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grand home automation

Grand Home Automation’s CEDIA EXPO 2019 Experience

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This year, CEDIA brought more than just new technology to the Denver Convention Center. With nearly 20,000 attendees and 500 exhibitors, the expo continues to grow and develop each year. Our Project Manager, Tim Imrick, has been attending CEDIA since 1998 and feels that each year the expo offers valuable developments.

Last Year’s Comparison

Compared to last year’s event in San Diego, Tim feels that this year’s location was more cohesive and had a better turn-out. Of the 5 days of the expo, our team attended 3; allotted to training and the show floor. Tim explained that many of the integrators only spend Friday and Saturday at CEDIA. He feels that having 3 days on-site plus travel is a great opportunity to maximize time with Vendors and our team.

How is CEDIA Unique?

CEDIA is unique in that the attendees are all very similar in their approach to technology. There is a comradery among the dealers that may be miles form each other in their day to day operations, but only get to meet up once a year 1000’s of miles from their home office. The manufacturers put on a real show; something you cannot get from an office visit or often from attending a training. They spend 6-9 months planning to cater to existing dealers and interest new dealers alike.

The Best Part of the Expo and Biggest Takeaway

The best part of CEDIA 2019 for Tim, was to have time with members of our team outside of day to day operations to focus on technology and project discussions. The first day of the show was spent discussing current projects, ideas for internal growth, advancement and sharing our goals for the next few days in Denver. Tim explained that the layout of CEDIA has changed multiple times and the current format offers the best structure and flexibility to meet with Vendors, take technical classes and spend time planning with team members.

Tim’s biggest takeaway from CEDIA 2019 is that the convergence between audio, video, networking, electrical and security is always tightening. Having a company positioned to assist in the design, installation and ongoing management and maintenance of all residential and commercial technologies, will be even more essential as we continue to depend on these systems to simplify our way of life.

The Overall Goal of CEDIA Each Year

Each year there is a new segment that tries to break out – such as outdoor audio, energy management, or health care in the home. This year, some new technologies that inspired Tim were the Micro Chrystal displays, Clear OLED and lighting control. Micro Chrystal displays will allow screens to become the size of walls with great resolution. Clear OLED from LG for digital signage allows for imaging to be applied to glass windows and doors. Lastly, lighting control in the form factor of circuit breakers from Savant has been introduced.

Overall, CEDIA 2019 highlighted many of the new-to-market brands and trending discussions within the industry. Tim continues to have a great experience every year that he attends.

Ultimate Home Theater Experience

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The foundation of every smart household is the A/V equipment and the experience it provides. It ensures the delivery of crystal-clear audio and video at lighting fast speed that is guaranteed to take your breath away. The ultra-high definition sound and 3D picture quality consumes you as if you are inside the action yourself. Innovative seating allows for personalization while remaining in control of your home theater experience. This is just the beginning of the refined details the latest technology has developed to enhance your lifestyle greater than you could ever imagine!

Home Theater Experience in Action

Dolby Atmos provides the ultimate home theater experience that the Kommel family couldn’t live without. The dual-laser projection technology on their life-size screen assures everyone inside the theater has the same quality experience wherever they choose to be. For the Kommel’s, it was especially important to utilize their theater as an entertainment room for guests. Located inside the theater is a kitchenette as well as a bar for their convenience. It was specifically noticeable to Mr. Kommel that the clarity of the audio and video is perfect whether he chooses to sit at the bar for socializing or in the lower level comfort area.

Home Theater styled by VIA Design and integrated by Grand Home Automation

As the lights dim down to complete darkness, the amount of sensitivity revealed to my ears provokes an eerie tone. The film begins with powerful surround sound that I can feel. The images are so clear that I’m beginning to question the realness of the action in front of me. Enhanced dimensionality of sound leaves me appreciating the talented placement of each of the 13 speakers and 8 sub-woofers as a bird flies swiftly across each panel around my body. The sound of its wings creates the illusion that it is strikingly close. I instantly feel deeply immersed in my surroundings.

Bringing The Art of Movie Making Back!

The goal of a home theater is to bring the art of movie making to the comfort and convenience of your own home. It provides a dedicated space for you and your family to escape into the ultimate cinematic experience at any time. The customization factor ensures the perfection of every detail to your liking. The best part: A unique layout tailored specifically to YOU!

Movies are intended to inspire, influence, and appreciate. The Kommel family allowed this luxury to transform their lives! They are now able to enjoy the most elite technology the market has to offer for their home theater.

Check out more of our Home Theater talk!https://grandhome.com/jaw-dropping-home-theaters/

Keeping Up with Streaming Content Updates

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Netflix subscribers were abuzz last month when it was announced that Disney would be pulling their content off the popular media streaming service. This is part of massive streaming content updates across the entertainment scope at Netflix. While it won’t happen until 2019, plenty of parents voiced their concern on social media, such as the dad who tweeted:

”This is not good for the millions of parents who use Moana, Zootopia or Finding Dory as negotiation tactics with their toddlers.”

Streaming Content UpdatesDisney plans to introduce their own streaming service, subscription cost yet undetermined, which many fear will be the first step of several additional services to add in order to watch a variety of content.

Disney owns ESPN, which will likewise introduce its own streaming service in 2019. Sports Illustrated says that it’s a similar model to that of HBO NOW, which is an online-only subscription that comes with access to all of HBO’s content but is not part of a cable package.

Disney CEO Bob Iger said that he envisions a more customizable user experience where consumers can select specific games, packages and even parts of games they want to purchase.

Both Disney and EPSN services will be similar to what the Netflix or Amazon Prime platforms offer: paying a fee for the specific content offered through those services. Which is very different from how many people still purchase content through cable or satellite providers. Companies are more motivated than ever to keep up with streaming content updates with the extreme movement to cord-cutting for millions of potential viewers.

So does that mean cable and traditional satellite tv providers are dead? Not so fast. Both satellite and cable companies are innovating quickly to keep up with consumer entertainment trends.

DirecTV recently launched DirecTVNow, which Tom’s Guide explains as “DirecTV is a satellite-TV subscription service, while DirecTV Now is an online streaming service that delivers live TV channels.” Both are owned by telecom giant AT&T. Priced much less than traditional packages, DirecTVNow offers a more flexible, portable service that delivers 50+ channels to any connected device.

Streaming Content Updates Smarthome

Meanwhile, Comcast is expected to unveil  XFinity Instant TV later this year, which will be a similar content subscription service available either as an add-on or stand alone.

The home entertainment landscape is changing rapidly. With all the choices available for today’s consumer, it’s more important than ever to partner with an experienced consultant to help you make the best home theatre decisions. Our team at Grand Home Automation can help! Contact us today to start the conversation.

The Top 5 Technologies That Advanced The Home Theater Experience

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At Grand Home Automation, we love experiences. We also love giving our clients truest cinematic experience right in their own home. It’s amazing how far we’ve come as an industry with new video technologies, developments in acoustic research and home theater planning.

With ordinary home theater systems, like the part-by-part component systems you see advertised at big box retailers, you can lay back and take in a movie experience. But, with a Grand Home theater, the movie experience takes YOU in. We couldn’t make the outstanding home theaters that we’ve planned and installed over the years if it weren’t for some landmark developments in home theater technology.

As we see it, these are our Top 5 advancements in the home theater industry:

1. Dolby Digital. Chances are, you’ve heard – and probably owned – a Dolby technology product, but the  wouldn’t-be-a-movie-without-it surround sound technology now is known as Dolby Digital®. With six channels of full-range sound: front center, front left, front right, rear left, rear right, and the subwoofer for deep bass, Dolby Digital technology makes a richer and more realistic movie sound experience. This technology is so advanced and even so user-friendly, that what you recorded in Dolby Digital can be played back in mono, stereo, Dolby Surround or Pro Logic. (Check out who we like).

2. HD Front Projection Systems. The old CRT projectors were great… and expensive… and heavy… but the digital revolution brought us new video projection technology. With a drop in prices, this means that today’s modern front projectors are becoming more accessible to a wider range of people, particularly to those seeking the finest in home entertainment. Not only does the video projector provide more screen size for the price (a value hard to deny), it’s also as close to a cinema-like experience.

3. LCD Technology. We could go on all day about LCD vs. DLP projector technologies, but for the sake of naming a top technology that advanced the home theater business, we’re going with LCD. LCD (liquid crystal display) has been around, gives a great color saturation and gives a sharp image at any resolution. LCD TVs and projectors are widely available, and even if we continued to argue back and forth about LCD and DLP, the only winner in all this would be you, the home theater owner.

4. High Contrast Screens.
They call it the silver screen, but it’s not entirely silver. A top-notch viewing screen isn’t entirely flat either – it will also have perforations in it, so sound can travel through it. Another little fact: you can futz with the color from your projector, but a high-contrast screen will help make whites really pop and will also help make a truer black. You can learn about projection screens from our partner at www.da-lite.com

5. HDMI. The HDMI interface is the global standard for connecting high-definition Consumer Electronics and even your PC products. It’s the uncompressed, all-digital interface that delivers quality and ease of use. HDMI cables represent a digital alternative to consumer analog standards such as coaxial cable, S-Video,  D-Terminal, and VGA. For your home theater, this new standard allows you to be fully digital, with great ease and with more access to high-definition expandability for the future.

What do you think? What’s made your home theater experience lately?

HELP! – I Need Treatment…

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Say – what is all this ‘cue-sticks’ stuff, anyways? Well, acoustic treatments help control the sound in the room. You might visualize sound from a loudspeaker or subwoofer kind-of like dropping a quarter into a bathtub full of water. It drops in, making waves on the surface that move outward and then bounce of the sides of the tub, reflecting around for quite awhile. If the waves were sound, that first wave from the quarter directly hitting your ear will make a nice, clear, intelligible sound.

The problem comes in when the rest of the waves bouncing around continue to strike your ear, from multiple directions, delayed by varying amounts of time. Although our brain is astoundingly good at figuring out which signal arrived first and understanding the basic content of the sound, it gets a little confused about which direction it came from, and the true tonal quality and subtleties.

The fact is, the vast majority of what we consider to be audio fidelity is completely morphed and man-handled by the air between you and the speaker, along with all the reflections that merrily bounce off the walls, floor,  and ceiling. When you think about it, it’s amazing we can understand anything at all. To figure it out, humans use a three-piece pattern recognition system consisting of the left ear, right ear, and a grey ball of mush called our ‘brain’. Try this sometime in a noisy, crowded, indoor space: tightly close off one of your ears with a finger. All of a sudden, the environment sounds much more random, and the brain has a hard time distinguishing sounds and figuring out where they came from. T

here are two primary ways of controlling all this chaos in a theater room. The first method has to do with controlling the dispersion of the speaker itself. If you don’t want reflections from the ceiling, then don’t send sound in that direction in the first place, silly. This might be accomplished with types of horns, baffles, or tall and skinny line array speakers. The second method handles the sound where it strikes the wall or boundary.

Absorption is one method of dealing with the waves as they approach theater room surfaces. Most absorption materials, such as fiberglass or cotton panels, are porous to a varying degree so that sound pressure waves must push their way through, bounce off the wall, and then push their way back out. All this resistance knocks the energy out of the wave, maybe even stopping it. Imagine riding a bicycle down a sidewalk near the beach. You can move along quite easily unless you veer off into the sand, where you slow down quite quickly or even stop due to the friction of pushing through the softer material.

Diffusion is another method of keeping sinister reflections from gittin’ ya. But I’ll defer the de-confusing diffusion discussion until another not-too-distant discourse.
______________________
Sean Hotchkiss
shotchkiss@grandhome.com

GHA’s Bill Langejans Interviewed by Detriot’s WWJ News Radio

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Bill Langejans, one of our Grand Home Automation client consultants, was recently interviewed by WWJ 950 News Radio in Detroit. Check out the article on their website for some great tips on home theater setup, as well as some tips on what not to do (hint: avoid putting that expensive flat screen TV over your fireplace!)

GHA Launches Home Theater Website

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Grand Home Automation is proud to announce the launch of this website dedicated to assiting people with Home theater and media room installation related issues. As the primary contributor to this blog, I hope to cover topics that are of concern to those who are contemplating the building of a new home theater, or wish to improve upon the one they already have. Harmonizing with Grand Home’s general philosophy, a strong emphasis will be placed on planning, design, and engineering. With so many factors to consider, it’s just too risky to buy a bunch of gear, wire it up, and hope everything works out alright.

As a CEDIA certified home theater design specialist, I will be stressing the importance of getting the room design right. Extremely expensive equipment will perform quite poorly in an uncontrolled environment, while even modest electronics can perform wonderfully under the right conditions with proper calibration. Some of the primary considerations for any home theater space that will be discussed here are:

  • Acoustic treatment – sound control inside the room
  • Acoustic isolation – keeping theater sounds in, and house sounds out
  • Audio processing and amplification
  • Video technologies
  • Visual formats and layout
  • Lighting control and effects
  • Climate control and ventillation
  • Interior furnishings and decor
  • Control systems – doesn’t matter how great it performs if you can’t turn it on

I’m looking forward to exploring and sharing my favorite topic – Home Theater!
______________________
Sean Hotchkiss
shotchkiss@grandhome.com