Top 10 Home Theater Add Ons
the top ten home theater add ons which are great additions to existing
1. Home Theater
Seating: Replace old furniture to make your
theater look more like a cinema.
Machines: The smell and taste of popcorn is an
inexpensive option to add sizzle to any theater.
3. Posters and
Frames: Authentic movie posters in changeable
frames are a great way to add the theater elements to the home theater.
4. Reels and Reel
Clocks: A simple clock reel adds to the
Panels: Drastically improve appearance and sound
quality at one time with acoustic panels.
6. Signs and
Marquees: Distinguish the entrance to your
theater with chase lights.
7. Velour Ropes and
Posts: Low cost add on to add some class to your
Drapes: Great way to trim out screen and make it
look more like a real theater.
Items: DVD intros to peronalized signs putting
your name on your theater is a great way to bring it home.
10. Lighting, Wall Sconces and
Stars: Adding star ceilings and other lighting
helps set the right mood in the theater.
Home Theater Packages
If you’re setting up a new home theater, you can’t go wrong with the home theater packages on HTmarket.com. They’ve assembled a collection of bundles, each containing a high-quality Elite projector screen, Peerless Vector Pro II ceiling projector mount, Audioquest HDMI to HDMI cable and your choice of a home theater projector. That’s pretty much everything you need to make a home TV room into a true home theater- except, of course, for the home theater seating (though HTmarket carries that, too!).
If you’re not thrilled with the options you see in any of their home theater packages, they’ll change options or even work with you to create a custom home theater package, bundled to meet your specifications. Just call 1-888-764-9273, and make sure to mention the home theater package deals. It’s an effortless way to instantly upgrade your room into a genuine home theater!
To Serve and Project
Choosing a Projector!
For some people, “big” means REALLY BIG. I’ll be
the first to admit it: I’m one of those people. I like my monsters big. I like
my explosions big. My favorite natural phenomena are stars, oceans, and
mountains, in that order. My ideal pizza is one the delivery guy can’t fit
through the door.
I refer to the Giant Squid as “Medium Squid”.
It turns out, I’m not alone. Lots of home theater owners
aren’t willing to settle for the mere largeness of a plasma screen. For these,
my comrades in bigness, I submit the following guide to the biggest thing in
any home theater: projectors!
Know Your Projector
There’s three types of home theater projector: LCD, DLP, and
LCD (liquid crystal display) projectors work a bit like an
LCD TV screen, passing light through an LCD chip, creating a vibrant, sharp
image. Since it’s really creating a composite from three differently colored
beams, this image is subject to color breakup (the “rainbow effect”)
around the edges, as well as the “screen door effect” of seeing individual,
separated pixels at times. These are best suited to dimly-lit rooms,
auditoriums, and boardrooms.
DLP projectors (short for Digital Light Processing) use a
single digital chip, effectively projecting a digital screen through a single
beam. Great for HD video, with high contrast ratios, and not much pixellation.
These are ideal for home theaters.
3LCD projectors function similarly to LCD projectors. It
shines a single beam of light through three LCD panels, and the light is then
recombined through a prism into a single beam, which comes out of a single
lens. Because the colors are recombined and projected as a single, bright image
(they call this “accurate color registration”), you get the vibrancy
of LCD without the rainbow effect.
There’s a few qualities you’ll see in projector specs that
it’s good to pay attention to.
Projector Resolution: This is the sharpness and clarity of
the picture. It’s measured by the number of pixels, and is often expressed as
the number of vertical pixels used (720p = 1280 x 720 pixels, 1080i = 1920 x
1080, etc). More pixels, more resolution, sharper image!
Throw Distance: This is how big an image a projector can
create from any given distance. Most manufacturer websites have throw distance
calculators, which are very useful to anyone setting up a home theater and
shopping for a screen.
Keystone Correction: This is a feature that lets you adjust
the image to account for the angle between the projector and the screen. It
“skews” the image accordingly, resulting in a perfect projection
image from an odd angle.
Contrast Ratio: The difference between the lightest white
and the darkest black the projector can manage. A higher contrast ratio is
always a good thing.
Lumens: The measure of a projector’s illumination. This is
an official measurement established by the American National Standards
Institute (ANSI). More lumens mean a brighter image. Who doesn’t want a
So Which One?
There’s a lot of projectors out there, all with different
stats and prices. Choosing the right one, as usual, comes down to your own
situation, depending on how much you care to spend and the room it’s intended
for. You might care more about keystone correction than resolution, or be more
concerned with cost than lumens. Hopefully, this little breakdown will be of
Plasma vs. LCD: FIGHT!
If you’re shopping for a big screen TV, there’s advice all
over the place on which to get. My blog is no exception! This is coming purely
from a home theater point of view. If you don’t care about colors, viewing
angles, or size (say, if you plan to use it to watch Bloomberg Television), my
conclusions might not be what you’re looking for. However, if you want to watch
Lord of the Rings and have your eyeballs melt… then read on!
What are LCD and
An LCD screen is made up of liquid crystal pixels pushed
between glass plates. Current goes through the pixels, and a controlled picture
is created. This is how a digital wristwatch works, basically, only with more
colors and smaller pixels. It’s important to note that the pixels are backlit-
they don’t light up on their own.
A plasma screen, on the other hand, uses millions of little
cells filled with neon and xenon gas. When electricity zaps these cells, the
gas turns into a plasma (hence the name). Each cell is coated in phosphors
(red, green or blue), which fluoresces when the plasma gets charged. Think of a
plasma screen as a sheet with millions of tiny, tiny fluorescent light bulbs,
because that’s basically what it is.
Plasma: None More
One big difference a lot of people find between LCD and plasma
is the deepness of blacks. Plasma screens get a deep, true black, because it’s
made up of tiny lights. Turn the lights off, and you get the absence of light,
which is as black as it gets! LCD screens have a constant backlight, however;
LCD blackness is thus achieved by setting the pixel to block as much light as
possible. There’s always a little leakage, though, so you never get true black,
especially at certain angles.
This viewing angle is another big issue with LCD screens. If
you’re looking at it from the wrong angle, the colors distort and the black
gets even lighter. This has to do with the polarity-shifting mechanism of LCD
technology. I’m told they’re getting better at this, but it’s still annoying,
in my opinion. My new laptop is LCD, and while it’s bright and crisp, the top
and bottom of the screen are usually a little discolored compared to the
middle, because I’m viewing the top and bottom at the wrong angle. I can turn
the screen to fix this, but then the middle’s at the wrong angle.
Plasma TVs are also usually bigger. Most LCDs top out at
about 50″, barring a couple new (and costly) 70-inch models, whereas
larger plasmas are easy to find.
Why would anyone go with LCD TVs? Well, for one thing,
they’re cheaper than similarly-sized plasma models most of the time, and
they’re getting even cheaper by the day. LCDs also usually have a much higher
resolution. More pixels can be better!
There’s also the issue of burn-in. The phosphors used in
plasma screens wear out over time (a long time- 30k to 60k hours). Ever seen an
old arcade machine, where the title screen was still visible even when the
picture changed? Same deal. It’s usually not that bad these days, of course,
since most pictures move around more than a Galaga high-score list, but any
plasma screen’s days are numbered. LCD screens die, too, but usually much later
on in their lives, and there’s no risk of ugly, mucky burn-in.
If you care about power consumption, and you should, it’s
worth noting that LCD uses far less power (as much as 30 percent less than
plasma). That adds up to a lot of clams.
So, which one should
If you’re talking about a TV screen, and not a computer
monitor, I’d suggest plasma. The viewing angle issue alone should seal the deal
to anyone who plans to put the TV in a family’s living room, and the lack of
true black is, in my experience, not very cool.
LCDs tend to be lighter and cheaper, though, and are fine
for a lot of smaller applications like computers. Cheaper does go a long way,
too; that’s extra money to spend on speakers, DVDs, or a whole lotta beer. Not to mention the lower
power draw, which (in this age of utility bills gone mad) is a gift that keeps
Massively Multiplayer… Golf?
I’ve been thinking a bit about Golden Tee 2008 Live lately, and I think it’s only a matter of time before most, if not all, arcade games are online and either directly multiplayer or tournament-based. Once you’ve tasted the vitality of online games, Golden Tee has proven to be a smash hit, apparently- it’s still going strong in bars all over the place, there’s a new edition and continuous tournaments for cash. As it happens, they’ve also branched out into Target Toss Bags, which is an online beanbag-tossing arcade game, as well as Silver Strike Bowling.
I’m kinda so-so about golf personally, and bean bags are cool and all, but Online Arcade Bowling? With that giant trackball and everything? I had no idea this was out there (guess I’ve been going to the wrong bars!). It is, and apparently it’s a hit as well. There’s a Silver Strike 2009 coming out toward the end of the month and it’s gonna be something; I’ll maybe find a unit and give it a proper review when it’s released. And maybe I’ll enter the tournament, too… I’m a pretty good bowler, so maybe some of that pin-smashing mojo will translate over to trackball form.
HTmarket.com carries a variety of custom arcade cabinets with LCD screens like
GT2008, Target Toss, Silver Strike, and a compilation arcade machine called Global Arcade Classics (with such classics as Marble Madness, Joust, Mortal Kombat and my ol’ friend Robotron: 2084). These cabinets are built with a unique, stable method, and they use parts which allow the end user to repair the cabinet and replace parts if needed. Probably a good thing if you don’t live next door to an amusement device repair shop.