The Challenge

Entrepreneur Phil Trubey’s magnificent home theater display had been in use for 18 years, and it was due for an update. The projector and screen were ready for an upgrade, and Trubey’s interest and familiarity with new audiovisual (AV) technology was going to be key to finding the right solution. “Good enough” was never going to be an option.  

The Solution

“The Wall is so bright we don't even use the full intensity of the screen.”
- Phil Trubey, entrepreneur

The Results

About Phil Trubey and the Regency Theatre

Entrepreneur and angel investor Phil Trubey built the Regency Theatre in his Rancho Sante Fe, California home in 2003. Designed as an ode to the 1920s “Golden Age” of film, the home theater features a courtyard, marque, painted ceilings and chandelier, tiered seating, brass railings and other designs reminiscent of the ‘20s. He uses the home entertainment space to watch movies and host events with family and friends.

The Challenge

Upgrading a tech-savvy home theater owner's video experience

Entrepreneur Phil Trubey has been at the forefront of information technology developments throughout his career. He’s a passionate AV enthusiast, fortunate enough to have built his own home theater, which was designed as an homage to the heyday of grand movie palaces.

Trubey’s Regency Theatre, now 18 years old, has its own marquee and ticket booth, approached from a “courtyard” that evokes traditional European city scenes, including tromp l’oeil (optical illusion) paintings, a shop and a fountain. As visitors approach the ticket booth, the marquee extends overhead, showing upcoming events.

Entering through double glass doors, guests find the lobby and concession stand, before passing into the recreation of a 1920s era theater. Period-accurate brass railings, painted ceilings, red-draped walls and tiered seating all exude carefully curated, luxury design.

Recessed lighting provides a warm glow under the chandelier, which can be adjusted to lower light levels to enhance the projected content.

The original theater specification included a projector and a 146-inch front projection screen, along with Dolby 5.1 surround sound. Building the theater came with some challenges, including cooling and soundproofing the projector. Alongside those architectural and design considerations, there was ongoing maintenance for the projector, lamps and fans.

As the technology aged, organic LED (OLED) TVs and 4K content were beginning to reach the market, bringing higher-quality color, contrast and resolution to the screen. But no matter how good the theater projector was, it couldn’t match the latest flat panels in the living room.

“At the end of the day,” says Trubey, “you’re projecting onto a screen which is never going to be as good as the visual wow of OLED TVs.” He added that going forward it’s “safe to assume you’re going to have a flat panel” for home theater displays.

On top of the hardware, the Regency Theatre’s next generation of display would need to have all the modern entertainment elements users have come to expect, including integrated access to streaming platforms and familiar apps like YouTube, as well as improvements in performance, contrast and brightness.

The Solution

A premium direct-view LED display that can be configured to fit any home cinema

There are two versions of Samsung’s The Wall, explains Mike Bennett, Samsung’s Business Development Lead for The Wall product line. “There’s ‘The Wall for Business’ designed for commercial installations, and ‘The Wall for Luxury Living,’ designed for residential use.” He adds, “The Wall for Luxury Living has a 120Hz refresh rate, so video content like [live sports] won’t have any latency in the image.”

When Trubey learned that The Wall was available as a 146-inch screen that would fit perfectly into the existing theater screen’s footprint, he attended a demo at the Samsung Executive Briefing Center (EBC) in Irvine, California. A conference room at the EBC wasn’t the most exact comparison to his home cinema, but it was proof of concept for Phil, and that was enough to seal the deal.

“Using a .84mm pixel pitch microLED, the brightness and black levels make the direct-view experience far better than projection technology,” says Bennett. Samsung has included key features like Black Seal technology for better black levels, as well as high dynamic range (HDR), aiming for The Wall to provide the total visual solution for both business and private consumers who want the most immersive experience possible.

The Wall uses the Quantum Processor Flex to deliver AI upscaling, an intuitive solution for screen size adjustments that delivers a perfect view on any scale, up to 8K resolution.

The Wall for Luxury is built to connect with home audio and control systems and comes with a media box that provides users a custom interface, so they get their preferred apps and streaming services on demand. This makes the screen’s navigation simple and familiar, more like a smart TV than a traditional film projector. Users can even navigate it with a normal remote control. “The Wall has the user friendliness of a TV, yet the size for any theater”, says Trubey.

The Installation

Custom-tailored installation direct from Samsung

Bennett and the Samsung design and engineering team worked with Trubey to plan and install the new display, using as much of the existing infrastructure as possible.

Fortunately, Trubey explains, “When we built the theater, we put in extra circuit for lighting, and it turned out we could re-purpose some of those to provide enough circuits to the screen. The original contractor had also installed extra flexible conduit that made it easy to pull in fiber for the data connection to the equipment room.”

Samsung has several teams dedicated to supporting their installations of The Wall throughout the U.S. market. “For every Wall and almost every residential installation, we are performing the installations directly alongside the client’s selected integrator,” said Bennett.

The Wall is made up of individual sections mounted on a custom, Samsung-designed frame, which simplifies the installation process and guarantees the sections are perfectly aligned to prevent any gaps in the picture. The effectiveness of the planning and design done by the Samsung team and the integrator is reflected in the team’s ease of delivery and commission for the display.

The Technology

The Wall — IW008R

The Wall is a modular microLED display that showcases movies, TV, artwork and photography with pure black and vibrant colors. This sophisticated centerpiece displays lifelike visuals, leaving viewers awestruck.

The Wall — IW008R

The Results

Unparalleled visuals in a one-of-a-kind home entertainment setting

Trubey’s Regency Theatre is a one-of-a-kind home entertainment space designed to recall the pinnacle of architecture and design for the cinema. It provides Trubey, his family and his friends a unique place to experience the magic of movies, the drama of television and the thrill of sports broadcasts in the most immersive visual environment possible.

“The Wall for Luxury has a 120HZ refresh rate so video content like live sports won’t have any latency in the image.”
—Samsung’s Business Development Lead for The Wall product line

According to Trubey, the display quality of The Wall in his home theater “is so bright we don’t even use the full intensity of the screen, and the pixel level stability is rock solid.” He adds that his teen children “have enjoyed a 24-hour movie marathon, and they’ve all been enjoying live sports and streaming content more than ever before.”

Like cinema’s shift from silent movies to talkies, from black-and-white to color and from film to digital, The Wall has elevated Trubey’s viewing experience on a monumental scale.

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Bob Kronman

Bob Kronman, director of Kronman Associates, has worked in the arts, entertainment and technology industry for more than 30 years. Progressing from theatre to AV and then into the LED market, he’s worked on hundreds of projects in retail, sports and commercial integration as a technician, project manager and consultant.

View more posts by Bob Kronman