Q: I have a completely dark 20- by 30-foot room and would like to set up a projector and sound system for watching sports and movies. I want quality, without going too crazy on price. Can this be done? What do you recommend?
A: Video projectors have become quite a bargain for those with a proper room for them. Nothing beats the impact of a huge screen for sports and movie watching.
The new Optoma HD25 1080p DLP projector (www.optoma.com) is available for less than $950 and can throw a huge image — up to 301 inches diagonally. It is even 3-D ready, so if you get a 3-D Blu-ray projector and compatible 3-D glasses, you can really duplicate the movie theater experience at home.
You will need a proper sound system to go with your projector. When building a sound system, it's best to start with the speakers.
I recently finished reviewing the Pioneer SP-FS52-LR tower speakers (www.pioneerelectronics.com), which retail for $248 a pair. Designed by acclaimed audiophile speaker designer Andrew Jones, these simply styled, attractive speakers produce detailed, transparent sound that is warm but not too lush and soft-sounding. Match the SP-C22 center channel for $96 and for surrounds get the $127 a pair SP-BS22-LR bookshelf speakers. Monoprice's powerful 150-watt, 12-inch powered subwoofer (www.monoprice.com) for $137 rounds out the system, for a total of $608.
The Pioneer speakers are easy to drive, and almost any receiver will work well with them. Although it's not necessary to use the same brand of receiver and speakers, I'm going to recommend Pioneer for the receiver, as well.
The Pioneer VSX-523 sells for $249 and features 80 watts per channel. It also has Pioneer's fantastic MCACC system, which uses a microphone to balance the speaker levels automatically and optimize their sound for your specific listening environment.
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