Hitting the North hard with hot home cinema action, an unused garage in a residential property in Manchester has been transformed into a stylish smart-room for cinema and more. Through an installation managed by AV specialists Finite Solutions, AWE’s exclusive distribution deal with remote control specialists URC provided simplistic control to satisfy the client’s every need.
At the risk of stating the painfully obvious, home cinema rooms used to be gathering spaces with one main purpose: watching films. However the traditional role is now evolving to support other uses such as listening to music, playing video games or watching television on a large scale. And to that end, the client’s brief to Finite Solutions was to convert their double garage into a truly special home cinema, with a slight difference.
As a keen drummer, the client called for an understated, yet high-quality four-seat cinema, alongside a raised platform behind the seating on which to seat a full size drum kit. It was also imperative that the room was acoustically tuned and shielded from the rest of the house, to get the best out of all the equipment inside; including the drums.
URC-some Less Irksome
The second main requirement in the brief was that all of the AV equipment in the cinema – a Denon AVR2312 receiver, Bowers and Wilkins speakers, Samsung 3D Blu-ray player, Sky HD box, Apple TV and Sony Playstation 3 – work seamlessly together without having to swap between remotes or controllers. The solution to this was a URC Complete Control system – a single MX-5000 remote control, coupled to an MRF-350i RF Base Station that had been programmed with advanced macros to activate different combinations of products with a single button press, ensuring the client could relax knowing the system was optimised at all times. For example, with one touch the lights dim, the Denon receiver turns on, the Apple TV switches to Movie Library mode, during which time the projector warms up ready to play, drastically streamlining to process of starting a film. Plus, there’s no fumbling for the light switch and remote if a film needs to be paused – the owners simply press ‘Intermission’ on the backlit MX-5000 and the lights fade up and the movie stops.
Another nice bonus with the URC system is that it doesn’t need to have line of sight to AV equipment like traditional remotes controls, as it works via a wireless RF signal back to its control unit. This allows for huge flexibility during the planning and installation stages, allowing installers to squirrel all the eye-clutter black boxes away, like savoury AV nuts in some unseen drey.
Home AV Evolution
After film night, an ‘All Off’ button has also been programmed into the system. With homeowners becoming increasingly conscious of energy savings, this function isn’t just a glorified standby mode, it completely shuts down all the AV sources safely, meaning a reduction on energy overheads.
“The home cinema has changed in the last decade,” says Matt Wayne of Finite Solutions. “No longer is it just a ‘stand-alone’ big screen and projector. Home cinemas in 2013 began to be used for all manner of entertaining, therefore it’s important to take this into consideration during the design stage. The amount of functionality and potential that can be brought into an area now by a single Ethernet cable is incredible. Systems like URC create the perfect blend of connectivity between music, film, live TV, smart TV, recording and streaming, ensuring reliable ‘fuss-free’ use. I’m excited to see what the next decade holds for the home cinema room, I’m sure the landscape will continue to adapt and change significantly!”
Of course, the proof of any home cinema installation’s success is in the client’s reaction to the finished job and adherence to the brief. So, was he impressed? He can’t stop banging on about it! – He’s a drummer, you see? Banging? Suit yourself. But, yes, the brief was met and a home cinema oasis (ahem) in Manchester was achieved; a home cinema oasis of such high quality that the project also snapped up ‘Best Home Cinema under £40,000’ at the 2013 CEDIA Awards – testament indeed.