May 01, 2008
by Steven Castle
How’s this for a colorful upgrade? The homeowners’ previous theater was an outdated projector shining on a white wall. They wanted a remodel and contacted Fox Audio Visual, which also does its own design work. Mike Fox showed them some sample theaters as well as some fabrics they could use in the new space, and this playful and bright basement space evolved—along with an adjoining bar and billiards room.
The theater measures about 15 by 17 feet and has a bay at one end. “It’s not in an opportune area where you can put seating. When you come into the room, you’re looking straight at it,” says Fox. “In other installations, we’ve put candy counters in spaces like that. Here, we thought we could do a ticket booth and make it look like a theater.”
Fox created visual interest by including waves of fabric on the ceiling, with tricolor LEDs shining up from atop the ceiling slats.
The theater equipment received major upgrades as well. A 3-chip JVC RS1 D-ILA (Direct-drive Image Light Amplifier) projector produces a “Full HD” 1080p picture. “For this price range [about $5,000], I have never seen anything as smooth and with as good a picture,” Fox says. D-ILA is a variant of LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) technology that many feel surpasses DLP projection for its smooth and filmlike images.
The projector shines from an opening in the back wall, while its chassis rests in a cabinet space in the adjoining bar area.
A 106-inch Draper screen displays the images and is flanked by woodwork containing three Elan front speakers and two subwoofers. Two Elan dipole surround speakers in the rear fire from within the ceiling above the back row and reflect onto the back wall. The homeowners can select movies from their DVD collection via an Escient DVDM-100 DVD management system that provides an easy-to-use interface for the Sony 400-disc changer. It’s all governed by an Integra 7.3 receiver and operated by a handheld Universal Remote Control MX-900 remote with an RF (radio frequency) interface.
Complementing the colors and feel of the theater is a 45-by-25-foot bar area, which has a Samsung plasma over the bar and two Panasonic 42-inch plasma screens on two walls that face a wraparound sofa. And when the party needs some music, a touchscreen monitor on the wall allows the homeowners to call up tunes stored on a 500-GB PC custom jukebox designed by Fox Audio Visual. Four wall-mounted Energy speakers the homeowners already owned provide the audio for this space.
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