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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Ok, as most of you have been thru this before, I am making my beginner stake and going to bat with my decisions for home theater components and want to know if there are any glaring do's or don'ts with my choices.


Panasonic AE100 - Ceiling mounted (Big picture is important to us, and The best thing we have now is S-Video on a 1996 Hitachi 52 inch.)


Panasonic RP56 Progressive Scan DVD


iScan v1 Transcoder (If I can find one, only see v2's and pros around)


Canere Cable (Whatever the good kind is for this application, I am still doing research on this part)


Parkland Plastic 4x8 Screen, with the normal 1/4" Surround painted black. Haven't really understood what the 5x8 sheet would give me(for 4x3) also havent been clear on whether people are using this as is, or HAVING to put some kinda backing material due to manufacturing flaws now.


Now I am going to be using a Yamaha HDTV ready component switching A/V receiver and coming out of it Component into the iScan into the Panasonic AE100.


We typically watch DVD's but will occasionally watch Satellite, but DVD movies are our main focus point.


Room Size I think is roughly 25'x35', no carpet yet, drop ceiling in awaiting ceiling tiles. It is in the back area of a basement, with flourescent lighting and total light control. When its dark its dark.


Have I missed anything in my low budget entree into Home Theater? I am readying a price sheet for the wife, and want to make sure i have everything there, including cables and A/V racks, etc etc. The audio stuff I can pretty much handle, but this I want to make sure that I am going in the right direction.


All thanks to everyone here, and much more thanks to come I can guess. I am just happy to be able to finally embark on getting this basement finished and the home theater started.


Rae
 

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A HTPC instead of a DVD player, if you can handle it. It is a hassle I know, but if you are into computers you should consider it.
 

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You don't mention what other video sources you are using? If you just want good looking DVD, a simple transcoder from Key Digital with your Panny DVD player will work instead of the iScan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
It will probably ONLY be used for the DVD player and possibly Direct TV sources. Thats about it. No games, and I really dont wanna get some kinda HTPC thing going, I just wanna watch movies.


So there is a better choice for a transcoder?


Thanks,

Rae
 

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Iscan is more than just a transcoder. It's a deinterlacer/scaler. If you have a progressive DVD player, you'll probably be more than satisfied with the Key Digital or AA transcoder, which is much MUCH cheaper than the Iscan.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
Ok, I will look into that, and get more information about it. I really only want the starter components needed to watch movies in decent quality off the jump.


I will go back later and tweak out situations in off viewing times, and when I get better acquainted with the HT setups.


Thanks for that TidBit though


Rae
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
What exactly does the iScan allow for over the AA transcoder? A while back(2 yrs) when I was looking into getting a CRT, I remember stuff like Line Doubs and Quads, and what they actually allowed weaker signals to be converted to, so that they would be even watchable on a CRT, Is this the same the same thing that the iScan does for sources other than Progressive scan? Meaning would I be able to come in with Component from DirectTV or SVideo from DirectTV with either of the units.


Rae
 

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Yes, the ISCAN I believe would allow you take interlaced sources through s-video and perhaps even composite (I'm not sure on that one), such as DirectTV, Cable, VHS, etc.


However, to throw another monkey in the wrench, there is another less expensive route for those type sources. The Viewsonic VB50 TV tuner ($99 at Amazon). This device accepts s-video or composite (not component, I don't believe) and provides line doubling and a VGA connection to the AE100. Many of the AE-100 users are using this for projecting Cable/Sat. The viewsonic also has a VGA passthru, and provides remote IR switching between composite, s-video and VGA sources.


One popular setup seems to be:


RP56 -> AA Transcoder -> VGA Port on VB50

Cable/SAT -> S-Video Port on VB50


VB50 -> VGA port on AE100


I'm really starting to get out of my league here, as I don't have either the VB50 or the transcoder on my setup. I'm regurgitating what I have read from many different users. Hopefully Huey who seems to be the expert on the VB50 will chime in.
 

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Most scalers won't touch progressive signals so in your setup with only DVD, you simply need a transcoder. If you want to improve the quality of all your other stuff, the VB50 serves the same purpose at a lower price point. The iScan essentially performs the same thing, but I don't think exceptionally better. Especially with your lower-definition signals only really being processed, the improvements the iScan might give you seem little. For the money, it is quite a deal.


Rob seems to have the connection diagram down pat...
 

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Just to add the obvious: If you already have a non-progressive DVD player, then the iscan is the way to go. It will take inputs from 3 different devices (1 composite, 2 S-Vid) and output a 480P signial via VGA. This will go directly into the AE100.


I chose this route because I will watch a mix of sources and wanted them all to look good on the projector. Simply buying an RP56 would only solve part of the problem and I would still need a transcoder to make the most use of it.


FWIW, the iscan v2 has a 4:3 squeeze mode that will put a 4:3 image in the center of your 16:9 screen. This could be useful if you watch much standard television.


Hope this helps.


David
 

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David,


I'm also in Apex....Small world :)
 

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Stupid question, but if you're just starting in, why use a transcoder at all? Why not just get a component-to-HD15 cable and let 'er rip? And add a transcoder later, if needed?
 

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Twilly,


Doesn't work like that on the AE-100....You're thinking of the Panny 75u/711xu which takes component in via it's 15 pin connector. The AE100 does not, and you must use a transcoder to use the VGA input. You can directly connect component into the AE-100 via RCA cables, but most users say that the picture's not as great as using the transcoder or HTPC
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Yeah, what Robert Said! :)


Nah for me I am a major tinkerer, and I have been lurking for a while and originally was thinking about the CRT route, well when I came back to read back up on whats going on, cause I am ready to make a purchase, I just jaw dropped at the whole AE100 thing.


It fits right down my alley, you know the el cheapo do it yourself alley, that a lot of people who dont want to spend a huge outlay in cash go down, just for the experimentation of it all.


Well there you have me, and so far it seems that if I need to buy a 300 dollar component, then thats not that big of a deal. Heck with the do it yourself screen, that was 599.00 right there cut to 50 bucks(probably cheaper), so upping in another area is not that big of a deal.


I saw that someone was using the Viewsonic piece, and wondered what the heck it actually added to the whole schema, now I know. I am going in front of the boss tonight with the figures, and I am sure will get approved. I still have a long road to go though, in addition to all this I have carpet coming in, and a HT audio system to prep for, and ceiling tiles going in, gotta do ceiling mount, etc etc, but at least my products will be waiting for me as I reach each stage of completion.


All thanks to this Forum no doubt.


Rae
 

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If you get an iScan, then the VB50 is not necessary. (I have a AA transcoder, VB50, RP56 & AE100).


If I had to do it over again, I would have kept my interlaced DVD player and simply bought an iScan V2. That would have given line doubling for all sources (VHS, DVD, video games... etc) in one box and it would have been cheaper than buying a VB50, RP56 and transcoder.


- JP
 

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Discussion Starter · #16 ·
Ok so my option is this:


AE100

Regular old DVD player (I have an extra one of these already with component out)

iScan v1


Then I can add satellite dish as needed via SVideo or an Xbox for the kids or something


or I can go with the a progressive scan RP56 and a transcoder without the ability to take a Svideo signal or Xbox or VCR signal at a later date, unless I but something like the VB50


Gotta read up on the true nature of progressive scan, to see what the diff is in that and what the line doubling of the iScan is. I am wondering now whether I will actually be losing anything without the RP56, or not.


Rae
 

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You ask about the Parkland plastic screen. The regular size should be enough.


The goal in mounting it is to make sure that it is very flat. You want to glue it to something flat. While very few people over at the screens forum suggest it, if your sheet is pretty flat to begin with, and your wall is flat too, you can just glue it right to the wall.


I would give it a bigger surround than you mention. I put 4" of border, painted black, around my screen, and I think it really helps.


If you want to go off the deep end for really, really flat, get kitchen countertop material. Now that's flat. It's pretty heavy too, but it is strong and will not bend.
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Tom,


Cool information thanks, I have been reading thru the 25 page post of the Parkland plastic thingie, and even went to Lowes today to see if they had it, and to no avail they didnt. Tomorrow its home depot, and my order for ceiling tiles.


At any rate, a 4x8 sheet will suit me is what you are saying and thats cool, as long as i can get a 100" diag 16x9 viewing area I am fine. picked up the black spray paint for the surrounds today at lowes as well. Will look into their 4 inch trim.


Thanks,

Rae
 
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