THE CONNECTED LIFE

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John Sciacca  |  Oct 26, 2016  |  3 comments
For many, going out to the movies is the perfect excuse to escape from the house. Get away from the kids. Unwind from work. Enjoy a date night. Whatever. Many people love the shared, communal experience of the local Cineplex. And, for the longest time, that has been the only way for law abiding, non-Hollywood types to watch a first room movie without waiting months for it to release to the home market whether on disc, on demand rental, or streaming.

But what if there were a way to watch movies at home, day-and-date when they were released in the theater? Would this be worth something to you? And if so, how much…?

John Sciacca  |  Nov 09, 2016  |  1 comments
I was stunned when in August I learned movie server pioneer, Kaleidescape, had closed its doors. The company remained closed for nearly three weeks—though it continued delivering movies via its movie store and systems in the field remained fully operational—before securing new funding and resuming operations.
John Sciacca  |  Jul 21, 2015  |  2 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...

John Sciacca  |  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.
John Sciacca  |  Feb 03, 2016  |  7 comments
Resident audio professor, Ken C. Pohlmann, recently wrote a blog entitled “Millenials: Your Soundbars are Killing Us” that generated quite a bit of ire among readers. The post generated over 30 comments both for, but mainly against, Ken’s assertion that millennials’ “insatiable love of soundbars” was going to ruin audio for the rest of us.
John Sciacca  |  May 25, 2016  |  1 comments
One of the biggest benefits computing integration has brought to modern AV gear is the advent of flash memory that can be repeatedly and easily updated with new firmware. Firmware updates provide not only ongoing improvements and performance benefits, but can even add new features. Let us count the ways…
John Sciacca  |  Mar 26, 2012  |  0 comments

Control4 unveiled two new processors at this year’s CES, the HC800 ($999) and the HC250 ($599). They offer way more power for system control and provide a much zippier interface when controlling different areas of the home or browsing a media library.

John Sciacca  |  Oct 06, 2008  |  0 comments

Being a custom installer is no easy feat. More often than not, the job involves problem-solving and figuring out a way to make a square peg fit in a round hole. Fortunately, the manufacturers that support the world of custom installation have produced a lot of terrific products to make these possible.

John Sciacca  |  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.
John Sciacca  |  Nov 20, 2012  |  0 comments
For want of a smart control, the table was cluttered with remotes. For want of the right remote, the A/V receiver was turned to the wrong input. For lack of the right input, the audio and video signals were lost. For failure of the A/V signal, the movie could not be watched. For lack of the movie, the party was ruined.
John Sciacca  |  Mar 23, 2015  |  0 comments
A few years ago, I attended a product demonstration at CES by a company famous for touting how durable its hard drives were. In fact, the company—ioSafe—calls its products “disaster proof hardware” and used CES to deliver extreme, over-the-top demonstrations to prove just what kind of damage their drives could withstand and still protect all of the data stored within.
John Sciacca  |  Oct 16, 2012  |  0 comments

App is a word that was barely even part of the public lexicon a few years ago, but now has become such an entrenched part of it that even my mom — quite possibly the least technologically inclined person on the planet — drops the phrase, “There’s probably an app for that.”

John Sciacca  |  Feb 13, 2015  |  5 comments
Smart door locks have become a new automation frontier lately, and for good reason. With a smart lock you can remotely let someone into your home, monitor who is coming and going with the use of different digital key codes, don’t need a physical key to enter, and can make sure the door relocks automatically or at night before you go to bed. I’ve got three of them in my home and they have definitely been a lifestyle improvement.

However all of these smart door locks have one major weakness in common...

John Sciacca  |  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.)
John Sciacca  |  Mar 01, 2017  |  0 comments
The number-one service call issue at my custom installation firm used to be cable TV related—generally resolved by rebooting the cable company’s crappy set-top box. But as people increasingly “cord cut” away from traditional entertainment means, the majority of calls we receive now are internet and network related, specifically of the, “My Wi-Fi sucks. Can you fix it?” variety.

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