An update on the media mini:

Antiquated digital cable for antiquated dumpstered projector, check! And well under ten bucks from Monoprice.

Multichannel digital output via AirPlay, NO WAY!

Repurposing articulated (and dumpstered) keyboard shelf as projector ceiling mount, possible check!

Craigslist-sourced Sony surround set, flaky as advertised, check! Still looking into what might be causing low volume audio, but in general, the amp looks to be toast.

So, basically, I need to solve the audio problem. The video input to the projector is semi-solved (the mini will certainly not play nice with many HD video sources, and of course it won’t support blu-ray). Another year and networked 1080p playback devices will be craigslisted at under $100, so no rush.

Looking at CL for audio stuff was kind of amazing. It looks at if there is approximately a $50 floor for amps, no matter the quality, age, or features. Crappy 1980s Aiwa or 7.1 no HDMI whatever, it’s going for $50.