FAQs: What equipment is owned and used for reviewing
Question: What equipment do you own and use, for reviewing?
Test equipment first: I use the Avia Pro Test Suite of disks, and the Optic One light meter (about $2500 worth of hardware/software) and a tripod for mounting the meter. I also have the basic Avia calibration disk that consumers buy ($49.95 retails), mostly used quickly to see if that basic package will allow a decent calibration for end users. In addition I use the Silicon Optix HQV test disks, and the beta version of their 1080 HQV test disk, for checking image noise, motion artifacts, jaggies, cadances, etc.
This is my equipment as of 09/07
Home Theater Viewing Room:
My own home theater system (I have separate DVI/HDMI, and component cables for hooking up projectors I am testing):
The Viewing Room (my Home Theater Room) - is used for longer term viewing of projectors, and some of the images shot for Image Quality sections of reviews:
- "Permanent" Home Theater Projector: JVC DLA-RS1 (1080p 3 chip Lcos projector), replacing my old BenQ PE8720 720p (single chip DLP)
- Projector Screen: 128" Motorized Firehawk G3 surface (recently replacing the original Firehawk surface).
High contrast - light gray surface, 1.25 gain)
- Receiver: Marantz SR8500 THX certified
- DVD players:
Toshiba HD-DVD player HD-A1 with most current software downloads)
Sony PS3 Game machine - for Blu-ray disc and gaming
Oppo OPDV791H - upscaling DVD player, and Toshiba HD-DVD player (backup only)
- Hi-Def Source: Cox Cable HD package, includes Discovery HD, INHD, Fox-HD, etc.
- Cabling: Ultralink audiofile speaker wire, and component cables, 8 meter HDMI cable for "guest" projectors (other than my mounted RS1)
- DVI/HDMI cabling: CAT-5 using the Gefen Xtreme Extender (105' run), short length DVI and HDMI cables between devices, interconnects. 10 meter DVI-HDMI Ultralink premium cable, 8 meter HDMI-HDMI Gefen premium cable
- Gefen 4x1 HDMI switcher, Gefen 1x2 HDMI switcher
- Programmable Remote: To be determined
- Speakers Front: IMF Reference Standard Professional Monitors (RSPM IV) - one of greatest speakers of the 1970's. These use a 1/4 wave transmission line and reproduce bass down to about 22hz, so no need for a subwoofer. They also spacially image so well, that I don't use a center channel.
- Speakers Rear: KEF CI 1500 Reference (3 way In-walls)
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- Projectors: Whatever is being tested, and often one or two others on loan for comparison
- Projection screen: Carada Brilliant White 106" 16:9 Criterion fixed wall screen
Used for many shots for Image Quality sections of reviews, both single projector and the side by side shots. For doing the side by side comparison images the projectors are placed fairly close to the screen and I project 2 approximately 50" diagonal images side by side.
Alternate screen, wall mounted 100" Elite Cinetension matte white motorized, can be dropped down in front of Carada. Gain 1.1.
Gemmy Inflatable Outdoor screen
- Digital Video Recorder: JVC D40000 D-VHS deck for Hi-Def
outputting component video at 1080i to projectors
- DVD player: Toshiba HD-A1 HD-DVD player, Sony PS3 for Blu-Ray.
Oppo 791H DVD player also serves as backup
- Cabling: Ultralink HDMI cabling and Component cables
I have both HDMI to HDMI, and HDMI to DVI cables, so that I can connect any projector without having to use adapters. An Ultralink DVI-HDMI or Ultralink HDMI-HDMI cable comes out of the various "DVD" players, into the splitter
- HDMI/DVI Splitter: Gefen Extend-it HDMI Switcher
This switcher has 2 HDMI Inputs, 1 HDMI Output
- Audio: The testing room is not set up as a theater, and has no audio yet for general viewing of movies or Hi-Def. In other words, if I'm in this room, it's all work.
- Computer: Acer laptop (used for running calibration software, and for outputting analog computer images to business/commercial projectors being reviewed.
Favorite "test" DVDs
- The Fifth Element (DVD)
- Lord of the Rings - Return of the King (and occasionally the others) (DVD)
- Sin City (DVD)
- Starship Troopers (DVD)
- I, Robot (DVD)
- DTS Demo Disk (I have both Blu-Ray and HD-DVD formats)
- Pirates of the Carribean - Black Pearl (Blu-ray)
- Casino Royale (Blu-Ray)
- House of the Flying Daggers (Blu-Ray)
- Planet Earth - BBC (Blu-ray)
- Night at the Museum (Blu-ray)
- The Italian Job (HD-DVD format)
- Phantom of the Opera (HD-DVD)
- Space Cowboys (Blu-Ray and HD-DVD)
- AeonFlux (Blu-Ray and HD-DVD)
- Batman Begins (Blu-Ray)
- X-Men: The Last Stand (Blu-Ray)
- others - I get tired of the same old ones and need a change of pace
- Yes, that's a lot of science fiction and fantasy, but then, production qualities typically are very high on that genre of DVD, besides, I like that stuff.
Hi-Def D-VHS and Cable Source Material
- Over America (D-VHS) (stopped using 6/06, after purchase of HD-DVD player)
- Hawaiian Tropic Pagent (D-VHS) " "
- Jay Leno (HD)
- Sunday Night Football (ESPN HD)
- Monday Night Football (ABC HD)
- College Footblall (Primarily ESPN HD1, 2)
- ESPN HD
- Discovery HD
- INHD1,2 (cable dropped INHD 1,2, early 2007)
- M-HD (MTV's Hi-Def Music Video, etc., channel)