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Monday, April 23, 2012

Home Theater Installation

Home Theater In the world of residential audio visual, the words ‘Home Theater’ have many meanings to many people. The ambiguous nature of the term ‘Home Theater’ is one of the challenges we find when discussing solutions with our clients. When a client calls and wants a home theater, it is important that we ask many questions to qualify what their expectations are. A home theater could be a $500.00 “home theater in a box” or a $500,000.00 world class dedicated home theater. While budgetary constraints or a lack of education for the home theater experience make this the best solution for some, this type of system is not what we are referring to as it is really a “Media Room” . This is a multipurpose space typically outfitted with a flat screen TV, surround sound and flexible seating. A ‘Home Theater’ is a purpose built room designed to mimic the cinema experience. Room lighting is carefully controlled. Seating is arranged in rows, facing the large projection screen. Themed room d├ęcor recreates the look of the actual cinema but also provides acoustical absorption and diffusion in all the right places. These elements combine to provide a precise reproduction of what the director of the movie intended. Providing this type of experience takes skill and knowledge to produce and is the result of a comprehensive design approach embracing both form and function. The audio, video, lighting and environment combine to produce the “willing suspension of belief”. This phrase is used by movie makers to describe the phenomenon in which an audience, while watching a movie, is willing to accept it as reality. Without a willing suspension of disbelief, the audience will not relate to the movie and its characters or connect emotionally with them. Home theater to us means delivering an experience that immerses the client in the movie or music, an easy to operate environment that works as beautifully as it sounds, a place where you will be proud to entertain your friends, or relax with your family. About the Author: Simple to Sensational™ is your one-stop resource for sales, installation and service of home entertainment, home automation and CCTV systems in Southern California. We make it easy to find a solution that fits your home and lifestyle perfectly, and is easier and more affordable than you imagined. Call us at 866-779-7392 or visit us at www.simpletosensational.com.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Brightness vs Contrast in Home Theater Projectors

Brightness vs Contrast in Home Theater Projectors

What Is Brightness?

How much illumination your eyes perceive on the screen depends on two factors: (1) the light output of the projector, and (2) the reflective properties of the screen.
There are two common methods of measuring light in a home theater. One is the ANSI lumen rating of the projector. That measures the light energy capable of being generated by the projector itself. The second is foot-Lamberts (fL), which takes the screen into account and measures the total light that is being reflected back toward the audience. Of the two, foot-Lamberts is the better method to use for setting up your home theater. However, since that number depends on your screen size and screen gain, there is no fL specification published by the projector manufacturers.

So how much light do I need?

When it comes to home theater projectors, brighter IS DEFINITELY NOT BETTER. What you want is a projector that produces enough light to fill your screen with good contrast, but not so bright that it creates eye fatigue when viewed for any length of time.

It is safe to ignore the published ANSI lumen rating—it is irrelevant for a variety of reasons. In a dark room, a luminance level on the screen in the range of 12 to 16 fL is in the ideal comfort range.

In theory, lumens and foot-Lamberts are related—one foot-Lambert of luminance is equal to one lumen per square foot. But there is no direct relationship between the ANSI lumen ratings from the manufacturer and the foot-Lambert measurements as reported in the Calculator. That is because the Calculator factors in reduced lumen outputs for video optimization and average lamp usage, in order to estimate a typical viewing experience.

Don't Get Misled by ANSI Lumen Specs

Whatever you do, don't make any assumptions about a projector's brightness based on its ANSI lumen rating. Some models have video optimization incorporated into their ratings and others do not. That means there are projectors out there which are officially rated at 700 ANSI lumens that are actually brighter than models rated at 1500 ANSI lumens. So the spec sheets, as far as lumen ratings are concerned, tend to be meaningless for home theater.

What is contrast?

Contrast is the difference in brightness between maximum white and deepest black in an image. The greater the difference, the higher the contrast.

Why is Contrast so important?

With business projectors, lumen output is of primary importance, and contrast is a secondary concern. Home theater projectors are the exact opposite. Contrast is arguably the SINGLE MOST IMPORTANT MEASUREABLE QUALITY in a home theater projector. A high contrast projector produces a picture with a rich, dynamic look, good shadow definition, and deep color saturation. Contrast gives "depth" to video images. A projector with excellent contrast can make a two-dimensional image appear almost three-dimensional.

Contrast Ratios

The contrast ratios noted on a projector's spec sheet can be reported in one of two ways. If it just says "Contrast," it usually indicates On/Off contrast, which is the ratio of the whitest white and the darkest black that the projector is capable of producing. If it says "ANSI contrast," the ratio has been determined by displaying a checkerboard pattern of white and black squares and measuring the relative brightness of each. On/Off contrast is always a larger number, and more typically listed on projector spec sheets, but ANSI contrast is a more accurate representation of what your projector is actually capable of during normal use.

Typical Contrast Specifications

Some typical On/Off contrast figures for home theater projectors are as follows:
• 3000:1
There are many entry-level projectors rated at 3000:1 on/off contrast. 3000:1 is typically enough to give satisfying black levels and color saturation, enough to avoid the sense of flatness or muddiness in a picture.
• 6000:1
Projectors rated at 6000:1 are usually capable of better blacks than 3000:1 projectors, and shadow details are better defined. In today's market, 6000:1 represent the midrange of performance for good home theater projectors.
• 50000:1
As of this writing, if you want the best contrast that money can buy, you want a projector rated at 50000:1 contrast or higher. These projectors offer deep, inky black levels and excellent shadow detail that should be sufficient for even the most demanding content.

Dark Room Needed for Best Results

You've noticed that commercial movie theaters are dark, including dark ceilings and walls. That is because any front projection system looks its best when there is no light in the room. Once you introduce ambient light into the room, that light will hit the screen and make blacks look more like dark gray. This reduces the contrast of the image, and makes it look flat or washed out. And this will happen no matter what the contrast capability of your projector is.

TV Installation Services

Simple to Sensational™ has the best trained installation technicians anywhere and will professionally install your Plasma, LCD or LED TV with all wiring hidden. We offer competitive pricing* and we can usually provide you with same day - next day installation. Please browse our most popular TV Installation packages to find the one most suited to your situation.


Basic Tabletop TV Installation $99.00

send certified technician to your home or office
provide a professional consultation for the work you want
unpack TV
connect up to 4 client supplied video components and cables to your TV
make sure all of your components are working properly
show you how to use your newly installed TV
clean up, remove all packaging materials from your home
provide you with a 1 year warranty on workmanship

Basic Wall Mount TV Installation $199.00

send certified technician to your home or office
provide a professional consultation for your work you want
unpack TV
install client supplied mounting bracket to wall and mount client supplied TV on bracket
connect up to 4 client supplied video components and cables to your TV
cover cables with paintable molding (up to 5ft)
make sure everything is working properly
show you how to use your newly installed television
clean up, remove all packaging materials from your home
provide you with a 1 year warranty on workmanship

Advanced Wall Mount TV Installation $329.00

send certified technician to your home or office
provide a professional consultation for your work you want
unpack TV
provide you with a tilting wall mount TV bracket (fits TVs 37"-63")
install mounting bracket to wall and mount client supplied TV on bracket
connect up to 4 client supplied video components and cables to your TV
conceal A/V wires within fishable single stud bay wall or hide cables with paintable molding (up to 5ft)
make sure everything is working properly
show you how to use your newly installed television
clean up, remove all packaging materials from your home
provide you with a 1 year warranty on workmanship

Complete Wall Mount TV Installation $429.00

send certified technician to your home or office
provide a professional consultation for your work you want
unpack TV
provide you with a tilting wall mount TV bracket (fits TVs 36"-60")
install mounting bracket to wall and mount client supplied TV on bracket
connect up to 4 client supplied video components and cables to your TV
conceal A/V wires within fishable single stud bay wall or hide cables with paintable molding (up to 5ft)
install new electrical outlet behind TV using provided relocation kit
make sure everything is working properly
show you how to use your newly installed television
clean up, remove all packaging materials from your home
provide you with a 1 year warranty on workmanship

* Flat panel televisions more than 42" can weigh up to 150lbs. Installation of these large TVs requires at least a 2 man crew (Add $50.00). Additional fees may apply to mount TV more than one fishable stud bay from equipment or to mount TV on a custom surface like a brick/stone fireplace.

Understanding Different Movie and Video Aspect Ratios

Aspect Ratios Explained: From Cinerama to Pan and Scan and Back

Cinerama: With aspect ratios of 3.0:1, 2.77:1, 2.75:1, and 2.59:1. When transferred to video in its full Widescreen ratio, this format produced the most "letterboxing" effect. This method of filming actually used three cameras, after which the three images were interlocked together. How The West Was Won was filmed in this format.

CinemaScope: With aspect ratios of 2.66:1, 2.55:1,and 2.35:1. The aspect ratio started out 2.66:1 but was reduced to 2.55:1 when the addition of sound tracks on the film. This was the most commonly used method of filming movies because it's only major requirement is a special CinemaScope projector lens, which is available at virtually every movie theatre. CinemaScope was originally created by 20th Century Fox, but it is no longer in use. Panavision replaced CinemaScope in the early 70s. The Robe, and Disney's 20,000 Leagues Under The Sea were filmed in Cinemascope.

VistaVision: With aspect ratios of 1.96:1, 1.85:1, and 1.66:1. VistaVision was filmed with a specially designed camera which was mounted on its side and it required a special projector, but its image quality was better than standard 35mm. Vertigo, To Catch a Thief, and North by Northwest were filmed in this format.
This film format is still used today, but only for special effects shots, because it gives the film maker a large clean negative to work with, which is especially important if you are adding computer graphic imagery to the shot. Apollo13, Contact, and Twister all used Vista Vision for special effects shots that had computer graphics added to them.

Todd-AO: With aspect ratios of 2.35:1, 2.20:1. This process uses a 75mm negative printed onto 70mm film, with a six-track soundtrack, producing a very high quality picture. Many of the great epics and musicals of the 50s and 60s used this format.
Oklahoma, South Pacific and Around the World in 80 Days used the 2.20:1 aspect ratio, and movies in the 70s and 80s like 2001 A Space Odyssey, Dune and Logans Run used the 2.35:1 aspect ratio.

Technirama: A variable aspect ratio. This process was developed by the Technicolor Corporation, as a way to continue using its three-color process in the wake of competing Eastman Color. It required both a specially developed sideways camera (like VistaVision) and a widescreen lens (like CinemaScope). Night Passage, Disney s Sleeping Beauty, and Spartacus were filmed in this format.

Ultra Panavision 70: A 2.76:1 aspect ratio. MGM Camera 65 used identical film stocks as Todd-AO for camera negative and prints. Only two films were shown using the anamorphic squeeze in the 70mm print. Other 70mm presentations were done with optical 70mm prints made with the compression eliminated or the quasi-Cinerama 70mm single film system. After Raintree County and Ben-Hur, which used 35mm prints made with letterbox type maskings at the top and bottom of the frame to preserve the 2.76:1 aspect ratio, all other productions used 35mm anamorphic prints with dimensions compatible with CinemaScope.

Panavision: With today's most common aspect ratios of 2.35:1 and 1.85:1. The Panavision company became the most successful maker of widescreen lenses, and in the 1970s their Panavision lenses became the 'standard' for widescreen. CinemaScope was retired in favor of Panavision, and Panavision still makes the lenses for most of the major studio productions today. Panavision also makes lenses for films made with matting as opposed to true widescreen, and these matted films are not necessarily 2.35:1. Another aspect ratio from Panavision is the common 1.85:1 (1.78:1, also known as 16x9, is very close to 1.85:1, and is the standard aspect for HDTV).

Super 35: This is a 2.35:1 aspect ratio. This process does not involve widescreen lenses, but rather it involves framing the picture to fit the ratio of the screen. The top and bottom of the frame are "matted" out and removed from the picture completely, resulting in a rectangular picture.
Some of the older movies made in this format are transferred to video with the top and bottom of the frame restored, so that you actually see more of the picture on video than you did in the theater...but this is not a good thing, because the director did not intend to use the top and bottom of the frame in the first place! This is why people talk about boom mikes appearing on video, when they were never there in the theater. This is more proof that letterboxing is the proper format, because it shows us that the entire video screen is not what the director intended. The Abyss, Aliens, Terminator 2 True Lies and Titanic were all shot in Super 35.

Pan and Scan: 1.33:1 aspect ratio. The Pan and Scan is what you see on most VHS Videos, and all TV shows and if you watch movies in this format you are missing about half of the actual movie, in some cases even more, that is why they call it Pan and Scan, because it is necessary to pan and scan the for the point of interest in the movie. Sometimes if they can t use the pan and scan effectively, they will stretch the image vertically, distorting the image.
Simple to Sensational Home Entertainment Solutions
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