Home Entertainment



Two Creative Solutions to TV Installation

Dallas integrator knows custom means creative.

Theater Advice's work

David Huse, owner of Theater Advice in Dallas, TX, knows that custom electronics integration means solving problems and satisfying customer requests. When a customer invites him into a home, Huse never knows exactly what kind of issues he’s going to find.

Patio TV

In the first project, the client wanted an outdoor TV for his cover, but not totally enclosed, backyard patio. The client didn’t want to spring for a more expensive weatherproof TV, so Huse’s job was to create a protective enclosure that would shield the TV from most of the elements (it would take six feet of water to get this TV wet) while also allowing it to be hidden away when not in use.

Big Basement Makeover

He got a cool home theater. She got a nice design. The kids got a place to hang out with their friends. And the entire family felt the satisfaction of incorporating some eco-friendly and energy-efficient products into their made-over basement.

Basement Makeover pic

The Brown family in Maryland converted a cluttered basement space into a casual-style home theater complete with an adjoining game room, kitchenette and bath—primarily so their two teens would have a place to have fun with their friends, without having to go out.

Before taking the plunge, they checked out some systems at the showroom of custom electronics company Gramophone, and wanted to use some green products to help furnish the space. “We’ve been interested in green and conservation,” says the lady of the house. “I don’t think we go to extremes, but when we have the option to be more environmentally sensitive, we try to go for it.”

A Tour Through a Multimedia Mansion

Each Samsung LED TV gets it's own Marantz Blu-ray player.

Multimedia Mansion: The Library

All home theaters are not equal. A home theater for a studio apartment is going to be vastly different than one for a 3-bedroom home. But what kind of theater befits the style, form and function of a multi-million dollar mansion? The owner of this home is a high-level executive at a world-class electronics company, so he knows a thing or two about technology. In outfitting his large home, approached The Source Home Theater, of Staten Island, N.Y. for advice.

Inside Entourage Star Kevin Connolly’s Home Theater Transformation

DIY Network helps actor turn drab bar area into an eye-popping screening room.

Kevin Connolly's home theater

Oh, to be rich and famous enough that TV networks make shows about fixing up my home. Entourage may be winding down as the hit HBO series recently kicked off its final season, but things are just starting to heat up, technology-wise, at the home of star Kevin Connolly.

Hollywood Hi-Tech, a new program on the DIY Network, recently helped Connolly, better known as “E” to Entourage fans, transform his bachelor pad-style bar area into a home theater.

Ari Gold, Drama, Turtle and Vinny Chase won’t have a problem screening a movie or two on Connolly’s 110-inch Stewart Filmscreen StudioTek Screen.

“Biggest” Elan Home Control System Ever

House claims to have the biggest Elan home control system.

Biggest Elan home control install?

There’s a lot you can do with a home control system. They are so smart and powerful that if you wanted to automate the dog you probably could. Not quite, but there’s no limit—other than your budget—to the amazing setups possible when you’ve got the right system, the right professional installing it and a really creative mind.

The Elan g! system programmed by AudioVideo Specialists, LLC.,Gilberts, Illinois, for a 10,000-square-foot suburban Chicago home epitomizes the extend of a well-executed home control plan. Some of the niftiest setups include:

The House That Sharper Image Built

Richard Thalheimer, founder of The Sharper Image, sells his tech-enhanced home.

Richard Thalheimer sells his tech-home.

Sharper Image founder and former CEO Richard Thalheimer has moved on to gadget site RichardSolo.com. Now, The Wall Street Journal says that he’s moving onto a different home.

We know that The Sharper Image has a ton of cool tech-enhanced toys. So why would the founder’s home be any different?

Thalheimer’s 7,750-square-foot home is located in San Francisco, California. Like the retail chain, it features enough technology to keep you busy for hours on end—as well as entertained.

One of the many tech perks includes touchscreens sprinkled throughout the house, which can access cameras, music and even automated shades. There’s also a total of nine flat-screen HDTVs.

After buying the house in 2002, Thalheimer spent three years remodeling the place. Now, he wants $15 million for the Mediterranean-style house, which has six bedrooms, six full bathrooms and one half-bathroom.

Audio and Video Inside and Out

Simple operation is what completes a complex system.

Inside and Out Home Integration

Retrofitting a full automation system into an existing home that wasn’t originally wired for one is always a big challenge, for both the integrator and the home owner.

In this case, the homeowners liked the traditional, colonial look of their home, and didn’t want technology to be an intrusive element, but they still wanted the benefits of the best technology at a reasonable budget.

The home, located in Lake Wales, Fl, got the complete audio/video and control treatment from Home Sound Solutions for less than $50,000. The gorgeous three-bedroom home includes an office and media room, as well as a detached guest house. The owners were looking for a whole house audio system, plus an impressive home theater system for enjoying movies and TV. It was important that the system be reliable and very easy to operate. Also, being Florida, the owners wanted to incorporate their outdoor space, which included an extensive deck and pool.

For the multiroom audio option, Home Sound Solutions went with a Crestron system and Crestron touchpanels located throughout the house. A Crestron wireless TPS-6X was included that allows a user to walk anywhere and still control all the audio sources and zones. They can even use it outside, because it has a 300-foot range.

Home Theaters Come of Age

A past and present look at the evolution of movie viewing at home.

A Home Theater, dating back to 2004

When was the concept of home theater first conceived? It depends on how you define it. Today, most theaters are comprised of a screen that measures at least 60 inches diagonally, get audio from seven speakers and a subwoofer and pull much of its content from the Internet. Look back 16 years ago, and the definition of a home theater was much different: In a 1995 issue of Electronic House, the Consumer Electronics Group of EIA (Electronic Industries Alliance) identified the components of a theater as a large screen (25 inches or larger), hifi stereo VCR, laserdisc player, audio/video receiver with surround-sound capabilities and four or more speakers. You’d be hard pressed to find a theater still spinning laserdiscs these days. We also spent a lot of time writing about ways to store physical media back then. Suggestions included building special cabinets for a collection of videotapes and later investing in a mega changer that could hold 400 or so discs. While many home theater enthusiasts have hung on to their collections, shelves crammed with discs are going by the wayside with consumer instead getting the entertainment from the Internet, which requires no physical storage space at all.

Buy Me: Sprawled Out Texas Theater

The home theater is just a very small, very cool piece of this 13-acre property.

Home Theater as a part of a home

Everything is truly bigger in Texas. At least the property on this MLS listing seems to be quite supersized.

The 13-acre purchase does include a 4,777 square-foot home, which has four bedrooms, four full bathrooms and two half-bathrooms.

However, if you’re more impressed with technology than the number of bathrooms, this estate doesn’t disappoint. It has a full home theater with as many theater seats as there are bathrooms. We’re not sure how the view is from those side seats, but they do look comfortable.

Power House of Energy Efficiency

An Elan home control system and a 14-kW solar array help achieve record energy efficiencies.

Home Control and a Solar Array make this energy efficient house possible

It’s one of the most energy-efficient and green homes in the United States, but some of its high-tech energy-saving features would not be possible without a full-blasted home control system from Elan Home Systems.

The “Power Haus” in Sarasota, Fla., claims the lowest HERS (Home Energy Rating System) score in the United States, a negative 22, which means the house produces more energy than it uses. (A score of zero means it produces all its own energy.) The house also scored 118 LEED (Leadership in Energy & Environmental Design) points, making it one of the highest-scoring LEED homes in the country.

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