Small Room Becomes Smart Home Theater
It's not the size of the room, but the impact of the experience.
February 04, 2013 by Grant Clauser

Just because you’ve got a little home theater, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t go big—especially when it’s in Texas. This room may only measure 18-feet by 12-feet, but CE Pro Justin Dohman of Smart Homes of Texas, ensured that it makes a big impact every time the homeowners walk in and press play.

The owner had what Dohman calls a “bare skeleton,” of a room that he wanted converted into an impressive entertainment space for the family. The owner wasn’t a home theater aficionado, but had owned surround sound systems before and knew what he did and didn’t want.

When it came to speakers, the owners didn’t want floorstanding speakers, because they’d take up a lot of room and look cumbersome in the small space. In-walls were also out, because the homeowner had previous experience with some in-walls and wasn’t impressed. Dohman suggested a suit of Jamo D600 speakers mounted on the front wall with additional Jamo surrounds on the sides.

Powering the speakers is a Pioneer Elite SC-61 7.1 receiver which offers 125 watts per channel. Because the receiver features both AirPlay and Bluetooth, the users have no trouble connecting their smartphones for music listening. A cable DVR and Sony Blu-ray player feed video into the room. All the components are housed on a component rack in the back of the room.

The 12-foot wide wall is mostly taken up with a 112-inch 16:9 Severtson screen that gets lit up by a JVC DLA-X35 projector. “For the money I don’t think they can be beat,” says Dohman.  “Their 3D quality is beyond anything other projectors can make.”

The room presented some challenges along the way. It wasn’t pre-wired, so fishing speaker wires through all the walls was tricky, but nothing unusual for a retro-fit home theater room. There also were two windows that had to be dealt with. To create an authentic theater atmosphere, Dohman sealed up both windows (one was behind the screen area). Because the room is only used for theater, the homeowners don’t miss the windows.

One of the things that makes the system stand out is how easy it is to control. Dohman integrated all the components with a Control4 system based around the affordable HC-250 controller. With a Control4 iPad app, the owners can easily operate all aspects of their theater, including the dimmable lights, which make a big impression on guests visiting for a movie or Rangers’ game. Guests also have no trouble figuring out the operation, which tells you how well the integration was handled.

Check out more pictures here.

Budget: $13,000 including installation and theater seats.

Smart Homes of Texas
Justin Dohman
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Grant Clauser - Technology and Web Editor, Electronic House
Grant Clauser has been covering home electronics for more than 10 years with editorial roles in several consumer and trade magazines. He's done ISF-level damage to hundreds of reviewed products and has had training from THX, the Home Acoustics Alliance, Control4 and Sencore. His latest book is Necessary Myths. Follow him on Twitter @geclauser.

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