Well, I've always wanted to make a dedicated home theater room, but certain limitations existed: light control, construction costs, etc. Since I work in a theater, and pretty much have free reign of it, I can always go over 24/7 and just watch any movie we have (I live across the street, too). I use the basement for prop construction and painting and such, too.
Then I realized something in my plans to make a home theater...I WORK in a theater.
Figuring bang-for-the-buck potential was very high I decided to do some investigating. Once in a while we'll use a crappy LCD projector for playing 360 games, but it's nowhere near good enough to watch movies on. A 720p projector would be sweet.
The only real problem was sound, then it occurred to me that we have a DTS XD-10 unit in our #2 theater. It's a smaller theater, only seating 225, with a 260" screen, but it's decent for playing games. I looked at the back of the DTS unit and noticed it has a SPDIF input on it. Excited, I went home and grabbed my laptop and M-box. I used the SPDIF out from the M-box and played with Propellerhead Reason for a while. It was really nice and way better for mixing music than my home studio. Actually, I was giddy as a schoolgirl after that experiment.
With real sound possible, I ordered a Toslink to coaxial converter and 25ft coaxial cable from Monoprice for use with my PS3.
Next up, I ordered a Sharp DT-510 projector.
I just got back from trying out the PS3 on the Sharp and it was pretty cool. I ended up having the projector about 20ft from the screen and what ended up to be about 220" or so for 16:9 and used the zoom for scope movies. DVDs looked decent and Blu-ray looked pretty good. I have to say I was a little surprised the result.
So, basically I have 100% light control and a far better theater than I could hope to put in my apartment right now.
Then I started to wonder how many other people on AVS have done this.
When i was younger I was a manager for a theater and also had free reign. I used to throw midnight parties and invite all my friends and get drunk watching movies a couple days before they came out. We could turn them up as loud as we wanted! Never played games tho but I do know how fun it is to "kinda own" a comercial theater. Thats where it all started tho and now I have a dedicated theater in my house. Not as big, but the sound quality is better. Still get everybody together for drunken parties some times too! lol
Yeah, I was more interested to see if anybody was commandeering their theaters for personal use. Mostly to work through any...annoyances...with certain equipment.
Our DTS XD-10 can be a little fickle, but after experimenting the other night we found some stuff out. After trial and error we found out that if you ever use a PS3 with this unit the best thing to do is use PCM for everything. We didn't notice any different between bitstream and PCM (which isn't a surprise since there are no modes to mess with, like a home receiver usually has) and only ran into one specific problem...the Dolby Digital track.
By nature, the DTS unit won't play DD tracks. Again, not really a surprise, but worth testing. We overcame that by unticking the DD box for the PS3 output. The example was Jurassic Park. Don't get me started on the transfer quality of the DVD in the Franchise box, or the fact that the first DTS movie doesn't have a DTS track on the DVD, but eventually we were able to get a pretty boring stereo output.
The nice, yet interesting thing, was that Lord of the Rings would not decode the DTS ES track on bitstream, however it would on PCM. There is now demand for a LOTR marathon from some of the employees. Understandable. It did sound pretty good.
Still, I am quite amazed just how well the Sharp DT-510 does on what is about a 220" screen. The others who were with me while I was testing didn't seem to see the screendoor effect, which I think is unacceptable up to about 17 feet. In the back row, which is around 45ft from the screen, it's unnoticable. At that distance a DVD with a DTS track is pretty engrossing.
There was also some interesting barrel distortion that would show up with some DVDs or Blu-rays, then disappear on others.
But, overall it's a pretty successful and fun experiment. Now that we've started to tame the XD-10 it's time to start watching stuff for real.
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