David Papp Blog

Portable Home Theater using PK301, iHome and iPod

It fits in your pockets!Optima PK301

I love trying out new technology to see how it all works, thinking of the applications they can be used in. Even more exciting is integrating different technologies together to have a complete solution.


Recently I was on a quest to put together a portable home theater that could be brought along in hand luggage on a trip or to meetings with clients for presentations.

Part one was to figure out the best choice for a small projector, in this case a pico projector. After reading a lot of reviews, looking at specifications, inputs/outputs, I decided to use the Optoma PK301 pico projector. This projector features 30 lumens of brightness running on battery and up to 50 lumens while connected to AC power. It is only 0.5 lbs in weight and allows for different inputs (mini hdmi, component video, vga, and a micro sd card slot).

iHome IHM78The second item of importance was the sound. The PK301 only has a built-in 0.5 W mono speaker. I purchased a set of portable iHome speakers (IHM78) which have a handy carrying case and sound great, they are quite loud. They have built-in batteries so you can run them without needing power.

The next step was to look at additional battery life for the PK301 which is rated at about 1.5 hours though seems to be around an hour for me. There is an optional high-capacity battery option (Optoma XP8000) which extends this to 5 hours and also can charge other USB devices (such as the iHome speakers).

After this I wanted to be able to use an iPod touch for movies and tv shows. There is an optional Apple cable to go to composite video which connects directly to the included adapter cable included with the PK301.

iPod Remote and DockI then thought it would be nice to not have to get up during a movie if you wanted to pause it or adjust the volume, this is where the iPod dock comes into play. It doesn’t require separate power to function and works great for our setup.

I have been quite impressed with the sound quality through the iHome speakers and the video quality from the PK301 even in a lit room. If you are able to project on a proper screen it is even better, though a blank wall (preferably white) works out as well.


I believe you will find this to be a great integration of different technologies available to put together a portable home theater. Every component has the ability to connect to AC power if you don’t want to run off batteries though that is certainly part of the appeal of this setup.

Please check out the video review below:

6 thoughts on “Portable Home Theater using PK301, iHome and iPod”

  1. I got here from the iPhone 5C post. Been thinking about Solfire’s post about it and it would be crazy if people can come out with that, using smaller materials. It might be a bit far into the future for that though.

    • Tastefuldeath, yes, this pico projector is extraordinary. It is so small — just half a pound! — and yet it can do so much, and it integrates beautifully with so many other technologies. It’s amazing to think that you could be watching movies in your own home theater. This kind of equipment used to be much, much larger and a good deal more costly. It certainly couldn’t have doubled as a system for doing live presentations while on a business trip.

      I too was reading David’s post about the new iPhone 5:

      Considering the day and age we live in, I wouldn’t be at all surprised to see the iPhone or some other smartphone with a built-in pico projector capability. That would be the ultimate. That is until something even more extraordinary replaces it!

  2. That projector is really only a half a pound? This is quite the interesting idea. I’ll try to talk my office manager into purchasing this for our sales team. What a cool idea all the way around. And it’s not even that expensive to purchase. Excellent review, David.

  3. This is so cool. Who wouldn’t want a home theater on the go. I know there was times that I was traveling and I was so bored. If I had one of these, I would be able to watch movies without looking at my phone screen.

  4. That’s a pretty amazing setup. There was this one projector that Texas Instruments is developing, and it’s a pretty tiny one, about the size of a cheap spy cam you’d find on eBay. The quality of it is pretty impressive, and Samsung actually had one integrated into a phone! If one could be mounted like it is with the Sixth Sense idea, then we may actually have a version of the Sixth Sense for a couple hundred dollars in the near future.

  5. Oh, so beautiful and accessible! Having it made portable takes the pressure off of trying to build a home theater following. Many times we have home screenings only for family and friends, but not as regular as we hoped it would be.

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