The Invisible Home Entertainment System
Thursday, June 21, 2012 • 8:29pm
One of the most common obstacles that my clients and friends encounter is the obtrusive impact that many of today's home entertainment systems have on the decor of a room.
There has been much progress made in the last 15 years. Our family and great rooms have all benefited significantly by the proliferation of flat screen TVs, available in a wide range of sizes. The days of the 24" and deeper TV are long behind us.
Speakers have also become more compact and can be installed flush in walls and ceilings. We can pretty much kiss the floor standing tower speakers from our past goodbye.
But now we are taking the idea of blending home entertainment systems into room decors to another level.
There are several tech clever products that serve the purpose of disguising a flat panel video display screen. But by far the coolest is Seura's mirror TV system. The diagonal screen measurements range from 26" all the way up to a gigantic 55" model, with many to choose from in between. The selection of decorative frames is wide and varied. And in case you plan on watching TV in the shower or outside, Seura offers moisture and heat resistant models as well. Seura mirror TVs are a custom installation type product, so it would be best to seek advise from, and then hire, an audio video specialist to plan and manage the project.
Now back to the audio aspect of the invisible home entertainment system. There now exists technology that several speaker manufacturers have embraced and perfected, that allows for speakers to become part of your walls and ceilings. Great idea right? But wait until you hear them!
Many options exist, including stereo pairs for your kitchen, dining room and master suite. And even more exciting, 5.1 and 7.1 systems, as well. Even the conventional big, ugly box subwoofer can be replaced with an invisible in-wall model. Again this product needs to be specified and installed by an A/V professional for the best results. The speaker elements are installed in the sheetrock walls and ceilings by cutting out a square or round hole, roughly the size of the speaker. After the speaker is bracketed into place and wire is connected, the rest of the install resembles the procedures that are used when you repair or install sheetrock. Tape, spackle, and sand. Then feel free to paint, faux or wallpaper. There will be no impact on sonic performance.
Finally, the third element that completes the invisible home entertainment system is a universal remote control. Not just any universal remote will do. The type to choose must work with RF, or radio frequencies, not IR, or infra-red. The RF remote can broadcast control codes through solid objects including wood cabinet doors, closet doors, walls, and floors. This technology allows the A/V component stack to be located out of site and out of mind. My favorite location to store the required electronics that comprise the modern day home theater or entertainment system is the mechanical room, in the basement. A metal equipment rack is the perfect product in which to store the system. There's great ventilation and casters make accessibility to the rear connection panels a breeze.
Back to the universal remote. This component should never be minimized or taken for granted. You absolutely need to be able to control your system reliably and predictably every time you use it. There is no substitute for a custom programmed remote control.
So when you combine all the high tech elements that I have described above, the end result is a high performance home theater system that appears out of thin air when you pick up your remote control and push the go button.
What will they think of next?
Ralph Tarnofsky founded Professional Audio Consultants, P.A.C., in 1974 based on the satisfaction he derived from helping friends and relatives select fine quality music systems. Ralph's unique personal approach and the desire to provide the best sound solution within his client's budget helped establish the reputation of P.A.C. for uncompromised quality and exceptional customer service. Ralph moved his growing business to it's current location in downtown Millburn in 1981 where it remains one of the premier custom residential, A/V design and installation firms in the New York Metro area. Ralph enjoys hearing from readers at RalphT@pac-nj.com. Vist P.A.C. online at http://www.pac-nj.com/
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