Monday, January 23, 2012

Project A Better Image

We've already discussed the plethora of new television monitors at CES this year. They were bigger, brighter, multipurpose, internet ready, high (or ultra-high) definition and even 3D. But I gave up on the conventional television approach almost ten years ago. I got the idea at the office where we used LCD projectors to display PowerPoint presentations and videos.

The old rear projection unit in our family room with its 40 inch screen consumed a huge amount of floor space and power. It was pretty much state of the art when we bought it, but it was getting a bit long in the tooth. It had been repaired, brought back to life really, twice so far and we were not sure it would survive a third major surgery.  Quite frankly, we could never remove that smear on the screen so the picture was always a bit blurry.

Before we went shopping for a new set I borrowed the projector from the office for a weekend. It was quite simple to run a few video cables from the set top box to the projector and to prop it up on a makeshift stand in the middle of the room. It wasn't pretty or even particularly safe but it threw a magnificent picture on the white sheet we had attached to the wall.

The experiment was a clear success and resulted in a shift from "regular" televisions to projectors. We are on our second unit which unlike the experimental model is a true home theater projector. We have since migrated from cable to Verizon FIOS which delivers HD video in 1080 resolution. The signal is carried over HDMI cables to the EPSON Home Theater unit mounted near the ceiling in the rear of the room. It will  project on a section of the wall which has been treated with a light gray color, textured surface. The image measures 102 inches diagonally and maintains high image quality even if you move up close.

Some people made the trip to San Francisco and sat in the rain yesterday to watch the Giants play beat the 49ers. Others crammed into sports bars or watched on their flat panel units at home. With my home theater setup we felt like we were standing right there with Tom Coughlin and the boys when Tynes kicked the winning field goal.

As you might imagine movies too are an experience. Combined with surround sound you have true immersion into the story. With the appropriate base unit and cabling you can feed the projector from a DVD unit, game console or a computer.

Maybe its a male thing but for me the screen can never be big enough. We were limited by the furniture in the room but when we move things around later this year a simple flick of the wrist will expand the size of the screen even further.

To paraphrase from the movie Jaws, looks like we might need a bigger room.

Captain Joe

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