Home cinema install: Buy a house, get a home cinema thrown in

The developers of this new-build property knew a dedicated cinema room would wow potential buyers

This basement movie den in South West London is the work of custom installation professionals MD Integration, and is slightly unusual in that it was commissioned by the developer of the property rather than the owner. In the capital's red-hot housing market, it should certainly help the six-bedroom new-build stand out from the crowd.

As installer Paul McDonnell explains, there were two rooms in the basement – one for a gym and the other for a cinema. 'They wanted a professional home cinema that would wow potential buyers, making the best use of the room. They didn't want five ceiling speakers and a TV – they wanted something that was very creditable but not ridiculously expensive.'

The specified kit is commensurate with those demands, mixing a 7.2 speaker array from Artcoustic (a mixture of on-wall monitors and in-ceiling models. 'I love the size of the range,' says Paul) – with largescreen images via a mid-range JVC DLA projector and custom-made 3.2m screen.

The speakers were chosen after a demonstration at Artcoustic's UK HQ. 'The clients had never installed a home cinema to this level before,' reveals Paul. 'We took them to the showroom to give them an idea of what they could get for different budgets.' And not only were they impressed enough with the audio quality of the Danish-made cabinets, they were swayed by the performance of the JVC PJ in Artcoustic's demo room.

Driving the setup is an Anthem MRX500 receiver; the brand's ARC software was used to EQ the setup. However, with the twin rows of sofas due to be removed when the eventual owners of the property move in, the installer will return to do another sonic calibration once the room's furniture and fittings have been finalised.

A Pioneer BDP-450 disc player caters for hi-def content, while control is handled by an RTI processor/handset.

Digging deep

The initial planning phase threw up one requirement that involved some traditional elbow grease – the developers didn't like the idea of walking in and having to step up to the rear row of seating. 'To avoid this, at the construction stage the front of the room was excavated down,' explains the installer. 'So you walked in at floor level to the upper tier and stepped down to the lower tier.'

Other than that, the install from design through first and second fix to the finished room was plain sailing. 'We were fortunate enough to have a client that got us in early to discuss the cinema, took our advice and got a magnificent result without any real problems,' reports Paul. So the lesson for all of us is clear – if you're ever building a house, make sure you plan for a home cinema from the beginning...

Installer info

MD Integration
0208 6608940

Kit list

JVC: DLA-X500R home cinema projector, ceiling-mounted
Artcoustic: 3 x Spitfire SL-6-3; 4 x ceiling surround speakers; 2 x PA750 power amps; 2 x Spitfire Control 1 subwoofers
Anthem: MRX500 AV receiver
Pioneer: BDP-450 Blu-ray player
RTI: XP6 processor; T1-B+ remote control
Projecta: Custom-made 3.2m projector screen (2.35:1)