The Connected Life

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John Sciacca  |  Sep 04, 2023  |  0 comments
When you think of “entertaining” with your AV system, chances are the first thing that comes to mind is your home theater or media room. But what about your backyard? Is it setup for outdoor entertaining?
John Sciacca  |  Jul 10, 2023  |  2 comments
Ultra-short-throw (UST) projectors that can produce 100-plus-inch images when placed only a foot or so from a wall are gaining popularity. In addition to being way easier to install than traditional ceiling-mount projectors, they are suitable for daytime viewing and have become reasonably affordable. If the idea of a UST projector appeals to you, here are a few things to keep in mind.
John Sciacca  |  May 09, 2023  |  3 comments
I’ve worked in the custom business for over 20 years so I’m always looking ahead to see what’s on the horizon. I’m happy to report that there’s plenty to keep me optimistic and excited about the future of custom installation and smart home technology, though there will always be challenges along the way.
John Sciacca  |  Mar 07, 2023  |  25 comments
In the third and final part of a series, the focus is on things you should expect after the installation is completed, whether on that day if it’s a small job or in the days after a larger project.
John Sciacca  |  Jan 16, 2023  |  14 comments
If you’re looking to hire an installer for a job — or really have any trade come and work in your home — here are some suggestions to help make the project go smoother for everyone. In Part 1 of this mini-series we covered what to do and be aware of leading up to installation day. Here, we cover what to expect on the day of the installation.
John Sciacca  |  Nov 15, 2022  |  15 comments
If you’re looking to hire an installer for a job — or really have any trade come and work in your home — here are some suggestions for making the project go smoother for everyone, starting with things you should do and be aware of leading up to installation day.
John Sciacca  |  Sep 15, 2022  |  2 comments
When I began this series of columns earlier this year, I had no idea it would turn into a four-part, treatise on the evolution and current state of choosing a big-screen TV for your media room or home theater. To conclude this tetralogy, I address two additional solutions that straddle the divide between wanting a fantastic, cinematic experience in a non-dedicated/light-controlled room — options that don’t require a wallet melting budget.
John Sciacca  |  Jul 12, 2022  |  3 comments
When I started my career as a custom installer, getting a cinema-size image meant a front projection system in a light-controlled room. But technology has since developed to the point where you can now get a 100-inch flat-panel TV for well under twenty grand. Which solution is right for you?
John Sciacca  |  May 18, 2022  |  0 comments
No matter how large and thin your TV is, you have the equivalent of a giant black hole on the wall when the set is turned off. Here are five ways to hide your screen.
John Sciacca  |  Mar 08, 2022  |  0 comments
When I started out as a custom installer back in 1998, a “big screen” was a 60-inch rear-projection TV, with high-end models available from the likes of Mitsubishi and Pioneer Elite. These were 4:3 aspect ratio, cathode ray tube-driven sets with 480i resolution, and they were physically hulking beasts weighing upwards of hundreds of pounds. Boy, have things changed over the past 20-plus years.
John Sciacca  |  Dec 23, 2021  |  1 comments
Given the proliferation of internet-connected devices in the home, the most common system problems can often be boiled down to network issues. Whether it is slow Wi-Fi, choppy streaming quality, or a total inability to connect, if something is amiss with your home’s network, there will be a cascade of glitches. Here's how to figure out what's going on.
John Sciacca  |  Nov 01, 2021  |  1 comments
For years, most of the service calls my company received were cable TV-related. And it didn’t matter if the customer’s TV screen read “No Signal,” there was no sound, image quality was poor, or they couldn’t change channels or access the program guide, all issues were usually fixed with one simple action: rebooting the cable box. Nowadays, the service calls we get usually involve issues with a home’s network...
John Sciacca  |  Aug 24, 2021  |  2 comments
The luxury video business is hard. Don’t believe me? Consider companies like Pioneer, Hitachi, Fujitsu, Mitsubishi, Runco, Escient, and ReQuest. And those are just a few brands that have either exited that market or no longer exist. One company that has consistently delivered the highest quality home theater experience since its inception 20 years ago is Kaleidescape.
John Sciacca  |  Jul 19, 2021  |  2 comments
My previous column covered ways to control both a modern A/V system and a smart home using various manufacturer-supplied apps. With smartphone and tablet use now widespread, and smart devices capable of being controlled via free iOS and Android apps proliferating, app-based control has also surged. Whether you’re streaming music, controlling your A/V receiver, or managing your home’s energy or security systems, there’s now an app that can help you to do it smarter, better, and more easily. And since most people are now in the habit of carrying their phones 24/7, they basically have a full-blown system controller in their pocket at all times.
John Sciacca  |  May 11, 2021  |  2 comments
The introduction of the iPhone in 2007 — or, more specifically, Apple opening its App Store to third-party developers in 2008 — turned out to be one of the most consequential developments ever to hit the home automation market. It was mind-blowing to watch this small, handheld device being used as a full-blown system controller to operate all manner of equipment and it became clear that this was a game-changing technology. Fast forward to 2021: Here are some key categories where app-based control has made an impact.