Cheap Dave's Home Theater


Ask Cheap Dave - Stefan From Sweden

Heya Dave!
I'm Stefan and I come from Sweden.

The past 1-2 years I've got very interested in home theaters. I\'ve started to be on forums and talk with other people with the same interest.
Now I've come to the point where I want my own HT! I have some problems tho.. I just turned 18 and I'm still in school and I live with my mom, hehe, which leads me to that I only have my own room in our flat.
And since I'm still in school I have a low budget and can't put alot of cash into the HT.

Heya Dave!
I'm Stefan and I come from Sweden.

The past 1-2 years I've got very interested in home theaters. I\'ve started to be on forums and talk with other people with the same interest.
Now I've come to the point where I want my own HT! I have some problems tho.. I just turned 18 and I'm still in school and I live with my mom, hehe, which leads me to that I only have my own room in our flat.
And since I'm still in school I have a low budget and can't put alot of cash into the HT.

Well, to the thing.. You seems to be an experienced builder, or at least you have seen alot of HT's and I'm sure that you have alot of ideas.
I need some help to design and decorate my room. I you must have in mind though that I still need to be able to sleep in the same room. But I want a projector so bad and the lights and all that you know..

So here comes a sketch of my room: http://www.minhembio.com/forum/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=18063

And here is one idea I thought of before I wanted a projector: http://www.minhembio.com/forum/index.php?act=Attach&type=post&id=18303

I would be grateful for your help!

Kind regards,
Stefan.

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Stefan,

Thanks for your question and your interest. Let me throw out several ideas and I hope you find some useful information.

I think you are the ultimate Cheap Dave Home Theater candidate. It is nice to read about, or dream about the ultimate home theater set ups where price is no object and massive sub-woofers shake the house to the foundation. Unfortunately most people must live within limits. Obviously you are living within limits with your room, the size, your budget, your mom. But that doesn't mean you can't put together your first home theater that will make your room a great place to see a movie or even play some great video games.

So maybe if you write back you can tell me what (if any) audio or video equipment you already have. To save money you may want to incorporate what you already have into your future system. For example almost any speakers will do as surrounds in your start up system. You can always upgrade later.

So here are some price points for you:

$300 - all in one HTIB systems start at about this price. These systems include the DVD player, receiver, speakers and usually a passive subwoofer. This is probably the cheapest and easiest way to get up and running quick. You can shop these online and try to see these in stores if there are some near you. I would shop HTIBs up until about $1,000 before I would start looking at piecing together a system. This is one instance where your relatively small system works to your advantage. These systems may not be able to fill a large room with loud sound but your room isn't that large. (10' x 11.5')

BTW my first home theater was 7.5' x 12' and I had a projector and a 100" screen in there.

$800 - You can get an 800 x 600 projector (DLP or LCD) for this price. If that is out of your budget you might look for used projectors. I have an article about that on my site. (but beware of bulb life). As Home Theaters are getting more common there is getting to be a secondary market of used projectors as people upgrade. You might be able to find one with a burned out bulb that all you need to do is put in a new bulb ($300 on average).

$100 or less - using your wall as a screen. I recommend anybody should start out with using their wall as their screen. One it helps you figure out the actual size that works in your room. But it is also the cheapest thing you can do. So try it and see how it looks. If you wall is flat and doesn't have texture you may be surprised how good it looks. If not there is getting to be a lot of information about how to make a screen cheap.


So for $1200 you can start to watch movies. That isn't too bad but it may still be a lot for a teenager so you might want to charge admission. Good luck and let me know how it goes.

Cheap Dave