2008 Private Preview: In Concert

A typical home theater includes

six to eight speakers and a like number of electronic components, which must be

interconnected with at least five different types of wire and configured to

operate properly with each other. Even the professionals who install and service

these systems find that creating reliable, easy-to-use home theaters demands a

team of seasoned technicians. However, a maverick Utah company called SE2 Labs

has created a new system that may turn home-theater installation into an

afternoon affair rather than a weeklong ordeal.

SE2 Labs’ ITC One combines every component of a home theater

except the speakers and video display into a single unit that measures only 21

inches tall, 18 inches wide, and 20 inches deep. The base unit of the ITC

(Integrated Theater Console) One includes a surround-sound processor, a video

processor, digital audio amplifiers, and a touchscreen control system. To these

features you can add a dizzying array of options, including a high-definition

DVD player, an iPod dock, a digital video recorder, a cable TV tuner, a Dish

Network satellite tuner, and Xbox and Wii video game systems. Because a single

box incorporates all of these functions, SE2 Labs can configure the ITC One at

the factory so that all of its components operate correctly, and so that they

work with the video display and speakers your installer specifies.

According to SE2 Labs CEO Michael Pyle, the installation

process involves little more than connecting the speakers and video display.

"The concept is to make a system that works and is configured properly from the

get-go, instead of the installer having to take all these separate components

and try to make them work," he says.

This concept produced the home-theater-in-a-box systems found

in mass-market electronics stores, but those products lack the integration SE2

Labs achieves.None, for example, incorporates a cable TV tuner or satellite

receiver. Nor do they share the ITC’s pedigree. Instead of assembling the ITC

from generic circuit boards, SE2 partnered with an elite group of high-end

audio/video companies. These include Bryston (famous for professional audio

components), Vidikron (a video projector brand whose products commonly are found

in elaborate theaters), AMX (a maker of home automation systems), and

Transparent Cable (known for audiophile-grade cabling and AC power


SE2 acquires circuit boards from these and other partners and

combines them in a single chassis with an elaborate cooling system designed to

enhance the ITC’s reliability. "All of the components are mounted vertically in

a computer-style card cage, so they can take advantage of convection cooling,"

Pyle explains. "We also use four computer-controlled fans with acoustic baffles

to keep everything quiet."

Pyle’s experience as president of Aurant, a Utah-based custom

electronics installation firm, guided his creation of the ITC’s control

interface, which can be manipulated through a 4.3-inch AMX touchscreen on the

front or through a separate remote. Buttons light up automatically when the unit

senses movement. "Just push in a disc and things start to happen," Pyle


According to Pyle, three ITC Ones have been installed, and many

more are in production. Prices start at $19,900. The ITC One is also available

in packages with Vidikron video projectors and Triad speakers—with the ITC

configured at the factory for optimal performance with these


SE2 Labs

Photo by Jonathan Beer
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