July 01, 2011
| by Lisa Montgomery
How is it possible to hide a 100-inch screen? It’s easier than you might think—as long as you plan ahead. The screen is actually the easiest element to hide, provided you spring for one that can be retracted via a motorized mechanism into a housing mounted to the ceiling or located above the ceiling. With your massive screen tucked safely out of sight, your media room is once again just a room.
Hiding a projector is usually more complicated, but a well-designed soffit can function as an effective cloaking device. Consider adding removable panels to the soffit for cable and projector access, and definitely make sure the soffit is properly ventilated to ensure sufficient airflow. When all is said and done, you should see only a hole for the lens.
To make more equipment disappear, consider using in-wall or in-ceiling speakers and an out-of-sight, out-of-mind equipment rack. And since you’re already dealing with a motorized screen, consider motorized draperies and triggered lighting control. With the push of a button, your projector revs up, the screen drops down, the lights dim and the drapes close.
To achieve this level of home automaton trickery, look for a front projector with at least one integrated 12-volt trigger and an RS-232 serial data port. A simple 12-volt trigger can signal the screen to lower as soon as the projector is turned on, for example. Similarly, when the projector is turned off, the screen can return automatically to its hiding spot.
In this room, by Starr Systems Design, the 120-inch screen disappears with the touch of a button.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.