- On August 13, 2018
Ted Curtis, TMC Home Theater Systems
We recently reached out to Ted Curtis of TMC Home Theater Systems in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma to talk about his experiences with Kaleidescape. TMC has been doing custom home theater installations since 1999. The company has four employees and is focused on delivering a high-end movie room experience.
“We’re not a really big business, and we mainly serve handpicked clients that have the same goals for the project that we do,” Curtis said. “I like doing dedicated screening rooms where I can have complete control over the room and system from beginning to end to make sure the result is outstanding. My passion and heart are in doing great dedicated movie rooms, and almost all of our installs now feature immersive audio.”
In addition to Kaleidescape, TMC’s luxury installations include JBL Synthesis speakers, amplifiers, and processors, Lumagen video processing, Revel speakers, Wisdom Audio, Sony ES projectors, Screen Innovations, Seymour Screen Excellence, and RTI automation.
“I also make sure I have my clients’ systems connected to a [Snap AV] WattBox and Araknis network pieces. Being able to use OvrC to auto-reboot, check in, or even log into a client’s system at all hours of the day has been a great feature for both me and my clients.”
TMC is actually fairly new to Kaleidescape, having been a dealer for only two years.
Why do you like including Kaleidescape on your installs?
What attracted me initially was the ease of use and the lack of trailers and FBI warnings. But if you narrow it down, it’s the whole spectacular interface and the coolness of it, along with best quality audio and video. It’s mandatory that my systems deliver the highest quality A/V, so once Kaleidescape settled the [DVD CCA] lawsuit and then came out with the Strato and the Alto and developed the Movie Store with 4K content, I decided it was time to sign up to be a dealer.
I’m not a big fan of automation, especially when it doesn’t work correctly. I want to make sure I’m doing it right, and that my customers aren’t spending a lot of money for something that isn’t working, and Kaleidescape’s interface and reliability fits that bill. If it isn’t completely simple—I mean idiot-proof, and stable—I just hate it. Kaleidescape’s interface is so simple, it just works, and it takes little to no training to operate, even for a child.
How does Kaleidescape address unique challenges in your market?
We’re working on a project with a 70-year-old couple that lives out in the country where they don’t have high-speed Internet. Rather, they rely on Internet beamed in from satellite and reliably get about 3 Mbps down and up. High-quality streaming for them just isn’t a possibility. So they are purchasing a Kaleidescape system and are taking advantage of the new factory download service for purchased titles so their system will have a full library of content as soon as it arrives. Then they’ll be able to go in and scroll through and instantly watch any movie in their collection. As a “concierge service,” we’ll assist them with future downloads by using the fast Internet connection in our office.
What gets your clients most excited about their new theater/media room system?
It’s the whole package. When you show someone a room like my demo room, you’re also in competition with a swimming pool or other big-ticket items for the budget. The rooms I’m showing them are better than any theater they would be able to go to. They are “staycationing” in their home, having a great experience. It’s not just movies—we’re also showing Xbox games in 4K, racing games with steering and pedals. There’s nothing like playing Forza 7 in 4K with Dolby Atmos audio—it’s truly an overwhelming experience. We also feature concerts, SACD, and two-channel listening in the same room. What we’re building is a multi-purpose room for movies, TV, gaming, concerts, music, etc. but at dedicated levels. It’s something they can use and enjoy 365 days a year, rain or shine.
What budgets do you think are necessary for a true luxury cinema experience?
We are at a point now where we have the ability to truly create a theater in your house, with 4K studio-master-quality content from Kaleidescape delivered via a laser projector on a very wide and immersive screen that takes up your entire field of view, with up to 32 channels of audio to complement, that is superior to any commercial theater experience you could have. If you’re talking about a big 32-channel JBL Synthesis room with a Sony 5000ES laser projector at the helm, you can easily be in the $250,000 range. But a lot of people can’t do or don’t need to do a 32-channel system. This is one of the reasons why I wanted my new demo system to be scalable to demonstrate different configurations. People can come in and experience a terrifically balanced and calibrated system from 5.1 to 7.1 to Atmos 7.1.4, all the way up to the full 32-channel system.
What kinds of demo material do you like to use?
It’s embarrassing because we get hung on using the same groups of movies. Obviously, Mad Max: Fury Road, because it’s recorded and mixed incredibly well. The beginning of Unbroken is still a great track for showing off the dynamics and coherency of the system, as is the intense low-end in Deepwater Horizon. Gravity can be total and complete chaos if your system isn’t set up correctly, but if you get it right, it’s incredibly immersive, and has some very low frequencies in parts to test your subs.
The clients I’m dealing with want to see and hear the best, and on a big screen with a good sound system, you can really experience the difference. Vudu is putting out a pretty good picture, but the audio is getting scrunched, and in my high-end immersive rooms, when you A/B Vudu or any other streaming source against Kaleidescape, it doesn’t take an audio engineer to figure out which is better. The streamed content’s audio has so much compression compared to the lossless audio on Kaleidescape, everyone can experience the difference. Put a movie on Kaleidescape like The Last Jedi and then play that same movie on Vudu, and the clients will ask, “Where’s the dynamics?” It really makes you appreciate what Kaleidescape is doing.