When is a TV room more than just a TV room? When one button can magically transform it into a professional-grade home theater by revealing a hidden 4K projector and 120” screen, closing the blinds and automatically setting the correct AV input — that’s when! For one homeowner in Essex, England, the dream of having a truly theatrical entertainment system has come true, thanks to the work of local integrator iCubed Home Cinema Ltd and the powerful automation of the ELAN control system by Nortek Security & Control.
“The homeowner wanted a real cinema experience at home, with one caveat: the room had to retain its aesthetic and not appear to be a dedicated theater,” said Iain Martin, Director at iCubed Home Cinema Ltd.
“That’s when it got fun for us, because we’re able to show people what’s possible with the latest technologies. The room in question is perfectly suited for a secret theater because it has a soffit where we were able to hide the motorized lifts for the projector and screen. As far as any guest knows, this is a normal TV room until the owners activate the theater through the ELAN® system, giving a cool ‘wow’ moment and offering an incredible movie viewing experience,” Martin explained.
The ELAN control system was crucial to the success of this project, as it would only be appreciated if it were as easy to use as a normal TV. Working with Indigo Distribution, the exclusive distributor of ELAN control products in the U.K. and Ireland, iCubed determined the ELAN gSC2 controller and an ELAN remote would provide all the functionality and ease-of-use the family required. With the ELAN remote, there is an always-on option that has familiar volume and playback controls, just like all TV remotes, plus extra functions and a full-color touchscreen. According to Martin, the system requires just a single button to activate all the theater components for a night of movies or sports.
“With the ELAN remote or ELAN app on their mobile devices, the family just has to hit the ‘Movies’ button, and the wall-mounted TV shuts off, the screen and projector ‘magically’ lower from the ceiling, the motorized blinds close to cover the sliding glass door, and the AV receiver and amplifier turn on to their preferred inputs and settings,” Martin explained. “It takes about 15 seconds, and it’s like when the lights go down at a commercial movie theater – viewers feel the environment change, setting the stage for an enveloping cinema experience. It simply wouldn’t be as enjoyable, and could even be frustrating, if they had to manually turn on each piece of equipment, adjust the settings and get up to close the blinds.”
The homeowner’s original request was to outfit the existing TV room with the largest video screen possible and add lots of bass, but discussions revealed that a projection-only room wouldn’t be the best solution as it would all but require the blinds always be closed to watch TV. By leveraging the convertible TV-projector idea, the room now provides everything a TV lover could want – HD quality, optimal daytime and nighttime viewing options, Dolby Atmos® 5.1.2 sound with two subwoofers, and a cool factor unmatched by most home systems.
The system relies on an ELAN gSC2 controller, the brain that controls the entire system, which includes a JVC X9500 projector, 120” Screen Excellence screen with Future Automation motorized lifts for both, plus the Anthem amplifier and QMotion motorized blinds. Once the viewer presses the “Movie” or “Games” button and the theater launches, the correct source is automatically selected and the display on the ELAN® remote or app changes to show the available options for that device or source. The room currently offers content from a SKY HD box, an Apple TV®, a Sony PlayStation 4® and a Nintendo Switch®. For normal daytime TV viewing, the existing 75-inch TV also utilizes the ELAN system and the same video sources.
In addition to hiding the screen and projector in the ceiling, iCubed added a custom-built cabinet with removable front to house the ELAN gSC2 controller, amplifier, game systems, cable box, front speakers and two subwoofers in a chic, unobtrusive piece of furniture. A person passing through would never know this room is chock full of top-grade home theater tech. The front wall already had padded paneling, which was upgraded in this project to provide superior sound damping, better reverb and improved clarity.
“We try to cover every possible base,” Martin added. “One reason we almost exclusively use the ELAN system is we know it’s easy to use and has the power to do just about anything. Plus, we know we can add more systems or components to it if the client decides they want additional functionality later on. We’re also lucky to work with Indigo Distribution, who ensures we always get the best products for our clients’ needs. Having fast access to the best tech out there means we are always confident in delivering timely service and superior quality.”
To learn more about how iCubed and ELAN automation can make your home technology easier to use, visitwww.icubedhomecinema.co.uk.