Stewart_Frattasi_DHSMediaRoom-(1)If you grew up in the 80s (like nearly every one of us on the KMB team) you remember when spring meant riding bikes or playing street hockey with our friends until our moms called us home for dinner. This still happens today – but it’s increasingly rare and hardly ever talked about. (Letting them play outside? They could be kidnapped by a guy in a white van, after all….)

Ironically, (or perhaps understandably), today’s suburban moms face greater challenges with knowing where their children are, who they’re with, and what they’re doing. And – just like back in the day – moms want to have the home where all the children gather for snacks, drinks, and a place to hang out.

While moms in the past could lure the kids to their living room with Pepsi and Pringles, today’s tweens and teens have higher standards. Essentially – it’s all in the technology.

A Stewart Filmscreen user in upscale, suburban Rye Brook, NJ, discovered the secret when technology and design transformed the family’s wide open basement into the ultimate family entertainment room. With a bar area, recessed LED lighting, and comfy couches, the space fits any number of scenarios:

    an awesome World Cup, World Series, or Super Bowl party
    a place to entertain family and friends during the holidays
    an easy way to enjoy at-home date night
    a place to bring the family together for movie night
    the most amazing game room the family’s three children have ever seen.

The system can be operated via a Control4 touch pad or a mobile device, but the ease-of-use is not the best part. “It’s made our new house the place for the kids to hang out after school every day,” says the homeowner.

With technology systems that fulfill so many vast requirements in a space with high ambient light, it’s no wonder Residential Systems chose to profile the multi-purpose family room recently. You can read more about the technical aspects of the project here.

We’d like to focus, instead, on the benefit the technology systems had to the end user’s lifestyle. After all, we all recognize that technology is advancing rapidly with our standards for excellence increasing almost daily. It’s not often we get to see the very real effect a carefully designed home theater system can have on the family fortunate enough to have one in their home.

Two-Piece Projection Systems: Impactful and Affordable

The two-piece projection system technology provided by Stewart Filmscreen and Epson made the technical aspects of the project easy, revealed Digital Home Systems’ Tom Manna, who worked with Stewart’s New York sales rep, Big Apple Technology, on the project.

“The added value Stewart Filmscreen provides to their dealers is an invaluable tool,” Manna said. “Their expert knowledge of how light reacts with the screen materials is what guarantees success if I listen to the advice,” he states in the article published in Residential Systems.

The challenge, Manna said, was discerning the client’s needs and then settling on a solution that would offer excellent picture quality and flexibility for viewing a myriad of programming options in a variety of environments. “The family didn’t want to sit in the dark to watch television or play video games,” Manna explains, “but did want that immersive experience for movies.”

The Epson projector and Stewart Filmscreen CIMA screen combined to give the client 136 inches of viewing space for less than the cost of a 75-inch LED screen.

“Thanks to the value the client received with the CIMA screen and Epson project, Digital Home Systems decked out the rest of the system with everything a family room needs, including a Totem Tribe in-wall 5.1 surround sound speaker system, AppleTV, and a Control4 system for AV, lighting, and temperature control,” states the Resi Systems article.

The Ultimate Gaming Experience

But what really sets the system apart from an end-user perspective is its gaming capabilities, made possible by an Xbox system and wireless controllers. The Xbox resides in a rack about on the other end of the basement, making it easy to switch games but keeping the clutter that often comes with teenage boys and video games at bay.

The mother revealed she buys snacks and beverages in bulk at the local warehouse club, but it’s worth it. And, in fact, the KMB team happened to be at the home at 3 PM on a weekday connecting with our client’s client, and saw this first-hand, as several teenage boys ransacked the pantry and then stampeded down the stairs to play a sports game on the big screen. “It’s just amazing,” the son commented on the screen, an ear-to-ear grin lighting up his face, before heading to the basement to join his friends.

Disputes over who gets to use the big screen are not as common as you may think, either – perhaps because the home has LED screens in the living room and all the bedrooms, as well. But the basement is where everyone typically chooses to spend their free time – together, as a family.

“We knew we’d watch sports and movies down here, but we find ourselves watching TV and playing video games on the big screen, too,” says the homeowner.

The Game Room’s the Thing

It’s not just suburban families with teenage sons who are embracing “game rooms” – whether as a dedicated space in the house similar to a dedicated home theater or as a component in a multi-purpose family entertainment space.

With the growth of gaming – for all ages, boys and girls, men and women, alike – and the rise of eSports (large-scale video game tournament competitions) home technology consumers may seek out a high-tech room with immersive sound and video, which transitions seamlessly from sports, to movies, to gaming. Women — the primary decision makers when it comes to home technology — make up the majority of the gaming population; 36 percent of all gamers are women over 18. Adult men make up 35 percent, while teenage boys make up 17 percent. Additionally, 180 million people stream or record eSports on YouTube or Twitch, a popular gameplay site. So whether homeowners are installing gamer setups for themselves or their children, to play games or watch them, gaming is big business.

Home technology professionals: Are you tapping into the lucrative (and growing) gaming market? We’d love to hear your stories!