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home movie theater

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

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?

The War is Over!

150 150 Grand Home Automation - West Michigan's Smart Home Technology Designers

War is so messy. Mayhem, destruction, and casualties. The same has been true of the great format conflict between the two opposing camps of HD-DVD and Blu-Ray. Both vying for the privilege of replacing the ubiquitous video DVD as the next generation of digital high-definition movie media, the struggle had been going on for two years. Primarily the big beef was between Sony (Blu-Ray), and Toshiba (HD-DVD). Similar to the epic videotape clash of the late 70’s and early 80’s, only one media format would ultimately come out on top. Avenging for the death of the superior BetaMax videocassette, Sony’s perseverance paid off with Blu-Ray, and won over the heart of the market.

The Blu-Ray format is truly superior in that it uses blue lasers to bounce off the disc’s reflective layers. Blue light has shorter wavelengths, therefore allowing smaller dots on the substrate, which equals – more data! It has taken many decades for manufacturing technology to advance enough to mass produce small blue lasers and LEDs. Besides, blue is just a really cool color when associated with techy stuff. BlueTooth for your cell phone stuffed in your ear, blue lights on your satellite receiver – so soothing…

So now is the time we can go ahead and upgrade our home theaters and media rooms with a brand-new, high-definition, all-digital, uber-blue, movie watching MACHINE! Just make sure your fancy LCD TV has an HDMI connection for the highest resolution signal possible. Yeah, I know… but you really need a bigger one anyway – don’t you?
Sean Hotchkiss