In this new design, AAT selected four 32-inch LG 32LB4D LCDs as secondary displays. These were easy to install compared to hanging the main display—a 103-inch Panasonic TH-103PZ600U plasma—which was an exercise in brute force. (See sidebar “Hanging the 500-Pound Beast.”)
Once installed, the displays needed careful calibration. “We were very concerned about matching the color of the plasma to the secondary LCD displays. Fortunately, we have one of the best video calibrators in the country, Jim Doolittle. We flew him in from Boston to work his magic.” (See sidebar “The Science and Expertise of Calibration”).
Extreme Power Management
In addition to having five displays for watching sports and politics, Miller’s requirements for the new media-room were that the system be reliable, extremely simple to operate and sound incredible. To bolster reliability, Rooney and the AAT project team designed the entire system to run on a large MGE Dual Conversion UPS System that gives the Millers approximately two hours of run time when the power goes out (and a lot more than that if the system is on standby).
“Components, especially cable boxes and satellite receivers, are unpredictable when they lose their power,” says Rooney. “We didn’t want the homeowner to have to deal with those issues, so we needed constant power, which the MGE system accomplishes.”
For simplicity’s sake, AAT gave the Millers a Crestron MC-2E control system and Crestron TPMC8X touch panel with a graphic interface that looks very much like the five-display TV wall. If Miller wants to control one of the TVs, he simply presses the corresponding set on the touch panel. Rooney also equipped the Millers with a Universal Remote Control MX-980 remote to simplify the TV-watching aspect of the system.
“While touch panels offer a lot of functionality, sometimes clients appreciate having the option of using a simpler remote,” says Rooney. For consistency, Rooney used the MX-980 remote in all the home’s other media and television systems. That way, if a guest can operate the plasma in their room via the MX-980, they will be able to operate the system in the media room. Of course, there is much more to making a complex system like this run smoothly, and that is largely due to Rooney’s philosophy to keep systems incredibly simple throughout the entire design and installation process. (See sidebar “Multiple-Display Media Systems Made Easy” for details.)