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John Sciacca Posted: Oct 14, 2015 0 comments
TiO stands for Turn it On, and the company is looking for ways to breathe new life into existing, outdated audio systems with a system that is incredible retrofit friendly. Imagine turning your old, lame analog only volume control system into a state-of-the art streaming music system with multiple zones and app based control over all of your favorite music services including high-res audio up to 192/24-bit and you have an idea what TiO is bringing to the table.

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John Sciacca Posted: Oct 14, 2015 0 comments
Part of the expense of many distributed audio systems is the proprietary hardware required to make them work. Simpfony is looking to turn this model upside down by leveraging standard hardware for other companies to deliver flexibility, affordability and ease of use while still delivering a terrific user experience.

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John Sciacca Posted: Oct 14, 2015 1 comments
In a recent blog I dealt with some of the big-picture infrastructure items when planning a video installation. Beyond the brand and size of TV you’ll be getting, the big four preinstallation items requiring attention are power, sources, audio, and control.
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John Sciacca Posted: Oct 14, 2015 0 comments
Russound expands its XStream whole-house wireless audio systems with the introduction of the XZone4 four-stream/four-zone audio system, XSource streaming audio player, and XTS color in-wall touchscreen controller. All of these new components are designed to expand the capabilities of Russound’s XStream wireless audio systems.

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 30, 2015 12 comments
As a custom installer, meeting with clients building new homes, remodeling, or just looking to upgrade their entertainment systems is a big part of my job. And after 17 years of walking through job sites and looking at blueprints, I pretty quickly hone in on the few key areas that determine the project’s difficulty and cost.
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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 02, 2015 10 comments
OK, full disclosure: I didn’t really spend $500 of my own, personal, John money; I had a reviewer’s account. But I did watch Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation and Terminator: Genisys and Southpaw in my home theater over a month ago using the coolest piece of technology you’ve probably never even heard of. The company behind it is PRIMA Cinema and their movie player allows an elite group of owners the ability to watch first-run Hollywood films in the privacy of their homes, usually on the same day they are released to the cinemas. Not only that, but PRIMA delivers the best picture quality of anything you’ve ever seen outside the Arclight or El Capitan.

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John Sciacca Posted: Aug 19, 2015 8 comments
ABC’s Nightline recently ran a segment called “Smart Homes, the Future of High-Tech Living” where they discussed different aspects of living in a smart home. Part of the segment demonstrated a smart home’s potential vulnerability to being hacked, giving outsiders access to your home and data. Nightline drove the point home by having a hacker sit outside a home with a high-powered directional antenna while he logged into the Wi-Fi network and started wreaking all manner of havoc, including unlocking her front door.
John Sciacca Posted: Jul 21, 2015 1 comments
Custom Theater and Audio's Atmos-equipped demo room.

A lot has been written over the past few months about Dolby’s new home theater surround format, Atmos. Virtually every receiver manufacturer and many speaker companies have embraced Atmos-capable systems, both with in-ceiling and Atmos-enabled module speakers.

One of the perks of working at a custom installation firm with a showroom is having a playground to install and experience the latest technologies firsthand before installing them into someone’s home...

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John Sciacca Posted: Jul 14, 2015 4 comments
I’ve been fortunate enough to watch nearly every Dolby Atmos encoded Blu-ray disc that has been released so far. While some of the movies are terrific (Gravity) others are more just things you suffer through (Jupiter Ascending). To save you some time trying to find the best scenes to demo, I’m gonna pinpoint each film’s marquee Atmos audio moment! (Some spoilers ahead…)

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John Sciacca Posted: Jun 03, 2015 1 comments
While doing some research for an upcoming Connected Life column on Wi-Fi security practices, I stumbled across a practically rotten piece of “fruit” called the Wi-Fi Pineapple. And while the company that makes this, Hak5, says that it serves “penetration testers, law enforcement, military and government” the sub $100 device is available to anyone and is designed to “enable users to quickly and easily deploy advanced attacks.” With the Pineapple performing hotspot honeypot, man-in-the-middle attacks, a hacker could quickly and easily have access to all of the data and information from your browsing sessions. If you frequently connect to Wi-Fi hotspots when you’re out and about, here are some things you need to know about the Pineapple in order to better safeguard yourself.

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