At 30 floors up, this Dallas high-rise has incredible downtown views. But from the rooftop patio, the cityscape almost pales in comparison to what the homeowners can see on the side of their penthouse. It depends on what’s playing on the massive 300-inch screen perched on the wall above the pool.
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That’s big enough to be seen from the highway when it’s beaming at night. Because of that the owners may need to be mindful of what R-rated movies they show; on the other hand, they don’t have to worry about blasting the pseudo surround-sound system thanks to its rooftop locale.
They left the worries to Southlake, Texas-based Futurian Systems, whose installation work wasn’t quite as dangerous as constructing skyscrapers but wasn’t nearly as safe as your standard basement theater build. For starters, the team needed cooperative weather, notes Futurian president Jeremy Beck.
“Around the outskirts of the pool deck it has joint glass to protect from the wind, but it really kicks up,” he says. “If the wind got behind the screen at any point it could potentially rip it from behind or act like a big sail. We had to plan on a day that worked well, when the winds were light and we could build a frame and not worry about the wind pulling guys off the top of the building.”
The screen installation went off “flawlessly,” Beck says, noting that his team overcame another potential hazard, as it had to climb ladders placed in the pool to reach the area where the screen would be mounted. Futurian chose a waterproof, fixed screen from Da-Lite rather than a motorized dropdown screen that Beck says could have run up to 10 times the cost of the roughly $3,000 model installed. A JVC projector provides the HD images, and Futurian integrated it with the penthouse’s Control4 system to access satellite TV and an Axonix movie server.
Movie soundtracks and music are routed to seven Niles Audio planter speakers positioned around the pool and powered by a Denon receiver. The front left and right speakers were configured as center channels to give more dialogue coverage—and because there was no place for a true center. Futurian calibrated the audio as best it could given the conditions.
“There are so many ambient noises up there it would have been virtually impossible to have a processor put all that information together,” says Beck. “Wind noise and plane noise were definitely a concern that we anticipated, so we spec’d a receiver with a lot of power.”
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.