Entertainment Options Galore
The largest of the home’s 11 displays is a 103-inch Runco plasma TV. Weighing a quarter of ton and costing around $100,000, it deserved a place all its own. Rather than sequester it to a dedicated theater room, the family had it installed in a more accessible “movie lounge” area. Located between the kids’ and parents’ bedrooms and designed for casual viewing, the lounge is used far more than a formal theater.
While convenient and accessible for the family, the movie lounge was tough for Home Media to craft into a top-notch media environment. A vaulted ceiling could not accommodate a video projector, and limited space on the front wall precluded the addition of a rear-projection display. So the plasma was the best option for big-screen viewing. To drive the display, a separate 220-amp was added, and motorized draperies had to be hung over to the floor-to-ceiling windows to block exterior light.
Getting content to the display was no problem, as the Home Media team had wired the room to a main equipment rack in the lower level. From here, four high-def cable TV receivers can stream programs to the plasma. For convenient disc loading, the Home Media team installed a Blu-ray player in the movie lounge. It’s accompanied by a local high-def satellite receiver.
Two other popular places to plop down for a movie are in the great room and a lower-level party barn. Again, the room design of each space dictated a somewhat unconventional A/V arrangement. The 65-inch Panasonic plasma TVs in each room are nothing out of the ordinary, but the number of speakers and subwoofers that were installed certainly is. Each room was fitted with 10 speakers, accompanied by five subwoofers in the great room and four subwoofers in the party barn.
Why so many? The sheer size of each space, says Home Media design engineer Florin Fleischer. With both rooms measuring close to 2,000 square feet and with ceiling heights of 30 feet, it would take a lot of audio horsepower to fill the area with sound, says Fleischer. Rather than guess at the magic number of speakers and subs, Home Media contacted speaker/sub manufacturer James Loudspeaker for its recommendation. They went with James’ plan and incorporated their own special touches like subwoofers beneath the floor.
As if these decked-out media spaces weren’t enough, four areas inside the house and two areas outside are rigged for live entertainment. Whether it’s a D.J. or a band, they can plug their equipment into special XLR jacks installed by Home Media.
A 24-inch Savant Touch TV displays video from a variety of components, views from any of 11 surveillance cameras, controls for the home’s various electronic systems and a floorplan which shows the current status of every piece of electronic hardware.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.