Cool Homes
The $11,000 Retirement Theater
Residents at a Massachusetts adult community enjoy the full home theater experience in a smaller space.
Retirement home theater
Click to enlarge. Residents of an adult community can enjoy a 92-inch screen and a video projection unit for around $11,000. “Eight Below” (C) Disney. Photo: Tony Scarpetta.
April 30, 2007 by Steven Castle

You don’t have to be young to enjoy rockin’ good movies and groovin’ sounds in a home theater. The residents of one Massachusetts active adult community built by Brendon Homes can choose to have a home theater just like this one, complete with a projector and a sound system that will blow most people away. Ah, the perks of retirement.

“We’re putting a lot of these systems in for people in retirement communities,” says Dave Lavine of electronics retailer and installation company Percy’s, based in Worcester, MA. “People want to entertain. And many of [them] have never had this stuff, so they want ease of use and small speakers.”

There’s no big rack of components here. In the front cabinet is a one-piece Bose Lifestyle media center that combines a DVD/CD player, AM/FM radio, amplifier, 200 hours of digital music storage and speakers. One remote commands it all. The small but powerful Bose speakers are on the top shelves, and the center channel hangs from the ceiling. A Bose subwoofer is behind the grille cloth in the bottom right cabinet, and tiny Bose cube speakers on the sides provide the surround-sound channels.

This system is in the basement of a model unit. “The builder wanted to show new technology and dress up the place,” says Lavine. Some of the residents are opting for flat-panel TVs and adding reclining home theater chairs to enhance their enjoyment and relaxation.

This system’s equipment comes in at a little under $10,000 without the cabinet and chairs (see total costs below). And you thought the grandparents were technophobes. Next time you visit, see what they’re watching. You may be surprised at the kind of fun they’re having.

Equipment List


  • Equipment: $9,500
  • Labor: $1,500
  • Total Cost: $11,000

Electronics Design & Installation

Worcester, MA

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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.

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