So I headed up to the job site to take a look at the project and it turns out that the projector is going to be installed in a library where one wall is almost entirely windows with a 30-foot ceiling. With zero window treatments planned. So I called the customer and asked if they had ever owned a projector before (they hadn’t) and I explained how projectors work and that part about how they can’t project BLACK and that with the lighting conditions in their room, they were not going to be able to use a regular screen if they wanted to, you know, see it while that great big ball of happiness we like to call the sun was out and about. I explained that the only way to have a projector they could enjoy during the day would be a Screen Innovations’ Black Diamond. (Or invest thousands of dollars in window treatments. Which I could totally automate, BTW. So, your call…) I sent them a video demonstrating how the screen worked in high ambient lighting conditions and explained that we would also want to couple this with a high-lumen projector to get as much light on the screen as possible, but that it would mean dropping to a 110-inch, the current Black Diamond maximum. (read more)
Following up on yesterday’s post, here are six more reasons why you don’t need a dedicated room to have a great home theater:
1) “Sound quality will always be compromised.”
Certainly it’s easier to craft a perfect sonic chamber in a dedicated room, with walls built to ideal dimensions and acoustic treatments in the perfect combination of absorptive and reflective surfaces, ensuring that audio sounds as close to the mixing room as possible. But with modern audio processing and powerful room-correction software available from companies like Audyssey and Trinnov, even the most difficult rooms can be tamed.
2) “There’s no good way to hide all of the speakers!”
There is a phenomenal array of speaker technologies available capable of delivering terrific audio that is all but invisible. (There actually are invisible speakers—installed behind the sheetrock and using the wall as a transducer—but their sound is a bit too diffuse and non-localizable for home theater use.) One readily available option is in-wall speakers that can be painted to match your wall color and blend in. High-performance in-wall models can be found from companies like Meridian, Bowers and Wilkins, Wisdom Audio, Triad, and many others.
Speakers can also be concealed in cabinetry or columns or woodwork. California Audio Technology (CAT) is renowned for custom building amazing-sounding speakers into practically any enclosure. Leon is another manufacturer renowned for building custom models. JBL Synthesis also has a variety of models that work well in cabinet installs.
Another great pairing with your projection screen might be Le Wing by Screen Research. This conceals high-performing front left/center/right speaker channels inside the screen housing to be dropped to the perfect listening location on demand.
Other “out of the box” thinking can be found with Monitor Audio’s SoundFrame series. These speakers can also be cleverly concealed behind artwork to look like a painting on the wall.
3) “There’s no good way to keep noise from escaping a family room, and no good way to keep noise outside the room from creeping in.”
I’ll be honest—this is a tough one to rebut. Soundproofing is difficult—and expensive—even in dedicated rooms, let alone an open space like a living room. The next best thing you could do would be to isolate the rooms you don’t want to disturb—say the bedrooms—using sound-isolating techniques on their walls. Even so, a movie played back at reference volume level will likely be heard throughout the home. There are some things you can do like using “Night” listening modes that compress the dynamics so loud sounds like explosions won’t be as loud. Audyssey also has a new technology called LFC that’s designed to contain the low-frequency sounds that most disturb the neighbors while still allowing for an impressive theater experience. Even so, with a 6½ year old of my own, this is a problem I struggle with so I’d be a liar if I told you this wasn’t difficult to overcome . . .
4) “Stadium seating is the only way to go.”
Stadium seating is great when you need to cram a lot of viewers into a shallow space, but for the typical home theater is really unnecessary. If you’re going to be routinely hosting events where you need to seat more than 8 to12 people, then a typical-sized living room might be tough. But if we’re talking typical daily viewing where it will likely just be the 2 to 6 people in your family, a couch will be totally adequate and far more comfortable. A couch is far more social, where you can turn to the person next to you and share a comment . . . or ask them to pass the scotch.
5) “Dedicated theater makes watching movies more of an event.”
When the lights are down and you’re watching the movie, the room becomes the last thing you or your guests are thinking about. And, yes, the process of getting up, gathering all of your drinks and snacks, and walking to another part of the home to watch a movie might be “an event.” It might also become “an inconvenience” over time. Equally part of “an event” is having everyone settle into the couch, saying, “OK, it’s time for the movie!” and then pressing the Watch Movie button on your control system and having all of the lights slowly dim, the window coverings drop, the screen lower, and the system turn on.
6) “I don’t care what you say—a living room theater will just never be good.”
For my final point of rebuttal, I offer up my own living-room home theater as an example. I promise you, it has impressed everyone who has ever sat through a movie there.
A month ago, I wrote a post called “The Death of the Dedicated Theater Room” that listed all the reasons why a theater in a multi-use space such as a living room or family room makes so much more sense than going with a dedicated room. Multi-use spaces are generally more welcoming and comfortable, don’t require an exodus from one location to the next to watch a movie, and—most importantly—every home has one. (For simplicity’s sake, going forward I’m just going to call any multi-use space a living room.)
Before I begin debunking all of the reasons why you think you can’t put a great theater in your living room, I want to start by saying that if you have the means, budget, space, and desire for a dedicated media room in your home, go for it. This is definitely not a knock on building a dedicated room, and in many circumstances, a dedicated space can deliver an amazing experience.
With that said, here’s why I think you’re wrong when you say you can’t put a good theater in a living room.
1) “A living room lets in far too much light to be a good theater.”
Granted, one of the benefits of a dedicated room is that it often has a single door and no windows, which makes it easy to make the room completely dark. But there is a lot that can be done to make a living room acceptably dark for movie watching.
By Greg Tarr On May 20 2013 – 9:41am
San Diego — Sony said Monday it recently launched an integrated marketing campaign behind the release of its two 4K Ultra High-Definition XBR LED LCD TVs.
The campaign features Garth Davis, who most recently co-directed Jane Campion’s critically acclaimed miniseries “Top of the Lake.”
Sony said Davis became inspired to make a 4K feature after the picture quality of a Sony 4K Ultra HD TV at the Sundance Film Festival.
Davis and Academy Award-winning cinematographer Claudio Miranda, produced a commercial spot encompassing Davis’ vision, shot on Sony F65 and F55 model professional 4K cameras.
Native 4K footage from the shoot will be showcased at retail next month, Sony said.
“The Sony 4K Ultra HD TV really is a new way of looking at things, a new visual language. There is so much detail, it’s almost like you can walk into the picture,” said Davis. “One of the things unique to the TV is color. And the story we’ve been creating for this project is about celebrating color in lots of ways. With Sony 4K we are working at the highest end of technology and creativity.”
“It is so nice to have a larger color gamut to work with in 4K,” added Miranda. “You can extract more information and show what you may not have seen before on a TV. Working with Sony 4K truly opens up the possibilities.”
Sony will begin airing a national broadcast spot this week accompanied by digital, print and radio ads, mobile media and experiential events as well as retail point-of-purchase and interactive displays.
Sony said it will also spread the word about the new 4K Ultra HD TVs through social networks, email, direct mail and freestanding inserts.
“The campaign calls out the enhanced quality of anything one would watch on a Sony 4K TV with a picture that is four times clearer than full HD,” said Patrick Bewley, Sony brand experience and visual design VP. “It’s the highest resolution, most immersive experience Sony has ever created, and in order to experience it, you must see it in person to believe it.”
Sony is demonstrating its new 4K Ultra HD TVs at select retail partners across the country, including Sony Stores and Magnolia Home Theater departments at Best Buy.
Sony said the focus on 4K is the first piece of a year-long campaign that showcases emerging and established collaborators who have been inspired by Sony technology to create unique and unforgettable stories and Sony brand experiences.
All aspects of this campaign were developed with the support of Sony Electronics’ advertising agency, 180 Los Angeles.
Sony’s current 4K Ultra HD LED LCD TV lineup includes the 84-inch XBR-84X900 that launched last November, the just-launched 55-inch XBR-55X900A and the 65-inch XBR-65X900A.
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