my sons little league teammates. It brought tears to my eyes. I had to hold off bringing the lights up.
post #26 of 137
I would have to say the greatest moment was watching "The Forgotten" for the first time. At the time, I had a D-Box Motion Simulation system, and that car crash came out of nowhere...holy smokes! The audio was kickin' hard, and the D-Box kicked my butt off the couch. Not really, but you really felt like you were there. I have never forgotten that experience...pun intended.

post #27 of 137
Reading this website.
post #28 of 137
my first projector, in 2007. a 3-CRT 70lb behemoth. Had just moved to Ohio from Florida with an 8yr old and a 6 month old. We got stuck living in a hotel for 3 weeks while waiting on rental house to open up. Our realtor sold us the pj and 4:3 85inch diag fixed screen. We got my boy a Wii for his birthday while hotel-bound. I hooked up the Wii to the pj in the hotel room...no speakers...but big picture. The catch: I couldn't figure out how to get the picture right-side-up; it was set up to shoot ceiling mounted front projection. we had to play upside down for a week or two but it was friggin AWESOME. Still have it too, b/c noone will buy it!!! Moved up to the epson 8350 just this year smile.gif Love this Site.
post #29 of 137
Originally Posted by ackbarthegreat View Post

Reading this website.

Well yeah. And then there's that.

But that's a little like having a contest for the greatest invention of all time and nominating "matter." wink.gif
post #30 of 137
Over ten years ago we ventured into our first front projector (crt) and upon initial set-up we popped in Toy Story on Laser Disc, my (at the time) very young and non verbal autistic son was just in awe and for the first time he giggled at the funny parts of the movie and we were so overjoyed that he followed and understood what was going on, to this day he loves the big screen as much as dad. biggrin.gif

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