You are here:

Home Theater/home theater drapery system

Advertisement


Question
We are in the process of building a home theater system.  I would like to have a remote controlled drapery or curtain in front of the screen and maybe a remote controlled light dimmer.  Can you suggest where to look for these products and possibly any quality brands?  Thanks.

Answer
Admittedly the remote curtains is something I'm not fully versed in, with respect to what brands to consider. Generally those systems are configured or installed by your theater installer. An example of a commercial manufacturer would be Lutron. If you're going the DIY route, generally the most complicated piece is finding a motor that can be remote controlled (the fabric component is no different than traditional curtains, and you can go as fancy as you'd like (or your budget allows) - generally a dark velvet or velveteen fabric is suggested (black velvet will generally not reflect light, which is best for lighting control, but may not be the best choice for the room's decor; dark reds, blues, and greens are often popular choices)). What you'd be looking for is a "remote controlled drapery track" (as opposed to "home theater curtains" or similar, which will usually produce results with higher prices (just like buying wire labeled for audio generally costs more than conventional wire)), and simply hang a more appropriate fabric for the effect you'd like to create. Keep in mind that some of these solutions may use relatively proprietary remotes, so integration with something like Harmony or Pronto may not be possible.

Another avenue you may consider, if you're just meaning to conceal the screen, is a motorized retractable screen, which will conceal itself within the ceiling (or floor) when not deployed. If you go this route, ensure you purchase a tensioned model if possible (in general I would suggest a tensioned screen, even if going with a fixed screen). I would suggest Da-Lite, however I hear good things about Elite Screens as a budget-minded alternative. For example:
http://www.da-lite.com/products/product.php?cID=32&pID=400


The lighting, however, is relatively less complicated (in general because you're either only replacing the room's switches, or adding a secondary lighting system - if you go the route of replacing room switches, consult a qualified electrician to ensure that you aren't violating any codes with the installation), and you have a lot of options at various price points. The most expensive, but perhaps most "finished" systems will come from Lutron - these controllers will replace the light switch(s) within the room, and give you various options depending on the controller you purchase (some systems can control more than lighting). Keep in mind that with any dimming capable controller, you cannot use conventional CFL lighting; either traditional incandescent lightbulbs, or CFL or LED bulbs that are specifically rated for use with a dimmer are required. On the less expensive side, you could purchase remote-controlled LED lighting from a manufacturer like LEDWholesalers (they are available through Amazon), which will come in the form of strips and an IR control "base." The advantage to these systems (aside from price), is generally you will have RGB color mixing and the flexibility of installing the strip-lighting where you like.

For example this kind of system:
http://www.amazon.com/LEDwholesalers-Controller-2034RGB-3315-3215/dp/B0040FJ27S/

And a quick search on YouTube for an example of what you could do with such a kit (you're basically limited by creativity and the room itself - the kit that I linked to is dimmable via remote):
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=09eEdbpb-nI

For Lutron, check their residential single-room offerings:
http://www.lutron.com/en-US/Residential-Commercial-Solutions/Pages/Residential-S

Overall I would steer you towards IR controlled systems, as they can generally be integrated with Harmony or Pronto control (and IR extenders/repeaters are relatively inexpensive and simple to configure, to allow hiding of all the equipment), however if RF control is all that is available for a given component, it will generally mean that you will have multiple remotes. More esoteric systems with RS-232 control generally require a CI due to the complexity of the control equipment.


If you have more questions, feel free to ask.

-bob

Home Theater

All Answers


Answers by Expert:


Ask Experts

Volunteer


Bobbert

Expertise

Questions regarding HTPC integration to home theaters, and general purchasing advice regarding home theater and audio systems, including headphones. Please no car audio or over the top PA systems.

Experience

General enthusiast, ~10 years as an audio and electronics hobbyist

Education/Credentials
Engineering student, various DIY experiences, personal hobby

©2016 About.com. All rights reserved.