F30POST
F30POST
2012-2015 BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum
BMW Garage BMW Meets Register Search Today's Posts Mark Forums Read
BMW 3-Series and 4-Series Forum (F30 / F32) | F30POST > BIMMERPOST Universal Forums > Off-Topic Discussions Board > Video + PC Gaming / Computing > Home Theater Lighting Suggestions
GTB Performance
Post Reply
 
Thread Tools Search this Thread
      04-02-2012, 09:10 PM   #1
Michael5155
Private First Class
 
Drives: 2009 Z4 30i
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: United States

Posts: 102
iTrader: (0)

Home Theater Lighting Suggestions

I'm in the process of building a home theater and have started looking at lighting controls. There are a billion options out there, but I'm thinking what I want is pretty simple. So I went to my local home theater store, who genuinely staffs home theater experts, to ask them what I should get. They showed me all these expensive multiple-zone systems with remote controls. I tried to explain what I wanted but they kept showing me these exotic and expensive systmes. I think they were trying to push me into something that would provide a healthy commission check. I left wondering if I'd ever even be able to screw in a light bulb again!

Here's what I want. I'm hoping someone out in BMW world might have or can recommend a system that will fit these simple needs.

I have three zones I want to control. All I want is a panel on the wall with three, maybe four lighting options: movie viewing, sports viewing, romantic/making the move on the wife viewing, all on, and all off. All the lighting has been installed and wired.

If you think you can help me, please provide company names, model numbers, install instructions (if it was a DIY), and any other info you think would be helpful.

I don't need a hand-held remote control. I just want to walk into the room press a button on a light panel and have the lights respond accordingly.

Thanks for any help and guidance.

Michael
Michael5155 is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      04-14-2012, 11:46 AM   #2
BigSkyBimmerfan
Private
 
BigSkyBimmerfan's Avatar
 
Drives: e90 330i
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Big Sky Country

Posts: 92
iTrader: (0)

It's been a couple years since I finished my theater but I ended up going with a used Lutron Grafik Eye controller that I picked up on eBay for a couple hundred and DIY installed. It controls 4 zones and 4 "scenes" (in addition to all-on/all-off) so would probably suit your needs. Although you say you don't need remote control, it seemed to be pretty standard on the multi-zone controllers I looked at so just consider it an added bonus. It's actually really nice to be be able to switch scenes without getting up, and even your basic universal remotes (I use an entry-level Harmony) are capable of controlling lighting changes along with various activities.

I can't recall all the specific details you'll need to consider off the top of my head, but you should find plenty of good info here. You need to consider the load on each zone and the various types of lights you're using, etc.

Like I said, it's been a while since I researched mine but feel free to fire away with any questions you have if you're having trouble with the research, and good luck with the build - it's very satisfying once you get it all together.

Here's my before-and-after, quite a small room but lots of fun...



BigSkyBimmerfan is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      04-14-2012, 12:01 PM   #3
Michael5155
Private First Class
 
Drives: 2009 Z4 30i
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: United States

Posts: 102
iTrader: (0)

Big Sky,

Ironically, I got EXACTLY what you suggested, the Grafik Eye. I was in a home theater store that was remodeling some of its display rooms. They were removing a 3000 series Graphik Eye from their display. It was about two years old, so I was able to get it for $20 under cost. I just got it hooked up a couple days ago. I love it!

But thanks for the link. Eventually I want to get an iPad and use it as a system-wide remote control, so I want to use the remote capability. I'm guessing the link will offer some info on how to make the Graphik Eye remote controllable via an iPad.

Love the transformation you did in your theater room. Did you paint the border area black or is it a fabric?
Michael5155 is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      04-14-2012, 12:27 PM   #4
BigSkyBimmerfan
Private
 
BigSkyBimmerfan's Avatar
 
Drives: e90 330i
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Big Sky Country

Posts: 92
iTrader: (0)

Thanks, I'm really happy with how it turned out considering it was a ridiculously cheap DIY project. The black border around the screen is made up of fabric panels. I basically just ripped out all that 70's office cabinetry and turned that area into a little chamber for the speakers, stretched an acoustically transparent screen across the opening, and framed it with the fabric covered panels.

I put one zone of lights back there for when I'm just listening to music, thinking it would look more impressive someday when I can upgrade the speakers



Regarding iPad control, I'm not sure which Grafik Eye units have wiFi control capability, but I'm almost positive some of them do, or have separate control modules that can be purchased.

Another option, which I'm currently looking into, would be incorporating an IR blaster into the HTPC, so that it can send IR signals to the lighting controller during scripted sequences. For example, prior to a movie you might have the lights on low while trivia slides and movie trailers are playing, then you have them go completely out when the movie starts, and come back up with the movie is finished. Using something like XBMC you can script these pre- and post-show events fairly easily.

P.S. What else have you decided A/V wise for the room?
BigSkyBimmerfan is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      04-14-2012, 02:09 PM   #5
Michael5155
Private First Class
 
Drives: 2009 Z4 30i
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: United States

Posts: 102
iTrader: (0)

I'm kinda new to this whole home theater thing. I've currently got a Pioneer Elite 7.1 receiver, Panasonic Blue-ray player, subwoofer, PlayStation 3 (if my kids has his way), and the Grafik Eye. I bought three powered theater seats off craigslist, and I just started building a riser for it so a couch can go in front.

I'm not sure I understand what you mean by IR blaster. I did talk to a home theater guy who said almost any iPad can be used to control any IR device, but I'd have to buy a "brain" for it. If I understand it correctly, the app on the ipad sends a wifi signal (via my home wifi) to the brain, the brain interprets the signal and sends a corresponding IR control to the equipment or lighting controller. Is that what you mean by a blaster?

The brain is expensive! $500.00 for the unit then $250 for the dealer to come out and program it. I asked if it's something I could program. They said they don't sell them unless they program it.
Michael5155 is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      04-14-2012, 02:28 PM   #6
BigSkyBimmerfan
Private
 
BigSkyBimmerfan's Avatar
 
Drives: e90 330i
Join Date: Apr 2012
Location: Big Sky Country

Posts: 92
iTrader: (0)

That's essentially correct, but in my case the "brain" would be my HTPC. I store all my movies and TV shows on networked hard drives and play them using XBMC which provides a really nice interface for browsing movies, music, TV Shows, etc. If you plan to incorporate a PC into your home theater setup, you can simply plug something like this into an open USB port. It allows the PC to "blast" IR signals out into the theater room to control lights, receiver, projecter, etc.

Taking this one step further, you would be looking for an app for the iPad which would allow it to manipulate the USB-UIRT (IR receiver/transmitter) which is plugged into the computer. A quick search indicates there are several available, including touch control which specifically details compatibility with the USB-UIRT I linked above.

There's plenty of information online to help you set this stuff up, so you definitely shouldn't need to pay an installer, and if you're at all handy with PC's you can configure a 1080p capable HTPC for well under $500.
BigSkyBimmerfan is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
      04-14-2012, 04:43 PM   #7
Michael5155
Private First Class
 
Drives: 2009 Z4 30i
Join Date: Jul 2011
Location: United States

Posts: 102
iTrader: (0)

Thanks for the info. I'm definitely going to check out the interenet to see what my options are. Stay tuned, though. I'm sure I'll need a little help and clarification on stuff.

I currently have a Macbook Pro. Can I use it for any remote capability. I do periodically rent movies from iTunes and play it via my plasma, but that's the extent of my computer use with the theater.
Michael5155 is offline  
0
Reply With Quote
Post Reply

Bookmarks

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:23 AM.




f30post
Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.7.0
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
1Addicts.com, BIMMERPOST.com, E90Post.com, F30Post.com, M3Post.com, ZPost.com, 5Post.com, 6Post.com, 7Post.com, XBimmers.com logo and trademark are properties of BIMMERPOST