John Sciacca

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  |  1 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.

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  |  May 05, 2020  |  0 comments

Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
PRICE $1,999

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Solves major TV installation issue
Solid build quality
Out-of-the-box automation
Minus
Limited horizontal swivel range
Awkward power/cable routing
Professional installation highly recommended

THE VERDICT
The MM860 costs more than many TVs, but it solves a common installation issue, performs reliably, and looks cool.

As long as architects design houses with a fireplace as the focal point of the living/family room, people will continue to mount their TVs above the fireplace mantel. But a problem with that location is that it situates the screen too high for comfortable viewing. And even though people know that height is going to be an issue, they often have no other obvious installation choice and are consequently forced to suffer life with TVOF (TV Over Fireplace) syndrome.

John Sciacca  |  Feb 20, 2020  |  0 comments
In my last blog, I discussed the generational improvements my custom installation company has witnessed since we started installing whole-house distributed audio systems back in 1995. Of course, almost everything has gotten better — and cheaper — over time, but one thing often overlooked in modern installations is operational simplicity for the guests who visit your home.
John Sciacca  |  Jan 15, 2020  |  0 comments
My company has installed whole-house, distributed audio systems since literally the day we opened our doors back in 1995, and over the years we’ve witnessed generational improvements in technology. Mostly gone are wall-mounted rotary volume controls, now replaced with smartphone app control. And “fixed” six-source/six-zone audio systems of the past have largely been replaced with scalable streaming systems that let you add more zones as needed.
John Sciacca  |  Jan 10, 2020  |  0 comments
There were no shortage of startups in the smart-home category at CES, but cruising up and down the aisles of Eureka Park in the Sands Expo Convention Center, I stumbled across Oval, a new all-in-one sensor that makes it an exciting entry into the crowded DIY smart-home sector.
John Sciacca  |  Jan 10, 2020  |  0 comments
While Meridian’s line-up of digital speakers might be out of your budget, you can still enjoy some of the company’s sonic digital wizardry which is featured in the new line of LG premium soundbars. These bars leverage a long-standing partnership between LG and Meridian Audio and apply Meridian’s in-depth understanding of psychoacoustics and world leading DSP expertise, incorporating key technologies such as Bass & Space, Image Elevation, and Meridian Upmix Technology to boost low-frequency reproduction, widen the soundstage, and ensure a more lifelike listening experience by elevating the perceived height of lead instruments and vocals — extra important when the bar is positioned beneath a display.
John Sciacca  |  Jan 10, 2020  |  2 comments
If your only reason for holding off on purchasing a new Lamborghini Huracan EVO to this point was that you were worried it wouldn’t integrate well with your new smart home, good news! At CES this week Amazon and Lamborghini announced that the 2020 EVO will be the first car to feature Alexa in-car integration!

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