May 3, 2012

Redefining the Modern Vacation Home Series Article #2 – Cottage Style Homes

This week’s article in the redefining the modern vacation home series is going to focus on the Cottage style home. If you remember from our initial post, a cottage style vacation home is defined as follows:

The cottage vacation home style is a home that is normally 1,500 square feet or smaller and is traditionally located on a small inland lake or in a remote area nestled within some beautiful natural landscape and far away from every day society. This style of vacation home is normally utilized for specific functions such as fishing, hunting, hiking, skiing, etc… The goal of this type of vacation home is primarily to support outdoor sports and recreation adventures but can sometimes be a way to simply get away from the normal everyday life.

Now, as you can see from the description above, technology is often not incorporated into these cottage style homes simply due to their remote location and the lack of high speed internet access that is often an important prerequisite for remote connection, monitoring, etc… That doesn’t mean that these style of homes couldn’t benefit from a solid security system to help protect the home when not in use as well as for temperature and environmental protection during those rough winters or the extended times when the homeowner is away from the cottage.

Fortunately today, with the advancement of cellular data connections, there are more and more options available that can help you secure, monitor and control your cottage style home via a cellular connection and can offer you remote arm/disarm, HVAC monitoring and control, lighting control and even remote door locks that can text you when someone arrives or leaves… One such system is the Honeywell Total Connect System and in particular the Honeywell Lynx Touch wireless system.

This all in one security system offers wireless security, HVAC, lighting and even remote door lock integration to allow you to easily and affordably integrate your cottage style home with a smart device such as an iphone, ipad or android device that allows you to control and monitor these vital subsystems no matter where you might be. It’s affordable, easy to install due to its wireless backbone and most importantly extremely easy to use. Check out the video in this link for more details: http://www.lynxtouch.com/video.html

Next week, the Retreat…stay tuned for more articles and recommendations for today’s modern vacation home clients!

April 18, 2012

Redefining the Modern Vacation Home! – Article #1

Welcome to the first article in our series on “Redefining the modern vacation home!” In this first article, we would like to discuss the various types of vacation homes and then begin in subsequent posts to talk about how technology can be implemented to assist homeowners with connecting, monitoring and controlling these vacation homes no matter where they might be. So, let’s get started:

The first vacation home style is the cottage. This type of home is normally 1,500 square feet or smaller and is traditionally located on a small inland lake or in a remote area nestled within some beautiful natural landscape and far away from every day society. This style of vacation home is normally utilized for specific functions such as fishing, hunting, hiking, skiing, etc… The goal of this type of vacation home is primarily to support their outdoor sports and recreation adventures but can sometimes be a way to simply get away from the normal everyday life.

The second vacation home style is the Retreat. This type of home can be anywhere from 900 square feet to 3,200 square feet and is traditionally nestled within a remote destination or beautiful scenic habitat. This style of vacation home is normally utilized specifically for rest and relaxation. The goal of this type of vacation home is primarily for quiet reflection, cozy comfort, and a soothing atmosphere to simply relax the mind, body and spirit and forget the hustle and bustle of corporate life.

The third vacation home style is the Lake House. This type of home can be anywhere from 1,100 square feet to as large as 6,500 square feet and is traditionally located on either an inland lake or main coastline for one of the great lakes or oceans. This style of vacation home is normally utilized as an entertainment property to bring family and friends together for events, parties, and weekend getaways! The goal of this type of vacation home is all about fun and everything in the home is typically designed to support these initiatives!

The fourth vacation home style is the Luxury Home. This type of home can be anywhere from 2,500 square feet to as large as 15,000 square feet and is traditionally located on a golf course, on an inland lake or main coastline of one of the great lakes or oceans. This style of vacation home is normally utilized by an affluent client as a luxury home located within a beautiful part of the country. The goal of this type of vacation home is simply about allowing the affluent family or families to move to a unique part of the country for a period of time to enjoy the beautiful local food, arts, sports or culture.

The fifth vacation home style is the Lodge. This type of property can be anywhere from 3,500 square feet to as large as 20,000 square feet and is traditionally located in a destination location and is all about supporting a specific sport such as a hunting lodge or ski lodge to name a few. This vacation property will normally be surrounded by smaller sleeping cottages or condos and the lodge is the place where everyone gathers for food, fun and games!

Now I realize that this list is not all encompassing and that many vacation homes will incorporate several aspects of each of these different styles. However, we wanted to at least break down the various types of vacation home styles most commonly found in the marketplace and segment them into something purposeful and helpful for modernization! Check out our subsequent posts for articles on how each of these various home styles can successfully implement home entertainment, security and remote management features into something that blends with their overall design while making their home accessible, functional and cool!

February 3, 2012

Another Cool New Product – Auton Dream Machine!

Unique Way to Conceal a TV in your Bedroom!

Auton, known for its TV Lifts, has been doing well to conceal our plasma and LCD TV screens in cabinets at the touch of a button, but it has grown better in this hide and seek business with its latest creation — the Dream Machine. With its seamless and simple to operate ways, Auton’s Dream Machine slides your TV under your bed and back on the stand at the touch of a button. The Dream Machine comes pre-assembled and it needs no modifications to adjust with your bed frame. Priced at $13,999 for the DM70 and up to $22,999 DM120S, it can withhold 120lb, but screen size shouldn’t be a problem.

Check out this video for more details:  http://youtu.be/gm0mJ2wpA38

Call the professionals at Automation Design + Entertainment for information on how you can incorporate this hidden treasure into your home!

August 31, 2011

Pioneer Elite is Back and Better Than Ever!

Long known for having one of the best flat panel televisions in the industry…Pioneer Elite stopped producing their highly rated KURO plasma televisions back in 2009 due to the sharp economic downturn and severe price drops that the flat panel industry was experiencing.  This despite the fact that experts as well as audio/video and home theater enthusiasts raved about the deep black levels, vibrant colors and superb video offered in these sets.

Well, be disappointed no longer, as Pioneer Elite has revived its video business and is coming back better than ever with a strategic partnership with Sharp!  See, Sharp is one of the largest LCD/LED glass manufacturers in the world and has been producing a LCD/LED Quattron flat panel television for several years now that added a fourth sub pixel to the standard RGB+Y color palette.  Their sets offered the brightness of LCD backlighting while incorporating the energy efficiency of LED and the broadest range of colors available via their Quattron technology.  You combine this with the video engineering expertise and deep black levels that Pioneer Elite KURO is known for and you truly have a winning combination!

The new sets will come in 60″ and 70″ models ranging in price from $5999 to $8499 and will feature their anti-blur technology they call “Fluidmotion.”  This is a technology that achieves the equivalent of a 720Hz scanning rate by combining frame-quadrupling 240Hz technology with a scanning backlight.  These new sets will also feature local dimming in which their will be “hundreds” of zones that can be individually controlled for optimum black levels for any scene or environment.

For more information, please visit their website at:  http://elitelcdtv.com/ or call us at 269-324-6072 and we’ll be glad to assist you in bringing this amazing video experience to your home!

May 31, 2011

Why is the sound on my new Flat Panel TV so bad?

Where has the sound gone on my TV?

Those who have recently purchased new flat panel LCD and LED TV’s have noticed that the sound quality on most of these new models is marginal at best.  Part of the sacrifice to go to a thin profile design is that the manufacturers have to compromise on the amplifier section and speakers in order to get everything to fit into these new thin designs.  On top of that, many of these manufacturers have moved the speakers to the back of the TV and firing down instead of being mounted on the front of the TV with speakers firing out towards the listener.  This has added to the poor quality of the sound which makes us turn the volume way up just to get intelligibility of speech.  The problem with this scenario is that we are also turning up the volume of all of the other sounds from your TV and these sounds can many times impact those in other rooms within the residence and make it unbearable for them to concentrate or accomplish their tasks.  Thus, battles and conflicts arise.   

Fortunately, we have several options from sound bars, flat panel speakers, wireless headphones and surround sound systems to take your TV watching to a more enjoyable experience.  Give our experts at Automation Design + Entertainment a call and we’ll be glad to assist you in finding the perfect match of elegance, video quality and sound quality for all of your TV viewing needs!

May 27, 2011

What is a Home Theater in a Box (HTB)?

What is a Home Theater in a Box (HTB)?

Today’s article is part 4 in our series on Redefining the Home Theater Experience!  Let’s look at Home Theater in a Box (HTB) systems.

A Home Theater in a Box System is a term that most often describes a small, compact system that packages a 5.1 surround sound speaker package with a surround receiver and sometimes even includes a built in DVD player.  These systems are a cheap and inexpensive way to get into the surround sound, multi-channel  audio world.  They are extremely inexpensive and might be installed in an apartment, dorm room or condo as they are more price orientated than design or quality orientated systems.  

Home theater in a box systems are normally very basic and are focused more are giving you lots of sound in a room versus a high quality of sound in the room.

A 5.1 speaker configuration utilizing small and compact speakers that are inexpensive is typically used in these environments to provide a very basic surround sound for the money.   Many times these systems will utilize small speakers and stands paired with a passive or low power subwoofer to enhance a movie or gaming experience for a price conscience shopper.

A medium sized flat panel LCD display or older model tube TV is most commonly installed in these applications as they offer a decent video image for the money.

Typical sources for a home theater in a box system are satellite or cable TV, possibly a BluRay or DVD player and a gaming system such as an Xbox or Playstation.

Home theater in a box systems typically come with a single remote control that can control the included surround receiver and/or dvd player.  However, additional remotes are normally required to operate the TV, Satellite or Cable Box and gaming systems.

Trust the Certified Experts at Automation Design + Entertainment to design, provide, install, train and support your next home theater in a box installation.  Their professional team of certified designers and installers will help you put together a surround system that you’ll be proud of for many years to come!

May 23, 2011

What is a Surround Sound System?

What is a Surround Sound System?

Today’s article is part 3 in our series on Redefining the Home Theater Experience!  Let’s look at a surround sound system.

A Surround Sound System is a term that most often describes a smaller system that might be installed in a master bedroom or in an apartment or condo that gives the client a higher quality sound than a TV would provide while not overwhelming a room or a space.

A surround sound system is closer to a media room type system than a dedicated home theater as it shares many similar elements of a Media room such as the displays utilized and sources feeding the system.  However, the main difference between a surround sound system and a media room is that a surround sound system is typically focused more on enhancing the TV viewing experience while a media room is truly a hybrid version of watching TV, movies, gaming and streaming media.

A medium sized flat panel LCD or LED display is most commonly installed in these applications as they offer a bright, high quality image while being elegantly blended with the design and décor of the space.

Typical sources for a surround sound system are satellite or cable TV and possibly a BluRay or DVD player.

A 5.1 speaker configuration is typically used in these environments to provide the best sound for the money while not taking away from the function of the space.   Many times an all in one speaker bar is used in these applications as they are minimalistic in design and easy to move or take with in case of a future move.

Finally, a simple and easy to use remote control is vital in bringing the entire package together.

Trust the Certified Experts at Automation Design + Entertainment to design, provide, install, train and support your next surround sound system project.  Their professional team of certified designers and installers will help you put together a surround system that you’ll be proud of for many years to come!

May 19, 2011

What is a Media Room?

What is a Media Room?

Today’s article is part 2 in our series on Redefining the Home Theater Experience!  Let’s look at Media Rooms:

A Media Room is the term that most often describes a multi-purpose space in a home that is utilized for many different family functions and so it is much more than a home theater….it’s a hybrid family room!  A Media Room is a version of a home theater that is typically installed in a great room or family room area on the main floor of a home.  This places it in close proximity to the kitchen where all of the entertaining and family activity takes place.  These rooms are typically well lit and filled with lots of natural light as they have walls of windows as well as patio or french doors in order to maximize the view to a lake, a pool or patio area or a scenic back yard landscape. 

Aesthetics and elegance are most often strong contributing factors to the overall design of this area.

A large flat panel LCD or LED display is most commonly installed in these applications as they offer a bright, high quality image while being elegantly blended with the design and décor of the space.

Typical sources for a media room are satellite or cable TV, a BluRay player, and some sort of media streaming device such as an Apple TV to view photo slide shows, watch youtube videos, stream movies from Netflix, Blockbuster and other online movie services as well as sharing your own custom home movie creations. 

These sources are most often installed in hidden locations such as a cabinet, closet or equipment rack in order to keep a clean and elegant look to the space while still providing you with all of today’s modern conveniences.

A 5.1 speaker configuration is typically used in these environments to provide the best sound for the money while not taking away from the beauty and elegance of the space.   Many times these speakers are built into the walls, ceilings or cabinets in order to keep a clean and elegant look to the space.

Finally, a simple and easy to use remote control is vital in bringing the entire package together.  An RF base station is often paired with this remote control in order that you can control the source equipment even though it may be out of sight in a cabinet, closet or equipment rack.

Acoustics, window treatments, furniture layouts and viewing angles are just a few of the many additional elements that bring a high quality, media room experience to your home.

Trust the Certified Experts at Automation Design + Entertainment to design, provide, install, train and support your next Media Room project.  Their professional team of certified designers and installers will help you put together a media room that you’ll be proud of for many years to come!