Using Apple TV in Your Home Automation System

using appletv in a home automation systemOne of the biggest advantages of the Apple TV is the fact that it is so simple to control.  The remote control literally has three buttons on it.  Much like the iPod it is a truly intuitive device.  It can also be controlled from an iPhone through the Apple Control app.  But is the Apple TV a good system to use in a home with an automation system

Simple Controls Are Key

The most important part of any home automation system is the ease with which it is controlled.  One of the difficulties in the home theater and audio world was that for years you had to use a whole handful of remotes just to turn the system on and off.  Thanks to universal remote controls this is no longer the case.  And any good home technology integration company should be able to install and program a system that allows for one-touch operation.

Out of the box the Apple TV has this same functionality.  But some of it’s more impressive features can only be accessed through the onscreen interface.  This makes it slightly less appealing as a source within in a whole house audio video system.

The reason for this is fairly simple.  Oftentimes you want to select the music you want to listen to from within the control system touch screen.  If you’re using something like Crestron or Control4 you shouldn’t have to look at a TV in order to control the device.

While you can easily access the music on an Apple TV while looking at a television screen, it becomes much more difficult when you’re using it from a touch screen interface.  This is something that custom integrators have to deal with on a regular basis.  Innovative Sight & Sound in Tampa, FL use Apple TV’s all the time in their installations because the interface is so simple to use.

They also offer a large variety of sources to watch including Hulu, Netflix, iTunes, Youtube, and more.  In fact you would be hard pressed to find a device that offers as many different sources from which you can watch and listen to your favorite media. Here’s a quick look at the interface on the current model

Not for Automation Systems

While the Apple TV is a phenomenal device, it isn’t an ideal solution for home automation systems due to the difficulty of controlling it with external devices.  It still makes perfect sense to use it in places where there is a TV through which it can be controlled, but in instances where there is only a touch screen or iPad, you’re better off going with source that is designed to be controlled through a graphical interface.

Should You Consider a Home Theater as An Investment?

custom home theater install

Having a home theater is considered an extravagance for many but for others it is seen as a necessity since it provides entertainment to the owner and to their visitors as well. Yes, you may say that it is an extravagance per se but take note, it is also considered as an investment which you may want to have in your home. It’s just like upgrading your living room with a TV set to a bigger room and more comfortable place where you can watch your favorite TV show or movies or play the latest video games.
So what are the reasons why homemakers would have this kind of appliance set in their entertainment room? Now here are some reasons you may want to know.

From An Investment Standpoint

First, it’s an investment. Home entertainment systems can cost upwards of $100,000. A lot of people may envy you but the fact is you have a home theater because you have earned for it and you value it since it is a part of your investment. Indeed, this is one reason why you need to have this kind of home entertainment system in your home.

custom themed theater

Secondly, you want to add more amenities to your home. Keep in mind, installing a home theater is for your own convenience. Remember, you may also want to relax every once in a while especially if you are having a hard day at work and you want to relax for just a few hours. All you have to do is to sit on your favorite seat in your home theater and watch the latest DVD you have just purchased.

Perfect for Special Celebrations

Any homemaker would want to have a home theater if she or he is always having an occasion or a special celebration. Much like a wireless music system can be used during parties to create ambiance, a home theater is a fun place to hang out with friends.  And even if there are no celebrations and you simply want to invite your friends or close relatives to come to your house then they can go directly to your home theater and bond in that room while watching movies.

Now the third reason why every home maker would want to have a home theater contractor is to bond with their family. If you have your kids and you don’t have the time for them especially if you are always busy doing some work in the office or in the house doing some house chores, you may also want to have the time to bond with them by watching all together cartoon movies or any movie that’s for the whole family.

No Better Form of Entertainment

Lastly, the home theater could be the best place where you would entertain everybody. Since it is the most often visited area in your house by your visitors, you also have to make sure that the latest appliances in home theater system should be installed. Well, if you have the money anyway and you want to enhance your entertainment room then why not install the latest technology in home theater system to make this place worthwhile and entertaining. Remember, you don’t have to simply sit there in your house and knit or read the newspaper, you can also enjoy while relaxing while you are in front of your home theater system.

Tie It Together with Automation

Home entertainment systems by themselves are great, but a simple and easy to use automation system truly ties it all together.  Look for a home automation contractor in your area to help make your system as easy to use as possible.

Apartment Bound? Check out Wireless Home Theater Solutions

wireless home theater speakersOne of the tough things about apartment living is the fact that you can make very little in the way of changes to your unit without incurring expensive fees or even losing your security deposit altogether.  Traditional home theater systems require that you run wiring all over the place and hang speakers on the wall to get the best possible sound.  Wireless home theater systems have changed much of this for the better.

Wireless is Better

The biggest advantage to a wireless home theater system is the fact that it is wireless.  In the old days you had to run wires to every single speaker in your system.  This meant a wire to each of the front three speakers, and two wires to the surrounds.  If you are using 7.1 that meant a wire for each of the side speakers as well.  Then finally you have a wire for the subwoofer.  This works out to 8 wires around an apartment.  Even when well organized these wires take up a good deal of space and look pretty terrible.  And if you’re not meticulously organized these can look like a rat’s nest.

When wireless technology first came out in the early 2000’s these sorts of systems were available, but the interference from other devices caused them to be both unreliable and to sound pretty much awful.  But current wireless technology has improved to such a point that it is difficult to even tell the difference between a hard wired system and one that is wireless.

Some big players have also stepped into the wireless space so that you can get top of the line quality and still not need any speaker wires.  Meridian Audio is one such manufacturer.  Meridian was one of the first digital speaker manufacturers in the world of high end audio.  Considered one of the best pure audio speakers in the world, Meridian used amplifiers in their speakers to make their speakers more efficient.

As you send power across a speaker wire you inevitably lose power in the process.  Meridian decided to remove this loss from the equation by adding amplifiers to their speakers.  And to further reduce loss they multiple amplifiers in each speaker.  Each type of driver, bass, midrange, and treble have their own amplifier.  This eliminates the need for crossovers and further loss of power.   This Birmingham home theater dealer can help you pick out the ideal system for your apartment or condo.

Simple Setup and Configuration and Features

Another big selling point of a wireless system is that they are quick to setup and configure.  Much of the setup an be done automatically through the software of the surround processor itself.  The processor will not only configure the setup of the system, but can measure the distance of the speakers from the listening position as well as calibrate the level of volume so that each speaker is consistent within the system.

One consideration to keep in mind that even wireless speakers require a source of power.  This means that you will still technically need ‘wiring’ but that the speakers should just be conveniently located to an electrical outlet.

Another great thing about these systems is long list of features included.  Features such as streaming services like Rhapsody, iRadio, and Pandora are often included and can be setup to stream music in no time flat.

Respect Your Neighbors

Another thing to keep in mind is that just because you can put a powerful surround sound system in your apartment, you still need to consider your neighbors when playing games or watching your favorite movies.  Most apartment walls, ceilings and floors are pretty thin.  So if you don’t want to be getting an angry knock on the door in the middle of your favorite film, try to keep the volume at a reasonable level.  🙂

Top 4 HiFi and streaming systems

If you are one of those people who enjoy their lives to the fullest, you simply can not forget about the sound quality importance. As requirements of the people living in the Internet era are constantly changing, streaming technology are becoming, not only increasingly important, but also brought to the perfection, if there is one.  Numerous of competing streaming gadgets keep emerging, so to pick the right one could be a challenge. Whichever you choose, the mistake will not be made!


Sony BDV-N5200W

f4f88707e1a2af7f51b47acc2f7c4bc0This all-in-one home cinema system will bring real cinema experience straight to your homes. It consists of a Blu-ray player, a subwoofer which is wireless (meaning you can easily put it away and forget about it if you want to) and five compact speakers. Not to mention the fact this system offers, beside crystal clear sound and brilliant picture, all of the latest features and special effects you can imagine. Even imperceptible details will attract your attention.

HRT Music Streamer II

HRT-Music-Streamer-2_P_900Music Streamer II interface is high musical performance. From your computer and home entertainment system will make a perfect combination . Thanks to its unique topology, the Music Streamer II provides a completely isolated path between the computer and audio system. No more audio contamination computers. Your music will always be at its best. You do not have to worry about power, because the Music Streamer II is powered from the USB port of your computer. Operation is very simple.

External USB DAC high performance. Music Streamer II is the fourth generation of digital analog converter of high performance which connect computer, tablet, smartphone, or any other suitable host to the analog inputs to any audio system. With a USB connection and power, the Music Streamer II is easy to use and provides a level of performance that will impress even the most experienced listener. Just plug it into any USB port and within seconds you will experience a level of sound that will surprise many.


HRT iStreamer

889x500px-9fcc6252_IMG_0237HRT iStreamer – Alternating Current ( AC), a condition that makes the music from your iPad, iPhone or iPod sounds clearly better when connected to a home or office, or music system in the car. iStreamer is not intended to be used with PC or Mac computers as well as other HRT music streamer. As an external sound card / audio interface, designed to be used exclusively with modern i- devices.


HRT Music Streamer II +

HRT Music Streamer 2+

Music Streamer II + is a high quality sound card that connects your computer and audio system. For use is very simple, just plug it in via USB cable and turn. In addition to ease of use Music Streamer II + delivers an exceptional level of improvement that has not been possible. With the help of its unique topology isolates from contamination signal that travels from the computer to the audio system.