Mike's Realm chown -R us ./base

13Jun/092

Home Theater Build Part 1

When I was younger my parents would take me and my brother out every few weekends to look at model homes.  Me and my brother were always fascinated with dedicated home theater rooms.  My dad always talked about how cool that would be--for his birthday this year we were able to make it happen.

So first it started with they were going to buy a new TV--52" LCD.  We (my brother and I) convinced them to mount it on the wall.  After that we convinced them to mount all the surround speakers on the wall.  After much talk we got them to agree to have a dual display system--TV & Projector (PJ).  I had a huge motorized screen in the attic a friend of mine got me from his old office building that was being demolished.  We got them to agree to mount this motorized screen on the wall.  Then we took it up a notch and got them to agree to mount it in the attic--hidden screen woohoo.  Somewhere along all this we got them to agree to the components being behind in a media cabinet (IR Distro woohoo).  There were trade offs for getting what we wanted--having to paint the whole @%$% room.  Install and light some wall sconces and a ceiling fan...

I decided to run every possible cable to TV and just DVI (adapted to HDMI) and VGA (adapted to component) to the PJ.  I also ran 3.5mm audio cable for an IR Emitter on the PJ.

Cables:

  • x2 HDMI to TV
  • 1 Component to TV
  • 1 Composite to TV
  • 1 S-Video to TV
  • 1 Cat5 to TV (Network)
  • 1 Cat5 for IR Receiver
  • 5 Speaker Wires
  • 1 Coaxial (terminated with RCA connectors) for Sub
  • 1 HDMI to PJ (DVI->HDMI Adapter)
  • 1 VGA to PJ (VGA->Component)
  • 2 Romex for Power Bridge & PJ outlet

I had to decide how to terminate the cable--do I run them all onto wall plate jacks--that would be one big ass wall plate.  I got a passthrough/spillout plate--I wrapped the connector ends in stretchy sticky plastic so they wouldn't get gummed up in the insulation in the attic.  Many people say to run some smurf tube from your PJ and TV to your media cabinet but in my case I didn't feel it was necessary because I ran every possible cable for my TV and PJ.  Also the attic is easily accessible and easy to work in so I can always add something else.

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  1. I find The Dark Knight Blu Ray is great for testing on HD tv’s / projectors. You’ll get a great sense of color and black level performance. There’s also a lot of sequences that are quite useful for gauging image smoothness when the aspect ratio changes for the Imax scenes and suddenly you’re using the full 16:9. Oh, and the the semi flipping scene is quite epic, and an absolute blast on as large a screen as possible. The Watchmen, and the new Star Trek are also good choices, and for animated movies anything Pixar will suffice.


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