Gadget Gary: Planning My Basement Home Theater

Hey, everybody. As I write this, I'm getting ready to go on vacation with my next gadget, an HD camcorder that I'll tell you all about in October. Until then, I wanted to use this month's space to update you on the next step in my home theater plans.

As many of you know from reading The Real King of All Media, the dream home I built in January was outfitted with all the cool A/V stuff I'd always wanted. Now I'm focusing on the basement. So how do I figure out what to get and who to install it? It ain't easy!

I love the InFocus SP777 projector shown here.

I also like the screens that are made by Stewart Filmscreen, and I'm definitely going with a Panasonic Blu-ray Disc player. But speakers are a different issue. There are so many out there, and the price range is insane. I could spend $5,000 or $50,000. Choosing speakers has been my biggest problem. Well, my second biggest problem; picking an installer this time has been the most difficult.

I've met with four installers so far, and they're all very different. One was what I'd call a "purist." He wanted to do everything to perfection. When I told him my budget - and it's not a big one - he almost choked. He then sent me a proposal with both "low end" and "high end" estimates. The low-end proposal was more than double my budget. The high end was five times the budget. I won't be using him.

I thought that after everything I did upstairs, this would be easier, but it's not. It's just different. Still, I'm looking forward to having a fun room for movies and, of course, the Big Game. I'll let you know what I decide.

Gary Dell'Abate is the executive producer of The Howard Stern Show (check out his installation at The Real King of All Media).

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