Nick wanted a simple, small remote - definitely not a large LCD touchpanel. It had to be something he could operate with one hand but powerful enough to make everything happen through a complex series of macros. The Harmony 890 ($400), which is programmed on a PC and can be easily updated or troubleshot via the Internet, fit the bill.
The theater is a hit with the whole family. The first film they screened was Toy Story, and Nick's son has watched it innumerable times since. Nick was also impressed with how The Matrix and The Incredibles came alive.
Next up for the Trainas is outfitting Zone Two (the basement family room) and Zone Three (outdoor speakers by a yet-to-be-built swimming pool). Meanwhile, with a stack of movies to get through and football season underway, Nick has planned his next big purchase: a popcorn maker.
MAKING THE CONNECTION
We chronicled John Chance's adventures building his family-room addition and installing a home theater there in our July/August and November 2003 issues. But his story didn't end there. With the theater completed and his family enjoying the rewards of his hard work, John hankered for another project. That's how The Home Theater Connection - the Staten Island, New York-based company he founded in 2005 - was born.
"For the last 15 years or so I've really been into electronics and A/V gear, but Sound & Vision was the stepping-stone," he recalls. "When that first article came out, so many people I didn't even know in the technology business called me up."
With the phone ringing regularly now, John has gotten so busy that he recently recruited his wife, Grace, to handle scheduling and the mounting paperwork. With just 4.5 years to go before he retires from the New York City Fire Department, he's found a profession that not only pays the bills but is just as exciting as fighting fires.
"I started out dabbling in small systems, but to be where I want to be, I've got to be 100% professional," John says. Since founding The Home Theater Connection, he's made it a top priority to constantly update his skills. He's attended CEDIA boot camps and is now Installer One certified. He's also certified for home theater design, installation, seating, and distributed audio by the Electronic House Expo (EHX) and for video calibration by the Imaging Science Foundation (ISF). And he's factory-trained in all of the products he sells and installs.
"People want to put a Mack truck in a Volkswagen garage," says John. "We all want that jumbo screen, but you've got to work with the room size, throw distance, and all the other stuff. That's what's great about this job - helping folks work it all out so they can have what they want."
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