Category Archives: Residential

3D TVs going the way of the dinosaur

When 3D TVs launched in 2010 at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, we were there to see it. 3D was everywhere and it was the next big thing in the consumer electronics industry.
Now 7 years later, most TV manufacturers have stopped making 3D TVs and support of 3D TVs has become difficult to get. Unlike the flat panel TV itself, 3D TVs didn’t get a standing ovation when introduced in the first place. Early adopters either loved it or hated it.

So what really killed 3D TVs? We think several factor led to its demise.

Glasses: While people didn’t think it would be a big deal to wear glasses to watch their 3D movies at home, it became a big deal. Glasses were uncomfortable, couldn’t be worn over prescription glasses, were very expensive if additional ones needed to be purchased and prevented multi-tasking, which we all know is prevalent in our society these days.

Timing of TVs and content: The 3D TVs came out about the time that most people had just purchased a flat screen TV, so to buy another TV just for the purpose of having 3D wasn’t cost-effective for most consumers. In addition, there wasn’t that much to watch on these TVs. Manufacturers were not putting out many recent movies in 3D and the really good ones, such as Avatar, were only able to be watched on one manufacturers TV, Panasonic.

Cost: 3D TVs had quite a large premium price on them so given most people had already traded in their tube or projection TV for a flat panel, it wasn’t worth an upgrade at that price point. 3D DVDs were also expensive and most were packaged in multi-packs with 2D disks, so the price was upwards of $30 back then.

So, if you have a 3D TV, enjoy it while you can. If you don’t have one and want to see 3D, go to a movie theater where you get fabulous 3D quality, lounging chairs, popcorn and can ditch the glasses on the way out.

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.

Outdoor Tech is Hotter than Ever

A study was performed by CE Pro Magazine recently and they found that usage of outdoor technology has increased by 23% yearly. Here is a listing by highest usage to lowest.

1. Outdoor security surveillance cameras
2. Under-eave speakers
3. Outdoor access points (Wi-Fi)
4. Mounts (Weather resistant)
5. Flat panel TVs
6. Staked, satellite speakers (Located in Landscaping)
7. 70V speakers (A way to locate speakers further away from the house)
8. Buried, in-ground subwoofers
9. Rock speakers
10. Landscape lighting
11. Satellite dishes/equipment
12. Security lighting
13. Staircase/railing lighting
14. Cellphone booster/antennas
15. Waterproof remotes/control interfaces
16. Flat panel enclosures
17. Planter speakers
18. Projectors/Screens

Wireless Internet Becoming Popular Outdoors

More people want better WiFi while lounging on their patio or enjoying the pool and are looking for solutions. Companies such as Ubiquiti have made outdoor wireless access points for years but mostly they were purchased by businesses such as country clubs, restaurants and such. Home & Office Network Solutions has seen a recent surge in HOAs installing wireless coverage at their pools as their homeowners demand more services for their community dues.

The cost for outdoor WiFi can vary because the size of coverage varies. A home with a very large yard and a pool extending deep into the yard would require several access points whereas a patio or porch would need just one. Most homeowners do find that their indoor WiFi just doesn’t carry well onto their porch. There is major lag time & drops, if they get coverage at all, so many consumers have to depend on cell coverage, which can get costly based on the plan purchased from the carrier.

As consumers depend more & more on using their cell phone & tablet wherever they go, including their own backyard, we may just see wireless internet move up the list of architectural trends.

Range Extender Problems

It’s rare to get the speed you’re paying for from your internet service provider EVERYWHERE within your home. Most people are plagued by at least one area where Wi-Fi doesn’t work well or doesn’t work at all, i.e. a dead zone. Many people have wasted exorbitant time and money upgrading their router, adding a booster, repeater or range extender, and finding they still have these problems.
What’s a range extender?

A range “extender” is a networking device that’s meant to increase wireless range. They rely on one radio to both receive and transmit information. Since data only has one path in or out, bandwidth is cut in half. Connecting more and more devices just puts additional stress on that single radio, further affecting performance. Only a single range extender can be added to a router in any given direction. If your router is located in a far corner of the home, it’s not possible to add multiple extenders in a row from room to room.

In addition, most extenders use a separate network SSID from your router, meaning you’re left operating two or more different WiFi networks. You’re forced to physically toggle between the networks on your devices when moving from room to room.

There are some new technologies that are showing some promise for extending Wi-Fi coverage. These devices will create a “mesh network” of multiple devices to increase the range and use a single network name. They are coming on the market so stay tuned.