May 01, 2008
by Lisa Montgomery
500 Movies on Demand
With so much of the home being managed by the Crestron system, are the Haerles finally settling down for some quality family time? “Absolutely,” says Wolfgang. Mom, Dad and the two kids usually gather in the family room where a 50-inch LG plasma TV and Halcro 7.1 surround-sound system are ready to entertain. The Haerles have access to more than 500 flicks stored digitally on a Kaleidescape media server. The list of movies can be presented on the screen of the TV or the Crestron touchpanel, and choosing one is as simple as touching a button. Before the main attraction begins, the Kaleidescape system plays a few music clips, movie previews and advertisements. It’s a segue Wolfgang designed himself that “makes watching a movie feel more like a special event.” As the movie starts, the shades lower, the lights dim, and the ceiling fan spins.
While the well-appointed family room may be the favorite family movie spot, it’s by no means the only place to enjoy a show. A Crestron video distribution system can deliver video to any TV in the house from the Kaleidescape server, TiVo receiver, Escient FireBall media server (a less expensive server option for Wolfgang’s prospective clients to consider) and a DVD player (for playing rented movies), all of which were stowed in a rack in the basement. Music from an XM Satellite Radio tuner and CDs stored digitally on the Kaleidescpe server can travel housewide as well. The Crestron touchpanel invites the Haerles to choose a song and decide where to have it delivered. For example, if Wolfgang and Cornelia are relaxing on the patio, they command the Crestron system to pipe the tunes to the outdoor audio zone only, leaving the house quiet for sleeping children.
Sweetening the Deal
Still, there’s always more in store for this ever-evolving technology candy shop. Wolfgang recently transformed the lanai into an outdoor movie viewing area by incorporating a 110-inch Draper screen that rolls down from the ceiling, a JVC video projector and a pair of Canton speakers. Of course, the entire setup will be integrated into the Crestron system so that one command can set up all the necessary gear. After living with the convenience and comforts of a home control system, Wolfgang and his family wouldn’t have it any other way.
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.