The world of home theater equipment hosts some of the most outrageously expensive technology around. As part of Crave's ongoing series on the ultimate luxury entertainment, we're taking a look at some of the most extravagant home theater happenings -- from speaker cables that cost more than the average car to multimillion dollar home theaters.
Producer and designer Jeremy Kipnis' home theater puts the common movie theater to shame. This 2,250-square-foot two-story concert hall features a balcony, maple flooring (on pine studs), and a concrete foundation. Up to 30 people can sit in the various recliners and chairs in the space, which hosts three commercial-grade projectors (including a Meridian 810 4K projector), 96 custom configured speakers, 72 separate amplifiers, and many more components.
As of last year, Jeremy's juggernaut content collection includes more than 125,000 records, 36,000 movies, and 214,000 digital-media files.
Did we mention that there are also 12 miles of wires and that Kipnis' electricity bill routinely tops $1,000?
At $200,000 a pair, the Wilson Audio Specialties Alexandra XLF loudspeaker set costs more than some suburban townhouses. With an astounding weight of 655 pounds and a height of 5 feet 10 inches, the horn isn't exactly a delicate piece, either. The towering speaker contains two tweeters, two 7-inch midrange speakers, and separate 13- and 15-inch cone woofers.
Organic light-emitting diode (OLED) technology delivers some of the best color reproduction available in any screen and an ultrathin profile that opens the door a whole new range of compelling designs. LG's exotic 55-inch curved OLED TV (55EA9800) astounds with a super thin 0.17-inch profile and an impressive 37.5-pound weight.
This month, LG will start shipping the $13,500 set to Korean consumers, with no definitive time frame for international availability.
If you think Monster Cable products cost an arm and a leg, check out these extremely expensive Emperor Double Crown loudspeaker cables by Siltech. The "state of the art" cable -- often sold in a pair with prices starting at $45,000 -- contains silver-gold outputs and wires with mono-crystal silver strands to deliver an audio experience supposedly free of distortion.
With a resolution four times that of conventional high definition, it seems clear –- literally -– that 4K technology will one day succeed the 1080p display. Sony's 4K home theater projector (the VPL-VW1000ES) costs $24,999, but is one of the few projectors that can project 4K video (at a 4,096x2,160-pixel resolution) at up to 200 inches.
The VW1000ES features a very satisfying 2,000-lumen brightness, can display 3D content, and upscales 1080p and 2K content to 4K resolution if desired.
The $2 million theater -- adorned from head to toe with art deco embellishments (check out that gargoyle!) -- features a fireplace, Batmobile replica (known as the Tumbler) hidden behind bookcases, and six full-size bat suits.
While we don't have details on all the theater components, we do know the Bat-theater features a 180-inch cinemascope screen, 15 leather chairs, and a whole lotta bragging rights. There's also a tunnel entrance spanning about 30 feet.
Meet Samsung's competitor to Sony's gargantuan 4K TV: the 85-inch S9 Series Ultra HD TV. For those who don't mind the $39,999 price tag (or 189-pound weight), Samsung's most advanced television offers a bit of everything for the video connoisseur with its ability to deliver ultra HD video at a resolution of 3,840x2,160 pixels and play 3D content. If that wasn't enough to whet your palette, the pricey display contains a built-in camera, as well as a quad-core processor that easily handles apps or Web browsing. What do you think of that stand?
At $630,000, the 3500W Backes & Müller BM100 speaker costs more than many of the components in this gallery. The 7-foot, 6-inch German-made speaker contains 16 drivers within the metallic enclosure, which also features some spicy red accents. Backes & Müller notes that the speaker contains six subwoofers pushing 500W each, a midrange pushing 300W, and a high-range that pumps out 200W.
Every good home theater system needs a powerful amplifier, and the 154-pound darTZeel NHB-458 certainly delivers a different and much more expensive take on audio processing than the average black box found at Best Buy.
Usually sold in pairs, monoblock setups (like the NHB-458) use two amplifiers -- one for each channel (left and right) -- and deliver superb stereo separation with minimal crosstalk. Highlights of the $144,500 NHB-458 include extremely expensive inner components, a toroidal transformer nearly the size of a car tire, and the ability to output 1000W into 2 ohms (with a 1800W peak).
After attempting to drive the industry toward 3D, Sony changed lanes last year and introduced the 84-inch XBR 4K TV (XBR X900A) capable of displaying high-resolution content four times that of conventional 1080p. The $24,999 set features SimulView for private 3D split-screen gaming (compatible with certain PlayStation 3 games); a tablet remote (16GB Xperia Tablet S); and a personal server full of 4K content.
With a stunning price of $650,000, the Dereneville VPM 2010-1 by AV Design Haus is one of the most expensive turntables in the world. The system -- complete with a corian chassis -- stands on four feet with air suspension for enhanced stability. We could go on and on about the spatter of expensive components, dual motors, and highly accurate speed measurement capabilities.
The Dereneville also contains a camera that observes sampling and assists with getting the vertical tracking angle of the turntable cartridge just right. If that isn't fancy enough for you, a built-in scanner detects empty slots on a record, categorizes them, and allows the user to enable to select tracks automatically or enable random play on a record. The future is now!
Goldfinger would approve of Shape Audio's Organic Harmony pure 18-karat gold speaker, which costs more than $8 million and contains 375 pounds of gold. For each audio channel, the decadent system contains a 8-inch woofer, 5-inch midrange speaker, and 2-inch tweeter. A 3D-printed polymer shields the innards, and the speaker comes with a 1000W power amplifier.
Thankfully, the Organic Harmony's a little more modern than the average dumb speaker, and contains Wi-Fi and ethernet for streaming network audio. Shape Audio only produced one of these speakers, as well as offering 5 in silver, and 99 in bronze.
This "Star Wars" fan spared no expense with the creation of the ultimate sci-fi home theater. As you can see in this image, the room looks just like a spaceship with neon blue accents everywhere. Upon entering the room through motorized doors (do they have the swish sound?), viewers can sit down on one of six leather chairs.
The owner outfitted the space with a 107-inch CinemaScope screen, 3D starfield overhead, and life-size versions of R2-D2 and C-3PO that talk to visitors. While the "Star Wars" theater price tag remains unknown, it’s fair to assume that the installation cost a small fortune.
Goldmund's $135,000 Eidos Reference Blue Blu-ray player, limited to only 50 units, features several advancements compared with the generic spinner seen at Wal-Mart. Aside from playing DVDs, SACD, and CDs in "extreme quality," the 66-pound aluminum Goldmund sits atop four spring-loaded suspension pods that greatly reduce any vibration. The power supply sits in the stand separate from the actual player, too.
Shaped much like a warp core from "Star Trek," the $490,000 (originally $650,000) Pivetta Opera One amplifier weighs a startling 3,306 pounds, stands 6 feet tall, and pushes 12 channels at 1600W for a mind-blowing total output of 19,200W.