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Feature: Bedroom Theatre

By Imraneo
Published on Saturday, 15th April, 2007

Overview

It has been a good 3 years since I featured my room theatre system. Now I managed to hang on to another room and pimp it up with a spanking new screen, new furniture and modifications. It's a pity that my projector isn't in use at the moment, but I've got a Philps 50" plasma screen to indulge into. Here's a recap of the equipment I have:

  • PC system (more on that later)

  • Sony STR-DE535 Dolby® Pro-Logic Amplifier (5 in 5 out)

  • Kenwood S-3M speakers (front 1)

  • Philips Magnavox OEM speakers (front 2)

  • Sony SS-V700 speakers (rear)

  • JBL centre piece (center)

  • Tamon Passive Subwoofer UBS-900

  • Philips 50PF7320G 50" plasma

  • Microsoft Xbox gaming console

Home theatre experts would say my setup is pretty lame, as the equipment is pretty old and low-end. All I can say is that this was meant to be a semi-budget theatre, which was formed with everything I could find. Some of the speakers I have are over 12 years old. For the room size, the setup gave a good amount of bass and volume level. The major highlight of this system is of course the plasma screen which I got at a good deal.

Amplifier / Xbox
Here you'll see my Sony Pro-Logic amplifier, STR-DE535, which I bought it for second hand over the net. I must say it was pretty hard to find as it has 5 discrete inputs and 5 discrete respective outputs. This feature allows my soundcard to decode all the signals (Dolby / DTS) and leave my amp to blow up the sound on my speakers. It even allows me to choose from a selection of 2 pairs of front speakers, or use them all. It has a built in FM tuner too, which I seldom use.

You must have noticed the Xbox too. It's been connected to the plasma using the component cables. It is media centre ready, but the images just isn't right, which makes it pretty redundant. I use it to play old Xbox games once a while.

Speakers
The speakers have been sourced from all over the place, mostly from old HiFi systems at home. I got the centre speaker (right) from cash converters. I mounted it right above the screen, on the wall. The passive subwoofer (left) was sold to me by a friend The router on top of the woofer is one of my latest edition

 


The rear speakers are placed above my cupboards, which are beside my bed. I can't think of a better place to position them! Another look at my beloved D-Link gaming router (DGL-4300). Awesome connection retention and supports a massive number of simultaneous connections, suitable for torrents:

The Rig
It's an outdated rig which is surviving due to it's relatively powerful graphics card (GF7600GT). Other than that, it's nothing to shout about (P4 2.53Ghz, 1GB RAM). It's more than enough for videos and games with mid-settings.

It's got dual-head output, powering Dell 20" and a CMV 15" panels. The keyboard's pretty standard, but it's got MS Wireless laser 8000 mouse, perfect to control my videos and games from my bed!

On the right, you can see the creative I-trigue 3200 speakers, good for music while in using the PC. Infront of it is an external HDD for more movie space and sharing. Right beside the speaker, you can see a USB female connector that will extend from the table when needed! (you'll see why later)

 

 

Videos
The signal that goes into my secondary monitor (CMV 15") is actually split to my plasma as well. So basically, I will move my video windows onto my secondary screen, so it can be displayed on my plasma as well. DivX video (played through BS player)


Below you can see a another video played (DVD). The colors are excellent and look better as compared to my 2 LCD screens. The D-Sub (VGA) connection that the plasma uses now is certainly better than other inputs like component or HDMI. The latter is only good if you have a high definition video or a player that up-scales DVDs well enough. Other than that, D-Sub is still the best, with no aliasing


 

Gaming
Since the plasma is primarily connected to the PC, why not do something fun, like gaming? My PC has to change the video mode to "clone" which allows the primary display to be mirrored to both screens, hence the plasma as well. Here are some clips of Quake 4:



Here's Need for Speed Carbon!



For all games, I can set the graphic quality to 4X anti-aliasing, and I can see amazing graphics on the screen. I'm sure you can notice how smooth the edges are from the screenshots.

You must be wondering.. for games that require a keyboard/mouse for control, how do I play them, when my workstation is not facing the plasma? Well, here's a trick on the right:

I got a cheap USB keyboard, and that connects to the female connector that I mentioned earlier. It comes out just right from the table.

There's no problems with the mouse as it's wireless and I've gotten a eXactMat from Razer as well.

 

 

 

 

Final gaming setup:

Miscellaneous stuffs
The setup can be used to surf the net as well:


 

Managed to create a wooden backing for my DTS plaque, so as to make it easily wall mountable like any other frame The gold lettering looks great amidst my red hot wall:


Here's how I mount my webcam: On a classic coke bottle. My panels are not capable of having the cam clipped over it due to thickness. With this bottle, I can easily maneuver the cam.

Below is my media collection. Nicely categorized into folder files and labeled. I took quite some time to even convert my old CDs into DVDs:

Below is the mess behind the scenes. The cables consists of coaxial, 5.1 audio, LAN, power and many more!

The full setup with Channel News Asia broadcast:

Here's the full display on my workstation. The fancy curtains certainly helps darken the room a lot during the day for optimum movie watching.

And to wrap up...
The word "bedroom" is mentioned as opposed to my previous review of "room": is because of the setup. There is no chair for watching the plasma. Just chill anywhere on the bed. I've had really good comfortable experiences so far on this setup.

Furthermore, there are improvement plans to this bedroom theatre. For instance, I might wanna install a ceiling fan for the not so hot days when I want to give my air-conditioning a break. Also, I will be upgrading my system to a dual/quad core, so as to embrace Windows Vista and also to satisfy my thirst for Blu-ray HD movies!

Thanks for reading. For any inquiries regarding this article, feel free to contact me.










 
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