Home Technology Systems Relishes Full Control Of Av Integration Design Project In Wichita, Kansas
With two rows of six chairs on tiered platforms and a five-foot stage for presentations and games, the home theater room can serve as a multi-purpose entertainment venue for the whole family.
Establishing a unified vision from an architect, interior designer, and ESC on the same home AV integration project is often difficult. The systems integration team from Home Technology Systems Inc. avoided this potential headache on a recent whole-home project in Wichita, Kansas, by essentially playing all three roles. The lack of architect or interior designer on the project meant that the Home Technology Systems team could focus more on system performance and less on overcoming aesthetic obstacles.
Home Technology Systems, which was founded 12 years ago by Shannon and Doris McGinnis, completed the project in early 2009 for a local business owner who began building his 10,000- square foot home two years earlier. The integration firm installed structured cabling in the home for telephone, video, and networking, and integrated together an extensive security system, 24-zone audio distribution system, high-definition distribution to all flat-panel displays, a CCTV surveillance system, and a dedicated home theater room.
The system, which includes 16 discreet audio inputs and nine video inputs, is Crestron-controlled with two TPS-6X wireless touchpads, three TPS-6L in-wall touchpads, five APAD audio control interfaces, and six ML-600 RF handheld remotes.
The Home Technology Systems Inc. team includes (standing in back) co-owners Doris McGinnis and Shannon McGinnis, and front row (from left) associates JoNathan Burden, Jerry Cleaton, and Michael Bruce.
Although Home Technology Systems did use a general contractor for the home theater’s extensive woodwork build out, the integrators designed the rest of the dedicated space themselves. With two rows of six chairs on tiered platforms and a fivefoot stage for presentations and games, the room can serve as a multi-purpose entertainment venue for the whole family.
The theater features a 134-inch acoustically transparent Screen Excellence Reference Series screen matched up to a JVC HD100 DILA 1080p projector. Focal Electra IW1000Be in-wall centerchannel speakers add to the cinematic ambiance, but that’s only the beginning when it comes to the 7.4-channel audio system. The surround setup combines four Focal Profile 908 left and right speakers (two stacked and bi-wired together on each side), Focal IW706V sides and rears, dual 11- inch Focal front-stage SW904 subwoofers, and two SpeakerCraft Sub8 dual subwoofers along the sides. An Integra DTR8.9 receiver, Furman power conditioner, and URC MX3000 touchscreen RF remote round out the system.
A URC MX3000 touchscreen RF remote controls the theater
Having the theater located in a precast concrete structure was beneficial because it helped to ensure that sound isolation from the rest of the home was not as difficult to achieve. Additionally, its placement under the garage eliminated any sort of thumping that might disturb other rooms in the house.
“As we were going for big sound and power to match the scale of the room, it was a huge benefit that the structure was precast,” McGinnis said.
AROUND THE HOME
The theater isn’t the only room to receive careful consideration. Audio source needs were met with five Motorola DVRs, dual AM/FM and Sirius/XM tuners, and an Apple TV also was introduced into the system for both video and iTunes playback. Video sources include a Security DVR and a PC, as well.
The client’s bar/lower patio entertaining area required thoughtful design of the AV control system. Home Technology Systems was tasked with ensuring that each of the six LG flat-panels could provide matching audio from the video source, independent audio from an iPod, or terrestrial or satellite radio services controlled by the Crestron system.
The dedicated theater’s source equipment is accessible from two directions in this custom enclosure.
The design enables the client to stream eight Honeywell HD73 security cameras via a DVR to any of those screens. But the fun doesn’t have to stop at the bar. Various line-level local inputs for MP3 or PC content provide audio in the bedrooms and remaining public party areas.
“The availability of most of these same sources throughout the other displays and rooms in the home was the next logical extension of the project and so, per the client’s guidelines, we routed the appropriate sources to each location,” McGinnis said.
As with any project done on such a grand scale, Home Technology Systems faced a few hurdles before their job was done. Challenges included defining the number of AV sources that needed to be controlled and distributed throughout the residence while keeping it within the 16 available within the Crestron control system.
Additionally, McGinnis wanted to keep graphical user interface (GUI) options logical and simple for his client. The goal was to create a GUI that minimized the number of decisions that needed to made to operate the system and one that allowed sources to be changed easily.
Home Technology Systems’ design ensured that each of the six LG flat-panels in the bar/lower patio entertaining area could provide matching audio from the video source, independent audio from an iPod, or terrestrial or satellite radio services controlled by the Crestron system.
As a result, touchpanel control pages were crafted with a Q&A element to guide the user’s selections. According to McGinnis, ensuring that the number of pages and questions presented by the interface were kept to a minimum was paramount to making the system manageable. The Crestron ML-600 remote is used in six other rooms and requires only a few local input adjustments for bedrooms. Additionally, the client has two wireless Crestron TPS-6X six-inch touchpanels and three inwall TPS-6L six-inch touchpanels that share the same GUI design. There are also four Crestron APAD interfaces that provide audio control in two of the bedrooms, the wine room, and the garage.
The team also faced a design challenge when it came to integrating the Honeywell Vista 128 security system. The home’s patio doors collapse and slide open to allow an indoor/outdoor flow for entertaining on the home’s main level. The problem was establishing a security contact closure point with integrity. The solution was a small, unobtrusive surface-mount system that allows the party to move freely throughout the entertainment space while still providing security.
ON THE RISE
According to McGinnis there are a few specific design features of the project that best symbolize what Home Technology Systems does best.
Systems throughout the rest of the house are Crestron-controlled with two TPS-6X wireless touchpads, three TPS-6L in-wall touchpads, five APAD audio control interfaces, and six ML-600 RF handheld remotes.
“We feel that the integration into all of the separate low-voltage systems in the home from the AV sources to the security cameras and even the ability to expand control of HVAC and lighting all into one common interface is where we most differentiate from our competition,” he said.
It’s no surprise that the theater portion of this project won the Level III Bronze Award at the 2009 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyle Awards ceremony in Atlanta. Having completed such a large project with success makes it clear that Home Technology Systems has come a long way from what it was at its inception just a dozen years ago. It is now one of the top systems integrators in the Wichita area.
Jennifer Hillman is an editorial intern for Residential Systems.