This home theater recreates the multiplex with a level of detail you won't believe

Vernon wanted his home theater to look like a real movie theater. Check out how he achieved that on a modest budget in this installment of CNET's Show Us Yours.

David Carnoy
Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.
David Carnoy
1 of 48 Vernon/CNET

This is Vernon. He's from Houston, Texas, and he had a simple vision: To create a home theater that had "as close to a movie theater vibe as possible" with a price tag he could afford.

This is what he came up with.

2 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Here's the entrance. Looks a little like the doors at your local movieplex, right?

3 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Looking straight at the entrance.

4 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Look closely at the vertical word on the right. That's a sign pointing you to the bathroom.

5 of 48 Vernon/CNET

The finest theaters have a suit of armor or as Vernon puts it: "Sir Galahad standing guard to ensure privacy when visiting the latrine!"

6 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Here's a peek at the finished product.

7 of 48 Vernon/CNET

But wait. Vernon's home theater wasn't always what it is today. This is what it looked like before.

"This was my poor budget cinema setup immediately after moving into my new home," Vernon says. "Money was tight for a while thereafter."

8 of 48 Vernon/CNET

But Vernon had a dream and he decided to make it happen -- on a budget he could afford.

"Chaos ensued," he says.

9 of 48 Vernon/CNET

This is the frame for his new 133-inch Screen Innovations Zero Edge Slate screen.

10 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Here's the screen fully constructed but not yet ready for prime time because Vernon had to paint and make modifications to the theater room.

11 of 48 Vernon/CNET

The back of the room.

12 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Ceiling walls get the blackout treatment.

"I chose three different paints for this room," Vernon says. "But because there are so many corners, it took forever for me to tape off and paint."

13 of 48 Vernon/CNET

The painting progressing. That ceiling light fixture you saw in previous photo had to go.

14 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Drilling holes for fiber-optic "starry night" effect.

15 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Nice paint-pouring spout.

16 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Side wall.

17 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Sconce. Notice the electrical socket near the ceiling.

18 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Custom, hardwood platform built by a carpenter friend of Vernon's (Designs By B. Rogers) to elevate the back-row seating.

19 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Color-changing LEDs under the platform.

20 of 48 Vernon/CNET

The screen is ready to go up.

21 of 48 Vernon/CNET

The screen is up!

22 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Vernon says he replaced his Onkyo 7.1 receiver with a more powerful Yamaha Aventage 7.2 Atmos receiver and added left, right and center-channel Atlantic Technology speakers to better complement his dual Klipsch 12-inch Reference subs.

23 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Ideally he would have hidden all the gear, but it wasn't in the cards -- or the budget.

24 of 48 Vernon/CNET

After careful consideration, Vernon decided go with the Epson Home Cinema 4000, which CNET's David Katzmaier thinks is a fine projector (read the full review here). He has no regrets.

25 of 48 Vernon/CNET

The Epson Home Cinema 4000 in Vernon's mounting contraption. He says it was concocted out of $16 worth of materials he picked up at his local home improvement store.

26 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Screen is up and projector powered up for the first time.

"I couldn't wait to see the image quality on this thing," Vernon says. "I literally couldn't wait to get the rest of the furniture into the room first."

27 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Alas, Vernon's first furniture choice was not a good one. Yikes.

28 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Vernon says: "Ahhh. The answer to wrongfully chosen Victorian couches -- motorized leather recliners with cup holders!"

29 of 48 Vernon/CNET

The new front couch.

30 of 48 Vernon/CNET

"I'm no frequency response expert," Vernon says, "but this setup sounds pretty damn good to my neighbors across the street!"

He has 11 speakers total, including rear L/R and back L/R satellites. He hasn't implemented Atmos speakers, but isn't convinced he needs them because of how pleased he is with the existing sound.

31 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Starry night effect.

32 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Crisp image from the Epson.

33 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Here we have a Samsung UBD-K8500 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray player, a Yamaha RX-A660 Aventage receiver and a Sony PS4.

34 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Yes, Vernon's a Texans fan.

35 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Vernon says: "133 inches of edgeless gameplay. Hands down, the best video gaming experience I've ever had in my life!"

36 of 48 Vernon/CNET

No Fortnite for Vernon. COD all the way.

37 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Vernon says he tried out PS Vue as an alternative to the conventional cable TV service he was tired of paying for.

He comments, "On a screen this size, I discovered I had the option of watching 3 channels simultaneously at any given time! [Busts out measuring tape] It was the equivalent of an 85-inch and two 42-inch displays on the wall!!! [Mind blown]"

38 of 48 Vernon/CNET

The crown jewel? A candy rack Vernon made himself.

39 of 48 Vernon/CNET

A little black spray paint.

40 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Ready for some sweets. Vernon has his favorites.

41 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Fully stocked.

42 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Ready for consumption.

43 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Looking in from the entrance.

44 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Gotta love those LED lighting effects.

45 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Another shot of the seating areas.

46 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Finished product, as of today. Vernon says: "Shag carpet coming soon!"

47 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Time to go.

48 of 48 Vernon/CNET

Vernon doesn't sell tickets to his home theater but he did deposit the tickets he bought to movies he saw in the theaters -- before building his own!

Thanks for watching the show. If you want to see more of CNET's Show Us Yours showcases, we've got plenty more to check out here

And please submit photos of your own home theater here.

More Galleries

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone
Invitation for the Apple September iPhone 15 event

17 Hidden iOS 17 Features and Settings on Your iPhone

18 Photos
I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

I Took 600+ Photos With the iPhone 15 Pro and Pro Max. Look at My Favorites

34 Photos
Go Inside the Apple iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro: See How the New iPhones Look and Work
iphone 15 in different color from an angled view

Go Inside the Apple iPhone 15 and iPhone 15 Pro: See How the New iPhones Look and Work

21 Photos
2023 BMW Z4 Is 100% More Purple
2023 BMW Z4

2023 BMW Z4 Is 100% More Purple

17 Photos
AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

AI or Not AI: Can You Spot the Real Photos?

17 Photos
Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

Yamaha motorcycle and instrument designers trade jobs (pictures)

16 Photos
CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

CNET's 'Day of the Dead Devices' altar (pictures)

9 Photos