If you were to start from scratch...

Discussion in 'Apple TV and Home Theater' started by Bemidjiboy, Mar 4, 2013.

  1. Bemidjiboy macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2013
    I have one old TV in our basement. We don't have cable or satellite. I'm about to upgrade my entire home office (I started a thread on the imac forum: http://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1551375&highlight=new+gear+advice ). We have some DVDs but not many. I don't plan on digitizing my movie library. Just want to watch the movie I want when I want from time to time. What would you get? Looks like Apple TV is working fine. I'll spend up to $1,000 on a new television. Don't care about 3-D or hand gestures or any of that crap. Advice? Thanks!
  2. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    If this is for a home theater space that has some lighting control I would go with a projector - you can get a huge image that is as good or better than TV quality.

    I switched to a projector many months ago and am extremely happy with the setup - I chose an Epson and will eventually upgrade that projector to a 3D one as I think that would be nice to have at some point.
  3. Bemidjiboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2013
    Projector? Hmmm...

    That is so interesting. I just heard the same thing from a techie friend. How would you hook it up? To a laptop? An Apple TV? Did you repaint your wall or anything to get a good, flat surface? Thanks for the thought.
  4. HobeSoundDarryl, Mar 4, 2013
    Last edited: Mar 4, 2013

    HobeSoundDarryl macrumors 604


    Feb 8, 2004
    Hobe Sound, FL (20 miles north of Palm Beach)
    There's a lot to it. You should do lots of research to gather all the fine details.

    Since you have much flexibility, you shouldn't be thinking about single sources :)apple:TV or laptop); instead think about both options plus several others. A good home receiver with lots of switchable inputs to a single output (to a projector) would be a great option to somewhat future proof this part of your question. It's also the core component for exceptional surround sound too.

    There are special paints for the wall if you want to use a projector. There are also dedicated screens you can attach to the wall. Do lots of research on this to figure out which way you want to go.

    Lastly, projectors are at their best when you can achieve near (total) darkness or total darkness. Ambient light is the enemy of a good projector (though they can still deliver a good picture in less than ideal lighting conditions). Be sure in the brightest part of the day that you'll be able to make that zone dark.
  5. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    So the projector has all sorts of inputs - only one HDMI - so I use that HDMI for the Apple TV and on the odd occasion I use a BluRay I'll switch the plug. A bunch of projectors have 3 or more HDMI inputs.

    I do use a receiver with it as audio is what really completes the movie experience for me - even on iTunes purchases I can hear the benefits of a surround sound setup.

    I found a DIY solution for creating a big screen - I believe it equates to around 160 inches. I chose White Blackout Fabric as the foundation and it works great. I'm able to boost the projector for daytime viewing, but as mentioned projectors really shine in the dark and at night is when I do my serious viewing.

    I also love that projector's are fairly easy transport versus televisions that are heavy and easily breakable. Televisions have tons of great uses, but projector's have been getting better and better over the years and continue to improve as TVs have. I also like the fact that it feels less of a waste with unique aspect ratios as it is really easy to zoom in or out depending on the movie. I have a screen that can adapt nicely for whatever content I'm watching.

    Hope this helps
  6. Bemidjiboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2013

    Hey, thanks guys. That is good, helpful advice. I'll seriously check out the projectors. Happy clicking!
  7. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    I personally am not that impressed with projectors. I know someone with one he puts on a wall for about a 125" display. Sure, the picture is bigger. But while 1080p is pretty much a Retina display on my 46" LED TV, it's more like 720p when you get up in that range. I'm also pretty sure that an LED TV will be much brighter than any projector, although that might not be as much of an issue if you're in a basement.

    For media, I like an AV receiver with maybe 6+ HDMI inputs, a Blu-ray Disc player and Apple TV. ATV will provide you with a great place to rent movies and buy movies and TV shows digitally if you choose. It will also allow you to use AirPlay with any iOS devices and newer Macs. Just make sure to not spend $50 apiece on HDMI cables (check Amazon Basics and Monoprice for cables that are 100 percent fine for way less than that Monster crap).
  8. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    It really depends on what you are looking for - 1080p projectors are still very much 1080p at the larger screen sizes - it isn't supposed to be a TV display it's supposed to be a cinematic experience similar to what you get in a movie theater. I prefer the projection look - it is also much more forgiving on lower quality encodes (although some really terrible ones still stand out).

    TVs and projectors are two very different viewing technologies and some prefer TVs as it is more of an appliance versus projectors that need the proper room and placement - each have their place in our entertainment worlds - I understand why some love their TVs, but all of those reasons won't let me forget all of the reasons I love projectors.
  9. mslide macrumors 6502a

    Sep 17, 2007
    I have a home theater, with a projector, and I love it but I would only recommend a projector for a room where you can completely control the lighting. The room has to be completely dark else it won't be an enjoyable experience. If you have windows in the room, you'll need to completely black them out with blackout cloth and what not else you'll only be watching movies at night.

    They require some research as well. You have to keep in mind the throw distance, the projector itself, how big the screen will be, what kind of screen will you use (I built mine out of 1x4s and blackout cloth), etc. There are projector calculators on the internet that can help.

    Of course any TV will be able to display a much brighter image than a projector. That's why we only put them in rooms where we can completely control the ambient lighting :) If you want an immersive, cinematic experience, then a projector is the only way to go.
  10. Che Castro macrumors 603

    May 21, 2009
    When ever I go to a non IMAX movie. The picture looks like DVD quality not HD

    THESE AMC THEATERS are not 1080p?
  11. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    I've only had that experience a few times at some crappy theaters - most theaters have great picture quality - that said the qualities of a projector are different from a TV screen - I'd call projectors more authentic and true to what the director wanted, but that is just my take on it.

    The projector vs TV debate will go on for years - as others have pointed out it is a different experience - some prefer TVs some prefer projectors: there is no "right" answer (just right for you)
  12. danwilliams macrumors member

    Sep 15, 2008
    Also keep in mind that when the projector bulb burns out (and it will), it is expensive to replace. My projector was AWESOME while the bulb lasted. But after the second time replacing the bulb, I gave up on my projector. :(

    The bulbs usually last long. But sometimes they don't. There may be replacement bulb insurance that is acceptable to you?

    Just keep in mind how often you will watch your new TV per day/week/month.
  13. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    Yea I haven't hit that point yet of bulb replacement, but for mine it looks like it will cost $200 direct from Epson.

    I figure that after those few years it'll be a good time to upgrade my projector or simply buy a new bulb. I've heard that televisions eat up a lot more power. I'm not sure if I will use up $200 worth of electricity costs if I had a TV during this time, but I'm comfortable with a $200 every time I use my projector for 5,000 hours (which is a little over 208 days of straight usage) - at 5 hours a day I could use the projector 1,000 days (2.73 years).

    Each projector will vary and I'm comfortable with that usage for me - but it is something to be aware of when investing in a projector - getting main brands help to make sure you can find bulbs at low prices when you do need a replacement.
  14. Michael CM1 macrumors 603

    Feb 4, 2008
    Movie theater screens are much, much larger than any display we would use in a home. Therefore, I'm guessing any 1920x1080 picture would look like crap compared to the same picture 10 feet away with the same resolution.

    I saw The Hunger Games in IMAX and The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey in 48fps 3-D. They both looked about the same as any other movie I've seen recently, except for the smoother picture and 3-D of The Hobbit.

    This is probably why I have no problem waiting on movies to come out at home four months later. For about the same price I can own the darn thing and watch it a bazillion times. I can also run the neighbors off even with the Dolby Digital 5.1 that iTunes uses.

    So if theaters want me to keep coming, they really need to figure out something to make them better. First person to suggest 3-D gets smacked!
  15. Davidkoh macrumors 65816

    Aug 2, 2008
    I would get a projector, a TV works watching a few TV shows but it won't give you the feeling of being at the cinama as a projector will.
  16. Bemidjiboy thread starter macrumors newbie

    Mar 3, 2013
    Good stuff

    Thanks all, for the thoughts. I'm one of those rare fellows who doesn't have a TV hookup and has never owned cable in his life (I'm 43). Last TV series I paid attention to was.....Cheers. How's THAT for antiquated?? So, yes, the use is entirely for family movie night, popcorn, etc. I will be streaming videos because I HATE out local Blockbuster and want to watch a movie on short notice. Some DVDs I suppose. It's in the basement, so we can make it completely dark there. I think any worry about definition is a bit silly - I'm more interested in a good story than seeing the pores on Angelina Jolie. I'm actually surprised at how expensive the projectors are, but I'll be checking them out. Any of you hang it from the ceiling or have thoughts on the cables and plugs, etc.? Thanks again.
  17. musicpenguy macrumors 65816

    Oct 29, 2006
    My starter projector is this one - Epson 710HD

    (http://www.amazon.com/Epson-V11H475020-318-Inches-PowerLite-Projector/dp/B007HOHV9U) - $569

    The price point is great as is the quality - it runs very quiet and the visuals are great. I'm sure there are better ones and when I can save up I'll get a 1080p/3D one, but for now I'm really enjoying this great picture quality on a huge screen. I was skeptical if 720p would look good at a big size, but I'm really happy with it so far - the reviews mostly agree.

    So that is a good one to start off with - projectorcentral.com can also give you some pointers.

    I simply put my projector on a stand - ceiling mounts can be pretty great - many even have wireless HDMI - not sure how good that is, but from the reviews most don't notice a difference between that and wired.
  18. jdechko macrumors 68040

    Jul 1, 2004
    I started from scratch recently and in the process, drastically simplified my setup. I had an old 30" Panasonic Widescreen TV and matching HTIB system. It was a royal pain to set up and move.

    Got rid of both and went with a cheap old CRT for a few months. Finally my wife said she wanted to buy me a new TV.

    It was a pain to try to compare TVs, even on Amazon. Best decision I made was to browse thewirecutter.com. It's run by Brian Lam, former editor of Gizmodo, and it serves the sole purpose of answering "What is the best TV/Projector/Soundbar/etc to buy right now?" The articles are usually compiled from Amazon, Cnet and other reviews. It's great, though, that I don't have to go searching through specs.

    I ended up getting a 43" Plasma, and I paired an AppleTV3 with it. The only thing that would make it better is a soundbar which I will probably get in the near future because I'd like a little bass when watching movies. I'm not even convinced I should buy a blu-ray player (though if I did, thanks to the wirecutter, I know which one I'd buy).

    The TV isn't the best as far as specs (1024x768 resolution, limited ports), but the picture quality is fantastic and I actually can enjoy the damn thing instead of worrying about setting stuff up.

    Anyway, here's a link. http://thewirecutter.com/
  19. StinDaWg macrumors 6502

    Apr 5, 2012
    Get the largest Panasonic plasma you can afford (preferably 60-65").

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