October 22, 2007 by Steven Castle
Some guys buy sports cars when they turn 40. Others get depressed. Mark Eagle celebrated his big 4-0 with a basement bash for some friends - after he installed his own recreation room entertainment system.
“I like projects, and I’m a real technonut,” the homeowner says. “It’s something that I thought I could do myself, and my wife let me run with it. It was fun to lay out the room.”
The Eagles’ basement room was already finished and included a pool table, but besides an old rear-projection CRT TV, it didn’t have an entertainment system. The family primarily used a family room upstairs that has both a front projector and a plasma screen system. “I felt we had wasted space down there,” Eagle says. “We could probably make better use of the room when the kids’ friends came over.”
So he set to work, researching products and figuring out the best way to use the space, which is approximately 45 by 25 feet in size. One area lent itself to a bar; an LCD screen would go above that. Another part of the space would be used for a future wine room. The rest would be for pool, darts and watching a big-screen TV. Speakers would go in the ceiling.
Once Eagle knew where everything was going, it was time to wire for it. His electrician found a way to route the wires through the finished ceiling for four Sonance speakers and put in some lights for a wireless Lutron RadioRA lighting system that operates on radio frequency (RF).
Eagle enlisted the help of his wife to hang the 60-inch Pioneer plasma screen, and behind it in another room are shelves containing a Denon receiver, Blu-ray DVD player, and high-definition DirecTV receiver with a DVR (digital video recorder). The bar area has its own HD satellite receiver, which is shared by the 32-inch Sony Bravia LCD over the bar and a 20-inch Panasonic LCD in the nearby exercise room.
“The challenge was figuring out in my head how I was going to use the DVRs and the best way to connect a DVR to the LCD in the exercise room,” Eagle says. That LCD shares the DVR with the plasma TV.
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Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates
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