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Home Theater Screens Explained: Picking the Right Gain

September 25, 2011 Leave a comment
A very important part of setting up your home theater explained in this article from Electronic House magazine


The screen material is just as important a selection as your projector.

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Categories: Home Theater Screens

10 Awesome Home Theaters

Like the title says, these are AWESOME! I’m scared to know how much any of these cost to build!

via ForeverGeek by Robin Parrish on 6/5/11


Is there any more decadent or geekier-than-thou way of expressing your superiority than by constructing your very own themed cinema at home? These ten home theaters are so over the top, they’ve obliterated the top.

And you know you want one.

Batcave

This one’s just a concept for now, but it’s available made-to-order. [by Elite Home Theater Seating]

Death Star (Star Wars)

[by Definitive Audio]

The Enterprise (Star Trek)

Click on the image to zoom in and get the full effect. [by Gary Reighn]

The Enterprise-D #1 (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

I suppose it’s only natural that there would be so many Star Trek home theaters. The bridge of the Enterprise is shaped like a theater, after all. [by Electronics Systems Consultants]

The Enterprise-D #2 (Star Trek: The Next Generation)

Probably best captures the look and feel of the Next Gen‘s flagship. [by Acoustic Innovations]

The Matrix

I’m not sure I see the resemblance, though it’s said to include lots of design elements “inspired by” The Matrix. Personally, I would have gone with the bridge of the Nebuchadnezzar, but that’s just me. [by RPG Diffusor Systems]

Nautilus (20,000 Leagues Under the Sea)

[by Dillon Works]

Pirate Ship

[by Elite Home Theater Seating]

Stargate Atlantis

Sorry Stargate fans, but I had no idea anybody loved the show that much. [by Visual Concepts]

Terminator

[by Cinema at Home]

Categories: Home Theater Screens

Custom Installer Tricks of the Trade – How Dealers Maximize Profits While Mi…

Make sure you know what you’re getting so you don’t end up getting charged more than you should or getting something you didn’t want or need!

via HD Guru by Gary on 4/21/11


A home theater is a wonderful thing. A big, bright HDTV screen, five or more channels of clean, clear dynamic surround sound and remote control to drive it all. Completing the package, ideally, all the wires are hidden within the walls. This is what people want, but few have the product knowledge or carpentry skills to get the job done right. Enter the custom installers to bring it all together.

Many custom installers and A/V dealers do fabulous work. However, you should not forget it is a business and in the “free market” the goal is always to maximize profits.

Unfortunately, the best interest of the consumer may conflict with the dealer’s business goals. A number of companies simply want to get consumers to pay the most money possible for the job and get out as quickly as possible maximizing profits.

To learn the tricks of the trade we interviewed Bruce Clark, president of Long Island based Audio Breakthroughs. They’ve been in business for over thirty five years and have installed thousands of home theaters. Occasionally Clark receives calls from other company’s dissatisfied customers requesting fixes for a botched installation.

Here are a number of “tricks” he’s seen used in these bad jobs, so you know what to look out for.


In-Ceiling Speakers in Lieu of Enclosure Type

The most important speakers in any home theater are the front speakers (left, right and center). These produce the vast majority of the sound plus all the dialog. Rear speakers are generally only used for occasional sound effects.  While placing speakers in the ceiling is fine for background music, you want the dialog to be clear and seem to be emanating from the display. Ceiling mounting moves the sound  above the screen, creating a disconnect by making the actor’s voice appear to come from above rather than from the screen. So why do custom installers recommend ceiling speakers?  Clark explains that in-wall and in-ceiling speakers have the highest gross profit margins, ranging from 60% to 90%. In other words, if the pair of speakers costs you $500, that could be $450 in gross profit for the installer. The in-wall speaker manufacturers have very controlled sales distribution; it is highly unlikely to find the product at a good discount on-line.

Clark added, their use of in-wall or in ceiling speakers in a home theater is done only as a last resort to satisfy customer’s demands.

Enclosed speakers have better dynamics and a much more even frequency response. This is because  the drivers and enclosure are tuned as a complete system.

Component Video Cables Instead of HDMI

Component video cables are analog connections using three RCA-type cables. They have red blue and green ends. This system was adopted for home use with the introduction of DVD players back in 1997. Analog component cables over long runs can lose high frequency information, seen as fine picture detail. Long component cables always produce an image, but it can be soft.  HDMI is digital and therefore maintains all fine picture detail (<a href="http://hdguru.com/all-hdmi-cables-are-the-same-or-are-they-full-test/4373/ Read more…

Categories: Home Theater Screens

Vutec ArtScreen in Action

This is pretty awesome especially if you have a big screen in a family room or a living room!


Vutec’s ArtScreen helps your big TV blend into your home. Video demonstration from EHX.

Categories: Home Theater Screens

Best home theater accessories

via Google Alerts – "home theater" by Digitaltrends.com on 5/20/11


Upgrade your rig with the best home theater accessories, from the ultimate universal remote and HD DVR, to boxes that will rumble your seats and curtains to keep your neighbors happy. You agonized on the LCD versus plasma issue, dropped four digits on
See all stories on this topic »

Digitaltrends.com

Categories: Home Theater Screens

The Death Of The Dedicated Media Room and Why What Comes Next Is Even More E…

It makes sense to want more options for your home theater so you can do more in it and with it.

via HomeTheaterReview.com by Jerry Del Colliano on 4/8/11


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A good friend of mine who is an admitted audiophile and the former owner of Evett and Shaw loudspeakers from Utah, always talked about how “anti-social” home theater systems were. He noted that you and your wife have two other couples over for dinner and a movie; by the time that you all are in the theater – the lights are basically off, everyone is pointed towards the screen and laser-focused on the screen. You are not really interacting with each other (other than the occasional laugh out loud joke or whiz-bang effect), you are just sharing a dark moment in a room. His argument was that those same people could sit in a living room with a top-level audiophile system and enjoy music, a cocktail or two as well as meaningful, thoughtful conversation. To Craig, this was much more social and much more valuable.

Additional Resources
• Find more original content in our Feature News section.
• Read Andrew Robinson’s guide to building a room.
• Learn about another new trend in home theater: 2.1 speaker surround sound.

The idea of the dedicated media room or home theater is now a standard part of many very expensive homes. Loaded with design concepts from the old days, dedicated home theaters aren’t always tuned in to the ways that people enjoy music, movies, HDTV and other media. For example, years ago when CRT projectors were the only way to get a big image on a screen – you needed a very dark room to make even a reasonable image. Today’s new light rejecting screen materials make it such that even with an affordable projector (well below $10,000), you can have beaming video with the lights on at a pretty good clip. I saw a demonstration at this past CEDIA of a DNP Supernova screen that was just fantastic as it made a hell of an image while taking direct light from a sodium light above in the rafters. SI, Stewart Filmscreen and others are also in the light rejecting screen game. Thus today it is possible to watch really fantastic video in a room that isn’t pitch black. Is the video better in a fully darkened room? There is no question this is the case, however people aren’t always in the mood for the full experience in a dedicated room. They have other things going on but they also want to enjoy their AV systems.

In the audiophile world, many a joke has been made about “listening with your head in a vice,” in a room with “speaker cables propped up on saw horses.” Amps on the floor, one ideal seating position, equipment everywhere with ugly room treatments make for an experience designed for performance but not for anyone other than the audiophile collector. His time (let’s face it: women just don’t listen to music like this) is spent alone. As Craig pointed out above – somewhat anti-social. While Dark Side of the Moon might sound better with the lava lamp lit along with a roach in the clip (not that HomeTheaterReview.com condones drug use outside of medical use), it’s pretty much of an anti-social experience.

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The Media Room of The Future
A few weeks ago at the suggestion of a top loudspeaker manufacturer, I had a meeting with acoustic designer, Anthony Grimani. His home theater acoustical designs can only really be described as over-the-top. He builds custom solutions that can soundproof a room and/or deal with physical anomalies of a media room in ways that look acceptable to real-world (albeit wealthy) clients – but also seriously perform. Over a glass of wine (Peter Michael Belle Cote Chardonnay) and sitting in front of my living room system we discussed how people are allocating the real estate inside of their theaters differently. More and more often clients are dumping the rows of stadium seat theater seating for L-shaped sofas. They are adding game tables and movable seating that can be positioned for bigger screenings. They are using larger screens designed to work in ambient light and beyond. The result is a room that can be used more often than just for the serious, lights-out screening. Consumers are building small kitchens and bars into the rooms and using the rooms more for entertaining than for focused viewing. In a way, Anthony is overcoming Craig’s objection from nearly two decades ago, thanks to excellence in design and architecture as well as new technologies available today that simply weren’t around years ago.

Read more about the future of the dedicated room on Page 2.
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The Audiophile Room of the Future
For some audiophiles (and audiophile companies), the idea of perfectly spaced, floorstanding speakers parked away from the side and rear walls will always be the norm. I, for one, will not make fun of it as I appreciate a well tuned, highly dialed-in audiophile room as much as the next guy, but there are new technologies that are changing the way we listen, much as light-rejecting screens and ultra-bright digital projectors have changed the dedicated home theater. For one, audiophiles are using more and more computers as sources with Apple leading the way. With most good, local record stores now gone the way of the Dodo bird, many of us look to sources like Rhapsody, Pandora and Internet radio for new music. Relational databases can follow what you listen to in your music system and make suggestions (some good and some bad) that you can fine tune with the click of a remote. No turntable can do this but you do need some form of video monitor to control the system. That’s just fact. Today’s HDTVs come packed with these streaming applications so they tend to make sense. Other installations include smaller computer monitors installed in the equipment rack for control with a Mac Mini, an Apple TV or some other computer based source.

Unlike years past, the idea of truly audiophile grade in-wall speakers is finally realistic. The owner of the legendary, Miami-based Sound Components audiophile showroom, is successfully upgrading his big ticket customers with huge audiophile speakers to room corrected, bi-amped, 100 dB efficient Wisdom Audio speakers all over his area. Due to the massive improvement in DSP technology and in-wall speakers – you can actually install speakers in places that in the past would have made an audiophile cringe, yet get just as good (if not better) results. While Wisdom Audio speakers are very pricey and install-driven, there are other options like the PSB in-walls that are made from the company’s top of the line speaker system but never touch your floor. Sonance’s Architectural speakers look and sound very good while having no baffle. Paradigm and Noble Fidelity have excellent in-wall and in-ceiling speakers that allow for any number of creative solutions that would have been unthinkable years ago.

The way we interact with our technology is changing – just ask anyone with an iPad. This paradigm shift is also affecting the way we are interacting with our music and movies. While we must be mindful of selling out HD quality for Apple-style convenience – there are new ways that technology can help make the rooms that we dedicate for our AV passions work better in our lives.

Additional Resources
• Find more original content in our Feature News section.
• Read Andrew Robinson’s guide to building a room.
• Learn about another new trend in home theater: 2.1 speaker surround sound.

Categories: Home Theater Screens

Death of the Dedicated Theater?

April 27, 2011 Leave a comment
Due to the economy, not as many people are choosing to dedicate a room for a home theater as much as they used to. Instead they are upgrading their family room entertainment centers to include bigger (and wider) screens, high definition projectors and 7.1 surround sound systems.

Have you thought about putting a dedicated home theater room in your home? Is cost holding you back? Maybe upgrading your current entertainment system is an option for you too.


Dedicated theaters may be going the wayside of the multi-use entertainment room.

Categories: Home Theater Screens