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View Full Version : Competing Hobbies: Home Theater vs WW



John Weber
02-25-2005, 3:13 PM
Like many people we recently remodeled our den into a modest home theater. Not full blown or extravagant, but we purchased some new leather seating and a couple other pieces. Upgrade some of the A/V equipment, although a new TV is still on the list. Added some new lighting, framed movie posters, rug, etcÖ Over the holidays we didnít get big gifts for each other, but bought enough DVDís to last years.

I like TV as much as the next guy, but most of our movies are not very kid friendly. So with the kidís schedules we are only watching a couple movies a month ourselves. Iíve watched several myself (I often stay up late), but I usually have three choices at night (work in the shop, work on the computer, or watch a movie). The computer usually wins out for necessity, and the shop is always relaxing. So I might watch a movie once a week.

So we still have high hopes for the home theater, next year our daughter will begin kindergarten, so the kidís bedtime will bumped up a fair bit. Since they often need to be in bed, because many movies we want to see are not friendly. I still have hope to replace our 31Ē CRT with a 50Ē wide screen, but the dog had a $1200 vet bill so thatís still on hold.

So how do you guys balance competing hobbies? The HT is cool because itís something both of us (and the kids for that matter) really enjoy, but we donít seem to be utilizing it near as much as I had hoped. About all I watch on regular TV is Cold Pizza on ESPN in the mornings, and then a little sports, a little Discovery channel, and a little channel surfing through the week. How much time do you spend on your other hobbies? Is one movie a week a lot or about average? Weíve been buying DVDís at a much faster rate the we are watching, although now that the holidays are over we usually only pick up a new release on sale if itís something we would like.

For the investment we made in the room it just seems like we should be using it more.

John

Donnie Raines
02-25-2005, 3:23 PM
I am with you. I just bought a new big screen(the old one was on it's way out). Problem is, like you say, many of the films we like...the kids can not view.

One day...I will turn the basement into "dad land".... :D

Mark Singer
02-25-2005, 3:28 PM
I enjoy my Home theater...it is part of our great room . I had the company Ovation set up the room and I am pleased with the system. I remoted the equipment to a central location. Speakers are B&W (front and center) and Velodyne sub woofer...Spearcraft "Aim" at the rear. We use Intellicontrol remote that is a smart remote and integrates all the componentes and enables a one button control to activate any use...ie, DVD, CD, Settilite, etc. ovation used Lutron Homeworks for our lighting controls that are integrated with a computer...very nice also.

They put the surround music throuhout the home on a Russsound system allowing seperate sources to each channel. I relly use that a lot.

The money seems well spent, we enjoy it and even LOML can use it quite well because it is simple.

BTW I have a client that just spent $400K on a home theater! It is really amazing...much better than ours. It should be for the $$$. He loves it it is has toy and is having a ball.

It is something you will enjoy....Sunday is The Oscars and yes several friends are coming over....we need to cook and wine??? and beer???

John Weber
02-25-2005, 4:16 PM
It sounds like I'm much more in line with Donnie. Mark, your system sounds like one out of the pages of Home Theater Magazine. We do use the room and watch "other" (kids movies) stuff etc... But I guess after we finished I envisioned us watching movies all the time (I'm stilling trying to figure out how I'm going to watch "Return of the King", although I have "The Rookie" (a great story) sitting here on my desk that is very kid friendly. I guess the cool thing is it's something we ALL enjoy (our daughter loves the Star Wars movies, and we will continue to enjoy over time.

Mark, what time should we be there, I would love to see the system, well make that your home, shop, view, etc... sometime :)

John

Jim Becker
02-25-2005, 5:39 PM
I actually watched a flick on Mark's system...and it was outstanding. The audio was incredibly well setup for the room, too, and unobtrusive. Our setup is more modest, but we really enjoy watching something from Netflix each weekend...'beats going out to the theater, too. I don't find that it in any way competes with my other activities since the weekly DVD and some occasional HD programing as well as "Norm" are about all I watch on TV outside of GMA in the morning.

But I will also say that the flat screen in 16:9 is very compelling to watch, especially when teamed with a good 5.1 or better sound system...concerts in HD with digital sound are practically like "being there"...without a few of the smells, of course... :D

Bob Yarbrough
02-27-2005, 6:52 PM
Home theater vs WW?!?!?

I thought you were talking about Whitewater!! My problem once the water gets soft up north here is WoodWorking or Whitewater paddling. Both are highly addicting!

Mark Singer
02-27-2005, 6:59 PM
Jim,

when you were over It didn't sound good to me...Doug came (the audio maven)and we were on analog, insread of digital sound and one of the little sensors on the amp had come loose so the Intellicontol was talking to the amp...they get in little arguments...Well now it is super again!


I actually watched a flick on Mark's system...and it was outstanding. The audio was incredibly well setup for the room, too, and unobtrusive. Our setup is more modest, but we really enjoy watching something from Netflix each weekend...'beats going out to the theater, too. I don't find that it in any way competes with my other activities since the weekly DVD and some occasional HD programing as well as "Norm" are about all I watch on TV outside of GMA in the morning.

But I will also say that the flat screen in 16:9 is very compelling to watch, especially when teamed with a good 5.1 or better sound system...concerts in HD with digital sound are practically like "being there"...without a few of the smells, of course... :D

Mark Singer
02-27-2005, 7:00 PM
I had yhe same problem....I thought WW was white wine:rolleyes: That explains the stupid posts I have made for the last 18 months!
Home theater vs WW?!?!?

I thought you were talking about Whitewater!! My problem once the water gets soft up north here is WoodWorking or Whitewater paddling. Both are highly addicting!

Mike Cutler
02-27-2005, 7:41 PM
John. I don't know if the amount of time in the home theater is as important as how much you enjoy it while you are there. If you enjoy it, and your family can share the experience, then I wouldn't try to equate the time spent vs. investment. The Home theater doesn't eat and it's not going anywhere.
I have a TV, the cheapest TV/VCR combo sears made. It's in the basement by the woodstove. I watch movies and hockey on it when my bike is up on rollers for winter training. I typically put in 300-400 mile a week on a bicycle from March to June, and about 200-250 per week for the rest of the season. Very time intensive, both on the bike, and the recovery time off the bike. I wish I could tell you that I balance it well, but that would be a lie. I try to enjoy the time I can make in the shop as much as possible. I usually try to make shop time my rest time off the bike, but sometimes the legs are just too trashed, or loml has made plans that include me. ;)
Do the best you can and enjoy the time spent. not the amount of time.
Mike's philosophy on life, at the end of a long, cold day. Maybe I need a beer..... :rolleyes:

Ken Garlock
02-27-2005, 8:24 PM
I enjoy my Home theater...it is part of our great room . I had the company Ovation set up the room and I am pleased with the system. I remoted the equipment to a central location. Speakers are B&W (front and center) and Velodyne sub woofer...Spearcraft "Aim" at the rear. We use Intellicontrol remote that is a smart remote and integrates all the componentes and enables a one button control to activate any use...ie, DVD, CD, Settilite, etc. ovation used Lutron Homeworks for our lighting controls that are integrated with a computer...very nice also.


Your setup sounds like a winner, as I recall the B&W speakers are very highly rated.

Mark, If you haven't already, do have your system color calibrated by a specialist qualified to do the work. Most systems coming out of the factory have a color temperature in the 8000K range for the color white, when it should be 6500K. Also have him defeat the SVM, scan velocity modulation. The SVM is a piece of electronics that causes the electron beam scan to slow down a little to cause the whites to be very intense, hence giving a false rendering.

Every time I go into a Circuit City or Fry's I am horrified at the gross mis-adjustment of their monitors; it makes you want to cry :(

Mark Stutz
02-27-2005, 10:47 PM
John,
I agree it's not going anywhere. Enjoy what you can. As the kids get older, they and their friends will use it more too. Always nice to have your home the place to hang out so you know where they are.

James Mudler
06-15-2005, 4:49 PM
WOW I found this thread and feel like I am at home. I was a home theater installer for years and another member here (Jay St Peter) camps out at hometheatertalk.com too. A link Jay provide lead me here. I have a dedicated HT (Lexicon gear) and enjoy building/tunning them as much as family time in them. I have a 4 year old now and much rather have a gang of kids and teens when he is older at the house vs running the streets. Plus I am a movie junkie so over time with myself doing the work it will pay for itself.

I am also a avid cyclist and like Mike it is hard to find time. I simply let the weather decide. If it is rainning or rained within 24hrs - I am in the shop.

Scott Loven
06-15-2005, 5:08 PM
My "home theater system" has rabbit ears that if I lay it on their side, and prop it up on the door just right gets me Norm once a week. I dont watch anything else but TOH from time to time. Still dont have much time for woodworking though. Spend most of my spare time working on the house or the yard. I do watch DVDs on Friday nights though.
Scott

Stefan Antwarg
06-15-2005, 5:15 PM
I thought I would add a post to this thread, because like James above, I too am a hometheatertalk.com member. So I thought it was kind of cool that there are a few of us here on the same different forums.

Anyway, HT is not so much of a "hobby" for me these days. Mainly because the location that my HT is in is just not that great for sound or video. If I ever get my basement finished, things will change. So, I don't have much to add to the original question. But back when I was getting started in both hobbies, I was a pretty busy person. Always doing HT or WW - and sometimes combining the 2. Like when I used some nice mahogony to make a flexyrack :). Not to say I don't watch movies anymore - I just don't think to much about great sound or video presentation because my room doesn't allow it.

These days I am just a lazy bum. WW has been real slow and HT as a hobby has been non existent. I don't even care how my speakers are placed these days :(

But good luck and have fun doing both!

Stefan

Jim Becker
06-15-2005, 5:25 PM
I kinda don't view HT as a hobby...at least for me. It's an accomodation and a great alternative to the crowds and expense of going to the movie theatre, especially with the convenience of NetFLIX. But I can understand how it could be a strong avocation for anyone who is a dedicated film buff!

The good news is that you really don't have to invest gazzillions of dollars to have an enjoyable system. Even a low- to mid-range surround/DVD combo system combined with a reasonably priced display will provide a whole lot of enjoyment. My setup is that way, quite frankly. I even used AMEX points for the audio/DVD portion!

Chris Padilla
06-15-2005, 6:05 PM
I kinda don't view HT as a hobby...at least for me. It's an accomodation and a great alternative to the crowds and expense of going to the movie theatre, especially with the convenience of NetFLIX. But I can understand how it could be a strong avocation for anyone who is a dedicated film buff!

The good news is that you really don't have to invest gazzillions of dollars to have an enjoyable system. Even a low- to mid-range surround/DVD combo system combined with a reasonably priced display will provide a whole lot of enjoyment. My setup is that way, quite frankly. I even used AMEX points for the audio/DVD portion!

Yeah, what Jim said. I have a modest HT set-up (HTIB--home theater in a box) and it works very nicely for us. I even mounted the rear surrounds in the ceiling just aft of the main veiwing couch and I'm always looking behind me because I hear something (usually late at night) then realize it is the surround sound!

My wife and I also live and die by Netflix...we are thoroughly hookd on Alias and are slowly going through all the X-Files but do mix in a movie here and there. The Sopranos Fifth season is available but I can no longer watch that around the little chatterbox as she is also an excellent listen/repeater-box....:rolleyes:

Vaughn McMillan
06-15-2005, 7:00 PM
I moved into my current house last fall, and still haven't really gotten my home theatre stuff fully set up. (I have the front and center speakers hooked up -- and the subwoofer -- but the rear speakers are still in a box in the storage shed.) Since this move was a merging of my household and my fiancee's household, we're still dealing with the "20 pounds of stuff in a 10-pound box" syndrome.

One byproduct of the move, however, is that I now have space for a workshop, so I've been putting in a lot more time there than in front of the TV. I don't watch a lot of movies, but I'm fully hooked on the DirecTV/TiVo combination. Currently, my TiVo has a lot of shows recorded that I simply haven't made the time to watch, and when I do watch them, I tend to do it in my office/studio instead of the living room where the HT stuff is. (I've got a wireless feed from the entertainment center in the living room into one of the computers in my office, so I can watch TV on one monitor while working on two others.)

I smoke cigarettes (it's pretty much my only remaining unhealthy habit), and like to smoke when I watch TV. SWMBO lets me smoke in my office/studio and in my shop, but not in the living room. Sooner or later I'll get the rest of the surround sound stuff hooked up in the living room, and use the improved sound as an excuse to coerce myself into not smoking while I watch the tube.

- Vaughn

Tim Morton
06-15-2005, 8:31 PM
I'm also a HT addict with "Monitor Audio" fronts and centers with B&W rear and a DIY subwoofer....and FYI...DIY is having a HT night going on right now. (is that enough abbrev.?):D

JayStPeter
06-15-2005, 10:10 PM
WOW I found this thread and feel like I am at home. I was a home theater installer for years and another member here (Jay St Peter) camps out at hometheatertalk.com too. A link Jay provide lead me here. ...

I'm pretty sure I found Badger Pond from someone on HTT.

Anyway, I got into woodworking by building a few sets of speakers. It led to a router and a tablesaw ... next thing you know, my home theater hasn't had any upgrades in a while but my shop has.
My shop has some decent audio equipment in it also. When surround took over the world, I decommisioned a pretty decent Luxman receiver that now resides in my shop. My first homemade set of speakers is attached. For some music, they sound better than my B&W mains. Not bad for <$100 in parts for the pair. I keep planning on building a new set of speakers for my living room/home theater.

Jay

Bill Arnold
06-16-2005, 5:28 AM
We've had a 'home theater' in some form for 13 years, I guess. Starting with a good audio system fed from a 27" TV. About seven years ago we bought a 50" projection TV because it fit the 'entertainment alcove' in our new house. We recently replaced the TV with an HDTV projection set. Having said all that, we watch relativley little TV overall. The major networks would go broke if they depended on viewers like us! TV is definitely NOT a hobby!!!

I spend most of my time either in my shop area building something or on the computer designing future projects. When it's time for a break from building a project, many times I'll just sit in the shop and contemplate the next steps. It's difficult to say whether woodworking is a hobby, avocation or whatever -- it's what I enjoy doing the most. When I have an opportunity, I enjoy photography -- it satisfies a different type of creative urge, I suppose.

Jim Becker
06-16-2005, 9:20 AM
we watch relativley little TV overall. The major networks would go broke if they depended on viewers like us!

Here, here! "We resemble that remark". Other than waking up to local news and GMA, the tube is rarely on for anything outside of movies from NetFLIX, some high-def programing that is interesting and a bit of HGTV and Food Network from time to time. (The exception being when the 'rents are visiting and its "all westerns, all the time"... :) )

Jerry Olexa
06-16-2005, 11:09 PM
I agree. NetFlix is Great and changes your viewing habits! You see specifically what you want when you want it w no time pressure. Nirvanna...

Jim Becker
06-17-2005, 8:47 AM
I do have to admit that with the aquisition of a video camera (with all the dang accessories that make the camera look cheap... ;) ) as well as editing software, I suspect I'll be spending a little time at the computer learning how to be a famous movie producer. Ya, right...:eek::p But I don't think it will become a second hobby, per se.

Rob Russell
06-17-2005, 8:55 AM
About 6 years ago I put a surround sound system into our family room. It's based on B&W matrix speakers (my wife calls the little bubble tweeters "the doobers on top") and Sunfire electronics with a Sunfire subwoofer. Our rears are also in the ceiling over the couch, mostly because it was the only way the "interior decorator" would let me have rear speakers.

Since LOML is a librarian, we have pretty ready to DVD's which is what we mostly watch. There are some commercial shows we enjoy, but the TC is certainly not the mind-magnet that it is for some.

Kurt Voss
06-17-2005, 7:48 PM
Now I know I've landed on a great forum - HT is one of my longstanding hobbies. Probably like a lot of you, I had the first Dolby capable TV and receivers, had surround sound before most people new it existed and have tried to keep up with each new advance in technology. The trouble is that as time has gone by, I've picked up more hobbies and time and $$ have to get spread thinner. My other hobbies include home automation (using a Stargate/Homeseer based system with the home's HVAC, security, AV systems, phones, sprinklers, and lighting integrated), computers - (these are a "necessity" for home automation, MP3 distribution and network based security cams - yes honey I really do need 5 PC's), tinkering with a hot rod Dodge diesel pick-up and of course wood-working. So, what I end up doing is kind of rotating through these things as the whim of interest leads me.

The current HT is in the same building that houses the shop. It is basically the second floor of a 60'x40' building minus 10' on one end devoted to storage. I have a Sanyo HDTV projector combined with a 144" Dalite screen. Audio is mostly Pioneer and Sony and Infinity, but looking to upgrade to a Yamaha RXZ9 receiver and Definitive speakers - just have to practice delayed gratificaiton for a while longer. :rolleyes: BTW, I agree Netflix is great and really a money saver - now we just buy movies we know we're going to want to see again!

Bob Borzelleri
06-24-2005, 12:20 PM
I'm not sure what part of HT qualifies a a hobby. Maybe the build up and tweaking does, but sitting and watching and listening is a bit too passive for me to call a hobby. I might well get an argument from the guy who taught music appreciation back in my undergraduate days, but it seems to me that a hobby is something that you touch.

Having said that, Part of the changes of the past 15 months (retirement, new house, new shop, new motorcycle, etc.) have included setting up a "media" room. Much of the equipment has been around for anywhere from one to twenty five years. The sound processor is a Rotel as is the DVD player. Amps are B&K, NHT and a nice little Onyko that sends audio to the rest of the house. Speakers are Energy 22 RefConns for the front and Pro 22s for the rear. The sub is an NHT. I haven't gotten around to setting up the rear center channels yet. CD player is an Adcom and the projector is Sanyo with a 110" screen throw. The screen is white paint on the imperfect smooth wall.

When the shop gets finished, the next project will be a set of cabinets to frame the high end screen (perhaps I will splurge for a new coat of paint).
:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Maybe the notion of constantly adding to the setup is the part that makes it a hobby. If that is the case, I'd like to get to a point where HT moves from hobby to an appliance.

...Bob

By the way, my builder (who also lives down the hill from me) built a HT in one of the houses he showed us before we signed on for him to build our house. That owner had about $250K in the setup. Now that our place is up and running and after me, my wife and our builder sitting through parts of the same film in both settings, when the lights go down, it's near impossible to distinguish any difference (although his seats are more comfortable).

Tim Morton
06-24-2005, 12:52 PM
I'm not sure what part of HT qualifies a a hobby. Maybe the build up and tweaking does, but sitting and watching and listening is a bit too passive for me to call a hobby. I might well get an argument from the guy who taught music appreciation back in my undergraduate days, but it seems to me that a hobby is something that you touch.

Having said that, Part of the changes of the past 15 months (retirement, new house, new shop, new motorcycle, etc.) have included setting up a "media" room. Much of the equipment has been around for anywhere from one to twenty five years. The sound processor is a Rotel as is the DVD player. Amps are B&K, NHT and a nice little Onyko that sends audio to the rest of the house. Speakers are Energy 22 RefConns for the front and Pro 22s for the rear. The sub is an NHT. I haven't gotten around to setting up the rear center channels yet. CD player is an Adcom and the projector is Sanyo with a 110" screen throw. The screen is white paint on the imperfect smooth wall.

When the shop gets finished, the next project will be a set of cabinets to frame the high end screen (perhaps I will splurge for a new coat of paint).
:rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Maybe the notion of constantly adding to the setup is the part that makes it a hobby. If that is the case, I'd like to get to a point where HT moves from hobby to an appliance.

...Bob

By the way, my builder (who also lives down the hill from me) built a HT in one of the houses he showed us before we signed on for him to build our house. That owner had about $250K in the setup. Now that our place is up and running and after me, my wife and our builder sitting through parts of the same film in both settings, when the lights go down, it's near impossible to distinguish any difference (although his seats are more comfortable).

Sounds like a real nice set-up you have there,,I have owned B&K amps as well as adcom seperates over the years,,been real happy with them. As for saying that it is not a hobby I would have to dissagree somewhat...although maybe once you get your room set-up and are in the sitting back and enjoying it mode it may turn from a hobby into an "interest"...but since few true HT hobbiests are ever "done" it may continue to be a hobby for most of us...

Timo Christ
06-24-2005, 2:14 PM
My other hobby is ultra-fi building (in other words, i build speakers and amplifiers beyond what is available in stores), so this has lead to a pretty nice audio system. The last set of speakers i built (full range horn system..) brought me deeper into woodworking as well. I wanted to make them look nice and put hundreds of hours into them.
At the moment i am more focused on furniture building, but i also have speaker projects scheduled. For me, watching movies isn't the hobby it used to be. I still have a projector and enjoy watching a movie from time to time.
Sitting in front of the computer is a major time killer. I have to cut down forum time for more shop time! :rolleyes: