March 17, 2010
| by Steven Castle
Jeff Click of Jeff Click Homes in Oklahoma City specializes in building mid-priced homes, but don’t think of him as your average homebuilder.
For one thing, he embraces technology. His company even does the installation work on simple home theaters in some of his homes. So the logical next step for him was to add a modestly priced home theater to one of his model homes.
“We’ve noticed increasing demand for rooms like this one in modestly priced homes. People are looking for theater rooms, but not the high prices that typically come with it,” Click says.
The builder set out to do an affordable home theater for under $5,000—and he wouldn’t settle for a flat-panel TV hooked up to a receiver and speakers in the family room. No, this is a separate room, about 12 by 18 feet, with a Full HD 1080p front projection system and 5.1 channels of surround sound—and it sells as an $8,450 option on the $245,785 house.
Click also wasn’t content with just filling up the room with audio/video gear and home theater chairs. “We set out to make it unique in style and to accommodate recreation use,” he says.
The soffit surrounding the tray ceiling provides a contemporary splash and lightens the dark room, while a counter in the back row offers raised seating and a place to eat. A wraparound sectional replaces theater-style seats and allows plenty of space in front for Wii games. That’s right: The room is equipped with a Wii game console for family-style fun. Hence the room’s name: Wii-ater room.
Click researched available audio/video gear for his budget. He’s a fan of Denon receivers, so he went with a Denon AVR-587 and added Polk Audio RM7 satellites, two of which are on stands, with the center channel on the equipment console and the two surround speakers mounted on the back wall. No wiring is visible, as electronics installation company Wiring Solutions prewired the room before construction.
But it’s the video system Click is most proud of. It features a 1080p BenQ W1000 DLP projector and a 92-inch gray screen to enhance the DLP’s contrast. “I’m most pleased with the affordable HD projector. It has 1080p resolution and costs around $1,000 to $1,200.
“For our price range and demographic, it’s a little over the top to go with top-of-the-line equipment. [Our buyers] don’t want to have to spend that kind of money,” he says.
That didn’t stop Click from adding an Apple TV system. “I’ve had those since it has come out. We use it like crazy for music or when we miss a show.”
There are some compromises when doing a budget system like this, especially for a model home. For one, he’s got component video cables going into the projector and not HDMI (high-definition multimedia interface). And one thing Click would do over is add an IR (infrared) relay so that someone sitting on the sectional doesn’t have to point a remote backwards to fire up the projector.
Jeff Click Homes offers its clients all kinds of options for home theater. Here are some projects they’ve done above and beyond:
- Multiple style packages, some with tray ceilings.
- Made a room wider for a five-flat panel multiplex system.
- Created an additional platform for seating areas.
- Installed creative lighting for accents and LED lights.
- Used no equipment in a room and routed cabling back to the closet and the equipment rack.
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates