July 25, 2011
| by Lisa Montgomery
A high-def display can only perform to its potential when fed by high-def sources, so Yacht Tech added a Kaleidescape media server, Denon Blu-ray player and DirecTV high-def DVR receivers to the theater’s Middle Atlantic rack, which slides out from the wall and rotates for service access. The theater also features a 7.2-channel JBL Synthesis surround-sound system, Crestron touchpanel remote, iPod dock and motorized LEG draperies.
Perhaps the most significant update, though, was the addition of a Crestron MP2E control system. Yacht Tech spent many hours programming the system to choreograph the operation of everything electronic in Christine’s home. It’s made a dramatic difference in how she manages her business and personal life. Rather than interact with a myriad of different keypads to prepare the house for a dinner party, for example, she now goes to one Crestron touchpanel, presses a button and dozens of devices react appropriately. The lights on the main level dim to soft preset intensities, a compilation of music from the Kaleidescape server streams to built-in SpeakerCraft speakers, and several motorized draperies close to create an intimate atmosphere.
It’s a different story when Christine engages the PARTY button. The lights brighten to showcase her extensive collection of colorful glasswork, lively music broadcasts through the speakers, and the draperies open to encourage guests to stroll through her Japanese gardens. Here, the setting changes again. Inconspicuous motion detectors signal the Crestron system, which in turn trips outdoor light fixtures, speakers and a misting system in a perfectly timed sequence to guide guests through the illusion of a rainforest. On cue, the sound of crickets plays through the marinegrade outdoor SpeakerCraft speakers, and a light mist brushes the lawn.
The mood shifts once again when the party moves to the home theater. It’s high-octane entertainment in this 600-square-foot space located smack in the middle of the home. A ticket counter and illuminated movie posters and marquees—all controlled by the Crestron system—welcome friends to the show. Inside, it’s wall-to-wall lipstick red: the seats, the carpet, the drapes around Christine’s new 108-inch display, but only for a few minutes. As soon as Christine taps the MOVIE button on a portable Crestron touchpanel, a pair of pocket doors close and the room fades to black. Lively chatter is replaced by knock-your-socks-off surround-sound, and the intricate theater design is trumped by 108 inches of pure, high-def imagery.
The Crestron-controllable lighting effects, housewide music and home theater enable Christine to pull out all the stops when guests are in town. Most evenings, though, the control is low key, with Christine choosing to watch movies on a 42-inch Planar LCD TV in her bedroom or a 37- or 26-inch NuVision display in her office.
From a Crestron touchpanel she can dim the lights, adjust the thermostat and position the drapes, creating an atmosphere of total relaxation … almost. Before Christine can breathe easy, she likes to give her home the once-over, ensuring that every area is safe and secure. Again, it’s a matter of touching one button on the touchpanel. The CAMERA icon instantly brings up real-time, high-def video on a TV screen, from 12 color Panasonic surveillance cameras. Via navigation buttons on a touchpanel, Christine can choose to view all of the cameras at once or cycle through the images one at a time. She can pan, tilt and zoom in some of the cameras and record every second of video to a DVR for future reference.
Naturally, one of the cameras is positioned to watch over the Norwegian Queen. Captured and displayed in clear, colorful high-def, the image is a constant temptation to hit the Seven Seas. Thanks to Christine’s pair of Crestron control systems, both the house and the yacht can be ready for her departure at a moment’s notice. Bon Voyage!
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.