May 08, 2009
by Arlen Schweiger
James Pestone is a movie addict, but you won’t find him upgrading to Blu-ray anytime soon. For one thing, neither the Star Wars nor Lord of the Rings sagas are available in the high-definition format yet. For another, this homeowner has more than 3,300 regular ol’ DVDs.
At least he doesn’t have to trip over cases or fumble around looking for a particular title on the shelves. Thanks to the handiwork of New Jersey–based Home Systems, Pestone can pick out whatever movie, TV show or concert DVD he’s in the mood for—at the touch of a button.
His entire collection as well as his music is stored digitally on a Kaleidescape media server that holds 24 terabytes of data. “And he’s looking to increase capacity yet again,” says Home Systems’ Ron Roslasky. “He had piles and piles of jewel boxes and bookshelves upstairs for his DVD collection. We set him loose on a Kaleidescape system with about 12 terabytes, and within a month he was like, ‘I need another one!’”
Using a Crestron touchscreen, Pestone can navigate through a menu of cover art by director, actor, genre, alphabetically and more on his 106-by-45-inch theater screen. He can access the Kaleidescape server on any of the half-dozen TVs in his home, but the preference is in the theater, where he can watch on the superwide CinemaScope screen and be engulfed by killer 7.2 surround sound.
Home Systems is in the process of upgrading the system with Kaleidescape’s 1080p player for even crisper video playback, though the DVDs ripped to the server look pretty sharp when beamed through a Runco single-chip DLP projector.
The dramatic 2.35:1 aspect ratio screen was a natural choice for this low-ceilinged room and earned an easy nod of approval when Roslasky brought the homeowner to see a similar setup in action. Home Systems worked with John VanDerStad of Allen Cabinets to frame the screen and speaker enclosures, and also to convert two awkward support columns into the shell of a snack bar toward the back.
The custom woodwork provided an aesthetic flair to the area, but also served to separate the theater and seating from a fun rear half of the room that includes three vintage pinball machines and sci-fi movie memorabilia.
And that’s after you pass the lifesize C-3PO and R2-D2 flanking the entryway. “You know there’s something special going on on the other side of the door,” Roslasky says.
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Arlen writes about home technology installations and product news and reviews for electronichouse.com
and Electronic House magazine.