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The Big Unveiling

A perk of serving as host to our neighborhood July 4 party was that I finally was able to show off my home theater to people other than family and close friends.

Last Saturday, my wife and I were asked to host our neighborhood cul-de-sacs Fourth of July pitch in party and fireworks display. We were the emergency replacement for our neighbor who threw out his back hoisting sandbags for flood victims in the southern part of our state.

Even given the short notice, we were honored to be thrust into the spotlight almost a year to the day that we first moved into our house. Another perk of serving as host was that I finally was able to show off my home theater to people other than family and close friends.

Although Ive begun to fine-tune my demo in recent months, focusing on HD content stored on my DVR, Im still a little frazzled each time someone new enters my fortress of solitude for the first time. Im so used to criticizing the flaws of my design or lack of this or that final detail, that I often forget to imagine how someone who may only own a 32-inch Trinitron and old hi-fi might view the room.

Needless to say the size of my (120-inch) Screen Research screen, the amazing clarity of my Runco 1080p projector, and the surround sound brilliance of my Niles StageFronts speakers and Sunfire TGR receiver all blow them away. And yet, when I enter the room with someone new, Im usually so focused on the screen and making sure were watching a good demo clip, that I forget the most unique feature of all: the iSky fiber optic ceiling and uRay-lit acoustical panels on the walls. Thats the final touch that makes the room a movie theater.

I believe that one of the quotes was, No way! You have a fiber optic ceiling, too? My reply was a startled, Oh yeah, of course. Ive gotten kind of used to it.

The portion of my theater project that is still in the works is my new Middle Atlantic Products custom rack unit. This beauty still needs a solid rainy weekend evening of my attention to be ready for action. I only have the shelves and storage drawers laid out on the floor of my theater, but just the sight of those pieces and the big rolling frame of the rack unit itself amazed my July 4 visitors. Thats like something from my companys IT room, one of my neighbors astutely observed.

Ill admit that the whole experience was a ton of fun for me, and Im not done yet. Eventually the wall color will change and the carpet will be replaced, all in an effort to live up the standards that my readers have set in my mind. Its hard to compete with the quality of what the best custom installers have shown me over the years, but little by little Im going to try. Wait until the next time my neighbors come over for a visit!