Home cinema

by Chris Bertram on May 28, 2004

This may well be an idea that has already occurred to most of you, but I hadn’t heard it before. Ingredients: a laptop with a DVD-drive, a data projector of the sort widely used for PowerPoint presentations, a large flat white wall. Yes with just these three items (and connecting cables) you can project your favourite movie in a rather more stylish manner than on a wide-screen TV.



Matthew 05.28.04 at 2:09 pm

I hope this link works


they start about £700.


Adi 05.28.04 at 2:15 pm

The problem with that set-up is finding a wall thats suitably large and uncluttered enough to project movies at decent resolutions … unless you were showing the movies in the basement or something


MC 05.28.04 at 2:50 pm

You also need a stereo for the sound system. A great idea, regardless, especially for those who can get access to projectors.


djohnson 05.28.04 at 2:51 pm

The url above points to the Digital Projectors under $3500 thread in AVSforum.com. That’s what turned me on to my projector, a $1400 Panasonic, (which has since been superseded by cheaper projectors.)

I noticed in Costco that they were selling packages of an infocus projector and 72″ pull down screen for $1150.

I use a 92″ wide screen and love it. Watching movies on a small projector is great…you can really enjoy the cinematography when you have a big screen in your home.


djohnson 05.28.04 at 3:02 pm

Sorry, here’s a link to the avsforum.com



bigheadedd 05.28.04 at 3:12 pm

For fans of video games, there’s nothing better than plugging in one’s PS2 and projecting Tekken 3 onto a big white wall. Life size controlable fighting. huzzah.


Bob Knox 05.28.04 at 3:14 pm

Just curious djohnson, but how often do you have to replace the projector bulb? (And how much does it cost?)

I know someone who refuses to use his business projector for home theatre stuff on cost grounds, is all.


fyreflye 05.28.04 at 3:19 pm

Are we that desperate for “entertainment?”


harry 05.28.04 at 3:38 pm

Is this the place to ask a question? Is there a way that I can easily convert a PAL Region 1 or 0 DVD to NSTC video by playing it on my computer through PowerDVD and recording it on an NSTC VCR? Would doing so be legal if I could? (I would do it for family use only, and would be recording DVDs that I own, so that my kids could watch them on a TV rather than on my computer). Somebody here might know.


Nasi Lemak 05.28.04 at 3:38 pm

We did this every week for “film night” way back when I was a graduate student. Welcome to the 1990s!

(We also used to hang a couple of sewn-together sheets on a complex system of ropes above the pond in the middle of the quad, set-up the data projector in someone’s room, and have outdoor cinema in the summer. Happy days.)


Steve Carr 05.28.04 at 4:26 pm

Harry, you should probably just buy a region-free DVD player with a built-in PAL-to-NTSC converter, which will let you watch PAL DVDs with no extra effort. There’s a bunch here: http://www.dvdoverseas.com/store/index.html?catalog86_0.html. Some of them are a little pricy, but the cheapest one is only $110. (I have a JVC, and it works well.)


john b 05.28.04 at 4:32 pm

There’s an added problem in the copying-DVD-to-video stakes, which is that the inventors of DVDs decided the evil region coding system wasn’t enough to prevent widespread Jolly Rogering.

They also run the analogue signal (before the DVD is mastered) through a converter that doesn’t (significantly) affect the output you see but confuses VCRs. So if you try and record a DVD straight to VCR, all you get is (visual) noise.

[thinks] although I don’t know anyone who’s ever tried it… maybe it’s just the content industry’s propaganda…


anand sarwate 05.28.04 at 5:29 pm

A slight modification — if you’re a grad student, try to “borrow” the projector from your department over the weekend to “practice your presentation.” That way you don’t have to buy one, keeping your stipend free for beer and chips.


william 05.28.04 at 6:16 pm

I have a friend who does this with an old-fashioned overhead projector. She has one of those panels that go over the top of the overhead projector.

Damn electrical engineers! Always so far ahead!


trish 05.28.04 at 7:19 pm

the only problem with doing this for video games is the motion sickness, there is a point at which the picture is just too big!


matt b 05.28.04 at 8:12 pm

john b:

I would presume that Harry already has a VCR, so all that needs to be done is play the DVD on to the TV using a region-free DVD player and record off the TV using a regular VCR.


If your computer has a TV output option then recording the DVD from your computer to the VCR would go as follows. Connect the output from your computer as the incoming signal for your VCR; then play your DVD fullscreen and have the VCR record it. This is slow (as you have to watch the entire movie to copy it), but I’m not sure of any other way.


dop 05.28.04 at 8:20 pm

Finally! My large, white, barren walls pay off! Go me for being too lazy to hang anything on them!


dop 05.28.04 at 8:21 pm

Finally! My large, white, barren walls pay off! Go me for being too lazy to hang anything on them!


Shai 05.28.04 at 9:37 pm

my cheap 50 dollar apex does pal to ntsc. i did have to do a bios trick to make the player regionless, so a little research is in order before a purchase


obeah 05.29.04 at 12:29 am

At my old job, we used to watch the X-Files in the conference room with this setup.


Cathy 05.29.04 at 1:56 am

This trend has led to a fairly large increase in the theft of LCD projectors from university classrooms as well. I’m going to cement in them in the walls next.


djohnson 05.29.04 at 5:08 am

I think the cost for a replacement bulb is about $200-$250 dollars. I use the projector for watching dvds, it seldom gets used for more than 2hrs every other night.

LCD rptvs (rear projector televisons) have become increasingly popular due to their slim profiles. They also use bulbs that max out at about $2500 hours.


TJ 05.30.04 at 12:29 am

Hehe- we did that at university. I had keys to the giant lecture hall with integrated a/v. We’d play atari games at 40′. It’s too big for the more complicated (playstation) games, though… takes too long to shift your attention over the screen!

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