The owners of this renovated basement designed their home theater around their favorite college football team, the University of Maryland Terrapins, commonly referred to as the Terps. The black-and-red color scheme sets the tone, as do a pair of acoustical panels that each prominently displays a silk screen of the Terrapin mascot.
The 20-by-23-foot space looks decidedly more like a theater than a sports bar, but when the Runco LS-HB projector fires up, the roomy 13-seat theater combines the comfort of a a big-screen media experience with the excitement of multi-screen football action. Not one, but four, games can be presented simultaneously on the 123-inch Stewart Filmscreen screen. Making this magic happen is a Savant SmartView Video Tiling system, which was added A/V setup by the custom electronics (CE) professionals at Gramophone, Timonium, Md.
The owners use a companion Savant app on their iPad to select which games to tune into and how large to display each of them. For example, they might choose a large window for a Terps game, with three smaller windows at the side, each displaying a different matchup. By touching the appropriate icon on the iPad, they can change the configuration of the window, perhaps choosing to eat up the entire screen with only Terps game when the action gets intense. Movies and slideshows of family photos are options, too, by just tapping a Blu-ray or AppleTV button on the iPad.
It’s a slick way to watch video, says Gramophone’s John Zucchet, but wasn’t part of the original design for the space. “Initially, we had planned to install three separate flat-panel TVs, each with their own cable box,” he explains. Additional TVs that were installed in other areas of the basement would have also required their own cable box—a setup that could have made controlling the various video options a very complicated process. “We would have needed a cable box at every TV and a multiple remotes,” says Zucchet.
With the Tiling System and the app, the owners need only one device to easily direct video from four cable boxes to the projection screen and to any of three flat-panel TVs. Zucchet says the Savant solution cost 25 to 50 percent more than original design, but the owners felt the simplicity of control justified the extra investment.
Audio is just as easy to manipulate. The owners just touch which “window” they’d like to hear, and the Savant A/V matrix/switcher directs the sound to the theater’s surround-sound speakers, which includes a trio of built-in Totem speakers at the front of the room, and four in-ceiling Totem speakers over the seats. A custom Totem Tribe subwoofer in a signature Terps red completes the package … kind of. During the wiring phase of the project Gramophone added cabling to support an additional subwoofer and a motorized drapery track at the back of the room, should the owners ever want bigger bass or to close off the bar from the viewing area.
Stewart Filmscreen 123-inch ST130 G3 screen
Runco LS-HB video projector
Totem speakers and subwoofer
NAD T757 receiver
Savant SSR1000 remote
Sony Blu-ray player
Savant tiling and A/V distribution
Furman power conditioners
Pakedge networking system
Samsung 46-inch LED TV (bar area)
Samsung 55-inch LED TV (gaming area)
Samsung 55-inch LED 3D TV (playroom)
How to Control Your TV With an iPad
What’s a Matrix Switcher and Why You Need One
Three Tips for New TV Buyers
Follow Electronic House
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.