In most outdoor entertainment spaces, rain showers bring the party inside, but in this exterior A/V paradise, which was recently earned the Electronic House Home of the Year award for Best Outdoor Space, the family can enjoy music and movies no matter the weather. Should Mother Nature throw a monkey wrench into their plans, they just tap a button on a Crestron touchpanel to cover the main viewing area with a substantial retractable canopy.
The canopy is also a fair-weather friend, providing shade on hot sunny days and precluding sunlight from tossing a glare onto the screen of a Stealth Acoustics 130-inch LED display with a custom swing-out feature. “Over the years, the owner has rented a lot of tents and canopies to host outdoor parties,” says Robin Bogle, owner of AHT Global, the firm hired to design and install the outdoor A/V. “He figured it was time to invest in one of his own and went the extra mile by eliminating the headaches of manually putting one up.”
Crestron Sets Scene for A/V Content Galore
Assured of bright, vivid images, the homeowners and their guests can enjoy a number of entertainment options, including content from Apple TV, Blu-ray Disc player, Kaleidescape movie server, satellite receiver, and laptop computer. “The outdoor venue is often used for special events, so we installed an HDMI input to the Crestron DM [DigitalMedia] switcher so that people can watch video from the computers on the big screen,” says Willy Blanco, partner at AHT Global. “The owner typically does this for his annual Halloween party to display a loop of spooky images on the screen.”
Whether the gathering is big or small, during the day or night, in clear or cloudy conditions, the outdoor environment is able to adapt. A Crestron control system — which the owners also use to control tech inside their house — swiftly handles all of the alterations. From any touchpanel on the property, the homeowners can activate scenes specially programmed by AHT that can change the look and feel of the outdoor space. For example, “Party” signals the Crestron A/V distribution system to deliver music to all 80 outdoor commercial-grade QSC speakers, activate the massive LED TV along with three smaller Samsung displays by the cabana, and turn on the jets in the Jacuzzi. If it’s dusk — signaled by the Crestron system’s astronomical timeclock — the landscape lighting joins the setup.
Less elaborate but equally as handy is the “Game” scene. In this mode, only the speakers by the LED TV are active. The owner can use his iPad to tune the satellite receiver to his desired sports channel, and the Crestron matrix switcher delivers the action to the screen. If guests would also like to view the game on any other TV, a few taps on the iPad make it happen. Meanwhile, music from an Autonomic server can be directed to any group of speakers.
With so much entertainment available to them, it’s easy for the family to be engrossed in their outdoor activities. The Crestron system keeps an eye on things to mitigate any worries. Should a guest arrive at the gate, they are notified on iPads and Crestron touchpanels. From these devices they can access the nearest surveillance camera to identify the guest and open the gate. Real-time video from a total of 38 cameras can be cued, giving the owners a bird’s eye view of every piece of the property.
The Crestron system keeps tabs on this sensational outdoor space even when nobody’s around. At a certain time each night the house and property goes automatically into lockdown mode. The gates lock, the security system activates, the landscape lights turn off, and the huge canopy that kept the family comfortable even on the hottest or rainiest days, slides silently back into its housing. Who says “smart home” only applies indoors?
Systems & Equipment
- Crestron control system
- QSC speakers
- Stealth Acoustics 130-inch LED “Jumbotron” TV
- Samsung TVs
- Visualint surveillance cameras
- Lutron lighting
- Creston A/V distribution