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home theater audio

INTEGRATED SYSTEMS EVENTS EUROPE 2018 – Our First Hand Recap of “The One Show To Rule Them All”

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Our Technical Director Sean Hotchkiss has recently returned from Amsterdam, where he attended Integrated Systems Events Europe 2018, the world´s largest AV systems integration show which ran February 6 – 9, 2018.

What Is Integrated Systems Events Europe?

Integrated Systems Events is a joint venture between AVIXA and CEDIA – the two leading industry associations for the global audiovisual industry. Since the first event in 2004, with 120 exhibitors and 3,500 attendees, the 2018 event has continued it’s crazy growth, with over 1200 exhibitors and more than 80,000 attendees.

Sean reports,“The best part for me was the all-encompassing perspective of the residential and commercial markets, on a global scale. Manufacturers were showing all of their offerings to this wide audience.Companies such as Crestron had Integrated Systems Events Europe 2018their commercial and residential products and staff in the same booth (very large though it was), and any questions I had could be readily answered whether related to videoconferencing systems, or home theater processors.”

He felt that the ability to see companies and products from all corners of the electronics world allowed exposure to new ideas, methods, and products that just isn’t available anywhere else.

“Where else can you go to see video displays the size of a building, to management software, to cameras on flying drones, to audiophile stereo systems? It’s the best show to spend some of your time just wandering and brainstorming about possibilities and business ideas,” says Sean.

Significant Growth of Attendees at Integrated Systems Events

ISE added a fourth day to the show in an effort to give attendees more time to see everything at the show, although managing director Mike Blackman has acknowledged that’s an impossible feat even with proper advanced planning.

Overall, ISE included a full schedule of educational programs, trainings, networking events and product demonstrations in the exhibition hall. “All these events worked cooperatively to raise the standard of education and quality of the businesses that serve our clients,” Sean mentions.

Is it too big? Sean doesn’t think so. “I really appreciated the combination of the AVIXA (commercial) and CEDIA (residential) organizations working together under the same roof (roofs – the show was way too big for one building). There is even word that continuing education credits will be transferable between the organizations.” Talk about partnership!

Biggest Takeaways From Integrated Systems Europe 2018

“This year, audio/video and computer networking have converged so strongly, that it is difficult to separate the two. It is nearly impossible to have one without the other,” says Sean.

Products that take our satellite receivers, BluRay players, videoconference cameras, and computer graphics, and send them across a building to remote displays by means of IP converter boxes were everywhere.

The technology required to compress video in real-time and then decode it again without any perceivable delay was mind boggling. “We are no longer just ‘A/V guys’, but rather professionals that deliver a truly integrated experience as the new AVIXA organization name points out (Audio Video Integrated Experience Association),” Sean states.

Other important technologies we saw at the show were Mixed Reality – AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality), OLED and High Resolution and the use of robotics. Our team will be watching the developments of these technologies closely so we can remain on the cutting edge for our clients.

Sean’s final thoughts? “As someone who is working in the design and engineering of both corporate and residential electronics systems, this is indeed ‘the one show to rule them all’. I look forward to attending in the years to come.”

Are you interested in hearing more about what we saw at ISE 2018 and how it could benefit your project? We invite you to contact us today to start the conversation!

12 Steps to Creating the Perfect Home Theater

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Ok, so you’ve admitted that you have a movie addiction, and now you’re committed to creating your own home theater – the ultimate indulgence for your addiction. When you consider how much you’re spending on your home entertainment equipment, it makes sense to create the best theater room possible for your budget. So here’s a 12-step program to help you and your co-dependent movie junkie get the greatest bang for your buck.

Step 1: Start out with what you envision the perfect home theater room to be. Does it look like something fabulous that would be seen on MTV’s “Cribs”? Or are you going more for a mini authentic theater look? Does it have to fit into your current home decorating style or will it be an environment all its own?

Step 2: Set a budget. Though you enjoy going to an imaginary world through movies, this is not the time to live in an imaginary world. Be real about what you can spend on your home theater equipment and furniture. Doing otherwise may be a less than pleasant reality.

Step 3: Even a genius like Orson Welles wouldn’t buy furniture for his home theater without measuring first. Measure everything in the room and make a diagram to take shopping with you so you know the measurements of the room and where windows, doors, etc. are. Unless you have Transformer-like powers, you want to be sure everything fits before you make any purchases. Home theater equipment and furniture are too heavy to move around several times until it’s in the right location and especially to lug back to the store if it doesn’t fit!

Step 4: Time for some R & D. Guys, there’s no way around it – you have to go shopping to make informed and intelligent decisions about your home theater equipment. If you have a spouse, family member, or friend involved, be sure you go together. Bring back detailed notes, pictures (when possible), prices, delivery information, fabric and paint samples.

Step 5: Time for some gut level honesty- discuss and/or decide what HAS to be in the room and what can be left out, what colors you love and hate, and whether or not you want the theater equipment to be visible when not in use. If you’re doing this with someone, this is where you begin the compromise process with each other.

Step 6: Every good movie needs a good snack and beverage to go with it. But who wants to run to the kitchen every time a food or drink is craved? Make sure your home theater is equipped with a snack and drink bar, maybe include a microwave for popping popcorn.

Step 7: How much of a techie are you? Again, this is not the time to be living in fantasy land. There will be plenty of time for that after the theater is finished. In the meantime, hire a professional who specializes in knowing where to place your home theater equipment for the best sound and who can set things up so your electrical circuits aren’t overloaded.

Step 8: Pay special attention to the seating. If you and your guests are not comfortable, not much else will matter. First, you will have to determine how many people you want to be able to seat and gauge that to the space you have to fill to get the actual seat size. In addition to complementing the décor of the room, keeping within your budget, and buying high-quality, you will want to make sure the seat offers both firmness and flexibility and that the armrests are wide and comfortable. A cup holder and a good foot rest are also nice options to have. Also keep in mind that the style of chairs you select for your home theater will greatly affect the sound. Shorter back chairs will allow the sound to travel to your ears with truer, clearer sound.

Step 9: You want home theater drama that’s not part of the movie? Any good cinematographer would tell you that’s where lighting comes in. Sconce lighting would make the room feel like a movie theater; track lights over the seats let people read and write; more lights on the sides of the theater room make light available wherever you are at. Make sure to install a lighting control system (with a remote, please!) that will control each section of lights separately, and will provide dimming options.

Step 10: Anything you put into your home theater has the potential to affect the sound (yes, even your kids). Not only do window coverings help dim the room and prevent reflection but they, along with other strategically placed fabric panels, also help to reduce acoustical distortion by keeping the sound waves from bouncing around too much.

Step 11: As previously stated, large objects will cause sound to bounce off of them, so your home theater room isn’t the place for that sculpture you did in your art class or even a coffee table. Express yourself with cool wall art, textures and textiles, have plenty of comfortable seating, and let the equipment take center stage in your home theater.

Step 12: You’ve reached the last scene of your home theater designing adventure – all that’s left is to carry out the assembly process. Once your room has the audio/visual components, seating, and other details in place, you will have your dream home theater available to feed your home entertainment addiction to your heart’s desire.