We’ve previously shown you our new showroom in SoWa, the Experience Lab. Filled to the brim with smart home solutions, it highlights the luxurious and personalized experiences home automation can have on your life. But one area that didn’t get enough attention is our world-class private cinema.
From world-class Ketra lighting to immersive JBL Synthesis audio, every aspect of our private cinema is finely tuned to bring cinema to life, fully immersing you in the world of whatever film you’re watching. In our showroom, this cinema is covertly placed behind a secret door, making it the true hidden gem of the whole space.
The popularity of home cinemas has risen dramatically in the past few years. Going outside with your family into a crowded theater now comes with actual risks rather than just the annoyance of someone near you talking the entire time. Home theaters are becoming increasingly common as people look towards their own homes to replicate experiences they could previously only get in public, something that our founder Michael Oh calls the “Rise of Resimercial Experiences.” When we set out to design our new showroom, we knew that this was one of the facets of a smart home that potential clients and partners needed to experience first-hand. Not only to see its value but to understand how a well-built private cinema functions differently than the media room that most homes have.
We’ve previously discussed what differentiates a private cinema from a media room. But to make a long point short, private cinemas are specifically designed for performance. A private cinema is built to showcase the best in audio and video, while a media room might use technology that is more design-friendly and adaptable for multiple purposes. That isn’t to say private cinemas can’t look nice, but often when stuck between design-friendly or performance-driven, a private cinema will lean towards performance every time. Our private cinema certainly looks nice (more on the custom artwork later), but the technology and calibrations we used make this the best private cinema setup in New England. And once the lights go down, nothing prepares you for the cinematic experience you’ll witness.
We pride ourselves on being solution-agnostic at TSP Smart Spaces. We’re not beholden to one particular manufacturer or product line. Every project we undertake is unique in both the solutions needed and the homeowner’s needs. We turn to Amina and their invisible speaker solutions for residential homes looking for a discreet solution. For a more design-led solution, Leon speakers are as stylish as they are well-engineered.
For our cinema, though, we used the JBL Synthesis system. While JBL Synthesis does have some good-looking products, they’re built entirely for performance. The same goes for our theater, it looks good, but it’s made for performance first. If you’re looking to create the best cinema sound, JBL Synthesis is the way to go. JBL Synthesis builds on JBL’s 75 years of innovation and experience. Back in 1983, they were selected by Lucasfilm to develop the first commercial cinema speaker system, and today, they’re bringing that same experience and quality to home cinemas.
Behind the scenes, JBL Synthesis also is the brains behind the brawn. Powering our private cinema experience is the JBL Synthesis SDR-35. While the logo says JBL, the internals of this 16-channel Dolby Atmos surround sound AV receiver are based on the Arcam AVR30 receiver, an industry-standard in home cinemas. The SDR-35 builds on this tried and true model by upgrading the DAC (digital to analog converter) and including Dirac Live with the unit (more on Dirac below).
Every piece of audio equipment in our private cinema falls under the JBL ecosystem of products, from speakers and subwoofers to amplification and processing. And our audio for this space went far beyond just buying their products and throwing them in a room. The entire space is finely tuned using Dirac (an equalization software that measures sound quality in a room and adjust the speakers accordingly). This led to a JBL certification, which we can boast as the only theater in the greater Boston area with this honor. Getting a certification from JBL means more than just using their products; you have to prove they are optimized with Dirac and that the theater is showcasing the JBL products to their full potential. Dirac is something we use in many of our residential projects and helps us optimize the sound of all our smart home installations.
A good private cinema will always use a projector system. A projector system allows you to watch video on a screen much larger than most conventional televisions. Most residential televisions top out at 100” (roughly $15,000 for just a mid-level model). In contrast, a projector setup can work on a projector screen of 150” or even larger. The number one goal of a private cinema is immersion, and for that, you want the largest screen your space can fit. Budget, size constraints, and lack of ambient light control are the only reasons you would step down to a television screen. Televisions also pose an advantage in bright rooms, as they have backlit screens. This usually isn’t the case in a private cinema where light is precisely controlled.
To highlight the difference between a television and a projector, our theater utilizes both a television and a projector. An LG 83” OLED television in installed, but with a touch of a button (or a quick voice command to Josh.ai), a 133” motorized Screen Innovations screen rolls down, ready to show 4k video from a JVC projector with total immersion. This unique feature allows you to compare and contrast the best of today’s TV technology with the best in laser projection technology, all with the push of a button.
With the technology aspect more than covered, we needed to ensure the design was a highlight as well. We wanted the private cinema to make you feel like you were transported to another world when you walked in. While the rest of the office is very muted in its colors, the private cinema features a stunning mural we commissioned from local artist Silvia López Chavez. Silvia is well-known throughout Boston for her colorful work. Her art graces popular locations throughout the city such as the Boston Children’s Hospital, the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, the Esplanade, and the private collections of Google and Twitter. We brought Silvia to this project not just because our private cinema needed some artistic flair to balance out the high-powered technology but because her art highlights a specific style unique to Boston’s South End, a place we’re proud to call home.
“I derived inspiration from the South End’s London-style intimate garden squares. The imagery fuses local flora with a tech-infused cozy mood to provide a sense of luxurious comfort. Local flowers and foliage (Magnolias, ginkgo, flowering dogwood) anchor the walls, juxtaposed with overall geometrical patterns that unify the space, creating a welcoming vibe.”
Silvia López Chavez
Museums like the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum understand that art and light work together to make an impression, and the mural we commissioned deserves to be shown in the best smart lighting available. Ketra lighting is used in museums and art galleries across the world. Its broad color spectrum and longevity (Ketra lights last for 50,000 hours!) represent the very best in LED lighting. Ketra D3 downlights and S30 track heads highlight Silvia’s mural, possible via Ketra’s vibrancy mode, which showcases art the way it was meant to be seen. Ketra lighting is used in museums and art installations across the globe, and it was a perfect fit to showcase our new mural.
Most consumer-grade LED lighting can dim down to 10% or so, but Ketra can dim all the way down to .1%, in any color or warmth, making it perfect for setting the scene in any room, but especially in a private cinema.
With all this technology, we wanted to make everything easy to control. For this, we brought Josh.ai voice control to the private cinema to add a touch of smart home luxury. The theater can be controlled via remote control or phone. But being able to walk right in and say, “Ok, Josh, play a movie,” and seeing all the lights dim, the projector screen drop, and the movie start playing is a pretty cool experience.
But why Josh? What sets it apart from Alexa, Siri, and Google Assistant? In a word, Josh.ai is smarter. Using natural language processing technology combined with AI, you don’t need to rely on specific phrases to get Josh to understand. You can even connect phrases like “Turn on the TV and dim the lights in the living room,” something Siri and Alexa have yet to master. Little things like this take smart technology from a cool party trick to a lifestyle utility.
While our employees might be enjoying the private cinema for their own entertainment (everything from F1 races to Xbox gaming), its true purpose is to showcase the potential of what you can bring to your own home. If you’re tired of going out to a crowded movie theater and want to bring this experience to your own home, come by our Experience Lab for a private demonstration of our private cinema. We’d be happy to show you a few scenes from your favorite film and start the discussion about how we help you with your private cinema.
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