Questions and Answers

HDL and Imagine Logos Side-By-Side


What does it mean to be Sight, Sound, and Data Lifestyle Architects?

Our work gives attention to both the function (how and what the room is used for) and its form (i.e. the look and feel). Our client’s intended use drives the visual design. We can drive the aesthetic design and/or work with an interior designer if our client so desires. Either way, we further the selection of materials, lighting, colors, styles, and shapes. We seek a balance between the aesthetics, and the acoustical engineering and noise reduction principles that these spaces call for.

Renowned architect Renzo Piano says, “Architecture is the way of creating places where people feel a certain way.” As dedicated home theaters go you want to feel immersed in and your senses captivated by the experience. The creative process, towards attaining these sensations, is best run in parallel with the architect’s design work. The forethought given to the room’s underlying materials, framing, and layout in the architect’s plans will increase the prospects of these spaces / areas approaching their true potential. When Hi-Definition is involved we will look after the sight, sound and data priorities of your residence.

What products and services do you offer?

Our marquee service is IMPACTSM.

We oversee the design and construction of some of the most technically advanced and visually appealing private theaters in this hemisphere. Our IMPACTSM services are geared for new home construction and remodeling where a client wants a dedicated room(s) for home theater, listening, and/or interactive gaming with high expectations for attaining peak experiences inside the Magic Quadrant.

As Project Manager we have stakeholder responsibility for the overall design and “straightest-line” project monitoring of the design-build-tune processes. Our project fee is based on the contracted statement-of-work accounting for construction costs, acoustic treatments, furnishings, and equipping the room with the A/V/G (audio/video/gaming) systems tailored to the experience our client desires.

Our 3-phase design-build-tune methodology brings everything together from:

  • CAD drawings from design specifications addressing the acoustical and noise reduction construction to interior design styling,
  • Inner acoustic wall construction and sound dampening (Signature Series),
  • Layout of the HVAC, electrical and lighting systems,
  • Coordinating with the building trades, and other specialists in following the plans,
  • Layout of the cabling infrastructure for the A/V systems installation, along with the
  • Testing, calibrating, and tuning all A/V electronics to the room

Our services typically include architectural planning and the design of the room’s interior spaces. We are amenable to cooperating with the client’s interior designer in the selection of the color schemes, finishes, and furnishings. This flexibility is of importance particularly in situations where the interior designer is on-hand early in home’s architectural design and a private theater is incorporated calling for the contribution of specialists like us.

The core elements to our Project Management services are organized under the IMPACTSM program. To review the core service elements [click here] and for a summary of our IMPACTSM services visit our site’s “The Zen of IMPACTSM” area [click here].

If we want a remarkable experience without a dedicated, private theater – what’s possible?

A hybrid area that isn’t a private theater or a living room is an exciting alternative. These areas are usually adjacent or close to a living (or family) room. The room receives more sight and sound design attention but not as much as a private theater. The décor is better suited for digital entertainment than a living room and doesn’t provide the reference-level performance of a private theater. It is a media area in the truest sense as opposed to living rooms or family rooms “with a big TV and loud sound.”

Hi-Definition Living Pearl Project Management

For areas of your home not dedicated solely for home theater, listening, and interactive gaming but where you want peak experiences from Immersive RealismTM, then our PearlSM services are right for you.

We have selected an array of service elements from our IMPACTSM program to bring your sight and sound experiences in these areas of your home closer to the Immersive RealismTM specifications experienced in private home theaters. Our initial visit is no-charge. We provide a follow-up PearlSM project evaluation for a modest fixed fee. We assess the acoustic compromises, and identify the weakest links in your playback chain. We provide analysis and a report with recommendations to minimize or remove impediments to peak home theater, listening, and gaming experiences. This works particularly well for homeowners intent on identifying the most practical options available and next steps to bring Immersive RealismTM to their A/V/G experiences.

Here’s a PearlSM in action:

An executive relocated with his family desired an upgrade to his previous family room home theater experience. We evaluated the existing LCD display (LCD) and A/V system. He mentioned with his previous home theater experience it was often difficult to hear the actor’s dialogue and his wife, a graphic design professional, noticed picture display distortions near the edge of the screen while watching movies. Actors and objects appeared a bit s-t-r-e-t-c-h-e-d, and lacking in color accuracy that no adjustment of user controls would correct. We evaluated and tested two (2) room areas for their existing acoustics and lighting to support multimedia use and rated the “fitness” of existing A/V system components. We provided a report of our findings, recommendations, and drawings of the Magic Layout for each room area.

Our client decided soon afterwards to move forward. We were able to use much of his A/V equipment but went with new DLP projection equipment and in-wall surround speakers. The remaining equipment, including the existing LCD screen, were installed in the family room. We provided a complimentary geometry and convergence services calibration for the LCD and adjustments to the A/V system. In the new media room the L, C, R channel speakers were installed behind the projection screen in the front of the room. They added a pair of new dipole speakers for better envelopment of theater surround sound, and two acoustic wall treatments (engineered and aesthetically engineered as wall paintings). The final and vitally important steps of this project were convergence tuning of the room environment and A/V systems. Our projects utilize 1) Hi-Definition Living’s constraint-based room modeling technologies, 2) THX home theater certification guidelines, 3) ISF and SMPTE standards for display performance, and 4) HAA procedures and best practices for acoustically optimizing the Room – A/V system interface to attain playback performance inside the magic quadrant.

The results:

  • A media area with superb, enveloping acoustics where every seat is a good seat for listening,
  • A front projection system providing the whole picture, the right picture, and nothing but the picture,
  • An upgrade of selected A/V system components to support a more faithful reproduction of movies and music, and
  • A room that’s become the most popular area in the home for Mom, Dad, their teenage children, and friends.

For a summary of our PearlSM services (focus, standard services, and more) visit our website’s “PearlSM” page under the “Services” area of our site navigation or [click here].

Why are you so passionate about low ambient noise and light levels?

Background, or ambient noises, when present in your home theater, will progressively diminish your ability to hear subtle “foley” sound effects that help your connection with the film, the intelligibility of actor dialogues, and more. Sources of ambient noise resident in and around homes include:

  1. HVAC – heating and cooling systems,
  2. Plumbing,
  3. Fans,
  4. Washer / Dryers,
  5. Garage door openers,
  6. Outside traffic, wind, neighbors, airplanes, and more.

We have all experienced these and other background noise distractions found in everyday life – the chit-chat around you at a commercial theater, the din of a local bar where it is difficult to have anything close to a normal volume discussion with the person next to you, people gathered in conversation outside your office cubicle at work, and so on. If you have ever been in the middle of a farm field in rural America you know what the removal of ambient noise is; where only the sounds of nature persist. The accumulation of background noises raise the noise floor of every room. As the noise level goes up your ability to focus on the film, much less immerse yourself, declines.

There are distractions of another kind; ambient light levels in the room that create difficulties for your eyes to focus on video images projected (rendered) by the video display screen. Wash out effects and the all-to-common push of more color and brightness to compensate inevitably alters the video images the film director intended for you. Perhaps an even greater effect of this is the eye fatigue that results because your eyes must refocus 1,000s of times over a film’s viewing.

We apply a variety of design construction techniques and sonic tuning disciplines for proper sound and light isolation. After all, a dedicated room for home theater, music listening, and interactive gaming should invite your senses to connect with your listening and viewing – where the visual and sonic “perceptions are your reality.” That’s why it’s there (and you are there) in the first place. When you can hear multiple on-screen dialogues at once, the rustling leaves, and the shuttling feet of an infant you are experiencing improved sonic clarity. When you can see the subtle ornamental detail on Tom Cruise’s battle armor in “The Last Samurai” and you can distinguish by color the plants used in a distant backyard landscape you are moving towards picture acuity that enables peak experiences. That’s when you are approaching Immersive RealismTM.

Yes, we are passionate about an all-inclusive approach to the design-build-and-tuning of dedicated home theaters and other getaway spaces in your home. The experts at THX certify home theater venues with a noise criteria (NC) of 20. We know from experience that even faint background noises and ambient light between you and the video on your display affect the awe and enjoyment of your experience. We are persistent in our quest for optimized, low-noise venues – be it dedicated rooms for A/V/G experiences or other family & friend gathering spaces in your home. Good sound isolation means using the room anytime!

What are some rules-of-thumb for the choice of a room – its dimensions and overall design?

That question is one of the big ones in our trade, indeed. We estimate that about 50% and more of the attention in our design-build-tune efforts surrounds this question. It’s everything about the “atmosphere” you arrive at after all the work. Here are some guidelines:

  • Rectangular room shapes work best. Shapes other than rectangular can work, but are more difficult to predict behavior.
  • Avoid concave curved surfaces – they focus sound reflections. Convex shapes are OK.
  • The room’s volume (length x width x height) has a direct effect on sound quality.
  • Provide control of room acoustics, lighting, and clear sight lines.

As far as size, we see 6-seat (that’s 2 rows of 3 seats) commercial style rocking chairs in a room dimensions approaching 13′ width x 21′ length x 9′ high. That is what we call “net-space. That’s because we’ll need upwards of 6-8 inches between the inner and outer walls and ceiling for acoustic treatments. Yes, technically that’s a 2-wall system surrounding the atmosphere of the room. The inner walls, the walls you see in the room, are usually constructed with acoustically transparent fabrics stretched across a framing system. Hidden behind this eye-pleasing upholstered architecture are the acoustic treatments and in-wall speakers.

If we have one insight it is this – peak viewing and listening experiences do not happen left to chance. The earlier we engage with your building team (best-case during the architectural (DD) phase) the better the specifications to match your enthusiasm and investment criteria will be.

What are the most popular architectural styles for a private home theater?

No two home theaters, listening spaces, and interactive gaming getaways are alike. “One size does not fit all” for our clients. That keeps it fresh for us. We do not cultivate ordinary. What works for you is what works for you. We offer guidance to our clients from our experiences of what has worked for others. There are enough guidelines to keep all of our eyes busy. Our responsibility is looking after the details for our clients.

We see the continuation of a trend towards more dedicated home theaters in-line with the overall architecture and aesthetics of the home. Grand theater palace recreations have their place. Honestly, such efforts oftentimes have an association with someone who 1) does a lot of business entertaining at home, or 2) truly enjoys the earlier commercial cinema metaphor when movies were the #1 entertainment in the U.S. There was a time when elaborate venues such as the Fox Theater in St. Louis were all the rage and a magnet for families from all over the Midwest. It’s a theme for some they want to showcase in their homes.

Acoustically, we have different challenges creating grand theater palace recreations, and it’s probably not what you are thinking. It goes back to the laws of physics and acoustics. With grand theaters come a variety of architectural features – columns, archways, and treatments, like chandeliers and such. Interestingly, these larger auditorium venue elements often conflict with what we call “small room” acoustics. This is not a quirk of science – it’s scientific reality. A smaller room (geometrically speaking) is less than 3,000 ft3 (cubic feet) or a room with dimensions of 13′ width x 24′ length x 9′ high as one of many different dimensions arriving at 3,000 ft3. Smaller rooms have unique acoustic challenges that relate to the fact that walls and ceilings are closer together. This sometimes presents acoustic compromises given the grand theater “large auditorium” architectural features residing in the smaller room environment.

We think the trend towards more home theater design styles connected with the overall architecture and aesthetics of the home will continue. Your own design preferences may be traditional, art deco, contemporary, or theme-based. A good question to ask yourself before undertaking a project is “Is it the movie that is foremost in my mind or being in a movie theater?” Either way, your home theater consultant, architect, and interior designer need to be reading from the same page all the way through the completion of the project.

How do you design a private home theater versus a multi-media area?

The room for a dedicated private theater is either selected during the design phase of new or remodeling construction or by choosing an available room in an existing home. Some people convert an extra bedroom but where basements are available they are the next logical choice. Acoustically speaking the best space to have a home theater is near the center of your home and, preferably, a room with no windows.

Many family rooms are upgraded to multi-media areas, Audio-Video speaking that is. The difference between multi-media areas and dedicated private theater is multi-media areas provides a variety of functions including playing pool or some other indoor sport. We approach the uses of a multi-media areas as having a couple of distinct “atmospheres” – from people sitting to watch a movie to those playing pool and also wanting to see the movie. We will design these multi-media areas to enable the delivery of clear, intelligible actor dialogue and soundtrack throughout these atmospheres.

Get advice from a design-build-tune professional at Hi-Definition Living particularly when thinking about the use of a room with four (4) walls and a door entry. Just because you have a room available doesn’t mean it will work for A/V/G experiences. A room that isn’t wide enough will speed-up sound reflections bombarding your ears from a variety of directions. A ceiling too high will produce many not-so-good sound effects including echoes. Room proportions are important – height to width is key.

Can there be too many sight and sound compromises found in a multi-media room setup?

Let’s consider this question, “where do people enjoy relaxing and entertaining?” That’s where A/V/G environments should be. Surely, the open spaces of a great room with its adjoining archways and other architecture features present a different array of challenges to harmonize the room, the A/V/G systems, and your experience. At the same time, a purist approach to acoustic and video room design would be a rectangle with no wall length divisible by each other, no windows, and black-colored walls and ceilings. We haven’t been asked to design such a room and suspect we never will. What we endeavor to do is work with living areas in the home that are neither at one extreme or the other. We help our clients navigate towards a balance in sight & sound design with architecture. We work to get the most out of what the environment offers us.

Anyway, Immersive Realism is not an all-or-nothing target. There is a sweet spot, derived from ascertaining the “Magic Layout” for your room area, where you can experience progressively improved levels of Immersive Realism. It’s important, though, to realize that these higher levels of enjoyment and connection to the film, music, or gaming do not just happen. It’s a creative discovery discipline to draw the best out of what a room offers.

That said, digital entertainment areas should be anywhere where you prefer to entertain, relax, or just getaway to recharge your batteries. If you would ever have Steven Spielberg visit you to watch, say, “War of the Worlds” and the experience prompts him to say, “Now, that’s my movie!” then we’ll know that we have managed to harmonize the sonic, video, and architectural influences of the room. That is, by the way, what our IMPACTSM and PearlSM services are designed to do. IMPACTSM services are geared for new and remodeling construction while our PearlSM services are designed for optimizing the existing rooms and spaces in your home.

Are there ways to design a private home theater to serve other purposes, too?

Certainly, and efforts to do so only increase your use of this room and the return-on-investment. The hosting of special events with family and friends during the World Series, SuperBowl, the Emmys, and the Oscars are big hits. Theme nights around the Oscars are really cool – rolling out your own red carpet experience with the evening.

Another outstanding use of a home theater is to host special presentations, and hold small recitals and concerts. Think about it like the many events that go on at the Fabulous Fox just on a smaller, but no less grand scale. This speaks for the need to construct a stage area immediately in front of the projection screen. It’s a natural for a home theater.We enjoy incorporating some kind of proscenium near the front row seats serving as a stage. Some kind of curtain is usually installed , too. Why does this work? Because, typically, a room that is 24-feet from front-to-back will have the front row seats about 12-feet from the projection screen. So, use the space! It will also better unite the overall floorplan. It can be as straightforward or as elaborate as you desire. Something a bit more elaborate yet practical is to install a swing door to enter the stage from the side. Wow!

Along with these approaches event lighting adds to the authenticity of your theater. Do you want to make a child feel like their recital is on Broadway? A battery of stage lighting that you can control from your remote touch panel would be sure to impress and give someone a lasting memory for their entire lives.

We also design-in furnishings that play a role in our acoustic treatments. A library study area on the back wall is a good example. Even the best of public and university libraries can’t deliver the quiet, and the solitude a private library area can deliver. What about the acoustic benefits? An array of books at the back of a theater acts as both a room accent and acoustic treatment for the overall environment. Books can be arranged to provide surfaces that diffuse, absorb, and reflect sound waves in much the same fashion as traditional acoustic treatments.

Homes with rooms designed for home theater, music listening, and/or interactive gaming experiences become one of, if not, the most sought after room in the home other than your kitchen and, perhaps, family room. When you incorporate entertainment features that extend the use of a dedicated home theater room you can take excitement to another level.

Can acoustic treatments work with a room’s aesthetic design instead of against it?

Yes. This subject reminds me of the question, “Why are the most nutritious foods the ones that have the least taste, and the foods that taste the best the least nutritious?” There’s truth to this but it is not an absolute truth. The key to aesthetic balance is taking into consideration furnishings and materials that have natural acoustic properties along with the engineered acoustic products. Creative expertise brings the presence of both in harmony with each other. Our IMPACTSM and PearlSM design-build-tune services are means towards the same destination.

Keep in mind that almost any surface material introduced in an A/V/G room offers some absorption, reflection, or diffusive sound benefits. In the business that is known as the absorption coefficient or that portion of energy absorbed when a sound wave strikes the surface material. A material’s absorption is rated somewhere between 0.0 (total reflection) to 1.0 (total absorption). What acouticians look for is introducing the right amount of surface materials to coax the “well-behaved” sound from a room conducive to peak experiences for home theater, music listening, and interactive gaming. So, in reality, almost anything you put in a room – furniture, bookcases, draperies, whatever – will alter the sound patterns of that room. It doesn’t need to strictly engineered products from acoustical manufacturers.

Mentioned earlier, a bookcase with the spines of the books on the shelves set up in a non-repeating pattern (e.g. – not lined up symmetrically) can offer some really useful lateral diffusion. A part of the service deals with optimizing the location of existing furnishing, speaker, and listening locations towards the “Magic Layout” unique to that room. Along this journey we will come to the place where specifically engineered materials for better sonic management are introduced to”tune” the sound of the room further. When these engineered materials are specified, an acoustic designer will also recommend ways to conceal or incorporate them within the room’s interior design.

How much should I budget for these engineered acoustic materials?

A rule-of-thumb is to take your room’s square feet and multiple by $25 – $75. A 300 sq.ft. room (the 13′ wide and 23′ long room discussed earlier) should be budgeted for $7,500 – $22,500 in acoustic treatments (i.e. – absorption, diffusive, and reflective ). The final investment depends on your performance expectations, the unique challenges of the room environment, the design of the A/V loudspeakers, the location of the prime viewing seats, and other factors. Installation labor is addition to these materials.

Should we budget more on the room design and sonic engineering or the A/V electronics?

Here’s how it works in reality. Only spaces incorporating genuine acoustical engineering and noise reduction principles will allow A/V/G (audio/video/gaming) systems to perform at the level it was intended. If you are seeking something other than the ordinary out-of-the-box experience that a typical, mass-market consumer purchase provides then give attention first to the design of the room and your seating preferences. Actually, A/V systems are just one of several critical elements in great home theater discussed in our library’s “The 7 Elements of Great Home Theater” article. And when “beyond the ordinary” suits you then Immersive RealismTM, is the place to be as depicted in the “Peak Experience Magic Quadrant” graphic.

Experiences show that it is not the “size of your investment but the focus of it.” It is usually far more cost effective to invest money in room analysis and treatment coupled with an A/V/G systems purchase or upgrade of your loudspeakers, A/V receiver, DVD player, your video display, and the like. It turns out that once your room becomes “well-behaved” reproducing the soundtrack and video of a movie then you will be able to get your money’s worth out of your A/V purchases.

What’s eFutureReady and how can I avoid living in a digital age challenged home?

eFutureReadySM is a Hi-Definition Living initiative to help consumers gauge how well they are prepared to take advantage of digital age services in their homes. It is a set of industry standard specifications that allow viewing the programming content (cable, satellite, pay-for-view, etc.), watching their HD movies, listening to music, and enjoying the interactive gaming you desire where you desire it. We incorporate these standards guidelines and best practices into our IMPACTSM and PearlSM services. As a service to consumers at-large we make available a checklist and associated articles to bring awareness to the construction industry buzzing around the subject of “structured wiring” for the home.

Think of structured wiring as the high-speed info highway in a home to deliver a variety of analog and digital services to you. There’s a lot of misinformation floating around to confuse most of us. In general, not having enough cabling going to an outlet or installing lower-grade performing cabling “behind the walls” of your home is almost as bad as not having any at all. The cost of retrofitting a home with the appropriate structured wiring system can be 4 times or more the investment of having it done properly at the time of construction. And during the retrofit your home is, again, a construction site with all the drilling, tearing out of drywall, and refinishing that takes place.

Many builders and remodelers simply miss the mark of covering the bases. Your caution flag should raise when the sales team says, “Yes, yes, we include structured wiring for all your data, audio, and video needs.” Your next question should be “to what level of EIA-TIA standards are your homes outfitted with the necessary wiring for the digital services I am interested in?” That is usually the time where the uneasy silence sets in. And, sadly, this situation exists across all prices of homes and geographies. We see digital-age disadvantaged, recently-built million dollar homes in the St. Albans, Wildwood, Ladue, and Clayton areas of St. Louis as we do the enclaves of Wheaton, Schaumburg, South Barrington, and Lake Forest in Chicago. And unless homeowners of 5 year old (plus) homes had a structured wiring add-on project they may have nothing more than basic telephone, cable, and satellite company-installed cabling in their homes.

It really gets down to the matter of your expectations. If there is a gap between what you thought your home was equipped to do and what you are, in fact, able to do you will experience increasing levels of upset. The good news is a solution exists. It’s just a matter of funding the retrofit and facing the inconveniences of a home under construction, again.

Hi-Definition Living’s new home and remodeling clients avoid the inconvenience, the mess, and the confusion of not knowing where their home stands to take advantage of the many entertainment and lifestyle options that electronic-assisted solutions provide.

There will come a time in the near future when an appropriate audio, video, and data service network is as common as the electrical outlets in your home. In the meantime, you can mouse click on these links to organize an effort to eFutureReady your home:

  • A Hi-Definition Living article “The Nerve Center for 21st Century Living”Describes what a useful structured wiring system is and how to identify it in a home.
  • CEA’s “Tech Home Rating System Survey”
    Use this survey to assess your home’s underlying technology infrastructure. Also, here’s a link to the “Connections Guide” from the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).
  • Honeywell’s Genesis Cable Division “Connected Home” Brochure. The 8-page brochure goes into some detail about what Structured Wiring Systems can do for you.
  • Samsung’s “Eco Innovation” Initiative
    Consumer electronics companies should be conscious of the consequences their manufacturing processes have to our living environments. This Samsung website discusses their “greener” tech initiatives – good idea.

Listening to music and movies can reduce stress, restore energy, and bring families together?

It is said that no matter where you go on earth there are three (3) things we have in common with each other 1) music, 2) people, and 3) love. Music is one of the great unifying elements of life from person-to-person, country-to-country, and I’m sure – planet-to-planet. Remember, the Steven Spielberg movie, “Close Encounters of the Third Kind”? How did government scientists communicate with the aliens? With an electronic tone replicator, and that is no coincidence. Think about it. Anyone can enjoy music. There is no translation needed. Loud, bass-driven rock music can alter the rhythms of your heart. A pregnant woman who sings lullabies to her unborn infant can form a special biofeedback connection between themselves and the song. The “ah-sounds” of eastern meditation will induce you into a deeper state of alpha, theta, and beta consciousness. One of the more pronounced benefits derived from such sound-induced states is 15 – 20 minutes will refresh you like a 2-hour nap. We have only begun to scratch the surface of our understanding.

Back in 2005 this author marvelled at the advances of the Apple i-Pod. The introduction of the i-Pod created a new service category and advantages to consumers in ways previously unexplored and unexpected. IPod sales totaled 32 million units during 2005 or nearly three-quarters of the total number sold since Apple introduce the device in October 2001. And, music downloads from iTunes Music Store were over 2 million per day and growing. Shuttling forward to 2010 the numbers are flat-out startling: 21 million iPods sold over the 2009 Christmas season alone along with 8.7 million iPhones. The iTunes Music store has an 80% share of the digital music industry with their 8 million titles song library. On February 25, 2010 Apple announced their Ten (10) Billionth download for iTunes.

Smartphones are both a product category and lifestyle choice. You can use an iPhone (and similar device) and it acts as iPod, video player, WiFi device, camera and more, too. This combination of features in one (1) device lessens life’s digital complexities. The digital generation of today doesn’t distinguish between their need for a mobile phone or portable music library. In fact, text messaging has a greater emphasis to many, perhaps most of this generation. But, when seeking a reprieve from the pressures of the day they and we go to our books, music, movies, and interactive games more than ever. It’s key to have access to our digital lifestyle – anytime, anywhere.

Some years ago in an article titled “What Music Does to Your Body,” came details of scientific research confirming many therapeutic, social, and commercial benefits of music including:

  1. Listening to your favorite music can not only reduce levels of stress and anxiety, but also act as a painkiller. Music can help us transcend pain. (Glasgow Caledonian University in Scotland)
  2. Your music choices reveal your personality. Advertisers are up on this. You will hear a commercial’s background music playing a very familiar soundtrack to an ultra-popular movie to aid your connection to their product. Fitting just the right music with just the right product for just the right demographics is seen as a way to help sales growth. (University of Texas at Austin)
  3. Restaurants and the music they play affects how much you spend. What music was playing in the background while you sipped that Bordeaux, savored the fillet, and melted into the triple chocolate cake? This study concludes that restaurants playing classical music are influenced to indulge more. Blame it on Beethoven. (University of Leicester and the University of Surrey in Great Britain).

Studies involving children and adolescents playing interactive games demonstrate gains in cognitive and social development from strategy games such as Civilization III, as well as the detrimental effects of violent interactive video games such as Grand Theft Auto in increasing aggressive thoughts and behavior, and decreasing helpful behavior.

We see time and time again that a thoughtfully designed, built, and tuned private home theater and/or multimedia area creates an attraction magnet; a popular gathering place for family and friends. Our informal studies indicate that parents want to see their children more and meet more of their friends to gauge the direction of their social development and peer connections. Hi-Definition Living knows how to create a magical place. Clients mention the other uses these spaces take on – a library and study area, adhoc recitals, cocktail party annex, and more. How popular do you think the use of a private home theater is to a teenager who hosts a satellite/cable live concert event for friends in your home theater?

What about giving new meaning to the term “carrot-and-the-stick?” It used to be that limiting a family member’s TV was a powerful means of motivating behavior. Today, it looks like limiting i-Pod privileges and the playing of their MPEG music downloads over a digital whole-house multi-zone audio system are great attention getters. And, for you parents out there, investing in distributed whole-house audio and video systems can bring the programming content of your choosing to wherever you want to entertain – the great room, the home theater, the library, the wine room, the outside patio – wherever, in a quality way that speaks well of your interests and intentions of cultivating “wow” experiences for your family, friends, and business associates.

It’s here, awaiting you at Hi-Definition Living – “We bring dreams to life by designTM.”

We bring dreams to life by design.TM