The Old Theater Gear Head The New Theater Outdoor Theater

I'm still working on a photo of the front of the rack. In the interim, here's a picture of the back side of the rack. This was actually taken some time ago, so there's a whole lot more spaghetti than what you see here. The rack allows access on three sides, so it's a lot easier to configure things (and things change frequently). All wires from the dishes and rooftop antennae end here. All audio and video lines that feed various places in the house originate here. Besides the theater (which is on the other side of the wall), the kitchen is an example of this shared design. It has large in-wall speakers mounted in the soffit, an audio selection control, and a volume control. The integrated receiver is in the rack downstairs and (if I ever get around to it) can be controlled using the remote control and an IR-to-UHF repeater.

With all this gear in one place there are occasionally interference issues. These are dealt with as they arise. The benefits of collecting the gear into one place far outweigh the disadvantages. The list of benefits includes: simplification of the sharing of devices by multiple rooms, freeing living space, reduction of power requirements at the point of use, and reduction of clutter.

When I finished the room where the rack resides (leaving no room in the house unfinished), I redid the wiring to the MannyVision head-end rack. I pulled a 30 amp circuit over so that all the gear could be run from one breaker. This helped to eliminate the dreaded ground loop buzz that I had when certain components were on two separate 20 amp circuits. There were other contributing factors and prior to the combined circuit I moved devices between circuits to eliminate the buzz.

At one point I had planned to add inline power conditioning or UPS for the whole circuit, but those were pretty expensive (at 30 amps) and, well, we're moving anyway.


The Gear List

Device Name Description
NEC VT540 LCD, XGA projector
Unity Motion HDR-1000A C/Ku band and OTA High Definition receiver/decoder
HTPC Athlon 700, 128MB, 16x DVD, Viper II, Vortex II SQ2500
Rotel RSP980 Dual zone preamp with six switchable inputs, plus 5.1 input
Rotel RB985 Five, 100 watt channels
Rotel RDA975 Outboard Dolby Digital processor
Polk RT16 Front speakers (can be biamped)
Polk CS350-LS Center speaker (can be biamped)
Polk RT f/x Surround speakers (no room right now for full sized speakers!)
Polk PSW150 Subwoofer (actually has a 200 watt amp)
GI 4DTV Hybrid analog/digital (DCII) C/Ku satellite receiver; with VCII decoder
GI 905 DCII sidecar for use with analog receiver
GI HDD200 High definition decoder for use with 4DTV or 905
Drake 1824 My best analog C/Ku satellite receiver; with VCII decoder
HTS 50 A very good C/Ku satellite receiver; with VCII decoder
Uniden 4800s A modest C/Ku satellite receiver; with Superguide and VCII decoder
Radio Shack 9' perf C/Ku combination feed
Paraclipse 12' Eclipse Dual C/Dual Ku combination feed
Winegard 10' Dual C feed (damaged, pending repair)
Channel Master 1M Offset dish received with Unity Motion receiver (not assembled - yet)