Home Theaters, Surround Sound And Projection TVs

Home Theaters, Surround Sound And Projection TVs


Jason:    Guys welcome back to another episode of the Louisville Custom Home Builder Podcast. I’ve got Ryan Wight graciously joining us again for another episode. He’s from Century Entertainment and Furnishings. He joined us a few weeks back and talked about home automation, and we talked a little bit about home theaters, but I think we’re going to dive into that a little bit more. Before I ramble on too much, I want to welcome Ryan back.

Ryan:    Hi Jason. Thanks for having me back, appreciate it.

Jason:    Always a pleasure man. One of the most popular items, day and day out, about our beautiful homes that we build, is the basements or lower levels and home theaters. Usually the man of the house will sit through all the design meetings for hours upon end and just daze off, but when we start talking about that basement, their eyes glaze over like a kid on Christmas. Let’s talk a little bit about home theaters and tell me what you’re seeing these days down in the lower level Ryan.

Century Living Entertainment SystemsRyan:    I would say the projection systems in the lower level are becoming very popular, especially in this area, cause we have basements around here, whereas, in other parts of the country, they do not.

Jason:    Okay.

Ryan:    The more popular is the open entertainment area. Not necessarily a dedicated, closed in room per se with that projection 110, 120 inch screen in it.

Jason:    Yeah, it seems like there for a few years ago, everybody wanted their own dedicated home theater to where the only time you were going to use that room is if you were, I guess, going to go in there and watch  a movie. We’ve definitely send a trend towards more open living down in the family room. That’s good to see, you guys are seeing that as well. A projector system, I know we mount a projector on the ceiling and, I guess the advantage of using a projector is you can get a little bit larger screen than a typical flat screen that you’d buy from, say, Costco or Best Buy, is that correct?

Ryan:    Correct. You go to Costco or Best Buy, your TV’s are going to max out somewhere in the 75 to 80 inch range without selling a kid off for anything larger than that.

Jason:    Okay.

Ryan:    A projection system, you can easily get 100, 110 inch is probably our most popular size, for even under the price of one of those larger 75 or 80 inch TV’s.

Jason:    Now, talk to me about the quality of those projectors. It seems like a lot of people may shy away from a projector, they may think they’re not going to get the quality of plasma or something like that. Is that true? What’s the quality comparison?

Ryan:    There is a lot of misconception out there, cause people are used to seeing some of the old projectors and the BW3’s or Mister Gatti’s or places like that that had really low quality stuff back in the days. Projectors have really come a long way, a lot brighter, a lot crisper, high definition, even super high definition, or UHD, ultra high definition projectors these days. Definitely a lot brighter, invite people to come in and really take a look in our showroom at what a new projector can do.

Jason:    Can you get a similar quality from, well first of all, as far as TV’s, what’s the latest technology as far as a TV screen? I know I mentioned plasma, but I know that’s not the latest and greatest. What is the best picture out there right now?

Ryan:    The latest and greatest is really going towards what they call OLED, which is basically every pixel in the TV is its own light source. Every pixel can be turned on and off, or made any of 65 million colors. That is the latest and greatest, now that is only available by LG currently. It is up there in price range. The 77 inch, to give you an idea, is $25,000.

Jason:    Wow. I guess then, would an LED be the most common and most affordable application for a flat screen TV right now?

Ryan:    Yeah LED is still probably the top choice. You will find those in what they call Ultra HD, or 4k televisions these days, which is basically four times the resolution of a high definition.

Jason:    Comparison purposes from a projector to an LED TV, if you put them side by side, are you going to notice a difference, or are they going to be similar quality.

Ryan:    Your TV’s are always going to be maybe a little bit sharper, but you’re going to have to, there’s definitely a size trade off there. 55, 65 inch TV, you go to 110 inch, you’re talking almost a 50% gain in picture size.

Jason:    Okay. Then with the projector, do you just project that on the wall, or do you actually have to have a screen to go along with it?

Ryan:    We have all different types of screens, and those can range in price from hundreds of dollars to thousands of dollars. That’s really going to depend on each individual room type and room situation. That’s where our expertise comes into play and we can help you out with that. We have screens that are what they call ambient light rejection screens. Then we have screens that even look like big TV’s hanging on the wall, have almost a zero edge to them and you can get them with LED color changing lights behind them if you really want a cool effect.

Jason:    Okay. Nice. I may have to come into the showroom and check those out. I’m building a new house for myself. I may have to put one of those down in the basement. What about sound? I know back in the day 5.1 surround sound was good. I know there’s 7.1 and 2, what do you recommend for somebody putting a home theater in the basement to get the best sound?

Ryan:    That again goes to individual room layout and design. 5.1 or 7.1’s are popular, the newest and greatest is something called Dolby Atmos, or DTSX which actually involves four more, or two more in-ceiling speakers. It almost creates a 360 degree sound field.

Jason:    Walk me through that. If you’re sitting in the theater seat looking at the screen, what speakers would you have in front of you, around you and maybe on top of you?

Ryan:    Ideally, what they call a 7.1 or .4 theater, you would have two fronts, a center channel, sub-woofer, one or two sub-woofers. You would have two speakers behind you, two speakers beside you in the walls. Then you would actually have four speakers above you. Two in back of you and two in front of you. Those would help to create a 360 degree sound field that the new Dolby Atmos, when they’re doing the sound mixing, they can actually move sounds around in a 360 degree field now.

Jason:    Wow. Have you started installing some of those systems yet?

Ryan:    Yeah, we’ve put one or two in so far, in the earlier design processes. Actually we’ve probably done more than one or two, but we have a few installed, and we even have one in our showroom that people can come in and listen to.

Jason:    Sounds like that would be a tough one to retrofit with all those speakers, so maybe it’d be best for a new construction project.

Ryan:    Right. We had a lot designed out there, but it’s brand new technology, so those projects will be coming up. We’ve wired for them, but maybe not installed them yet.

Jason:    What do you need to complete the home theater? You’ve got the projector, you got the screen, you got the speakers, what type of receiver and what other equipment would you need to complete that home theater system?

Ryan:    You would need a receiver, and that would all depend on how many speakers, either a 5, a 7, or even an 11 channel receiver these days. Then you would need some sort of source, like a cable box or a satellite box, cause I’m sure you’d want to watch regular TV on it. Then after that it’s up to you what you like to watch. Whether it be an Apple TV, a Roku streaming device, a Blue Ray player for disc. Just new to the market, just launched last week, is the new Ultra HD Blue Ray Disc, which is the four times high definition Blue Ray quality format.

Jason:    Does that mean at Target now they’re going to have another section of different DVD’s?

Ryan:    That is correct. You will see new 4K Ultra HD disk. It’s starting out. It’s just going to be like when Blue Rays came out. It’ll be a little slow to get started, but that will slowly become another option out there.

Jason:    Wow. I guess with the big 110 inch or whatever inch screen down there in the basement, I know my kids are going to want to know if they can play their Xbox or Wii on it, is that something that they can do?

Ryan:    That’s definitely something they can do, and probably one of the, keep the kids entertained for hours I’ve been told, feedback from customers. They love that, the kids love playing their video games on a big screen like that.

Jason:    It’s not going to wear the system out or anything like that if they play their games on it. Is there any disadvantage to having the kids, other than maybe you wouldn’t see them as much?

Ryan:    One of the things, the projector system still unlike a TV, that most of them have some sort of light source, whether that be a bulb or laser. Eventually you may have to replace the bulb. Most of the projectors we sell come with a spare bulb, so you’re good for the four or five years.

Jason:    Okay. What kind of cost would a bulb be if it did go out in four or five years? Just curious.

Ryan:    Depends on the brand, but anywhere from like $200 to $400.

Jason:    Okay, so not terrible.

Ryan:    Yeah, we also have a new projector, it uses a laser light source. It’s good for about 25,000 hours. You’re good for about 10 to 12 years with that.

Jason:    I guess it depends how much TV you watch  though.

Ryan:    Yeah that’s true. It all depends, but the laser light source is going to be more like a TV, just on/off instantly and you never have to worry about it.

Jason:    Just to give the listeners an idea of, say an entry level 110 inch projector system with just a projector and a screen, just so they can compare it if they’re thinking about buying maybe a 60 or 70 inch TV, and maybe want to go ahead an up the ante and go for 110 inch screen. What type of price point can somebody get in for a projector and a screen?

Ryan:    Just the projector and the screen alone, you can get in at $2500 to $3000, just the projector and the screen. We do complete install packages with speakers and receiver and a universal remote so you don’t have to fumble through four or five different remotes, starting at $6500 to $7000. I’d say our middle of the road, base package, usually comes in around $8,000 to $10,000 for a nice home theater.

Jason:    You mentioned an all in one remote, how does that remote work? Do you have to, I have horror stories of looking for the red dot and pointing it, is that, I think those have probably come a long way. How do you control the systems nowadays?

Ryan:    All the remotes we sell, and we highly recommend it this way, is so you don’t point, they’re all radio frequency, and it’d just be one button on, one button off. If you want to watch cable, you just hit the cable button. If you want to watch  a DVD, you can just hit the DVD player button, and that’s it.

Jason:    Okay, fantastic, and I guess if you had a home automation system that we talked about before, could you control it with your iPad or something like that?

Ryan:    Sure. You can always use your iPad, your iPhone. A lot of times, if you’re entertaining, you may want to have on the game, but play some music, you can also do that through it. Most of the receivers these days have streaming audio also in them.

Jason:    Okay good deal. You got me all excited. I’m going to have to go get the latest movie and cuddle up and come to your showroom and watch a movie. Do you have any restrictions on how long I can stay in the showroom? Just teasing.

Ryan:    Unfortunately, we do not.

Jason:    All right. Good deal. I think we’ve about covered the home theaters. I want to talk about TV’s for just a second. I’ve built hundreds of custom homes over the years and I’ve had people put 20 TV’s in a house, I’ve had people put one or two TV’s in a house. What are you finding most common for TV’s nowadays? Is everybody going to the flat screen mounted on the wall? Anybody still like to hide their TV? What do you see these days?

Ryan:    I would say the definite trend is everything going on the wall. People like the clean look, no wires, not necessarily having to have a piece of furniture underneath their TV, or the wires hanging down and all their devices out underneath the TV. They like to hide that away in a closet, a pantry or a rack in the basement type deal, out of the way.

Jason:    I guess we’d have to do that through pre-wiring if you want to have a TV over, say a fireplace with no wires, where do you put the cable box? Or if somebody has a satellite TV, how do you accomplish that without seeing any wires?

Ryan:    Yes, some of that still goes back, the best way to do it is pre-wiring for that. There is some wireless options out there, they’re still not that great to transmit full high definition video, and especially with 4K Ultra HD video coming around the corner, which is even increased bandwidth, wiring is still the best way to go. We like to go in ahead of time and plan for that with the homeowners.

Jason:    Gotcha. I think you mentioned you liked if somebody’s building a new house, you want to talk to them when they’re designing blueprints or even at latest maybe start in the framing stage, is that right?

Ryan:    Correct. That way we can go in and get an idea of what really works for them and how they live. Find out what their hot spots are, what TV’s they’re going to watch  most, and then we can design around their specific needs.

Jason:    Gotcha. Well I guess, as we’re wrapping up, I know we’ve worked with Century on a couple Homearamas in the past, I remember back when I was with Stonecroft Homes, we did an award winning home and we did a curved theater screen. Homearama’s coming up this year in Norton Commons and I know there’s a bunch of houses. Are you guys going to have a presence in this year’s Homearama?

Ryan:    Yes, we should be out there very strong. We hope everyone comes out and sees us out there. We’ll have a couple of different theaters, some home automation to show off. Love for you to join us, especially in Artisan Homes too.

Jason:    All right man. If somebody wants to get a hold of you, Ryan, what’s the best way to do that?

Ryan:    You can call our office at 502-231-6922 or email us at info@CenturyLiving.com and we’ll set up an appointment. You can come in the showroom whenever we’re open, or if you want to set up a time, we can do that too.

Jason:    Sounds good man. Well thanks again for coming out today Ryan.

Ryan:    All right, thank you for having me.