CUSTOM INSTALLATION EQUIPMENT REVIEWS

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Mar 30, 2011 0 comments
Building an automation nation—one house at a time.

I reviewed Control4’s first offering in February of 2006 (oh, those were the days, weren’t they?). The system—based around the company’s $599 Home Theater Controller (HTC)—could easily have been described as a universal remote control with grand aspirations. As the name implies, the HTC was designed to control the components in a home theater (including access to a stored digital music library) with a simple, highly intuitive onscreen graphic user interface. That by itself was pretty sweet. But behind the HTC’s deceptively blank faceplate was hidden a formidable engine capable of powering a sophisticated wholehouse automation and multiroom music system using a combination of Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee communication to control things like lights and thermostats as well as distribute music around the house. All you had to do was pony up the extra bucks for the wireless ZigBee thermostats and light switches (up to 125 of them—but at $100-plus a pop, it was unlikely that you’d ever max out the system). You also needed some Control4 Speaker Points, plus the labor to install and program everything, and you were ready to command and conquer the homeland. I liked—no, I lusted after—that original system and was extremely reluctant to box it up and send it back. It couldn’t necessarily do all the amazingly complex things that a Crestron or AMX system could do at the time, but it was a fraction of the price.

Kim Wilson Posted: Mar 15, 2011 0 comments
Once you add grilles no one will suspect that you have attached high-end loudspeakers to your flat panel TV, until you turn on the sound. There is no reason to have large speakers cluttering the front of your room, when you can integrates these state-of- the-art speakers that create your entire LCR (left, center, right) array with only two speakers that are just as thin as your TV.
Kim Wilson Posted: Feb 08, 2011 0 comments

Combine a 3D Blu-ray player with a 12TB hard drive and you have the Mozaex Solo 2. With USA retail pricing less than $6,000 for up to 12TBs of media storage, the Solo 2 is more affordable than many other media server systems, providing a highly scalable solution. Up to four additional Blu-ray Players may be added for $2,495 apiece.

Kim Wilson Posted: Jan 30, 2011 4 comments
The emergence of 3D movies on Blu-ray presents more of a challenge than just a new Blu-ray player, you'll also need a new display. If you are using a projector, you also have to consider the screen you are using. For optimum performance your current screen may or may not be adequate. In fact, a screen optimized for 3D doesn't always provide the best 2D image. However, Stewart Filmscreems has come up with the Daily Dual, providing a solution for optimum 2D and 3D viewing.
Kim Wilson Posted: Dec 03, 2010 1 comments

Ever wish you could afford a Kaleidescape system? Well, now it's more affordable than ever before to bring their intuitive and comprehensive products into you living room with the introduction of Cinema One, a stand-alone DVD Movie Server, which is their first offering to a broader audience and features kid-friendly operation.

Kim Wilson Posted: Nov 04, 2010 0 comments
For DIYers, it's never been easier to find the right mount for any model flat-panel TV. Just download the free Install Tool Kit iPad app from Sanus in the Apple App Store. Within seconds you'll find the perfect mount and determine the exact drilling hole placement for installation. It's also possible to keep your own notes and single out the mounts you like the most with the MyNotes feature.
Tim Kulin Posted: Oct 17, 2010 12 comments

I'm the owner of a small cabinet shop and decided to built this attractive and highly functional entertainment center in my home. All the woodworking throughout the room is mine (except for the chairs). It's all made from Alder that is finished in honey stain with a sable glaze. While it may look like wall paper, the wall treatment is a faux finish.

Kim Wilson Posted: Oct 07, 2010 0 comments

With flat panel TV's getting so thin, speaker manufacturers are again challenged to create speakers that compliment them. Artison, a leading innovator and manufacturer of custom high-performance loudspeakers, recently introduced an incredibly thin speaker that attaches directly to your TV.

Kim Wilson Posted: Sep 02, 2010 2 comments

Yesterday, Apple announced the next generation Apple TV, a product line that has been unchanged and virtually ignored by the company for several years. With this newest product introduction, our imagination is re-ignited with possibilities. Apple's CEO, Steve Jobs, has been eluding to the magic "cloud" as the future of content distribution and management for some time and the new Apple TV delivers on that vision.

Kim Wilson Posted: Aug 18, 2010 5 comments

With apps for pretty much every major home automation system and more that are capable of controlling your AV components, the iPad is replacing more expensive remote control touch screens from companies such as Crestron, Control 4, Home Logic, and Savant. In fact, Savant announced they are no longer supplying their own branded touch panels but instead will provide their customers with an iPad pre-loaded with the Savant control app, and customized for their clients.

Kim Wilson Posted: Aug 04, 2010 1 comments

Outdoor speakers have been around for decades but the main difference today is who’s making them. Some of the finest loudspeaker manufacturer’s are using their unique technologies and sound signatures to elevate outdoor audio performance to a whole new level of design, reliability and high-impact sound. With the recent integration of video screens and LCD TVs into the outdoor environment, it’s conceivable to build a state-of-the-art home theater directly under the stars that will rival your indoor theater. With A/V this good, you may never go back inside.

Kim Wilson Posted: Jul 28, 2010 1 comments

<B>Sanus JFV60 ($540)</B><BR>
The versatile JFV60 can be mounted directly on the wall, appearing to float in midair, or it can be placed on the floor like any other cabinet. It provides a sleek, low-profile sophistication that blends right into the interior decor in either configuration. The unit can support up to 200lbs (all components and TV) when mounted on the wall, or 350 lbs when floor standing.

Debbie Stampfli Posted: Jun 23, 2010 1 comments

With the latest crop of home theater seating, you may never want to leave home.
Usually, the first question that comes to mind when you walk into a home theater is, “Where do I sit?” No matter how clear the picture looks or how powerful the sound is, a bad chair or sofa can ruin your home theater experience. But new technology and innovative designs aren’t just for the latest consumer electronics. These fresh seating options offer style, comfort, and convenience. They provide a killer combination of looks and practicality that will make your home theater memorable—in a very good way.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 16, 2010 0 comments
I’ve always lived in a used house. “Existing home” is the euphemism real estate people like to use. Life is good—until you realize that there are no phone jacks close to the spots where your bed or desk should go. And why are there no Ethernet jacks in the house? And no wiring for TVs anywhere but the living room? Needless to say, you can’t find in-wall speakers, volume controls, or multiroom A/V distribution of any kind. Maybe you should have guessed from the horse and buggy parked in the garage when your real estate agent showed the house that the previous owners weren’t interested in keeping up with the more technologically advanced Joneses across the street.
Mark Elson Posted: Jun 03, 2010 0 comments
One of the myths about lighting control systems is that you can only install them if you’re building a new house, where the walls aren’t built yet, or if you’re performing a major remodel, where all of the walls are torn down. This myth perpetuates on the assumption that you need to run lots of wire while the framing is exposed. It’s true that once the drywall is up, pulling wire becomes prohibitively expensive because of the labor required. But I’m here to bust the myth that you can’t have fun with your lighting in a finished home. In the case of lighting dimming control, you can enjoy many of the features you’d find in a whole-house wired system, without the wire and the accompanying labor expense.

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