For those of us who are home theater enthusiasts, it’s the home theater itself that is most likely to be the first part of a home to get some home automation.  Solutions for your motorized screen to lower when you turn on the projector, along with other devices powering up is almost ancient, that’s been around for two decades.


My old home theater – back in 2004 – had motorized shades. (left side, and either side of screen

For those with motorized shades over windows, integrating them in makes sense too.

You know:  one button dims the lights, lowers the screen, lowers the window shades, powers up projector, sources (game consoles, Blu-ray, satellite/cable boxes, and whatever else people own.  A step further, with a really smart system, you might touch one button that does most of that but only powers up your satellite/cable source, leaving other sources off until needed.   You get the idea.

I’ll be publishing newer documents to keep you apprised of what gear we decide on for the home theater project, and also, In January 2015, we’re going to try something exciting: We’re going to add a projector and motorized screen to the brightest room in the house, the living room. That’s done, see link below!  And of course we will automate the main home theater.


EnsembleHD_remote_mainmenu_pg1The most basic home automation for a home theater is the remote itself.  Or many of them.  But smart and learning remotes have been around for about a decade, so you can use a “universal” remote to control multiple devices.

When it comes to automating my own home theater, I’m strictly Neanderthal, or perhaps Cro-Magnon.

One of the minor reasons I decided to get into smarter home automation.  At the moment there are 4 projectors in my theater, 2 Blu-ray players (one a Sony PS3 which uses Bluetooth for it’s remote system), motorized screen and half a dozen other devices.  I count 11 remote controls.  Ouch.

Our smart home will end up with virtually all the “usual” devices, lights, alarms, etc, controlled by iPhone and iPad, but there will be other smart remotes used  as part of this project.   When the home theater is finally fully automated, my wife will be able to use the theater when I’m not home!

How classic is my situation?  Got “partner”?

Well it’s all coming as part of our Dream Home automation project!

Shown here - Crestron's app running on iPads

Shown here – Crestron’s app running on iPads

Yes, we plan to automate HVAC (heating, etc.), Security, Lighting (lots of smart LED lighting).  It will be a fun and hopefully very educational process that will tackle more and more parts of the house, month by month.

Dec. 31st.  2013:  Happy New Year!

I’m off to the Consumer Electronics Show next week (it starts for me on 1/6/2014).  I hope to finalize several of the products I’d like to integrate into our smarter home automation project.  I’m definitely hoping to lock in some lighting, arrange for a motorized screen and projector for the very bright living room.  Looks like I’ll be putting in a ambient light rejecting Screen Innovations Slate projection screen that can be controlled centrally, as well as one of the new Epson Pro projectors, their G6550WU, suitable for media rooms, sports bars, etc.  (Update, that projector and screen have been installed and are featured on our sister site, with a review and videos.  Click here for the projector’s review and here for one of the videos showing how it performs under terrible lighting conditions.  We’re talking 5200 lumens claimed, that combo should do the trick.  At the end of it all, the projector and screen will be controlled by remote, by iPad, etc.


More smarter home automation content coming soon.

Smarter Home