Tried to make a home cinema on budget in Sri Lanka

To make good home cinema you have to get better screen, nice sound, quality contents and other supportive appliance to run it. For the first step I was trying to get possible highest quality screen with low budget. Projects like this would be highly depended on where you live, budget, availability and so on. So this might not the way someone else should do, but anyway, this is how I did it.

First of all I had to decide what kind of screen type is suitable for my project. I had 2 main choices which are a Projector and LED/LCD display. In that case I decide to go for LCD/LED display for obvious reasons. First one is, personally I don’t like projectors, because its exaggerated and unreal color production, minimal contrast ratio, lack of producing deep black and so on. Obliviously high end of device with controlled environment will reduce those problems, but as sound it is not going to be cheap or easy for me.

As the second step I decide how much screen size it would be and screen resolution I might need. As I planned I’m going to watch this with a range of 2 to 10 feet away from the screen. So because of that I decide to go for range 27” to max size I could get hands on. Mostly 32 inches as I thought.

For the resolution it has been decided to go to Full HD. The reason behind that is I do have lots of content on 1080p quality. So I might not be able to get maximum output quality as I desired if I use anything less than that for screen resolution. To go better 2K, UHD, 4K or some other fancy word, screen types would work, but since the budget is my main factor here, so I didn’t consider any of that.

After deciding resolution and size, once again, I had 2 options. Frist one is buying a monitor, second one is buying a TV. However, finding Full HD monitor was easy, but finding screen size at least 27 inches wasn’t. All the monitors on 27 inch size screen is more expensive than I expected. After market research I could find possible and suitable options from different brands as follows.

Asus 27″ VX__ Price ~40,000 LKR

Dell 27″ SE2717H Price ~30,000 LKR

AOC 27″ I2769Vm Price ~30,000 LKR

HP 27ES 27″ Price ~38,000 LKR

Although lower budget option was 30K LKR, I found TV’s on the market for that price in size of larger than 32 inches. But the problem is those are not having a resolution size I expected. The reason behind it is TV’s are designed to watch far away from the screen, so pixel size is pretty much larger to comparing PC monitors which are designed to watch much closer. So in the nature, monitors have smaller individual pixel sizes. Otherwise, larger PPI value (pixels per inch).  In the mobile phone market this PPI value is clearly staying in specification on almost any device and its one of main factors decide the screen quality on the device but not on the TV’s and monitors. And I’m not sure why.

 

 

However, there was some TV’s I could find on the market for the lowest price with Full HD resolution as I demand. But the problem was, a lot of those are scams. For example, here SGL32MG353 – 32″ LED TV that clams its full HD, but that is their marketing crap to sell their product. That model, however Chinese made TV re branded by Singhagiri limited. As it’s website demand that panel is a Full HD panel with 1920×1080 resolution. Also, some online market places like daraz.lk selling the same product with the same information, but with extra steps.With some information about UHD crap. So I contact them and asked for more information, but they couldn’t provide any useful information. So I visit some of stores to see the exact product by myself and then find out that TV doesn’t contain Full HD panel. It’s Just HD panel and also all the TV’s below 40 inches are just coming up with an HD or HD ready panels. Then I visit another store and find the exact same story. Every TV on the market that have a true Full HD resolution at least in size of 40 inches or larger. Which means there are no TVs out there, that’s suitable for my purpose.

At this point I could go for some of HD TV, but that will not be good as monitor on similar price range. For example, let’s calculate Dell 27″ SE2717H and SGL32MG353 – 32″ LED TV, PPI values and compare them

Dell 27″ SE2717H

Screen dimensions

Diagonal screen size 27in

Screen resolution

Vertical pixels 1,080

Horizontal pixels 1920

Total pixels 2.074Mpx

Pixels per inch PPI 81.59

SGL32MG353 – 32

Screen dimensions

Diagonal screen size 32in

Screen resolution

Vertical pixels 1,280

Horizontal pixels 720

Total pixels 0.922Mpx

Pixels per inch PPI 45.89

You can see the huge difference between them. The pixel size of the TV almost double sized as a monitor. These larger pixel sizes will make a huge difference when you work in closer to screen.

In meanwhile I got found some other option for the solution, which is Korean made second hand monitors that contain Full HD panel and larger size. And with some nice viewing angles and stuff. Prices are also cheaper than both above options. But they are more likely at the end of their usable lifetime, so possibly we cannot expect longer life time without problems like brand new ones.

So I still haven’t made up my mind over any options. I guess I’ll wait more looking better options outer there. However, here I summarize the details I find out to get a clear idea about the pros and cons in using a monitor or TV in small scale home cinema.

 TVsMonitorsUsed and unbranded korian monitors
Considered Screen size32″27″32″
Resolution availableHD or HD ready
~1280×720
Full HD
~1920×1080
Full HD
~1920×1080
Price 20K LKR to 55K LKR30K LKR to 50K LKR15K LKR to 20K LKR
PPI~46~82~69
    
ProsAvailable at low price
Comes with TV function and some extra options
Larger screen size

Higher screen resolution
Good screen quality
Higher PPI value
Lower response time
Available at low price
Larger screen size
Higher screen resolution
Good screen quality
High PPI value
Lower response time
ConsLow screen quality
Low PPI value
Higher response time
Price is higherNo warranty for considerable time period
Possible shorter life time

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