Category Archives: Contractor

4K Ultra HD Blu-ray Player Now available from Samsung

While 4K has now been about over a year, Blu-ray DVD players have not been able to show movies in 4K quality. Consumers have been dependent on streaming to see 4K movies. But, now Samsung has produced a 4K ultra HD Blu-ray player for your added enjoyment. It reveals up to 64X Greater Color Expression than Conventional Blu-ray and Fast Action Moves Super Smooth Across the Screen with 60 frames per second.

Add this player to your 4K TV and watch your favorite 4K produced movies again and again.

Remodeling?

When do I plan for my home’s technology set up?

Whether it’s time for a new bathroom, kitchen or even a deck, it is best to plan early for your data, video, audio and possibly telephone needs. Let’s face it. You always have some sort of technology altered/installed in any project nowadays. Your contractor should be asking you about these things when discussing your renovation project. If they are not, then you need to address it with them. If they don’t work with an AV integrator, then you will need to bring one in at the planning stages for design and an estimate. Deciding after the project has been started by the contractor could result in major headaches from poor budgeting, renovation delays, and worse case…not being able to get what you want or who you want to perform the installation because you waited too long.
Here are some popular add-ons to rooms that are generally not thought to need AV or data.

Kitchen: an in-ceiling speaker, a small mounted TV or iPad docking station. How about a centralized charging station for the household cell phones?

Bathroom: in-ceiling speaker with controls, small TV

Deck: multiple outdoor speakers, outdoor TV, outdoor box for control of audio, network expansion

Household Networking: How does it perform? Is the Wi-Fi signal getting to the right places? Are your streaming media devices using Wi-Fi instead of being hardwired? (which they should be) Remodeling projects are a great opportunity to run a few cables to increase the overall usability of the network.

Keep in mind too that remodeling contractors are not AV integrators. Most electricians want nothing to do with low voltage wiring and while the contractor may offer to run cabling, their main skill set is not in AV. If they don’t bring in an AV integrator, ask about their in-house person’s experience in AV. Would you hire an HVAC tech to run your electrical wires? Then don’t hire a carpenter to put your AV system together.

2016 Consumer Electronic Show

The Consumer Electronics Show is over and the word around town is that it wasn’t a whole lot different from the 2015 show when it comes to AV electronics. Not surprising to us as we generally get wind of anything really HUGE hitting the market, at least in our industry.
Lew & I attended CES back in 2010, shortly after I joined the business. It was the year the super thin LEDs TVs were launched. Now that was exciting. An entire convention hall filled to the brim with thousands of flat screen TVs set up in every possible contortion by the big name manufacturers; Samsung, Panasonic, LG, Sony. Truthfully, it was overwhelming, but very cool to see.

It was also the year of 3D TV and yes there were quite a few people that looked rather green after trying out the new glasses. There was still some work to be done and perhaps still is to this day.

What is interesting is that some of the futuristic products back then are now making their “go to market” debut this year, and they are even more impressive, such as smart appliances. If you want a refrigerator that can tell you via an app what the inside of your refrigerator looks like, then it is here now. With an infrared camera inside, you see the contents via an app and then can stop by the store rather than call your kid to ask if you are out of milk.

Wearables are very big this year. From smart bracelets, to belts to ski vests, electronic manufacturers are counting on consumers expanding beyond the smart phone for information.

Robotic devices are also the rage. AI technology we once only saw in the movies is now becoming a consumer reality for security, information, cleaning, and even simply friendship, with limitations of course.

If you’ve never been to the Consumer Electronics Show and that inner geek has you curious, you won’t be disappointed. One…it’s in Vegas, Two…its dirt cheap, if not free and Three…you are more than welcomed by a hoard of manufacturer reps who want to sell you on their latest & greatest device that will…maybe…be available that year. Of course, I spent my time in 2011 learning about wall mounting brackets, cables, and other non-exciting but totally necessary products for an AV integrator. Yes…they do have pretty much everything at CES. Maybe, just maybe we’ll go to the 2017 show. It has been awhile and…it is in Vegas. Yippee!

Written by Bonnie Little

Life Expectancy of Electronics

When someone calls for electronics servicing, if it involves a TV or component not working, the first thing we ask is the age of the electronic item. Based on the age, we can sometimes troubleshoot over the phone to determine if the electronic device has completed its life cycle, and avoid a service call.

We researched to see if any studies have been done concerning today’s electronics life cycle & we did find a study done a year ago. Based on the fact it was done a year ago, and the fact that it appears that life cycles are declining (our own assumption), we suggest you knock off a year or two from what you see below. There has been no sign that electronics are lasting longer.

The survey in 2014 conducted by the Consumer Electronic Association explored consumer perceptions of product life cycles for several key categories of electronics including; flat panel televisions, digital cameras, DVD and Blu-ray players, tablets, laptops, desktop computers, smartphones, cell phones and video game consoles.

Based on the 2014 survey which interviewed consumer perceptions as to when they felt their electronic device lasted, the expected life cycle for the following products is listed below in years & months. Keep in mind, they did not ask when the device’s technology no longer kept up with upgrades. For example…while a smartphone may physically last 4.6 years, due to the constant upgrades requiring more internal space & speed to operate efficiently, most people are forced to upgrade their smartphones before they actually break.

Flat panel TV…7.4 years
Digital camera…6.5 years
DVD player or recorder…6.0 years
Desktop computer…5.9 years
Blu-ray player…5.8 years
Video game console…5.7 years
Notebook, laptop or netbook computer…5.5 years
Tablet computer…5.1 years
Cell phone that is not a smartphone…4.7 years
Smartphone…4.6 years

Source: CEA Blog: The Life Expectancy of Electronics, By: Chris Ely 16 September 2014

Ring Video Doorbell

Time Magazine said this is “One of the top 10 Gadgets of 2014” and we agree. The ring video doorbell replaces your regular doorbell. It is about 5” H and 2 ½ W which includes a mini camera & the doorbell unit is available in 4 different finishes to blend in with the exterior décor.

This doorbell is connected to your portable device, i.e. smart phone or tablet. When someone rings the doorbell, an alert is send to your device and then with the touch of an app, you get to see who is at your door. It works with both IOS & Android devices and even has a motion detection so if someone is near the device it will activate an alert before they even ring the doorbell. How cool is that?

While they do tout Easy Installation (no professional help required), we do want to recommend you have above basic networking knowledge and some handyman skills. In addition, while it can replace the old doorbell, some doorbells may be in locations that make them undesirable to remove so it could involve installing this at a new destination point & finding a creative way to remove or cover your existing doorbell.

Learn more at www.ring.com.