A home theater is not only a great place for the family to enjoy movies, TV and music, it’s also an extension of the home and the homeowner’s taste. This particular homeowner likes simple designs, You won’t find any excessive trimmings or even framed movie posters. Instead the owner of this room was more interested getting the most performance, and biggest picture, for his investment.
Dallas-area integrator David Huse, owner of Theater Advice, was called in for the job, and in addition to recommending and installing the electronic components, he also had to act as a coach to the client’s builder, who was actually building out the room.
The home owners already had a builder on the job, but they knew they needed an A/V pro when it came to the theater. One feature Huse was particularly involved in was the design of the projector housing. He recognized that the builder didn’t have the A/V experience to know how to design an aesthetic and functional housing for the JVC projector, so Huse designed the feature, and the client gave the plans for the builder to execute. Huse also offered guidance on the theater seat risers, wall columns and other features to ensure the theater would be perfect. As the room was taking shape he would periodically come in to check the progress and offer suggestions until the room was ready for him to step in and install the theater gear.
The curved projector housing adds an elegant architectural feature to the room, but also hides the projector from sight—something the homeowner requested. It also insulates any projector noise away from the viewers.
This particular theater is a big one—about 30 feet long with three rows of seating holding a total of 12 Berkline reclining leather seats. Huse notes that a lot of people have been buying up Berkline seats cheaply since the company went out of business last year.
Those 12 seats face a 130-inch Stewart Filmscreen which. Huse always recommends the Stewart screens for his best theater designs. The screen is lit up by a JVC DLA-X30BU projector. Huse uses a lot of JVC projectors because he especially likes the value and performance he gets from them. He finds a lot of clients can see the rainbow effect caused by single-chip DLP projectors, but that’s not an issue with D-ILA projectors. The JVC is a 3D projector and includes both horizontal and vertical lens shift and 50,000:1 contrast ratio (achieved without the use of an iris).
Audio power and signal processing all come from an Onkyo TX-NR709 receiver. “Onkyo has the least HDMI problems, and that’s a big deal for me,” says Huse. That model includes the Marvel Qdeo video processing chip with 4K upsampling, THX Select2 Plus certification and a selection of online music services.
Hooked up to the Onkyo is a 7.1 suite of Paradigm speakers including Millenia 20 LCR speakers and Millennia ADPs in back of the theater. Those are all on-wall speakers and offer a nice contrast to the cool gray walls—the color the client insisted on. Huse recognizes that the room color isn’t ideal for theater performance, but the homeowner wanted the room to match the aesthetic of the rest of the house.
To control the system Huse used one of his favorite go-to pieces, a URC MX-450 remote with an optional RF kit. “It’s inexpensive and easy to program,” says Huse of the URC remote. While sometimes he installed full-fledged Control4 systems, he likes the simplicity of the URC remote for most theaters. “Even with $50,000 home theaters, at the end of the day you’re only controlling five or six things,” he adds. With the URC he can program any component in a matter of minutes.
The control side of the system might expand eventually because the client’s son is an IT student and is designing a control system for the rest of the home, but for the time being, the URC does all the home theater work very well.
Design and Installation: Theater Advice, Dallas TX
System Cost: $13,000 (not including room construction)
Check out the slideshow for more images on the theater and equipment.
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Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. He's also the author of the book The Trouble with Rivers
. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.