I've never been a big fan of home theatre. I'm a huge audio fan and have lived on two speakers forever. I never quite understood the home theatre with it's five or more channels of sound. All of that changed when I picked up Stop Making Sense on DVD. The audio is a little strange when you are used to a sound stage presented by only two sources. I'm not convinced it sounds better, but it's great to have a room full of sound and feel somewhat immersed in the moment.

But what about the picture? So many choices and so many standards. A plasma TV sure would be nice, but at those prices, so would a new car. I decided to go a different route. I bought a projector and screen and for only $1500, have an 84 inch movie theatre.

After spending time online, I settled on the Infocus X1. It uses the fascinating mirror+silicon chipset from Texas Instruments and has a good resolution. The key to a projector is lumens and resolution. Brighter is certainly better and projectors are sold like computer monitors. Bigger resolutions can yield finer detail.
Like nearly everything in a consumer market, you should decide on a price point that makes sense and get the best features for that price. I really like the $1000 target price for the X1 and think it is a great unit. The X1 can do some 16:9 ratios as well which makes for a great DVD experience. I just jack the SVHS from my plain old Sony DVD player into the X1 and i'm just about ready.

Next up, I bought a screen. There aren't too many manufacturers, so this is pretty easy. I got the biggest one I could for under $200. That led me to the Da-Lite Model B.

Finally, I added the ceiling mounting kit after experimenting with makeshift towers and other devices.

It's the best way to go (ceiling mount), but you could probably do it cheaper than the manufacturer's product. (Make sure your projector can support picture translation for upside down, back to front, or left to right applications).

The only thing left is my old Sony AV receiver with 5.1 sound. Put it all together, and you have a big screen in your own home for a great price. I may upgrade later to something snazzy and fun, but this setup let's 8-10 people come over for an intimate big screen experience.

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