CUSTOM INSTALLATION EQUIPMENT REVIEWS

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Darryl Wilkinson  |  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.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Apr 19, 2011  |  0 comments
[Part one of this article can be found here.]

The wholehouse story.

Home automation is just too cool. There’s no doubt about it. Sure, it’s great to turn on your home theater system and go to the correct input or channel with the press of one button. But there are a number of good universal remotes that’ll do that. I want to be able to use that same remote to turn the lights on and off, lock and unlock doors, raise and lower shades, and, well, anything else I can think of. (I’d like it to cook and clean, but I’m afraid domestic robots are still a bit further in the future.) In last month’s issue, I highlighted parts of the latest incarnation of Control4’s expandable home automation system, specifically how the company’s three controllers and new 2.0 software update give you the ability to control your entire home theater, the lights in your house, and even door locks. Control4’s 4Store marketplace will ideally let third-party apps expand the system in ways that Control4 hasn’t thought of—such as managing the energy usage in your home. But there’s plenty more to talk about that we couldn’t fit in that issue. This time, in addition to the seduction of motorized shades, I’ll cover some of the nuts and bolts of putting a Control4 system together, as well as what it takes to program and control it.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Feb 21, 2006  |  0 comments
A controlling interest in your home theater can turn into a wholehouse-friendly takeover.

Silly girl. My wife thinks our home theater system ought to sound great and be easy to operate. She also wants one remote control to work the gear, the lights, and whatever else she desires dominion over.

Darryl Wilkinson  |  Jul 18, 2000  |  First Published: Jul 19, 2000  |  0 comments
A Touching Experience: The Crestron CNX-PAD8 wholehouse audio-distribution processor helps your A/V system reach out to other rooms.

Which is easier to find: an honest politician, an easy-to-use wholehouse A/V system, or a woman who's so in to electronics that she has the A/V gear installed in her new home before the furniture has arrived?

Kim Wilson  |  Sep 19, 2008  |  0 comments

Imagine taking a complete rack system and condensing it into a single chassis. Maybe it sounds like science fiction or just a system's integrator's pipedream. Michael Pyle, the president of SE2 Labs, was a systems integrator and knows all the ups and downs of the trade. What once was a pipedream is now a reality in the form of the ITC One.

Kim Wilson  |  Feb 03, 2009  |  8 comments

Reinforcing the brand’s commitment to provide the utmost elegance and functionality to dcor-conscious home theater furniture, OmniMount launched its new Karim Collection line of lifestyle furniture with the Prism 50. The new collection is in partnership with industrial and interior designer Karim Rashid.

Kim Wilson  |  Oct 23, 2008  |  0 comments

For a bold statement, the designer loudspeakers from NACSound will surely get noticed and compliment the most daring contemporary dcors. Direct from Italy, these handmade custom speakers are distributed in the US and Canada by Sonance, a leader in custom hidden solutions for loudspeakers. The NACSound for Sonance speakers are hardly meant to be hidden and in fact, should be prominently displayed.

Debbie Stampfli  |  Mar 16, 2009  |  0 comments

It’s the great debate of home theater enthusiasts: Should you compromise your room’s uncluttered design in order to accommodate a bigger speaker system? Whether you’re a minimalist with a taste for high-quality sound or a home theater fanatic who doesn’t have room for an ordinary speaker system, it’s time to consider in-walls. These nearly invisible speakers can give you outstanding sound without taking up space, and they show off your room’s design in an unobtrusive way. If you’ve never thought about in-walls, it may be time for a change of heart.

Kim Wilson  |  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  |  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.

Debbie Stampfli  |  Apr 01, 2009  |  0 comments

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 design 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.

Debbie Stampfli  |  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.

Mark Elson  |  Jun 27, 2003  |  First Published: Jun 28, 2003  |  0 comments
A little motorization can add a lot of enjoyment, both functionally and aesthetically.

Plasma TVs swing and pivot in midair with the help of articulating arms. Motorized speakers unhinge and then retract. Projectors and screens gracefully descend from ceilings and then magically disappear. TVs rise and fall with the help of hydraulic lowboys. Drapes open and close at will. Seats (and parts of your anatomy) move and shake. Think your equipment needs to stay still? Think you need to stay still? Think again.

Kim Wilson, Photos Randall Cordero  |  Aug 25, 2008  |  1 comments

<I>Bringing high-performance home theater to the masses.</I>

Mark Fleischmann  |  Aug 16, 2007  |  0 comments

Home theater is the integration of big-screen television and surround sound. But how often do you see the two product categories integrated with <i>each other</i>? That's what makes a new system from Atlantic Technology and Epson so special.

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