Family AV Upgrade Includes Control4 Automation and Sonos
Replaced with LED TVs and a new and improved control system.
December 12, 2011 by Lisa Montgomery

Home control can be a tough business. During the recession, many companies folded; others braced for the storm and survived. Some, like Control4, actually thrived during the downturn. At a time when most people needed to take out a second mortgage to own a home control system, Control4 offered a solution that was affordable and practical … and it worked well. So well, in fact, that the owners of this 10,000 square-foot home just recently replaced their A/V system, which included a PHAST (AMX) remote, after having used it for more than a decade with a Control4 setup. “The original system provided the family with basic audio distribution that played music throughout the house as well as a simple one room remote,” says custom electronics (CE) professional Brian Bischoff, who installed the system for the family in the early 90s.

While there was nothing functionally wrong with the PHAST system, its architecture and controls were sorely outdated. The family could listen to one song at a time and control the volume from rotary knobs placed on the walls. Today, most systems distribute multiple songs simultaneously to multiple areas, and users control the music via touchscreen-style remote controls and/or devices such as the iPad. The Control4 system supported this capability; plus, it would allow the family to also easily control a completely new entertainment setup outside, as well as the lights and Jandy pool equipment. 
Probably the most noticeably antiquated part of the house, though, was the multi-screen setup in the pub room. “At the time, having more than one screen in a room was a big deal and extremely cutting edge,” says Bischoff. In this case, a 40-inch rear-projection TV was flanked by three smaller tube TVs. “Today, you can’t even find a tube TV if you tried, and a 40-inch TV is considered small,” Bischoff continues.

When the owners called Bischoff and his company Perfect Solutions AV, Terrace Park, Ohio, to add an entertainment system to their newly built pool area, he couldn’t help but suggest that they also update the A/V systems inside the main house. The in-ceiling Boston Acoustic speakers stayed. “Although they are at least 10-years-old they still sound good,” he says. Everything else was ripped out and replaced with a Sonos system, chosen primarily for the fact that it could be installed without having to add new wiring to the house.

The 11 satellite TV receivers (one for each TV), were trimmed down to 4 units (one for each member of the family) and connected to a ZeeVee distribution system that allows the family to access whichever of the four receivers they want from whichever TV they’re viewing.

As for the antiquated multi-TV setup in the pub room, Perfect Solutions AV called in a local cabinetmaker, Bob Harrigan, to design a home for a trio of much larger, slimmer TVs: a 65-inch 3D LED TV from Samsung, with two 32-inch LED Samsung displays above it. The original 4.1 surround system (no center speaker) was replaced with a 7.1 setup of BG Radia speakers and Definitive Technology subwoofer. The speaker system was designed for both loud and precise movie and music listening. The homeowner is an avid musician, so along with the Integra preamp and amp, a Yamaha mixing board was incorporated so he can easily plug in microphones and guitars.

In the midst of the modernization taking place inside the house, Perfect Solutions AV was also busy tricking out the covered patio. On command from a Control4 remote or iPad, a a 65-inch 3D LED Samsung TV drops quietly from the ceiling, while the 30- degree offset Episode ceiling speakers and flush-mounted ceiling Velodyne subwoofer kick in. The system ties to the home’s ZeeVee and Sonos systems to provide the family with access to and control of all of the A/V components inside the house. After viewing, the TV can be lifted back up into the ceiling with the help from a lift made by Nexus 21.

Check out more pictures here in the slideshow.

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Lisa Montgomery - Contributing Writer
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.

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