Sunday, November 25, 2007

My new theater

Ah, what a nice, long weekend it's been! I feel almost human again.

I had a nice dinner with my family on Wednesday night, as is our tradition. Bug made a tasty vegetarian feast and after dinner we watched Die Hard 2: Die Harder as part of our Die Hard marathon. Thursday we woke up late and tried a new diner in Eagle Rock, which was pretty good, and then went to the mountaintop reservation where we could have seen the New York skyline, had it been a clearer day. Bee and Bug visited their birth families Thursday afternoon, leaving Tara and me to spend the afternoon together, which was wonderful. We went out the our local diner for a turkey dinner, then drove by to gawk at the line forming outside Best Buy on the way home.

I got up early the next day and went to Target for Black Friday at about 6:30 a.m. to buy a sewing machine and a couple of DVDs, including. Die Hard 4: Live Free or Die Hard I was going to go to some of the electronic stores, but the crowds were such that I couldn't even get into the parking lot of Best Buy, and there was a line out the door at 6th Avenue Electronics. At that point I gave up and just went home to relax. Later in the afternoon I went to Home Depot for mounting hardware for my projection screen, and to Costco for a new DVD recorder that upconverts to 1080p to feed my projector.

Saturday my equipment came in and I picked everything up from my leasing office before going out again for some extra cables and power conditioners. I returned home and worked on installing everything for most of the afternoon. I placed the projector on my kitchen counter behind my couch, and installed the screen so that it dropped down over my existing 37-inch LCD TV, covering up my bookshelves. I also calibrated the projector to NTSC standards using my Avia reference test disc. Here's a photo of my living room with the screen retracted:

Screen up for TV watching

And here's what it looks like when the screen is down and the projector is on - as it was later on Saturday night when my family came over and watched Die Hard 3: Die Hard with a Vengeance:

Screen down for movies

I'm pretty happy with the way the installation turned out, and it was remarkably simple, compared to the installations I've done in the past. The projected picture, while not 1080p but 720p, is wonderfully smooth and filmlike with no noticeable pixels, excellent shadow detail and accurate color rendition. Plus, the installation is relatively unobtrusive, as you can see from the first photo with the screen retracted. I'm looking forward to making good use my new system on the weekends from now on.