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Erkki

Building a home theater...

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Damn, the lamp driver (or "ballast") wasn't quite fixed. It turned the lamp on for ten seconds and then failed again. I decided to install the new projector. While there's still some hope that I'll get the old one working, I just couldn't wait any more to have a screen again.

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Maybe I'll write up some more thoughts on my first year of home theater after having a picture again. But so far it has been awesome for me to be able to watch movies on a relatively big screen. I don't have 5.1 sound or anything, which I never cared about in movies, even though I really liked 3D sound in games in the Aureal days.

 

The projector is a bit noisy but you get used to it. I even got used to using the computer from couch using the big screen, but I think I skipped doing some things (like programming cool stuff at home) because I wasn't really comfortable. So for the future I'm looking into keeping the main computer in the office room and streaming games to a smaller box connected to the big screen.

 

For the last month and a half I've really missed being able to see movies at home (I don't want to see them on small screens any more) and I've went to the cinema a lot more (there was one week when I went every day).

 

I've had mine up for about the same amount of time, and I really can't imagine going back to a regular TV in my living room now.  Bummer about your problems with the bulb and the lamp driver. 

 

I've turned into a real evangelist for just going with a projector instead of a TV.  If someone's budget for a new TV is anywhere close to $1,000, it's totally doable.  I'm surprised by the number of people who's reaction is that they can't imagine putting one in though, it's like it violates some boundary for them to imagine not having a regular TV. 

 

Since I put in a retractable screen, one of the most surprising things I've enjoyed about it is how a screen is no longer the focus of the living room when it's up, and it let us make better use of a bunch of space. 

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Yeah, I couldn't really go back to a TV either. But a lot of people who have been thinking about projectors seem to have doubts about the complexity of the setup and well, my experience so far does seem to confirm that it's a bit more complicated than having a TV.

 

This time I'm not moving my main computer into the living room as I had for the past year -- it just doesn't work out well to do everything from the couch. So I'll be looking into Steam machines or something similar (I know I've been planning for a long time, but now I really need to do it, and I'm also getting the furniture for the living-room electronics soon).

 

Right now I'm using PS3 as my movie player, however I'm having trouble Streaming from my PC. Using Kodi (XBMC) doesn't work that well, as some movies don't play and subtitles don't work. Using PS3 Media Server I find severe lagging is ruining the experience. Maybe I should connect the PS3 to wired network? I have it on Wi-Fi.

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It is more complicated, but I don't find it to be prohibitive.  I think it's the kind of thing most people could handle, it's more complicated in their imagination than it is in reality.  And the payoff is so, so, so nice. 

 

When I was still using a console to stream, I always had more issues using the PS3 as a media server than I did the 360.  I had loads of issues with it losing authentication, or even just losing connection, to my PC.  I finally just gave up. 

 

The lady and I share an office, and we each have our own PCs.  I'm barely gaming right now, so most of our screen time is spent just watching an occasional movie, which the consoles work fine for.  When I do want to game, I move my lady's PC into the living room for an evening or the weekend (her machine has a beefier GPU than mine).  I always meant to build a dedicated machine for the projector, but then could never really justify the cost when it only takes me 30 seconds to move her machine one room over.

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I really haven't found a better solution for streaming video from my PC to my TV than Plex. I believe there is a PS3 client, though I haven't used it personally (I use it with an Amazon Fire TV and my Android tablet).

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I tried again with PS3 Media Server and this time it worked fine. I had connected the PS3 to wired network, although I'm not sure whether it picked that up or still used Wi-Fi. Might have also been that the movie had smaller bitrate, or less variable one.

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Wow, Plex is also very nice. Having a special PS3 app instead of just making the movie streams accessible form the PS3's own menu and player looks much better. Although it seems the app is limited to 720p :(

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Plex is pretty rad, although I have a lot of problems with jumping through video when streaming to a local mobile device. I'm hoping now that I have a real TV I can try it out there and see nowhere near as many problems!

 

Also I got a TV stand today and finally hooked up my new TV. Now I just need a sofa (couldn't fit it in the car, but picked one out), and my home theater setup will be complete (until I decide to go further).

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I've settled on Universal Media Server + PS3 client for most of my movie streaming, although it isn't perfect. For example adding/deleting a movie seems to make every other movie unwatchable until the server is restarted.

 

Today I got some furniture for the living room, including a cabinet for storing the PS3 and other devices. After watching one full HD movie, the cabinet was quite hot, though. It doesn't have any ventilation holes at the top... I wonder if it would be enough to make some holes in the top edge of the back wall so the hot air could get out, or if fans are required if I want to keep the cabinet door closed during use.

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Hey, I found this old thread. I built my second home theater (more like living room theater) now in my new home, but I got to say the audio part is really difficult for me.

 

I would really like to get real quality audio, but at the moment I only had like 250€ budget. I'm afraid it's also a much more subjective than video. Some people are saying that sound bars are so much better than stereo speakers, but others say that you don't get the same separation due to the physical width limitation and I think I rather believe that, although I haven't heard any sound bars in a real setting, only as a quick demo in a store...

 

Anyway I think I currently made the worst choice and got some all-in-one 2.1 speakers, where the amp is built into the subwoofer and it takes digital input (convenient so I can wire the audio from my HDMI Switch, which switches between PS3/Steam Link/Vero (Kodi running device) and also analog input from Amazon Echo, which I use to listen to music from Spotify.

 

A few downsides of this:

1) Well, the sound quality isn't as good as I hoped - there weren't many reviews and this was actually one of the few products I found which fit into my system without changing anything about it (Edifier S530D)

2) I can't hear Amazon Echo while anything else is playing with this setup :/ e.g. too bad if I miss a timer because a movie is playing

3) I can't get the PS3 to downmix Blu-Rays to 2 channels. The PS3 only allows setting either "Bitstream" or "Linear PCM" as HDMI sound output for Blu-Ray/DVD, but it doesn't let you specify the number of channels, so what seems to be happening is that some channels get lost. At least that's what happens with the Mad Max Fury Road Blu-Ray, which has 7.1 audio. I haven't tried any others yet. Vero can play a rip of the blu-ray easily with good results from downmixing, because I can specify the output channels, but not PS3 :(

 

I think what I really needed was a Home Theater Receiver to replace the HDMI switch with... and some proper speakers to go with the receiver... Although I never want to mess with having surround speakers placed around the room, so a proper receiver would kind of be a waste...

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Saw this and thought of @Erkki's thread!

 

 

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Seems complicated :) Weirdly my projector refused to turn on today, maybe because the 28 degrees celsius indoor temperature... I hope it'll be ok.

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