Designer Looks, Solid Performance for Under $15K
This budget theater includes 1080p projection, Blu-ray, and 7.1-channel surround sound in a tight fit.
FINALIST: Best Home Theater $25,000 and Under
June 29, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger

A great theater at a low cost? The result of this nifty project had one designer estimating that it cost $40,000, when the reality was under $15K, according to custom electronics pro Surreal Systems.

The room was designed for use for the family including two young children, to enjoy movies and sporting events. Along with keeping costs down, “we had to compete with the homeowners’ desire to have a lot of storage space, which left very little options for front speaker locations,” says Surreal Systems’ Matt Bernath.

“We overcame this obstacle by designing little sleds for the speakers to be installed onto with screw adjustments which allowed us to tilt them down into the listening area,” he adds. “The cabinet contractor (Trinity Cabinetry) made and installed the sleds and they worked excellent, with no imaging compromise.”

More than just a dedicated theater, the multipurpose media room also includes some exercise equipment that influenced some of the A/V choices. Along with making sure all of the design elements were ideal for speaker placement, projector configuration and more, Bernath says Surreal went with products that provided the best bang for the buck. That includes a 7.1-channel surround system featuring Definitive Technology speakers, Sunfire subwoofer and Denon electronics, and a Panasonic/Vutec projector and screen combination.

The Panasonic PTAE2000U delivers affordable 1080p high-def images from a Samsung Blu-ray player projected onto the 103-inch screen.

A Universal Remote Control remote system and lighting dimmer combination allows the homeowners streamlined access to iPod music, Blu-ray/DVD movie selections, AM/FM tuner and DirecTV. Plus that integrated lighting control, “for the at-the-movies feel,” which can be uncommon in a budget theater - one the entire family can enjoy.

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Arlen Schweiger - Contributor, Electronic House Magazine
Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for and Electronic House magazine.

Systems Design & Installation
Surreal Systems
Anaheim, CA

Equipment List
Surreal Systems Custom Fan System
Definitive Technology CLR2002 Center Speaker
(2) Def Tech Studio 350 Bookshelf Speakers
(4) Def Tech UIW64A In-Ceiling Speakers
Denon ADIR iPod Dock
Denon AVR2309CI AV receiver
Panasonic PTAE2000U 1080p Projector
Peerless PRG-UNV Projector Mount
Samsung BDP1500 Blu-ray Player
Sunfire HRS8 Subwoofer
MRF350 and MX980 Universal Remote Control System
Universal Remote Lighting Dimmer
Vutec 103” Brite White Projection Screen

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