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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Well I’ve finally got all the wiring “neat-ified,†all the software and hardware configured, got my remotes, IR headphones and sound system all set up: My home office/den is now serving double duty as an awesome home theater.


Thanks to all the tips from everybody on this forum. Everything is functional, put together, and tweaked for viewing, and I’m really, really happy with this set up. With good quality DVDs, this system ROCKS!!


It’s not the most high-end PC, but after experimenting with my current 800 MHz P3, I know that CPU speed is not the limiting factor in my HTPC. So far, I’ve seen nor heard any video/audio stutter beyond the normal RSDL DVD middle-movie layer shift. The PC is very quiet, probably the quietest mechanical element in the system. Putting a hush box on the projector would reduce the PJ noise, but would be self-defeating with my A/C and overhead fan --with the Arizona heat, the alternative is unacceptable, not only for me, but the projector would soon fry as well. ;-) I bought two case fans, but only installed one, and even that is probably overkill since I’m not overclocking the P4. It seems to run nice and cool with the Zalman copper “flower†cooler. The only down side so far is that I’ve not been able to flash the DVD drive to make it region free. I did this to the DVD player in my P3 system and enjoyed Jean de Florette in anamorphic video that I picked up in Italy last year. Maybe I can switch the black faceplates and swap the DVD players.


After a lot of research, I ended up with the SE-13HD for a projector (virtually the same as the Sanyo PLV-60), and it is looking real good after using SMART to get good black levels and ultimate color contrast. In the end, color was tweaked by eye to get good grays, and the gamma settings of the Radeon helped even out the dark detail significantly.


The M-Audio card is overkill, and my SB Live! worked just fine, but I figured as long as I was putting it together, I'd get a sound card that I could use for other things.


I’m using both the airboard and a very small remote control. The airboard is great when using the system as a PC, but for DVDs it’s cumbersome.


I ended up with more memory than I needed. I was only planning on 256M, and so only ordered one RIMM strip. After starting to put things together I realized the motherboard needs RAM in pairs to work, so I ordered a second 256K rather than trying to return the 256M for two 128M strips. My sound system could be better, but it suits me just fine. More often than not I’m watching this late at night, so I use the IR headphones anyway. I was putting all this information together and thought I would post it here on the AVS Forum, just in case it might help somebody.


Things that gave me trouble: Not that much, but I’ll document the things that took more time than I would have originally expected.


1) Downloading and installing the right Radeon and M-Audio drivers took some time.

2) SMART allowed me to really know what the projector could and couldn’t do, but it takes a LOT of time on the SE-13HD to get it into the region where it could finally be fine-tuned by eye.

3) Hanging the projector and putting up wire conduits took some time.

4) Experimenting with screen paint took a few weekends. Then sanding and mudding to get a smooth suface took time and was really, really messy.

5) The PC went together without a hitch, and the only glitch in the system occurred when I first powered it up (…it’s ALIVE!!!) – I pushed the power button and nothing happened. I groaned, imagining the worst, but looked around back. I had plugged the power cord in, but did not connect it to the power supply. Once connected it came up fine, and I FDISKed and formatted the hard drive and installed XP.. No problems at all. I downloaded the latest drivers from Intel. I spent some time minimizing XP, using David LeBorde’s hints from www.videoguys.tom/TweaksWINXPVE.html


I didn’t do a detailed cost analysis, but I’d estimate that I put about $6000-7000 into the whole set up. The projector was about 2/3 of that.


This is what I ended up with:


Studio Experience SE13-HD (SMARTened), ceiling mount, 12.5’ from lens to screen

DIY painted wall screen, Behr Antique Pewter, 103â€x60†(10’ diagonal, although with full lens zoom in, I’ve got about a 3†black border on a 16x9 picture)


Directron 7109 Charcoal Black ATX case

Zalman CNPS6500A-CU copper “Flower†CPU cooler

Zalman noiseless 300w power supply

Intel D850GBC socket 423 motherboard, BIOS GB8501A.86A.0078.P18

P4 1.5 GHz processor

512M Rambus RIMM RAM memory

Toshiba M1612 black DVD

Teac black 1.44M floppy

Seagate ST380021A 80GB ATA-100 7200 rpm hard drive

Quiet Panaflo 60mm case fan


Silitek Airboard SK-7100 IR keyboard, driver v4.1.0

Keyspan UIA-11 IR remote control, driver v2.0.5


Windows XP Pro operating system

Radeon 7200 6.13.10.6071 drivers, resolution:1360x768

PowerStrip v3.12, build 245

PowerDVD XP v4.0

M-Audio 2496, driver 5.10.0.5026 (not digitally signed), SP/DIF connected to amp


Denon 3802 Receiver

Carver 5.1 speakers


Sony DP-IF5100 IR headphones, optical connection to amp for virtual DD and DTS
 

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Very good job - sounds a lot like mine, which is still a work in progress. Of course, you are ~8 months ahead of me :). Some questions, if you don't mind:


You have a better receiver - do you use the side surrounds?


I think your proj puts out more light than mine (Sony 10HT). Have you seen a (SMART calibrated) 10HT or 11HT?


Do you use the internal deinterlacer on your proj?


Very respectable HT.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
Whoops! Yep, I'll fix that K to an M!


No, I don't use the de-interlacer. I just watch DVDs on it through the VGA input. I also do not use the side surrounds. I get more usage out of my headphones than the 5.1 speaker set up.


I have heard, but have no personal experience, that SMART is much easier on the Sony 10/11ht --actually, that's the way it was designed by Steve Holcombe. He has a Sony and extended it to work with the Sanyo in conjunction with the guys at The Big Picture.
 

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Yeah, the cal on my 10HT only took me an hour the first time; ~30 minutes now.
 

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Hey Darrel, how much better do you think the HTPC is on this projector than a Progressivescan DVD player. Also how long would you guess it took you to "SMART" your projector. I have the same projector and already purchased SMART, but haven't taken the time to do it yet. One more thing, where did you get the wireless headphones, this sounds like a GREAT idea!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Scott
 
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