Home Theater Solutions
Outdoor Landscape speakers are all the rage
Sonance® and Origin Acoustics® have some great outdoor landscape options that are getting very popular lately. These style of speakers resemble some popular low voltage outdoor lighting fixtures and are easy to blend into flower beds or mulched areas. Some of the sets come with an inground subwoofer to complement the smaller satellite speakers and give the whole package. The sound is surprisingly crisp and loud for such compact systems. This is a nice alternative to the traditional rock or surface mount outdoor speakers.
Sonos has released the Sonos One with Alexa®
This new model is like a Play1 speaker but, Amazon Alexa® is built in. Use voice control to play and control your music on this speaker and other Sonos players in your house through the One. Control other select smart devices and take advantage of all of the other features Alexa® has to offer.
Sonos just introduced the Playbase
A new, under TV, model speaker has been released for televisions that are using their stands and not wall mounted. Since a large portion of the flatscreen TVs out there are still tabletop, Sonos designed a speaker to compliment them. It comparable to the Playbar in terms of features (brains for a surround sound, improves TV dialog and overall sound quality, Trueplay speaker tuning and plays nearly every music service available) and adds the option of sitting directly under the TV, not in front. An additional swivel TV base has also been announced to hold the TV above the Playbase and allows for swiveling up to 20º.
Tivo Bolt gets and upgrade
The Tivo Bolt series has a new upgraded model, the Bolt+. It has 450 hours of recording, can record 6 shows at once and is 4K compatible. Multiple Tivo Minis can be added to other TVs so you can watch your recordings or live TV programs as well. Skip mode™ allows you to hit one button and jump past all commercials on participating shows and Quickmode™ allows you to watch a program 30% faster while correcting the audio so the sound pitch isn't off. Don't forget that they also stream Netflix®, Amazon TV®, HULU®, VUDU® & HBO GO®. Don't have a smart TV or don't like the poor user interface? Tivo can help. All you need from your cable provider is to rent a cable card which is typically cheaper than one cable box. The existing Tivo Bolt also works with ATSC terrestrial antennas if you want to cut the expensive Cable TV cord altogether!
Sonos Subwoofer is now available in White
The popular Sonos wireless Sub is now available in gloss white.
Sonos adds room calibration
Sonos has just released Trueplay room calibration that works with the Playbar, Play 1, Play 3 and Play 5 speakers. This update allows the calibration of these speakers to the environment they are used in. This makes the speaker more accurate. Speaking of Play 5...a new version has been released with superb sound and advanced wireless connectivity.
New projector line announced!
Home Theater Solutions is now a reseller for Epson projectors. These are high quality projectors at a value. Some are very flexible which is great for retrofitting into existing systems.
Sonos Surround Sound expanded!
With the success of their Playbar and Play3 Home Theater systems, new firmware has been released that will enable their Connect Amp component to run built-in speakers, that are installed flush in the ceiling or walls from another speaker manufacturer, as the back surround speakers in a Home Theater system. This taps into the custom stealth installations that we all prefer. Sonos has also announced the Play1. A new smaller individual (or can be paired) speaker for a more portable option around the house. Plus they can work as small rear surround sound rear speakers. A new software release for this setup was released allowing the surround speakers play at a fuller volume when listening to music, if preferred. This setup is complemented by their Sub, a wireless subwoofer to get a deeper sound and that exciting movie rumble.
New Tivo Products
Tivo has released the Tivo Stream and the Tivo Mini.
The Tivo Stream allows a user to stream shows from your Tivo DVR to your mobile device or download them for later viewing.
The Tivo Mini allows a user to enjoy Tivo on other TVs in the home with only one DVR. By using a 4 tuner Tivo and the Mini you can watch Live TV, your recordings or On Demand in another room the way you love with Tivo's interface.
Did you know about the water resistant remotes from RTI and Universal Remote?
Our two major remote manufacturers have remotes for use around the pool, outdoors or in a bathroom. They are designed with weather sealing and work via Radio Frequency through walls.
How does the color of your room affect your picture?
"What color should your room be? Everyone knows black or very dark grey is the correct answer, but no client will go for that. So target three things: dark, neutral and flat. Color is OK in a screening room but, make sure it's really dark or tends toward neutral grey (e.g. blue-grey), and by all means use flat, not gloss paint. I have found that dark blue works well, perhaps because green and red influence skin tones. (Skin tones, which tend toward yellow, are comprised of green and red light.)
The lesson here is that light-reflective room surfaces ruin dynamic range, which is the difference between the brightest white and the darkest black that the video system can produce when displaying actual program material composed of light and dark content. If a client insists on light-colored walls, you're really better off switching to a very large plasma or LCD monitor. Don't hesitate to tell them that, either, because it is more in line with what they want. Generally, people who truly want screening rooms don't mind the dark look."
Anthony Grimani Residential Systems
April 2008 here.