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3D Without So Many kW

Hollywood today has gone positively real-life: Costumes are amazing; actors are trained in every nuance of their characters; the most outlandish off-world sets and locations seem real. And the technology? It picks up on every bit of it. No longer can soap flakes be used to simulate snow. Today's unforgiving cameras will tell their tales, especially in 3D.

More and more 3D cinemas are coming online around the world. And a tidal wave of stereoscopic 3D films is hitting those theaters. For the teeny bopper in your world, "One Direction: This Is Us" will drop on August 30th (Try picturing their hair in 3D). For a completely different musical taste, "Metallica Through The Never" will hit theaters on September 27th, and the action-adventure set will be ready for "Thor: The Dark World" on November 8th.

The upside for you as the movie viewer is a more impressive sensory experience, and a cinephile who is going for that experience in the house--achievable thanks to amazing Blu-Ray technology--is likely to invest in a 3D home theater system. Home theaters are big business and big fun...with big electrical usage.

Home cinema by-william-hook 250px
Home Cinema picture by William Hook

Home theaters

Many home theater builders get excited seeing big numbers for the lumens on their projectors and the wattage on their speakers. Excited, that is, until they think about the big wattage that those features consume. Fortunately, an amazing home theater experience doesn't have to make your electric bill a horror film, unless you're talking about slashing into it. Use a few basic tips to keep your home theater experience affordable enough to make your movie-watching relaxing instead of stressful.

Don't Overbuild

Bigger is, generally speaking, better in most ways. But bigger appliances use more electricity, so you're better off reviewing some information before making a purchase. How much speaker equipment do you need? How bright should your projector be?

Sure, it's fun to have the plaster cracking when the first big explosion goes up, but if you can only stand the volume at "6", why not get a smaller system and turn it up to "8"? (Insert your own "This is Spinal Tap" reference here.)

The point is not to wimp down your system, the point is to install enough power for what you want without installing more than you need. A TV like the new OLED Samsung 55" stereoscopic 3D model will do amazing things with its color and brightness, and it will work well with -you guessed it- the newest 3D media.

New 3D movies will be released onto Blu-Ray utilizing new technology that will leave old DVD players out in the cold. You'll instead need to invest in a new Blu-Ray 3D player and an HDTV that includes a special 3D processor that will also mandate new HDMI 1.4 cables and an upgraded audio system.

Do you see why you want to save money where you can?

Install Efficiently

Projects, big-screens, and sound equipment generate heat. While it's nice to stow their bulky controls in built-in cabinets or other cubbies, it's far more cost-effective to have them out in the open where they can radiate their heat and operate more efficiently. Better yet: situate them near air conditioning vents that can help tame their fevers.

Cabinetry and shelves used for installation will play a big part in this. Make sure they are spacious inside and provide adequate ventilation. Good temperature management will also extend the life of your equipment. And after the credits roll, leave the theater door closed so that the heat of the gear doesn't radiate out into the concession stand. Er, kitchen.

Power Smart

Isn't it always a good idea to find ways to use less juice? Of course it is. And we all know the basics, like checking door sweeps and modernizing windows, and we've all run through a couple miles of caulking to save money.

Fortunately, there are professionals out there who work all day, every day, finding you ways to reduce your power bill. In fact, some states are even working to deregulate the power industry and many have done so already.

For example, if you live in Texas, visit to compare different power suppliers and make better use of your energy-saving efforts. Lone Star consumers are lucky to live in a deregulated electric market that will permit them to shop around for cheaper rates.

This is also driven by the equipment you choose. One example we found shows that a reasonable 3D home system would cost less than $20 per year if you viewed three movies a week. Upgrade to something like a Runco XP-103DHD 103-inch Plasma TV with a Goldmund Eidos 20BD Blu-ray Player and Anthem audio system, and the calculations run more like $70 per year.

With the sights and sounds in modern cinema, home video will look pretty pitiful on an old-fashioned optical disc player and a regular flat screen. It's true. Getting your 3D Blu-ray based home theater into top condition won't send your electric meter spinning like a helicopter if you make smart purchases when it comes to installation and management.

Contributor: Sam Peters.