October 21, 2011
| by Lisa Montgomery
The beauty of a sports bar — besides the awesome hot wings on the menu—is the luxury of being able to watch several games simultaneously. And let’s face it, picture-in-picture on your own set at home doesn’t cut it when you’re a hard-core fantasy football fan.
To recreate the impact and viewing enjoyment of a commercial sports bar, the owner of this renovated game room choose to have three 70-inch Sharp (LC70LE732) mounted on the front wall of his 23-by-20-foot room. “One large 130-inch TV was another option,” says David Huse of Theater Advice, Frisco, Texas, the firm hired to handle the design and installation of the electronic gear, “but the three TVs seemed more authentic.”
Each TV rang up at $3,000, which helped keep the budget in line, too. “TVs of this size are usually much more then $3K, closer to $8,000 each” says Huse. While the budget-friendly TVs have “great brightness and movement control,” says Huse, they lack ISF calibration modes and deep levels of color correction.
Selecting an affordable, good-performing 70-inch flat-panel TV was the easy part; mounting them was another story. Any wall that stretches 23 feet is never going to be completely flat, says Huse. “This one buckled so much it looked like a giant wave pool.” To get the TVs to lay flush with the wavy surface, Huse carefully shimmed each one by using pieces of rolled cardboard. Behind each Huse attached a Control4 HC-200 Room Controller. This component allows each A/V source (see equipment list below) to be wired via Category 5 cabling directly to each TV. “This is a much less expensive way to allow each TV to display something different than using a matrix switcher,” says Huse. “The owner probably saved $8,000 by using the Room Controllers instead of a matrix switch.”
The Room Controllers are also able to receive signals from a Control4 HC-300 processor, which is critical to the whole operation of the theater. The HC-300, whose software was configured and programmed by Huse, allows the homeowner to touch one button labeled ESPN on his iPad (loaded with a Control4 app) to turn each of the three TVs to a different, preset ESPN channel. Engaging either the Satellite button or the DVD button activates the center TV only. The TV on the right is dedicated to the Xbox video game console. Wireless Sennheiser headphones let the kids hear their game without bothering dad.
Other equipment, which is tucked in a hand-built, pullout rack at the bar, includes an Onkyo 809 A/V receiver, Xbox, Sony Blu-ray player, and three DirecTV satellite boxes. Including the equipment, materials, construction and labor, the job came in at $56,000. Approximately $17,000 of the project went toward the construction of the bar, also handled by Huse, which features a refrigerator, Kegerator, microwave oven, ice maker and trash bin. The color scheme, flooring and finishing touches like the antique mirror at the bar were part of Theater Advice’s handiwork as well.
View more pictures from this project in the slideshow.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.