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March 25, 2018   
HOME Features Entertainment Room Furniture

Home Theater: New recliners 'Kick Butt' -- no, really ...

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By Rosemary Thornton, contributing editor

Sure, this couple looks relaxed now, but they're about to get their butts kicked. Berkline's new recliners allow users to feel the special effects from their home theater equipment.  A  row of three ButtKicker leather recliners with quick connection kit is about $3,000 (October 2005).

How about a foot massage while you watch Monday Night Football? A back rub while you listen to the latest and greatest sound system?

Or maybe you'd like to get your derriere kicked along with Arnold as you watch your favorite "Terminator" movie. Berkline's ButtKicker is named for its built-in "silent subwoofer" that allows you to feel the reverberations from exploding objects on screen.

The recliner grouping was one of the many home theater products shown and introduced at the High Point (NC) Furniture Market in October 2005.  The ButtKicker's popularity is sending reverberations throughout the home theater furniture industry. Sales of the ButtKicker have quadrupled in the last year, while sales of other home theater seating have doubled in each of the last four years. The increase in sales reflects a growing trend of Americans to entertain at home, says a company spokesman.

For the sanity of your family, neighbors and pets, the vibrations of the ButtKicker recliner are felt, but not heard. The technology is a home version of the special effects at Disney and IMAX theaters. A wireless transmitter and  a 3.25 pound piston inside a metal in the recliner's bottom cushion vibrate the recliner's seat  in sync with the television. An amplifier connects your home theater equipment to the wireless transmitter, which sends a signal to the chair.

"It's all about the fun," said Cabot Longnecker, a spokesperson for Berkline. "After investing money in surround sound and high definition TVs, consumers were still sitting on Aunt Edna's couch. We're trying to generate the same amount of fun in seating that already exists in home audio/visual technology."

lomi chair
The "Emotion Lounger" from Hawaiian Lomi Group will knead, tap and roll your stresses away.

Hey baby, loosen up

Hard day at work? You could try wheedling a massage from your equally stressed spouse. Or you could have a massage in the newest home theater recliner from Hawaiian Lomi Group. The "Emotion Lounger" (EML-200)  is a therapeutic massage chair especially for the larger consumer. ("Lomi" is a Hawaiian word meaning "massage.")

"Big people need great massages, too," said Tim Loveday, representing the Hawaiian Lomi Group at the High Point Market.

The EML-200, has a remote control and is 83" long when fully reclined. That's big enough to accommodate someone up to seven feet tall. The recliner seat bottom measures 20" wide and 22" deep. Other features include an adjustable headrest, auto-recline, kinetic air massaging seat and calve and foot massager.

Choose from single or combination kneading, tapping or rolling massage. Prices on this chair start at $1,195 (October 2005).

lane chairs
The Ultima series recliners from Lane.

Drive-in seating

Two-toned black and silver "Ultima," leather and vinyl from Lane Home Furnishings resemble those big old car seats from the drive-in movie days. Also available in all black, the seats have fixed backs and matching ottomans. An optional wedge table fits neatly between the seats.

"These chairs are designed to look both funky and fun," said Amy Simpson, a spokesperson for Lane Home Furnishings. "With the stitched edges and piping around the trim, it almost looks like you're sitting in an automobile."

Chair arms, ottomans and the wedge table each have a hinged top that lifts to reveal storage space for DVDs, remotes and other sundries. Two chairs, two ottomans and one wedge table from the Ultima line retail for about $1,000.

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