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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 1 comments
Soundbars are one of the hottest growing market segments, letting people add significantly better sound to the mediocre garbage that spews out of the “speakers” included with most flat panel TVs. While most sound bars talk about sound quality and surround immersion – both important traits, of course – the new Yamaha YSP-2500 has a “Target” feature that addresses a completely different issue!

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 13, 2014 0 comments
Reach Out and See Someone Video calling is certainly nothing new, in fact with iPhone and Android devices most of us carry the ability to video chat with someone around in our pocket. But the home intercom is still a popular request, especially in larger homes where you want a more elegant way to find everyone than, “HELLO?!? WHERE ARE YOU?!? HELLO!!!!” New company, Nucleus, has one of the coolest intercom systems I’ve seen in a while and at a price that is pretty startling.

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 11, 2014 0 comments
People like the idea of having a full motion, articulating arm flat panel TV wall mount but they generally avoid buying them for two big reasons: 1) They stick off the wall too far and look ugly when the TV is pushed back “flat” against the wall and 2) They are too stiff and hard to move. OmniMount’s new OE120IW recessed in-wall mount system solves both of these issues.

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 10, 2014 0 comments
Origin Acoustics is made up of the team that literally invented the architectural speaker in 1976 and they have re-teamed to revitalize and re-revolutionize the in-wall and in-ceiling category. Company president, Jeremy Burkhardt, said they reunited because of the shared passion and love for this business and industry and the desire to continue making innovative products. The team’s first step was to get together and examine the leading architectural speakers currently on the market and brainstorm ways to make these speakers smaller so larger woofers can fit in smaller spaces and easier to install.
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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 04, 2014 0 comments
PRICE $568 and up ($967 as tested)

Fast and simple setup
Long transmission range
Zero detectable latency
Optical input doesn’t support Dolby or DTS bitstreams

XStream works exactly as promised, beaming audio around the home with little effort. Easily integrates with existing audio distribution systems or functions standalone.

Thanks to companies like Sonos and Bluesound, wireless audio distribution systems are gaining real traction in the marketplace. And if you’re starting from ground zero, these can be terrific options for sending music around an existing home.

But what if you have an existing audio system you want to expand on? Say an older Elan, Niles, or Russound housewide system that’s feeding multiple rooms that you want to add to? Or if you purchased a multi-zone A/V receiver and want to add music to a far bedroom or porch? Or maybe you just want to add some surround channels to the back of a room or new Dolby Atmos speakers that wouldn’t be possible or cost effective to do with traditional wiring? If any of those sounds like you, Russound’s new XStream X1 wireless audio system might be the perfect solution.

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John Sciacca Posted: Aug 27, 2014 3 comments
Your home is likely filled with all manner of smart devices, but your most precious electronics—your rack of AV gear and video display—are likely all connected to one of the dumbest devices in your house: your surge protector.

When most people go shopping for a surge protector they focus on figures like clamping rate, response time, single pulse energy dissipation, voltage protection rating, number of outlets, and the warranty. And these are all important things – especially if that sad, sad day ever comes when your house is visited by The Big One; that dreaded bolt of lightning that picks out your home like the angry finger of God. But there are some real advantages that come from giving your surge protector an Ethernet connection and a big o'le steroid shot full of IQ points.

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John Sciacca Posted: Aug 20, 2014 0 comments
When you think about technology, you probably imagine the sexy-cool stuff like multichannel home theater systems, über-thin flat-panel displays, or high-res audio from your favorite artist streamed to any room of your home. And, yes, these are definitely the fun parts of tech that make this such a great hobby for us all.

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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: Jul 16, 2014 0 comments
When you think about a home security system, you probably think about protection and sirens that go off and keypads that go BEEP-BEEP when someone opens a door. And while that is a huge part of a security system’s mission statement, a security system is also a huge source of information that an automation system can mine to execute events around the home!

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John Sciacca Posted: Jun 18, 2014 2 comments
Because you are currently reading this, I’m going to make three assumptions…

1) You have fine taste in A/V writers.
2) You are currently alive.
3) You have a barely concealed disdain for your Internet Service Provider and would like to pay them as little as possible while retaining the maximum surfing speeds.

According to the American Customer Satisfaction Index, American ISPs now have the lowest customer satisfaction ranking of any industry in the country. And bottoming out that grim list of corporate scum and villainy is Comcast and Time Warner, the two most hated companies in the US. So, congrats, guys! One of the reasons why we seem to hate our ISP so vehemently is the growing cost of service coupled with horrific customer service and reliability and speed issues. Read on if you want to do something about it…


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