May 08, 2007
| by Lisa Montgomery
There’s this place called the sweet spot: It’s the place in a theater where movies look and sound their best. Home theater designers will use a variety of formulas to calculate the ideal location for chairs in their clients’ media rooms, but this outdoor theater proves that the perfect view can be enjoyed from a variety of positions—even from behind the screen. Designed as a Golf Dream Home at the Jack Nicklaus Signature golfing community, the Cliffs at Walnut Cove, this outdoor theater in Asheville, NC, features a motorized 11-by-7-foot screen that can be viewed from the covered porch by the fireplace or from the lawn, complete with its own putting green. In an ordinary theater, guests in the yard would be able to see only the backside of a projected image. But in this theater, the image can be reversed at the press of a button for viewing from the green.
The home theater designers at Harmony Interiors of Asheville, NC, created this clever image-flipping theater by using Draper rear-projection screen material that would allow anything projected by the SharpVision Z3000 video projector to shine through the screen. The projector, which was mounted in the ceiling of the covered porch, was engineered to flip the image for rear-projection viewing. However, the projector and screen can also work like a typical front-projection system when guests would rather enjoy a movie from the porch.
Both the projector and the screen are motorized to lift into the ceiling when they’re not being used. This helps protect the electronics from the weather and allows the outdoor area to be used for other activities. Harmony Interiors bucked tradition once again when it came to motorizing the screen. The screen rolls down on the same motorized tracks that slide bug screens between the columns of the porch.
A Bose AV 38 Media Center stored in the house feeds DVDs, music and high-def cable programs to the projector and speakers, which include five built-in units (plus a subwoofer) on the porch and weatherproof models on the lawn. The Media Center can be controlled remotely from a Universal Remote Control MX3000 touchscreen. It’s the same remote that tells the projector to flip the image and roll down the screen, giving the owners full theater coverage from front to back.
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Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.