Creating our Perfect Livable Home Theater

4/13/2017 12:41:00 PM
I have been a Sony girl my entire life from my first record player (Thriller was my first record), to my first pink Sony boombox, and I am pretty sure, I’ve always owned a Sony TV. Starting in this industry back in the early 2000s, Sony was an easy sell. Everyone knew the brand and the quality that went along with it. However, in 2014 I composed a blog titled “The End of My Love Affair with Sony” and I wrote it with a heavy heart.

At the time, Sony was in trouble. They had holes in their line and had dropped below the standard they had created. The TV division was spinning off, with a promise to refresh the brand. As the brand began to climb out of the hole they had created, I had also decided I was ready for a new flat panel for my home. But, every time I thought I was willing to take the leap, a new model was introduced. Then, last year they launched their Z series, dubbed the best TV they have ever made.

My interest was piqued.

After sitting down with my Sony representative earlier this year, I learned they were keeping the series active another year and introducing their A1-Series (OLED) below the Z series.

I became even more intrigued.
 
My husband has always told me we were not allowed to upgrade our TV unless we purchased something that would hide the holes of our Paradigm Millenia 20 speakers that lived to the left and right of our Sony 52-inch XBR. Personally, I think he was just delaying me from coming home with some monstrosity. My desire for a big screen has existed for a while, but the big sets were not to my snobby standards; that is, until I saw the Z series in all its glory.
 
 
My home is middle market, and my room is about 16 feet wide and 20 deep with 8-foot ceilings. When we finally made the decision to jump to a 75-inch Z, we knew it could not live on the current tan wall—it just wouldn’t look right in the space. The room has a bay window at the back and a window on each adjacent wall.
 
How could we create a theater like experience while maintaining the room as a livable space?

Wiring the new room became a family affair: climbing through the attic to catch the “fish” with my two girls, ages nine and 10. One daughter was on a walkie-talkie on the first floor and the other in the attic with me. I’ll tell you; I appreciated my installers a bit more the next day!
 
  

Desiring a dark front wall, we selected reclaimed wood that would not only give us the deep color we wanted, but added character and some beautiful acoustic properties. Our room has a header in the front third, so we painted the first ceiling a darker color than the back two-thirds. We add two front-presence speakers and four surrounds in the ceiling above the listener. We have bookshelf speakers for our rears. By using a Paradigm Trio LCR bar and in-ceilings for much of the presence, we punched up the 5.1 system without the speakers taking over the room.

The final product was outstanding. Our living room went from my least liked room to my favorite room in the house. The 4K content on the 75-inch flat panel has revealed to me the next level of TV viewing. It feels more like an active experience, and at times intense and overwhelming—in a good way. Widescreen movies blend in with the dark blacks of the panel and the wall.

We created a room to live in that functions as an Atmos theater—a harmonious balance of aesthetics, acoustics, and jaw-dropping video.

This Tech Chi is feeling pretty Zen.

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