Several years ago I penned a column in another magazine entitled "My Clients Are All Mad" ...quickly pointing out that the seat of their anger was the fact that they had deliberated too long before giving themselves the home theater green light. Once they came to realize that the post-install experience was so surprisingly good, they were upset about how long they'd waited. Now, in the context of today's technology, it's even more important to reprise the message.


I believe that with most things in life we don't know what we are missing until it's under our nose for the first time. In my twenties, I never gave much thought to snow skiing until my then girlfriend insisted we try. I was indelibly captured for life (the snow, not the girl). Ditto for water skiing, hot rods, hot tubs and Eggs Benedict.

I encounter similar first-time ambivalence nearly every day when I talk to prospective clients about what an unique experience a (well done) home theater can bring. It's harder than you might think to find adequate words. I'm often met with "Oh, we don't watch much TV any more," or "When we want to watch a movie, we just stream from (insert your favorite bit-starved, low cost, low quality provider)."

Sadly, too many never get it. If the conversation must end at the restaurant dining table, I simply say, "With today's video technology (4K/HDR), an immersive large screen, a properly calibrated display and at least a 5.1 audio system, there is nothing else I would rather devote two hours of my life to." Then, I add a few words about the new friends they will make after they've invited them to "Movie Saturday Night" or "Super Bowl Sunday," and what new friends the kids will make, if appropriate. That almost always gets them to my demo room...which usually means game over, slam dunk, ask for the deposit.

I guess my sincere suggestion this time would be not to postpone what may well be the most rewarding investment you could make. A home theater generally beats a time share, a four-wheeler, or a kitchen remodel... long term.

We've already got vibrating seats for home theaters, so all we have to lust for is smell-o-vision, Princess Leia holograms, and nozzles that spray water in your face on cue. Everything else is ready at a retailer near you.

Prices for really good equipment are relatively low today, network primetime TV has never been better, and Amazon has over 100,000 movies and concert videos for sale or rent (Prime). Technology advancements will likely be incremental after 8K (at least for a while). And, fortunately, there are ample competent, experienced custom installers and calibrators out there (thank you, Joel Silver) should at least get good advice from one or you might end up with troubling install errors and may not even know it.

There is so much to be gained daily/nightly from a well done home theater; it's a shame not to maximize the area under the (enjoyment) curve. So...if you've dreamed of, or even just given a passing thought to creating your home theater, start now. Tempus fugit!

Comments (2) Post a Comment
Paul Posted Aug 17, 2019 9:41 AM PST
I totally agree Terry. I installed my 720p DIY home theater in 2005 and have never looked back, since upgrading to 1080p projection with programmable zoom/focus/shift and a constant image height 10ft screen. I'm not sure exactly how much I have spent on it, but I am sure it is much less than $10,000. Even if it is 10k it is the best money I have ever spent on anything for our home. My theater is a constant source of entertainment and enjoyment for me and my family, as well as friends who come over regularly to experience a film of their choice the way it should be - projected on a very big screen with superb surround sound. But it doesn't stop there. My theater room is really a work in progress which makes the whole thing a great interest and hobby. I am constantly finding things to improve the projection experience and the enjoyment and ambiance of the room. For instance I have installed DIY powered masking panels and powered curtains so that movies of all aspect ratios are perfectly masked, which makes a very big difference in visual impact. So digital projection has added a whole new level of enjoyment for me and my family. I could not live without it, and IMO flat panel TV's just do not deliver the same experience.
TerryPaullin Posted Aug 17, 2019 10:51 AM PST
Paul - thank you very much for your comprehensive endorsement of projection home theater. Coming from a true enthusiast, your comments should carry more credibility than just some guy who posted a column. I hope all who visit this space get the message. I particularly liked your add of masking panels and motorized curtains. As my friend Joel Silver likes to say, "If you push a button and something moves, it's waaay cool" Of course, he's right! You have taken a project to a hobby to a tremendous source of enjoyment for you entire family. Keep tinkering - it doesn't get much better than that!

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