May 26, 2009
by Lisa Montgomery
Having a special area to watch movies was important to the owner of this entertainment space, but so was a spot to store his collection of Harley-Davidson motorcycles. Not willing to compromise on either interest, he split his unfinished 40-by-25-foot basement in half, dedicating each portion to two totally different passions.
The homeowner had a clear vision of how each space should function. The entertainment section, for example, would be designed with a bar, poker playing niche and a general sitting area.
The designers at Home Concepts in Calgary, Alberta, outfitted each locale with its own flat-panel TV: a 58-inch Samsung plasma on the wall in the sitting area, a 32-inch Samsung LCD on a swivel in the poker pad, and a motorized 46-inch Samsung LCD at the bar.
Although each display is different in design and size, they all can access video from the same assortment of sources, including a Panasonic Blu-ray player and two high-def cable boxes, which are tucked away inside an easily accessible equipment rack built into the wall.
The three TVs can operate independently, giving the homeowner the option to watch a different program on each TV, or to play the same program simultaneously on all three sets. Either way, getting the TVs to do what he wants is a piece of cake. Home Concepts custom programmed the owner’s RTI handheld remote and Elan in-wall OléXL touchpanel to walk him through the process.
The remote also operates a motorized mount that lowers the bar TV from the ceiling. This setup prevents the set from blocking the view of the hand-painted mural on the back wall when the TV isn’t being used.
While video is important to the enjoyment of this media room, music is also an option. The same two pairs of Elan in-ceiling speakers that support the TV audio can pipe in audio from dual Elan AM/FM tuners, an Elan iPod dock and the owner’s computer. Just as he does when selecting a show to watch, the owner navigates through his audio choices via the Elan touchpanel or RTI remote.
Of course, with the Harleys waiting in the next room, the owner is often torn over which pastime to partake in first. If he can squeeze it in, he just might have time for a ride before settling down for a good action flick.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.