My Theater Build

It took me 18 months to complete my basement build.  Not all of that time was spent on the theater.  My wife gave me the go ahead with the theater, but with some stipulations.  First, I had to finish the entire basement, not just the theater.  Second, I couldn’t spend over $12,000 including building materials, furniture, decor and electronics (man, that is a small budget!).  And finally, don’t burn the house down!

So there you go, I have to take an unfinished basement to a new finished living space for $12,000 or less.  Here are the steps I have taken to make this a reality and some things that I would have done differently.  Let’s start.


  1. Measure the empty basement –  27′ x 30′
  2. Determine how many areas are needed – Theater, Bar-Dining, Craft, Bathroom, Storage
  3. Rough design of space usage

    Floor Plan
  4. Do rough electrical, hvac, plumbing plans.  This is where you want to decide speaker placement and how much conduit you need.
  5. Buy tools and building materials [Read more…]

DirecTV Serial/USB channel changing for DVBLink for HD-PVR

Many people have trouble setting up serial/usb channel changing using DVBLink, DirecTV and Windows 7.  I am going to show you the software, hardware and steps I used to get channel changing that is 99% accurate (sometimes it misses the NFL Sunday Ticket HD sub channels).

Software used

  • HDPVR IrBlaster Bridge – This is a drop in replacement for the Hauppauage IR Blaster DLL. It currently supports talking directly to the DirecTV STB via the serial port.
  • (Optional) DirecTV Channel Control v1.0– This is a utility that will allow you to change channels and control your external direcTV set top box using the low speed data connection (home control) port in the back of the receiver.  This is only needed for the NFL Sunday Ticket HD

[Read more…]

Windows 7 MCE + DVBLink for HDPVR = HD Happiness


Here are the steps I used to obtain DirecTV HD using Windows 7 MCE, but you should be able to use any Set Top Box.  The Hauppauge HDPVR will record from your set top box to an h.264 wtv file.  At the moment the Xbox 360 is the only MCE extender that can play video produced by the HDPVR.  Most of the instructions taken from the 1geek1tool wiki.

Install Windows 7

I did a clean install of Windows 7 Business.  I ran Windows Update and installed all the Important updates.

Install the latest drivers for your graphics card

Windows Update didn’t give me the latest drivers for my ATI HD 2600 XT.  Having a card that has a hardware h.264 decoder is recommended if you plan on using your HTPC to connect to your TV to cut down on CPU usage.  If you plan on using the Xbox 360 as your extender then the h.264 decoder is not needed.

 I use my HTPC in my theater and 2 Xbox 360s in the rest of the house.

[Read more…]