Death of the sit­ting room as screens take over

The sit­ting room is in dan­ger of ex­tinc­tion as me­dia steals a march on our homes. Sharon Dale re­ports.

Yorkshire Post - Property - - PROPERTY NEWS -

JUST LIKE the wig room and the par­lour be­fore it, the sit­ting room could soon be ob­so­lete.

It is be­ing grad­u­ally taken over by TVs, screens, re­mote con­trols and gad­gets and, in the most fash­ion­able homes, it has been re­named “the me­dia room”.

For those who de­spair that tra­di­tional sit­ting room pas­times of put­ting your feet up, read­ing a mag­a­zine, play­ing board games and watch­ing Univer­sity Chal­lenge could dis­ap­pear, there is good news.

Si­mon Mathieson, co-founder of Leeds-based home tech­nol­ogy ex­perts Fi­nite So­lu­tions, says: “What is hap­pen­ing is that peo­ple are cre­at­ing big liv­ing kitchens as relaxing fam­ily spa­ces and they are turn­ing what was the sit­ting room into a me­dia room for watch­ing movies and gam­ing.”

If you want to make the switch, you can DIY for a cou­ple of thou­sand pounds, but if you covet some­thing more so­phis­ti­cated with great sound qual­ity, hid­den wires, a pro­jec­tor and a drop­down screen, ex­pect to pay be­tween £5,000 and £9,000.

A ded­i­cated cinema room starts from £15,000 and £20,000, which will buy you a pro­jec­tor, a big screen, seven-chan­nel sur­round sound with speak­ers around, above and below, in­clud­ing sub­woofers (for the unini­ti­ated these en­hance the low fre­quency bass sounds) and four cinema seats.

While the out­lay is con­sid­er­able, even own­ers of more mod­est homes are in­vest­ing in them.

Not all the cost will be re­couped when they put the prop­erty on the mar­ket but me­dia and cinema rooms that have been well de­signed are be­com­ing big sell­ing points.

“They are re­ally good for bring­ing peo­ple to­gether and they are fun. You can watch a movie with fam­ily or have friends over for a film night,” says Si­mon, who has just re­vamped the cinema room at the Fi­nite So­lu­tions show home in Yeadon, which shows just how dis­creet and so­phis­ti­cated tech­nol­ogy can be.

He used a Dolby At­mos sound sys­tem, which “makes you feel like you’re in the mid­dle of the ac­tion” and laser and anamor­phic pro­jec­tors that can stretch to a wider, movie the­atrestyle screen and still give a sharp image.

Blacked-out win­dows are es­sen­tial and sound­proof­ing

BIG SCREEN: and acous­tics are of paramount im­por­tance.

“You can spend £15,000 on a cinema room with sur­round sound but if you have a tiled floor and bi-fold doors the sound it will bounce off these sur­faces and it will be hor­ri­ble,” says Si­mon, who sug­gests car­pet on the floor and an up­hol­stered wall. Spe­cial­ist cinema seat­ing is also im­por­tant and there is an ar­ray of choice that fea­tures ev­ery­thing from rows of re­clin­ing chairs to daybeds and ex­tra-long sofas, which are billed as “per­fect for cud­dling up with loved ones”. Fi­nite’s room has all this and a slid­ing wall that shifts to re­veal a snack­ing sta­tion and a wine and whisky cup­board.

The tech-pho­bic may quiver at the thought of mul­ti­ple and com­plex re­mote con­trols and apps needed to work all this, but there is a so­lu­tion.

“Mak­ing this kind of tech­nol­ogy easy to op­er­ate is one of the most im­por­tant el­e­ments for us,” says Si­mon.

“We con­dense it into a sin­gle app and a sin­gle re­mote and we make sure all the key el­e­ments are on one page. The key to suc­cess is work­ing with a client to de­sign the kind of in­ter­face that makes sense to them. Sim­plic­ity is ev­ery­thing.”

As most movies are now streamed, a good wi-fi sig­nal is im­por­tant. If yours is patchy, there are var­i­ous plug-in boost­ers that can help, though the best so­lu­tion is to have a hard-wired con­nec­tion. “You can do a lot wire­lessly now if you are retro-fit­ting a home but hard wiring is still the best op­tion if you are ren­o­vat­ing or build­ing a prop­erty,” says Si­mon.

Other tech­nolo­gies that are start­ing to make an ap­pear­ance in Bri­tish homes in­clude Ama­zon Echo, a voice-ac­ti­vated sys­tem that can be linked to ev­ery­thing con­nected to the in­ter­net, from your mu­sic player to house­hold ap­pli­ances. Its wake word is “Alexa”, so you can say, “Alexa, play Happy Birth­day and she will find it on your playlist. She’ll also turn on the wash­ing ma­chine, though she can’t load it.

www.finites­o­lu­tions.co.uk

Home cine­mas are be­com­ing main­stream and there is a va­ri­ety of seat­ing avail­able, in­clud­ing daybeds and loungers.

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