Now That’s Entertainment
Photo courtesy of Appollo Systems and Home Theater Specialists of America
“Home entertainment and technologies are rapidly becoming some of the most important amenities in homes today,” says Utz Baldwin, president of AD Systems and chairman of the Custom Electronics Design & Installation Association (CEDIA). “Over the past decade, more and more homeowners are investing in homes to enhance their lifestyle, making the most of their time spent at home. Amenities such as home theaters create family time and keep teens at home while adding value to the home.”
Your home is your haven. Though it can be as hectic as the outside world, there should always be a part of your home that facilitates an escape from the everyday; a place where chores, work and to-do lists simply don’t exist. This can be your home entertainment area—a special space that a growing number of homeowners are incorporating into their remodeling or building plans.
The Great Escape
“Most homeowners treat their home entertainment as a mini vacation, a brief moment when they can get away from their busy life.”
—Larry Weiss, CEDIA professional, Monaco Entertainment Solutions Inc.
Designed and installed by Media Rooms Inc., this home theater project won a national Contractor of the Year (COTY) award, presented by the National Association of the Remodeling Industry, in the Home Theater and Media Rooms Under $150,000 category.
“Saturday night at the movies” is not just for Saturday nights anymore—nor do you have to drive to the theaters for a cinematic experience. A room gaining popularity among homeowners is the home theater. Once considered a luxury, home theaters have evolved to encompass a wide variety of options for any budget. According to Rob Dzedzy, president and owner of Media Rooms Inc., “Home theater components have become more cost-effective—they are no longer only for the wealthy.”
Is the home theater or game room going to be a dedicated room or part of general living space?
It’s also important to consider where the theater or game room will be located with respect to other rooms in the home.
Who will use the room—kids, adults, both? And how will it be used?
Knowing who to design the room for will narrow down options and help determine decor.
What is the lighting situation?
Ambient light from windows and doors can prove problematic. Also, the lighting design should incorporate a dimming option.
How will the seating be arranged?
The seating arrangement should reflect the purpose of the space.
—Rob Dzedzy, NARI and CEDIA professional, president and owner of Media Rooms Inc.
MYTH: A lot of space is needed to install a home theater.
TRUTH: We have placed theaters in homes for only four people to sit with outstanding results.
MYTH: A home theater has to be in the basement.
TRUTH: We have placed theaters in single-floor condos using sound isolation techniques.
—John Baumeister, CEDIA professional,
president of Baumeister Electronic Architects
Did You Know?
Participating in some form of home entertainment is the third most time-consuming activity in the life of an average American.
—David Berman, director of training and public relations, Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA)
Photo courtesy of CEDIA
Many homeowners have apprehensions about how difficult a home theater will be to operate and whether the technology will be outdated before they’re finished paying off the expenses. According to Larry Weiss, CEDIA professional and system engineer for Monaco Entertainment Solutions Inc., “A properly designed system should last a good 10 years, with options to expand and upgrade.”
The key to ease of use and successful installation is employing the right professionals to do the work. “Putting in a home theater or game room is best handled by experts who specialize in integration,” says David Berman, director of training and public relations for the Home Theater Specialists of America (HTSA). “All of the pitfalls can be avoided if homeowners seek out a certified custom professional—worry less about the specifics of the products and the technologies, and worry more about making sure you have chosen the right person to do the right job.”
These rooms show how homeowners bring technology and entertainment to various spaces throughout the home. Photos courtesy of CEDIA
According to LG Electronics, 70 percent of people who purchase new consumer electronics don’t know how to make the new technology fit into their decor. A term coined by LG Electronics, “techorate” refers to the integration of technology into the overall decorative theme of a home.
Celebrity Interior Designer Doug Wilson (left) is working with LG Electronics to help homeowners learn how to “techorate” their homes. “The television has become the hearth of the 21st century, but I’ve seen people struggle with the basics,” Wilson says, “from choosing the right type and size television to its optimal placement for their viewing in the space.”
Find Wilson’s tips and advice on “techorating” online at us.lge.com/HDTV/techorate.
Tips for Choosing the Right TV
• The size of the room in which you are planning to place your TV can help determine what size screen you should get.
• Consider the amount of natural light the room receives. Some larger sets do not perform well in a bright environment.
• Your display type could depend on what you view. Plasmas are better for gaming and sports, while LCD screens have less glare for daytime viewing.
• If you’re mindful of power consumption, plasma TVs tend to burn more energy than LCDs.
—Emily Kliniske, Best Buy
What is the Hottest New Trend in home entertainment?
We polled five certified professionals from CEDIA and HTSA to find out. They unanimously answered—Media Servers. These systems will store all of your movies, music and even photos in one place. You can call up your library on the screen, sort by genre, actor/artist, title, etc., press “play” and enjoy!
Photo courtesy of Brunswick Billiards
Home entertainment is not just about media—it often involves recreation, as well. “Parents want to know where their kids are, and feel confident that they are safe,” says Debbie Groshek, director of marketing for Brunswick Billiards. “Home entertainment and recreation will make your home the place where kids and their friends will want to hang out.”
When designing a game room, Groshek advises making sure you allow enough space to enjoy the products you put in the room. To help with the design, Brunswick Billiards’ Web site, www.brunswickbilliards.com, offers a game room planner that allows you to visualize how game room products will lay out in your room.
Have A Seat
One of the most critical elements to any home entertainment or recreation area is seating—which is why there are so many great chair choices. Photos courtesy of Brunswick Billiards
In the past decade, the card table has evolved from a dinky folding table and chairs to a plush, felt-topped table with cup holders, rolling leather chairs and even a reversible tabletop to double as an eating area.
• You’ll never be able to fit a pool table in my house.
Pool tables break down into many components and can be put in any room of the home. There is no need to worry about tight corners or winding staircases.
• I have a pole in my basement, so there’s not enough open space for a pool table.
Just about every basement has a pole. You can easily work around it and still make a great shot with any one of a variety of short cues available in today’s market.
• All you can do with a pool table is play pool.
Not true. There are different accessories available for a pool table, including a table tennis conversion top or a dining top. When a big crowd comes over for dinner, you can use it as a buffet-serving table. It is also helpful for spreading materials out for a big craft project or for wrapping presents.
—Debbie Groshek, director of marketing, Brunswick Billiards