Why travel all those miles to see a movie when you can create an incredible cinema-hall experience at home?

There are the movie buffs, the cinephiles, and the others beyond. I. Praveen Kumar, marketing professional who lives off the OMR, is definitely one of the ‘others': the ones who would go all those miles to enjoy a movie. But, why go all those miles if you can have an incredible cinema-like experience at home?

It's hard to explain the home theatre experience he has created at his Thoraipakkam residence. A theatre with 12 recliner seats, 7.1 surround sound, an overhead projector beaming visuals on a screen, ‘sound-absorbed' room with a wooden floor and even dimming lights — the complete cinema hall experience. It's like a mini-theatre hived off from a multiplex and installed in a home.

“We like to leap first and think later,” he laughs, when I ask him if the entire set-up cost a bomb. “We rush to wherever we can spend money without a moment's notice. But there's just one life to live.”

The joint family — Praveen and his two brothers — decided they would have a cinema hall in their home, which would not just be a place to watch movies, but where one could lounge about and watch television too.

Money was not a constraint but to ensure that every buck travelled the extra mile, Praveen started with some hardcore research on what home theatre equipment was required and the nitty-gritty of the construction itself. To create a ‘sound-absorbing' room (not sound-proofing, he corrects), he visited some of the studios in the city. So, at the time of constructing the 500 sq.ft. room (25 ft x 20 ft), they factored in the wooden floors and padding of the walls with rolled glasswool and MDF.

The gear also required a lot of research. For the AV Receiver / Amplifier he opted for the Yamaha RX 1700, capable of streaming HD video and 7.1 digital sound. He picked up the set in Dubai after doing thorough research online. For the speakers, he opted for Onkyo 7.1 speakers.

The projector was a bit of a dicey decision to make, he concedes. There is a huge debate going on among the geeks on which is the better choice — LCD (liquid crystal display) or DLP (digital light processing). “It is essentially a debate about whether you want sharper images (LCD) or smoother images (DLP),” he says.

Eventually, he decided that the Panasonic AE2000 LCD was his best bet. Praveen asks home theatre enthusiasts to pay heed to the dynamic contrast ratio rather than the static contrast ratio that is the standard marketing pitch for most manufacturers.

Another decision that required intricate planning is purchase of the screen. He got a Da-Lite screen with aspect ratio of 16:9 and running 165 inches diagonally. The entire set-up cost him roughly Rs.6.35 lakh. (This excludes the construction cost of the room). Of course, this would be top-of-the-line — he says home theatres can start from as low as Rs. 75,000 to Rs. 1 lakh.

Geek Pad is a weekly feature on individuals who have carried their passion for gadgets to create incredible personal experience in their homes. If you know of someone or would like to feature your own home in this column, reach us at metroplus@gmail.com.

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