One Touch Control

Posted by: dctheaters | Posted on: November 1, 2014

With movie ticket prices climbing and the ability to stream media directly to your TV growing ever popular, the dedicated home theater and media room has garnered more and more attention these past few years. What does the movie theater have that your own home couldn't have? Nothing really when you compare the features.

Huge screen, amazing speakers, and food can all be available in your home. Even the atmosphere is available with one touch controls now being introduced to the market. RTI, Crestron, Pro Control, and Elan are just some of the companies that are making this happen for the consumer.

The programming is done behind the scenes -- just like at the movies -- but the end result, even down to the lights dimming when you hit the play button duplicates that atmosphere. Some audiophiles have even gotten so detailed as to have the old "THX - the audience is listening" intro run as the lights dim and the movie starts.

What are the possibilities with one touch control? They're endless. It's all about the experience.

Custom Audio/Video vs One Size Fits All

Posted by: dctheaters | Posted on: June 5, 2014

You have two quotes in your hand for two very similar products. For this example we'll say they're TV mounting brackets. In your right hand is a low price, great deal that you found at the store, and it states on the box that it will accomodate your nice 65" TV. In your left hand is a brand you've never heard of, but your AV installer swears that it is the best quality hardware that you can get, although not cheap.

Now the more glamorous choice is obviously the one in your right hand. Why is it good looking? Because it fits your needs, it can hang your size TV and it's a great price. So why even consider the other option?

When we break down the differences maybe it can give you a little more peace of mind. One of the big differences between the hardware your AV installer is trying to get you to buy and the store brand with the great price is the type of materials. Things that can be bought at the retail stores, while not cheap materials, aren't tested to be used day-in and day-out. Whether it's speakers, tv mounting brackets, projectors, or screens, the materials used in "consumer" products are usually not as durable.

The second difference is in the flexibility. For instance, that low price mount for your 65" TV probably won't have ALL of the available options for your specific brand of television. It may not be able to help you get that TV on the wall EXACTLY where you want it because of the holes needed for installation. Custom hardware on the other hand, is just that. It is customized for the type of jobs that we do all the time. A customized bracket will come with many pieces to fit whatever we need it to, and help to get it on the wall exactly where you want it.

The custom AV industry constantly researches newer ways to be able to install the tons of products that are invented each year, and on top of that we come up with products to take care of customizing all of that equipment so that you, the end user, doesn't have to worry about it once it's in place. So while that great sale price looks and sounds good at the store, think of the options first, and make sure that it can help you to realize your vision for your electronics. If it can't, we're sure that there's a custom product that we offer that can help you out.

Automation: Benefits of the Futuristic Home

Posted by: dctheaters | Posted on: October 23, 2013

Remember the cartoon show the Jetsons? A show that originated from the 1960s brought us the idea that one day we would have robot maids, moving jetways in our homes, watch phones, and most of our lives would be automated. Surprisingly enough they weren't that far off from reality.

Samsung is releasing the first ever watch/phone with it's new Galaxy Gear, AT&T is now introducing the ability to lock up your house remotely, and cars are being made to parallel park themselves. As technology advances we are seeing more and more task automated for us, so that we don't even have to give it a second thought. This is trickling down to the home environment now and could prove to be a big trend in the way that we live our daily lives. How so?

The AV industry has what we call a little known "cousin" and that is Home Automation and Integration. Most of the service calls that we get are geared towards audio/video installs and troubleshoots, but people are also surprised to find out that we specialize in energy saving too. Energy saving? "But you're an electronics company." Yes we are, but our industry touches on things such as lighting, hvac and security and alarms.

With lighting we are able to automate things such as turning on lighting in occupied rooms, turning off lighting when people leave the rooms, or setting lighting scenes for certain events. For example, if you're coming home late at night, wouldn't it be nice to have the lights already on in your house that light the path to your bedroom? Or when your hands are full of grocery bags, wouldn't it be great to have that "third hand" to turn on the lights for you? We provide that third hand with automated lighting systems. Your electric bill will reduce because we enable energy savings by not wasting light that isn't being used.

It has been proven that our eyes don't notice that difference between 100% bright lights and 80% light, so imagine if we set your lights to only produce 80% in the areas where you are, that's money in your pocket at the end of the month. How do we do this with heating and cooling? Sensors that can gauge where people are in the house, and adjust the temperature accordingly. Automated tasks such as turning off the AC when no one is in the home, but starting it up again 30 minutes before you arrive home from work. Installing shades that cover your windows in increments as the sun comes up, so that we can reduce the amount of heat in your home and your air conditioning systems isn't working overtime to cool the house. We also can provide security cameras that can be setup and you have the ability to check on your home through your phone or tablet. Lighting scenes that give the appearance that someone is home even while you're a thousand miles away on vacation.

The automated home is becoming great because it takes care of the tasks that sometimes we wish were a little bit easier, and gives us peace of mind. But what if you don't want everything trusted to automatically taking care of itself? No problem, you can still have system options, but have full control over it yourself through special applications that we put together to control your lights, hvac, security and last but not least your audio/video system. The house of the future isn't the future anymore, it's here, and you should really take advantage of it.

Home Theater as an Investment

Posted by: dctheaters | Posted on: January 15, 2013

Buying speakers should be an investment. And when you think of investment you think of spending a good amount of money on a quality product. When it comes to speakers, there is an obvious difference between the "Home Theater in a Box" that you can find at Walmart and the 5.1 Paradigm Millenia 200 Surround Sound speakers that you get through a custom installer.

The difference comes not only in price but in the sound quality. What are you paying for? With the "home theater in box" you get five speakers and a subwoofer. Standard for surround sound. But the receiver will lack in power output most of the time, which in turn means the speakers will lack in their ability to perform at peak volumes the way that hi-def movies and music were meant to be played.

Quality speakers on the other hand, come with three speakers specifically designed for the front center, left, and right channels, two rear speakers designed to pick up the surround sound, and a subwoofer made for low frequency bass. The sound difference between the two setups is noticeable, even to the untrained ear, and if being able to get the most out your media experience is important to you, then investing in a good quality sound system is money well spent.

The old addage "you get what you pay for" is aplicable to speaker selection. The higher the sound quality and installation options, the more money you can expect to spend. But with that selection is a long term investment because of the life of the speaker, warranties, and better parts.

Building a new home?

Posted by: dctheaters | Posted on: November 29th, 2012

Building a new house is an exciting venture, depending on how you look at it. But with poor planning it can be a nightmare.If you want the latest in technology, which changes every single day, you need to have a builder that is on board with planning your house for the future.

Builders normally have companies subcontracted out for options within a new home, such as surround sound capability, security, automation, etc. They prefer to work with them because it is in their best interest. But is that always in YOUR best interest?

The best way for you to find out is to look at the options. For example, if you wanted your living room to come already wired for speakers to be installed in the ceiling, find out how much it costs with the builder, and then price it yourself by getting bids from low voltage companies themselves.

Be upfront with the builder and let them know your concerns, but also let them know that you are shopping around. If you want CAT-6 wiring instead of CAT-5E, find out how much it would be from the builder to have that wired for future expansion. The key is to do your research from the beginning, because when building has begun and you're getting calls and updates each day it gets easier to forget the right questions to ask. If you have someone else in mind for wiring your house that's different than the builder, then make sure to involve them before construction begins. They can offer valuable insights and make your investment worthwhile.

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