December 07, 2009
| by Steven Castle
The 2.0:1 aspect ratio comes from a specification developed by Performance Media Industries, called PMI 2.0, and designed to optimize the size of varied aspect ratios without compromising picture quality. PMI says 2.0 also minimizes the amount of masking required to eliminate letterboxing and bars. This is one of the first theaters done in the format.
A four-way electronic masking system is used on the screen, and the projectors change aspect ratios not by stretching the sides of the image, but by an index zoom lens that only affects the top few rows of pixels in an image instead of stretching the sides. An anamorphic lens for CinemaScope-wide images is not required.
Equipping this room with two projectors proved the easy part. “All the equipment could handle two outputs, and it was easy to run content to them with HDMI [high-definition multimedia interface] and DVI [digital visual interface] cables,” says Barson.
By the way, the Lightning projector costs a whopping $192,000, and the additional cost for the second, smaller projector system was about $35,000, plus about $10,000 for programming and installation.
The hardest part was actually getting the equipment into the room. The theater was built under a new wing of the house by blasting through granite 22 feet under the ground. It’s encased in concrete and would be served by a spiral staircase descending through a 4-by-4-foot shaft, so all the equipment had to be lowered through the shaft before the staircase was installed.
Other components in the theater complement the uncompromising performance of the two-projector system. There’s a Lexicon controller and DVD player, Lumagen video processing, a herd of Professional Home Cinema speakers, subwoofers and amps — we count 12 speakers, eight subwoofers and 13 amplifiers—the Kaleidescape video server, Crestron control system, MSR acoustic treatments and much more.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates