Category Archives: Archives

Human Centric Light (HCL)

The latest advance to mimic nature.

Because we crave nature with every fiber of our being and we suffer physically, mentally and emotionally from our severe nature deprivation, the home technology sector is warming up to human-centric (circadian) lighting. HCL is a classic tool for mimicking nature through changes in lighting intensity and color temperature that replicate natural daylight patterns from dusk until dawn.

Scientific evidence abounds for the health benefits of circadian lighting when you’re trapped indoors for 90% of the day. It is now big business for office buildings and hospitality, prisons and schools and soon to be for homes and apartments where builders, developers and smart-home integrators play.

Two recent discoveries indicate we have non-visual photosensors during the day and melatonin at night. Disruption of these natural light patterns confuses our highly evolved circadian circuitry, which informs our sleep, hormone secretions, alertness, neurological functions, metabolism, immune systems, moods…pretty much everything that makes us human at the cellular level.

Artificial lighting that simulates daylight makes us more productive and happier during the day and helps us sleep at night. Dusk-appropriate lighting in the evening helps us wind down for bedtime. Expect to see and hear more about what you can do to make your home’s lighting healthier for you.

Rescanning your TV Antenna

The process is pretty simple but varies a bit depending on what brand of TV you own. Start by using your TV remote control (or a digital converter box remote if you still have an older analog TV) to press the Menu or Setup button. You may see the Channel Scan control right away, or it could be one layer down, under Antenna, Channels, or Channel List. It might be called “Live TV” (for LG TVs) or “Broadcast” (for Samsung sets).

If you don’t see any of those options as soon as you press the Menu button—and that’s not unusual—you’ll have to go one layer deeper by first choosing Settings or Setup.

Once you find Channel Scan or Channel Tuning, you may have a choice to tune automatically (Autotune or Autoscan) or manually. You want the automatic option, which will make the TV search through all the channels.

If you don’t see any of these options, you can usually perform a channel scan by selecting the Input button on the TV remote or in the TV’s main menu, then choosing Antenna.
Depending on the number of channels you can receive, it could take a few minutes to complete the rescan. If it doesn’t work the first time, try again. We recommend doing a second channel scan anyway just to see whether you get any stations you missed on the first rescan.

If you’re already using an antenna to get free TV, you’ll probably only need to rescan your TV—you won’t need any new equipment.
The one exception is if a local station moves from UHF (channels 14-51) to VHF (channels 1-13) and your current antenna is either UHF-only or gets poor VHF reception. In those cases, you might want to consider a new antenna.

Protection vs. Privacy in Smart Hubs

As part of a more in-depth article by Andrew Nichols ·for CE Pro on August 21, 2019. here’s what ADT found in a recent survey of owners and non-owners of smart hubs in relation to protection vs. privacy.

To find out how the general population is adapting and supporting smart home tech, ADT surveyed more than 1,000 individuals, analyzing their attitudes about specific technologies and connected devices more generally.

Among the respondents, 63% owned a smart hub.

While the smart hub category includes an expanding range of products and technologies, most consumers seemed pleased with the particular hubs they’d selected for their homes. 90% of respondents described themselves as satisfied with their smart hub products, perhaps because they engage them in different ways over time.

One report found that 48% of smart hub owners utilize their devices more after adjusting to them for a year (by comparison to their use beforehand).

Protection vs. Privacy

In general, U.S. consumers have indicated an interest in improving their physical security without rendering their most intimate data vulnerable to misuse. Overall, respondents were evenly split on which forms of security mattered more, although opinions varied significantly by demographic.

Older respondents, for example, tended to prioritize data protection, while millennials and members of Generation Z favored physical security. These findings coincide with other recent research suggesting that young Americans are more aware of data privacy concerns than prior generations but less concerned their data will be stolen or misused.

Understandably, parents were more concerned about securing their home than respondents without children. In fact, a recent survey affirmed that children are a leading reason homeowners install smart security systems.

Big Brother Worries

When ADT asked individuals without smart home devices why they had resisted IoT, most fell into one of two camps.
One group of respondents weren’t swayed by the advertised simplicity of these devices. While convenience may not be a priority for this group, they might be swayed by arguments regarding efficiency.

The other category of objections centered on privacy concerns. In this group, the predominant concern was a sense of continuous surveillance and the notion that collected data could be mishandled.

Recent research suggests that nearly half of Americans believe smart devices are recording consumers’ conversations to target them more effectively with advertising. Beyond data collection by device-makers themselves, many fear their information might be sold to third parties.

Who Do We Trust?

The overall findings attest to the suddenness and scale of the smart tech revolution. In just a few years, the internet of things has transformed from an intriguing novelty to an essential feature of the modern home.

Even if a certain percentage of consumers are concerned about their data security and privacy, smart device adoption rates continues to grow – and few consumers seem to regret their smart home investments.

In the midst of this ongoing transition, the major question for American families may not be whether to purchase smart products of their own. Rather, their chief concern will be which companies to trust as they inevitably move toward connected devices.

Moving? Cancel your Electronics subscriptions

When we move we know to cancel our gas and electric, cable and Internet service. But, what about your home electronics tied to your name?

If you are conveying your TV, sound devices such as Sonos, or a Universal remote control, you need to be sure to cancel the plans tied to them.

TVs: Be sure to log out of your apps such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, etc. Otherwise, the channels that will come up will be from your account, risking charges and privacy issues.

Wireless devices: Sonos is one product that allows you to use an app from your smart device. If you are conveying Sonos, you want to be sure to logout of all services that you are subscribed too and remove the device from your Sonos account via the Sonos App. It doesn’t hurt to do a factory reset of the device(s) too.

Universal remote control: If you are leaving a remote control that controls multiple devices, even if you take one of the devices, the remote will allow the new owner to login to some/all of the apps that you used, so best to log out and let them get it reconfigured to work with their electronics.

TiVo: TiVo is a subscription service, so you need to cancel it even if you are selling the system to the new owners.

Ring doorbell and Nest products: Cancel the subscription that you are paying monthly. Resetting the devices to factory defaults is also recommended The new owner needs to then configure the devices and set up service.

The best thing to do is just think about any apps paid or not, within your home and any subscriptions, and cancel all of them before moving. Informing the new owners what they will need to take over or set up would be a very neighborly thing to do before they move in.

DIY Troubleshooting Techniques

Before you schedule a service call, we encourage you to attempt to resolve the problem yourself. Here are some basic ways to troubleshoot your problem. If the problem cannot be resolved, please call our office to schedule an appointment for a service call.

1) Check that the power plug is plugged in. Yes, this sounds common sense, but if you know you didn’t unplug the electronic device, you may assume it is plugged in, when in fact a cleaning person, child or other member of the family may have unplugged it. A lot of components have power cords with multiple connection points. It starts with a power cord that is plugged into the wall outlet. That cord plugs into an external power supply. A separate cord from the power supply plugs into the device. Check the entire connection chain.

2) Check that the cables are tightly secured. Reseating (unplugging and plugging back in) the cables can resolve the problem. If components were moved even slightly, a cable could have come loose, especially HDMI video cables. Obviously, if a cable is lying on the floor, it most likely came fully out and needs to be re-attached. Otherwise, just push each cable gently into the component to ensure it is secure.

3) Reset electronics. To reset any electronic device, you need to turn it off completely, i.e. power it down either by unplugging it or turning off your surge protector, not just hitting the power button of the remote or on the device. Wait 30-45 seconds & turn on or plug back in. This can resolve problems caused by power sags/ surges & updates that did not restart the device properly.

4) Reset your router. If your communications carrier had even a short blip in their service, your router may have been impacted. Go to the router, find the power source and turn it off. Wait 30-45 seconds & turn it back on.

5) Testing to see if your TV is broken. If it doesn’t come on at all and is plugged in, it is dead. If it comes on but the picture is not normal, it may be broken. It could be a loose cable or a problem with your cable/satellite service. Check to be sure you have cable/satellite service at other TVs, as you don’t want to consider it broken if cable is down or your cable box is broken. If you can’t get your channels to change with the remote, use the buttons on the front of the cable/satellite box. The problem may be with the remote.

6) Testing to see if your component is broken. Most components either work or they don’t. Try the power reset described above. If you are using a universal remote control try using the specific remote that came with the device to see if it functions correctly. For example; for a Blu-ray DVD player, use the Blu-ray/DVD remote, turn it on & off, open the disk tray.

7) Testing to see if your remote control is broken. The number one thing to check is that the batteries are fresh/charged and that they are seated properly in the remote. Remotes take a lot of abuse. If it gets dropped on the floor the batteries could have come loose or unseated just enough to cause the remote to act strangely. If the equipment is being operated behind closed cabinet doors then there is a secondary device that facilitates that function. It could be either a separate electronic device that talks specifically to the remote or a universal IR relay system. Both use little “emitters” that are attached to the devices that they are controlling like the cable box. These emitters sometimes get knocked off or the adhesive holding it on has failed. Just placing the emitter back on the unit may fix the problem. Additionally there is an IR sensor that is usually attached to the front of the TV. This also may fall off and needs to be reattached.

8) Reset network. If you have more than a single network device resetting your network when it isn’t operating correctly can take more than just resetting the router. All devices such as network switches, wireless network extenders, etc. need to be reset. As a general rule of thumb turn everything off first and leave it off. Start with the cable modem (router if you have Fios) and power it on. Wait 1-2 minutes then power on the router. (already done if you have Fios) Wait about 1-2 minutes then start powering on the network switches and wireless extenders. If you follow that sequence then all of the settings will be exchanged properly between devices and the network will have a clean start.
We highly suggest you print this article out and keep it somewhere handy so that you have it should you need to troubleshoot.

Note: We have a new Virtual/phone troubleshooting option that allows you to DIY the problem with the assistance of our tech. It is far less expensive than an in-person visit. Ask about this when calling for a service call.