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Bedroom Entertainment - Project Log

Discussion in 'DHCH Archive' started by BoomAM, Oct 21, 2005.

  1. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Project Log: Bedroom Entertainment Center

    Introduction.
    About late June/early July, I decided, that I wanted to replace my old television with a new one, capable of HDTV, and take advantage of the full capabilities of my AV Receiver.
    So, after discussions with various members here, most notably ‘Mr Latte’, I had the base idea for the main hardware done. This was by mid July.
    After more discussion and throwing ideas back and forth, I had also been persuaded to completely re-arrange my room to take advantage of the new hardware.
    And now. Here I am, almost 2 and a half months later. All finished.
    This thread will comprise of a project log of the entire project.

    Requirements
    My initial specifications were for a television that would allow me to view HDTV content, whilst also viewing SDTV content without a bad picture.
    Up until consulting members here, I had no idea as to what TFT LCDs would be best. Luckily, ‘Mr Latte’ pointed out a new Samsung television that had hit the market just that month…
     
  2. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Component Choices & Justification

    Samsung LE26R41BDX
    [​IMG]
    The Samsung LE26R41BDX came at the right time for me. It was cheap. Had some great reports about it, and had all the inputs/outputs that would suit my current and future needs. With Component, Composite, Scart, RGB, S-Video & HDMI inputs, it would allow me to connect up all my current devices in the most optimal way as well as provide future devices, like the next generation consoles, to be connected also.
    Specifications
    • 26" Screen Size.
    • Wide XGA Panel.
    • HDMI Input.
    • 1x Component, 1x Composite, 1x S-Video.
    • 2x Scart (one RGB).
    • 1x 15pin DSUB.
    • Integrated Freeview Digital Tuner.
    • 800:1 Contrast Ratio.
    • 500 cd/m2 Panel Luminance.
    • 170 Degree Viewing Angle.
    • SRS TruSurround XT.
    • Fastext (1000 Page Memory).
    • Table-Top Stand Supplied.
    • Resolution 1366(H) x 768(V).
    • Set Size (WDH) with stand 662 x 206 x 539.
    • Set Weight, 11.5Kg with stand.


    Cambridge Audio Azur 540R A/V Receiver
    [​IMG]
    I already had this receiver, I bought it over a year ago in anticipation to upgrading to a full surround system. It can handle any input/output apart from HDMI, which I wont be using for the time being anyway.
    Specifications
    • Power Output: 100 watts RMS per channel @ 8 Ohms, two channels driven.
    • Power Ouput: 80 watts RMS per channel 8 Ohms, all six channels driven.
    • THD: <0.006% @1kHz.
    • Crosstalk: <-60dB.
    • Frequency Response: 20Hz – 20kHz +/- 1dB.
    • Architecture: CS42518 Multi-DAC, CS493263 DSP.
    • Audio Inputs: 6 Line Level + Tuner.
    • 6.1 Direct Input.
    • Video Inputs: 4 Composite, 3 S-Video, 2 Component Video.
    • Digital Inputs: 2 Coaxial, 3 Optical.
    • Digital Outputs: 1 Coaxial, 1 Optical.
    • Standby Power Consumption: <2 watts.
    • Max. Power Consumption: 850 watts.
    • Dimensions (mm): 430 x 310 x 100.
    • Weight: 9.5kg/20.9lbs.


    Cambridge Audio Azur 540C CD Player
    [​IMG]
    As with the 540R, I already had this before deciding on this project.
    Specifications
    • Frequency Response: 10Hz to 20kHz +/- 1dB.
    • THD: 0.003%.
    • D/A Conversion: 24-bit/192kHz.
    • Dynamic Range: > 95dB.
    • Channel Separation: > 80dB.
    • Correlated Jitter: < 260ps.
    • Digital Outputs: Optical and Coaxial.
    • Max. Power Consumption: 17 watts.
    • Dimensions (mm): 430 x 310 x 70.
    • Weight: 4.6 kg/10.1 lbs.

    Mission M71i Front Speakers
    [​IMG]
    Again, I already had these. As with the 540R, I bought these in anticipation of them being used as front speakers in a surround setup.
    Specifications
    • 75 Watts RMS.
    • 8 Ohms Impedance.
    • 88Db Sensitivity.
    • Bi-Wireable.

    Gale 3050 Center Speaker
    [​IMG]
    Bought this speaker as the matching Mission speaker for the M71i’s were both out of stock, and reportedly pretty bad.
    Specifications
    • 80 Watts RMS.
    • 8 Ohms Impedance.
    • 87Db Sensitivity.
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  3. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Gale 3010 Rear Speakers
    [​IMG]
    I bought these to match up with the Gale Center speaker that I bought along with them. Not huge speakers, but very good quality sounds regardless, hence, were ideal for me.
    Specifications
    • 80 Watts RMS
    • 8 Ohms Impedance
    • 85Db Sensitivity

    Gale XL189 Speaker Cable
    [​IMG]
    Not a lot to say. Its cabling. Its good quality. And all the speakers are connected to the receiver with it.


    HIS Excalibur Radeon 9250 128Mb PCI
    [​IMG]
    This was chosen to provide video output to my 2nd Samsung 172x, allowing my X800XL to run both my main 172X, and the TFT LCD.

    Yamada DVX6600 DivX Player
    [​IMG]
    Ive had this a year or so now, got it cheap, and its great. Plays almost anything.


    Room Layout
    Heres where it gets interesting. My original plan was just a strait swap for my old TV, and then positioning the other speakers in the same place.
    Layout of old room:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  4. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Pictures of old room:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]

    As you can see. A very very cluttered room, with all my AV & Computer equipment crammed together. With 2 separate speaker systems, one for the PC, one for the TV/DVD/CD Player. Not ideal. But it did the job at the time
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  5. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    My original plan, was to change the layout to this:
    [​IMG]
    But after some discussion and persuasion, mostly the latter, It was decided that it would be best to ‘gut’ my room, clearing out all the clutter and unwanted items, leaving an almost bare room, free to arrange to how was best for the project.
    The final layout decided was this one:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
    You can see from the two diagrams that most of the furniture in the room would be removed, with little remaining.
    After some more planning out, it was decided to remove the AV Rack (aka, shed frame :p) and replace it with a long cabinet piece of furniture that the part of the AV setup, like the CD Player, Receiver, DVD Player & Consoles would sit on or in.
    The one that was picked, was one that would sit between the desk & the bed, and provide storage on top and inside it. The one chosen has 8 ‘cubby holes’ to put stuff in.
    I cant find a bare picture of it, so you’ll have to see it in usage in some of the later pictures.
    Anyway, heres the final layout plan:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2005
  6. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Component Mounting
    Of the components bought, the TFT LCD, Rear & Center speakers needed a way to be mounted in the room. This would allow ideal viewing placement, and sound placement.
    Below are the ways that each are mounted:

    Gale 3050 Center Speaker
    This was mounted on heavy duty woodern shelf, with metal brackets. Sitting between the shelf and the speaker was a 5mm layer of bluetack.

    Gale 3010 Rear Speakers
    [​IMG]
    These were mounted on a pair of ‘Gale SWB2U Universal’ wall mounts. As well as the none slip mats that came with it, bluetack was also use to fill in gaps between the speaker and the metal of the mounts.

    Mission M71i
    The stands that the Missions are on, were bought at the same time as the speakers themselves. It’s a single column stand, with a layer of bluetack between the speaker and the stand itself.

    Samsung LE26R41BDX
    As with the ‘Gale 3050 Center Speaker’, the TV was placed, on its own stand, on a shelf. The shelf in question was the same material as the shelf used for the center speaker, but slightly thicker. 2 heavy duty wall mounts, that could hold a distributed weight of 20Kg were used to hold the shelf, and some custom wall plugs that were designed for use with plasterboard walls were used to place the screws in.

    Console Considerations
    This is where the vast majority of the discussion happened. Regarding a GC.
    To cut a long story short, im basically using a component cable on my GC (one of the originals, unmodified ones), to output RGB from my PAL games. Any games I buy in future, will be NTSC games, played through Freeloader, with their own dedicated memory card. That way, I don’t lose my old saves, and I can view the new Zelda game in 480p Glory! :D
    The component cable ive used, is an official Nintendo component cable:
    [​IMG]
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  7. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Cabling
    Ive tryed to use reasonable quality cables between each component where possible. Ive mostly used ProfiGold cabling, as ive used it in the past and haven’t had problems with it myself.

    Gale XL189 Speaker Cable
    [​IMG]
    540R -> Speakers

    DVI 3m
    [​IMG]
    HIS 9250 PCI -> 2nd Samsung 172X

    DSUB 3m
    [​IMG]
    X800XL PCI-E -> Samsung LE26R41BDX

    Component 5m
    [​IMG]
    540R -> Samsung LE26R41BDX

    GC Component
    [​IMG]
    GameCube -> 540R
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  8. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    S-Video 1m
    [​IMG]
    Yamada DVX6600 -> 540R

    S-Video 5m
    [​IMG]
    540R -> Samsung LE26R41BDX

    Composite 5m
    [​IMG]
    540R -> Samsung LE26R41BDX

    Phono 5m
    [​IMG]
    Samsung LE26R41BDX -> 540R

    Optical 0.75m
    [​IMG]
    Yamada DVX6600 -> 540R
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  9. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Wiring Diagram
    Heres a wiring diagram for you all. Looks a bit messy on there, but its easyier to understand my hand drawn one! :p
    [​IMG]

    Problems Faced
    Touch wood, the problems faced thus far havnt been too complex.
    It was a bit of a pain clearing out & rearranging my room, and laying the wires, but for the most part, it was ok.

    2 'major' problems, were that the PCI video card, both refused to play video on the monitor it was outputting two, and made windows run jerky. So i removed it. Truth be told, i couldnt be bothered messing around with it. I can recoup the money off it by taking it back, the only loss in that regards was £20, for the extra DSUB & DVI Cables.

    Also, with a portable aerial, i cant get any signal worth watching, so for the time being the TV isnt really a TV. :p
    Im thinking of splitting the main house aerial and running it off that. But that'll be a month or so before i do that.

    What I would have done differently?
    In regards to what ive done since starting the project, i dont think theres alot i would/could have done differentely. On a wider scale, im sorta wishing that i brought a SLI mobo when i upgraded, for 2 video cards, and maybe gotten an Import Gamecube. :p
     
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  10. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Finished Pictures

    [​IMG]
    http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/boomam/TV_Log/Right.jpg
    http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/boomam/TV_Log/RearRight.jpg
    http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/boomam/TV_Log/RearLeft.jpg
    http://myweb.tiscali.co.uk/boomam/TV_Log/AV.jpg

    Usage with DVDs
    Source: Yamada DVX6600.
    Input Type: S-Video.

    Theres alot of dot crawl, but i dont think thats the fault of the telly, as im using a 5m S-Video cable, and when playing DVDs through my PC on it, the dot crawl isnt there. At distance however, it cant be seen.
    Problem Solved
    S-Video is a interlaced source. A LCD is progressive. This is what is causing the problem. Or so ive been told. I trust the source though. (Mr Latte).

    The colours, are very vibrent, and well defined however.
    More than watchable. I'd imagine that with a DVD player connected via DSUB, HDMI or Component, that the quality would only be limited by the quality of the source material.
    In regards to each DVD:
    'Hero', with its constantly changing colour schemes looked very good. 'DodgeBall', not really a good test of the screen, but it looked good (i thought i'd give it a 2nd watch, as i didnt like it the first time around and my mates keep raving about it).
    'Layer Cake' looked stunning on TV. Really amazing. The slight colour tints that the film has was portrayed through the telly as if i was back at the cinema watching it.
    The three concerts, 'Snow Patrol' and 2x 'Jean Michel Jarrè' looked good as well. The former, with its dim lighting, came across quite well, with far more detail than my old CRT telly could put across. The latter two, the light shows that were at the events came across as if i was there, they were crystal clear. It really was a sight to behold.

    Usage with 'Videos'
    Source: PC.
    Input Type: DSUB.

    I hooked up the TV to my PC to play around, and viewed both some 1080 content that i got from the MS website, and some HQ music videos that i had. The quality is amazing. From the very colourful views of the MS Dolphin Demo, to the 'coldness' of the SnowPatrol-Chocolate video, the display performed very well. Very sharp. Limited only by the quality of the file i was playing on it.

    Usage with PC Games
    Source: PC.
    Input Type: DSUB.

    I had a quick go on GTA:SA with it, at the TVs native resolution, with 2xAA/16xAF. It looked good to be honest. Very clear. But the colours in the game seemed a little odd. That might be because im used to the colour output of my 172X's though.

    Usage with PAL GameCube Games
    Source: Nintendo GameCube PAL / Various Games.
    Input Type: RGB over Component.

    Despite warnings that the display would look awful with PAL games, it actually looks pretty good. The only noticable difference is that the edges of objects are clearly aliased more, but thats because normal CRT tellys 'blur' anyway.
    Metroid Prime 1 & 2, both look very good, more than playable, with the game looking very good. I also notice that 'Echos' seems to use some form of Anti-Aliasing. As when playing 'Prime', it was noted by me and my mate that the edges of the visor was the most noticable form of aliasing seen, where as in 'Echos', the alaising was barely noticable.
    The Legend Of Zelda: The Wind Waker, with its bright colours, excellent animation & distinctive look, looked, stunning. The aliasing was noticable in some areas, like when your out on the boat (on the boat itself), but otherwise, it's the best ive seen the game running.
    Mario Sunshine & 1080*, both looked good as well, as did THPS3. Both RogueLeader games looked very good. Mario Kart looked very crisp as well.
    F-Zero GX looks suprisingly good.
    Put short, it handles PAL GC games fine, with the only difference being that the clarity of a LCD panel working against it, meaning that aliasing is more aparent than on a CRT display.

    Usage with NTSC GameCube Games
    Source: Nintendo GameCube PAL / Freeloader.
    Input Type: Progressive Scan Component (720x480@60Hz)
    Got the stuff through this morning. This is based upon about an hours playtime. I'll add more if i feel i notice anything different.
    First thing i confirmed, is that my AV Reciever does do Progressive Scan, which im pleased about. Anyway, onto the game.
    I held 'B' on startup, enabled Progressive Scan. Went into the game.
    To be honest. The difference isnt as big as i thought it would be. Dont get me wrong, it looks good. Theres almost no aliasing at all, but i guess i was expecting some huge IQ boost, when imo, it doesnt look that much better. Prehaps its a case of the Progressive Scan being overhyped.
    Ive noticed that in the menus for Pikmin2, you can set the graphics to sharp or blurry, each with their advantages. Theres a preview screen next to the selections, but flipping between them doesnt yield any difference. Prehaps its only really 'useable' on RGB/Composite/RF connections.
    Anyway. Summed up. The only noticable difference from what i can see is that aliasing in the game is almost non existant when using Progressive Scan.
    Update:
    Ive got two more NTSC games, RogueLeader2 & Resident Evil 4:
    Rogue Leader 2 doesnt really look all that different to be honest. Probably the least difference out of all the games ive tryed thus far.
    Resident Evil 4, like Pikmin 2, has minor quality differences, the colours seem a little better, but theres still alot of alaising.

    Future Changes
    I plan to buy all my GC games in future, as NTSC games, so i'll get a nice IQ boost in future title i suppose.
    Im thinking of buying a new DVD player that'll output over component, to eliminate the dot crawl.
    Im also gonna look into the possibility of getting the LCD TV running as a 3rd monitor on my main PC.

    Conclusion
    Overall, im very pleased with how its turned out. I would have liked to have the LCD TV set as a 3rd display, but either through limitations of Windows or the ATI drivers, its impossible to have videos playing through more than one video card.


    Credits
    Mr Latte.
    Everyone who helped in this thread.
    The members at AVF who kept plugging away at Samsung to get the tearing problem fixed.


    Question?
    Any questions you all want to ask about any aspect, or requests on testing certain things, just ask, and i'll see what i can do.


    -------------UPDATE-------------

    Usage with DVDs
    Source: Samsung HD-850
    Input Type: HDMI to TV & Optical to 540R.

    Bought this upscaling HDMI DVD Player in a closing down sale for £45! :D
    Ive watched a good selection of DVDs on it upto now, including: Snow Patrol - Eyes Open DVD, Paolo Maldini: Il Film, Ricky Gervais: Animals, Mean Girls, Pulp Fiction, Hero & Simpsons Season 6.
    The picture is noticably sharper, more vibrant & natural looking compared to my DivX player. A good addition to my setup i think.

    Layout Change
    I bought a nice big, comfy, chair from Ikea the other day, and so ive rearranged my setup accordingly. Now i find that everything is perfect.
    It was good before, but using the telly was sometimes annoying because of its positioning (height). Now, with the chair, the telly is the perfect height without having to move my head at all to watch it comfortably. The sound positioning is perfect as well.

    Heres some pics of the changed setup:

    TV/Reciever/CD/DVD/GC:
    [​IMG]

    New Seat (Uber Comfy):
    [​IMG]

    A Perspective Shot:
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jul 22, 2006
  11. Mr_Sukebe

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 23, 2002

    Posts: 9,013

    Location: London

    Looks good, nice update.
    A couple of questions:
    - As you've gone for what looks like a seriously cool 26" LCD TV, why the requirement for additional TFTs?
    - How do you find the Samsung as a monitor? I'm running a lowly 17" TFT at the moment, and quite fancy a bigger unit that I could use during the day for both PC and TV duties (the projector is wonderful in low light, but rubbish in the day).
     
  12. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    I had them anyway.
    I typically game or browse the net on the right hand one. The left one typically has Outlook Express, MSN Messenger or WMP10 open on it.

    Not sure. I dont have it connected to my PC.
    Im gonna experiment at the weekend, just so i can try some HiDef content out to see what it looks like.
     
  13. Mr_Sukebe

    Man of Honour

    Joined: Dec 23, 2002

    Posts: 9,013

    Location: London

    I'd love to hear some feedback, not only on how it deals with films, but also with PC games and general web browsing and usage.
     
  14. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Last edited: Oct 21, 2005
  15. Confused

    Sgarrista

    Joined: Oct 18, 2002

    Posts: 8,010

    Looks great! :D You should be really pleased with it - I hope you enjoy it fully!

    You'll really need to get the PC hooked up to the TV for some in-bed movie watching ;)
     
  16. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Could just use my DivX Player? ;) :p :D
     
  17. monkeyspank

    Soldato

    Joined: Dec 26, 2003

    Posts: 6,274

    Location: cambs UK

    Nice work. I hope you get lots of enjoyment from it :)

    One quick Q if you don't mind.. I am looking for some brackets for my surround speakers but I need some that angle down quite a lot. Can your ones angle down any further than you currently have them (in the pic)?
     
  18. BoomAM

    Capodecina

    Joined: Jul 5, 2003

    Posts: 16,214

    Location: Atlanta, USA

    Yes. They can be angled down further. :)
     
  19. edwardcasbon1

    Hitman

    Joined: Mar 29, 2004

    Posts: 566

    Location: Cambs, UK

    How do you find sitting that close to the tv when on your pc?

    Im considering getting a 26" lcd tv for my room, and it will sit on a shelf above my pc.

    Whats it like, does it do your head in or is it ok?

    Cheers.

    Cool setup btw.
     
  20. Ol!ver

    Soldato

    Joined: Oct 4, 2003

    Posts: 7,444

    Location: Sheffield, S.Yorks

    I thought Id got the same TV, but the power button for mine is higher up, in the black casing......It's the same model number though, Im sure it is !