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High-Tech Trifecta

Written by Karen Marley
Imagery by Michal-Kathryn Hinz & Sandra Kicman

It used to be that if you wanted to catch the evening’s games, you and your crew would head to a sports bar. Interested in a movie? The theater was your destination. Today, increased access to advanced audio and video technology are bringing these environments into the home. With the assistance of specialized installers, you can find a solution for your space and budget. Consider the following three home entertainment environments where sophisticated technology and homeowner desires come together in very different ways.

The Dedicated Home Theater
When you go to the cinema, it’s for a single purpose: to watch a movie. Representing the highest end of the home theater spectrum is having space purely dedicated to showing movies. Just like a commercial theater, the home version is designed for the technology, acoustically treated, and perfectly accurate. Such is the case with the home theater dubbed “The Rochester,” a smaller, albeit, more luxurious version of a cinema complex. 
    “As the technology specialists, we dictated everything. Where the seating goes, where the speakers are installed, even the lighting. It’s a precisely calculated and computed room.” explains Shawn Lemay, owner of Sound & Theater, which played a key role in creating The Rochester.
    There are 31 speakers, all of them hidden. Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D surround for audio is precisely calibrated for an immersive experience. Acoustical panels ensure that there is not too much bass, the music isn’t overwhelming, and the dialogue is perfectly clear. Ten plush, motorized, leather seats are placed for optimal viewing of the 13-foot long screen. Even typical home noises, like the HVAC system, are accounted for to not create a disturbance while keeping people comfortable. LED strips for lighting were selected to maximize the viewing experience.
    “The theme here is an elegant, technologically perfect home theater,” says Lemay.

The Sports Bar
As soon as a home theater’s functionality expands, it is no longer a dedicated theater space. Consider the sports, gaming, and bar theater. It delivers a superb, technologically advanced experience; however, unlike
the dedicated theater, Lemay had to work around design elements that elevate the space’s excitement and creativity. From the entrance you see five screens; a primary  center screen flanked with
two sets of smaller ones. Five games can be viewed simultaneously and effortlessly toggled to the main screen to highlight key plays. The 12 motorized leather seats are on tiered flooring and anchored with six leather, high top chairs around a reclaimed, live edge table. Behind the viewing area is a bar made of locally sourced barnwood and a pool table.
    The homeowner is a huge music buff and Lemay hid 11 speakers behind album cover artwork. LED lights change color to establish the ambience. Varying hues and lumens prevent reflection off the screen. A touch of whimsy is in the fiber optic celestial ceiling. An adjoining game room titled “Throne of Games” lets friends play foosball, air hockey and others while watching the game on another screen.

The Multipurpose Family Room
For the final example, the homeowner wanted to use his finished basement to watch movies with his family but didn’t want a dedicated home theater. The solution? A dual-use space in the finished basement; an open room with a pool table and a wall
of windows for natural light.
     “With the physical constraints, we had to put everything in the ceiling, including the screen,” says Lemay.
    Six speakers are hidden in the ceiling along with the screen that retracts up when not in use. Additionally, Lemay had to control the abundant natural light. As the screen drops, motorized blinds cover the windows and
sliding glass doors. Although impressive, the sound is not as immersive as a dedicated home theater space. The tradeoff, however, is that when not in use the room retains its comfy appeal as a bright, inviting family room. 

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