February 28, 2012
| by Lisa Montgomery
Although probably best known as Puddy, Elaine’s indifferent boyfriend on Seinfeld, Patrick Warburton has one of the most diverse careers in Hollywood. In addition to leading roles on TV shows like Rules of Engagement and The Tick, Warburton promotes Carrier heating and cooling systems on commercials, and is a well-known voice actor, his deep, boomy baritone lent to roles including Ken in Bee Movie and Kronk in The Emperor’s New Groove.
It seems only fitting that his home theater would be just as multifaceted … and unique. Rather than stash the A/V gear in a spare bedroom or basement, Warburton, with the help of the DIY Network, converted a 500-square-foot barn in the backyard into what he refers to as his audio/video “man cave.”
The high-tech overhaul was featured in September on the DIY Network’s Hollywood High-Tech series. “When I showed the DIY people what I had in there already, which was nothing more than a cheap projector I picked up at Costco and a wall painted white to serve as a screen, they described the setup as craptacular,” Warburton says. “I totally agreed it was in dire need of some cleanup and updating.”
The DIY crew, which included custom electronics (CE) professional Jay Eitel from Roberts Home AV in Los Angeles, cleared out the space, added new doors and furnishings and installed equipment to transform the cluttered, unkempt space into a casual entertainment environment where Warburton, along with his family and friends, could watch high-def movies and sporting events, play video games, plug in a few electric guitars and jam, sing karaoke and do voice-over work.
Unlike many home theater enthusiasts, Warburton wasn’t concerned about hiding the gear, says Eitel. “He wanted the space to resemble a recording studio.” Consequently, the nine speakers and one subwoofer—all from Klipsch—were intentionally left out in the open. Even the wiring is exposed, says Eitel. “We
used thicker-gauge wire and ran it along the fl oor, like what you’d see on stage at a concert.”
A 100-inch screen from Stewart was placed over the white wall that had originally served as Warburton’s display, and the Costco-purchased projector was replaced with a high-def LS-7 from Runco.
Although Warburton loves his new setup, he can’t help but feel a bit disheartened when he recalls the process. They were able to put together something that rocks in three days that took me a whole month to do, and do it wrong.”
It’s all water under the bridge, though, when the Blu-ray player starts spinning a movie. One of his favorites: Apocalypse Now. “I think back to the fi rst time I saw that movie when I was around 16, at the movie theater with my dad,” Warburton says. “When I watch it in my theater it’s like watching it for the first time.”
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.
One of the quickest, easiest and most affordable ways to view an image from a video projector is to shine it on a wall that’s been painted white. In fact, you can buy specialty paints designed specifically for this purpose. For the best video, though, invest in a projection screen. For this installation, the custom Electronics (CE) pros at Roberts Home AV in Los Angeles went with a 100-inch Luxus Deluxe Screenwall from Stewart Filmscreen. It’s a fixed screen, which means it’s anchored permanently to the wall, and is made of Stewart’s StudioTek 130 material. Stewart, like other projection screen manufacturers, offers a variety of screen designs and materials to suit different viewing environments. Some, like the StudioTek, produce super-bright pictures, making them ideal for viewing in a room with the lights on or off. Others screens are designed specifically for dark rooms, such as dedicated home theaters. Other features that differentiate one screen from another: