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Old 24th September 2010, 16:30   #1
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Smile When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)

To begin with, I am a hard core movie fan. The idea of a home cinema came to my mind a couple of years ago. As always it was Vitamin M which pulled me back every time. However decided to start the project a couple of months ago. No more bluffing, right into the details.

Requirements

As I said, the cinema hall will be used 90% of the time for movies and another 10% for other live programs like cricket matches, stage shows etc. I am always a fan of big screen movie halls and hence there was no confusion between an LCD panel or a projector. Also I wants to have a decent sound system (rather rich in clarity than butt kicking beats) For me, room acoustics and ambiance make a great combination for a wonderful movie experience. So for sure, a dedicated room also needed for my set up. And all in a tight budget of 2Lakhs.

Budget Break up:

Core Equipments - 60K (Including projector, sound system, cabling)
Supporting Equipments - 10K (Including 1KVA UPS and cooling systems)
Room - 1Lakh (Including plastering and painting)
Interiors - 30K

Selection of Equipments

The main thing is that the budget I am on is infact very tight. 2Lakh is the maximum with not a penny more.

Display

The first thing which I decided to pick up was the projector it self. Then the war of LCD Vs DLP came, both with its advantages and disadvantages. And at the end of the day, it was an Acer DLP which became the winner. The second day from ordering, the item was shipped by the eBay seller. Projector details are as follows

Make : Acer
Model : X110 3D Ready
Type : DLP
Resolution : SVGA (Native), capable of up to 1080p
Brightness : 2500 Lumens
Contrast : 4000:1
Source : eBay India
Amount spent : Rs. 24,250
Amount Remaining : 1,75,750

Screen will be made by projector fabric on MDF panel.

Sound System:

The next one in the list is the audio system it self. I want a 7.1 configuration system, no compromise on that since the room dimension I am thinking of needs a 7.1. Also, my only source will be a HTPC. Therefore I am not much inclined to a AV receiver. The current set up which I am looking for now is as follows.

Option 1:

Sound Card - Creative X-Fi - 6K
Speakers - Creative T7900 - 8.5K
Total - 14.5K

Option 2:

I am a DIY guy, especially in the electronics domain. So I am also planning to set up an audio system my self with following.

Yamaha Subwoofer - 12K (eBay)
Satellite speakers made from car speakers - 14K
Amplifier (DIY 7-Channel) - 4K
Total - 31K

Option 3:

Sound Card - Creative X-Fi - 6K
Speakers - Creative S750 - 34K
Total - 40K

I have no idea about the amount needed for the room set up. My appointment with the engineer will be this weekend. Depending on that I am planning to finalize between the above 3 set up.

Room Set up:

The room I am planning for is a completely dark one with A/C. The design will be done by my self and the idea will be transferred to a local contractor.

Dimension - 20*14 Ft
Interiors - MDF Wooden panelling and carpet flooring
A/C - 1.5 Ton Split
Total Budget - 1.3 L

Current Issues:

The major issue I am facing now is regarding the purchase of speaker systems. I was so surprised to see that there are no much options for an entry level 7.1 channel speaker system. I am searching for both T7900 and S750 for the past 1 week for no luck

Keep watching for more updates.

Last edited by bhp_maniac : 24th September 2010 at 16:31. Reason: Grammatical mistakes
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Old 30th September 2010, 23:35   #2
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Post deleted by the Team-BHP Support : Please do NOT post one-liners that add little or no informational value to the thread. We need your co-operation to maintain the overall quality of this forum.

Please read our rules before proceeding any further.

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Old 1st October 2010, 00:53   #3
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This is a great idea. On several occasions I have myself toyed with the idea of buying a DLP to get the big screen experience at home. However yours is nothing short of creating a full fledged mini theater at home! Kudos to you. I will keep tracking your progress on this thread.

By the way I wonder how soon NC and so many other of our movie crazed junta will spot this thread.
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Old 1st October 2010, 01:10   #4
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Very interesting! I will be definitely subscribing to this thread and waiting for your updates. All the best!
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Old 1st October 2010, 08:27   #5
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Interesting..!! Please share more info as you proceed on this project. Do share the pics once you are done with the setup.

Have you considered the seating options?
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Old 1st October 2010, 09:01   #6
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I think: a 5.1 system will suffice perfectly well in your room. And there are plenty of entry level GOOD 5.1 systems at that price (without source)

I do not think you can get a decent 7.1 system for 35K.

And I am pretty sure those creative speakers will not replicate a theatre-like experience.

If you go for a DIY power amplifier (only 4K? A good transformer for a power supply can cost that much) then please ensure that your HTPC has discrete outputs for each of the 5.1 or 7.1 chanels, otherwise you will have no surround sound.

Quote:
Supporting Equipments - 10K (Including 1KVA UPS and cooling systems)
UPS I can understand if you have frequent power cuts.

Cooling systems? I'm confused. Is that for the computer or what?

Good luck!

Last edited by Sam Kapasi : 1st October 2010 at 09:07.
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Old 1st October 2010, 09:14   #7
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Nice Idea ! I will keep a close watch on this thread. However I feel that this setup will be incomplete without 2 LAZ boy recliners and also wall to wall carpetting which will take care of sound proofing. Correct me if I am wrong.
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Old 1st October 2010, 11:16   #8
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Great idea.. have three inputs:

1. You might want to rethink about speakers.

DIY with Car speakers / Creative speakers might not give you sound that is good enough to match rest of the experience.

Car speakers are made to move small amount of air in enclosed pace.

I would suggest that you look for 5.1 speaker package from JBL (HK) / Onkyo / Yamaha.

You can get a package with a decent active sub starting from 15k.

2. HTPC would cost almost same as an entry-level receiver. A 5.1 receiver from Onkyo/Denon/Yamaha would cost around 20k. And it will do the job of amplification as well till you are bitten by upgradities again

3. OTOH, "building" the HT is as much (if not more) fun than using it. So if DIY is your idea of fun, forget point #1 and #2
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Old 1st October 2010, 11:25   #9
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Car speakers should never be used in the home environments. You will ruin your entire experience. Car speakers are designed to have a very wide dispersion and they sound similar whether off axis or on axis.

Home speakers are designed with narrower dispersion characteristics and it is implicitly assumed that you will be in front of them and in such an environment which is the case in almost any room, car speakers will fail miserably.

You can buy a decent 5.1 speaker setup for around 20 grand. Another 15k will get you an entry level receiver. You are good to go from there on.

PS: There's a Mission clearance sale going on by their erstwhile distributor on ebay.in. You can snag a very decent speaker system for 18-19k.

Last edited by reignofchaos : 1st October 2010 at 11:29.
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Old 1st October 2010, 14:48   #10
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Speakers are THE MOST IMPORTANT component of any Home Theatre. So my humble advice would be to go for a good system which is well co-ordinated in terms of driver timbre matching etc. along with a good subwoofer. Take a look at Wharfedale cinema systems, they are affordable and pack a phenomenon punch, a total Value for money system. Again, to really enjoy the sound effects you will need a decent amplifier to drive the speakers, the HTPC option would be lame, as suggested by others look at entry level Yamaha, Onkyo and Denon amplifiers. If your budget is tight, I would say invest in good equipment and divert funds from your Room allocation for the time being and do up the room a little later or just innovate regarding decoration by using cheaper stuff for the room.
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Old 1st October 2010, 16:04   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Sam Kapasi View Post
I think: a 5.1 system will suffice perfectly well in your room. And there are plenty of entry level GOOD 5.1 systems at that price (without source)

I do not think you can get a decent 7.1 system for 35K.

And I am pretty sure those creative speakers will not replicate a theatre-like experience.

If you go for a DIY power amplifier (only 4K? A good transformer for a power supply can cost that much) then please ensure that your HTPC has discrete outputs for each of the 5.1 or 7.1 chanels, otherwise you will have no surround sound.

UPS I can understand if you have frequent power cuts.

Cooling systems? I'm confused. Is that for the computer or what?

Good luck!
I am so happy that the thread is creating interests in fellow BHP-ians. So happy to find more and more movie lovers in here.

Regarding the set up, my current plan has some what changed a from what I mentioned above. I am currently inclined to an Onkyo HT-S5300. This will have a 7.1 receiver with speakers and an active sub woofer. Cost will come around 38K if I am importing from US and 53K if I am taking from India. Any suggestions on this?

Regarding the DIY amplifier set up, currently I am running a 5.1 set up at my home on a 600 W PC SMPS. The system is working fine for the past 3.5 years. That entire set up cost me 3K with home made speaker enclosures. If anybody interested, I can put up the detailed amount I spent. So my plan was to add another amplifier and a separate active sub woofer to make it a 7.1. I am a DIY guy, but time is a great issue. Thats why inclined to a ready made system.

Regarding the power setup, UPS is to prevent abrupt power loss especially for the projector. My projector needs around 90 Sec for a proper shutdown. The cooling system will be needed for the equipment enclosure as I am planning to put everything in closed enclosures. You will get a fair good idea when I am putting up the design plan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by NetfreakBombay View Post
Great idea.. have three inputs:

1. You might want to rethink about speakers.

DIY with Car speakers / Creative speakers might not give you sound that is good enough to match rest of the experience.

Car speakers are made to move small amount of air in enclosed pace.

I would suggest that you look for 5.1 speaker package from JBL (HK) / Onkyo / Yamaha.
Thanks friend, for the suggestions. I am out of the idea of car speakers. One great point you mentioned is about the fun of DIY. Yes, I want to feel that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by reignofchaos View Post
Car speakers should never be used in the home environments. You will ruin your entire experience. Car speakers are designed to have a very wide dispersion and they sound similar whether off axis or on axis.

Home speakers are designed with narrower dispersion characteristics and it is implicitly assumed that you will be in front of them and in such an environment which is the case in almost any room, car speakers will fail miserably.

You can buy a decent 5.1 speaker setup for around 20 grand. Another 15k will get you an entry level receiver. You are good to go from there on.

PS: There's a Mission clearance sale going on by their erstwhile distributor on ebay.in. You can snag a very decent speaker system for 18-19k.
Thats a great piece of information for me. Thanks. And yes, am out of car speaker plans.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ZeroThoughts View Post
Speakers are THE MOST IMPORTANT component of any Home Theatre. So my humble advice would be to go for a good system which is well co-ordinated in terms of driver timbre matching etc. along with a good subwoofer. Take a look at Wharfedale cinema systems, they are affordable and pack a phenomenon punch, a total Value for money system. Again, to really enjoy the sound effects you will need a decent amplifier to drive the speakers, the HTPC option would be lame, as suggested by others look at entry level Yamaha, Onkyo and Denon amplifiers. If your budget is tight, I would say invest in good equipment and divert funds from your Room allocation for the time being and do up the room a little later or just innovate regarding decoration by using cheaper stuff for the room.
I dont't want to go out of an HTPC system. At any cost I want a PC to be the main driver to the system. With such a system I can enjoy HD audio from my Creative X-Fi 7.1, watch TV programmes from my PCI tuner card, play games (LOL, I am still a kid at 29). But if I am going for an Onkyo system, I will have a receiver to control all my sources. The issue is if forgive the idea of using PC, I will have to spend some more on a network player like Xtreamer which I don't want to do as I am in very tight budget constraints. As of now the technical equipments will include.

1) PC
2) Acer X110 DLP
3) Onkyo HT-S 5300

I am attaching the front panel design I am looking of. Pour in your suggestions dears.

When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-front-panel_2_jpg.jpg

Latest update on the system is that, I will have an appointment with an engineer this weekend for getting estimates on the room construction. Had an appointment with a carpenter for the wood works and we are estimating a sum of 30K. 80% of the work will be done on MDF.

Last edited by bhp_maniac : 1st October 2010 at 16:05. Reason: grammatical errors
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Old 1st October 2010, 16:24   #12
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Mods, please merge with the previous post if you feel like. I definitely felt like it ruins the readability while multi quoting a lot of posts in one entry. Thats why creating another entry.

Quote:
Originally Posted by vkochar View Post
Nice Idea ! I will keep a close watch on this thread. However I feel that this setup will be incomplete without 2 LAZ boy recliners and also wall to wall carpetting which will take care of sound proofing. Correct me if I am wrong.
Yes, of course. I am planning for carpet flooring and sound absorbing materials on all walls. Was really scared at the cost, but happy after the appointment with carpenter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by idlebrain View Post
Interesting..!! Please share more info as you proceed on this project. Do share the pics once you are done with the setup.

Have you considered the seating options?
Seating options is one thing I am still very much confused. I am planning got two rows of seating with 3 seats each, of course the back row on a high platform. But regarding the installation, I have no idea. I need ideas friends.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Zappo View Post
This is a great idea. On several occasions I have myself toyed with the idea of buying a DLP to get the big screen experience at home. However yours is nothing short of creating a full fledged mini theater at home! Kudos to you. I will keep tracking your progress on this thread.

By the way I wonder how soon NC and so many other of our movie crazed junta will spot this thread.
I went through a lot of screening between LCD and DLP. One thing is that I want a good level of contrast, and DLP wins there. But one issue is rainbow effect. I am yet to feel that, but my father claims he had seen it a couple of times. So my advice on anyone going to fetch a DLP, do check your sensitivity to rainbow effect. Right now I am using the DLP on a wall, and yes the wall color correction of Acer is really a boon. However its a great experience at the amount I've spent.


Another update on the sound system:

Came to know that Onkyo HT-S5300 supports digital audio only. And guys, I have a problem here. My creative audigy is capable of S/PDIF but it will just pass through the Dolby and DTS signals, no processing from the card's side. I am worried on the effect of this part. Anybody knows a good receiver which can handle analog inputs? I was not able to find one.

Last edited by bhp_maniac : 1st October 2010 at 16:26. Reason: Reason for two entries.
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Old 17th October 2011, 12:42   #13
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Smile Re: My High-End Home Cinema

For the past couple of months, I am raring to put an update on the install which I had done some 3 months back. So here it goes, straight into the matter. And apologies for not updating the thread for one full year!!! Sorry for a long post

To cut story short, I had finalized the equipments around an year back. The list goes as

1) Acer 3D Ready DLP X110
2) AMD X4 powered server/projector driver
3) Creative THX certified S750
4) Ceiling mount
5) Custom rack and a 120” screen.
6) Remote control


Sourcing:

I was pretty much particular about the equipment list, and my requirements were baselined  Started hunting around for the equipments. Oh man, running around sourcing the organs for your dream is really an awesome experience.

Projector:

The first one to arrive was the projector. I tried sourcing this from local projector stores. Most of them quoted around 32K for X110 with 1 year warranty on lamp. I was almost there when I saw a listing for a box packed X110 at 23K then. Without even a second thought I clicked “Buy this item”. Everything after was seamless. It came within 3 days of purchasing. Everything was box packed and I was happy with the purchase after trying it our on a couple of HD content.

Speakers:

The speakers came at a final quote of 31K from one of my friend’s PC store back at my home town. Almost everyone there were yelling at me like are you crazy shelling out these much for a “speaker”? Oh dear, convincing those desi guys on how much movie freak I am was a difficult part to handle. But believe me, the purchase was not so problem free as it went for the projector, The first set of speakers had a satellite with tweeter not working. The distributor replaced the satellite promptly. After setting up, noticed that the subwoofer has a disturbing hum. It was so difficult to convince them this. I told them I don’t expect such a performance from a THX certified sound system. Had to shell out some diesel to get things sorted out. Finally they agreed upon replacing the entire system. So it took around 3 weeks time for me to get a satisfactory sound system.

HTPC:

I am always a fan of DIY thing. So decided to assemble my PC on my own. After not so much hectic research, I decided upon the following.

ASUS M4A 78 LT-M LE
AMD X4 @ 3.1 GHz
KINGSTON 4GB DDR3
A BASIC IBALL ATX CABINET

Building the PC was a relatively easy process. Everything was up and running without any issues. It took only around an hour for me to complete the assembly.

So, I had everything ready to start the movie experience of my dreams.

The Twist:

It was a sunny Saturday, when I fixed my second appointment with the engineer and a contractor he suggested me. With lots of glory on face and dreams in mind, I started my Swift and flied to engineer’s place 15km away from my home town. He and the contractor was waiting for me. We discussed and decided upon the final plan. Contractor gave me an estimate of 1.5L for the entire work. I had a bit of bargain and everything was fixed for 1.25L so that my initial plan of 2L total budget will be respected. He promised me a completion date within 25 days. I was so happy that the afternoon, I went partying hard Going to temple daily is a part of my Mom’s life. Every time she comes back, she used to have a refreshing smile and “Prasadam” in her hands. But this sunday, she came back with a dull face. When I asked, she told me that the poojari (pandit) at the temple told her, not to start any construction in another year at our place. I was like stunned and I had everything from frustration to depression to sorrow on my face  My heart said, what a pitiful end to those enchanting dreams. Anyway I wanted to start the work only with my parents’ satisfactory approval.

So the projector, S750 and the PC was sitting idle in the corner of my bedroom back at home town. My wife one day said what a waste of money!!! With all sort of confidence I decided to go for a plan B

Twists again:

I thought of the possibility of having a temporary install of the system somewhere and decided upon doing it in my apartment back in Kochi. Space constraint is a definite issue in most of these budget apartments. Same is the situation here. I can’t even think of a dedicated HT room there. My mantra was simple, invest bare minimum and get the system up and running. After an year, if enthusiasm still holds on, relocate the same to home town. I already had one air conditioned room (my master bedroom). So after some arguments with wife, finally she agreed upon installing the same there. So it was a seigh of relief on my face which got me a ray of hope at the other end.

The Installation:

I decided to do a DIY install this time. Estimated time was one of those lazy Sundays. Only took help of a carpenter to drill me the ceiling mount for projector. Everything else including wiring was my part. I decided to go the casing-caping way to do the wiring. Two things made me decide upon this. I am still not fully convinced whether I will get that movie experience which I was seeking in such a small room. So I should be able to undo the entire installation with minimal damage to the walls and paint works. At the end it was not a very bad decision.

Mounting the projector:

I wanted to have at least a 90” diagonal projection with a 16:9 aspect. Had done some calculations for my projector and found that I can get a decent 120” projection within my room, provided I place the projector to the extreme back side. I used this calculator.

Projection Calculator Classic - Throw Distance and Screen Size

Carpenter came in and drilled the holes on the ceiling. Projector install was pretty much easier than I thought. It was done in 15 minutes time. I did a dummy connection to my laptop and fixed the mounting place so that I can get the desired image size.

When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4641.jpg
When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4642.jpg

Wiring the projector & speakers:

This didn’t went so easy on me. I misjudged the size of the bunch of wires it had to hold. I had to run the VGA cable, 7 channel surround everything in a 2” casing-caping. It was hard, but finally succeeded. I won’t say the install was top notch, but it works  The projector was wired by a 10m VGA cable which I sourced locally. I was worried about the noise part, but to my surprise, running 10m on VGA didn’t make any noise on the image (at least to my eyes) For speakers, the set of wires which came with it was enough. The entire wiring phase took around 2-3 hours to complete including fixing the speakers.When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4643.jpg
When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4645.jpg

Fixing the rack:

While doing furnishing of my apartment, I had designed a rather “practical” rack. It should handle the double role. One as the rack for my HTPC and also a normal workstation desktop. I had decided upon going the dual monitor way. The reason was two. One was that I have a lot of SD quality content in my collection which are not at all worth to burn my projector’s valuable lamp life. So I wanted a cheap alternative. Second was that I needed a monitor for the workstation part. I decided to use my retiring 24” LCD to work as the monitor. I had replaced the 24” in my living room with a 32”. So the 24” definitely needed a new assignment and he was more than happy to be my workstation buddy. The 24” is a Full HD panel from Onida.
When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4664.jpg

Networking:

I love the networking part of it. My ADSL modem is residing in my other room. So I decided to go wireless for networking. Initially I was using a Netgear WG311V3 adaptor, and to be frank it’s a piece of sh**. Low speeds, dropped connections, bluescreen errors and finally I sourced an Asus N150 for 650 bucks from eBay. This server is also networked to another HTPC in living room and also serves broadband connectivity to my work/personal laptops.

Softwares:

I wanted the system to be focusing completely on the entertainment part of it. So installed a Windows 7 with bare minimum services running. After doing some research, decided upon using XBMC as the media center software. Everything went perfect and the installation was pretty easy. I set up XBMC to use the second display (projector) for display. Believe me, if you’re a hard core movie freak, XBMC is the way to go. It will sort your collection, automatically download all those details including imdb rating, fanart, thumbnails, storyline, plot give it anything about movies under sun and xbmc is capable of getting it for you. I am a die hard fan of XBMC now. Plus that the famous uTorrent for all those heavy downloads.

Booting up:

By 7 in the evening, I was done with the installation and the system was ready to have the first boot. Thankfully there were no unforeseen issues this time, and everything worked out of the box. Dual monitor set up was running seamlessly and I am loving it.

Video of system running on XBMC



My own review:

Projector:

I never expected such a decent performance from this entry level SVGA projector. The image quality is pretty decent if the content is anything above 480p. And HD contents give excellent reproduction. For movie lovers, DLP is the way to go. Minimum screen door effect, excellent color reproduction and decent contrast much superior to LCD. Above all, its relatively cheap for the performance it gives.

Creative S750:

I am having mixed response to this. I won’t say it’s a value for money purchase. At 31K it should have a better center channel and more controlled bass. Being said that, the speakers perform very well for movies but not so good for music. The 210W subwoofer is a serious kicker and the everytime we need to minimize its volume to balance with the satellites. The satellites do a pretty decent job barring center channel. The center definitely lacks power.

XBMC:

Oh boy, its such an inevitable part of any HTPC set up. Far better than the windows MCE and with an open source licensing, lot of add ons to blow your needs

The Cost Factor:
The entire set up all inclusive was done within a budget of 75K

Future Upgrades:

Screen:

Currently I am using the wall itself to project the images. Its not bad provided the projector has a wall color correction available. But I want to go for a better custom built fixed screen. I am planning to do the same in a month or two.

Networking:

My ADSL is a 54Mbps WiFi access point. I am planning to upgrade to a 300Mbps wireless N system so that I can stream 1080p content from my server to any of the clients.

Am I happy after all these?

Oh dear, a big YES !!! Its an awesome experience to watch your favorite movies on a decently big projection with snacks.

Note: Mods, please change the title of the thread to a more meaningful one. As the "High end home cinema" is now a "Budget home cinema", I think something like "When a movie freak went pocket friendly" will be more meaningful!!!

More pictures:
XBMC Running

When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4670.jpg
When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4675.jpg

Radeon HD 5450:
When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4666.jpg

When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4655.jpg
When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4653.jpg
Attached Thumbnails
When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4647.jpg  

When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4668.jpg  

When a movie freak went pocket friendly (My Home Cinema)-img_4665.jpg  


Last edited by bhp_maniac : 17th October 2011 at 13:01. Reason: Adding link to video
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