A Home Theater Build Project - Part II


Upgrade Path Considerations

At this point I want to step back and comment on upgrade paths and how someone can start with a fairly basic system, but by upgrading one component at a time, in an order that makes sense, you can end up with something far more advanced. I started with a fairy basic set-up. The Sanyo Z2 cost me about the same as a new wide-screen set would have at the time. I worked with existing gear and made judgement calls as to where to put money at the time when it made sense to make an investment or change. As budget allowed, I was able to move into higher end pieces.

In the context of all of the other things that needed to be done, some of the more pricey equipment would have been unreasonable at the beginning of the project. However, by making us small changes to my system over time, selling my used gear, and incrementally moving more high-end, you can end up with far more superior a system than might have been feasible at the beginning. The point I'm trying to drive home: you don't have to start with a high-end system to eventually end up with one.

Because the dawn of 1080p displays was happening at the same time as the various HD based disc formats, it was logical to pair this projector with one or both of these systems. When the dust settled, I ended up with a Sony Playstation 3 - multi-faceted, fast, and very capable - I felt that at the infancy of the formats, this represented the most robust choice.

The only knock on the RS-1 was that its colors were "oversaturated". Each of the primary and secondary colors fell outside of the 3-dimensional color definitions as outlined by the HD color specifications. While a discussion of what this actually means is beyond the scope of this article, the simplest way to summarize would be that the JVC was incapable of prot were conforming to the established standards that govern the reproduction of video material. While I still had a video processor in my chain, this particular unit was incapable of correcting these types of color errors. Given this I swapped out the Lumagen HDQ for a Lumagen Radiance XD. This video processor was far more advanced than the HDQ and allowed for correction of both primary and secondary colors in 3 dimensions.

Of course, this all needed to be calibrated in order to work properly. I'll talk about DIY calibration in later in this series. This combination (PS3 ->Radiance -> RS1) produced an exceptionally nice image. I'll deal with the last few tweaks to the video chain when I talk about the present day set-up.