Thursday, May 25, 2006

home theater speaker: Expert creates theater systems for the family

The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Published on: 05/11/06

Home theater. Everybody has their own definition. It can be as simple as a big-screen television with a couple of recliners, or a 50-inch plasma television accompanied by a 5-foot-by-8-foot projection screen surrounded by stadium seating.

Doug Van Arsdale, owner of Custom Home Theater out of Sharpsburg, creates the latter.

Van Arsdale has a background in construction and a knack for electronics.

"I've always been into connecting things and fixing things," Van Arsdale said. "I figured why not integrate my love for electronics and stereo with construction, into a full-time gig."

Since starting the business in 2000, Van Arsdale and his team have created more than 1,000 home theater systems in the Atlanta area.

Some rooms are dedicated private cinemas, where most of the electronics — including the television, video, stereo, lights and even heating and air-conditioning — are controlled by one remote.

Besides installing home theater equipment, Van Arsdale's business also offers interior design, where a decorator helps clients select the best color for the room, seating, whether it be stadium style or a sectional sofa, lighting and construction.

Of course, this all comes at a price. Dedicated theater rooms can range from $12,000 to $100,000.

Peachtree City resident John Hautala hired Van Arsdale to create a combination media and theater room.

The installation included a 50-inch plasma television, drop down 5-foot-by-8-foot screen, plus a closet full of electronics with game equipment such as XBox and PlayStation.

Before work started, Hautala had a particular request.

"One of the earlier requirements was to have one remote that controls everything, from the television to the audio to the video to the lights in the room," Hautala said. "That way I knew my wife would be able to use it, too."

Hautala admits the system wasn't cheap but would rather not divulge the amount.

"Some might say I'm half-foolish for spending that kind of money and I'd agree with them," Hautala said. "But you just do it because you want to."

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