As I looked at TVs, my ambition began to grow, but I came up against my aversion to spending more than $1000 on a new TV, ever. I was going to settle for the 27" non-digital for now and upgrade again when HDTV was in full swing. While waiting for my birthday and tracking down the lowest price I could find, I kept coming across better TV's (i.e., digital) in the stores. The sales people seemed to have some uncanny ability to always position the TV I was planning on getting right next to a 36" digital set and I always left the stores with a nagging feeling that I was settling for something I didn't really want.
One day while perusing eBay auctions, I came across one of those ads selling plans to build your own projector for $15. The idea of a projector seemed appealing, so I went off to discover that decent projectors cost between $1000 and $8000 before you get to the "Home Theater" units. Frustrated, I went back to the $15 plans. I did some searching and found the plans posted on the web. I gave them a read and figured I'd give it a go. I bought a fresnal lens from Staples for $5 and I have an older 19" TV in the shed. Before I built the thing, I already wanted to improve it. I started designing projectors based on a halogen light and the LCD panel from a little color Sony Watchman, and the plans kept getting better. Along the way, I discovered the AVSForum website and my world completely changed.
I starting reading about using so-called "presentation" projectors in home theaters, computers as dedicated AV components, people building their own theaters, and the list goes on and on. I starting thinking big and before I realized it, I justified to myself, using rationalizations that wouldn't hold up in court, converting our living room into a Home Theater. Well, strictly speaking, not a Home Theater, but more of a media room. After all, it's the only living room/family room in the house and we'll still need to use it for everyday living.
In order to transform the room, and our lives, I've broken the project into a hand full of smaller pieces. Most of the pieces represent significant DIY projects unto themselves, but I'm a DIY kind of guy. So here the real story begins...