Integrator Turns No-Longer-Used Kids’ Playroom Into Home Theater for Christmas

This family surprised its three sons with a video gaming and sports fan paradise, turning an empty playroom into a beautifully crafted home theater.


A stark white playroom transforms into a gamer's (and sports fan's) paradise just in time for Christmas, thanks to the handiwork of home systems integrator David Huse from Theater Advice, in Dallas, Texas. 

“Per the homeowners’ request, we designed the room with their three sons in mind — as a Christmas gift that would be ideal for playing video games,” says Huse.

Screen Innovations 100-inch Black Diamond screen takes the pole position in a newly constructed wall at the front of the 17-by-13-foot space.

Two 40-inch Samsung LED TVs are mounted above it to give the kids multiple displays on which to play head-to-head video games. Or if they want they can display something different on each screen, they can — all with a few taps of a button on a Control4 remote.

Commands from the remote tell a matrix switcher to distribute video from a certain component to a certain TV. For example, while an Xbox game plays on one TV, another can present a cricket game from the owners’ special streaming device, and the third TV can pull content from a Dish set-top box.

Huse also tied the TV in the adjacent living room to the matrix switcher, so if they can even play a Blu-ray movie on that screen. The 5.1 arrangement of Episode speakers (five speakers and one subwoofer) plays audio from whatever happens to be on the 100-inch screen. Huse simplified the video selection process even further by programming special “macros” into the Control4 home theater processor. 

Gamer's paradise home theater: before and after.

When the ON button is pressed, the Control4 processor signals the room lights to turn on, the Epson video projector to start warming, and the Onkyo surround-sound receiver to activate. Over the course of two minutes, the lights fade, giving the owners ample time to choose a movie, sporting event or video game to play on the 100-inch screen.

Should a family member tap the SPORTS BAR button, each display tunes in to a different sports channel and the lights dim only slightly. It’s a change in environment that’s only enhanced by a dramatic mural on the ceiling.

“Fiber optic star ceilings are expensive, so instead we had the muralist use glow-in-the dark paint to create thousands of stars,” says Huse. “When the black lighting is on, the stars glow and the ceiling nearly steal the show. This part of the job took three days to complete, and included details like painting around an existing smoke detector to make it look like a spaceship.”

All of the components that bring the home theater to life are stowed in a specially constructed equipment closet, designed and built by Huse and his team.

Huse constructed the home theater for Christmas last year, in 2015. So what’s on the family’s Christmas wish list this year?

Nothing home theater related, says Huse, but possibly an Amazon Echo.

“A lot of our Control4 customers have been requesting Amazon Echo and Dots so they can use voice commands to control lights and other aspects of the house,” says Huse.

More Home Theater Installs on CE Pro.

About the Author

Lisa Montgomery:

Lisa Montgomery has been a member of the CE Pro and Electronic House editorial teams for nearly 20 years; most of that time as the Editor of Electronic House. With a knack for explaining complex high-tech topics in terms that average consumers can understand, her style of writing resonates with people who are interested in adding electronic systems to their homes, but are unsure of the steps involved and the solutions available. From basic lighting control systems to full-blown automation systems, Lisa understands the home electronics market well, and is able to point consumers in the right direction on their quest for a smarter, more convenient, efficient and enjoyable home.

Over the years, she has developed close relationships with key manufacturers and seasoned custom electronics professionals, giving her a keen sense of what home technologies are hot now and what is on the horizon. She shares this wisdom regularly through feature stories, product roundups, case studies technology spotlights and comprehensive guides and books.




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