At HomeToys.com, we get lots of hi-tech gadgets to play with, but sometimes, it’s the distinctly low-tech items that make or break a great home theater. Controlling sound and light are critical to a good home theater, so we decided to take a look out some blackout drapes from Ellery Homestyles.

Absolute Zero Home Theater Curtains

Mark Anderson | HomeToys.com

Light Control

Thousands of dollars’ worth of audio visual wizardry can be worthless without proper sound and light control. Any home theater with a lot of ambient light (especially one with a highly reflective plasma, or low output projector) will have a negative effect on picture quality.

One solution is to fit blackout shades, but for those looking for a softer look would probably be happier with drapes. Ellery Home Styles have just the product: Absolute Zero Home Theater Curtains.

The main features of Absolute Zero Home Theater Curtains include:

  • Block 100% of intrusive light
  • Luxurious, elegant velvet fabric
  • Reduces up to 40% of unwanted noise
  • Extra wide 50" panels
  • Independent laboratory tested
  • Extended lengths including 63", 84" and 95"

I received a pair of chocolate brown 84” panels for review. The panels have a velvety look and feel, very similar to those found in movie theaters. Each panel was also lined with plain white material.

Test Results

Each panel contained 7 loops, for easy installation with a curtain rod.

I installed the panel during the day and when closed did, in fact, block 100% of the light. I requested panels quite a bit wider than the window and a size that descended to within a few inches of the floor, so there was sufficient overlap to block light from the sides.

In an unconventional test, I went out into the midday sun and placed a panel over my head. For all I knew, it could have been the middle of the night. Fortunately, none of the neighbors saw me.

Although, unable to measure it, I did notice a reduction in ambient noise from the street.

Fringe Benefits

A side effect of using drapes—especially in prime reflection points (side and rear walls)—is that they both absorb some of the sound and diffuse reflections. Of course, the use of drapes should be taken into consideration as part of a holistic accoustical treatment plan.

Motorization

Motorizing drapes can be much cheaper and easier than motorized blinds for several reasons:

  • Drapes typically don’t need to be custom fit. Blinds always do when they need to blackout a room (nothing more annoying than a sliver of light peaking in from the side.
  • Drapes often come close to floor level, so a receptacle is typically close by and can often be hidden by the drape itself. This is considerably cheaper than opening up walls to run wires for blinds or replacing batteries on a regular basis.
  • One motor accommodates a large span. Many windows span less a distance of around three feet, so require multiple blinds and motors cover the same area.

Conclusion

The drapes lived up their advertised features. My wife and I both liked the look and feel of the product, and the manufacturing quality appeared to be high. They lived up to their claims of blocking out 100% of the light and did off some noise reduction too.


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