What You Need to Think About Before Buying a Home Theater Projector

While setting up a projector for a home theater system can be challenging, the process can be simplified by keeping certain things in mind. This article discusses what you need to keep in mind when buying and installing a home cinema projector. So, here goes…

1) Ambient lighting: Even a small amount of ambient light can wash out a projected image. Some projectors are better than others at competing with the ambient light in you room, but none are totally perfect.

When buying a home projector, do check out the brightness rating, measuring in ANSI lumens or just lumens. If your projector has a brightness rating of at least 1700 ANSI lumens, it should be able to deal with a small amount of ambient light.

Similarly, a projector with a 3000 lumens rating would be able to handle stronger ambient light. However, you should try to block out all ambient light if you do not want your images to look washed out.

2) Room size: If you want to set up your home cinema projector, you will need a large room. This is because the screen size for a projector can get rather large. Also, if you room is large, you will not end up blocking part of the screen when you walk through your room.

3) Mounting your projector: Most projectors can display in a normal or upside-down mode, which gives you the flexibility in determining where to mount your projector. Ceiling mounts work best because the allow more floor space for seating. The longer the room, the better it is.

4) Buying a screen: You need the right surface for the projector to reflect off of. You can choose one of several types of screens. These range from pull-down screens to screens made up of matte vinyl fabric.

You can also use a section of your wall for your entertainment plans by painting a section of the wall with reflective matte paint. This works because you don’t have to worry about fabric getting ripped or frayed.

There are so many different screens that can be used along with your home projector that you need to do your research before buying and installing one.

5) Replacement lamps and other costs: Most projectors are a fantastic deal. However, some projectors come with hidden costs. Some of these are: replacement lamps, audio systems, and screens.

Projectors require extremely high-powered lamps to project their images and these bulbs do not last as long as most HDTVs. Right now, most projectors you buy will last a year or two under heavy use before they need replacing. Also if you are investing in a quality home cinema projector, chances are you plan to also buy an audio system. Also, even though discussed before, buying the right screen can add to costs. However, these accessories are important if you want your home projector to run optimally.

So, now you know what you need to think of before buying a home projector. Do keep these points in mind and invest in a projector that will be the envy of your social circle. Here’s to fantastic images!

Buying A Home – Covering The Basics

A recent survey indicates that on average, a homeowner will live 13 years in a house.

Such a length of time (4745 days and nights) warrants on the part of the purchaser a minimum of inquiry to ascertain that the house that looks picture perfect is also picture perfect in the reality of every day living.

It is worth your while, before making such a momentous decision, to be at peace with yourself and follow simple steps that will strengthen your resolve to go and live in this house.

First, get a feel of the neighborhood by walking during the week and at night in and around the immediate location of the house and be alert to any signs that could trigger for you an anxiety attack. Density of traffic, suspicious characters, many nonworking young adults, noise level, pets and cleanliness, schools and parks for quality living, proximity of shopping, immediate neighbors, planes paths, train noise.

A good way to go about it is to take a day during the week and go and sit near the porch.

A lot of the open houses organized by real estate agents occur on Sunday afternoon. Not exactly the best time to have a real feel of the surroundings.

Invest your time now, or you may forever regret your decision to buy such a nice house in such a bad environment.

A few conversations with people living near your prospective home should also give you a sense of the type of neighbors you will have. If you are suspicious, and if your instinct tells you something, do not hesitate and go to the nearest police precinct and plainly ask what the problems that are most often brought up, even more so if you have or plan to have children.

You can also, if need be, check with your insurance agent. Insurance companies “red zone” certain sections of the city for different reasons. Some might find it offensive, but insurance statistics do not lie. If it’s a “at risk” section where obtaining insurance is not available or it’s cost prohibitive, you might as well know now.

Buying A Home in La Jolla Can Have Its Perks

Thinking of buying a home in La Jolla, California? The area is one one of the most beautiful coastal cities in the United States. Living here, near San Diego, has many positive perks. There are great restaurants, shopping, and a great active life.

  • Sammy’s Pizza – Sammy’s Pizza was the original Sammy’s Woodfired Pizza that opened in 1989. This was San Diego’s first restaurant that introduced the concept of woodfired pizza. Sammy’s Pizza is located on Pearl Street, a prime street, and only blocks away from the La Jolla Beach. Sammy’s has cabana covered settings outdoor, surrounding a large fire-pit. They also use local, organic, and nutritionally balanced ingredients when possible.
  • The Birch Aquarium – The Birch Aquarium, is a “public exploration center for the world-renowned Scripps Institution of Oceanography” at University of California San Diego (UCSD). This Scripps Aquarium provides education of ocean science through activities, creative exhibits, and programs. These creative approaches help children and adults use critical thinking and help show them how science is relevant to their daily lives.
  • Westfield UTC Mall – Westfield UTC Mall is an open-air shopping mall located the University City community of San Diego California. The UTC Mall has recently undergone extensive renovation in 2012 for more of a resort-inspired shopping. Now the UTC customers feel like they are on vacation while they shop. Shop and wander past chic boutiques under cabana-lined walkways. Relax and enjoy the nightlife at the new Palm Plaza – “a haven of palm trees and fire pits for cocktailing or catching a live performance”.
  • Torrey Pines Golf Course – Torrey Pines Golf Course is, a world-renown facility, situated atop of the coastal cliffs overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This golf course is “recognized as the premier municipal golf course owned and operated by a city”. It offers a widely distinguishable 18-hole championship golf course that yearly host the PGA TOUR’s Farmer Insurance Open event. “Torrey Pines also offers one of the largest on-course golf shops in the United States, expert instruction, tournaments, and advanced golf schools”.
  • CorePower Yoga – CorePower Yoga is located in the La Jolla Colony Shopping Center, off Regents Road in the UTC shopping district. “The studio is situated on a first floor suite within the University Town Center shopping district”. These yoga classes are done in their climate-controlled environments that efficiently heat and maintain the yoga class. These classes are set to energized music while helping those to become more strengthened, balanced and detoxified. While building a core powered body, you will also enlighten your body and mind.

La Jolla has so many things to offer that are both exciting and family-friendly. Enjoy an amazing wood fire pizza with your family and friends on a Friday night, at Sammy’s Pizza. On Saturday, spend the day at the beach, Birch Aquarium, or the Westfield UTC Mall.. And if you want a Sunday to yourself, go golfing at the Torrey Pines Golf Course or unwind at CorePower Yoga. La Jolla has so many activities, restaurants, beaches, and active life to making it the perfect family community.

Buying a Home? Watch Out For These Estate Agent Tricks

This is the second in a series of three articles warning home buyers and sellers about the main tricks estate agents use to get hold of your money. These articles are aimed at helping you avoid being fleeced by your estate agent.

Selling to buyers

Although we all know that agents are acting for sellers, many are experts in befriending buyers and getting them to feel that they are on our side, working to help us get the best property at the best price. If you’re buying a property you should be on your guard against several sales traps including the block, stock-shifting, pumping up the price, the spider’s web and the sealed-bid scam.

1. The Block

Of all estate agents’ tricks, the block is probably the one people least expect. Most of us assume agents want to sell properties to us and so it doesn’t occur to us that they may be interested in preventing us from buying. There are several reasons an agent might try to block us from buying a property. The most obvious is that they’ve planned a slash-and-grab for themselves or one of their contacts and so don’t want us to disrupt their plans by buying at a higher price than they’re offering. Another reason may be that the agent has a buyer who is also taking out a mortgage through that agent or an associate mortgage agent. The agent can earn almost as much commission from flogging the mortgage as from selling the property and so may be less interested helping a buyer with cash or who has organised their own mortgage. In both these cases, an agent may withhold our offers from a seller or, if they do pass on our offers, they may discourage the seller from accepting them by suggesting that we may not be in a good position to buy. An investigation by one journalist found that of six offers made to estate agents, only two were passed on to sellers.

2. The stock-shift

Buyers may be looking for their ideal home, but agents can only sell the properties they have on their books. Moreover, they have to shift their stock if they are to meet their sales targets. Unless an agent is lucky enough to have properties that perfectly match buyers’ requirements, the only way they can get their monthly bonus is by convincing buyers to take whatever they’ve got to sell. So the art of a successful agent is to influence buyers to compromise and take what is available rather than hold out for their dream property.

There are various ways of getting buyers to compromise. The easiest is to use fear to push you into making an offer. An agent may tell you that they have the perfect property, that this has just come on the market, but that you’ll have to move quickly before someone else snaps it up. Or if a buyer is hesitating, the agent will use the phantom buyer trick and claim that several other buyers are also interested. To add a little colour the agent may also say that one of the phantom buyers is a cash buyer and therefore in a much better position than you. Or an agent may arrange for several buyers to view a property at the same time. This is intended to make buyers believe that there is competition for the property and can lead to buyers being infected by auction-fever – always a great way to spur them into action and push the price up. Typically an agent will say that prices in the area are going up so if you don’t buy quickly, you’ll end up paying a lot more in a few months time. And there’s the sandwich – here the agent shows a buyer three properties with the first and the third being either unsuitable or out of their range and the middle one being closer to what they want. This helps create the impression in the buyer’s mind that there are few properties fitting their requirements and makes them more open to being fobbed off with something which is reasonably close to what they were looking for.

3. The price pump

Research has repeatedly shown that around 70% of buyers spend on average about 20% more for their homes than they had originally intended. So, whatever a buyer may say to an agent about their price limit, the agent already knows from experience that the large majority of buyers can be squeezed well above this if shown a property they like. The simplest way for the agent to push the price up is to claim that they already have several offers on a property, so if you’re interested, you’re going to have to put in a fairly juicy bid. Or else an agent may use the build-up – show you four or five properties, starting with the cheapest and moving on to the most expensive. Most buyers, when seeing a property they really like, will stretch their financial limit rather than letting the property go to someone else. Another tactic is to show you a home that is way above your financial limit. In comparison, any subsequent properties will seem reasonably priced. Or the agent could use the sneer – take you to an expensive property and then suggest that it’s a pity that you can’t stretch your budget to buy such a perfect home. This is particularly easy if the agent can use buyer’s partner or family to pile on the emotional pressure.

4. The spider’s web

In addition to sellers and property developers, agents have a wide web of people who can help them increase their earnings. For example, if an agent convinces a buyer to use a particular mortgage advisor or supposedly independent financial advisor, on an average loan the advisor will pocket about £2,000 and the agent £1,000 to £1,500. Even if a buyer has finance available, an agent might tell buyers that ‘it’s company policy’ to ensure that all buyers get the best loan deals available and so, whether you want it or not, the agent makes an appointment for you to meet a mortgage salesman with business connections to the agency.

Similarly, an agent will usually get generous kickbacks if they pass buyers onto lawyers and surveyors that they regularly work with. An added advantage of using lawyers and surveyors known to the agent is that they will tend to overlook problems with properties to enable sales to go through. In any town or even areas of a city, most agents, lawyers and surveyors will have worked together in the past and none will want to upset any of the others. So even when a buyer believes their lawyer and surveyor are representing their interests, it’s likely that the lawyer and surveyor will be more sensitive about ensuring continuing a good relationship with the estate agent rather than worrying about the interests of a buyer that they will probably never deal with again. When I began to question both my lawyer and surveyor about things they had apparently ‘overlooked’, the lawyer paid me £6,000 and the surveyor £2,500 – this may have been because they were terribly nice people and particularly liked me; or it may have been because they realised their cosy little arrangement with the estate agent had been rumbled and so were keen to avoid any possibly embarrassing explanations. Any buyer who gets caught in the spider’s web of the agent’s business associates may find it a very expensive experience.

5. Sealed-bid scams

If there are several buyers chasing a property, the seller and agent may ask all the potential purchasers to submit their ‘best and final’ offer in an envelope by a certain date and time with the understanding that the highest bid will be accepted. This is a wonderful way of getting the price up as buyers’ competitive natures can cloud their common sense. But the sealed bid process is open to abuse. For a start, the seller doesn’t have to accept the highest offer – a slightly lower cash offer may be preferable to a higher offer from someone who needs time to arrange finance. Also, once the bids are opened, the agent can easily go back to the bidder with the deepest pockets and suggest that if they increase their offer by a certain amount, then the property is theirs. If they think a potential buyer has access to more money, the agent can also lie about the level of the highest bid or invent a phantom bid in order to push the price higher. Or, if they want to do a slash-and-grab to get the property for themselves, a developer, a family member or friend, then an agent may withhold some bids.

Buying a Home Theater Projection Screen? 8 Things You Need To Know

8 Tips for buying a home theater projection screen…

1. Start with a White wall.

See how your projected image looks without a screen. Any issues? Could it be brighter? Is the size big enough? Is the location good?

2. How close can you sit to the screen?

For complete movie immersion, you need a 30-degree vision range.

Here is a quote from AVS Forum

A 30 degree field of vision would not only excite the central portion of the human visual system, but the peripheral vision as well. That gives a much heightened experience of reality to the viewer.

To achieve this 30-degree field of vision, you should be 1.87 times the screen width (1.63 times the diagonal length of a 16:9 display).

3. A bigger screen is better!

The bigger the screen, the further away from the screen you need to sit. You can sit closer to a big screen if the display technology you are using to project the image has a dense pixel structure. For example, D-ILA or DLP. If you are using an LCD with ‘800×600’ resolution or less, then you will want to sit further away so that you minimize the LCD pixels structure. This will require a larger room. In addition, if you are watching DVDs on a lower resolution projector, then you will need to compensate for the reduced resolution by sitting further away from the screen.

4. Choose the correct Screen Material for your projector.

Forget the marketing and error on the side of safety. So much of a screens performance is hype. It won’t turn a lifeless picture into life-like film. If the white wall showed an enjoyable and watchable picture, than don’t go too far away from those specs.

5. Gain Control.

Each screen will have a gain spec… Matte white will have a gain of 1 while the High Power screen will have a gain of 2.8. Higher gains do exist, but mostly not for home use. The higher the gain, the brighter the picture will appear. However, too much gain and hot-spots will appear in the image. Some screens have gains less than 1.0 that means it will not reflect back all of the images brightness. This can be useful if your image is very bright and you want to increase the effective contrast and shadow detail.

6. Buy a test screen.

If you are thinking of spending thousands on a screen (which you can easily do when purchasing a Stewart screen or other high-end screens), buy an inexpensive pull down screen from a manufacturer for about $100 first and see how you like that image. Choose a screen that comes close to the screen you will purchase. Same size, same gain, and watch it for a month. Also, some fabric shops sell screen material (usually of the standard matte white variety) which can be used as a very inexpensive method to mount a screen temporarily on the wall. This is all in an effort to know what you like or dislike about the standard image and what needs to be improved. Alternatively, maybe you will even learn that you don’t need to spend thousands.

7. Screen format.

If your projector is 4×3 (square, like a standard television) and not 16×9 (like a movie theater screen – wider than it is tall) then you will need to buy a screen that is 4×3 to match the image.

For a home theater projector (’16×9′ projector), you really only have one (maybe if you are lucky two) choice of screen format: 16×9.

If you are one of the few home theater owners that want to use a fixed height or width 2.35:1 screen with an anamorphic lens, then you should consult a professional installer. This is the latest holy grail of home theater. It requires the use of masking the image when not showing a 2.35:1 image and removing the masking when you are. It also allows for the ’16×9′ projector to use full resolution to display the 2.35:1 image. Without the anamorphic lens and a ‘Scale Adjuster’ to scale the image across the full panel, you would see black bars when displaying a 2.35:1 image.

8. Rear projection screen.

A rear projection screen can look terrific – very custom and finished. This usually requires a mirror to fit the projector into a small space and still allow the focal length to remain the same.

If you are thinking of a very widescreen – 10 feet or more – you may want to consider a curved screen. With a very widescreen, the differences between the distance from the lens to the outer edges of the screen and the distance from the lens to the center creates a difference in picture brightness and can distort the image. By curving the screen, the distance to the outer edges and the distance to the middle of the screen are nearly the same and remove the distortion and differences in brightness.