January 22, 2010
| by Lisa Montgomery
Custom homebuilder Taradar Fine Homes in Calgary, Alberta, has built its fair share of high-end home theaters.
But the real trend, says owner Todd Jensen, is “feature rooms”—spaces created for specific functions and catering to homeowners’ hobbies. “We might build a fancy garage to showcase a car collection or an enclosed atrium for a swimming pool,” he says.
For a feature room of his own, Jensen looked to two of his favorite sports. “I’ve always wanted to have a room where I could showcase my collection of hockey and football memorabilia,” he says.
More than that, he wanted a place where his family and friends could comfortably view sporting events on a big projection screen. (Click here to view slideshow.)
For high-tech help with his feature room, he called Joe Strang of Showcase A/V & Automation. Strang and his crew had been Jensen’s go-to guys for incorporating high-end technology in many of his custom homes. The team handled Jensen’s pet project just as it would for any other customer.
“[Based on the blueprints], we already had a good idea of what kind of screen and projector we wanted to put in the room,” Strang says. “But as soon as I walked into the space, I knew we needed to rethink our plan.”
A 14-foot-high ceiling would put a video projector in a very conspicuous location, dangling several feet from the ceiling in the middle of the room. “It would have been a terrible visual distraction,” says Strang. “We needed to get more creative with our design.”
Make that a lot more creative. Strang suggested hanging a miniature jumbotron from the ceiling. The custom-designed feature would provide a hiding spot for the projector and would fit the room’s hockey theme. Plus, it would give Showcase A/V & Automation one more place to install a few flat-panel TVs. Three 32-inch Samsung displays were flush-mounted on all but one side of the jumbotron. The remaining side was designed with a peephole for the projector.
Admittedly, says Jensen, the jumbotron-mounted TVs are more for effect than for serious sports viewing. “They’re suspended too high to view comfortably.” Still, it’s an element that makes Jensen’s feature room unique.
And apparently, word about the hockey-inspired sports den has gotten out. The NHL recently asked Jensen if it could telecast commentary from the room during hockey games. Stay tuned.
Building a Jumbotron
How the homeowner’s custom electronics professionals created the masterpiece:
1. Careful measurements were taken of the room to ensure the correct positioning between the projector and the screen, and so the size of the jumbotron wouldn’t overwhelm the room design.
2. A CNC (Computer Numerically Controlled) machine was used to carve MDF board into the appropriate shape, including cutaways for the TVs and projector.
3. Three 32-inch Samsung flat-panel TVs and a Runco projector were mounted inside the four-sided wooden box.
4. A 6-foot long, 4-inch diameter steel pole was mounted directly to the ceiling joists, and an angle iron bracket was welded to the bottom of the pole to support the jumbotron.
5. Thirty-two cables were run from an equipment rack to the pole, then fished through the hollow pole to the TVs and the projector.
6. The jumbotron was painted, and custom-designed logos and old-style Coca-Cola advertisements were applied to it.
7. The cabling was terminated and attached to the TVs and projector.
Cost (excluding the TVs, projector and other electronics): $8,250
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.