The Connected Life

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John Sciacca  |  May 07, 2014  |  0 comments
Good listening is safe listening. Here are three sets of headphones that add to your (and your kids) enjoyment of music without blowing out your eardrums.
John Sciacca  |  Apr 16, 2014  |  2 comments
A few weeks ago I got an email notification from my Kaleidescape movie server saying temperatures has exceeded safe operating range and the server would be shutting itself down if temps didn’t soon return to normal. “What the hell?!” I wondered. Nothing had changed in my rack, I hadn’t added any new gear or changed anything with the ventilation and the server was exactly where it had always been sitting and working fine for the past few years. Of course, I immediately blamed my 7 year old daughter, accusing her of all manner of destructive behavior, but when she assured me she was (in this case) innocent, I searched further.
John Sciacca  |  Apr 01, 2014  |  19 comments
Ask virtually any music listener if they own any high-resolution audio files, and they’ll likely give you a blank stare, wait a beat, and then maybe come back with a question like, “You mean like CDs I put on my computer or something?”

For the record, high-resolution refers to music recorded at better than CD’s 44.1-kHz/16-bit quality, usually 96-kHz/24-bit, typically written as “96/24.” (See my high-rez audio audio primer here).

John Sciacca  |  Mar 18, 2014  |  0 comments
Once Cutting-Edge Systems Are Starting to Look like Dinosuars

Having been a custom installer since 1998, I’ve installed more than my share of housewide audio systems. And, as you can imagine, these systems have changed and evolved quite a bit over the years.

John Sciacca  |  Feb 18, 2014  |  1 comments
As a custom installer, I’m routinely asked, “What should I do with my old stuff?” It’s a great question, because with all the recent advancements and price drops in technology, lots of people are upgrading and ending up with older gear still in working order but with no idea what to do with it. If you find yourself in this predicament, here are some suggestions that I give to my clients.

John Sciacca  |  Dec 23, 2013  |  0 comments
As 2013 winds down, it seems appropriate to share the trends—tech and otherwise—that struck me at the annual CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) Expo this past September in Denver.
John Sciacca  |  Nov 20, 2013  |  3 comments
Back when I was a kid, I took my TV watching very seriously. It was an active event that demanded laser-like, sugar-fueled focus. I mean, just one glance away from those glowing cathode rays could result in missing some crucial Scooby Doo or Brady Bunch plot twist, possibly resulting in years of wondering what exactly happened to Marsha’s nose.

Reaching back into the days before DVR, DVD-R, or even VCR, you basically got one shot at watching something. And that meant TV viewers had some serious skin in the game when watching a show that was important to them. There were no pausing, no on-demand, and no Web streaming alternatives.

John Sciacca  |  Oct 29, 2013  |  0 comments
Perusing your favorite AV site (it’s this one, right?!), browsing real or virtual aisles of an electronics store, or surfing the Web, you’ve undoubtedly run across multiple companies offering to improve your audio by adding a soundbar. With models ranging from sub $100 to over $2,000, it’s a category that has exploded practically overnight.

In a way, soundbars can be likened to nuclear power; used correctly, they can improve your life, but misused can kill everyone in the world several times over. (I don’t have all the science needed to back that up, but I’m pretty sure it’s true.)

John Sciacca  |  Oct 01, 2013  |  2 comments
Coupled with high-speed Internet and the growing app marketplace, smartphones are often the most important tech device in many of our lives, with phone calling often the least used feature. The exciting news for techies is the amount of control available for your home from anywhere in the world, and much of this amazing tech is affordable and DIY-friendly to install!
John Sciacca  |  Sep 10, 2010  |  0 comments

My dad called me the other day. He had just rented Avatar and he wanted to know if I had seen it and if the version I watched was in 3D and why his wasn't. A client sent me an e-mail asking whether he could use a new 3D TV to watch regular, non-3D programming.

John Sciacca  |  Sep 11, 2008  |  0 comments

You may consider Jim Carrey to be many things - comedic genius, overpaid goofball - but technological futurist probably isn't one of them. However, his prediction in the 1996 movie The Cable Guy has proved to be surprisingly accurate: "The future is now!

John Sciacca  |  Sep 18, 2012  |  0 comments

High-rez music is the most exciting audio development to come along in years, and I’ve written quite a bit about it. But I’ve received enough questions concerning high-rez that I felt it was time to devote a column to the subject. What follows is a primer that touches on the basics of high-rez music: what it is, how to get it, and how to play it.

John Sciacca  |  Oct 01, 2005  |  0 comments

Writing for Sound & Vision has taken me to such exotic locales as an aircraft carrier at sea and George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch.

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  |  Jul 01, 2011  |  0 comments

Friday the 13th is nothing to fear this month as remote control giant URC releases the first wave of its new Total Control platform of housewide automation, control, and audio distribution components today.

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