Category Archives: Contractor

Things we thought were COOL at CEDIA

As we closed our doors to attend the 2017 trade show for consumer electronics contractors, we came back newly educated on both products and technical skills.
Here are a few of the products we found interesting walking the show floor. While they may not apply to everyone, we felt it was worth mentioning them because, well…you just never know.

Stealth Acoustics
For those who don’t like the look of speakers in your walls and ceilings, Stealth acoustics makes a full-range of speakers and subwoofers that are fully invisible, hiding behind drywall. While they have a full range of speakers and subwoofers with varying sound quality, prices are a bit steeper than the grill-based speakers usually installed. But, if you are looking for a completely clean look in a room, then these speakers can fill your need.

Motorized Wall Mounts
If you like the idea of an articulating arm mount but don’t want to manually turn it in a direction, then you could get a motorized mounts. These mounts are not new, but they are gaining exposure. The best use of these would be for handicapped or elderly people who would find it difficult to adjust the TV. They are heavier than standard mounts, requiring additional bracing, but do the job.

Samsung’s Frame TV
When you’re not watching TV, Art Mode transforms The Frame into a beautiful work of art indistinguishable from the real thing. The Frame includes a free gallery of professionally curated art with 100 free pieces worth thousands of dollars* from 10 different categories. The consumer can buy individual pieces or subscribe to an ever-increasing library of established and emerging artists’ work. You can even upload and display your own personal pictures.

To be continued…

Remodeling?

Home improvement contractors ARE NOT electronics technology contractors. If you are remodeling a part of your home, inside or outside, you should consider the technology that you want to incorporate into that project.

Home technology includes audio, video and most importantly networking. If you intend to use any WiFi devices, you will want to ensure that the project includes infrastructure to support your system.

Too many times we get calls from homeowners asking us to incorporate technology into their project when it is half way done or even worse, at its final stages. You should be getting a site survey and estimate at the same time you are getting your design and estimate from remodeling contractors. Not only will this ensure you aren’t scrambling later, but it will aid in your total project budget planning. It also prevents delays in construction so that the electronics contracting work is done when the contractor is ready for it.

Some contractors will offer to perform the electronics technology needs. That is perfectly fine if they have designed it from start to finish and plan to do it all (cabling, terminations, electronics and networking set up and configuration). If your contractor says they can do the electronics, be sure they are bringing in a qualified electronics technology subcontractor. You wouldn’t want your electrical or plumbing done by anyone other than a licensed tradesman, so treat your electronics the same way.

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