In today’s diverse market, a custom integration company will likely install only a few dedicated Dolby Atmos theaters, if any, in a single year. The bulk of dealers’ revenues and thus the majority of their expertise is devoted to other disciplines, ranging from whole-house control to outdoor entertainment to multiroom AV. So that’s where Cortex VIP Cinemas comes in.
Headed up by industry veterans John Russell and Steve Evanitsky, Cortex VIP Cinemas offers a complete turnkey solution for integrators for their dedicated home theater projects. The company will do all the design and installation (and even assist in the sales)–in less than one week—for an integration company.
“Dealers can’t be specialists in every discipline,” says Russell. “They need to rely on specialists, like doctors or lawyers do. We are the cinema specialists.”
The earlier Cortex VIP is brought on to the project the better because the company will also assist the integrator in the sales process, possibly helping to upsell the client. Every theater is custom designed and then assembled in either Los Angeles or Chicago. It is then delivered to the jobsite by piano movers.
At the request of the integrator, Cortex VIP can also assist in the actual installation. The company also offers calibration service and provides a free 24/7 monitoring of the dedicated theater for potential service issues down the road.
“The size of the room does not matter. Hardware is the determining factor for a client’s Dolby Atmos experience,” says Russell, noting the Cortex VIP packages are built with a modular concept.
The engine of Cortex VIP theaters is the Dolby CP850-C processor. According to Russell, it is the only product capable of decoding and rendering the cinema codec for a full Dolby Atmos theater.
“Don’t be confused by all the products that say ‘Dolby Atmos,’” warns Russell. “Not all Atmos products are the same. Consumer-grade products are just moving the content around to different channels. The CP850-C is the only one that can create an Atmos theater without affecting the total quality.”
He notes that Cortex VIP uses the same Dolby products, such as the CP850-C, that are used in commercial cinemas to build its theaters. The processor offers up to 64 channels of full range audio rendering, Dolby Lake EQ and 1/12th octave EQ, internal crossovers and full bass management.
The rooms are available in 16, 24, or 32 channels from 300 watts per channel and up to 1100 watts per channel. Optional DAC allows for up to 64 channels of amplification and or use of third-party amplifiers. The setup can accommodate eight sources and eight displays at 4K 18Gbps. The system has a 24-port PoE Gigabit managed switch.
In terms of speakers, Cortex VIP does not recommend any specific brands but will work with the speakers of choice from the integrator. The cabling used is from Zigen. The remainder of the equipment package includes Cortex VIP-branded surge protection, power quality and UPS protection, signal distribution, and amplification. For room design, Cortex VIP works with Rayva as its partner.
Integrators are responsible for control, speakers, sources, projector, screen and on-site tech support. Russell says integrators can mark up Cortex VIP’s services to whatever level they deem necessary. Cortex VIP does not contract directly with the client, but with the dealer.
“The biggest challenge with dealers is giving the confidence to work with a partner like us and not be seen as the expert by their client,” he admits.
Recently, Cortex VIP held an invitation-only event at Dolby in New York City where attendees were able to experience a 64-speaker Dolby Atmos demo. The event also included Rayva and Red Carpet Home Cinemas. Independent rep Digital Sales Group Metro, led by Dave Silkin, was responsible for bringing the group together.