May 23, 2012
| by Lisa Montgomery
You’d think a huge space would be a great place to put a home theater system. This 17-by-25-foot great room definitely offered enough elbow room to seat a crowd, but its layout and design lacked the features of a true dedicated viewing room. For one, a huge bank of sliding doors introduced to much light into the room—something a video projector would have a hard time dealing with. Then, there was the matter of sheer size. To view a movie from all areas of the great room would have required a massive screen—something the owners really didn’t feel comfortable incorporating into the contemporary design.
The solution: construct a half-wall in the middle of the room to create a smaller, more intimate, and clearly defined viewing area. Measuring about 10 feet wide by 4 feet high, the bunker would house a 55-inch Samsung LED display for casual daytime viewing. A trio of James Loudspeaker speakers are hidden inside the wall, too, as part of a 5.1 surround-sound system that also includes rear in-ceiling speakers from Sonance and a subwoofer from Velodyne.
Fifty-five inches of viewing material is nothing scoff at, but it was far from the size required to pull off a honest-to-goodness home theater experience, says Eric Thies, a custom electronics (CE) professional at DSI Entertainment Systems, Los Angeles. He and his team added a 110-inch Firehawk G3 screen from Stewart Filmscreen to the setup, although unlike the flat-panel display, this screen usually only comes out at night. Tucked up into the ceiling, its lowers via a motorized lifting system over the 55-incher when the homeowners hit the Movie button on their Crestron MLX-2 remote. The command also tells motorized shades from Lutron to cover the glass door and the lights to dim. Just in case the family ever decides to bring down the screen during the day, the Firehawk is one of the best screens on the market at fighting off ambient light from the sides and back.
Naturally, the projector that fires images onto the screen fires up, too, but it’s so well hidden that neither the owners nor their guests ever notice that it’s on. Resting on a shelf in a closet in a guest bedroom, the JVC DLA-RS10 projector shines through a small portal in the back wall of the great room.
Check out another awesome DSI home theater installation here.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.