The Terminator Comes Alive in Home Theater
With the new Terminator movie set to open this week, we're taking a look back at our favorite cyborg-themed theater.
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May 20, 2009 by Rachel Cericola

That terminator is out there. It can’t be bargained with. It can’t be reasoned with. It doesn’t feel pity, or remorse, or fear.

That’s fine and dandy for the Terminator, but for Darren Mortensen, that mantra made for the perfect home theater—as well as the opportunity for a career change.

When Mortensen first thought about creating his own home theater, he wasn’t working as a Christmas elf; he was a respiratory therapist, specializing in acute cardio-pulmonary support and trauma. A noble profession is no match for the home theater bug, however. Soon Mortensen found himself designing a nice room with a built-in CRT TV, A/V cabinets and a hidden door for access to A/V components. As the project progressed, so did Mortensen’s plan.

With no knowledge of CAD, Mortensen drew this in-depth theater design freehand on paper. Early drawings even included a “Jurassic Park” theme, with giant dinosaurs busting through the walls.

However, cool looking just wasn’t cool enough. “I studied the characteristics of sound waves and how the construction of a room can alter the absorption and refection of sound,” Mortensen says. “I wanted the room to sound as good as it looked.” This meant designing and building panels to assist in the dispersion and separation of the surround sound effects. He also used aluminum tread plate for acoustical reflective panels.

The aluminum also lent itself to the look that Mortensen was working into his room, which is now dubbed “Cyberdyne Cinema.” Cyberdyne Systems was the fictional company depicted in “The Terminator” films. However, this project wasn’t meant to harm humans, only to entertain them.

Cyberdyne Systems may want to keep some of that doomsday information classified, but Mortensen loves to show off his stuff. “The majority of the equipment is located on glass shelving within the recessed A/V shelving at the front of the theater,” he says. “I did this intentionally to lend to the industrial look and feel of the theater.” The equipment is then obscured when the mammoth 159-inch Da-Lite screen is activated; this prevents distraction from equipment lighting.

However, there is a little magic in this ode to movie monsters. Behind the display of drive-in movie speakers, there’s a nifty hidden equipment door. This allows for easy access to the back of each component, making upgrades and maintenance a breeze.

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

Installer/Equipment List

Systems and Room Design
Cinema at Home, LLC
Olathe, Kansas


  • Aura Pro-Bass Shakers (7)
  • B&W CC6 Front-Center Loudspeaker
  • B&W DM601 Rear-Center Loudspeakers (2)
  • B&W DM602 Main L/R Loudspeakers (2)
  • B&W DS6 Dipole Surround Loudspeakers (2)
  • B&W DS6 Dipole Surround Loudspeakers (2)
  • Berkline Cinema Collection 090 Seating w/Foot Lighting (7)
  • Da-Lite 159-inch Cosmopolitan Tensioned Screen
  • Hitachi 60SX10B 60-inch Rear Projection TV;/li>
  • JEC 7.5-inch Widescreen Color LCD
  • Lutron Lighting Control
  • Microsoft Xbox 360
  • Microsoft Xbox HD DVD Player
  • Mitsubishi HD-5000 1080p Projector
  • Monster HTS-2600 Home Theater Reference Power Center
  • Motorola HD Digital Receiver
  • NHT MA-1 Mono Subwoofer Amplifier
  • Panasonic DVD-CP72 DVD Changer
  • Philips Pronto Pro TSU6000 Remote
  • Rotel RB-1050 2-channel Amplifier
  • Rotel RMB-1075 5-channel Amplifier
  • Rotel RSP-1068 Digital Processor
  • SVS 20-39PC-Plus Subwoofer
  • Velodyne Servo F1200R Subwoofer
  • Wharfedale WH-2 Surround Loudspeakers (2)

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