Get the Most out of Your Outdoor Entertainment System
Whether you’re chilling poolside in Dallas, grilling up burgers in Frisco, or playing a game of catch in McKinney, one thing’s for sure: spring is the perfect time to experience the great Texas outdoors. And to get the most out of it, you’ll want an outdoor entertainment system that can produce quality AV in your backyard. What does that mean for you? Building a sound system that can capture every note of your favorite music. Of course, it’s a little more complicated than dragging your speakers out back. You’ll want to invest in a speaker system that can resonate outside.
What’s the difference between indoor and outdoor speakers? Find out by reading below.
Perhaps the most obvious difference between an indoor and outdoor speaker is the design. Outdoor systems have to last -- withstanding elements like rain, hail, snow, and the occasional, accidental kickball. That means the materials used to construct them have to be durable.
Higher-end indoor speakers are made from delicate woods and polymers chosen for their ability to capture and reproduce fine detail during audio playback. For wireless speaker systems, you'll often see a lot more metal and plastic. In both cases, neither are waterproof, and the slightest accident could end up ruining your expensive component.
Outdoor speakers, on the other hand, are often constructed from durable metals and plastics that won’t rot or rust when left out in nasty weather conditions. As you can imagine, that makes them heavier and can have an impact on sound quality. Still, an outdoor speaker system is built to last, and a quality one will survive for years.
All of those delicate woods and intricately designed pieces contained within a high-end, indoor speaker aren’t just for show. They accentuate the fine detail in the audio. But indoor speakers are designed to be just that -- indoors. That means manufacturers are counting on the natural reflection and absorption (acoustics) of an enclosed space to generate the best quality sound.
Outdoor speakers often don't have the benefit of walls to reflect off of. Instead, they're designed to play loudly to compensate for the ambient noises of your backyard. Larger outdoor speakers often have bass drivers built in, rather than existing in a separate subwoofer.
In other cases, smaller, bullet-style speakers offer pointed, directional audio. These units can hide among foliage and landscaping while providing a centralized soundstage for easy listening that won't disturb the neighbors.
As we’ve already mentioned, outdoor speakers are designed to last a long time. But their materials won’t do the entire job. Outdoor systems are often wall-mounted or semi-buried to help prevent them from accidentally tipping over and becoming damaged.
As such, outdoor speakers have to work within the existing design of your landscaping. Virtually invisible bullet speakers can hide amongst your foliage, but main manufacturers offer aesthetically-pleasing larger options that can also withstand the elements.
There are plenty of ways to enjoy high-quality outdoor sound this spring. Find out more by clicking the “Let’s Talk!” button at the bottom of your screen and chatting with a live representative right now.
Or click here to schedule a consultation that will help us build a solution that works for you.
Intuitive Control Results in a More Beautiful and Efficient Home
You rarely notice just how essential lights are until you find yourself with the wrong lighting. The lights may be too bright in your media room, creating a glare on your screen. How about landscape lighting that's too dim and results in an unsafe environment around your Dallas, TX home? Even the colors of your walls and your furnishings look entirely different under certain lighting.
Finding the perfect lighting can be difficult and recreating it even more so. Our home lighting control systems make it easy to design the ideal settings for any room, activity, or purpose. As you read this blog, we'll showcase some ways intuitive control helps you accomplish the three most important goals of your lighting design: safety, style, and comfort.
Seamless control of your lights plays a major role in keeping your family safe. Not only is it essential to eliminate unlit areas to deter crime, but on a more pragmatic day-to-day basis, it’s vital to avoid dangerous trips and falls. One way to stay ahead of the dark is to schedule landscape lighting to go on as soon as the sun sets. Use pathway lighting that automatically turns on when you walk past to guide you to the front door or the fridge in the middle of the night. Record better surveillance footage by having lights turn on when your installed motion detectors sense movement on your property's perimeter.
Lighting also plays a significant role when it comes to your interior design. The right lighting design can turn any room from dreary to dazzling. How can you make sure you are always using the best settings to bring out your wall colors, décor, and furnishings? Each room has settings saved with the optimal dimming levels. Easily pull up those settings from a touchpad, mobile app, or even a voice command. Lighting control even streamlines your décor by replacing switches with elegant keypads that manage multiple fixtures simultaneously.
During your day-to-day, comfort and function will play a more critical role than style. How you use your lights in your media room, for example, will vary greatly whether you're hosting friends, watching a movie, or reading a book. Adjust lights until you find just the right fit for each activity and save it into your home lighting control. Then when it’s time for a specific action or event, pull up the ideal settings within seconds from a dedicated touchpad or app.
Are you ready to enjoy all the perks of an integrated lighting control system? We can design a custom solution that considers your family’s top priorities as well as the particular features you want to highlight in your home. To get started, give us a call at (972) 757-4002, fill out our contact form or chat with us on the bottom right.
How to Optimize Your Home Theater’s Sound and Acoustics
Half the enjoyment of watching a movie or show in your Dallas, TX home theater is being able to feel that complete immersion that your media’s audio can create. But with many home theater installations, the wrong speakers, layouts or room acoustics can ruin the viewing experience.
In this blog, we go into how you can best optimize your home theater’s sound setup, and what you can do to create the perfect auditory environment.
Getting the most from your home theater audio all goes back to what type of speakers you bring into the space, so that’s why recommend high-fidelity ones from one of our industry partners. The next step is figuring out what kind of setup you want that produces the best sound performance.
You can choose a soundbar for a smaller theater, or even for a theater system in a multi-purpose media room. This product can add on to your TV’s built-in speakers, and works well to deliver sound to every corner of a smaller space.
A two-channel loudspeaker setup can also provide fantastic quality for your media’s audio. But a surround sound system – with one central channel, and at least two front and surround speakers– can truly immerse you in your movie or show. The choice is up to you and what works best with your theater space.
Dolby Atmos Unparalleled Audio
You can even go above and beyond a traditional surround sound setup. Have a high-end cinematic experience every time you watch a film with Dolby Atmos surround sound.
Speakers that support the Dolby Atmos platform don’t use multi-channel integration. Instead, Atmos lets each sound channel travel from one individual speaker to another. This means the sound can come from in front, behind, or even above you, creating a three-dimensional sound space. For this reason, the other major difference is that Dolby Atmos layouts require in-ceiling or upward-firing speakers.
You won’t just be enveloped in high-fidelity sound – you’ll feel like you’re right there in the middle of an action scene, a dramatic interaction, or a high-speech car chase down the city highways. You’ll never miss a line of important dialogue again! Dolby Atmos, hands-down, delivers the highest quality of audio performance for your home theater around.
When you bring audio equipment into a space of any kind, you always have to take the room’s acoustics into consideration because they have the most significant impact on how fine-tuned the details of your sound will be.
That’s why we recommend having a soft environment in your theater. That could include carpeting, drapes, and plush seating. In some cases, customized acoustic treatments in your walls and ceilings are also needed.
These can help sound waves from bouncing around too much inside the room, which can result in feedback and muddled sound. Soundproofing your walls will also prevent any noise from leaking out or into your theater room to optimize your movie’s audio.
A combination of proper acoustic paneling and soundproofing will create the ultimate listening and watching environment in your cinema.
Comfy Seating that Enhances Sound
When you’re installing a home theater, your seating is undoubtedly at the top of your layout planning and priorities. You want comfortable seats, but you also need to make sure that the design is right for your sound system.
Seats that have high backs can keep sound from reaching everyone in the room. The material of the seats is also crucial. It’s best if it is made of sound absorbing material, such as velvet or plush fabrics – this way, your seats won’t mess up in-place acoustic treatments.
You can achieve incredible sound performance with seating that is both luxurious and efficient.
Want to learn more about elevating your home theater’s sound and audio performance? We provide service across the Dallas area, from Frisco to McKinney to Wylie.
Feel free to give us a call at (972) 757-4002 or fill out our online contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation with our team. We’d love to hear from you!
Watching your favorite films and shows in a top-notch entertainment space can take any form of media to the next level. It why customizing a home cinema to fit your needs is key in elevating your viewing experiences.
But what if you want your Frisco, TX home theater to be ready for more than just movie nights and Netflix binges? Imagine a theater that can be a multi-purpose space, designed for much more than just sitting to watch media.
We’ll go through all the smart features and solutions you can bring to your theater, and how they can transform the room to be set for any occasion or event.
Just as you have smart home automation features throughout your property, you can install this tech in your home theater and make it stand well above a standard cinema. By bringing motorized shades and lighting control to the room, you can create the perfect environment for watching a film.
Lower the automated shades and turn off the lights to create an immersive atmosphere, and have the whole entertainment system turn on all at once – with just one press of a button. While these smart features enhance your movie-watching, they can also take the space in other directions.
Raising up the shades to let the natural sunlight in can switch over a darkened home theater from a quiet, private place, to a more warm and comfortable area that friends and family can hang out and chat in. Brighten the lights to make it easy to see once the sun goes down, or dim them to create ambiance, which encourages conversation and camaraderie.
Hidden AV Features
When you’re watching an action-packed film or a suspenseful drama, you want the highest-quality of screens and speakers for your audio video performance. But how can you avoid the obtrusiveness of AV equipment when you want to use your home theater space for entertaining guests or drinking coffee with friends?
That’s where hidden audio video features come into play. With in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, you’ll be able to hear your media with clear precision, without sacrificing your interior design and style. These speakers are virtually invisible, and only their excellent delivery will let you notice that they’re there.
The same goes for your TV or projector screen. Put up a display that doubles as a mirror when not in use or install a wall panel that can slide down over the screen to reveal artwork when you’re not watching.
Roll-down projectors and screens or displays that can roll down into a piece of furniture are also ideal. These features disappear without a trace when you’re through watching something and want to use your theater for another situation. Then with a push of a button, they can instantly appear again, ready to play a film or show.
Create the ultimate multi-purpose viewing space with these smart solutions. Want to learn even more about hidden AV features and smart home technology for your Frisco, TX home theater?
Feel free to give us a call, chat with us on the bottom right, or fill out our online contact form to schedule a no-obligation consultation with our team. We’d love to hear from you!
The first home automation system was born in 1966. A little over a decade before personal computers started revolutionizing homes and businesses, the Echo IV was a device ahead of its time.
Though never available commercially, and cobbled together from surplus Westinghouse circuit modules, the Echo IV could control appliances and the thermostat. It also featured a very early version of a word processor and was used to format an entire 516-page book at one point.
Despite its incredible power, though, it failed to generate interest from most. It was used as the butt of plenty of jokes. And it was almost 30 years before connected technology systems began to take off in a significant way.
In 1994, Universal Remote Control (URC) -- a company whose name is synonymous with easy-to-use, single-interface technology -- changed the way we interact with our home theater devices, thanks to their Complete Control System.
Today, URC offers the more advanced Total Control 2.0 system, which makes using your smart devices easy thanks to customizable user interfaces, graphics control, and compatibility with the most popular smart home devices on the market.
How can your Dallas, TX home benefit from URC control? Find out more below.
In the mid-60s, the Echo IV may have automated certain aspects of home control, but it wasn’t exactly easy to use. An unruly series of front panel switches, a programmer’s keypad, and more were necessary to achieve the desired effects.
On the other hand, URC’s Total Control 2.0 control interfaces are designed to make technology easier for users of all skill levels.
The smart home company offers touchscreens, remote controls, keypads, and mobile apps to command your devices. Any of the control options deliver the same level of convenience to its user.
For even greater ease, talk to your URC installer about programming scenes. Scenes automate control of specific functions. For instance, a “Goodnight” scene requires just one touch to shut down your AV and lights, engage smart locks on entryways, and adjust the thermostat to a comfortable temperature before you go to bed.
Scenes like Movie Time, Good Morning, and Welcome Home can help make the basic functions of your day easier than ever.
Personalize Your System with Devices and Graphics
Though it introduced ideas never before thought possible to the American home, the Echo IV didn’t offer much in the way of customization.
At more than 800 pounds, it was a clunky computational unit that would never make a difference in most lifestyles.
Over the decades, modern technology has gotten smaller. The smartphone in your pocket features way more processing power than the Echo IV could ever muster -- and URC lets you add more devices and take advantage of each of them in your home.
Featuring a list of compatible manufacturers that includes recognizable names like Amazon Alexa, Sony, Sonos, and many more, you and your installer can build a system that reflects who you are and what you love.
Plus, URC offers customizable graphical interfaces. Add your own pictures and graphics to your LED touch panel devices to personalize your home automation system.
URC makes it easy to get the most out of your smart home, and we make it easy to get the answers you need.
If you have a question, click the chat box at the bottom of your screen and ask a knowledgeable member of our staff right now!
Home Automation Ensures You’re Ready for the Winter
As the winter holidays are quickly approaching, it’s time to start readying your home for get-togethers with family and friends and to prep it for all the security measures needed during this bustling part of the year.
So how can you ensure you have your McKinney, TX property prepared for the upcoming winter and festive season? With top-notch home automation features and technologies in place at your living space, you’ll not only be ready for the holidays – but can enjoy this time with loved ones more than ever before.
Your home lighting control can truly elevate your entire property during the winter time. Expand it with landscape lighting, and you can make your house stand out on the block with holiday lighting in a variety of colors.
This can boost everyone’s spirits and also give guests for any parties you host a way to find your home easily. Using an RTI touchpad or wall panel, you can make any adjustments at all times – just with a press of a button. Set “scenes” so that lights can stay on until the sun sets or alternate lighting fixtures to create a unique holiday display.
Smart lighting improves your home’s security as well. For guests arriving at your home, your well-lit pathway can ensure the darker nights don’t cause any fumbling or stumbles while they make their way to your front door.
A well-lit landscape also keeps potential robbers or intruders away from your property, and you can even set lights to integrate with your surveillance system. Outdoor lights can flood any area that suspicious activity is recorded or motion is sensed in, scaring away unwanted guests.
If you’re leaving home during the holidays to visit family and friends, your lighting and motorized shades come in handy. Set them to “vacation” mode, and your shades and lights will randomly lower or turn on during the day, mimicking your daily routine. This will fool burglars into thinking you’re home, and keep them away from your seemingly occupied house.
Audio and Video Components
Enhancing your home’s entertainment has all sorts of benefits during the holidays. Sometimes the most nerve-racking part of hosting a huge holiday party is wondering if guests will feel welcome and entertained throughout the evening.
With quality AV features throughout your house, you’re sure to set the stage for a successful gathering with friends and family.
Multi-room video lets you play a classic holiday film in any room you have brilliant 4K screens in. Stream the same movie from the same centralized source, controlling each form your smart device or touchpad. And if kids want to watch a different movie in the basement while your friends catch the big game up in the living room – you can make that change just as easily.
You can spread the holiday cheer throughout your home with audio distribution. Play Christmas carols on your speakers on the front porch, so as guests arrive they’re instantly put in a joyful mood. The music can continue into the foyer and everywhere in your home that you want.
Adjust the volume throughout the night and determine which rooms will have tunes playing in them with just a push of a button. Managing your AV is all under your control.
Want to learn more about bringing excellent home automation products to your property this holiday season? Get ready for the winter by giving us a call or filling out our online contact form. We’d love to hear from you!
Find Out the Upgrades You Need for the Ultimate Experience
The Dallas weather may be just turning cooler, but before you know it the holidays will be here. That means preparing meals, decorating your home, and entertaining your family. The good news is that home automation can help with all of them!
And one of the best places to get the most out of your family entertainment is in a custom home theater. You can watch movies the way they were meant to be seen, in a room designed to fit your needs.
Of course, every home theater is different, and building one that works for you goes beyond simply finding the biggest screen or the brightest projector. What will take your home theater to the next level this holiday season? This blog will explain.
You’ve probably heard of 4K by now. As one of the sharpest image resolutions available for your home, it’s completely changed the way we see our favorite movies, shows, and sports.
Also known as Ultra HD, 4K offers four times the image quality of 1080p HD. Since its adoption by major projector manufacturers it’s been revolutionizing home theaters across Texas. But it’s not just limited to a sharper image. The upgraded resolution usually comes with a whole host of interested and exciting features.
For instance, high-dynamic range helps images look more realistic. By widening the gamut between the brightest white and the deepest black, HDR offers thousands more visible gradients of color than standard contrast and brightness controls. Combined with 4K, it appears as though you’re looking through a window.
Of course, because 4K and its accompanying technologies are so powerful, it’s easy to forget that they require much more powerful connections.
To achieve full 4K, every part of your chain has to be capable of it. That means from your media server to your display, each device must be able to handle the signal every step of the way.
However, one aspect that many homeowners over look is the cabling. Standard HDMI cables won’t transfer the signal. In fact, if your cabling doesn’t have the appropriate wiring, you could end up missing out on full resolution or not see any signal at all.
Want to get the most out of your home theater? These are just a few of the upgrades you can enjoy.
If you want to learn more, let’s talk! Just click the button at the bottom of your screen to begin chatting with a member of our staff right now.
When the home theater started becoming popular in the 1990s, many of them looked to emulate a scaled down version of nostalgic movie theaters. Twenty years ago, we did not have nearly as many content options as we do today. With the advent of streaming content over the Internet, we do much more than watch movies in our home theaters – we’re binge-watching Netflix shows, multiple college and NFL football games on weekends, and playing the latest music videos and funny clips from YouTube on the big screen.
Home theaters and media rooms are evolving to meet today’s changing entertainment purposes. Of course, you can still build a traditional theater in your McKinney home with movie-themed décor and recliner theater seating. But today’s technology allows more flexibility than ever in designing a custom media room, and the theater can be in practically any room you want it to be.
Let’s take a closer look at the latest trends in home theater and media rooms in the Dallas metroplex area to convert any space into a state-of-the-art entertainment oasis.
Many traditional home theaters were purpose-built or remodeled rooms, with outside light blocked out by heavy window treatments. Some even had no windows at all. Today, families often like a media room that can also host games or other entertainment. The game room concept is a popular one all over Texas.
Less-restrictive media room layouts open up possibilities for combining other activities with our media. Instead of a movie, watching sports, live music events, major news coverage, or the Oscars might be on tap for an evening. With a multipurpose media space, your family and guests can enjoy multiple media sources in conjunction with food, drinks, games, and conversation. And If you have the room, why not add a dance floor to take advantage of the sound system?
A typical home theater setup used to call for a projector and screen to get the desired cinematic effect. While today’s projectors are better than ever – and increasingly cost-effective – by no means is that the only choice.
The newest flat-panel technologies – OLED at the high end and zone-dimming LED panels at a variety of price points – zoom up to over 80 in size, making an excellent option for smaller rooms. HDR (high dynamic range) capability is the latest technology which makes the picture really “pop” with higher contrast and more vibrant colors, offering a big-screen experience that works for dark room movie-watching and daytime viewing alike.
Ultra-short-throw projectors – those that project a wide screen from a very short distance from the wall – are also now becoming available at price points to fit many budgets and spaces. They are easier to set up than traditional projectors and can project screens up to 120 inches onto regular walls or wall-mounted screens.
The latest trend in media and theater rooms is a combination of screens. This type of room might have one or more flat panels for casual viewing – like watching multiple football games - and a drop-down screen paired with a projector for movies and events. It’s a great setup for hybrid rooms.
With the right home automation system, homeowners can have their own version of a sports bar or movie theater with a few taps on a tablet or remote – or even a voice command.
4K TVs and projectors are now mainstream, and streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV are capable of the high resolution along with HDR capability. Ultra HD Blu-ray is currently the best quality format for movies, but streaming services from Apple, Amazon, Netflix, Google, Vudu, and others are rapidly ramping up their libraries of movies and shows available in 4K resolution.
Sound Bars and Dolby Atmos
Introduced in 2015, Dolby Atmos is a surround sound format that adds increased height and breadth to movie sound. Most new home theater receivers and processors support the format, and any future-proof media or theater room would be wise to include it. If you are designing a new space or remodeling, pay attention to ceiling height, it matters for the best Dolby Atmos experience. Also, Look for DTS:X (a Dolby Atmos competitor) compatibility in new equipment for those that want to watch 4K Blu-ray movies, as that sound format is increasingly popular on new Blu-ray releases.
Soundbars initially became popular as a way to obtain a better sound experience with flat screen TVs, whose speakers generally have poor audio quality. They also offer simplified setup and superior surround sound performance in the right rooms. Soundbars have now evolved to the point where the highest end models can rival systems with separate speakers. Most soundbars come with wireless subwoofers, and some are available with rear surround speakers, all of which makes for simplified setup for some spaces. For certain multipurpose media rooms, a soundbar may be the right fit to combine powerful audio, minimalist design, and simplicity of operation.
Voice control is currently all the rage for a variety of applications and particularly home control. Whether it’s Amazon’s Alexa, Google Assistant or Apple’s Siri, voice control has arrived, and new ways that you can use voice commands appear every week. The latest streaming devices from Apple, Google, Amazon, and Roku – as well as smart TVs from major manufacturers like Samsung and Sony – have varying degrees of voice capability for content search and control functions. Home automation systems extend voice control over a variety of other functions like lights, motorized shades, and thermostats while also working well with the popular voice assistants from Amazon and Google.
Are you ready to upgrade or build a new media room? Let us show you the latest options. Just click below to get connected with one of our experts!
Submerge Yourself in an Outdoor Entertainment System
McKinney, Texas gets pretty hot in the summer time. It’s the perfect time to take a dip in your pool and relax.
There’s just one problem: You don’t want to miss a second of your favorite entertainment, whether it’s watching the Rangers turn it around after the All-Star break or enjoying the latest summer blockbuster.
If you’ve been following our blog, you know how you can get the most out of your sound system by bringing it outside. But did you know you can also enhance the experience by installing underwater speakers?
That way, you won’t have to miss a moment of your favorite music – even when your head is completely submerged.
It’s a great way to add a little extra sonic accent to your outdoor space and turn it into the go-to party destination for your friends and family.
When you’re having fun in the pool, you don’t ever want to head inside – even when the sun goes down.
In-pool lighting is a great way to stay safe at night, and it adds a little bit of style to your outdoor entertainment. Because the lights aren’t facing your outdoor video display, you won’t have to worry about them interfering or washing out the image.
Plus, pool lighting integrates with your smart home control system, so you can enjoy easy command of all the fixtures.
Poolside Video Display
There are plenty of options when it comes to your poolside video display, but one of the best may be a rear-projector system.
A rear-projector sits behind the screen, rather than in front of it. The result is a brighter image and fewer disruptions when people get in and out of the pool and walk in front of the screen.
Plus, because the projector sits away from the pool, you won’t have to worry about potential water damage or disruptions.
Smart Home Control
A big part of transforming your pool area into the ultimate entertainment escape is ensuring all your AV is easy to control.
An integrated system will allow you to take command of every device with a single controller, through a single, comprehensive interface. All it takes is one touch to get the most out of it.
Want to learn more about how you can turn your pool into an outdoor entertainment system? Just click here.
There’s plenty of technology in your house right now, and whether it’s “smart” or not, you’re probably dealing with too many buttons, switches, and other controls throughout your day.
Each device may seem easy to use, but when you account for how many controllers you use throughout the day, it can quickly seem overwhelming.
And it get’s more complicated when you consider things like multiple sources for your AV, or different zone controls for your lighting system.
With an automated AV or lighting system, you can control everything with one touch. It simplifies your usage considerably.
Pain Point 2: Inconvenient Comfort Controls
Among the most useful technology in your home automation system are your comfort controls. That’s things like your thermostat, motorized shading and lighting features.
They’re essential to getting the most out of your property – they save you money and help you feel at ease while you’re at home.
But they can also be a hassle. You may have a single thermostat on the second floor, which means you have to get up and adjust it or trust timers to adjust the temperature while you’re out.
Smart technology allows you to control everything remotely. But that’s not all; you can also receive real-time updates on your energy usage and make remote adjustments based on the data.
Of course, the true benefit of smart technology is how it integrates with other devices to maintain virtually hands-free operations.
For instance, a smart thermostat can talk to your shades. When your thermostat lowers the temperature to combat the infamous Wiley, Texas heat, the shades can also automatically lower to minimize heat gain.
Pain Point 3: You’re Not Connected With Your Property
Leaving the house is always a great idea – especially when it’s to get out and enjoy a nice summer vacation.
But it can also be stressful. You don’t want to leave your property unattended.
Your smart automation system can help you stay aware of what’s happening. Whether that’s real-time push notifications from your surveillance or alerts letting you know internal locks are engaged, smart automation ensures you’re never too far from home… even when you’re miles away.
Want to learn more about how smart technology can impact your lifestyle? Just click here.