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My Panasonic PT-AE700U Home Theater
by Don Peck

First let me say thanks to projectorcentral for all the projector reviews and advice. It helped with a lot of hard choices.

I have just completed my Theater Room and am very happy with the results. I started out with a single car garage and small budget. With price being a big concern I did a lot of shopping for the best deals and I did luck out with several items and any outside labor was from family and friends for the heavy stuff such as framing in the door or hanging dry wall, but most of the work I did myself to keep costs down.

The first order of business was to close off the garage and make it into part of the house. I took out the overhead door and put in French doors, then used curtains to black out the windows to keep up the appearance from the outside. I don't count the money spent to convert the garage into a room as part of the theater because I was going to do it anyway, but it was about $1500 by the time you count the dry wall, paint, carpet and so on.

Now it was time to start to find things to put in the theater room!

The theater seats I found at a local store that was throwing them away! Yes they where in need of a lot of TLC. I completely disassembled, reconditioned and re-upholstered them (my first time doing something like this!). The fabric I found at a local auction and bought enough to redo the six theater seats plus the love seat (only $25.00 and still have some left!). Since I wanted the seats raised, I built two platforms for them to sit on. The platforms have rope lights that only light the walk ways so you can have the room completely blacked out, I have a picture of this but it is hard to see the true effect, but it in no way interferes with the picture. Also in the picture of the screen the lights are on, when they are off you don't see the border paper at all.

The stand for the equipment and the projector I had bought for my 55" HD set that I am no longer using. A little re-assembling and I had a high shelf for the projector to sit.

After a LOT of research and some trial and error I finally decided on the Panasonic AE 700. It seemed to be the most versatile projector for my price range. I did try the Infocus 4805 and it was a very good projector but the Panasonic AE700 fit my needs better.

I have a Onkyo HT-R520 Receiver 6.1 and bookshelf speakers. The screen is a 2.5 gain Glass pull down screen 106", being able to raise the screen and open the doors is a plus if you ever want to use the room for other things. A HD-DVR from the local cable company.

  • Room conversion $1500
  • Panasonic AE700 $2100
  • Onkyo Receiver $ 400
  • 2.5 gain Screen $ 200
  • Misc. supplies (wood, nails, lights and so forth) $ 300
  • Six Theater Seats $ FREE
  • Love seat $FREE
  • Material for seats $ 25
  • Learning how to re-upholster  $ PRICE-LESS!

Total: $4525

Overall not too bad for the end result!