No Compromises Made For The Ultimate Home Cinema

Thanks to technology integrator, Cyberhomes, a family home in Hampshire has been transformed with a technically excellent home cinema, securing first place in the Best Home Cinema £120,000 - £340,000 category at the EMEA 2018 CEDIA Awards.

Cyberhomes’ client had a number of key requests for this project. The homeowner wanted the ultimate home cinema room with no compromises, including the biggest screen possible in the allocated space that was bright enough for watching TV during the day and in the evenings. Having done a lot of background reading on audio, the client was very particular in wanting Dolby Atmos sound, with an even better system than the usual 7.1.2 setup. Lastly, he requested that the control should be fully integrated into the existing home Savant Pro system.

The adjacent rooms to the cinema space are a hallway and utility room on the same floor and a bedroom above. Given the high potential sound pressure levels that the system would be capable of, Cyberhomes advised the builder on how to construct the room to provide a minimum of Isolation Level 1 Wall Construction with STC of 52. This would not only prevent external noise compromising the cinema sound but would also stop the cinema sound being heard elsewhere, particularly in the bedroom above.

In order to allow the cinema room to be used with the lights on, a high brightness projector was required. Cyberhomes initially recommended a Digital Projection E-Vision Laser 4K-UHD single-chip DLP projector. However, after taking the client to a demo that included an A/B comparison with the Digital Projection 4K-UHD HIGHlite 3-chip DLP laser projector, the client agreed to paying the considerable price increase to get the higher spec version.

Cyberhomes installed the 3-chip laser projector in a special cabinet housing due to its size. Whilst the projector has sufficient brightness for high dynamic range, it does not have built-in HDR capability, so a Lumagen Radiance Pro 4444 processor was included in the video signal path to provide HDR compatibility. The Lumagen also allowed for separate calibration settings to be stored for each different video source.

At full brightness, this projector would be too bright for the screen under traditional movie viewing conditions. However, the brightness was necessary to meet the requirement for using the cinema in daylight conditions. Therefore, two brightness levels were programmed into the projector and ISF calibration was undertaken at each setting. The projectors brightness is reduced when the room is darkened to ensure image is not brighter than recommended guidelines.

A 140" Screen Research XLR3 acoustically transparent screen was installed and allows the main LCR speakers to be located in the ideal positions behind the screen. Motorised side masking allows automatic aspect ratio change of the visible screen area and also provides full closure to protect the screen when not in use. While the aspect ratio detection is automatic, with the motorised masking and Lumagen processor responding accordingly, Cyberhomes also provided the ability to override the aspect ratio from both the Lutron wallplate and the Savant Pro app and remote handset.

There is a Celerity active optical fibre connection between Lumagen processor in the plant room and the projector. This is 4K 4:4:4 60fps capable, although the projector only supports up to 4:2:0 colour depth. A second active fibre HDMI allows local connection of a games console in the cinema room feeding back to the Lumagen processor.

Cyberhomes installed James Loudspeaker speakers. All 15 speakers, four subwoofers, and the acoustic treatment panels are located out of sight behind a bespoke stretched fabric acoustically transparent wall.

The vertical position of the front LCR speakers is aligned between the ear height of the front and rear seating. There are two pairs of side speakers, a pair for each seating row. The rear back speakers are at the same height as the side speakers, so that sound for the front row seats isn’t obscured by people who are sat in the rear seats. The rear speakers are bi-polar for wider dispersion, allowing for the distance of seating from the wall. The six Dolby Atmos height channels are optimised for the first-tier seating.

There are two James Loudspeakers M122 12” dual subwoofers at the front of the room in bespoke low-level cabinets and a further two QX1020 10” dual subwoofers at the rear of the room. The room layout design necessitated that the main seating position would be almost exactly in the centre of the room. Therefore, in order to minimise standing waves, the rear subwoofers were moved in from the corners to give greater flexibility when calibrating them.

A shark fin design was created to give the room aesthetic appeal, with LED strip lighting integrated into the fins. These LEDs dim automatically whenever video content is playing, leaving just the floorlevel stair lights dimly illuminated (unless in daytime viewing mode). All lighting positions were carefully considered to avoid any centrally-located lights or any reflections that might impact on image quality.

The cinema room has its own air conditioning and heating system to maintain comfortable conditions in the room. Vents are discreetly located in the coffer. When the cinema room is turned off, a purge cycle is activated with the air conditioning and air circulation systems to refresh the room as many of the homeowner’s friends are smokers.

A Pakedge IP-controlled PDU allows remote rebooting of devices if required. Domotz network monitoring provides Cyberhomes with notifications of any devices on the network that aren’t responding, which allows the integrator to remotely reboot the system. Cyberhomes provided the client with the Domotz Violet app so that he can also remotely reboot specific devices.

“Our whole team are really proud of the work we did on our winning project” commented Andy Mack, Director at Cyberhomes. “We listened intently to what the client wanted and delivering it. This state-of-the-art Home Cinema is a classic example of what Cyberhomes stands for – forensic attention to detail with a dedicated devotion to client satisfaction throughout the engagement.”