My Sony VPL-HS10 Cineza Home Theater
by Joe Goldberg

Room Details. I moved into my SF-bay area home a couple of years ago; the lower level of my home contains a funnel-shaped family room that immediately starting saying "home theater". The front of the 8-foot high room has a 12-foot wide recessed area that narrows to about 6 feet wide at the rear sliding door. The room is about 17 feet deep to the sliding door, although significantly less towards the sides. The sliding door at the rear is the only outside light source, and I will be hanging vertical blinds sometime in the future.

Left-rear of family room
Right-rear of family room, showing projector, surround and rear speaker.

Components. My Sony Cinzena HS-10 is inverse, Peerless ceiling-mounted, about 12.5 feet from the screen. I've had no problems with the HS-10 after about 70 hours, so I'll keep my fingers crossed. Fan noise is there, but its quickly lost with movie background sounds. Sony HD-200 High-def. receiver and V's Bravo D1 DVD player are the main inputs, both connected by DVI cables to an Addertec DVI 4-port switcher/repeater. I have a 20-foot DVI cable running from the switcher to the projector. The receiver is Sony's STR-DE995, capable of 110W/channel into 7.1. I bought Cambridge Soundworks MC300 speaker series for Center, Surrounds, and Rear channels. I got the 500W Cambridge Soundworks subwoofer, for quite a bit of low end kick. The screen is a Da-Lite Cosmopolitin electric screen with Cinema Vision coating. It's a 16:9, 45x80 inch size, and has an optional infrared control unit. I'm controlling everything with Sony's AV-3000 universal remote, though it takes quite a bit of patience to program.

I made my own molding to cover surround and rear channel wiring, as shown in the photo above. This was made out of solid birch that was routed to accept the wiring.

Cabinetry. I built a wall of cabinets, over a 6-month period, to house the theater. To start, I built a 4-inch high insulated, level base that includes a heating duct and electrical wiring for a couple of outlets. The total cabinet width is 12 feet, and height is 8 feet. They are about 16 inches deep. I added 4 additional outlets to the walls. Next, I built the three cabinet units out of birch plywood and solid birch trim. The center counter is slate tile, and adds a nice, finished touch. Most of the shelving is movable. Engineering the screen into the unit was challenging, as everything had to be servicable. In the figure below, the small panels that the upper lighting is attached to are hinged, revealing the hardware that locks the center, screen cover in place. The entire 8-foot long screen cover can be removed for full access to the screen casing. The cabinet doors are fully-tenoned, and hinged. Inserts for the doors were made by mounting fabric to acoustically transparent, open metal lathe that is used for stuccoing houses.

Finished cabinetry, built upon a level base. Lighting is shown on upper left and right. Upper center panel is removable, for access to screen.
Cabinetry with lowered screen and opened doors. Subwoofer and center channel are visible, in addition to front left and right audio channels.

The Experience. Both video and audio quality are better than I could have hoped for! As image below suggests, the WXGA resolution coupled with DVI connections show every detail in DVD's. Despite the fact that the room has an odd shape, the surrounds produce a very natural sound.

Scene from 'The Matrix'.

Although the project took about 6 months, its definately worth it in the end! Total cost of materials was about $8k-9k, with some super discounts on the main video gear through CDW.COM. I hope to add a PC in the future, and make the lighting IR-controlled. I'll also be installing an external antenna to receive local HD broadcasts, in addition to the DirecTV dish. The home theater is still fully useful as a family room, and will definately be the center of activity in my house for years to come.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Sony VPL-HS10 Cineza projector page.