Technology &

The Bridge was built on a very modest budget. I was able to reuse some audio equipment I already had available to keep costs managable. I chose economical components from well known manufacturers to ensure decent performance yet stay within budget. Over time, I am upgrading most of the components as funds and technology permits.

Digital Projector:
The theater was upgraded on October 27, 2010 with a new Epson Home Cinema 8350 Projector. This has been a huge improvement over the previous projector, a Sony Cineza VPL-HS20 projector installed on November 27, 2003. The Sony performed admirably for almost 7 years but was showing its age. This new Epson is a full HD (1920x1080) 3 LCD unit. This is a fantastic machine with excellent brightness, contrast and colors. This new projector cost about 1/3 of the Sony's original purchase price.

Photo of the new Epson 8350 mounted inverted in the theater:

The original projector in the theater was a Sony VPL-HS20.

Photo of the previous Sony projector mounted inverted in the theater:

Blu-ray HD Playback:
In December 2010, I acquired a new Oppo BDP-93 Universal Network 3D Blu-Ray Player to replace my Panasonic DMP-BD35 player.

Audio System:
The Bridge uses a 7.1 channel Yamaha RX-V1600 Dolby Digital EX, THX Select2 Surround Sound Receiver (120 watts x 7 channels) as the main audio component. It is driving 3 Polk CSi-130's for the front and center channels, a pair of Polk FXi/50's for the surrounds and a pair of Polk RT15i's for the rear channels. The powered subwoofer is a Velodyne CHT-12.

Tactile Transducers:
A Bass Shaker Pro is installed under each of the front row seats to augment the subwoofer. They are powered by a Dayton SA100 100W Subwoofer Amplifier.

In April of 2007 I upgraded my television service by switching to Verizon FiOS. The picture quality is fantastic compared to my previous cable provider (Comcast). I am now using a Verizon-supplied Arris Video Media Server 1100 to provide both HD and SD TV signals to the projector via HDMI and full DVR capabilities.

In 2014 I replaced all of the X10-based lighting controls with new Insteon-based units. Here is the master lighting control panel which contains 3 of the four control units used in the theater. The fourth control is near the media library for easy access. The Insteon system allows me to program the various dimmers and switches to achieve multiple lighting effects, everything from all lights on to all light off and several combinations in between.

To save money, I have constructed all of the screens myself. I built three different versions, the first, a 100" diagonal 16:9 wooden frame and "blackout cloth" screen; the second, a 102" diagonal 16:9 with an aluminum frame and a matte white vinyl screen; and the third and current screen a 125" diagonal 2.35:1 widescreen (see photo below). For details on the building of the first two screens, visit my DIY Projects Page.

Remote Control
For the theater remote control I chose the Philips Pronto TSU9400 (Philips has since departed the remote control business). This is a color touch screen remote with multiple hard buttons. A key feature is that it can be programmed and the user interface designed using your PC. The benefits to me are that I can put just what buttons I need on the primary screens and leave the others elsewhere. Also, with my aging eyes, I can design the buttons so I can read them without reading glasses, a problem with many other remotes. The hard buttons allow quick access to common functions such as volume, channel, mute, devices, etc. without having to look at the touch screen.

Power Conditioning:
For power cleaning I utilize a Monster Cable HST-2500 unit. It provides power to the equipment in the rack as well as the projector.

IR Distribution:
For IR distribution (to get the remote control to work the stereo when the units are located behind and to the side of where you sit) I again chose and their IR distribution equipment. It turned out to be relatively inexpensive and provides just the features I was looking for.

Click on the thumbnail below to see a photo of the above listed equipment on the shelves in the theater:

So what does it all look like when it's done? Read on...



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