We got our first TV in 1989, a BPL 21" Color CRT TV. It had a single speaker, probably 3W RMS. I was 17 then, a key influencer in purchasing BPL TV over Crown TV. I do not remember the reasons, probably they were
(1) Me and my brother liked the TV
(2) It was the first so called Vertical Model where controls were placed below the picture tube
(3) It was affordable (probably a stretch) to my father, it was just below 10000/-
(4) Dealer promised to deliver and install it immediately, that day itself.
We also had an Philips AM/FM Radio, which was larger in size than that of our BPL TV, It was made of Valve Tubes. It was working since late 60s when my father was still a bachelor and bought it second hand. After 30 years it failed one day and we learnt that it can not be repaired as parts are unavailable. So we bought a 2 in 1, including cassette tape player and AM/FM radio, again a Philips model. It had stereo speakers probably 3W+3W and an AUX In. I could connect AUX Out from TV to this 2 in 1 and thus came into existence my first Home Theatre.
I also remember getting made a special cable AUX Out at one end and HeadPhone Socket at other at a shop in Appa Balawant Chowk (used to be called ABC), which had many electronic components stores and book stores. It used to be a regular hangout for me. I also bought a Headset and used this cable to connect it to the TV to watch those late night movies being telecasted on DoorDarshan once a week. This headset ensured that the sound did not disturb parents at night.
College days were filled with movies with friends, i remember our group were fans of Clint Eastwood, Gregory Peck, Lee van Cliff, Chuk Norris, Harrison Ford, Bruce Lee, Jacky Chan and of course James Bond. We were also fans of Western Horror and Thriller movies (including those from Ramsay Brothers) which used to be full of sound effects. Matinee Tickets were cheaper (i remember paying RS 10 / 15 / 25 at most) in a theater called Alka (in Pune) and probably RS 50/60 in a theater called Rahul which sported a 70 mm screen. I never knew what 70 mm really means in those days, except that it was larger than the one in Alka. We could only afford front row seats for our budget, any extra cash available was spent for Samosa or Vada Pav. MacKenna's Gold was my first movie in a 70 mm theatre, where one running horse filled the entire screen. That was when i realized larger screen is always better. a Repeat show was never an issue, which ended up in we watching some of these action movies multiple times year after year.
Once i started working in Mid 90s, the first thing i bought with my own money was a SONY Walkman (there were no mobile phones then !), This had a Cassette Player with built in Mic and recording function along with AM/FM Radio. I developed a fascination for FM Radio and Recording from FM Radio on to the Cassettes. I remember buying many SONY 60 Minutes and 90 Minutes Cassette Tapes and trying to create my own physical music albums and becoming a Home DJ whenever time permitted. I think my mother still have retained some of those cassettes (i do not know whether they are still functional) which remain unused since a decade and half at least. I lost my walkman during one of the business trips in early 2000s.
Second Thing I bought was a Desk Top PC, It had a 14" CRT Samsung Color Monitor and a CD Drive, Sound Card with two multimedia speakers probably 1W + 1W, It was Mid 90s and CD-Audio was just starting to become famous. Alurkar Music House was a popular music store from where we used to buy cassettes and CDs, also used to provide CDs with some MP3 songs recorded. Also the pirated movies started to appear on the road side sellers along JM Road, Soon the Home had two theaters, one with the TV + 2 in 1 and Second one is DeskTop PC + Stereo Multimedia Speakers.
Watching a movie from the front row or the second row over a 35 mm screen or a 70 mm screen used to be the definition of Theater Experience in those years. Surround Sound was unavailable at Home, I always wanted to replicate that theater surround sound effect at home. I remember trying to build my own Amplifier boards and trying to make it work during engineering study years, these attempts often resulted in building a fixed frequency, fixed amplitude oscillators , Couple of times it resulted in some sound and lot of noise coming out of the speakers I remember disposing off all such successful evidences much later in 2010 when my parents permanently shifted out of our Pune house back to their native place.
in 2006, we bought our house in Mumbai, I wanted to set up the Home Theater, with surround sound speakers. By that time my Amplifier Design Fundamentals got an uplift and my amplifiers stopped oscillating or stopped being noisy. i had successfully built a 5.1 surround sound amplifier reference design at my employer and our customers had started to produce the sound systems with that design. I managed to include a concealed wiring for 5.1 surround sound speakers and a wall mounting provision with ambient light control in the living room. But we had to migrate to Bangalore, abandoning further investments in this Living room theater.
Life became busy, watching TV and movies became least of the priorities, hobbies like listening to music, recording, collecting song files and creating own albums etc took back stage. It was replaced by Photography an road trips. Listening to songs remained only limited to long drives, but watching movies in theaters came to forefront with growing up daughter and her insistence to watch 3D movies in Theatre. So somewhere that KEEDA or worm of Home Theatre started growing bigger.
We bought a house again in Bangalore two years ago and end of last year, we decided to renovate it completely. As part of this renovation, this Home Theater BUG resurfaced and took the center stage. By this time options had gone up, Choices were in plenty both in Displays, Projectors, Amplifiers, Speakers, AV Processors etc. The number of stake holders had got increased (it was no longer me alone) with wife and daughter also having their own taste and preferences. More over the budgets were in conflict with other priorities of renovation.
After living with dream for over 2 decades, eventually we decided to have a home theater with surround sound. But i am far from realizing it, as yet. This thread is to document some of my learning along the way, also to seek some answers from Audio Enthusiasts and Experts here. Probably this might help like minded fellows in their Audio/Home theatre journey as well.