The following list of questions I have just decided to post given the number of emails I receive each week asking the same questions.  Please continue to write, I will start to fill this area with the questions and answers that are most frequently asked.
General FAQ:
What are dimensions of your theater?
Our home theater is a little over 12 feet wide on the screen wall, with the rear half being 15 feet wide and a total depth of 18-1/2 feet. The ceilings are just under 8 feet.

How large is the screen you are using?
I'm projecting a 16x9 image onto a 106" (92"x52") DaLite High Power screen. The screen is a high gain (2.8) retro-reflective surface (light returns the same path it took to the screen) allowing for ambient light rejection and beautiful color reproduction. I initially used a white wall as my screen - there is no comparison.

Where did you get your theater seats from?
The seats are made by Visteon, an automotive supplier - formerly Ford Motor Co. divisions - and were purchased used. I found the deal of a lifetime - a local cinema had an issue with approximately 4000 Visteon seats in their theater and Visteon replaced them under warranty. All of the seats ended up at Gibralter Trade Center in S.E. Michigan where they were selling for approximately $15-30 a piece. I unfortunately missed this event as I was building my home theater at this time and wasn't following the AVS forum. However, assuming that most were sold locally I started posting for people who might be interested in selling theirs - many were. After driving to three nearby states, a friend and I were able to purchase approximately 20 seats or enough for each of our theaters, as well as some for my father-in-law. I think we ended up paying no more than about $40 a piece - quite a bargain. I do not know if they are still making theater seats, you will have to contact Visteon directly to find out.

How much did it cost you to create your theater?
Working mainly by myself for approximately three months,  I was able to complete the theater for less than $2000 dollars. Most of the price came from lighting materials and carpet. Of course, this price doesn't include components - this is obviously much higher than $2000 - though with upgrades every few years, it isn't as expensive you would think. Though the space used isn't ideal, it turned out great and has become more than we thought was possible inside of our home.

How much sound is transmitted to the upper floors during theater use?
The theater is located directly below the family room in the house.  Before the theater was completed, you could clearly hear a conversation between floors. Now, after insulation, drywall and acoustic tiles and/or carpet, there isn't much sound leaving the theater. Of course the bass frequencies travel through most anything, but other than large explosions or passages from action scenes, the family room is totally livable while movies are playing. The second floor seems totally isolated without any sounds transmitted.

Where did you get the carpet tiles and what are they?
The carpet tiles were chosen for many reasons. Primarily because I couldn't find an affordable wall covering that I like - they were either to cheap looking and were ugly, or they were just to expensive. Carpet tiles are 18"x18" rubber backed carpet squares.  They are primarily used in commercial applications because of the excellent wear characteristics and the ability to install them without having to remove furniture from a room. I also like using them because I was able to install them myself - I knew that I couldn't install standard 12' carpet and put in a seem without professional help or a sub-standard installation.  Using the carpet tiles allowed me to complete the theater myself and use a unique patterned carpet not found at the standard sources.
How is your projector calibrated?
I'm using a projector from JVC that uses the LCOS technology. More can be learned about this from the links provided in the Theater Electronics pages. The calibration is done at home from my HTPC using software from Milori Software called Dilard. Dilard allows access to the brains of the D-ILA through brilliant code to manipulate almost every facet of the D-ILA projector, allowing for a presentation much better suited for home theater viewing than a office presentation. Important areas can be corrected, such as : black level, full 0 to100IRE white and black color balancing to true NTSC color temperature standard of 6500 Kelvin, image manipulation (shrink, stretch, fit an image to whatever pixel dimensions you desire for each input of the projector). I could go on forever, so please read more about this at

What type of computer do you use to run your theater and how do you do it?
The HTPC, or Home Theater PC, is the heart of the operation for my theater. Given my passion for computers and computer graphics, I've built well over 50 computers in my life-time, always looking for the fastest speed and more recently, the pursuit for the perfect projected image.  The HTPC components are listed on the Theater Electronics pages, so I won't go into the details here; however, the simple idea being that the entire theater is now run from one source, not many individual components. All video and audio signals originate from the computer, and are routed to their final destination of either the Denon 5800 receiver or the D-ILA projector. For example, to use the PC as a DVD player you simply need a DVD-ROM drive - type doesn't matter at this point. From there all audio and video data is transmitted thru the IDE cable (that gray flat cable that plugs into the back of the DVD drive inside your PC) and is carried to both the video card and audio card. The video signal will then be scaled to a progressive signal because PC's generally use progressive displays for the RGB video they display - this is already a plus and no extra hardware or player is needed for this.  Also, the entire Anamorphic master video (if mastered anamorphically) is sent to the processor for scaling, unlike standard DVD players which need to be told to use the 16x9 or widescreen anamorphic mode. Anamorphically mastered films contains 33% more information vertically than a non-anamorphic mastered film - this is explained in more detail in the Links and Drivers section under Anamorphic Video. This video signal is then scaled to whatever resolution and color mode your PC is set to run - most commonly 1024x768 at 24 bit color or 32 bit color. Since the PC has a high horsepower engine built into it, this scaling is a rather simple task and depending of the video card chosen, the picture can look as good as the original film even though the data streaming from the DVD drive is only natively 720x480 pixels for NTSC video here in the States. Also, by matching the resolution that the computer outputs to the native resolution of your digital projector, the result is pure eye candy. It has been said that unless you spend more than 50K, you won't see a better picture - I would have to agree. Audio is the other half of the equation, and it passes unmolested thru the video card right to the receiver's decoding processor which then separates the audio accordingly - whether stereo, Dolby ProLogic, Dolby 5.1, DTS and so on.

Once audio and video are taken care of, then comes automation. The PC, when running the correct software/hardware combination, can accept Infrared commands from any remote control and can be set to control functions within the PC.  For example, my PC is run from the remote and can control all DVD functions that a standard player can (plus some), all HDTV commands for recording and playback, plus any sofware or program function that I desire inside Windows.

I know I have only touched the surface of this topic - it is entirely to complex to explain thoroughly. If you don't have the time or inclination to build your own HTPC but still want the functionality I described above, please email me. I have built many of these for friends and AVS members and I don't charge an arm or a leg.

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Last Updated: 3/5/2003