John Sciacca

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John Sciacca Posted: Dec 17, 2014 0 comments
Automation describes using control systems to operate equipment or other applications with little or no human interaction. At its simplest, home automation could be a garage door opener or a mercury-filled thermostat kicking on your HVAC system; and at its most complex, there’s virtually nothing an automation system can’t do.

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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!

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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.
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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.
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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 1 comments
Starting this November, the new Home Entertainment Motion Controller (HEMC) from D-BOX will bring the company’s advanced motion coding experience to far more than just movies on Blu-ray and DVD disc. D-BOX will now be delivering its proprietary excitement of the fourth dimension of motion from any source, including movies streamed from services like Netflix, Vudu, and Apple TV and even from movies viewed on cable and satellite.

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 0 comments
Sonance showed a massive redo of its amplifier line-up, reducing offerings from 29 amp models down to a lean-and-mean five! At the same time, the company made significant improvements throughout the line, making significant feature upgrades and going from a traditional inefficient, heat producing, analog design to new digital models.

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 0 comments
Looming just outside the PRO Audio Technology booth are speakers that literally dwarf my 6-foot 4-inch self. These speakers weigh upwards of 300 pounds, feature massive horns and woofers and are driven by 10,000 watts of amplification to deliver organ pulverizing SPLs in even the largest rooms. So when I went into the PRO Audio demo, I certainly expected to be blown away by big sound. What I didn’t expect was what I saw when the demo was over and the company revealed what was actually playing!

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 0 comments
One of the big announcements from Sony’s CEDIA keynote address was that the company’s FMP-X10 4K media player would be updated later in the year to work with other companies TVs, meaning Sony is going to partially unlock its proprietary connection. This is great news for Ultra HD content starved viewers, however it will likely still require a separate HDMI cable for audio from the media player to the processor and for video to the TV. Lame. Fortunately, Krell figured out a way around this.

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 0 comments
Controlling an automation system with an iPhone/Android device is great, but can become a little more tricky as you move about in a large home. The way systems are typically programmed, a home/project is divided into rooms or areas, and then you need to select which room you are in to control it. As you walk around, however, you might find yourself needing to scroll through lists of rooms trying to find the right one to control. This can become a real issue in large homes with many room. Crestron’s new PinPoint proximity detection beacon will simply solve this problem, making sure that your device opens up ready to control the room you’re in!

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 0 comments
Just when we mastered sending 1080p HDMI signals around the house over Cat5 cabling, much larger and more bandwidth intensive 4K video looms darkly on the horizon. And according to some cable tests I’ve seen, the current cable distribution scheme might not work for your 3840x2160 video streams, especially as distances increase. Instead of black screens of “No Signal” or drop-outs and sparklies, Celerity offers a fiber solution that will support 4K runs up to 1000 feet!

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