The rise of smart home technology is proving to be exponential, with more and more homes now featuring levels of technology which would have seemed unachievable 10-years ago. A home cinema is seen as the pinnacle of this, bringing together the various elements of technology to achieve, if done correctly, a fully immersive cinema environment in the comfort of your own home.
Just over a year ago, AWE, the leading UK CI distributor, opened a state-of-the-art cinema room within its show apartment, which offers an impressive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X 3D immersive audio experience.
The real benefit of the cinema room has not just been movie nights for AWE staff, but in bridging the gap between AWE, end-users and design professionals, by inviting customers and their client’s to the showroom at Alexander House in Epsom.
The AWE home cinema is very much a demonstration room, bringing together all of the latest technology ingredients to produce a cutting edge home cinema that hits a sweet spot and out performs much more expensive systems. It has been created using the best products from major brands, rather than low volume esoteric units, to combat pre-conceived ideas that unlimited finances are needed to provide such a stunning result. The system installed is scalable either way, allowing the home cinema at Alexander House to be used as a working example. Customers can use the AWE cinema as a guide for clients, a platform from which the perfect home cinema for that particular client can be specified and installed. With regards to this, the AWE team are on hand to provide expert technical advice, ranging from speaker configuration to ideal projector and screen combinations.
For many clients, deciding upon features and equipment within a home cinema can be challenging. This is why AWE encourages customers to use this space as their own demonstration room. The real benefits of the immersive Dolby Atmos and DTS:X system are best experienced in the dedicated space and the conversion rate is high. As things stand, AWE is one of only a small number of places in the UK that these new technologies can be experienced in a residential set-up.
The sound within this room is indeed a stand-out feature. Thanks to Marantz amplification and KEF loudspeakers, the cinema boasts a 7.5.4 THX speaker configuration, which supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to provide exceptional audio quality with smooth delivery, whilst retaining the necessary impact. The Marantz AV-8802 processor and two MM-8077 power amplifiers drive three KEF Ci5160RL-THX and four KEF Ci3160RL-THX in-wall speakers and four KEF Ci200RR-THX in-ceiling speakers which provide the front and rear height channels, supported by five matching KEF Ci3160RLb in-wall subwoofers and two KEF KA-SA500 sub amplifiers.
The audio performance is unlike anything most have heard before and is supported by a range of additional visual and control products, which all work together in perfect harmony to provide the ultimate home cinema experience.
The AWE Cinema has recently benefitted from the new addition of a Draper Clarion fixed screen, fitted with their unique ambient light-rejecting ReAct fabric. The ReAct screen significantly enhances colour and contrast where ambient light is present, perfect where total blackout is either not achievable or desired. The image is provided by the award winning Epson EH-LS10000 Laser Projector, which delivers the ultimate in 4k enhanced, lifelike quality images and stunning black levels for the true cinema experience.
To help simplify the installers role of describing and specifying systems for end users, AWE has introduced a range of pre-configured packages for home cinema set ups and multi-room audio systems. The five home cinema packages are suitable for use in a number of installs, including 5.1, 5.2, 5.2.4 7.4.4 and upgraded Dolby Atmos and DTS:X set-ups. A combination of KEF speakers, subwoofers and amps, Kinetik cables and fire hoods, and Marantz and Denon AV receivers, amps and processors make up the packages.
So, AWE provides a home cinema demonstration room within a show apartment, expert technical support and training, as well as a host of products and packages to make the process of specifying and installing a home cinema as profitable as possible. Looking for a home cinema? Look no further than AWE.
A HALCYON ENVIRONMENT
Many AWE dealers have made use of the AWE Apartment and have shown that significant sales can be achieved by utilising this space. So, here are two examples:
When experienced installer, Halcyon AV received a brief to provide a multi-purpose home cinema featuring Dolby Atmos, they contacted AWE to book a visit to the AWE Cinema.
“During the early stages of specifying the equipment, the client asked for a demonstration of what could be achieved in their home,” comments Tim Dyer, Director of Halcyon AV. “I got in touch with AWE as they had just finished the cinema room at the head office. We both went for a full demonstration of Dolby Atmos and knew it was the perfect system for the job.”
The owner of the property comments: “We had advice from Tim initially as to what system would work well. But really it was when we went down to the AWE showroom, and heard all that the system could do, then we thought wow, it’s fantastic and it would be perfect for us.”
With the client basically saying ‘I want one of these’ when he visited the AWE Cinema, the project began soon after, with Halycon AV transforming a purpose-built extension into a home cinema setting.
The impressive building has been designed with the AWE-supplied technology at its heart. The home cinema is fully insulated and features sound proof screens and blinds, allowing the immersive sound produced by the KEF speakers to be contained within the building. The KEF Ci3160 speakers were installed around the 65-inch Panasonic screen, with KEF Ci160QR speakers installed into the ceiling. The speakers have been matched with a Marantz SR7009 AV receiver and Marantz UD5007 Blu-ray player. The sound within this room is indeed the stand-out feature. Thanks to Marantz and KEF, the cinema boasts a 11.2 THX speaker configuration, which supports both Dolby Atmos and DTS:X to provide exceptional 360° audio quality.
Audio aside, the high-quality visuals are down to a Panasonic 65-inch AX902 4K Smart TV. To ensure the cinema room is easy to use by the whole family, Halcyon AV opted for a URC MX1200i touchscreen remote control.
“The room has different uses for all of the family,” explains the homeowner. “I love using the room to listen to music through the sound system. But the whole family has been using the room as a home cinema – we all watched the final of the Great British Bake off in here.”
JUST ADD AWE
Stuart Burgess, owner of Just Add Popcorn is a big fan of the AWE Apartment and regularly brings clients to Epsom to experience home technology in a lifestyle environment. When they were approached by a client to work on a property in Farnham, it was once again, a good opportunity to head to Epsom. The initial brief was for the latest technology to be installed, but to not to detract from the oak frame interior.
“We started the project by meeting the client at AWE Europe’s Show Apartment,” explains Stuart. “Here, we could have an informal chat over a coffee and show our client some of the products and solutions they could choose to include into the project. This introduction to home technology and the various demonstrations set us in good stead for getting our plans signed off by the client. As the client had already been hands on with most of the suggest products at AWE, it was an easily decision for them to make.”
Just Add Popcorn specified a range of AWE distributed products, including URC Total Control, HEOS by Denon, KEF speakers, Philips Dynalite lighting control and Samsung TVs.
“At the end of the project, we have achieved a connected home that ticks all the boxes in the client’s original specifications,” adds Stuart. “The home is advanced, yet stylish, with the majority of technology hidden from view. The visit to the AWE Apartment aided the process of selling the idea of home technology to the client, and delivering the desired end result. This facility is a great benefit to us, and we will continue to bring clients to meet the AWE team in Epsom.”
Staying at the forefront of smart home technology requires AWE to be constantly updating the products in the apartment. As visitors to our recent expo can testify to, there is an impressive array of technology on display, from UHD TVs, to multiroom audio systems.
One of the most recent updates to the AWE apartment has been the newest offering from Panasonic, the 65-DX902 TV. The new UHD TV has been described as a ‘whole new era of TV technology’ and has recently been awarded a Highly Recommended status by AV Forums and Ultra HD Premium status by the UHD Alliance.
Available in 58- and 65-inch, the DX902 series supports High Dynamic Range (HDR) content, something that is particularly relevant in the industry right now.
Panasonic has also launched the new DMPUB900 Ultra HD Blu-ray disc player, which is the perfect partner for the DX902. Providing playback of both standard and the new UHD Blu-ray discs this unit is the best way to get UHD content without any of the quality restrictions associated with streaming content which is subject to compression.
AWE has also updated the show apartment with the new 55-inch UHD Loewe One screen. This affordable range has been cited as providing ‘the first step into the Loewe World’.
Loewe is renowned for developing screens that combine an attractive, modern design with excellent AV performance. Thanks to a sophisticated HD scaling algorithm, the Loewe One 40-inch Full HD and 55-inch Ultra HD screens deliver accurate, natural and lifelike picture quality. The screens are compatible with the latest high-resolution interfaces, including HDMI 2.0 and HDCP 2.2. This allows users to view HD content from appropriate external devices in all their glory.
For control, AWE has installed the new URC TKP-5500 in-wall touchscreen that is both sleek in design and compact in size. The TKP-5500 is a smaller, more compact version of the TKP-7000 and retails at just £529. Featuring a five-inch, LCD, full-colour touchscreen, the TKP-5500 is an intuitive control device that adds unparalleled management of all entertainment, lighting, heating, security and more within a property.
The TKP-5500 offers full graphic feedback from both URC and compatible third-party devices, including HEOS, KNX, NEST, Coolmaster and Philips Hue. When combined with URC Total Control compatible IP cameras, the TKP-5500 can display live video from up to four cameras on one interface for convenient security monitoring.
Another update has been the Marantz AV8802 processor and 2x MM8077 power amplifiers, which provide a stunning Dolby Atmos and DTS:X immersive audio experience in AWE Cinema. Designed to complement each other and used by some journalists as reference products, the AV8802 combines advanced DSP and DAC technologies alongside exclusive Marantz advances such as HDAM and Current Feedback. Dolby Atmos needs little introduction, as it is the most advanced surround sound system currently available, and the Marantz AV8802 processor is able to deliver these unique features.
The Marantz MM8077 power amplifier is designed for the ultimate music and movie surround sound experience. Following a similar design as the AV8802, the seven channel amplifier brings a clear improvement in performance and we are using two of them to help drive our 7.5.4 system!
Want to see these products in action, get in touch with the AWE team to book a visit to the apartment.