A Screen-Free Theater

That’s right. You can view the movie action without a screen, like in this poolhouse.


One of the most affordable ways to have a picture larger than 100 inches is by outfitting your viewing room with a two-piece projection system. With this type of arrangement, a projector that’s mounted somewhere near the back of the area transmits images to a screen positioned on the wall at the other end.

That’s not quite what happens in this poolhouse, though.

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There’s still a projector—a BenQ model—and it does exactly what it’s supposed to do. The difference is there’s no screen. Instead, images from the projector are displayed directly on a bare, off-white wall.

While unconventional, the setup works well for the family who uses it, says Mike Fallert of The Sound Shop, Colorado Springs, Colo. “They felt that a screen would detract from the architecture. Plus, with the ceiling as high as it is, there was no way we could tuck the screen into a soffit above and have it descend that far down into the room.”

Projecting directly onto a wall has it’s ad­vant­ages — you don’t have to worry about getting the screen wet and size, in this case, 130 inches.The wall would offer the family other advantages, as well. For example, they wouldn’t have to worry about a splash of water from the pool getting it wet, and they could make the images as large as they wanted—in this case, 130 inches.

The majority of the family’s viewing happens at night anyway, says Fallert, so most people don’t even realize that the movies are actually being displayed on a wall. The number of entertainment options available to the poolhouse also contributes to the effectiveness of the setup. In addition to a Sony 400-disc Blu-ray player, there are four satellite receivers, a Vudu receiver and a single-disc Sony-Blu-ray player from which to choose.

The owners use a handheld remote to select the source and a specific title from a list of options that’s displayed by a Control4 automation system onto the 130-inch “screen,” or onto the screen of a flat-panel TV mounted over the fireplace in a nearby sitting area.

Either way, the audio plays through a pair of in-ceiling TruAudio speakers positioned throughout the poolhouse so that everyone—whether they’re swimming or relaxing on a lounge chair—can hear the action, or music if that’s what the family picks from the Control4 menu instead. Music from iPod docks and a Control4 media server can be piped into the area.

Being able to access and control a wide variety of media from the poolhouse was a top priority of the family, as they use the space often to entertain. However, the Control4 system also lets them operate the lights, water features, the swimming pool system and a motorized pool cover—all conveniently from a Control4 touchpanel near the entrance to the poolhouse.


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