Manufacturers of home theater furniture and accessories are still riding out the global recession that saw–at least for a few years–a diminished consumer focus on dedicated home theater spaces, but they aren’t taking the recovery sitting down.
“When we look ahead at what the prospects that 2013 has to offer, we don’t look at which products may make our products obsolete, we look at the overall demand for dedicated home theaters and how we can effectively place our products at the forefront of this demand,” said Glen Hoffman, founder and president of 3-D Squared.
Hoffman founded the company in 2003 after working for a local home theater company with a wide-format printer next door. After multiple years of experimentation, Hoffman launched 3-D Squared, which specializes in custom-designed acoustic prints for home theater settings. The company’s acoustic panels are highly adaptable, with digital art designs created by Hoffman himself.
3-D Squared specializes in custom acoustic prints for home theater settings, with digital art designs created by founder Glen Hoffman.“As an industry, unlike the electronic components, for theater design, there’s less pressure on the year to year transition of our products. Specifically speaking, the underlying acoustic materials may change, but the concept of decorative acoustic panels remains consistent,” Hoffman said.
Recently, however, the company added home theater seating to its offerings as well, to supply customers with a full range of products. The Millennium Series from 3-D Squared comes with a steel wall hugger mechanism for longer life, and dual motor mechanisms that allow users to recline the footrest and back cushions independently.
“Two-thousand and twelve was a good year for Fortress,” said Donald Wolper, president. “Many of our projects involved significant customization of existing products as well as completely new designs, and I see this trend continuing.”
One such customization is a recent limited edition of the company's JR2 Off Broadway chair with recessed lamps built into the arms of the chair. Wood choices include walnut, maple, cherry, and oak, and can be stained any color to match the other wood detail in the room. In addition to the built-in lamps, a light strip under the arm base subtly illuminates the way.
Fortress recently offered a special limited edition of its JR2 Off Broadway chairs with recessed lamps built into the arms of the chair. Fortress also offers the option for a motorized tray table, stored within the cavity of the arm of its home theater chairs.
“The electronics that enhance the home cinema experience keep getting better, which translates into more home theaters,” Wolper added. “The seating for the home theaters is also getting more sophisticated. We are incorporating hidden tray tables in the arms for use either as a worktable or a food tray. Touchpanels, lights, electric and data ports are but a few of the everyday accessories. “
In 2012, Fortress added an adjustable seat height option, allowing an entire row of seats to be raised up 7 inches. The control system is combined with heavy-duty actuators to physically lift an entire row of seats, giving added flexibility when planning a theater for those that wish to avoid installing a raised platform. Previously, Fortress added the option for a motorized tray table to its home theater chairs.
With two available models–a standalone, and a PC-based
model–D-BOX’s motion controller relays motion information in real time to any D-BOX motion system, which offers three axes of movement and fits under existing single or loveseat seating.“I believe 2013 will provide many opportunities for companies that can build and design what the discerning home owner or designer really wants,” Wolper said. “Quality, design, and engineering will be what moves companies forward in the custom home theater market.”
D-BOX Technologies, based in Quebec, manufactures motion systems for home theaters, designed to add a new dimension to the theater experience. D-BOX motion systems can be integrated with seats from a number of other manufacturers–and may be installed in an existing home theater.
With two available models–a standalone, and a PC-based model–D-BOX’s motion controller serves as a link to a Blu-ray or DVD player, allowing it to relay motion information in real time to any D-BOX Motion System. The system offers 3 axes of movement and fits under existing single or loveseat seating. The user experiences the full spectrum of motion: pitch, roll, heave, and intelligent vibrations.
“Our growing number of partnerships with major seating manufacturers enable more and more movie fans to experience what D-BOX brings to the home theater, bringing them directly into the heart of the action,” said Mario Thibeault, account manager, home, for D-BOX.
According to United Leather, based in Dallas, TX, some of the new trends the company is seeing recently include custom barstools and the use of chaise seating in combination with theater recliners. “Customers are always looking for new ways to make their theater seating unique,” said Juan Leon, president of the company.
Adrian added new models to its PEARL line, which features precision European hardware, adjustable ventilated shelving, EZ-BACK panels, and oversized furniture glides.United Leather offers chaise seating in any style and layout, with optional upgrades like memory foam. Barstools are available in various frames and designed to “match” the customer’s theater seating. United Leather’s products are designed to integrate not just into home theaters, but also the actual living rooms and other domestic environments within a home.
Adrian Lifestyles Furnishings recently introduced new models in its Pearl and Victoria lines designed to reach the high-end market. All designs consist of multiple widths and heights, feature precision European hardware, adjustable ventilated shelving, EZ-BACK panels, and oversized furniture glides for easy movement. Cabinet doors are acoustically transparent to allow the placement of speakers inside, and so that remote controls may be used with the doors closed.
In the home theater market, 3-D Squared’s Hoffman said, manufacturers and integrators will always have to compete with other toys for attention.
“There’s that old ad that asks you: ‘do you want the boat, the nice car, or the home theater?’ There’s always a certain number of people who will pick the home theater, who appreciate high-end audio,” he said. “People understand what home theater can do for the family–keep the kids in one place, where you know they’re sitting still, and safe–and those aspects of the home theater will always be there.”
Derek Dellinger is web editor for Residential Systems and avnetwork.com.