January 17, 2008
| by Lisa Montgomery
To leverage the benefits of the FireBall, Moore tied it to an Elan music distribution system. This connection allows the CDs to be played over speakers located throughout the property. After the owners enter their song selection, the Elan system can distribute the tune to any of six independent listening zones. The owners can turn on each zone from any wall-mounted Elan touchpanel or keypad in the house.
iPod Joins In
If it weren’t for their gigantic CD collection, the owners would mainly use an iPod for their listening pleasure. A special docking station in the media room connects the portable to the Elan music system. The touchpanels and keypads display the titles currently stored on the iPod and invite the homeowners to select a tune to play throughout the house. With the Elan touchpanels running a respectable $400 each, Moore was able to install a unit in several rooms, including the kitchen, master bathroom and rec room. He complemented the touchpanels with basic Elan Z-100 keypads and Elan volume controls in the dining room, foyer and outdoor kitchen. The homeowners hope to soon add a $3,500 wireless touchpanel. The Elan VIA! 2-8.4 touchpanel will be able to display the same music data as the wall-mounted units but will offer the homeowners the convenience of being able to carry their information and controls with them. “They’ll even be able to take the touchpanel outside,” says Moore.
Video is pushed around the house, too. In this case, it’s not movies from a remote DVD player or TiVo recorder the owners are viewing on every TV but images captured by four Panasonic surveillance cameras. A click of a remote pulls up the footage on whichever TV they want. The same remote can zoom, pan and tilt a camera for a better view of the chosen area. The cameras can be also accessed remotely from any Internet-enabled device.
A Sea of TVs
Outfitting a home with 11 TVs, most of them large plasma or LCD models, would seem like a costly endeavor. But Moore was happy to use the homeowners’ eight existing sets. He rounded out the current video inventory with a few high-def units to create three distinct movie-viewing areas, each with its own 5.1 surround-sound system and DVD player. The most impressive arrangement occupies a newly constructed media room, where a 73-inch Mitsubishi 1080p DLP HDTV takes center stage. Custom cabinetry was designed specifically to hold three front Monitor Audio speakers, a Velodyne subwoofer, a Denon receiver and a Denon DVD player.
Panasonic plasma TVs and Elan in-ceiling speakers were the choice for the great room and master bedroom. Both sets, measuring 58 and 50 inches, respectively, were mounted above a fireplace to establish one main focal point in the room. A combination of LCD and plasma TVs were installed elsewhere in the house, each with their own DVD player, cable TV box and remote control—a very simple setup that helped keep the budget in line.
Pride of Ownership
Technology may evolve at the speed of light, but the owners of this renovated home prove that it’s possible to breathe new life into old equipment by joining it with a few state-of-the-art control systems and without busting a budget.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.