DIYer Locks in Awesome Entertainment

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Steve Cale’s biometric door lock and sound isolation scheme ensures his homemade theater only provides authorized entertainment.


Feb. 18, 2008 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Steve Cale isn’t screwing around with his home theater. After 10 months of gutting his basement and countless dollars, he doesn’t just let anyone into his home theater. You need the password—or at least a carbon copy of his fingerprint for the door lock. 

“It just sounded and looked cool and was a very quick and easy way to get into the theater, while securing it so that no one could get in that I didn’t want in,” Cale says of the Shepherd DL 210 fingerprint lock he installed on the door. He’s also been seen joking on the AVS Forum that the added protection helps to keep his live-in 17-year-old brother-in-law out when not authorized for entertainment. 

However, it’s not the entrance that would impress guests and A/V geeks. “I tried it make it classy enough to not be dated in a few years and comfortable enough to spend a lot of time in,” Cale says. 

Classy yes, but also pretty darn cool considering that Cale has no background in construction. Aside from help he found on the web, it was all a learning process. “I am a big believer in that you can do anything if you put your mind to it,” he says. 

One thing he spent a lot of time working on was the sound-isolation process, so that other areas of the house wouldn’t be disturbed during movie or game time. To keep the sound within the room, Cale used Resilient Sound Isolation Clips (RSIC) on all of the framing and ceiling areas with the hat track. “This builds a kind of ‘room in a room’ to help isolate the sound,” he says. “The clips are the only thing touching the actual basement walls and ceiling.” As an extra measure, he added insulation in every open space between the wooden framing—and double drywalled using Green Glue

The space from eyeball to the homemade screen measures about 10.5 feet, when the front row of seating is in the upright position. Of course, that’s not too often. “The infinite adjustable recline makes watching a movie or playing a game very comfortable,” Cale says of his favorite feature. “Sometimes it is almost too comfortable though and I get a little sleepy.”

Others can join in the sloth as well. Since the theater was first completed, Cale added four extra seats (for a total of eight), as well as the HD DVD add-on for his Xbox (“looks like the wrong choice now,” he jokes). He may add on a PS3, because he loves how high-def “makes watching a movie a real treat.”

Quick Hits
Year Completed: 2006
Room Size: 17.5 x 19.5 feet
Length of Project: 10 Months
Total Cost: Unknown

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Berkline 090 Theater Seats with ButtKickers (8)
ButtKicker BKA-1000-4A Amplifiers (2)
Denon AVR-4306 Receiver
DirecTV HR20 HD DVR
Microsoft Xbox 360
Microsoft Xbox 360 HD DVD Player
Middle Atlantic 60-Inch Slide-Out Rotating Rack
Oppo OPDV971H Up-Converting DVD Player
Panasonic PT-AE900U Projector
Polk CSi5 Center-Channel Speaker
Polk FXi3 Surround Speakers (4)
Polk PSW12 Subwoofer
Polk RTi10 Front Speakers (2)
Shepherd DL 210 Biometric Fingerprint Door Lock
Smarthome Insteon 8-Button Keypad
Smarthome Insteon Dimmer Switches (2)
SmX Cinema 110-Inch DIY Screen



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