Garage Home Theater Creates the Ultimate Drive-in

In this project, a car collector and movie buff wanted to add a dedicated home theater within a larger showroom garage and create the ultimate drive-in movie experience. 5/15/2006 4:00 AM Eastern

Garage Home Theater Creates the Ultimate Drive-in

May 15, 2006 8:00 AM

The following information is courtesy of the 2005 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Designers' Choice Awards. For more information on how to become a member of CEDIA, or information on its awards program please visit or call (800) 669-5329.

2005 CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles Winner
Designers Choice Awards: Best Special Project

Genesis Audio & Video

A car collector and movie buff, the client wanted to add a dedicated home theater within a larger showroom garage and create the ultimate drive-in movie experience.

With 27 vehicles in his collection, the size of this garage presented a significant acoustical challenge. We ensured the sound was as balanced and would provide the same impact as in a more traditional theater. He wanted a picture and effect that was theater-sized and could be easily seen with the lights on and both garage doors open in broad daylight. All this while maintaining the aesthetic of the showroom garage; the equipment had to be hidden from view away from the theater area.

Incorporating custom absorbing and diffusing materials in a way that looked like they belonged in a garage was a key factor. For flexibility, we chose Revel speakers and Lexicon electronics. The desired image size dictated that we use projection. And we were able to darken the theater’s corner with the use of dark materials and heavy curtains, allowing viewing in the middle of the day with both doors open. Finally, all electronics were mounted in a Middle Atlantic rack, customized to appear as just another toolbox in the garage.

The five most used functions of the system and how they benefit the client: 1. The size and power of the speaker system we selected provides the impact a space like this demands. The room was then tuned to perfectly enhance the acoustics of the space, so when he’s watching his race movies it’s not unlike sitting in an old muscle car with a 358 thundering down the road. This is something he often likes to demonstrate. 2. A Crestron touchpanel control with custom diamond plate graphics not only gives him control of everything in this room, but everything in his house. He can control lighting, temperature, pool and jacuzzi temperatures, as well as all the entertainment functions of the theater. 3. We used a Runco three-chip DLP and Stewart screen to offer the brightest picture possible. This, combined with the darkening materials, allows him to view the screen with the lights on and the garage doors open in broad daylight. 4. We customized the Middle Atlantic both to match the garage but also to give him access to the system while keeping it locked inside the cabinet. A slot was cut out in the front of the plexiglass door for access to the DVD tray as well as the touchpanel. This means with an access code, he can operate the system with the cabinet always locked. 5. A combination of diffusing, absorbing, and darkening materials helps control the light and sound waves in the room, while enhancing the overall aesthetic.

Equipment List

  • 1 Runco VX-2D three-chip DLP projector
  • 1 Runco RUHK-004100 ceiling mount kit
  • 1 Runco RUCA-001200 live link cable
  • 1 Stewart 82in. FireHawk
  • 1 Lexicon RV-8 surround sound receiver
  • 1 Lexicon RT-10 DVD player
  • 2 Revel Studios front, left, and right speakers
  • 1 Revel Voice Center channel speaker
  • 1 Revel Voice Center channel stand
  • 2 Revel I30 in-wall/in-ceiling surround speakers
  • 1 Crestron TPS-4500L color touchscreen
  • 1 Crestron CP2E remote control processor
  • 1 Panamax Max 5500 surge protector
  • 1 Middle Atlantic equipment rack
  • Audioquest custom wire package
  • Time and Expertise Worksheet
    Task Hours
    Client Interviews 6
    Electronic Design and Engineering: 12
    Proposal and System Documentation Preparation: 8
    Project Management: 40
    Pre-wire/Rough-in: 8
    Trim-out: 3
    Shop Time for Racking and Testing: 8
    Programming: 8
    Final Installation and Calibration: 5
    Client Instruction: 1
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by your Company: 0
    Interior Design and/or Architecture by Others: 40
    Project Management by Others: 0
    Total Hours to Complete: 139

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