Filed under: Full HD 1080p | Comment (0)
Are you streaming digital iTunes music throughout your home, viewing Netflix HD video from the Internet on your HDTV, or listening to Internet music stations such as Pandora? If so, then you should be doing everything you can to optimize your home network for the best possible audio and HD video performance. Proper network device settings and configurations can mean the difference between uninterrupted high quality HD video streaming and aggravating stop-and-start “buffering” low quality video streaming.
While your megabits per second downlink speed coming from your ISP certainly plays a vital role in uninterrupted HD video streaming success, so does the amount of data that can be transmitted over your local area home network in a given amount of time. Much like the size of a water pipe, the greater the bandwidth size, the more data you will have flowing to your network-connected HD device. If your home network is set up correctly, then, like constant water pressure, you will experience uninterrupted full HD video streaming picture quality.
Here are a few steps you can take right away to improve your network HD video streaming:
1. Purchase a router equipped with QoS (quality of service). When streaming HD video, data must be transferred in a steady flow to prevent video from stuttering. QoS detects video streams and gives them priority by allocating more bandwidth to your streaming HD video device.
2. Avoid overlapping channels with your 2.4 GHz wireless router transmission that can cause channel interference. This interference can drastically reduce wireless performance and speed. To avoid overlapping channels, use only channels 1, 6, or 11. If available, choose “Auto” for your 802.11n wireless router’s channel transmission.
3. As a general rule, choose 20 MHz with 2.4 GHz transmission in your wireless router settings. Only use 40 MHz with 5 GHz frequency transmission. When many neighboring access points are present, there is no guarantee that operating at 40 MHz will work best for you. Also, 40 MHz mode is not supported if backward compatibility with 802.11b is required.
If you are in the Greater Bay Area and would like professional help optimizing your home theater network for high quality HD audio and video streaming performance, please contact us at (650) 321-7833 or email@example.com.
Filed under: Full HD 1080p | Comment (1)
It’s that time of year again. Are you wondering what gifts you can give to the home theater enthusiasts in your life? Here are three of our staff’s favorite 2012 home theater gadgets that will fit in your holiday stockings and put a smile on even Ebenezer Scrooge’s face:
Apple AirPort Express – Stream Music Over Your Wireless Home Network
Already have a home Wi-Fi network in place? Use Apple AirPort Express to wirelessly stream music from your iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, or PC computer with the iTunes app to any speaker system location in your home for music listening.
In fact, you could purchase several AirPort Express base stations, which would give you a whole-house iTunes streaming music system. We have installed many AirPort Express base stations. It is a wonderful gift for streaming music from your iOS device to your existing theater speaker system.
Disney WOW: World of Wonder Disc – Optimize Your HDTV Picture Settings
The Disney WOW: World of Wonder Blu-ray calibration disc is a wonderful introduction for the home theater enthusiast who wants to see first-hand what a visible difference proper picture adjustment provides. Although this Blu-ray disc alone will not produce the picture quality results of a professionally ISF calibrated HDTV, it will get you started walking down a more picture-perfect road. This disc will allow you with the included test patterns to set black levels with brightness control, white levels with a contrast control, and set your sharpness control correctly to improve your HDTV’s picture right away.
Keep in mind that professional TV calibration services use other test patterns not included in this disc to perform gray scale tracking for proper color management control. Also, for gray scale tracking adjustment work, a professional calibrator uses a special piece of gear called a color analyzer to set color adjustment controls properly. Still, this is an excellent first step to eliminate some of the common picture setting problems you may encounter with a new HDTV.
RedEye Universal Remote – Control Your Home Theater from Your Smartphone
One of my favorite very well priced, yet powerful, home theater remote control solutions is RedEye, the next step in universal remote control by ThinkFlood. By leveraging your existing smartphone (iPhone, iPad, Android, or even your PC and Mac computer’s web-browser) and home Wi-Fi network, RedEye allows you to control your entire theater system.
The remote’s program is stored in the RedEye Wi-Fi docking base station. This means that any Wi-Fi capable smartphone with the RedEye app can instantly retrieve the program configuration from the RedEye base, and allow you to control your home theater system. I recommend hiring a professional to help you program the RedEye for optimum performance.
Please share in the comments section some of your favorite small gadgets that pack a big entertainment punch!
Filed under: Wireless Home Theater | Comment (0)
Do you wish for a 5.1 surround sound home theater system in a room that does not allow for in-wall wiring? To help you overcome slab concrete floors and cinderblock walls, a wireless home theater solution can be high quality and elegant, without the visible mess of wires. No matter what your room obstacles may be, here are three AV wireless solutions that will make it possible to have a complete 5.1 surround sound home theater system:
1. Wireless High Definition Video
To transmit HD video content from a source device, such as your Blu-ray player, to an HDTV wirelessly, you will need a transmission box that sends a wireless signal to a receiving box connected to your HDTV. One solution we have used with success and reliability is the IOGEAR Wireless HD Kit that sends full 1080p HD 60Hz video and digital audio to your HDTV. You may place your HDTV anywhere that best serves the room layout décor.
2. Wireless Surround Sound Speakers
For a wireless surround sound speaker system, the iCast by Soundcast offers an excellent solution to deliver the analog signal to your surround speakers. The iCast system requires an iCast receiver, an iCast transmitter, and a small two-channel amp with stereo line level inputs to drive your surround sound speaker pair.
For your left, center, and right speakers, I highly recommend using floor standing speakers directly wired to your AV receiver. For your center channel, locate it on top of an open cabinet, just below your on-wall HDTV, and house all of your source devices (Blu-ray player, Apple TV, etc.) on the lower remaining shelves. On the sides of your AV cabinet, place your floor standing left and right speaker pair.
For iCast and the small two channel amp to work for your surround sound speakers, be sure to have an electrical AC outlet on your back wall where your speaker pair will be located.
3. Wireless Subwoofer
For a wireless subwoofer solution, Velodyne offers an excellent product called the Velodyne WiConnect system. The WiConnect allows any subwoofer to receive the analog audio input signal from your AV receiver wirelessly. This system has four selectable channels that will not interfere with other Wi-Fi devices in your home and a transmission range of 50 feet.
Please keep in mind, this approach assumes you will have a cabinet just below your HDTV to store your AV gear and the center channel speaker will sit on the top shelf of your cabinet. I highly recommend going with a pair of front left and right floor standing speakers. As a general rule, a pair of floor standing speakers in their own enclosure will provide superior sound reproduction and a better sound stage than in-ceiling speakers for the same price point.
If given the choice of wired or wireless speakers, by all means use a wired speaker cable from your front of room amplifier to your rear surround sound speakers. However, do not let a slab concrete floor, no attic, and perhaps even cinderblock walls stop you from having a full 1080p HDTV picture with 5.1 theater surround sound for your home.
Looking for more wireless tips or help to implement a solution in the San Francisco Bay Area? Immersive Experiences offers custom home theater design and installation services. Please call us at 650.321.7833 for a free consultation.
Filed under: Touch screen remotes | Comment (0)
You know that you can control your iTunes music library on your computer with your smartphone. Did you know that you can now control all of your home theater equipment with it too? One of my favorite new home theater remote control solutions is RedEye, the next step in universal remote control by ThinkFlood. By leveraging your existing smartphone (iPhone, iPad, or Android) and home Wi-Fi network, RedEye allows you to control your entire theater system. The remote’s program is stored and retrieved from the RedEye Wi-Fi docking base station. Any Wi-Fi capable smartphone with the RedEye app can instantly retrieve the program from the RedEye base, and control your theater system. This means family and friends can walk into your living room without hunting for “the remote,” and instantly start controlling your theater system with their iPhone.
Easy to Use Remote with Motion-Gesture Features
My first experience with the RedEye remote system on a recent home theater installation was quite favorable. Once the RedEye system was properly integrated into the client’s existing theater system, the RedEye remote was reliable and responded quickly to command prompts. The app was so easy to use in fact, that my client’s 9-year-old daughter downloaded the app and started using it faster than I could explain how to use it!
One unique feature that I have not seen on any universal remote is the use of the iPhone’s accelerometer capabilities. The accelerometer allows you to send commands to your system with five different motion gestures. For example, when you receive a phone call and do not want to look down at the smartphone remote to find the mute button, you can mute your iPhone with the flick of your wrist!
You will need to purchase the RedEye Wi-Fi communication docking station, download the free RedEye app, and program the docking station to control your system.
One tip for optimizing your system’s performance is to use an IR distribution block. You can attach IR flashers directly to each system device, eliminating missed device remote control commands. For additional RedEye help and to ensure the best RedEye control and reliability, I recommend hiring a professional home theater integrator to set up your RedEye remote control system for you.
To learn more about taking control of your theater system with RedEye, contact us at (650) 321-7833 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Filed under: Home Theater Cable | Comment (1)
Are you searching for a new home? You know to look for foundation issues. However, what about the viability of running low-voltage wire throughout your new home?
If you would like high quality sound and video distributed throughout your home and to have a clean appearance with equipment wires hidden in the walls, taking a close look at the home’s home-theater readiness can help you anticipate the investment required. To help you successfully implement the whole house audio and video system of your dreams, here are a few considerations:
1. Look for existing home wiring
Check to see that the home has structured wiring in place. Residential structured wiring usually takes the form of a home-run with wiring runs from a central point (often in a closet or a basement) going out to all other rooms in the home. Check for the following low-voltage wiring to each room:
• Voice, Internet, streaming media: Cat 5, Cat 5e, or Cat 6 wire
• Satellite and digital cable: coax cable
• Speakers: speaker wire
2. Determine how easily wire can be run to each room
Does the home have an accessible crawlspace and attic? Ideally, you will have a home with a crawlspace and an attic to run wire whenever and wherever you need it. Even if none of the rooms currently have any wire ran to them, with a crawlspace and an attic, a home theater professional can run the wire for you. If the home does not have an accessible crawlspace or attic, a home theater professional can still run the wires, although it will require some sheet rock removal and drilling through studs to place the wire where it needs to go. Read more »
Filed under: Full HD 1080p | Comments (3)
1. Fix it or maximize what you already own
You put your hard earned money and time into your home entertainment system. Don’t you want the best picture and sound quality possible from your investment? A professional video calibration is an excellent first step, as it will noticeably improve your display’s picture quality. Read more »
Filed under: 3D HD | Comment (0)
An oversupply of LCD and plasma TVs is causing significant HDTV flat-panel price reductions right in time for the 2010 holiday shopping season. According to the research firm, DisplaySearch, starting in October and continuing through the end of the year, prices will be 12 percent below 2009 levels.
If you have been saying, “I’ll install the home theater system I have always wanted… once displays are more reasonably priced,” then now is a prime time to buy. Read more »
Filed under: Outdoor Home Theater | Comment (0)
A dedicated home theater system is no longer relegated to inside your home. You can now remodel your backyard into a first-class outdoor home theater system. For some, the appeal of an outdoor home theater is the nostalgic reminder of the drive-in theater. I have even heard swimming pool owners refer to it as their dive-in movie theater. For others, the appeal can be as simple as watching the game outside with your buddies while puffing on a Cuban cigar. Can you imagine how wonderful it would be to watch a basketball game by the pool or a movie under the stars? An outdoor home theater is an innovative solution for the sports and movie lover who wants to regularly enjoy the outdoors.
To implement a large outdoor display, I recommend a few approaches that look classy while protecting your display from the harsh elements of the outdoors:
• Recess a flat panel display into your backyard’s awning that flips down for viewing
• Recess a projector screen into your outdoor awning that rolls down for viewing
• Store your large display inside a waterproof unit and use a motorized lift to slowly carry the display into full view Read more »
Filed under: Touch screen remotes | Comment (0)
Did you know that you can control many of your favorite audio and video media components with your iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch, and other web browser capable wireless devices? Downloadable software applications from the web can transform your iPhone into a first-class wireless touch screen remote. I am happy to say that many multimedia device manufactures have generously provided the apps for free and only take a few seconds to set up.
Our staff’s top three favorite free media control apps compatible with iPhone, iPod touch, and iPad are:
1. Sonos Controller – for Sonos Systems
The Sonos Controller lets you do the following:
- Browse your entire music library
- Quickly search for your favorite artists
- View album cover art
- Stream music and radio stations from the web
- Select the room or zone to play the music
To download the Sonos Controller, visit the Sonos website.
2. i.TV – for TiVo and Roku Players
The i.TV app is primarily for TV and movie listings. The more exciting thing the i.TV app will do is act as a remote control for your TiVo HD DVR and HD Roku player. Read more »
Filed under: Full HD 1080p | Comments (2)
When you go to your local movie theater, the screen size and seating distances are such that you will have a viewing angle ranging from 26 to 40 degrees. A full HD 1080p display makes it possible for the picture detail to be maintained while you sit close enough to recreate the same degree of visual envelopment you experience at your local cinema.
If you would like to optimize your viewing experience at home, you can choose a display size, resolution, and viewing distance to replicate the movie theater experience. THX recommends a 36 degree viewing angle of the image, which in turn determines the seating distance location. From the prescribed THX seating location, you can then determine what resolution you will need to maintain optimum visual acuity (the ability of your eye to see and distinguish fine detail).. Read more »