back to article Build a bonkers home cinema

It’s a curious fact that when you ascend into the rarefied atmosphere of specialist hi-fi, products transform into creations of often astounding beauty. Do the same with home cinema, and they usually mutate into the unapologetically hideous. This is doubtless a consequence of hi-tech Darwinism. Top class AV gear sits unseen in …


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  1. Kevin7

    Complete fucking shit for brains? Check.

    Lottery winner? Check.

    Watched too many episodes of Cribs? Check.

    Reckon you can make sense of your meaningless fucking life through shopping? Check.

    Then has The Reg got a page for you...

    1. Lamont Cranston

      It's all very nice but,

      unless it can rise up from a small box at the end of the bed, I don't care. Cribs FTW!


      Mush for brains...

      To top it all off, this article includes a device that has has been declared illegal.

      The Kaledescape is in a bit of legal limbo right now.

      The whole lot seemed to be a total fantasy completely divorced from reality or requirements of any sort beyond being really expensive.

    3. Homer 1 Silver badge


      Just buy an all-in-one home cinema system for 200 squid, and a cheap HD telly for another 200 squid. If you want to really push the boat out, you could spend another 20 squid on one of them little media player box thingies, so you can play all those 1080p MKVs with AC3 audio that you downloaded from the Pirate Bay legally purchased.

      Job done.

      You can now take the money you would otherwise have wasted on obscenely expensive junk that has no purpose other then pose-value, and spend it on "luxuries" like food and utility bills.

  2. thenim


    But, can we PLEASE get an article that has kit that an average regtard can afford?

    1. Anonymous Coward

      Re: Drool..

      I think we should force them into a competition where we can win all the items listed.

    2. Marvin the Martian

      Re: Drool..

      Or in this case, explain how the thingymajiggies work?

      I mean, first we start with a device that can take "16 different video inputs", so I'm hopeful it will end in a kind of Cablethulhu nightmare of interconnected devices, but then at the end we just have one input, from the video equivalent of a jukebox. So what of the other 15 dust-gathering entry points?

      At least sell us a whole lot of gold-plated rhodium-finished antistatic noise cancelling dust excluding yet decorative valves or so.

  3. Eponymous Cowherd

    Crapping Hell!!!

    The Register is turning into Top Gear for IT!!!!

    All we need now is a "Star using a reasonably priced Server" and a Smart Phone "Cool Wall" and we'll be there....

    Oh, add in some silly challenges. Create a data centre using Raspberry Pis, Send a Playmobil character into space, that sort of thing..................oh....wait......

    Particularly like the "sheet of cloth in a box" for £23.5K


    Can we have the "cool wall", please?

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Crapping Hell!!!

      Ikea roller blind works well, its a silvery beige colour and works well as a projector screen.

    2. Bassey

      Re: Crapping Hell!!!

      I know it LOOKS like self-indulgent nonsense (and, frankly, what's wrong with that?) but keep in mind that today's high-end is tomorrow's main stream. Okay, I'm not saying any of this particular kit will ever become even remotely affordable but there are a few new technologies in there that I wasn't aware of but sound like the sort of thing many of us will be using in a few years.

      Lets face it, hollywood is trying to convince us "The Cloud" (via UV) is the place where all our films will be stored - because they can control it. However, the tech companies are telling us 4K is the new black. But the two don't work together unless you have a whopping great fibre connection and a VERY low contention ratio. That media server, where the presence of a physical disc is used as your DRM license to allow access to a digital copy, seems like a brilliant solution to me.

      Hollywood are happy as you are still buying media from them. Sony et al are happy because a server is capable of pumping out bits at a rate that will feed their new 4K systems so that everyone can go and buy a new telly - again.

    3. Andy Fletcher

      Re: Crapping Hell!!!

      Wonder who'd get to be the STIG. Running overclocked rigs at insane speeds but still managing to render 3D video without crashing (too often).

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Crapping Hell!!!

      Forget the cool wall, I would pay for a subscription to "Star using a reasonable priced Server". Not the other way around, mind you. Though that might be entertaining too... Paris, for obvious reasons.

  4. karakalWitchOfTheWest

    What I really love about this article... the cute "Buy from amazon" button underneath every piece...

  5. Chris Miller

    I'd like to know ...

    ... what actual cinemas use. Does their kit cost anything like as much (or even more)?

    1. GettinSadda

      Re: I'd like to know ...

      Oh a whole lot more - you would be amazed!

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Thumb Up

        Re: I'd like to know ...

        I'm interested to. Any pointers?

  6. Anon E Mus

    Disc vault?

    "While discs can be ejected from the Vault’s carousel at anytime, you’ll not be able to access the digital copy when they’re AWOL."

    Urrm, guys. I can self build a machine that can do that for £300. How could you fail to get it working on a machine that costs £30000? Must try harder.

    1. VWDan

      Re: Disc vault?

      I doubt it was accidental...

    2. Alan 6

      Re: Disc vault?

      "How could you fail to get it working on a machine that costs £30000? Must try harder."

      I'm thinking it's a feature rather than a fault, to stop you ripping shed loads of discs from Love Film...

    3. Annihilator

      Re: Disc vault?

      "Urrm, guys. I can self build a machine that can do that for £300. How could you fail to get it working on a machine that costs £30000? Must try harder."

      You can self-build a 42TB storage array for £300? I want your disk supplier please! :-)

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

      2. JEDIDIAH

        Re: Disc vault?

        $30K buys a lot of NAS. That's getting into Netapp territory. Kscape fans even like drawing that kind of comparison to make their kit seem less absurdly priced (I kid you not).

        The OP is probably talking about something that is an open solution that doesn't keep you paid for media trapped and in the exact same format as it came on (from the physical media).

        For $600 I could have a bespoke tower PC ready to accept a SATA RAID cage more than capable of doing the same job as a $30K Kscape array. It's like Macs. You don't fixate on the specs. You concentrate on what you need to get the job done.

        Such a server would allow ANY device to partake. I would not need a $3000 thin client decoder.

        Plus I could take anything with me wherever I go.

      3. Homer 1 Silver badge

        Re: Disc vault?

        "You can self-build a 42TB storage array for £300?"

        42TB of storage is worthless if I'm not allowed to use it because of "DRM". Frankly I'd be better off with 2TB on a self-built system that lets me rip and keep digital copies.

        And that's exactly what I did, for that and many other reasons.

        I also got sick of having to transcode music and video to suit the myriad of proprietary devices I had that supported one format but not another, or claimed to support a particular format but only did so if I transcoded it using specific settings.

        Then there's those systems that let you buy or record media, but then it's permanently welded to the device you bought or recorded it on (DRM), which really sucks when that device dies or is no longer supported. Forget about refunds. Bruce Willis has my sympathy.

        Another thing I discovered is that buying expensive "esoteric audiophile" (or even "videophile") equipment is no guarantee of longevity and robustness. The laser in an expensive CD/DVD/Blu-ray will die just as easily as a cheap one from Tesco, but will of course cost much more to repair/replace. Expensive amps and decoders are also just as prone to exploding caps and dead boards as the cheap stuff. The last "high quality" system I bought barely lasted the length of the statutory warranty, before the sub died (stone cold dead), the AV amp's surround decoder developed a stutter, the DVD stopped recognising discs, and the phono amp developed incurable feedback hum.

        Makes me wonder why I bothered.

        So now I don't. I just buy the cheapest, filthiest, nastiest junk I can find, and treat it like "disposable Hi-Fi". Even so, it's still managed to outlive all of my former expensive equipment, and the difference in sound and video quality is minimal at worst.

        Ironically, the "cheap" stuff also tends to have more features. I spent a small fortune on a plasma "smart" TV that plays video files of just one type, standard definition DivX. Less than a year later I bought a TV for my bedroom at 1/8th of the price, and that plays 1080p h.264 video with ac3 5.1 audio in Matroska containers, amongst many others.

        As far as I'm concerned this whole "high-end system" nonsense is just a scam.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    A steal at just £16,000.

    I can recall a time a couple of decades ago when just the lamp for a professional video projector (GE) cost £15,000. If you were taking one abroad the spare would get its own seat on a plane.

    We really need a Four Yorkshiremen icon.

  8. Dan Price

    Yeah, great...

    This is all well and good for the Euro-Millions winners among us, but how about an article on building one on a budget smaller than what the average joe earns in a decade?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Yeah, great...

      an article on building one on a budget smaller than what the average joe earns in a decade

      there, fixed that for you

      (I don't work there but I have previously bought and enjoyed their budget line of speakers built by prisoners in Dartmoor, allegedly, and as a shop they are rather more helpful than Dix*ns...)

      1. Robert E A Harvey

        richersounds ... rather more helpful than Dix*ns..

        When it comes to IT the oxfam shop is rather more helpful...

  9. Arctic fox

    I, in common I suspect with most here, could find better things to do with 250 k..........

    ............if I had it lying around, which I don't! Ok, there is no reason why RegHardware can't do a comedy special every now and then - it should be read it that spirit, LOL!

  10. Matt Bucknall


    I'm in the wrong business.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I think XBMC would put the Kaleidescape interface to shame.

    1. blcollier

      Re: Kaleidescape

      XBMC puts most "media centre" interfaces to shame; it can be stunning when you take the time to set it up. The metadata really makes it for me though: cover art, fan art, synopsis, reviews, director/producer/etc name, actor names. For a project that started it's life as homebrew software for modded Xboxes (original Xbox, not Xbox 360) it's an incredible achievement.

      Alright the Kaleidescape *does* have 42TB of storage, but if I had £32k to spend I could match that too. Hell, if I had £32k to spend on hard drives I could get a whole hell of a lot more than 42TB!

      1. Matt_payne666

        Re: Kaleidescape

        my thoughts exactly... as for media serving, XBMC scores a lot of win... the kaleidescope is a lovely bit of kit, but i expect you will find limitations pretty soon if you deviate from just original disks... I know if i had that amount of cash 320 BR's would be used up in an instant! between me and one of my friends (who isnt a gazillionaire) we have almost 300.

        42TB is a nice amount of storage, but certainly achievable for lot less!

        But loving the projector, processors, speakers (4 21inch subs please!) screen, hell... id have all of it! but you guys have missed the vibrating chairs.....

        1. JEDIDIAH

          Re: Kaleidescape

          I call bullsh*t on the 42TB storage.

          I tried pricing out my own setup based on what little information I could tease from support forums online. A mere 30K is not going to get you 42TB of Kaledescape storage.

          I already have a 2000 disk jukebox setup.

          You can build an entire commodity based multi-room system for what Kscape will try to charge you for one thin client decoder.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Kaleidescape

            Methinks the gude mr. Matt checked the online price of 21x 2TB disks and compared that to "42TB of storage". Which is what my dear company bean counters also try to convince me of, though I've been able to hold them off so far without the old sock-and-a-half-brick. Which is a good thing, the missus would give me hell if I came home with a damaged sock.

            I'll have to agree with Matt on the vibrating chairs though, for that home cinema experience (especially the "connoiseur" cinema kind) you can't beat a decent vibrating chair...

          2. J. Cook Bronze badge

            Re: Kaleidescape

            +many on the '30K for 42 TB'- It might be possible if they are all consumer rated drives, but you don't want those in a RAID (and most vendors won't honor the warranty if you do!)

            IIRC, my company just dropped something like 80-100K on a new dual head filer with about 40 TB of storage, and it takes up about half a standard 42U rack.

            1. JEDIDIAH

              Re: Kaleidescape

              ...except this is a DVD jukebox. It's not some mission critical Oracle database. The "enterprise" requirements just aren't there. RAID is a means to exploit low cost disks. A 3TB disk pack simply doesn't need to be $1400 for what a Kscape system is doing with it.

              I can build 2 arrays capable of doing the job of the overpriced kscape one (due to compression) and still come out ahead by an order of magnitude.

              I can also avoid the "packages" that average $28 per DVD too.

              That markup likely has nothing to do with the actual hardware and is likely just a means to pay for the "wipe your arse" level of service that you get with a device like this.

            2. Davidoff

              Consumer drives

              "+many on the '30K for 42 TB'- It might be possible if they are all consumer rated drives, but you don't want those in a RAID"

              Why not? The only real drawback of desktop drives is that they have very low IOPS numbers (which isn't an issue in media streaming applications at home), and that some RAID controller may declere them as failed more quickly because of their firmware. We are using cheap desktop drive in large data storages for many years, and if used in areas where their lower IOPS performance doesn't matter then they are perfectly fine. The lower MTBF ofdesktop drives isn't a problem as any hard drive can fail any time anyways (that's why there is RAID and regular backups), and in my experience the generally reliability of 10k or 15k SAS drives isn't really that much better.

              "(and most vendors won't honor the warranty if you do!)"

              That's nonsense. None of the hard drive manufacturers will care if a desktop hard drive has been used in a RAID setup.

  12. Tom 7 Silver badge

    For that money you could make your own films.

    Its about time somebody started again...

  13. hugo tyson

    Better things to do

    ...with £250k you could, for example, not go to work for 10 years.... unless you have silly expensive hobbies....

  14. Trollslayer Silver badge

    Guys - it's El Reg

    So stop stressing and enjoy the occasional silliness!

  15. Badvok

    Active Shutter Projector for how much?

    Hmmm, if I really had that sort of money to spend on a system I think I'd avoid anything that needs me to wear stupid heavy active shutter glasses for 3D.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Truly BOFH specs for new kit.

    Enough said. If it is running on company money, that's the conference room for the discerning BOFH among us out there.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "If there’s a better way to spend £100k in a darkened room, we haven’t found it."

    Well played Reg, well played :)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: "If there’s a better way to spend £100k in a darkened room, we haven’t found it."

      Il give you the number from my PIMP.

  18. Old Cynic

    Sounds expensive

    and I doubt if all that equipment would work so well in a smallish room - no doubt amazing in a large room.

    My ~£6k setup has most of the features mentioned apart from a disc ripper (mine is a 3TB NAS that holds a few HD movies dowloaded, ahem ripped by myself).

    I'm not an audio/video-phile but I honestly can't tell any difference between being at home and being in the cinema. Even now the cinemas have gone 4k, you're such a distance from the screen, I don't see how anyone will appreciate it.

    The sound is probably the only area where there's much of a difference but I think that's got a lot to do with the size of the room. However, in my dedicated room at home, there are no interruptions from arseholes coughing, rustling, talking, or lighting up there bastard phones. And I've got a (silent) beer fridge at hand ;)

    1. Citizen Kaned

      Re: Sounds expensive

      i find my B&W system sounds better than the cinema to be honest. i think its because i set it up specifically for my seat (the wife doesnt care too much). in the cinema its all too much and never sounds that great.

      i do want a bigger screen though. 42" doesnt feel that big but im only 5feet from the screen. i will await reasonable 4k projectors and glasses free 3d :)

      to the people above, sure, XMBC will work. but i find gfx cards cant compare with dedicated players, especially high end players, which are silent and also have better audio than PC soundcards.

      i enjoyed this. if i was a millionaire i would blow a fortune on home cinema as its a passion of mine. im on my 3rd full setup now and it does mount up.

      unless you have heard high end (or even mid range) you might think your HTPC with logitech speakers sounds good. its like comparing a smart car to a formula1 car with this setup.

      1. blcollier

        @Citizen Kaned, Re: XBMC/HTPCs

        The issue with using an HTPC, or standard PC hardware, isn't that the quality isn't as good good or they can't cope, it's the stupid framerate used for movies: no graphics manufacturer has really been able to nail 23.976fps yet. Most come very close (some come that close that it's debatable whether or not it's truly noticable to the human eye), but no one has *truly* nailed it. Though if you ask me that's a failing of the movie industry for relying on an antiquated framerate - down with 23.976fps!

        On the subject of sound cards, all you really need is something that passes-through the unaltered digital sound. In fact it's not even that much of a consideration, as most modern graphics cards support HDMI audio; a ~£25 Raspberry Pi can do that. Once you've got a digital audio signal coming out, it's over to your AV receiver/processor; the PC doesn't need to modify, alter or even touch the signal.

        It's perfectly possible to build a silent HTPC; hot everything needs dirty great fans and spinning hard drives... A low/mid range passively-cooled graphics card, SSD and an underclocked or low power CPU can make for a system with no moving parts at all. Of course you need somewhere to store all that data, but that needn't be in the same room.

        Plus XBMC *really is* that good. I've yet to find any other software or dedicated player that can match its flexibility or functionality. Not saying that any home-built HTPC will compare to the gear in this article, but you don't need to spend £250k to enjoy movies at home.

        1. Citizen Kaned

          Re: @Citizen Kaned, XBMC/HTPCs

          blcollier - i agree. my setup is ample for my needs as is my car, not that it stops me wanting a Ferrari :)

          i still prefer a full separates system over a HTPC. my HC can do everything a HTPC can do and the mrs can work it :) (well, the internet isnt great on any of my devices but i use the PC for that which i have hooked up to the HC via ethernet baluns - or will when i buy them, office is still a dumping ground after moving in at xmas)

    2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart
      Paris Hilton

      Re: Sounds expensive

      and I doubt if all that equipment would work so well in a smallish room

      I doubt that equipment would work in anything other than a room specifically designed for (very) Hi-Fi. If the room height is 8ft (96in) the the ideal room dimensions would be 12.775ft x 15.2083333R ft, imagine asking the typical builder to build a room to those dimensions. On top of that you have to consider the furnishings, the position of the listener/viewer, how the room is decorated and possibley consider adding "corner absorbers" across the diagonal of corners to prevent bass standing waves.

      For those of interested in such things have a look at http://www.acoustics101 or

      Of course if you are going to do that or if you just want to piss off your favourite Hi-Fi over-enthusiast, tell them that (1) you're not listening to the music, you're listening to the Hi-Fi and (2) All as you are doing is reproducing the guitarists distortion accurately.

      Paris, definitely not Hi-Fi

  19. Great Bu

    Clearly Sir has not included popcorn.....

    "roughly equivalent to around 4,000 visits to the local cinema by an average family of four"

    If they don't want any drinks or popcorn, if you include drinks, popcorn, nachos, hot dogs, ice cream and pick and mix it's the equivalent of 1.7 visits to the cinema.......


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