Watching a movie in Londoner Berard
Borschke's basement is no ordinary experience.
sink into your seat, Borschke hits the play button,
prompting the room lights to gradually dim and the
drapes behind you to glide closed .
Suddenly, the sound of a burst of
gunfire behind your left shoulder causes you to shift in
your chair. Explosions rip through the room as the
entire wall in front of you erupts in flames. You're not
just watching a movie, you're right in the middle of the
battle field. "The whole house shakes when the war is
going on," Borschke says with a chuckle. Borschle is one
of a growing number of consumers who are seeking a true
movie experience in the comfort of their own
"we have all the ambience of a
custom theater," says Borschke. "it's the same feeling
as a movie theatre."
" Installing a home theatre has
become quite popular . The market is growing
exponentially" says Rick Ho, co-owner of London Audio
and co-ordinator of the design and installation of
Borscke's homes theater system.
"A home theatre, is the perfect use
for that underused basement space . The basement becomes
a gathering place for the entire family. Home theatre,
therefore, has an appeal in terms of entertainment value
and also in terms of utility of space ."
Ho makes a clear distinction
between large televisions and true and true home theatre
projection technology." The major dividing line between
most home theaters is the type of video display device
," Ho explains. "Certainly, you can play a movie through
a 27-inch TV with surround speakers, but it doesn't have
that larger- than- life impact.
" The real transformation for
people is when a six foot or eight foot (diagonal
measurement) screen is installed in their home. they
encounter the same emotional rush that they get in a
"That's an entirely new concept to
A number of recently introduced
technologies contribute to the high quality home theatre
experience that is available for today's consumers.
"In my opinion , the most useful
improvements has been in source material," Ho says" Up
until three years ago we had to rely on the lowly VHS
videotape as our principal media. One major breakthrough
in the past few years has been the introduction of DVD
(digital versatile disc. commonly referred to as digital
video disc). Another has been the advent of digital
directional satellite service."
" DVD offers us almost three times
the resolution, superior color accuracy and much better
sound quality than had on videotape," Says
Digital satellite service is not quite as good as
DVD, but it still offers around twice the resolution
videotape and comparable sound quality he
Another technology that has been around for a
while but has only recently come down in price is line
doubling or scaling.
"Line doubling allows us to present
twice as much video information on the screen at as much
video information on the screen at any one time as you
would see with a regular TV broadcast," Ho says. " The
end result s that the black horizontal scanning lines
that run across the screen are essentially filled
Incorporating these new technologies into a home
theater configuration will further enhance the movie
experience. Generally, says Ho, three speakers are
mounted behind the screen, one speaker is positioned on
each side or just behind the main seating position, and
a sixth speaker, dedicated to producing the base sound
effects, is placed at the front of the room.
comfortable chair in which to absorb the sights and
sounds of the movie is essential to full enjoyment
of a home theatre. Sectional furniture, which can
be easily moved around to create a cozy couch or a
number of individual chairs, is versatile and
Offering the ultimate in luxury,
custom-made home theatre chairs have recently appeared
on the market.
Schueneman's, a local firm that
manufactures, upholsters and refinishes furniture,
recently completed five custom theatre chairs for a
"The customer came into our workshop with
pictures of different chairs from home theatre
magazines," says Gil Schueneman. "Together, we came up
with a design that was a combination of many
The upholstered chairs, which were the first
theatre chairs of this type that Schueneman's has
manufactured, consist of a kiln-dried hardwood frame
covered in chenille fabric, which is soft to touch but
hardwearing. The seat and back cushions are feather
filled for comfort and a cup holder is built into the
arm rest . The head support has been designed to allow
viewers to lean back and relax without obscuring the
surround sound audio system. At about $1,300 each, the
price is much lower than similar chairs advertised in
American home theatre magazines, Gil Says.
customer's home, the chairs have been placed in a tier,
with three chairs on the upper deck and two on the main
floor. "Everybody gets to sit in the hot in this room,"
The success of Schueneman's home theatre
chair design has prompted the company to produce a new
"We will continue to work with the customer
to build in the features they want," says