Home Theater Customer Showroom
Sony Cineza VPL-HS51 home theater
by: Mike Thomas
"The home theater bug bit me after I saw some front projection systems in action at the local hi-fi stores while I was shopping for a new CD player. I already had a big screen (46") RPTV but for most of the time I owned it, I never even bothered to hook it up to my stereo. But seeing projection in action really sold me on the impact of a truly big image.
Once the bug bit, I went into action researching equipment and home theater technology. Because of the dimensions of my room, and placement considerations, I knew I'd have to (sadly) replace my Magneplanar speakers. On the electronics side, I'd also have to buy a surround receiver or separates and a new, progressive scan DVD player. On the video side, I knew I'd go front projection, it was just a matter of which projector and screen. There was also a lot of work to be done to my room - it needed a darker paint on the walls and I had to find a way to route cable as invisibly as possible.
While I worked on the room, I narrowed my equipment list and started purchasing the equipment. I picked the Sony VPL-HS51 projector based on reviews and cost/performance ratio. On the recommendation of a friend, I purchased the projector and screen (a basic 92-inch Da-Lite pulldown model) from Projector People and was very pleased with the service I got. I spent the longest time researching electronics, but in the end I went with Denon pieces, which I purchased from Crutchfield. I bought my PSB 'Image' speakers (front, and side-surround) from a local dealer after a lot of listening sessions. I already had a Velodyne subwoofer (which I may replace with an SVS), and I got a free pair of Infinity speakers from Crutchfield, which I used for rear speakers.
Once the room was painted, and all cabling routed (I used WireTracks for behind-the-baseboard cable routing), the installation was pretty trivial. I'd set up a junction box at the front of the room to connect the surround channels, and another at the back of the room for hooking up the rear surrounds. The side surround cables come directly out of the wall behind the speakers. All that remained was to hook all the components together with interconnects and set up the projector. I used digital (optical and coaxial) connections wherever possible when hooking up the components.
Since I was installing into a finished room with a low ceiling, ceiling mounting the projector took a bit of creativity. I ended up creating a wooden 'mounting plate' onto which I bolted the Chief projector mount. I then screwed the plate into a joist on the ceiling, and connected the projector to the mount. This worked great. I used Wiremold raceway to neatly surface-route the power and component video cable to the projector."
- From Mike Thomas' home theater web page. Click here to view full Home Theater Installation details »
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