Home Cinema


A brief history

Summer '95 I went on holiday to Portugal. At Heathrow airport I bought some reading material to keep me occupied. John Grisham (can't remember which particular title) and What Hi-Fi. Both enjoyable reads and I quickly read both from cover to cover. Now John Grisham's novels are good, but the What Hi-Fi was to send my life down an unexpected path.

Reading the What Hi-Fi made me determined to ditch my current 'hi-fi' and start again.
What with? On returning from Holiday I took a home cinema demo at Richer Sounds. It was Jurassic Park on laserdisc in Pro-Logic surround sound, it was the first time I had experienced a subwoofer, and it was amazing! At that point I knew this home cinema thing was going to be expensive!

So on 26/8/95, out went my ancient and awful Wharfdales and (I can't even remember the make of) amp, and in came my new Yamaha DSPA-590 (just £300 from Stratford Hi-Fi), £400 pair of TDL RTL3s (with NFM surrounds thrown in) and £100 NFM2S centre and about £60 with of cable talk2 bi-wire cables. Relatively cheap gear but all I could afford, and most importantly compared to my old system this sounded fantastic!

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Late '96 REL released their new Q50 subwoofer and the 40 watt QBass dropped in price to £270 from Sevenoaks Hi-Fi. I was intending to get a REL QBass anyway, but at this price I was going to buy it sooner rather than later.

In September 1996 I bought my own house (in Birmingham) which meant I could make plans for a dedicated home cinema.

Meantime I acquired a REL Studio II subwoofer in 1998 and 5 Ruark Dialogue Ones in 2000.

In the family

My dedicated home cinema will be named 'The Picture House'. It seems natural to name it after my Grandfather's cinema which was on Newport (Shropshire) Highstreet.
This article taken from a local newspaper in the 60's:
NEWPORT PICTURE HOUSE: After being in business for nearly half a century, The Picture House closes after the last performance on Saturday next. The cinema was opened on August Bank Holiday, 1913 by the late Mr E.J.Wright, a former chairman of Newport UDC and a magistrate. Its doors have never closed since that date, remaining open during two World Wars. The directors of the company, Mr W.H.Wright, Mrs M.Sellars, Mr R.W.Wright, Mr G.L.Wright and Mr H.G.Wright, announce their decision to close with regret.
The cinema closed on June 26th 1962.

We're not sure exactly when the pictures (right) were taken. The movies showing on the billboard of the first picture are Tarzan's Desert Mystery (1943), Johnny Angel (1945) and Two O'Clock Courage (1945). So it must have been just after the second World War.

The second photo is of the Stafford Street entrance. My Dad comments about this photo 'If you look at the entrance part you will see it advertises the film "Libel" staring Dirk Bogarde, circa late 1950's. The flourescent light over the sign is one I helped fit as a youth. Also look closely further down the building and you will see a gantry attached to the wall. This was for lowering coal down into the cellar for the central heating boiler.' Top-right of the photo is the sign for the Barley Mow pub which was a favourite haunt of mine in my last year of school before I left for Polytechnic. The Barley is still open, as is the Cinema building, which is now an indoor market.

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The Picture House #3

September 2003 we moved house and you can follow the construction of the new dedicated home cinema room (Picture House #3) in a detached garage in Telford by following this link:

Planning the new home cinema »

The Picture House #2

My previous home cinema - Picture House #2 - now belongs to the people who bought our house in Birmingham. Click here for the long and often painful details of the construction of Picture house #2 in our previous house in Birmingham.

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