A Home Theater Build Project - Part III


Lighting Control

Some upgrades don't directly impact performance, but rather impact the overall experience we have using our theater - lighting control is one of those upgrades. Can you get up to turn off the lights? Sure. But it's also really cool to just hit a button and have the lights go down automatically.

Lighting control is often one of the areas that often intimidate DIY'ers - it is viewed as overly complex and potentially costly. While that might have been true in the past, it is most certainly no longer the case. There are now a plethora of devices that make lighting control, both basic and fairly complex, accessible to even the most tightly budgeted projects.

I chose to do my basic lighting control using a Lutron Maestro IR switch. This ran about $30 at Home Depot and my universal remote software already included IR codes for this switch.

This allows my remote to turn the lights On or Off, as well as incidentally up or down, or go directly to a pre-determined light level. I simply added an additional page to my remote with the most common features and I was done. Luckily, my room was small enough that the IR from the front of my remote, really no matter where it's pointed, hits the receiver on the front of the switch. If it weren't, the amount of RF based lighting switches has exploded since I first undertook lighting control in my room, making really robust implementations accessible and affordable. It is amazing how much this adds to the experience - highly recommended.