November 19, 2005

Going HD, or, If Only There Were An Earth Channel

Ten years ago my wife and I splurged and bought the biggest, baddest (and heaviest) television we could find: a 60-inch Mitsubishi Diamondscan. We figured it'd last ten years, and by then HDTV would be out and we could get rid of the Mitsubishi and get something better.

Fast forward to 2005.

After seeing an HDTV setup at house party a while back, I thought, that is the way to go. So I spent a few months investigating home television technology. LCD wall displays: too expensive, too small. Plasma wall televisions: too expensive, too small! HDTV projectors. Now, that's an idea. So I investigated all of the HDTV projectors, and came across the Panasonic AE-700U. Cost, about $1900 after rebate. Didn't do full HDTV, but did the 720 lines and emulated 1080.

Then I investigated screens. If you go the projector route, you have to get a screen. I figured if you're going to go the projector route, you have to get as BIG A SCREEN AS POSSIBLE. As in, not measured in "inches" -- ha! -- but in FEET! Gotta think big, as in movie-theatre! I came across a vendor, Carada, who make home theater screens. Ordered a 2.05:1 aspect ratio, 12-foot diagonal screen (alas, it was the largest they made).

Rest of system: Denon AV Receiver 3805. Denon DVD player. And for speakers, rather than it being a very expensive "speakers as furniture" ordeal like I expected it would be, it turns out five of these tiny Mirage Omnisats at $168 each, plus a $450 subwoofer, did the trick for far less.

The result:

An awesome home theatre experience (link goes to another photo I put on Flickr). A LOT, LOT cheaper than it would have been had I listened to the consumer electronics stores, or followed what the magazines suggested. Instead I went the projection route, and I'm never going back, that is for sure.

The Earth Channel
If only NASA TV were broadcast in HDTV. . . . . Even better -- here is a service I would pay a monthly fee for -- The Earth Channel. Live, continuous HD video coverage of the planet, from 23,000 miles out. No commercials, no voice-overs, no music --- just a LIVE feed of Planet Earth, day and night, 24/7/365. DirecTV are you listening? Next time you put a satellite up, add a nice HD camera to it first. Aim the camera at Earth. Charge $5/month for the feed. Presto. Earth Channel. You'll get a few million subscribers easy, and it'll pay for the satellite in no time.

Posted by brian at November 19, 2005 03:42 PM


Great setup there.

I'm curious though, why did you choose the 2.05 AR?

Posted by: Home Theater Dude at November 21, 2005 10:35 AM

No 1080i?

Posted by: Phil at November 28, 2005 09:50 AM

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