May 10, 2011
by Rebecca Day
It’s a challenge to distinguish between form and function in this glitzy home theater. Start up top, at the “floating cloud” ceiling constructed of acoustical panels and trimmed with colorful LED lighting that makes a technology fashion statement. Wall-lined pillars, in place for aesthetic appeal, also house bass traps to calm the thumps from four 18-inch subwoofers.
But it’s the 3D system that brings a whole new element to this home theater experience, says Lance Anderson of Admit One Home Cinema of Edina, Minn. The active DPI projection system works with a standard screen, unlike a passive system that must maintain vertical polarization to produce 3D images. A view into the crystal ball was essential to avoid obsolescence, Anderson says. “We wanted to make sure we had adequate cabling, because even 15 months ago when we were wiring, we didn’t know whether we’d need two HDMI cables to [carry the 3D signal] or a single HDMI 1.4 cable.” To cover all the bases, the company installed conduit and ran extra cable.
The infrared (IR) emitter for the 3D glasses is located at the projector location, rather than by the screen. Not only does this save on wiring, but the designers didn’t have to worry about hiding it. Anderson says the signal bounces off the screen in the same way the image does, with the timing of the IR signal controlled by the Samsung Blu-ray player dedicated to 3D playback.
A Kaleidescape Blu-ray media server stores the 2D Blu-ray collection. Anderson chose XpanD Universal 3D glasses for the theater because of their compatibility with all active-shutter systems. “I like the idea of glasses that aren’t [exclusive to] a particular [3D display] manufacturer,” he says. “They play well with others.”
Simplicity ruled for the remote control, as Anderson employed a one-fisted RTI T2-C that allows users to enter their favorite channels by feel, an important ergonomic plus when operating a remote in the dark. Despite the increasing popularity of using smartphones as remote controls, Anderson is sticking by the raised-button design for home theaters, so users don’t have to open an app to control the TV. “So often we see large palette remotes, but my theory is that they aren’t practical,” Anderson says. “We like to give our customers a lot of tactile buttons.” It’s more work on the programming side, he says, but it results in a smoother operation and happier theater owners. EH