Hands On: D-Box Motion Seating System

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The D-Box motion seating system delivers the right synchronization of subtle and explosive movements during movie watching.

If you're looking to take your home theater to the next level, the D-Box SRP230 Screening Room Platform is the answer.


Apr. 22, 2013 — by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

The D-Box Motion Seating System definitely shakes things up, literally. For those not familiar, D-Box designs and manufactures motion systems mainly suited for the entertainment and simulation industries. With its unique, patented technology called D-Box Motion Code, motion effects are specifically programmed for individual scenes in Blu-ray discs and sent to a motion generating system integrated with either a platform or a seat. The resulting motion is synchronized with all onscreen content, creating a totally new, immersive experience for the viewer. Vibrations and movements - from subtle to explosive - are captured.

I got to play with the D-Box SRP230 Screening Room Platform for several months. Setting it up was an experience only because it was my first time.

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It comes with a long Cat 5 cable to connect to the Motion Modules and a 1-meter mono audio cable that I connected directly into my Sony S350 Blu-ray player. I had to make some minor tweaks on the audio setup of my Blu-ray player to remove the extra adjustments that are not required to make the D-Box synchronize for my movies. When the system is working it gives you a simple green LED light. The 2U Motion Controller fit easily into an empty space in my rack. The Motion Actuators are 4 inches wide and weigh about 25 pounds each. The Motion Controller offers adjustable settings that enable you to fine-tune the amount of motion or vibration you prefer.

The platform’s stabilizing bars (and their extensions) connect to the Motion Actuators with two different sizes of Allen screws. The whole setup would have gone much faster with a second person, but didn’t take me too long, about an hour.

After putting the Blu-ray disc in the player, I used the front LED screen in the Motion Controller to scroll through the alphabetical menu until I found the matching title. I started out with the campy Nicholas Cage flick Ghost Rider. I set it to full-bore “Mitt Romney-hair-muss level” and enjoyed the thrill ride.

Related: When 2 Subwoofers Are Better Than 1

The unit isn’t Disneyland stuff or a roller coaster where you need a seat belt; the D-Box programmers did a perfect job of combining subtle movements with more active motion. Nothing seemed exaggerated, including the subtle enhancement of the bass rumble from my Sunfire subwoofer 10. This takes bass vibration to an entirely different level.

During my time with the unit, the whole family, including my two young daughters, watched movies like Harry Potter & the Sorcerer’s Stone. Soon they were calling out all the Blu-rays in our collection to have me find the title on the Motion Controller. If you have kids, all you have to do is demo it once and you’ll be getting your own green light to add it to your theater.

We watched several movies at various motion levels. I kept waiting for my daughters’ adrenaline for the system to run out (like it did with 3D movies), but guess what … it never did. It got to the point where every night became “movie night” at the Knott household. I had to pack up the unit when they weren’t home for fear of being attacked.

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For anyone who has been lucky enough to sit in a demo of a D-Box system at a tradeshow perhaps, you might recall that the D-Box staff demos the unit first by showing a clip with the system activated and then the same scene with the D-Box unit off. This is a very effective demo, so I did the same thing at home. Immediately, it was apparent that “something is missing” when the unit is off.

At $8,000 MSRP, the SRP230 is not for everyone. Indeed, it’s clearly an upgrade. In a retrofit environment, it might also require some re-wiring by your custom electronics pro to bring an outlet into proximity of the Motion Modules.

But if you’re looking to take your home theater to the next level, this unit is the answer. The “D” in D-Box might just stand for “Difference-maker” because I can’t think of an add-on product for a home theater that changes the movie-watching experience more.

Watching movies without the D-Box is, well, just plain boring now.

Pros
Tremendous ‘wow factor’
Big way to differentiate your theater
Fun, kid-friendly viewing experience

Cons
Requires power to the seats
Heavy to install

Read About These Home Theaters with D-Box:
Home Theater with Five Screens in One
My Favorite CES Exhibit: Ultimate Home Theater



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