Saturday, October 28, 2006

Movie Posters - for that Unique Finishing Touch to Your Home Theater

Poster Presentation - Framing, Mounting and Light Boxes

Poster presentation is a most important aspect that should be taken into consideration when hanging a poster of your favorite movie on a wall. Appropriate presentation that matches with the rest of the room decor can help bring about the movie experience, but not only.

Presenting your newly acquired movie poster by framing or mounting will result in a more attractive finished product in any room. In particular, framed movie posters are most appropriate in a �shared' room home theater e.g. a living room or a bedroom home theater.

However, mounting and in particular framing a poster, offers a further important advantage - it also represents an important step towards helping your posters stay nice for much longer.

While both frames and mounts offer a great way of presenting a more attractive finish in any room, yet in the case of a dedicated home theater room, the ultimate in movie poster presentation is the backlit poster light box. The use of a backlit box will better help bring about the cinematic 'feeling' into your home.

Movie poster light boxes add a unique finishing touch to your home theater, or in that case, anywhere you want to display your favorite poster.

The Poster Light Box:

The classical way to illuminate movie posters for display is from behind. Most poster light boxes operate in this manner by having a light source mounted on the rear side of a box frame. A diffuser plate is used to help eliminate the formation of possible hot spots of light over the movie poster area.

These poster light boxes are also referred to as 'backlit poster boxes' and are normally designed to take 1 Sheet posters. The latter are typically 27 inches in width by 40 to 41 inches in height, depending on whether the poster is a pre 1983/85 or otherwise. (More information on movie poster sizes is available at http://www.practical-home-theater-guide.com/poster-sizes.html).

Take care, however! Not all one-sheet size movie posters are best suited for display in a backlit poster light box. Why?

One sheet comes in either single-sided or double-sided prints, with the latter being designated as �DS' 1-Sheet. While it is possible to mount either type in a poster light box, yet the best posters to use in a backlit poster light box are double-sided posters.

DS 1 Sheet posters have printing on both the front and the back of the paper stock, with the printing on the backside being in precise alignment with that on the front and a mirror image of the printing on the front side.

Light from behind the 1-sheet poster will have to pass through both prints, with the poster acting as if it is a strip of film. The two prints on either side of the poster will render for a more robust and rich illumination of the poster artwork.

That is not to say that the cheaper and more common single-sided posters are not suitable for use in backlit light boxes. It is just that one-sided 1-Sheet posters look somewhat washed-out when illuminated from behind.

TV: LCD vs Plasma TV

If you are looking at getting a new TV, or building a home theater, then there is quite a bit of research to be done before you make the plunge. Right now there are two competing technologies for High Definition Flat Screen TV. The first is LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) and the second Plasma TV. Both will offer a great picture, perfectly flat screens which will keep your straight lines looking straight, and immunity from magnetic distortion, but which technology is better? What are their prospective pros and cons? Read on for more information.

Before I get into what you should buy, you should get the �how does it work run down�, the quick and dirty edition. It is quite difficult to compare two competing technologies because they tend to be, by nature, apples and oranges. This is why it helps to know your fruit. Plasma and LCD TV�s generate their pictures in extremely different ways. A Plasma TV�s pixel consists of gas-filled cells coated with a phosphorescent material. When an electrical current charges the gas in a cell, it makes the coating glow. However, in an LCD TV, the pixels are liquid crystal cells placed over a fluorescent backlight. The cells opacity varies in response to an electrical signal, passing or blocking the light. This method has been used for computer monitors for quite some time.

Burn in has plagued the plasma TV�s reputation while the LCD is seen as a �view from the front� only TV, but recent technological advances have decreased the gap between these two competing technologies. Plasma TV�s are now more resistance to burn in and ship with screen savers while LCD�s have increased viewing angles. So what is the difference? Well, first things first. It is no coincidence that major TV manufacturers are offering plasma TV�s at the top of their lineup while placing LCD�s at their entry level positions. One reason for this is the fact that LCD�s are not economical in larger sizes. It is very uncommon to see a LCD with a screen size larger than 40". Also, If you are looking at screen sizes under 37", an LCD is your only flat panel choice.

In my opinion, overall there is still a gap large enough to have a clear winner. I feel that for large cinema type applications you will be better off with a plasma solution. Plasma will give you a slightly better picture with brighter colors and more contrast at larger sizes. LCD however is great for an extra TV and if you watch your power bill, you will be happy to know that an LCD will use much less power than a Plasma of the same size.

So if you need a flat screen for the kitchen, you will not be disappointed with the convenience of a LCD TV. If you are looking at a TV in a size that does overlap technologies, then you must decide which to go with. I would choose a plasma TV in most cases over an LCD TV of the same size. I feel the advantages of the plasma�s picture quality outweigh the cons of the LCD�s advantages which also happen to be quickly disappearing as the plasmas technology matures.

Mini DV Tapes

Mini DV tapes look like analog tapes used for recording, but they are almost 1/6th their size. Apart from being more compact, they have the advantage of clearer sound quality, reduced noise, and higher output. They are available on various websites and from retailers of electronic items.

The dimensions of Mini DV tapes are 2.6�� 2� � 0.5�. The tape is coiled inside a plastic case with a flap to protect the tape from dust, scratches and other damage. The tapes are magnetized on both sides and optionally may be covered by a layer of carbon to improve the sound quality.

The major manufacturers of Mini DV tapes are TDK, Maxell, Sony, Fuji, Panasonic, RCA, and JVC. Like all items related to electronic goods, a little research is needed in order to locate the tape that will best suit your needs.

First, think of the duration of the recording that you need. Mini DV tapes are available with 30, 60, 63, 80, or 83 minutes worth recording time. The three extra minutes, on a tape of 63 minutes, for example, are for trial recording. This feature is very useful for those creating professional videos and films. The Sony DVM 30 PRL has a recording time of exactly 60 minutes, while Sony DVM 63 has the three minutes extra for adjusting the recorder or camcorder.

Also, price is an important factor when it comes to buying in bulk. Many online stores retail Mini DV tapes in bulk. For example, Sony DVM 30 are sold on TapeResources.COM for $4 per tape, for a collection of tapes ranging from 5 to 100 tapes. Purchases over $50 are given further discounts. Other websites offer sizeable discounts depending on the brand. A Fuji tape of 60 minutes length generally costs $14, but the price may come down to as low as $6 when retailed by these online stores.

Apart from Mini DV tapes, these websites also retail items like DV cleaners needed to properly maintain the tapes.

Home Theater - Plasma TV VS Projectors

Many homeowners are struggling with an important, electronic question: What is the ideal display for my home theater? Many people have fought this debate, but I'll try to make clear some important considerations.

The most important detail to consider when deciding between a projector and a large plasma television is ambient light. A room with lots of windows presents a problem for a projector because every little bit of ambient lighting degrades the projected image. The ideal environment for a projector is one where you have total control over the lighting. If your home theater uses a projector, you are limited to using it when you can eliminate other light. A plasma screen can be used anyplace, anytime.

Assuming your home theater has blackout curtains, or exists deep underground; let's examine differences between a plasma television and a projector. One advantage of a projector is that you can get a much larger picture than is available in plasma. Projectors can produce images comparable to an 81-inch screen and larger. This just isn't possible with a plasma screen. However, plasma's have the advantage of not needing any amount of space. A projector must have a long enough corridor to project its image on the wall or screen. To get an 81-inch or greater image, you need a decent distance between the projector and the target. Second, a projector's image is dependent on more than the quality of the projector; you must be projecting onto a specialized surface or you lose detail. A top of the line HD projector with a very high native resolution would be wasted if you were just projecting the image onto a wall. You need an equally high quality screen with features such as a matte finish to eliminate reflection and glare. A plasma display requires no additional equipment.

Overall, a projector has the potential of creating a beautiful image, but it needs too much to work effectively. If you're creating a private movie theater with lighting control and an investment in a screen, mounting equipment, and blackout curtains, then a projector is your piece of equipment. For everyone else, I suggest a plasma television.

Home Theater Accessories: Endless Options

Your home theater is the central room for entertainment in your house and you want to make sure you get the right accessories to make it the best it can be. Some home theater accessories can be decorative while others are functional - and some like your TV might even be both!

How you decorate your home theater is a matter of personal preference, some folks like to have it look like an old time movie theater with vintage seats and a popcorn machine while others simply want a comfy couch to sit in. Still others don�t care about the d�cor and want to put all their money into getting the best electronic accessories they can afford.

When you are designing your home theater, you are going to have many options to take into consideration. This is often the most difficult thing that you will have to deal with when designing your home theater. The amount of accessories that are available are endless; and even though you may have a hard time choosing, this is also a good problem because you will always be able to find what you need after a little bit of searching.

There are many options here - you can go with a home theater in a box where everything you need is included, you can have a home theater consultant come in and design the system for you or, you can buy the pieces yourself separately and put together a custom system with all the parts that way you want it.

One of the most popular home theater accessories have to do with your stereo set up. Many people buy extra speakers to set up so that their home theater has surround sound. Even though this is not a necessity in order to have a solid home theater, it can definitely help. In addition, a large music collection may be something that you want to look into. In order to take your home theater to the next level, you can add hundreds of DVDs and CDs to your collection. This will go a long way in ensuring that you can always entertain your audience regardless of who they are or what kind of mood they are in.

Home theater accessories can be bought in a number of different places. Most people head to an electronics super store first. Here, you will be able to find hundreds of accessories that you can buy to customize your home theater. In addition, you may want to go online to check out one of the hundreds of online stores that sell home theater equipment.

Home theater accessories consist of hundreds of different options. Even though you will never be able to have every accessory that is available on the market today, you can at least buy a couple as a way to customize your set up. If money is an issue, you can start small and work your way up or even buy used components and save up for the super duper system that you really want.

No matter what you buy in the way of home theater accessories, having your friends and family around to enjoy your entertainment system with you is sure to make it the best home theater in town!

Buyers Guide to Home Theater Projectors

Over the years, I have grown really attached to my home theater system. I must say, of all the rooms in the house, my own little movie theater is the one I could not live without. I am absolutely in love with my home theater system and, if you are anything like me, I am sure you will love yours too. I found, when I was initially building my system, that there was so much information to absorb. Every product out there seemed better than the next, and I found myself unsure about which to buy. Here are a few things to keep in mind when shopping for a new home theater projector.

There are two main types of projectors on the market; DLP and LCD. DLP stands for digital light processing. It was invented by Texas Instruments, and utilizes a microscopic array of over 2 million mirrors. DLP has a higher contrast than LCD, but there are some unfavorable consumer reports that note something called the "rainbow effect". The "rainbow effect" is noticeable when looking from one side of the screen to the other, and is characterized by a sudden burst of color.

LCD stands for liquid crystal display. These projectors have three distinct glass LCD panels inside; one for each component of the video signal (red, green, and blue). While DLP chips reflect light, the LCD panels allow light to pass through them. LCD projectors produce brighter images, and they are known for having excellent color saturation. In the end, you will be hard-pressed to notice a great difference between the two types of projection systems.

When shopping for a new projector, keep your particular needs in the forefront of your thoughts. As I mentioned above, it is really easy to lose yourself in the minutiae of each particular system. Connectivity is a definitely something to be mindful of. Make sure that you are able to connect all of your components, including your gaming system. Nothing beats playing Halo in real-life size! Contract ratio is another important factor; the higher the ratio, the better the picture will be.

The brightness of your projector is another thing to consider. Light output is measured in ANSI (American National Standards Institute) lumens. You will want to avoid a projector that produces anything shy of 1000 lumens. As you are likely aware, the projection resolution is extremely important. This refers to the number of pixels that can be displayed on the screen. Go for something that is no less than 1024x768, as this will allow you to fully appreciate the depth and quality of HDTV. In the end, you should buy the projector that is in line with your needs and your budget. Soprano's is coming on right now! Time to go!

How To Choose The Best Stereo Receiver For Your Needs

It used to be a lot simpler to find the best stereo receiver for your needs since most people only used receivers for their home audio system, but today the addition of video devices and the multitude of audio/video sources makes the choice more demanding. So here are a few tips to keep in mind as you shop for a stereo or digital receiver.

First of all make sure that the receiver that you choose to be the brain of your home entertainment center will be able to support all the devices that you intend to use with it. These days video and audio can come from a variety of sources including camcorders, digital video recorders, DVD players, cable or satellite boxes, video game systems, cd players and so on. You will need to have corresponding inputs for however many devices that you intend to use. So plan ahead and make sure the receiver you buy will fit your needs that way. You will have to pay more for a digital receiver that carries a plethora of input connections, but it will be worth it in the long run.

Also be sure that the connections for both audio and video match between your components and the receiver. Most devices can support a standard composite cable connection, but for your best video sources you will probably want some S-video connections that produce a better screen picture with more detail. On the audio side, if you are using surround sound as many people are these days, make sure that the audio connections from your components match the inputs on your receiver. For digital equipment it is usually either an optical or coaxial connection, but whichever it is, be sure that the connections on both ends will match.

Then be sure that the receiver will be sufficient for your room size. Most rooms will take about 50 watts per channel to power the speakers sufficiently, but larger rooms may require 75 watts per channel and very large rooms can use 100 watts per channel to fill the room up with sound.

You also will need to match the receiver to your speakers too as some speakers use different ohm ratings to accomplish their sound purpose. An ohm has to do with how much resistance there is to the current being sent from the receiver. If you match an 8 ohm receiver with a set of 4 ohm speakers you may damage your receiver because of all the overwork that it has to do to keep up with the current demand from the speakers. So just make sure that you match the receiver requirements to the speaker set that you have.

Finally, don't assume that price is the definitive guide for quality. Many reviews of the best stereo receivers have concluded that high quality equipment does not always cost more, so read the reviews, shop around thoroughly and follow the suggestions given above and you can make a good stereo receiver purchase.

Buying DVD: Is it worth it?

There are a lot of good audio/video players available especially for movie enthusiast but is �good� enough? Guess not. Video and audio performance in all modern DVD players is excellent. Personal preferences, your budget, and your existing home theater setup all play a large role in determining which player is best for you. The budget and quality should be taken into consideration before buying the product by most consumers.

When we talk about quality, DVD is the new generation of optical technology. DVD is essentially a much bigger and faster CD that can hold cinema-like videos, better-than-CD audio, still photos, and computer data. DVD aims to bring home entertainment, computers, and business information with a single digital format. DVD has the capability to produce near-studio-quality video and better-than-CD-quality audio. DVD is vastly superior to consumer videotape and generally better than laserdiscs.

Most players support a standard set of features such as Language choice (for automatic selection of video scenes, audio tracks, subtitle tracks, and menus). Special effects playback: freeze, step, slow, fast, and scan. Parental lock (for denying playback of discs or scenes with objectionable material). Programmability (playback of selected sections in a desired sequence). Random play and repeat play. Digital audio output. Recognition and output of DTS Digital Surround audio tracks. Playback of audio CDs. Instant search to title, chapter, music track, and timecode. Durable (no wear from playing, only from physical damage). Compact size (easy to handle, store, and ship; players can be portable; replication is cheaper than tapes or laserdiscs).

The primary advantages of DVD are video quality, surround sound, and extra features. In addition, DVD will not degrade with age by overplaying it like a videotape hence it will allow you save lots of money and be able to collect your favorite movie and televisions shows for years and still be able to play it over and over again.

Most movie experts choose DVD as their preference for movie entertainment because of high quality resolution and excellent audio performance giving an excellent movie experience in their homes! Try it and see it for yourself and you�ll learn than every penny spent is worth it!