Pro-Install: Full HD on a fantastic scale

Marvel at a dedicated multiregion movie palace with a 4.2m screen and a Linux PC...

The proud owner of this stunning cinema room in South Africa – complete with unique 5000-element fibre-optic star ceiling – is a true movie-holic, to the point where the cinema was the first room to be completed during a comprehensive home-renovation project. In fact, the property already featured a home cinema, but during initial discussions with installer Sphere Custom it became clear that the existing room would not accommodate what the film-mad owner had in mind. It was decided instead to start from a ‘clean slate’, and a dedicated extension for the proposed 12m x 7m room was constructed.

As a system nominated in the Over £100,000 category at the CEDIA Awards 2011, it’s not much of a surprise to find the owner is impressed with the result. Indeed, he goes as far as to say that the system ‘literally’ blew him away.

To the power of three

This reaction might have something to do with the trio of 1,800W Artcoustic multichannel power amplifiers driving an enormous 7.3 speaker setup (chosen not only for its sonic prowess but its ability to be blend in with the room’s decor) from the same company.

The subwoofer array of this alone consists of no fewer than twelve 10in drive units, built into three massive enclosures. Those muscle amps are fed by an Integra DHC80.3 processor, which boasts all of the features and connectivity that home cinema at this level demands. A total of eight HDMI inputs can accommodate all manner of sources, although so far only a Cambridge Audio Azur 650BD universal Blu-ray player, and, surprisingly, a Linux PC are plumbed in.

The latter runs the versatile XBMC Media Player, which is free software you don’t need a £100,000-plus budget to try. It’s good to see that Kaleidescape doesn’t have a complete monopoly on top-end systems. Meanwhile, the BD deck has been modified for multiregion/multizone disc playback, which is vital as the owner eagerly snaps up releases while on his global travels.

Something a high budget is necessary for, however, is the cutting-edge display combination installed here. The owner and Sphere opted for Cineversum’s style-conscious BlackWing One, a superb three-chip LCoS projector that certainly impressed us when it was reviewed back in 2009. Because of its age, this Full HD beast isn’t capable of 3D playback, but 2.35:1 presentations are taken in the system’s stride courtesy of a Cineversum Cinemax anamorphic lens kit. This throws its images onto one of the cinema’s other highlights – a 4.2m Screen Excellence Vistacurve acoustically transparent fixed-frame screen.

Because a large extended family is entertained in this movie den on a regular basis, there are no fewer than 15 leather recliners. No one, thankfully, has been baffled by the touchpanel Crestron control. Says the owner: ‘It’s easy to use and we have hardly had to ask any questions about how to operate what we thought was going to be a complex system.’

Kit Checklist...

Projection: Cineversum BlackWing One Projector and Cinemax 2.35 Theatre Kit (anamorphic lens)
Screen: Screen Excellence 4.2m wide Vistacurve A/T Anamorphic fixed frame
Amplification: Integra DHC 80.3 processor and 3x Artcoustic PA-1800 multichannel power amplifiers
Blu-ray: Cambridge Audio Azur 650 BD (modified for multiregion and multizone Blu-ray/DVD playback)
Other sources: Linux media centre PC running XBMC for playback of movies stored on hard disk
Front and centre speakers: Artcoustic Spitfire Venue
Rear and side-surround speakers: Artcoustic Diablo Monitor
Subwoofer: Artcoustic Spiftire
Control: Crestron TPS-6X 5.7in wireless touch-screen controller
Seating: 15x leather recliners
Décor: 5,000-piece fibre-optic ‘star ceiling

Price: £undisclosed

Installer: Sphere Custom Design

Four facts about this install…

Anamorphically yours
The 4.2m Vistacurve screen – reputedly one of the largest in the country – does 2.35 movies full justice

Take a seat spot
The luxurious recliners give up to fifteen people comfortable viewing

Under the stars
One of the highlights of this install is definitely the 5000-point ‘star ceiling’, built with fibre-optics

DVDs on demand
The cinema’s lighting is controlled, together with the rest of the system, from a Crestron touchpad

This feature first appeared in the May 2012 issue of Home Cinema Choice