A Stargate Atlantis Theater is Born


Sci-fi geek spends $70,000 on dream home theater.

Dec. 03, 2009 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

A home theater can be a great escape, but how about escaping all the way to the planet Lantea, the fictional home of the TV series Stargate Atlantis?

Jacob Yarmuth’s very cool theater in Louisville, Ky., has the Stargate — or at least a replica of the one used in the Stargate TV series and movie to commute across the universe. It surrounds a 10-foot diagonal circular screen that shows a 96-inch diagonal image. The circle within the Stargate can also light up blue, mimicking the water that appears in the show’s Stargate prior to transport. 

To say Yarmuth is a Stargate fan is an understatement. He loves sci-fi, and his two Sony megachangers that house up to 800 DVDs can attest to that. The theater, explains Phil Chaney, president of the Louisville division of Visual Concepts, uses a blend of styles from Stargate Atlantis, the original Stargate SG-1 TV series, and the 1994 movie. There are even air pocket doors that open like those on Star Trek and a star dome that shows comets streaking across the sky.

The audio/video system performance more than matches the futuristic decor. Atlantic Technology’s THX series speakers pump out seven-channel sound and are accompanied by two Polk Audio IW155 in-wall subwoofers, while JVC’s impressive RS-1 D-ILA (Direct-drive Image Light Amplifier) produces smooth 1080p images. A second light projector is used to create the water scenes in the Stargate. The audio and video is governed by a Marantz SR8002 receiver, and that’s tied to a Control4 automation system.

And yes, much like the magic of fictional Stargate, a lot of real-world magic went into constructing this theater: 

Wave your hand in front of the Atlantis logo outside the theater, and a motion sensor triggers the air pocket doors to open, like on Star Trek. The pocket doors are attached to pneumatic pumps powered by an air compressor.

The Stargate is made from MDF (medium-density fiberboard), with the symbols, or glyphs, of Lexan (a plexiglass-like resin). The glyphs and other effects in the room are backlit with large, old-style Christmas tree bulbs.

Hidden behind the custom-made perforated screen are three Atlantic Technology THX front speakers. Atlantic Technology’s THX in-wall speakers are in the side and rear walls, along with two in-wall Polk subwoofers in the side walls.

Side panels add Stargate ambiance, but also function as acoustic panels to help absorb the sound.

Faux-finished walls give the room a rough, steel effect.

The fiber-optic starscape from Numinus shows comets appearing in every 30 seconds to one minute intervals. Cove lighting in the dome can be adjusted to create different effects, like that of galactic clouds.

Can You Do That?
Ka-ching, you’re thinking. And yes, this Stargate-themed theater did cost a bundle. What do you think it cost?

  1. About $200,000.
  2. About $150,000.
  3. About $70,000.

If you answered $200,000, you’re wrong. But that was a quote from another company to do this theater. (And they didn’t get the job.)

If you answered $150,000, you’re also wrong . But according to Phil Chaney of audio/video installer and room designer Visual Concepts in Louisville, Ky., that would have been about the cost had a lot of different designers worked on the project.

Visual Concepts, he explains, has an in-house interior designer on staff, and the company also has partnerships with other vendors like Sound Answer of Nashville, Tenn., which did the acoustical treatments; and that helps to keep costs down.

That brings us to the real cost of this theater: about $70,000. It’s still a huge chunk of money, especially in this economy. And it goes to show you that you can splurge on something like a highly themed theater and save some money at the same time.

Click here to view additional photos.

Many more amazing sci-fi and movie themed home theaters can be found here.

Check out these steampunk home theater makeovers.


System Design & Installation
Visual Concepts
Louisville, Ky., and Nashville, Tenn.

Acoustic Treatments
Sound Answer
Nashville, Tenn.

The Buttorff Company
Pewee Valley, Ky.

JVC RS1 1080p projector
2nd dedicated light projector
Marantz SR8002 receiver
Polk SWA5000 sub amplifier
Polk IW155 in-wall subs (2)
Control4 automation controller - controller, lighting, 10-inch touchscreen, automated interface for door controls and lighting scenes
Atlantic Tech. Speaker package - THX series LCRs for fronts and Dipole/Bipole Surround speakers for Surrounds and Surround Back Channels
Sony 777 Changers (2)
Samsung Blu-ray Player
Key digital A/V switch
Middle Atlantic rack
Pneumatic doors

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