Installations: Rock the Room...

John Chance was a typical Sound & Vision reader - at least, until a year ago. That's when he turned his love of A/V gear and do-it-yourself projects into a custom-installation business. Back in 2002, this New York City fireman designed and built an addition for his house that included a home theater.

It turned out so well that he decided to become an installer. He started his business last year by putting in small systems. But recently he took on a more ambitious project: a home theater for the Traina family of Freehold, New Jersey.

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The family wanted to convert an 11 x 30-foot section of their basement into a home theater that would serve two purposes. Nick Traina, a die-hard sports fan (New York Giants and Rangers), wanted a place where he could have friends over to watch games, but it was just as important that the whole family - which also includes his wife Jennifer, 3-year-old son Nick, and 4-month-old daughter Gianni - be able to enjoy a movie-theater experience without leaving the house.

"I bought a 50-inch Pioneer Elite plasma TV for the upstairs den, and that experience told me I needed to step up my viewing situation downstairs," Nick explains. He knew he wanted high-definition and the biggest screen the room could handle. To give him both within his $70,000 budget, John suggested mounting a Knoll Systems HD282 high-def DLP front projector ($7,400) on the ceiling and partnering it with a 92-inch (diagonal) screen from Screen Research ($3,400).

The screen is designed to have speakers behind it. But unlike screens of this type from other manufacturers, the Screen Research is woven rather than perforated, which is said to allow sound to pass through it undiminished. Also, a woven screen can help eliminate the moiré effects caused by the rows of tiny holes in perforated screens.

Below the screen is a small stage, with most of the system's gear tucked underneath. "We could've put the equipment in the small room behind the theater," says John, "but if you wanted to change a DVD, you would have to get up and go into that other room. Also, Nick actually likes to see the equipment."