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Let Them Entertain You

You don’t have to be The Donald to afford a high-quality audio-visual system.

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Touches such as a popcorn machine help to bring together the entire movie theater experience. (Photograph courtesy of Overture)Preston Taylor wanted the works.

With a newly finished basement, Taylor and his wife opted for a 110-inch projection screen, surround-sound speakers, custom wiring, seven black leather reclining theater chairs and, yes, even a popcorn machine.

Taylor wanted a movie theater in his house.

“Let’s just say we’re going to Blockbuster a lot more,” says Taylor, of Townsend. “And watching the Eagles on Sundays on that big screen is just like being at the game.”

Home theaters are fast joining kitchens and bathrooms on the Mount Rushmore of household rooms. Taylor, a retired empty-nester, says the basement theater assembled by TheaterXtreme in Wilmington has enhanced his home and allows he and his wife to entertain guests more often.

“It’s hard for people to sell their homes right now, and people have a desire to feather their nest,” says Justin Schakelman, vice president of sales and marketing at TheaterXtreme. “They’re looking for meaningful, profitable, fun home improvements.”

The old formula of a couch, a TV and a video player has gone the way of the Betamax. Customized theater rooms can create the feel of a Cineplex, right down to the velvet rope, cushy seats and popcorn machine. In many cases, the sound and picture quality is better than a movie theater’s, and a handful of Delaware stores are more than happy to punch your ticket.

Hi Fi House turned this room into the ultimate home theater experience, including movie-leveled seating for eight people. “What we do is create an entire environment that your family can enjoy every single night of the week,” Schakelman says. “That goes beyond watching Blu-ray movies in 5.1 surround sound and having hi-definition contrast on the screen. I’m talking of a true, multi-media environment that’s beyond home entertainment.”

As new technology becomes available, more folks are devoting entire areas to home entertainment.

“We’re seeing people going for the whole room,” says Les Greenberg, general manager at Hi Fi House in Wilmington. “We have two rooms in our store that are set up and ready to go by a company called Acoustic Innovations. Those come with the sound panels on the wall, the seating and everything in between.”

Don’t let the “theater” in home theater throw you. You can do a lot more with an 80-inch front projection screen than show movies. Systems can be customized to fulfill any need, from television, Internet and email to digital photo management and beyond, Schakelman says.

Setting up your home theater with the help of local shops such as Overture in Wilmington has major advantages, namely, better brands and service.

Page 2: Let Them Entertain You, continues

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