December 29, 2011
| by Lisa Montgomery
In the world of home electronics, there’s always something new and better around the corner. The owner of this 468-square-foot theater waited 10 years to update the technology and decor of his increasingly underutilized space.
The most noticeable difference is the video. A 113-inch, 16:9 format screen was swapped for a 168-inch, 2.35:1 CinemaScope-format screen from Vutec, and a Runco projector was traded in for a Titan Reference 1080p 3D projector from Digital Projection International (DPI).
Several structural modifications to the existing space were necessary to incorporate the new equipment, which would also include beefier speakers and subwoofers from Triad and Kicker, respectively. To make room for the much larger screen, three front speakers and four subwoofers, HD Media Systems, Cape Girardeau, Mo., relocated the equipment rack from the side wall of the theater to a closet in another room. The front wall was built out a couple of feet and a proscenium was constructed below the screen to offer space for the speakers and subs.
“The Kickers measure about 14 cubic feet each, but you’d never know they were there, and with about 6,000 watts of power on them, the bass response is pretty amazing,” says custom electronics (CE) professional Drew Balsman of HD Media Systems. The area was topped off with a motorized drapery track from BTX, which like all the rest of the gear can be controlled from a Savant home control app on the owner’s iPad.
The back wall, meanwhile, became the hiding spot for the Titan projector. “It’s a fairly big piece of equipment, so suspending it from the ceiling would have sorely detracted from the room aesthetic,” says Balsman. It was a tight squeeze to fit it into the back wall—just 36 inches deep from the drywall to the foundation wall- but after some careful calculations and proper alignment and mounting, the machine found a comfy home, with just a half-inch to spare.
Also added was a Vantage system to control the lights and a fiber optic starfield from Fiberoptix on the ceiling. Several scenes, which were programmed into the Savant control system by HD Media Systems, synchronized the settings of the A/V equipment and lights. The owner simply touches the play button on his iPad to open the curtains, dim and lights, rev up the projector and activate the appropriate gear in the closet. This simple means of control, combined with the fresh suite of A/V equipment, has reintroduced the homeowner to the joys of high-performance movie-viewing. “He told us he’s used the theater more in the past 30 days than he has in the past 10 years,” says Balsman.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.
A video projector can be one of the toughest pieces of equipment to incorporate into a room. Variables such as the size of the screen, the arrangement of the seats, even viewing preferences can all impact the location of the projector. In some instances, the best spot might be somewhere completely unacceptable, like a foot above your head in the middle of the room. For this reason, video projector manufacturers like Digital Projection International (DPI) offer a variety of lens options. With a zoom lens installed, a projector that may have been mounted overhead in the middle of the room can now be pushed to the back of the room where it’s less noticeable. According to Drew Balsman of HD Media Systems in Cape Girardeau, Mo., a zoom lens was crucial to the placement of the DPI Titan Reference 1080p 3D projector in this major home theater overhaul. “It allowed us to put the projector where we wanted and ensure that the image would fill the entire 168-inch screen.”