High-Performance Theater Rocks Multipurpose Basement
These homeowners didn't want a closed-off dedicated theater, but they still got a big theater experience in the center of their open room.
FINALIST: Best Family/Media Room
October 13, 2009 by Arlen Schweiger

This Pennsylvania home has music and video everywhere—23 rooms’ worth of distributed audio, plus eight zones featuring video. But the homeowners didn’t want a truly dedicated theater room focused on the best of both to be closed off from the rest of the home.

Good thing there was plenty of space to work around. “Once the engineers at Elite Home Technologies saw the drawing of the basement, it was immediately apparent that smack in the middle of the open floorplan, 2,500 square foot space would be the perfect place for this special media room,” says custom installer E.J. Feulner. “With the bar, patio and exercise room on one side and the billiards area and game room on the other, the media room is the centerpiece in what is an incredibly entertaining part of the home.”

And as entertaining as all of the areas are as a whole, the theater can blow them away with its high level of performance. A Sony projector fires onto a 130-inch Stewart Filmscreen CineCurve screen, optimized for viewing superwide movies. The audio takes things to another level, as it comes via a Sonus faber/Rel 7.3 surround sound speaker system and NAD electronics.

The media room projector has available any number of video and music sources, including three HD DVR cable boxes, two Blu-ray players, XM, FM, two zones of Request Music Server, and two iPod docks, according to Feulner.

For easy control, the homeowners can use a handheld Crestron remote and a 12-inch touchpanel controller on the bar to operate everything. With a separate video feed to the touchpanel they can keep an eye on the front door (through the CCTV system) while watching the latest movie.

Plus there’s plenty of seating for everyone, family and friends. “The homeowner was adamant when it came to seating and would not allow fewer than 12 chairs – this family loves to gather together for movies and sporting events,” says Feulner. “Three rows of chairs would require a two-level riser, which is always a challenge in a basement with a low ceiling. In this case we were able to work with the builder to make the most of the different angles and types of ceiling and soffits to best frame the media room area. Even at the back row there is still 6’6” of headroom on the platform.”

If they do want to be closed off a little, the family can pull a curtain to cut off the bar area, and hit a button to kill the lights in the rest of the basement. All the more immersion into their high-performance, but not-so-dedicated theater.

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

Installer/Equipment List

Systems Design & Installation
HiFi House
Broomall, Pa.

Sony VPLVW200 Projector with Schneider motorized anamorphic lens
Stewart Filmscreen 130” 2.35:1 CineCurve Screen with FireHawk SST material
Crestron ML600 handheld remote
Crestron TPS12B touchpanel
Sony BDPS2000ES Blu-ray player
Acoustic Innovations Highpoint leather motorized theater chairs
Sonus faber Cremona M Left and Right Speakers (x2)
Sonus faber Cremona M Center Speaker
Sonus faber Elipsa Auditor on wall surround speakers (x4)
Rel Acoustic B1 Subwoofers (x3)
NAD M15 Surround Processor
NAD M25 7 channel amplifier
Crestron PVID 8x4 video distribution matrix switch
Motorola 3416 HDDVR (x3)
Request F2-1200 music server
Crestron XM and FM tuners
Crestron Cen-Idoc Ipod Dock (x2)
Crestron AV-2 control processor
Tripplite HTR10-2U Pure Sinewave UPS (x2)
Tripplite 3100PC power conditioner (x9)
Audioquest interconnects and speaker wire
Middle Atlantic Equipment Racks

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