The Connected Life

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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  |  Jun 20, 2019  |  0 comments
In my last blog, “Home Theater Planning: Walk Back the Design,” I discussed the process I use to help clients decide on a new surround-sound system installation. Basically, I encourage them to work back from how they want the project to look when it’s finished instead of focusing up front on other criteria like performance.
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  |  Apr 09, 2021  |  3 comments
I’ve been doing my “Connected Life” (originally “The Custom Installer”) column every issue now for almost 20 years. Over that time, I’ve covered numerous how to’s, tips and tricks, walk-thrus, and suggestions for virtually anything related to the custom installation world. But now, after roughly 200 columns, features, and blog posts, I’m wondering what kinds of posts will resonate and be most helpful to you, the Sound and Vision readers.

So, I’m asking for your help and input.

John Sciacca  |  Mar 01, 2019  |  0 comments
When I first began my job as a custom installer back in 1998, I frequently had to explain to people exactly what our company did. “We install home theater systems; it’s like having a movie theater in your house,” I’d usually say.
John Sciacca  |  Apr 26, 2019  |  0 comments
In my last blog, I discussed the many clients I meet with who have no idea how to begin the design process when planning a new home theater or media room installation. Instead of focusing on specific technologies and performance, I have found it best in these cases to work the design process back from how they would like the room to look after the installation is completed.
John Sciacca  |  May 07, 2020  |  0 comments
Motorized window shades and smart lighting are a godsend for controlling light in an open, mixed-use media room. Here’s how.
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.
John Sciacca  |  Mar 16, 2021  |  0 comments
In my previous blog, I considered areas in your A/V budget where you should consider splurging when building a system. If you’re fortunate enough to have the budget for a high-end home entertainment system, then absolutely pursue the best gear available. Premium gear does offer premium performance — plus pride of ownership — and it’s hard to put a price on the joy a top-notch system can deliver. But for the bulk of us who need to carefully allocate our A/V budget, here are some suggestions on where to consider saving, or even scrimping.
John Sciacca  |  Sep 13, 2016  |  3 comments
As football season gets underway, it’s inevitable that I’ll get phone calls about mounting TVs on a porch, deck, or some other outside area as people prepare to watch their favorite team while enjoying the fall weather. And, I have to say, after spending a long weekend lounging by my swimming pool, sipping a beer, and watching The Masters golf tournament, I get the allure of outdoor video.

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