THE CONNECTED LIFE

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 10, 2010 0 comments

My dad called me the other day. He had just rented Avatar and he wanted to know if I had seen it and if the version I watched was in 3D and why his wasn't. A client sent me an e-mail asking whether he could use a new 3D TV to watch regular, non-3D programming.

John Sciacca Posted: Oct 01, 2005 0 comments

Writing for Sound & Vision has taken me to such exotic locales as an aircraft carrier at sea and George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch.

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John Sciacca Posted: Nov 20, 2013 3 comments
Back when I was a kid, I took my TV watching very seriously. It was an active event that demanded laser-like, sugar-fueled focus. I mean, just one glance away from those glowing cathode rays could result in missing some crucial Scooby Doo or Brady Bunch plot twist, possibly resulting in years of wondering what exactly happened to Marsha’s nose.

Reaching back into the days before DVR, DVD-R, or even VCR, you basically got one shot at watching something. And that meant TV viewers had some serious skin in the game when watching a show that was important to them. There were no pausing, no on-demand, and no Web streaming alternatives.

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John Sciacca Posted: Mar 18, 2014 0 comments
Once Cutting-Edge Systems Are Starting to Look like Dinosuars

Having been a custom installer since 1998, I’ve installed more than my share of housewide audio systems. And, as you can imagine, these systems have changed and evolved quite a bit over the years.

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John Sciacca Posted: Nov 12, 2014 1 comments
A fairly common complaint I hear in my custom showroom is the inability to hear dialog while watching TV or movies. The scenario plays out almost identically every single time. A couple will come in, usually older, and the husband will stand there sheepishly while his wife explains that her husband’s hearing has deteriorated and now it’s to the point where he can’t hear the TV unless he blasts the volume which is then too loud for her to tolerate. The husband will then usually chime in that his hearing is fine, and that he just has a hard time with the dialog. But do we have anything that would help so they could both enjoy TV together?

So, first off, guys! I’m not sure what it is that we’re doing in our younger years, but, dammit! It is causing us all to go slowly deaf as we get older! We need to pull it together!

John Sciacca Posted: Jan 14, 2011 0 comments

There are so many Pow! Bang! Ka-chow! buzzwords thrown out by the consumer electronics industry's marketing war chariots that smaller, more important things often get lost or completely overwhelmed in the ground clutter.

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John Sciacca Posted: Nov 05, 2014 1 comments
The biggest annual event on a custom installer’s calendar is the CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) Expo, which took place September in Denver. This year’s Expo was brimming with new technology, namely the overwhelming rollout of Dolby Atmos, a new surround format that I discussed in my previous column, along with several other exciting introductions like a new laser-powered projector from Epson and several very cool new wireless music system such as Denon’s HEOS and DTS’s Play-Fi.
John Sciacca Posted: Mar 26, 2012 0 comments

Control4 unveiled two new processors at this year’s CES, the HC800 ($999) and the HC250 ($599). They offer way more power for system control and provide a much zippier interface when controlling different areas of the home or browsing a media library.

John Sciacca Posted: Oct 06, 2008 0 comments

Being a custom installer is no easy feat. More often than not, the job involves problem-solving and figuring out a way to make a square peg fit in a round hole. Fortunately, the manufacturers that support the world of custom installation have produced a lot of terrific products to make these possible.

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John Sciacca Posted: Oct 22, 2014 0 comments
Manufacturers have been so busy focusing on video upgrades with 3D, 4K, local dimming, and OLED, they’ve pretty much forgotten that audio makes up at least 50 percent of the experience. The end result is that we haven’t really seen any significant surround sound advancements since 2000 following the release of Star Wars: Episode I—The Phantom Menace, which brought Surround EX and rear channels.
John Sciacca Posted: Nov 20, 2012 0 comments

For want of a smart control, the table was cluttered with remotes. For want of the right remote, the A/V receiver was turned to the wrong input. For lack of the right input, the audio and video signals were lost. For failure of the A/V signal, the movie could not be watched. For lack of the movie, the party was ruined.

John Sciacca Posted: Oct 16, 2012 0 comments

App is a word that was barely even part of the public lexicon a few years ago, but now has become such an entrenched part of it that even my mom — quite possibly the least technologically inclined person on the planet — drops the phrase, “There’s probably an app for that.”

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John Sciacca Posted: Jul 29, 2014 0 comments
One of the most disappointing things I face is spending time going over different options for someone’s new home’s entertainment and automation system and having them leave my showroom saying, “Wow! Now I’m even more confused than when I started!” (More disappointing is the, “Oh, I wish I’d come to you to do my system!” regret that comes when they can’t get the other guy/company to come back to finish or service the system.)
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John Sciacca Posted: Apr 01, 2014 19 comments
Ask virtually any music listener if they own any high-resolution audio files, and they’ll likely give you a blank stare, wait a beat, and then maybe come back with a question like, “You mean like CDs I put on my computer or something?”

For the record, high-resolution refers to music recorded at better than CD’s 44.1-kHz/16-bit quality, usually 96-kHz/24-bit, typically written as “96/24.” (See my high-rez audio audio primer here).

John Sciacca Posted: Jul 13, 2011 0 comments

Some people immediately get that the iPad can become the controller for an automation system, allowing them to control not only their audio/video gear but also their lights, HVAC, security, and irrigation systems.

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