May 26, 2012

Redefining the Modern Vacation Home Series Article #4 – The Lake House!

Redefining the Modern Vacation Home Series Article #4 – Lake Homes

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

The Lake House is a home that is normally 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!

Now, as you can see from the description above, electronics are often incorporated into these lake homes due to the fact that the clients are entertaining family and friends on a regular basis while always trying to make their home a fun and exciting place to be. House music systems are vitally important for these homes as they really set the mood for fun inside and outside the home as these systems allow the client to easily set the house to play the latest rock or dance hits or travel back in time to share their love for classic rock or smooth jazz. Additionally, Home theaters become havens for those rainy days and times when everyone wants to watch the latest movie or enjoy the big game! Game rooms are also a key part of these homes as they offer the client and their visitors the opportunity to play cards, dance to the latest DDR video game or simply play some pool while listening to some tunes!

These style of homes also benefit from a great security system to help protect the home before, during and after their parties. Additionally, many clients enjoy integrating these systems with a smart home management system such as the Home Automation Inc. system or Elan g! system. These systems not only provide a great security system but also integrate with cameras, thermostats, lighting, pools and spas as well as music and irrigation.

These fully integrated home automation systems offer all of the features above and even remote door lock integration to allow you to easily and affordably integrate your lake 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 cool, affordable and most importantly extremely easy to use. Check out the video in this link for more details:

Elan g! System: http://youtu.be/mFUMiOmJBnk

HAI: http://youtu.be/Kxka4yrRx3Q

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

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!

December 16, 2011

Innovative New Product – LaunchPort

Check out this new product from Sonance, the makers of iPort, called LaunchPort!  It’s an innovative way to use, mount and recharge an iPad2 in order that your smart device is always charged, quickly accessible and tremendously flexible to use the millions of apps that are available today.  For control or monitoring, recipes or how to videos, home or office, this unique product has some great uses and applications.  It can be installed in new construction or existing homes and allows you to replace a traditional inwall touchpanel with a portable tablet like device for reading emails, checking calendars, finding sports scores or controlling your home or music system all from an intuitive device that you’re already familiar with.  Call or email the experts at Automation Design and see how this product could benefit your home or business in the future!

Check out the Video below…LaunchPort Video

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!

June 23, 2011

The Modern Vacation Home!

In today’s modern world, where people are working longer and harder, more and more families are looking to vacation homes, lake houses or cottages to help them unwind and get away from the stress and pressure of jobs, careers and every day life.  What does this vacation home look like today?  That’s what we will be discussing in our upcoming series on “Redefining the modern vacation home!”

Southwest Michigan is a great place to have a vacation home…it offers great summers with warm weather, green grass and trees, beautiful beaches, a plethora of fresh water lakes as well as the ocean like Lake Michigan on top of a multitude of great golf courses, boating, fine dining, wonderful fruit and vegetables as well as kind hearted people.  We look forward to your visit!

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 16, 2011

What is a Home Theater (or Home Theatre)?

Series Article #1 – What is a Home Theater (or Home Theatre)? 

Home theater (or theatre) is the term that most often describes a dedicated space in a home that is set aside for a high quality movie experience.  This room is normally in an area with no outside light and is typically installed in a room in the basement or above the garage.  However, we have installed home theaters in all kinds of spaces such as spare bedrooms, rooms on the main floor, in pole barns or in man caves.   The ideal dimensions acoustically for a dedicated home theater space is 16’ wide by 21’ long with 9’ ceilings according to THX standards.

A front projector and a large projection screen are generally used for these spaces as they provide a high quality image, the largest size for the money while also providing a cinematic experience similar to or better than a commercial theater!

In times past, a home theater was dedicated primarily to the movie watching experience.  However, these days a home theater is often used for sporting events, birthday parties, gaming parties and special events to name a few.

Typical sources for a dedicated home theater are satellite or cable TV, a BluRay player, and some sort of gaming system such as an Xbox 360, Playstation 3 or Nintendo Wii.  An additional source that has gained in popularity is a media streaming device such as an Apple TV or Roku or to simply utilize this feature on the gaming system to allow clients to stream movies from Netflix, Blockbuster and other online movie services. 

A 7.1 or 7.2 speaker configuration is typically used in these environments to provide the best sound for the money.  One thing to note here is that sound is the movement of air and so a properly configured home theater room will be designed with the appropriate number and size of speakers to accommodate the air volume within the space.  This way, a speaker system can provide the owner with a smooth, efficient and high quality experience without over driving the speakers or over working the amplifier or receiver.  Intelligibility of speech should be a high priority as this accounts for over 80% of a movie’s experience while overall balance within the rest of the speakers will provide you with a consistent experience for the life of your home theater.

A simple and easy to use remote control is vital in bringing the entire package together.  Try to stay away from fancy and look more for functional and intuitive as this can make or break a system.  This is one area that you don’t want to skimp on.  From our experience…If it’s easy to use, you and your family will use it and get a lot of enjoyment from your home theater investment!  If it’s not, it will be an adventure that will bring you frustration and stress and this is not what Home Entertainment is supposed to be about!

Acoustics, room treatments, seating configurations and sight lines are just a few of the many additional elements that bring a high quality, dedicated home theater experience to your home.

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

May 13, 2011

Redefining the Home Theater Experience!

Home Theater, home theatre, media rooms, and surround sound systems…these are all terms that describe a home entertainment experience featuring a video display, a receiver or preamplifier, a multi channel amplifier, multiple speakers, multiple sources, and some sort of control.  What’s the difference between them?  That’s what we will be discussing in our upcoming series on “Redefining the Home Theater Experience!”

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