ConnectedWorks and Total Solutions Deliver Family Friendly Media Room

Technology integrators, ConnectedWorks and Total Solutions have worked together to create a knockout media room that’s fun for all the family, and was recognised in the EMEA 2018 CEDIA Awards, winning first prize in the Best Media Room £20,000 - £75,000 category.

Following lengthy discussions with the client, ConnectedWorks and Total Solutions aimed to deliver good quality immersive surround sound for music, TV, films, and games, alongside high-quality video performance from a cinema sized projection system and a TV for more casual viewing. The client envisioned a really enjoyable room for the whole family to relax in, and particularly somewhere that the kids could hang out in with friends. The other key consideration was for the room to have a clean, uncluttered look that is in line with the homeowner and architects’ overall vision for the project.

The integrators opted for a 5.1.2 Dolby Atmos speaker setup without the need for too many speakers or extra power amplifiers — ticking the boxes for an immersive experience alongside clean aesthetics. With glass doors on the left-hand side, the integrators installed the surround speakers on the back wall at 100° off-axis, pointing forwards to provide a very convincing rear effects performance after calibration. Due to room limitations, the subs had to be housed inside the AV cabinet, one at each end, with venting in the kickplate to ensure good airflow. Using room modelling software, ConnectedWorks and Total Solutions worked out the bass performance would be sufficiently even.

The shape of the room presented the integrators with a challenge. They felt it was 'lively' during the build, and modelling with RoomEQ Wizard gave the same results. ConnectedWorks and Total Solutions commissioned custom acoustic battens — created with wood, cloth, and acoustic foam which brought the sound down to an RT60 of 0.36s and provide a clean, minimalist look on the baffle wall around the TV.

A Screenline projector screen and Epson projector were installed alongside a Sony TV on a SANUS TV bracket. While it would’ve been easy to choose a larger projector screen, the integrators went for a smaller size that would deliver greater screen brightness, something that was important in this room due to the open-plan nature of the room meaning there will be a good amount of ambient light.

The lighting design and AV were planned in harmony. Above the seating is plastered-in bezel-free overhead lighting that also works as accent lighting for the 'faux-concrete' rear wall and picks out the rear speakers beautifully.

Being a small country cottage with the media room extension being quite shallow, space was at a premium. This meant that ConnectedWorks and Total Solutions weren’t able to find a location for a traditional 19" rack. As a solution, the integrators located the 'AV Hub' directly underneath the display in a wide cabinet. This was created using a rack strip, rack shelving, and long service loops to all equipment. The system is serviceable and upgradeable.

“I can’t stress enough how pleased I am with the final product” commented the homeowner. “Dolby Atmos is quite incredible. It’s difficult to describe or put my finger on exactly how I feel about the room, but we took Harvey to the cinema the other day and it wasn’t as comfortable — the lighting was slightly irritating, the picture was too small, and the sound wasn’t as immersive! I think everything has been a success and works well alongside each other. We really do get an experience rather than just sitting down and watching a screen. It might sound a bit corny, but our family life will benefit from that room.”