Home cinema? Check.

As loyal readers of njbrideau.com will know, one of the crowning achievements of our work, and favorite rooms we had back at hour house in Ithaca, was the movie room.  Every home theater has 3 basic components: picture, sound, media source.  We used a Panasonic projector, Onkyo surround sound system, and Oppo DVD player in our setup.  We decided to ship our projector and DVD player (multi-region), but thought it would be uneconomical to ship a stereo system.  Especially because Ed cooked it 3 years ago.  So I sold my beloved Onkyo system on craigslist, and planned to pick one up on craigslist here.

Well, easier said than done.  Most of the systems selling on the criagslist equivalent here were what they call “Hi-Fi” systems, which are 2-channel systems really only designed for listening to music.  What I wanted was a receiver and surround sound speaker set.  A brand new combination would run at least £250 ($400) for the lowest-end versions.  Not a lot of money, but I didn’t really feel like spending $400 on a low-end system, only to try and sell it again in 2-3 years.  So I did what every cheapskate internet-savvy person does – turned to ebay.

I managed to find a Sony 5.1 receiver and separate Denon speaker set for £120 total.  Should have been just the perfect fit.  Apparently I will never learn my lesson, and continue to buy “too good to be true” electronics on ebay.  The receiver had a short and cut itself off after about 15 min of use, but only on certain input sources. So I was in the market for a new receiver.  At this point I again considered buying new, because at least then I know it will work.

To my surprise, one morning Chelsea asked me “why do you need a full receiver?”

To which I had no answer.

“If all you need is an optical input for the DVD player, and an AUX input for the Airport Express, why not consider some of the home cinema in a box solutions”.

Still no reply from me.

“In fact, I have been doing some searching, and found the perfect solution on Amazon.  Panasonic makes a small form receiver that can do all the DTS processing you need, has a digital FM tuner,  an upscaling DVD player, 5.1 surround, an optical input, an auxiliary input, and a built in iPod dock.  You can control your iPod through the player if you want, plus it has HDMI switching unlike that Sony you got, making it likely that it will be desirable in 2 years when we try to sell it.  Oh, and it only costs 30 pounds more than this other system you put together.”

Long story short, I returned that POS receiver to the guy who sold it to me as 100% working, and unloaded the speakers on ebay ASAP.  Our new system arrived from Amazon in only a few days.

Chelsea decided that I may be unfit to serve as Cheif Technology Officer, and decided she would put it together for me, along with our DVD player.  I have to say, I agree with her taste in all black electronics, they look sharp together.  And yes, that does say “Radio 1”, but I’ll get to that another time.  Audio? Check.  Media source? Check.  Picture?

Here is our temporary projector stand in the back of the room, on our dinner table.  Try to imagine standing here at the end of the table, and then turn around 180 degrees.

Well, there is the pseudo-receiver, DVD player, and front speakers.  And if you notice, a nice big rectangular space above them.

Now that is more like it.  Hopefully we don’t annoy the neighbors too much with our loud movies.

ps – can anyone name what we are watching?

2 thoughts on “Home cinema? Check.”

  1. Chelsea and Sammy should get together and talk gear. Sam read your post and applauded, making the small suggestion that a $20 op-amp or equally cheap switching (class D) amp would help if you are getting any sort of clipping with the Panasonic solution. Consider these on eBay or the like.

    Looking at the expression on the guy’s face, I’m assuming it’s a movie about genes?

    Anyway, ah…

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