Installations: The Real King of All Media Page 5

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Until Gary can make the time to plan and build a home theater in the basement, the family room is serving as the prime space for movie viewing. And its 6.1-channel surround setup, with a Denon receiver supplying the juice for Preference ceiling speakers and SoundMatters subs, is more than up to the task. "I put 6.1 in here because I expect this to be the room where I have people come over and congregate," Gary says. "We'll watch football games here - movies, that sort of thing. Even once I have the home theater, I'm sure we'll use this room a lot. Sometimes you just want to watch American Idol without having to go down to the theater."

But Gary uses the room for more than just TV and movie watching. "It's also a great place to listen to music," he says. "When I was unpacking, I found two DVD-Audio discs someone had given me. One of them was Fleetwood Mac's Rumours, so I put it on and it sounded fantastic in this room."

But the A/V setup isn't the only sophisticated system in the house. For instance, the lighting controls have been programmed to help get Gary out of the house early in the morning with maximal ease and with minimal disruptions to the other family members. When he rises in darkness at 4:30 a.m. to get ready for the commute to Sirius HQ in midtown Manhattan to do the Stern show, he makes his way out of bed and into the master bathroom, and from there, into his closet, where he dresses and checks his e-mail on a laptop stationed there. (He designed this whole regimen with the help of his architect.) At that point, he brings the lighting into play via a button on the control panel labeled "to kitchen." When Gary presses it, a path lights the way from his closet - which opens out into the second-floor hallway - to downstairs.

And really, this is just one example of well-planned lighting. Each panel contains multiple buttons, each controlling the different lamps in each room, allowing for switching on and off or just dimming - all conveniently labeled. And each panel also contains a switch for turning on the lights in the next room as well.