June 27, 2019

The New Home Theater Aesthetic

For a private theater to deliver a truly sensational experience, both form and function must be embraced in its design.  Much has been said about the “home theater experience,” and many profess the ability to deliver it. A manufacturer will claim that their product is the answer, while an engineer will point to his ability to provide performance, and a designer will emphasize the importance of the décor.  Though systems and engineering are key components and cannot be dismissed, without equal attention to form we cannot have an unparalleled private theater experience.

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The Home Theater’s Engine

A great private theater is no accident. Theater designers cannot merely show up with the latest top of the line equipment, hang it in the proffered space, and knock out extraordinary results.

In a previous post, I compared the room itself to the chassis of a high-performance machine— purpose engineered for specified results and able to sustain the power and performance that we plan to equip it with. Because we have carefully engineered that chassis, we must follow through with specification, design, and engineering of the engine that will drive it.

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Balancing Form and Function

A private theater is experiential in nature, and there are fundamental elements and attributes required to deliver that experience. Just like a high-performance sports car, it is not enough to look fast; it must have the engineering, build quality, and design to deliver.

Many home theater designers are striving for the wrong goals or have positioned these objectives out of order. One example of this is a home theater designed primarily as a reflection of a theme or style without consideration of the design’s impact on performance. Even when attempts are made to properly design a home theater, if specific knowledge, experience, and skill are not applied, the results will be less than ideal.

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How We Do Windows

Controlling Light and Acoustics in Theaters Containing Glass

Large reflective surfaces in a home theater
require acoustical consideration, and windows
are particularly difficult to treat. If
the window is also a door, such as sliding
doors or decorative single light doors, the
positioning and access/egress issues come
into play, as well.

Large reflective surfaces in a home theater require acoustical consideration, and windows are particularly difficult to treat. If the window is also a door, such as sliding doors or decorative single light doors, the positioning and access/egress issues come into play, as well.

Try as we might, windows will “happen,” due to local building code requirements, architectural standards for a community, aesthetic sensibilities, and client preference. There are, however, exceptions for home theaters in the Uniform Building Code (UBC), and when that doesn’t work, automated shades usually offer your best alternative.

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Cool Homes For Projectors

Hiding One of the Most Conspicuous Components in the Theater

The home theater projector is one of the most difficult components to integrate into a private theater room design. Fortunately savvy home theater designers can overcome most of these design hurdles with proper creativity and engineering. Here are six challenges that I’ve observed, and how to overcome them.

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