Shop Talk at TheaterXtreme

Staff Writer
Columbus Monthly

John Macko, 54

Co-owner, TheaterXtreme

1216 E. Powell Rd., Lewis Center


So what does your store, owned by you and your wife, offer?

We offer affordable home theater, audio and video excitement. From large-screen theaters to small flat panels over the fireplace, we've got it all.

You stress affordability. What's it cost to put in a full home theater?

We're talking audio, video and installation - from $5,000 up.

Are people still interested, given the economy right now?

People are still interested in it; it's the discretionary income choice they have to deal with.... Back in the Depression, when things were bad, the movie industry boomed. People still need that place to go. And so the idea of the movies and the movie industry - and the idea of that in your own home so you don't have to spend $50 or $100 going to the movies - is still something people like.

You say that people are still buying. But instead of the whole shebang - with leather seats and all - they do it for less. How's that work?

I have a guy - he's doing it piecemeal. He's buying a projector, mounting it on his wall, and using an existing sound system. So he'll be spending less than $3,000.

Because people can actually watch the projection on a white wall, without buying the screen, right?

Absolutely. A lot of people will buy a lower-end projector, take it outside, and throw it on a sheet.

I've been to Buckeye parties where that's been done. Which begs the question: Are you busy in fall with people wanting to watch their college football on big screens?

Fall is our busiest time, without a doubt.

How much does that cost them - to buy an outdoor projector?

There's a specific projector we sell for that. It's actually a portable projector with a DVD player built in. And they range from $800 to $1,100. Some people will put those in permanently. They'll bury the cables.... One of my very first customers did that for the Buckeye/Texas game.

For non-tech folks who want to do something like that - inside or outside - you'll even go to their home and check things out - and for free within a 5-mile radius. What are the consultations like?

Most people want us to come out and (they) ask, "Is this room OK?" We're looking at distances, physical constraints. So we can say, "This will work. But this will work better."

Can you talk briefly about your flat-panel TVs?

We match anybody's flat-panel price, period. If I can get it from my supplier, I'll match the price and install it for less than they can.

You'll actually install equipment purchased elsewhere, too, yes?

We do installation for people who buy their equipment elsewhere, because we tend to be cheaper.

So what's your home theater like?

I bring my family here!

Kristy Eckert is the editor of Capital Style.