John Sciacca

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  |  0 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  |  1 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.
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 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  |  Nov 19, 2020  |  0 comments
Buy once, cry once. You might be familiar with that old adage, which is used to describe the purchase of a high-cost item that entails upfront financial “pain,” but with no need to buy again in the future due to the superior craftsmanship and build quality. It’s often associated with tools and watches but works quite well for A/V gear.
John Sciacca  |  Sep 23, 2020  |  1 comments
In my last blog, I touched on the exciting world of voice control using widely available voice assistants from Amazon (Alexa), Google (Assistant), and Apple (Siri) embedded in smart speakers and other devices. But what if your home has an advanced automation control system from a company like Control4, Crestron, or Savant? This time we look at the limitations of voice control in today’s smart homes.
John Sciacca  |  Jul 08, 2020  |  0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $649

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Unbeatable price point
Supports major streaming services
Good connectivity options
Minus
Analog audio quality
Occasional lockups

THE VERDICT
The SRT4 is a value-priced multi-zone streamer that will fill your house with music for not much money, but also comes with ergonomic and sound quality limitations.

Housewide audio distribution has evolved rapidly over the past few years, with new systems abandoning traditional music sources like CD changers and terrestrial radio tuners to move almost exclusively to streamed content. When it comes to choosing a multizone music streamer for a system, the buying criteria today often boils down to how many streaming services it supports, app ease of use, and cost.

John Sciacca  |  Jul 02, 2020  |  0 comments
If George Orwell had lived to see millions of people voluntarily shelling out money to have listening devices installed inside of their homes, he’d likely shout, “I KNEW IT!” With untold R&D dollars having been poured into the development of voice assistants by Amazon, Google, and Apple, one of the most exciting developments in the home-control world over the past few years has been the addition of voice commands to systems. And while voice control is fantastic for doing some things, the experience comes up a bit short for others.
John Sciacca  |  May 27, 2020  |  13 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $2,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Striking front panel display
Excellent sound quality
Effective Dirac Live room correction
Future-ready MDC chassis
Minus
No analog video inputs
HDMI Out 2 only supports 1080p

THE VERDICT
Those who value sound quality will find much to love about the T 778, which features BluOS multiroom music streaming and Dirac Live room correction, along with an upgradeable chassis to prevent obsolescence.

While entry-level surround systems move increasingly toward less complicated designs that pair soundbars with wireless speakers and subs, the A/V receiver remains the steadfast workhorse of the media room. As such, it is arguably the most important component in your system, handling all audio/video switching, amplification, audio and room correction processing, and often much more. And as systems move from 5.1- to 11.2-channels-plus, the AVR is being called on to do even more.

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