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Pitching Star C.C. Sabathia Warms Up in Tech Spa
Outdoor Space
Pitching Star C.C. Sabathia Warms Up in Tech Spa
Major league ace C.C. Sabathia stays loose in a tech-laden spa, pool and game room.
Photo by Douglas Johnson
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May 09, 2007 by Steven Castle

When Major League pitcher C.C. Sabathia takes a break after the baseball season, you can bet he likes to sink into a hot tub and relax. And what’s especially nice about his backyard in Northern California is that he can soak in a spa while a game or TV show is displayed on an outdoor TV.

Sabathia’s spa is located in a covered rock grotto, situated a few steps up from the family’s pool and veiled from view by a waterfall that cascades over its front. Inside is a weatherproof Sunbrite LCD TV and two OEM Systems in-wall speakers built into the concrete shell.

Situating electronics near water presents danger, so electronics contractor Sight & Sounds opted for a Sunbrite TV that is weatherproof and operates on low-voltage DC power, so if it were to fall into the water, bathers wouldn’t be electrocuted.

The water issue also inspired the company to house the AMX touchpanel control in a weatherproof container within reach of the spa. The family can make their video or audio source selections on the touchpanel, then change the channel and control the volume on a completely waterproof RTI U1 remote. The U1 also allows the choice of four different sources, including C.C.’s and his wife, Amber’s, individual high-def satellite tuners with their own digital video recorders (DVRs).

“Amber is not tech savvy, so she wanted one button to get her satellite to play,” says Cliff Roepke of Sight & Sounds. “And the U1 remote works on the same operating frequency as the AMX receiver located in a utility area behind the grotto. The RTI remote communicates to the AMX system, [which controls everything in the home’s audio/video systems], so we can get it to do anything we want.” The U1 remote can also be used for the DVR’s pause functions.

“With the DVRs on their own satellite receivers, [the couple] can record something on the DVR and watch it somewhere else,” Roepke explains.

A source option also allows access to MP3s, pictures or video stored on a Windows Media Center–based computer inside the home. With the AMX controller, the family has access to a total of eight DirecTV satellite receivers, a Denon AM/FM tuner, five video cameras and a 400-disc Sony DVD changer.

On the nearby patio, a 45-inch Sharp Aquos LCD HDTV serves up the video, accompanied by stereo sound from four OEM Systems in-ceiling speakers and four Rockustics speakers around the pool. “They can have audio from the patio on the pool speakers, or they can have separate zones playing different things on the patio and around the pool,” says Roepke.

You might say C.C. Sabathia’s backyard system pitches a complete game.

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Steven Castle - Contributing Writer
Steven Castle is Electronic House's managing editor. he has been writing about consumer electronics, homes and energy efficiency topics for two decades. He is also the co-founder of GreenTech Advocates.


  • SunBrite 2010A Pro 20-inch waterproof LCD
  • Sharp LC 45 D40-U 45-inch LCD
  • Batco Custom outdoor enclosure for Aquos display
  • Audio/Video Components (Whole house)
  • Denon TU-1500RD AM/FM tuner
  • DirecTV HR10-250 HD PVR satellite receivers (5)
  • DirecTV H-20 HDTV satellite receivers (3)
  • Extron CrossPoint 450 2424 RGB/HV matrix switcher
  • Extron MAV Plus 16x16 digital coax & analog audio matrix switcher
  • Niles SI 1260 12-channel amplifiers (zones 1-12)
  • Sony CDPCX 777es 400-disc CD/DVD changer
  • Windows Media Center PCs with NVidia G-Force Five (3)
  • Speakers
  • OEM AW-700 waterproof flush-mount loudspeakers (2)
  • OEM 620KE kevlar in-ceiling loudspeakers (4)
  • Rockustics Octorock landscape rock speakers (4)
  • Control
  • AMX Modero CV-5 wall touchpanel
  • AMX AXR-RF 433 MHz RF receiver
  • RTI U1 waterproof RF remote
  • Accessories
  • Extron Hi-Res RGB/HV video cable
  • Middle Atlantic racks
  • Muxlab 500050 component video to Cat-6 baluns
  • Proconnect Category 6 phone/data cable
  • Proconnect 22-4 shielded audio cable
  • Proconnect 14-4 speaker cable

Systems Design & Installation
Sight & Sounds
San Mateo, CA

Interior Design
Martin Mitchell
Martin Perri Interiors
San Ramon, CA

Premiere Design Homes
Vacaville, CA

Pool Design
Premiere Pools
Rancho Cordova, CA

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