It’s no surprise that consumer electronics have become increasingly dependent upon professional installation. Consider the following categories: satellite antennae, A/V distribution systems, projectors and screens, wholehouse control, lighting and dimming systems, content-sharing DVR networks, and of course wall-mounting and wire-pulling for flat-panel TVs. Want to talk about remote access to media servers and CCTV cameras via Ethernet? A system’s operation is programming intensive and depends on physical installation, which requires construction expertise. There’s so much going on behind your walls and in your attic. I wouldn’t want to take responsibility for all of it at my house, and I know my wife wouldn’t want me to, either. I bang up my walls enough, schlepping a retractable ladder from the garage up three flights of stairs to the master bedroom just to change a 9-volt smoke alarm battery. Drill holes in my walls? Me? Are you kidding? In this article, I’ll help you find your closest local professional installers and provide an easy method to help you make the right selection.
One of the myths about lighting control systems is that you can only install them if you’re building a new house, where the walls aren’t built yet, or if you’re performing a major remodel, where all of the walls are torn down. This myth perpetuates on the assumption that you need to run lots of wire while the framing is exposed. It’s true that once the drywall is up, pulling wire becomes prohibitively expensive because of the labor required. But I’m here to bust the myth that you can’t have fun with your lighting in a finished home. In the case of lighting dimming control, you can enjoy many of the features you’d find in a whole-house wired system, without the wire and the accompanying labor expense.
Simple tools to create the ideal lighting environment for your home theater.
When you go to a movie theater, you get your first indication that the movie is about to begin when the lights turn off. So what's the big deal over lighting systems if we only plan to watch movies in the dark?
It’s 11:00 on a Sunday night. Your honey just went up to bed and you can’t wait to crank up your latest Blu-ray acquisition: Jimi Plays Berkeley, a long-forgotten 1970 documentary that has been restored and remixed in 5.1 surround. Seconds after Hendrix rips into the first number, the dreaded foot stomping from above begins. The party’s over before it even starts. Last time it was a cataclysmic crescendo from Inception that did you in. Frustrated, you vow to remedy the situation and, once and for all, soundproof the family room that doubles as your home theater.
Inside tips from the pros can save you hundreds of dollars in speaker-wire installation costs.
When you build a home theater, one of the biggest expenses is the labor for installing the speaker wire. The greater the obstacles, the more time and expense involved. However, you can conquer the majority of wiring situations with a little know-how and ingenuity. Here's how:
Tips for selecting and installing a front-projection screen.
What’s keeping you from taking the front-projection plunge? Is it a belief that projection systems are still only for the rich and famous, consisting of $15,000 projectors, movie-theater-sized screens, and elaborate masking systems, controlled by advanced touchpanels? The entry-level projector roundup on page 38 of this issue is proof that there’s a 1080p projector to suit almost any budget, and the same is true for theater screens.