My Sony VW 10HT Home Theater
by Jerry Kugler

Some Time ago - when the Sony VW 10HT was brand new I bought one andbegan to design a "home theater". My wife did not want the equipment tobe the focus of the room as she would often use it for reading orentertaining.

Theater Overview

We live in a 100 year old townhouse in the Park Slope section ofBrooklyn and the room is only 15' by 16' with a bay window on one end.

I designed a large Shoji screen with acoustically transparent fabricpanels. It is placed two feet out from the rear wall of the room. Thispanel hides four speakers, a Stewart Studiotek 130 (before the Greyhawkor Firehawk was invented) and it is illuminated to make the fabricshimmer. A rack with the equipment is placed in a niche out of viewfrom most places in the room.

Theater Doors Opening

A Philips pronto is programmed to do several things before the showbegins. First, full length motorized drapes come out from behind theShoji wall and block the window as well as providing good sound andlight absorption. Then the lights dim and the Shoji wall opens, andfinally a motorized blackout shade that is embedded in a black fabricwall placed behind the Shoji screen opens to reveal the projectionscreen. The whole process takes about a minute, but the audience alwaysloves it. To me it's like Broadway... you know the show is about tobegin when the house lights dim, the curtain rises and everything goesblack and silent for just a few seconds.

Blackout Shade Opening

A word about the Shoji wall - The fabric is wrinkled silk which allowssound to pass through,and can also be rear illuminated to glow like"textured glass" which by the way it has been mistaken for. A secondwall, the same size as the Shoji wall is placed 6" behind the Shjoi andis covered entirely in black speaker cloth except for the center sectionwhich is cut away for the placement of the projection screen. Theprojection screen is covered by a blackout shade which hides the factthat you have a theater and completes the black background which isnecessary for lighting the silk. A row of low voltage reflector bulbsplaced in th 6" gap between the two walls backlights the silk and makesit glow. Behind the black wall are the center, left, and right channelspeakers, as well as the sub-woofer.

Projected Image with Lights Out

Motors are used to move the drapes, open the shoji, and retract theblackout shade covering the projection screen. All except the motorizedshoji doors are standard products. The shoji door mechanisms werecustom built as I could not find anything standard to do the job.

Theater Doors Closing

I did most of the work myself to keep down the cost. Materials were notexpensive (the silk was from a remnant house), I bought the screenmaterial from Stewart but stretched it myself, and the infrared controlscan be done with X-10 components (including the dimming system) which ischeap compared to Crestron or AMX devices.

This concept could be applied to other wall designs (Asian themes arenot necessary), and it might interest others who don't want to use theirroom exclusively as a theater.

The entire wall system can be removed and taken with you, and for housesthat have valuable original detail, you do not have to destroy any of itto install your theater.

For more detailed specifications and connections, check out our Sony VPL-VW12HT projector page.