Home Theater on the High Seas

If a 40 meter yacht is your idea of a dream home, then this one is sure to please. But even when your backyard (and your front yard and side yard and driveway) is the Mediterranean Sea sometimes you need a little diversion from the sunsets and sea turtles.

That’s why when Kevin Dawson of Dawsons AV in Dorset, England was outfitting the Imperial Princess yacht with audio, video and automation systems, he installed a first generation Kaleidescape Cinema One player (read a review of the latest Kaleidescape Cinema One). Sometimes it rains at sea, so you need something to watch.

Kaleidescape’s movie and music server can store hundreds of DVD or Blu-ray quality movies and make them instantly accessible. In the Imperial Princess, the Kaleidescape is shared by three different rooms: the owners’ stateroom, the main deck saloon and the sky lounge.

In addition to the movie server, the boat also includes several Denon Blu-ray players, Denon home theater receivers and Apple TVs located throughout the living areas so the family can get music or video wherever they want. Linn in-ceiling speakers and Velodyne MicroVee subwoofers supply the tunes.

Controlling all the audio, video, temperature and lighting systems is Crestron automation. Dawson notes that a high priority for the Crestron system was that it be easy for anyone to use with only minimal instructions. After the captain or steward gives a brief lesson, anyone can pick up an iPad to find their music or video content, turn on the lights or open the blinds to the great view.

Installing a high-end control and entertainment system on a yacht is a bit more of a challenge than installing the same systems in house. Dawson says one of the main problems is mobility. Sometimes the yacht would be out to sea and unavailable—you don’t face that issue with a home. Also, even when docked, weather can make the boat move or rock. A person not accustomed to working in conditions like that might find it disconcerting.

While this yacht is definitely a big one, it’s still a cramped place to work, plus the differences in wall and ceiling construction makes working on a yacht sometimes difficult.