Mr. and Mrs. Williams have one sensational media room. It boasts a 122-inch Stewart Filmscreen screen, access to a Dish Network satellite receiver, Escient movie server, several gaming consoles and a Denon surround-sound system with a combination of SpeakerCraft and Pinnacle speakers.
To get more use out of the space, the couple laid out their back yard so that they could see the screen clearly while soaking in the hot tub. A custom-programmed RTI handheld remote lets them control the gear from afar, while two SpeakerCraft speakers built into the canopy overhead deliver the audio.
By no means is the media room the only place to watch a movie from the great outdoors, though. The custom electronics professionals at Simply Sight & Sound in Menifee, Calif., outfitted to other areas with entertainment equipment. An outdoor living room, for example, features a 65-inch Sharp LCD TV, a Denon 5.1 surround-sound system featuring built-in RBH speakers, and access to a well-appointed rack of equipment tucked away in a closet behind the TV.
Sliding glass track windows and motorized Somfy sun shades positioned around the perimeter of the space can be closed so that the family can enjoy the system rain or shine.
There’s also a bar area equipped with a 52-inch Sharp LCD. This screen can present the same video as the 65 incher or something completely different. The homeowners simply press the “entertainment” button on the RTI remote to turn on both TVs, and then select an Escient movie server, satellite receiver, Escient iPod dock, DVD player or portable media device, which can be plugged into the front of the surround-sound receiver. Both TVs are also tied to a video surveillance system, which enables them to display images from a video camera positioned at the front door automatically whenever the doorbell rings.
An iPod docking station in the inside family room is one of the family’s favorite entertainment sources. Using the RTI remote, they can direct tunes any or all listening zones outside, including the bar area, hot tub, gazebo, living room or pool deck, where two built-in RBH subwoofers throw down some heavy bass.
You’d think that with so many entertainment vantage points there would be little room for improvement in this back yard. The Williamses disagree.
“They’re already planning on having us add landscape lighting to the RTI control setup,” says Simply Sight & Sound president Jeff Cooper. No matter how many more devices join the RTI control system, though, the Williamses will be able to operate them with ease. The same “party over” button that shuts down the entertainment components will also turn off the lights.
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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.