May 25, 2012
by Lisa Montgomery
The owner of this Notre Dame-style theater may live hundreds of miles from his alma mater, but when the 130-inch Stewart Filmscreen screen lowers from its hiding spot in the ceiling and the Runco D-73 3D LED projector fires up, it’s as if he’s seated on the 50-yard line of his beloved “brick house.”
“Having a very large screen for watching football and movies was one of his primary requests,” says custom electronics (CE) pro Dean Valencic of Integrated Electronic Solutions (IES) in Yonkers, N.Y. “So was having multiple screens to watch several games at the same time.”
The solution was to position five flat-panel TVs on the same wall as the huge Stewart roll-down screen. A motorized lifting mechanism—controlled by a Crestron touchpanel—moves the 130-incher into a ceiling soffit on the owner’s command, revealing a group of Samsung and NuVision LED TVs—a 65-inch Samsung flanked by 40-inch NuVision displays. Integrated Electronic Solutions chose LED over other TV technologies because of its energy efficiency and ability to produce bright images. “The brighter the better when watching sports,” Valencic says.
It’s also better to have the option to watch a different game on each screen than it is to be stuck viewing the same event on all screens. In this 10-seat theater, a Crestron 8x8 Digital Media Distribution System transmits high-def video over over HDMI cabling to any of the five LED TVs from any of eight different source components stashed in a specially constructed equipment closet. The sources include a Crestron ADMS Intermedia Delivery System (media server), a Sony 400-disc Blu-ray and DVD changer, a Sony 3D Blu-ray Disc player, five 3D DirecTV receivers and a Microsoft Xbox 360 gaming console.
The owner selects what he wants and where he wants it by touching the appropriate icons on an 8-inch Crestron touchpanel. IES simplified the orchestration of multiscreen game-day viewing by designing the menu of the touchpanel to mirror the layout of the TVs. Valencic explains: “The owner touches one of the TV icons on the touchpanel, followed by touching the icon of the source he wants to display on that TV. He follows the same procedure for each TV. Or he can touch one button to tell a single video source to transmit to every TV on the video wall.
Audio from any of the available video sources broadcasts through the room’s seven JBL Synthesis Project Array speakers and two subwoofers, all of which IES tucked neatly inside specially constructed brick cavities in the walls and covered with “smart art” from Acoustic Smart, which also designed the interior of the theater, including the custom seating, fiber optic ceiling, acoustical treatments and custom carpeting. These acoustically transparent fabric panels can be designed in any size or shape, and images of a homeowner’s choosing can be transferred onto the fabric. Naturally, the owner of this theater chose professionally shot, high-resolution images of famous Notre Game coaches and players to display on the six custom-designed panels. “It really adds to the sense of being at the stadium, plus enhances the audio performance of the room,” says Valencic.
And while few college football games are played at night, the owners have the option of viewing under the stars. On command from the Crestron touchpanel, tiny fiber optic lights embedded within black acoustical panels activate, blanketing the ceiling with constellations and an occasional shooting star.
Other light fixtures in the room are controllable as well, via a Crestron iLux lighting system. Engaging the movie scene on the Crestron touchpanel, for example, dims all the lights and turns on the fiber optic ceiling. Intermission brightens the lights that line the steps and the perimeter of the room. A sports setting brightens the fixtures to create the feel of a sunny afternoon at a Notre Dame game.
Like football themed theaters? Check out some of these Cool Homes and see how they stack up next to the Fighting Irish Home Theater.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.