Friday, March 29, 2013

Upcycled Home Theater Made from Shipping Palettes

Everyone knows that young kids will just as likely play with the box that their shiny new toy came in instead of the toy itself. For some designers, the same goes for furniture. Rather than purchase a bunch of new high quality home theater seats (ahem!), an enterprising furniture designer elected to create her home theater seating from the shipping palettes that such furniture is usually delivered on. Normally we do not recommend home theater seating with objects that you find lying around, but we do love DIY projects and this one is perfect for the setting it is in.

Urban Home theater Space by Simone Tasca
Image by Simone Tasca

This picture comes from Simone Tasca, a designer in Brazil who loves to upcycle whenever she can. She created three rows of theater seating with nothing more than twelve shipping palettes, some large cushions and her imagination. The seats can accommodate up to six guests and while they lack important amenities such as cupholders, power recline and even legs, they do look like a comfy place to enjoy a movie night.

While this home theater setup appears at home in an industrial style loft, it may not be the right look for your own home theater. Rest assured, TheaterSeatStore.com carries a large selection of high quality home theater seating in traditional and contemporary styles. Give us a call at 888-602-7328 and we will be happy to help you find the perfect home theater recliners and accessories for your entertainment space.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Pleading the Case for Old Media

With more and more audio and video formats coming at us, it seems like a waste of time to hold onto our old records and video tapes. Why hold on to these old formats when they seem to just take up space in the garage or attic? While there are hundreds of reasons to let go of your dusty old record or tape collection, this article takes a close look at these old technologies and why they just might be worth hanging onto after all.

Vinyl Records – The record has been the primary recording medium for almost a century, and vinyl records have languished in our bookshelves and storage spaces since 1947. With your entire music collection fitting on an iPod, it seems silly to keep 12-inch records and a turntable around, but there are a couple of reasons why you might not want to get rid of your wax collection just yet.

  • Durability – When stored properly, vinyl records can sound just as good as they did when your grandparents bought them for 25-cents apiece. That is because a record is made up of grooves in plastic, and as long as they are stored and handled carefully, those little grooves will last as long as the plastic itself which can potentially be thousands of years (not that you want to preserve grandma’s Lawrence Welk records for the next millennium, but who knows? That might be all that’s left of our culture by then). 
  •  Sound – As we have noted before, true audiophiles prefer the warm analog tones of vinyl records to that of sterile digital recordings. Audiophiles believe that the computer cannot replicate these organic tones and the only way to truly appreciate a recording is from a vinyl pressing. This is why true audiophiles are willing to spend thousands of dollars for the right turntable to play their old albums on. 
VHS Tapes – Who can forget the huge library of video tapes that many of us grew up with? Not to mention the hassle of finding a blank tape to record the latest episode of Survivor. With new and higher resolution formats available on the market, why hang onto that clunky old VCR and tape library? A couple of reasons may keep you from throwing out your tape collection quite yet.

  • Availability – With the way that video formats seem to come and go, many obscure movies and TV shows fall through the cracks and do not appear on newer formats. Because VHS tapes dominated the home theater market for so long, many rare gems of entertainment were recorded on VHS that never made it to DVD or Blu-ray. Searching eBay or Amazon will help you find some of these treasures, but more often than not, they are on video. 
  • Digital Download – It’s no secret that video tape has a finite shelf life. This is why movies you watched as a kid just don’t look as good now. Nevertheless, you may want to preserve some of these great shows along with the many tapes your parents likely made of your childhood. If you don’t want a VCR cluttering up your home theater space, you can connect it to your computer instead and copy those old tapes to a digital format. You can then burn them to DVD or stream them to your TV and relive the memories over and over.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Ultimate Home Audio System that Costs as Much as a House

Images from BornRich.com
Most of us are content to listen to compressed music files on our iPods through a pair of $10 earbuds from the grocery store, but there are those who demand more from their audio listening experience. These folks,known as audiophiles, spend obscene amounts of money on high-end stereo equipment so that they can enjoy the delicate nuances of their favorite recordings with no hiss or other noise. Audiophiles can tell the difference between a “sterile” digital recording and the warm analog tones of a vinyl record. Should you find yourself the proud owner of a winning lottery ticket, here are some suggestions for a system to help you join the ranks of the audiophiles:

 $115,000 Amplifier – The high-end amplifier maker Boulder has a sound system fit for a king (or someone with obscene amounts of money!) The 3060 Class A Amplifier can pump 900 Watts of power per channel for a sound quality that literally can’t be matched by other systems. This amplifier is so big that it requires a 240-volt outlet, just like your dryer. Also, the metal case over a thick slab of black granite gives this 450 pound amplifier a commanding presence in your media room.

$105,000 Turntable – Any audiophile will tell you that the best sound comes from records. They have a warm analog sound that can’t be reproduced by digital means. To get the absolute best sound from your record collection you need a high quality turntable, and the Proscenium Black Diamond V by Walker Audio is the best of the best. This incredible turntable actually floats the arm and needle on a cushion of air to reduce vibrations and pops. It also has noise reducing technologies like special crystalline material to reduce static and noise-free electronics. Everything you need to hear that Creedence album exactly the way it was meant to be heard!

$30,000 Headphones – Monster Audio makes high definition headphones that feature beats technology by Dr. Dre. One of their highest end models is the Diamond Tears collection. These headphones combine super clarity and style to cater to those with discerning tastes (or huge wallets). A standard set of Diamond Tears headphones will set you back a measly 300 dollars, but for our extravagant audio system, that will not do. We’ll need the $30,000 special edition Diamond Tears headphones. These come encased in 18K yellow gold and feature large spiders on the earphones made from black diamonds. The expensive (and slightly creepy) design was made by Korean artist Sally John and fine-tuned by the CEO of Monster Headphones, Noel Lee.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Take it Outside! Outdoor Home Theater Ideas for Any Climate and Budget

As more and more people build dedicated home theaters, some are “thinking outside the box” and taking their home theaters outside. For some, watching movies outdoors evokes the magic of classic drive-in movie theaters. For others, the romanticism, mystery and thrill of their favorite film is enhanced by the beauty and ambiance of an outdoor setting. Whatever your reason, an outdoor home theater is a great way to host memorable movie nights, and with today’s technology, climate is no longer a factor. The only limits are imagination and budget, and handy DIY-ers can build a fantastic home theater without spending too much.  

The Ultimate Outdoor Home Theater – If money is not a factor, you can transform your whole backyard into a Cineplex-quality home theater like this family from Michigan. Avid University of Michigan football fans, they designed their home theater to take advantage of the beautiful fall weather before the cold Michigan winter sets in. The screen is built into a weatherproof shelter with a sliding door, and the sound system is only built into the seating areas to not disturb neighbors. Large granite tables feature built-in firepits for warmth and roasting marshmallows. Speakers are even wired throughout the house, so the game can be enjoyed from inside thanks to large picture windows. A sophisticated indoor/outdoor WiFi system helps all of the AV components talk to each other, and allows the system to be controlled from an iPad. Total cost - $55,000.

California Drive-in – This modern Hollywood Hills home by Belzberg Architects transforms the side of the guest house into a giant movie screen. This setup can be enjoyed from the driveway or the upper deck of the main house. It has a definite drive-in theater feel that would make for a fantastic movie night.

Do It Yourself – If you don’t have a Hollywood-size budget for your home theater, don’t despair. Any backyard can be made into a home theater with the right equipment and skill. About.com has some terrific ideas to get you started. Portable screens are available including inflatable models, or a screen can be made from a white wall or ironed bed sheets. A laptop and projector makes a great AV system, and can be had for a reasonable price. Many good projectors are less than $500 these days. Outdoor speakers can be wired to your patio, or you can opt for wireless speakers that work with Bluetooth. Many of these systems can be taken down and stored when the weather turns bad.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Building Your Very Own Home Theater: Where to Start?

Home theater with Tan Leather Seats
Many people dream of turning that unused bedroom or basement space into an awesome home theater room. Looking at that empty space opens up a variety of possibilities that are only limited by imagination (and budget!) The biggest problem at this stage is knowing where to start. Do you buy the electronics first? How do you design and build the room? These and many other questions start to flood the mind and make your home theater plans seem like an impossible task. Don’t despair! There are some simple questions to answer that can help you focus your vision and build the home theater of your dreams.

How Will the Room be Used? – Will your home theater be used primarily for watching movies or sports? Will it also be used for video gaming? How many people will be able to use the room at once? Figuring out the use and capacity of your home theater will help you zero in the right size of screen, number of home theater seats, size of the sound system and other factors. For example, a small home theater that the family uses to watch movies will be different than one that you invite your friends over to watch the big game. The former might only need a few seats while the latter will need seats that are stain resistant (from spilled snacks and drinks). Knowing what components you need like a Blu-ray player, game console or media PC will also help you determine the cables and other accessories needed.

What Size and Shape is the Room? – The room’s layout will likely dictate the size of your home theater. Small or oddly shaped rooms may only be able to accommodate a couple of seats while others can have multiple rows. To find the optimal number of seats, use this home theater measuring article to calculate your aisle width, space between rows and distance from the screen. This will help you decide how many seats to put in and the size of the screen, (not to mention if you can put that tiki bar in the corner or not).

What Theme are You Going For? – Some extravagant home theaters are built around a theme like that of a pirate ship or drive-in theater. Others are just a bare room with furniture and components added. Whatever your tastes, figuring out the theme beforehand will save you money in choosing your colors and d├ęcor. For example, you may want to build the room around a beautiful painting or memento. This makes it easy to choose your color palette and decorating scheme. You can go all out and design your room from scratch, or use something like this Theater in a Box kit.

No matter what your plans, you should get a licensed contractor to help you build your home theater. A professional can determine the best way to shape your vision and will often think of little things that you might not have considered. Now, get out there and start planning your home theater, and when you’re ready, check out TheaterSeatStore.com to furnish it.