My BenQ PE8700 home theater
by Michael J

My home theater project has taken 10 months to build, and I am in the process of completing the finishing touches. I used a corner room in my basement that has no windows or light that could interfere with the quality of the picture. The room footprint is 30' x 14' and it is completely dedicated as a theater with the exception of an air hockey table located at the back of the room.

In the near future I will be adding trim work, and more lighting scenes to the room, including rope lighting hidden behind crown molding. I plan to re-paint the screen wall a darker color to give the picture more definition.

My projector is a BenQ 8700 with the HD2+ DLP chip. The picture quality is tremendous. The 8700 is rated as one of the highest quality projectors on the market and they are reasonably priced. My screen is presently a Draper 4:3 format left over from my old projector (BenQ 7220) I will be upgrading to a 104" diagonal 16:9 screen. DVD player is a Panasonic with progressive scan. I plan on upgrading to an Oppo HDTV Ready DVD with DVI output. They are under $200 and I have heard that they produce a perfect picture. The sound surround is an out of the box system by Kenwood and it is adequate for the room. My lighting system is controlled by Lightolier. There are 4 different lighting scenes that are controlled by a master switch. Each light scene is different, with the last scene set up for movie viewing. I leave the sconce lights on during movies but all other lights are off in movie mode. I have several framed movie theater posters that dress up the room. The theater seats are leather Berkline seats with power recline, storage, and cup holders. The seats are very comfortable and they were under 2K. This is my first theater project and I enjoyed building the room as much as I like watching movies. I think the room has added value to the house, but more importantly, it is fun to have a theater in the house.

The room from behind the row of seats.

The control cabinet built into the wall.

The obligatory Nemo shot. This is with my old projector. The 8700 looks brighter and clearer than the 7220.

One of the movie posters with accent lighting.