CUSTOM INSTALLATION EQUIPMENT REVIEWS

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jun 16, 2010 0 comments
I’ve always lived in a used house. “Existing home” is the euphemism real estate people like to use. Life is good—until you realize that there are no phone jacks close to the spots where your bed or desk should go. And why are there no Ethernet jacks in the house? And no wiring for TVs anywhere but the living room? Needless to say, you can’t find in-wall speakers, volume controls, or multiroom A/V distribution of any kind. Maybe you should have guessed from the horse and buggy parked in the garage when your real estate agent showed the house that the previous owners weren’t interested in keeping up with the more technologically advanced Joneses across the street.
Mark Elson Posted: Jun 03, 2010 0 comments
One of the myths about lighting control systems is that you can only install them if you’re building a new house, where the walls aren’t built yet, or if you’re performing a major remodel, where all of the walls are torn down. This myth perpetuates on the assumption that you need to run lots of wire while the framing is exposed. It’s true that once the drywall is up, pulling wire becomes prohibitively expensive because of the labor required. But I’m here to bust the myth that you can’t have fun with your lighting in a finished home. In the case of lighting dimming control, you can enjoy many of the features you’d find in a whole-house wired system, without the wire and the accompanying labor expense.
Mark Elson Posted: May 10, 2010 0 comments
Once when we were watching a DVD in the media room, my wife missed a scene because she was nodding off. But usually it’s me who does the nodding. I search for the remote control, and I can never find it when I need it. Forget about the whole remote, I’ll just settle for the right button. I fish around. There, that must be it. My fingers traverse the button terrain to find the Pause or Rewind button in the dark purely by feel. Because I’m holding the darned thing upside down, I accidentally hit the Open/Close button, which stops the movie cold and slides open the disc tray. Ah, the joys of not missing a minute of a movie!
Debbie Stampfli Posted: May 03, 2010 3 comments

Home theater devotees tend to be homebodies at heart. After all, for the quality of the experience, movies look best in dark, windowless rooms with no sunlight. But, for an alternative theater experience, take your movies outside. There are a number of weatherproof options that will entice even the most devout indoor movie lover, with speakers, flat panels, and enclosures that withstand heat, water, and whatever else you can throw at them. Maybe going outside isn’t as scary as you thought.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Apr 19, 2010 0 comments
Price: $3,945 At A Glance: Up to three independent music streams • Built-in FM tuner in each keypad • Rhapsody and SHOUTcast Internet radio access

Collage Hits a Home Run

Given the choice, Hercules would choose to clean the Augean stables in a single day rather than wire my house for multiroom audio. Gypsum dust, asbestos-laden insulation fibers, desiccated rodents, and poisonous spiders are just a few of the delights that await the installer (or, in reality, me) who takes on the task. It’s also a logistical nightmare since my house doesn’t have an attic or basement, plus the house only has about 8 inches of crawl space underneath it. Don’t get me wrong, I like my house. It’s the thought of running wire through, under, and around it that gives me pause.

Debbie Stampfli Posted: Apr 13, 2010 0 comments

Acoustic treatments don’t need to be bland to make your sound stand out.
In the past, acoustic panels were primarily utilitarian. They could absorb and diffuse sound, but they did little to reinforce your room’s style. Thankfully, times have changed. Now companies offer practical acoustic panels in stylish and up-to-date colors and fabrics; some even incorporate patterns and lighting. Since you’re no longer doomed to using big black rectangles, it’s time to add a splash of color or design to your walls and ceilings with the latest acoustic panels. Acoustic treatments don’t need to be eyesores in your beautiful home theater.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Nov 23, 2009 1 comments
So Many Rooms, So Few Wires

My home began as a tiny two-room house on a hilltop in the middle of nowhere back in the late 1800s. A century later, I’m sitting in a cubbyhole office in the original upstairs section. Old and new sections butt up against one another. Some of the home’s old elements have been remade to look new, while its new parts have a patina of old. Straight lines and level floors are few and far between. With two totally separate (in both location and age) upstairs areas, it almost qualifies as a human Habitrail. As they say in the real estate business, it has character.

Kim Wilson Posted: Nov 13, 2009 0 comments

You can't have an audio system without speakers, however, it's the speakers that cause the most problems, especially with respect to interior design. Known for their wide selection of residential ceiling fans, Hunter has teamed up with Soundolier Integrated Wireless Technologies to create the Concert Breeze, a combination ceiling fan and powered audio system.

Kim Wilson Posted: Nov 10, 2009 1 comments

Delivering up to 14TB of centralized network storage, Envive's TheaterStation Multi-zone Digital Media Management System keeps all your media in one convenient location. A single TheaterStation Client can connect with a variety of 4TB, 6TB, 10TB and 14TB storage units that fit in standard rack mounts. As your video and audio library expands, so will your Envive system. Users can easily transfer, store and sort music and movies, whether they are created, purchased on hard media or downloaded from the Internet. The complete TheaterStation product line is ideal for either single-zone or multi-zone installations.

Kim Wilson Posted: Oct 15, 2009 1 comments

if you thought you couldn't afford a high quality 1080p projector– think again. Panasonic's new PT-AE4000U just lowered the bar, on price, but not quality. This LCD projector retails for $2499, though some say it can be found for less, even from authorized dealers for hundreds less. Consciously designed for smaller home theaters, the PT-AE1000U can project a 120-inch image from as little as 11 to as much as 24 feet away. You sure can't get that in a flat panel display for a mere $2.5k.

Kim Wilson Posted: Oct 14, 2009 1 comments

Whole-house music need not be expensive or require extensive integration. Moreover, it can be easily controlled with something you may already own. Enter the new Sonos Zone Player S5. This wireless, zone player with built-in speakers will stream music from your PC or Mac and is easily controlled with an Apple iPhone or iPod Touch. The Sonos S5 will be available in late October for $399 each and the iPhone app that controls it is free.

Kim Wilson Posted: Oct 07, 2009 0 comments

Stewart Filmscreen is branching out, providing unique window treatments designed to improve the overall home cinema experience. While the Acoustishade is a beautiful addition to any decor, available in a variety of colors and any custom size, it also controls ambient light as well as exterior noise from interfering with the viewing experience. The Acoustishade is the most stylish and cost effective soundproofing solution available.

Kim Wilson Posted: Sep 22, 2009 2 comments

While the title of this entry may sound like an oxymoron, I assure you it's not. Runco has recently announced details about the LS-3 LightStyle projector that will ship in November, just in time for Christmas. Retailing for only $4995, this is the Runco projector many folks have been waiting for.

Kim Wilson Posted: Sep 04, 2009 1 comments

For the price of other stand-alone Blu-ray players, it only makes sense to invest in Samsung's BD-P3600, which integrates streaming technology providing you a lot more bang for the buck. Streaming movies, TV, music and other content is without question the wave of the future,,,and the wave is only gathering up more water as a variety of new AV products are partnering with content providers.

Kim Wilson Posted: Sep 03, 2009 0 comments

Apple's iPhone and iTouch have certainly been game changers when it comes to touch screen control. Logitech has updated their Squeezebox WiFi music player with a color touch screen and called it the Squeezebox Touch. Of course, there is much more to this new model than just a fancy screen.

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