There are many ways to tackle viewing content in its correct aspect ratio for your home theater. Of course, if your budget allows, it’s nice to have a projector, screen and screen masking all working in tandem so you can view high-def TV in 16:9 and easily switch to 2.35:1 movie content (sans black bars, of course) without having to manually zoom and focus all the time.
Some theater setups will program in aspect ratio adjustment and the requisite masking, whether it’s for the sides or top and bottom, so you’re set at the touch of a button. Plus software from systems such as Kaleidescape contain aspect ratio memories, and when combined with automation (like Crestron) can automatically trigger such masking to move into place.
In this sweet home theater—please forgive the stretched out image of Madagascar that covers the full 2.35:1 screen despite its being a 1.85:1 release—the homeowners had wanted a new theater and it became a focus of a 2,000-square-foot addition.
The owners previously had a theater room that included a Runco projector and 92-inch diagonal screen. This new media escape was tasked to custom electronics pro Convergence Technologies of Mebane, N.C., which designed the layout and spec’d in a 12-foot Stewart Filmscreen CineCurve screen and DPI Titan 1080p-250 projector to provide the high-def fireworks.
“A Digital Projection Titan 1080p-250 projector was chosen for its Intelligent Lens Memory technology and its ability to produce crisp images and deep blacks. With ILM technology the projector memorizes certain lens positions that can be recalled depending upon the aspect ratio of the video signal,” says Convergence’s Josh Huffman. “ILM eliminates the need to have the traditional sled and external lens to correct the aspect ratio of 2.35:1 films. For the screen a Stewart CineCurve Screen with masking was chosen to allow HDTV in its native ratio (16:9) and movies in their native ratio (2.35:1). The curved screen also ensures that a uniform light level is maintained across the screen. Imagine what happens when you shine a flashlight on the wall, the light is brighter in the middle and dimmer on the sides because the light in the middle has less distance to travel. CineCurve screens correct this problem by allowing the light to be equally bright at all distances from the source.”
Content is feed from a combination of Kaleidescape movie server and players, and Crestron ADMS system that includes a 200-disc Blu-ray changer.
Of course, sound is equally important in delivering the total home theater experience, and Convergence took care of ensuring an audio wallop now and even bigger bang to come. The installers used a JBL Synthesis system featuring full 7.1 channels (using two subwoofers, actually), and wired the room so more speakers and subwoofers could go on the side and rear walls in the future.
Green glue between layers of Sheetrock help keep sound from leaking in and out of the theater, and rich cherry woods and custom panels round out the owners’ request for an art deco aesthetic, and theater goers can park themselves in comfortable seats from Salamander Designs.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.