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  • Soundbar vs. Home Theater System, Which Is Right For You?

    If you are like most Americans, you have a big flat-screen television in your home. You might think that with all the bells and whistles that come with these bad boys, that you would get top-quality sound to go with the high-def picture and price tag. Unfortunately, the built-in speakers that come with your TV just don’t cut it when it comes to sound quality. Even if your television’s sound quality is decent, you won’t get the experience you get with a soundbar or home theater system.

    If you are trying to decide which is better for you, a soundbar or a home theater system, we are here to help. Which is right for you depends on your budget, your space, and what kind of sound you want. We are going to go over the difference between a soundbar vs a home theater system to help you decide which is right for you.

    SOUNDBAR OVERVIEW

    Although it looks like a single speaker, a soundbar is a multi-speaker unit that houses several speakers integrated into one rectangular-shaped box (or bar). Because of its size, it can be placed on a shelf below or above your television or mounted to your wall. On first thought, a home theater system probably sounds like the best way to go, but there are some advantages to using a soundbar.

    Back in the day, if you wanted to connect a sound system to your television, you had to use wires and large speakers. With a soundbar, you can connect to any of your Bluetooth devices and stream music or television, without the need for extra cables or wires. They are easy to set up even if you’re not tech-savvy.

    Soundbars are affordable and convenient for small spaces. If you don’t have a large space to work with, a soundbar can provide you with better quality sound than you’d get from your television speakers. Although they don’t give you all-around sound like a home theater system, they can mimic a surround system to give you a digitally created surround-sound effect.

    HOME THEATER SYSTEM OVERVIEW

    If you are looking for the best quality surround sound system, a home theater system may be best for you. A home theater system gives you immersive all-around sound. It creates a theater-like experience, with sound coming from all around the room. A soundbar can replicate surround sound, but you won’t actually be surrounded by sound.

    You can customize your home theater system by selecting the speakers you want and placing them in different areas. If you have a theater or media room, watching movies can be just like being in a real movie theater. A soundbar is just one speaker unit that is placed near your television. With a home theater system, you can decide where to place your speakers to provide the best acoustics.

    There are a few drawbacks to a home theater system. They are more expensive than a soundbar. They require more space for speakers and may be difficult to set up. You can opt for a smaller home theater system and add speakers to your home theater to build out your system as you go. But, sometimes integrating new speakers with your sound system can be complicated. Some products are not compatible with each other. Before you go out and purchase a bunch of components, you should talk with a professional to make sure they will work together.

    HOW TO DECIDE WHICH IS RIGHT FOR YOU?

    Before you make your decision, think about what you want in a sound system. A soundbar may be a good option if your budget is limited, but if you really want a theater experience, starting with a few speakers for a home theater system might be better. If you purchase a soundbar and later want to have a better system, you may not be able to integrate your soundbar with the rest of your sound system. Soundbars are intended to be used as standalone speakers. Before you purchase either, consult a professional to see if your soundbar will work with a home theater system later.

    SOUNDBAR PROS AND CONS

    Pros

    • Affordable

    • Perfect for small spaces

    • Easy setup

    • Wireless (or minimum cords and wires)

    Cons

    • May not include a subwoofer

    • Sound will only come from one area of the room

    HOME THEATER SYSTEM PROS AND CONS

    Pros

    • Customizable

    • Scalable

    • Exceptional immersive surround sound

    • More options in speakers and components

    Cons

    • More expensive

    • May require professional installation

    • Takes up more space

    • May not be available in wireless options

    If you are still trying to decide which is right for you, give Intuitive AV a call and talk to one of our professional home theater specialists. We can help take some of the confusion out of which products are best for your space.

  • Top 5 Tech Essentials For The 2021 Home Office

    If you’re one of the folks that suddenly found yourself working from home in 2021, you may have created a home office. With the trend of working from home continuing, you might be ready to invest in a better setup for your home office. If your home office isn’t working for you, it might be because you don’t have the essential technology for a home office.

    Whether you run a business or work from home, everyone needs a functional workspace. If you don’t have the tech products you need, it will make working from home challenging. We’ve put together a list of the top five tech essentials for your home office in 2021.

    NOISE-CANCELING MICROPHONE

    Love it or hate it, Zoom meetings are here to stay. If you’ve been winging it on Zoom, it might be time for you to invest in a noise-canceling microphone. By now you probably have the hang of connecting your laptop to video and audio for your video conference calls, but are you the guy in the Zoom meeting that nobody can hear? The standard microphone on your laptop is not ideal for video conferencing. Consider purchasing a noise-canceling headset with a built-in microphone for your Zoom meetings.

    DO YOU CONDUCT VIDEO MEETINGS OR WEBINARS FROM YOUR HOME OFFICE?

    If you’ve been getting by with your laptop microphone, 2021 is a good time to invest in a better quality microphone. If you create social media live streams, webinars, or do any type of video recordings from home, having a good sound system is critical.

    Have you ever listened to a video conference or webinar and couldn’t hear what was being said due to background noise or poor audio? It’s frustrating! If you have to struggle to hear someone -— unless you have to be there — you probably leave quickly. A podcast microphone or studio microphone will make all the difference in sound quality. Bring your home office up to speed with a high-quality, sound-canceling microphone.

    HIGH-QUALITY CAMERA

    Maybe you’ve thought about getting a camera for your home office, but have been making do with your laptop webcam or smartphone camera. Your laptop camera is not designed for making high-quality videos. Have you noticed how grainy you look through your laptop’s webcam?

    Perhaps, you’ve been using your smartphone for video conferencing instead. Your smartphone is usually a better option for making videos, but it’s nearly impossible to do everything you need to do from your smartphone. You can’t see or share screen shares or presentations from your smartphone. And, even if you have an expensive smartphone with a great camera, saving large video files is difficult.

    If you do a lot of video conferencing, a high-quality camera is a must-have. With a high-quality camera, you will have the best quality video for web conferencing. It’s perfect for creating video presentations that you can save and share too.

    WIFI NETWORKING

    If you worked in a traditional office, you may have gotten used to high-speed internet that works from everywhere. If you have a home office though, your internet connection may not as be as good as you’re used to or sufficient for your needs. When it comes to internet connections, a high-speed internet provider is just one part of what makes a good wifi network. If your office is not located right next to your router, you may have trouble connecting to the internet. Moving your office may not be an option. If you want your wifi to reach your living area and your office area, you may need to improve your setup. Intuitive AV can help you set up your wifi networking so that your entire home is getting the coverage and speed you need.

    CORRECT LIGHTING

    Even if you don’t do video conferencing at all, good lighting is something you truly need in a home office. If you are working in a dimly lit room, it’s hard on your eyes, and will actually make you less productive. You can improve your lighting naturally by moving your desk closer to a window and opening your blinds during the day. But, if natural light is limited, you should really consider investing in a better lighting system. With today’s smart home technology, you can design a lighting system that you can operate and program right for your smartphone. It’s one of the most affordable first steps in creating a smart home and office.

    ACOUSTIC SOLUTIONS

    In 2021, many of us discovered the joys of working from home. It all sounds like fun. You get to wear PJs all day and do what you want. But, working from home also means distractions that get in the way of your productivity. If you’re looking for a quieter workspace, investing in acoustic solutions like acoustic panels can greatly improve the peace and quiet in your work area. It’s hard to be productive when you are hearing outside noise or a TV set in the background. Sound masking panels help block out noise so you can work.

    While noise and distractions can interfere with your productivity, good music while you work may boost your productivity. A sound system for your workspace is a great way to make your home office more fun to work in. Your office is where you spend a large portion of your day. Why not make it a happy place to work?

  • How To Get Started With Home Automation

    With smart home technology growing in popularity, more people are starting to look into it. If you have been thinking about making your home a smart home, you may be overwhelmed with all the information. It’s actually really easy to start making your home a smart home. Before you jump all in and start planning a complete smart home system, consider starting with just one or two smart home products.

    HOW TO PLAN FOR SMART HOME AUTOMATION

    You may be wondering if you need to plan out your smart home or if you should purchase certain smart home devices first. There is really no right way to set up your smart home. You can start with one or two features you are most interested in and scale your smart home as you go. When it comes to smart home technology, literally almost every electronic device in your home can be automated from your television, lights, thermostat, sound system, to door locks and window blinds. Decide which areas of your home you are most interested in and start there.

    When you purchase your first smart home devices, find out whether or not they are standalone devices or can be integrated with other smart home technology. Control4 is a leader in smart home automation and integrates with tens of thousands of smart home products. You can start with one or two automation products. When you are ready, you can integrate all of your devices so they can be controlled by one touch screen or app.

    HOME AUTOMATION OPTIONS

    SMART LIGHTING SYSTEM

    A smart lighting system can be set up for indoor or outdoor lighting. Having automated lights allows you to adjust your lighting from your smartphone. You can program your lighting to turn on or off automatically. A lighting system that is automated is a great first step in a home automation plan. Not only are smart lights convenient, but they also add security and reduce your energy use.

    SMART DOOR LOCKS

    Automated door locks add security and convenience to any home and have a lot of benefits you may not have thought about. A standard key lock requires you to always have a key, or be home to unlock a door for someone. With an automated door lock, you will have a convenient way to lock or unlock your door from anywhere. They offer security as key locks make it easy for an intruder to break into or force entry into your home. A smart lock can be integrated with your home security system and is a great first choice for getting started with home automation.

    SMART THERMOSTAT

    A smart thermostat is an innovation in heating and cooling systems. Your entire HVAC system can be automated to control the climate in your home. Like a smart lighting system, an automated HVAC system can save you hundreds of dollars in energy use over the life of your home. Smart thermostats offer much more than a programmable thermostat. They can be programmed or adjust the temperature or humidity of your home automatically

    SMART SPEAKERS

    With smart speakers, you can automate your sound system indoors or outdoors. If you enjoy music, you are not limited to an indoor automated system. You can take all of your music anywhere inside or outside of your home, and have it completely automated. With a touch of a button, you can adjust the sound in your entire home.

    Automated Window Treatments and Blinds

    Everything in your home can be automated, including window treatments and blinds. Automated blinds add value, beauty, and energy efficiency to any home. They can be programmed to open or close when you’re away from home. This is an awesome feature for anyone who is creating a mockupancy program for home security, but it’s also a convenient feature. By pushing a button, you can control your automated blinds from anywhere inside or outside your home.

    WHICH HOME AUTOMATION PRODUCT SHOULD YOU START WITH

    If you are just getting started, automated door locks and lighting are the most affordable and easiest options to start with. While some of the other home automation features are cool and convenient, smart door locks and lighting give you the most value. Both are affordable options for home automation. They will improve your home value, your home security, as well as the energy efficiency in your home. They are easy to set up and are what most people start with when setting up a smart home. As you have the budget, you can add additional smart home technology.

    If you are interested in getting started with home automation, talk to an Intuitive AV professional. We can answer any of your questions and recommend the best products for your home.

  • Remotely View Your Security Cameras When You’re Away

    If you have a home security system, one of the best features is the security cameras and surveillance. With today’s smart home technology you can view your security cameras from your smartphone, even when you’re away from home. A home security system protects your home from intruders, but also allows you to check on your home when you’re not there.

    With so many options available how do you decide which home security system is best for you? Intuitive AV offers two of the best options in home security. Honeywell alarm systems and the Control4 system allow you to monitor your home from anywhere. With the touch of your finger, you can see what is going on with your home easily from your smartphone. Keep reading to learn more about each of the systems and which one is best for your home.

    woman-using-home-security-system.jpg

    REVIEW YOUR HOME SECURITY CAMERA REMOTELY WITH A HONEYWELL ALARM SYSTEM

    Honeywell offers a variety of home security systems to meet your needs. Each system works with a home security starter kit that includes a camera base, two sensors that can be used on doors or windows, a remote-control key fob, and a mobile app. All of their systems come with video surveillance and can be monitored with their mobile app. Their security system sends you alerts when an event happens so that you have peace of mind when you’re away from home.

    Honeywell’s smart home starter kit is a DIY solution. It comes with video surveillance, video recording, motion detection, and everything you need to monitor your home. Once it’s installed, it connects with Amazon Alexa and can be integrated with your other smart home technology, Honeywell also works with other smart home devices like your automated HVAC system. You can control the security, and climate of your home easily with one device.

    In addition, Honeywell’s alarm systems offer additional features for added security and convenience. To add these features, you will need a professional installation. With their Lyric controller, you can manage all of your home’s smart home technology including lights, automatic door locks, thermostats, and other devices. If your system is disarmed, you can capture a picture of what’s going on inside of your home with their mobile app. Intuitive AV’s professional installers can answer any questions you have regarding installation, set up, and use of the Honeywell alarm system.

    CONTROL4 SYSTEM’S HOME SECURITY REMOTE VIEWING

    Control4 is a top provider of smart home technology and home automation. Control4’s smart home systems provide you with more than just home security, your entire home can be operated with a quick touch of the app from anywhere. The Control4 system uses advanced smart home technology to provide you with elevated features and the best smart home experience. Honeywell alarm systems can be used independently as a standalone home security system or integrated with the Control4 system.

    Advanced security features that come with the control 4 system include enhanced alerts, “mockupancy” programs, and the ability to check your home from anywhere in the world. With enhanced alerts, if your alarm is triggered, you can attract the attention of neighbors and police. Your home security lights will flash on and off repeatedly to attract attention. Any television in your home can be used automatically to view what’s going on through your security cameras.

    To create the illusion that you are home, you can use the Control4 to set up a “mockupancy” program. Lights, televisions, etc can be turned on automatically at different times. In addition, sensors within the home can alert you of temperature changes, moisture in your home, or issues with your furnace. Because Control4 integrates with all of your smart home technology, if an alarm is triggered, you can control your exterior or interior lights, televisions, or any of your automated devices.

    The Control4 system can be scaled to meet your needs and your budget. With Control4, you can automate and control almost every electronic device in your home from your television, to your outdoor lights, to your window treatments, doors, or thermostat. If you are interested in having the ultimate smart home experience, Control4 is the best solution.

    Give Intuitive AV a call. Our professional team of installers will be happy to answer any questions about Honeywell alarm systems, Control4, or any of our other smart home technology systems.

  • Automatic Door Locks: 5 Reasons You Should Make The Switch To Smart Door Locks

    In today’s world, more homeowners are investing in smart home technology. Automatic door locks give your home more security and other features that you can’t get with a traditional door lock. These days everything can be automated. Your lighting, shades, and HVAC system can be run through automation and smart technology. If you have started making your home a smart home, making the switch to smart door locks should be on the top of your list.

    Your front door is the number one way that you, your guests, or intruders can access your home. If your doors lock with a key lock, you may not have thought about all the ways someone can get into (or get locked out of) your home. Automatic door locks are more secure, more convenient, and can be integrated with other smart home security. There are a lot of great reasons to change your door lock to a smart lock.

    SMART LOCKS PROVIDE YOU WITH KEYLESS ENTRY TO YOUR HOME

    Have you ever lost your keys? Over a lifetime, the average person loses 3,000 possessions, and keys are the most frequently lost item. Keyless entry can spare you from this worry. No more searching your house looking for where you misplaced your keys. You won’t ever have to call a locksmith, or your spouse at work to come home and unlock the door for you. A smart lock will automatically lock behind you, so you never have to wonder did I remember to lock the door today? Having an automatic door lock gives you immediate access to your home at any time without a key.

    AUTOMATIC LOCKS PROVIDE EXTRA SECURITY

    One of the main reasons people choose automatic locks is because they are more secure than traditional door locks. A smart lock can be integrated with your home security system or be used as a standalone feature to add security to your home. Automatic door locks are difficult to hack or break into. Most intruders are not hackers, they are people looking for a house with easy entry. A standard door lock can be picked or broken through force. You don’t have to be that smart to do this. Anyone with a computer can Google how to pick a door lock. If you’ve ever gotten locked out of your house, you may have discovered how easily this can be done. A smart door lock makes your home much more difficult to break into and is a deterrent for burglars all on its own.

    DOOR LOCKING CAN BE AUTOMATICALLY SCHEDULED

    Some homeowners keep their doors locked at all times, but others only lock them at night or when they are away from the home. You can program an automatic door lock to lock and unlock at specific times, so you never have to remember if the door was locked.

    PROVIDE AND LIMIT ENTRY TO GUESTS

    Do you have someone who comes by the home to walk your dog? Have you ever given someone your key or had to leave your door unlocked so a guest could stop by for something while you weren’t home? With an automatic door lock, you never have to give someone your key or leave your home unlocked. Use integrated door locks to create a new user code and restrict access to specific days or times. You can do this from anywhere using your smartphone, even if you’re not home.

    SMART LOCKS ARE MORE DURABLE THAN TRADITIONAL KEY LOCKS

    Over time, when you insert your key into your door lock, the mechanism inside the door lock can get worn down. Have you ever had to wiggle your key to get your door to unlock? This won’t happen with a smart lock. Once installed, you simply enter a key code to open your door or use your smartphone to automatically lock or unlock your door. This eliminates the wear and tear that happens with traditional locks.

    If you are considering adding automatic door locks to your home, get in touch with Intuitive AV. One of our professional installers can answer any of your questions about smart locks or other smart home technology.

  • Outdoor Automation: Energy Saving Outdoor Tech That Turns Off When Not in Use

    You want your home’s exterior to be secure and safe at night. You invested in security lights, path lights, and landscape lighting to make the night-time view of your home spectacular. But if you’re leaving your outdoor lights on all night, it adds up. You are wasting electricity and money!If you have outdoor landscape lighting, porch lights, fans, or other outdoor technology, and they’re not automated, you could be spending tons of extra money on energy costs over time. We all know that turning off lights when they are not in use is a good way to save money on your electric bill. If you’re not taking advantage of smart technology, you will need to manually turn your lights on and off. While turning your lights off manually can work, there are more efficient, convenient, and affordable ways to upgrade your outdoor technology to be more energy efficient. You can easily automate your outdoor lighting and fans.

    beautiful house

    MAKING THE SWITCH TO OUTDOOR AUTOMATION IS EASY!

    With so many options in automated technology, making the switch to an automated outdoor lighting system couldn’t be easier. Upgrading your outdoor lighting and outdoor technology to an automated system can provide your home with more security, safety, and provide you with energy savings. You can have a fabulous well-lit garden or patio, with lights that you can conveniently turn on and off. Along with that, there are so many other cool features that will make you wish you made the switch sooner

    Your outdoor landscape lighting, porch light, pathway lights, can all be controlled by powerful automation. If you are curious how difficult it is to upgrade your current lighting system, switching to the Control4 smart switch is a great solution. Control4’s wireless lighting solutions make upgrading your outdoor lighting to a smart automated system easy. Whether you’re ready to move all your lighting to smart lighting or just want to start small, Control4’s wireless lighting system can be tailored to meet your needs. Even if your current lighting system is older, there are options for upgrading your lighting system to Control4’s automated technology.

    Small girl enabling the home security

    What’s a smart switch? A smart switch is similar to a light switch but it uses smart technology. A smart switch replaces your existing wall switch and can be programmed to turn your lights off and on automatically, or you can control it wirelessly through an app on your smartphone. Your smart switch works with other smart home technology to provide you with convenience and energy efficiency you can’t get from a traditional lighting system.

    OUTDOOR AUTOMATION CAN SAVE YOU MONEY

    More Americans are upgrading their homes to smart technology. Your indoor lighting can be automated. Your heating and cooling system can be automated. Your home’s blinds, entertainment systems, outdoor lighting, and fans can be automated. Aside from automated technology being convenient, it can create significant energy savings.

    According to Energy Star, lighting accounts for about 20% of your monthly electric bill. The cost of electricity varies across the country. How much you can save from switching to outdoor automation depends on how much energy you typically use and how diligent you are about turning your outdoor lights and fans off. Some customers report saving as much as 30 percent off their monthly energy bill by moving their homes to smart technology.

    father showing energy efficiency graph to his son

    By being able to control the times when your lighting is turned on and off, you can avoid paying for energy use when you don’t actually need it. Your outdoor lights can be scheduled to turn on automatically at sunrise or turned off automatically at sunset. Control4’s smart switch comes with a built-in app, so you can conveniently override the settings any time you want right from your app. You can use a timer to turn your lights or porch fans on only during certain ambient temperatures. No need to worry about forgetting to turn the lights off or for you have to get up and turn on the fan. You can program them to turn off or on automatically.

    TAKE YOUR OUTDOOR TECH TO A NEW LEVEL WITH AUTOMATION

    Sure you want to save money, but adding outdoor automation to your lighting system does more than that. It’s convenient, adds value to your home, and your life. Would you like to set the tone for an evening backyard get-together? You can easily adjust your outdoor lighting right from your smartphone. When you’re done for the night, you don’t need to go around and switch off all the lights. With just one touch, you can turn everything off. If you’d like to find out more about how to automate your outdoor lighting, contact Intuitive AV for more information on how to bring smart technology to your home.

  • Automated Shades for Privacy and Energy Control

    If you are adding smart home technology to your home, you might be thinking about purchasing automated shades. Automated shades provide you with more privacy and more control of your energy use. Although purchasing automated shades requires an initial investment, the value they add in beauty, functionality, and energy savings make up for it.According to Consumer Reports, energy efficiency and smart technology are 2 of the best ways to add value to your home. As more millennials are buying homes, they are looking for homes that they can control from their fingertips. Adding smart technology like automated shades adds both energy efficiency and smart technology to your home.

    Woman controlling HVAC With Tablet

    There are so many reasons to switch to an automated shading system. Not only do they add beauty and energy efficiency to your home, but they also offer so many more benefits. Adding smart, energy-saving automated shades provides your home with extra privacy and security. You can program your shades to open or close even when you’re not home, giving the appearance that your home is occupied. Auto-darkening shades help boost your energy efficiency and protect your furnishing from sun damage. A little added bonus, having shades that open slowly, quietly, and automatically in the morning, can help you sleep better and wake up more easily.

    BENEFITS OF AUTOMATED SHADES

    • Increases your home value
    • Provides privacy
    • Adds security when you’re not home
    • Boosts your energy efficiency
    • Protects your furniture from sun damage
    • Reduces glare
    • Provides you with better quality sleep

    Sheer window blinds

    Trying to decide which automated shades to purchase? Lutron is a leader in lighting control systems and automated shades. They have created innovative technology that allows you to control the lighting and ambiance of your room with the touch of a finger. Lutron offers a variety of wired and wireless automated shades that can be operated by remote control or through an app on your smartphone.

    They have an extensive line of automated shading solutions including roller shades, drapery tracks, Venetian blinds, honeycomb shades, and more. You can order their shades in a variety of colors, fabrics, and materials such as wood, aluminum, or leather. All of their shading system can be operated with a touch of a button, and operate with a quiet electronic drive.

    LUTRON SERENA

    Lutron Serena smart shades offer you elegant, luxurious blinds at an affordable price. They are battery-powered and operate without wires or cords. These super quiet shades operate wirelessly either through a remote or through your smartphone. They work with Google Home and Alexa. These shades are available in insulating honeycomb and roller styles and can be purchased in a variety of fabric colors and textures.

    LUTRON SIVOIA QS TRIATHLON

    The Lutron Sivoia QS Triathlon adds style and fashion to your home. This battery-operated automated shading system requires little maintenance. The battery has a 3-5 year life span. Because it’s battery-operated, you can control it from anywhere. It comes in roller, insulating honeycomb, wood, and in a selection of fabrics and colors. You can adjust your shades using the Lutron App or they can be controlled by Google Home or Alexa.

    These shades are available in roller, insulating honeycomb, and wood style. They also come in a variety of attractive fabric colors and textures. They are both functional and stylish. They can be used as a standalone shading system or integrated with other smart home technology.

    Luxury window blinds

    LUTRON SIVOIA WIRELESS

    Lutron Sivoia QS Wireless automated shading system is ideal for creating a beautiful, energy-efficient, smart home. This automated shading system provides you with an innovative wireless solution for shading your home. It can be used with the entire line of Lutron window treatments including roller shades, Venetian blinds, traditional drapery, horizontal sheer blinds, wood blinds, and a variety of fabrics and colors.

    This shading system is perfect for retrofitting and new renovations because it doesn’t require wiring and operates completely wirelessly. You can control the Sivoia QS wireless from a remote control, the Lutron app, or with Google Home or Alexa. It integrates with your smart home technology seamlessly adding value, energy efficiency, elegance, and beauty to your home.

    There are a lot of options when it comes to automated shading systems. Deciding which one is right for you can be confusing. Intuitive AV can help you decide which shading system is best for your home, and help you turn your home into a beautiful, functional smart home.

  • HVAC Automation: Smart Thermostat Pros & Cons

    With the advancements in modern technology, there is an app for everything. Thirty percent of American homes now use some type of smart technology, and this figure is expected to grow. There are smart TVs, smart lighting, smart speakers, and smart thermostats. Everything can be automated and controlled from your smartphone, including your HVAC system.

    WHAT IS HVAC AUTOMATION?

    HVAC automation simply means that your heating, cooling, and ventilation system is automated. An automated HVAC system is energy-efficient. It can make your life easier and save you money. Automated HVAC systems still have the same functionality as a traditional HVAC system, but instead of using a regular thermostat, they connect to a smart thermostat via WiFi. What this means for you is that you are now able to control the temperature of your home through automatic settings or right from your smartphone.

    Woman operating smart home with tablet

    WHY MAKE THE SWITCH TO HVAC AUTOMATION?

    If you’re thinking about making the switch to HVAC automation, you may be wondering whether or not it’s a good idea for your home. If you have a manual thermostat, upgrading to a programmable thermostat or smart thermostat can save you 20 percent on your heating and cooling bills.

    You probably know the difference between a manual thermostat and a programmable thermostat. With a manual thermostat, the temperature in the room adjusts to whatever temperature the thermostat is set to. A programmable thermostat is more sophisticated. It allows you to digitally program the thermostat to change the temperature at set times or days. This means the temperature in your home can be set to be cooler or hotter when you’re not there, saving you energy and money. A smart thermostat also lets you program the temperature, but what’s the difference between a smart thermostat and a programmable thermostat? And is a smart thermostat better?

    WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN A PROGRAMMABLE THERMOSTAT AND A SMART THERMOSTAT?

    If you’re looking for ways to make your home more energy-efficient or lower your monthly heating or cooling bills, you might be considering upgrading your thermostat to a programmable thermostat or smart thermostat.

    A programmable thermostat allows you to program the temperature in your home based on your needs. Programmable thermostats have been around for a while. Some of them are easier to use than others, but they work in much the same way as a smart thermostat but without smart technology.

    smart thermostat

    While you can set customized temperatures with a programmable thermostat, such as when you are away from home or when you are on vacation, programmable thermostats are not always intuitive or easy to use. Homeowners often buy a programmable thermostat with the intention of using it, but many people never actually get around to programming their thermostat, defeating the purpose of buying one.

    A smart thermostat is easier to use than a programmable thermostat and has more features. While they both will save you money on your energy bill, a smart thermometer has technology that allows you to easily program them and also adjust the temperature from your smartphone. Have you ever gotten out of work early? You can adjust the temp in your home to cool off while you drive home.

    Some smart thermostats like the Control4 Wireless Thermostat by Aprilaire or the Nest Integration thermostat by Google have features that allow your thermostat to learn from your surroundings and behavior. They do much more than a programmable thermostat, they respond to what’s going on in the room, and adapt. They can adjust everything from the temperature to the humidity in your room.

    Both smart thermostats can connect with your Google Smart Home or Alexa device, allowing you to use your thermostat easily through your app. You can set up an automatic vacation mode or away from home mode. All of your home’s comfort settings can be controlled directly from your app. An extra perk for tech lovers, when you connect your app to Google Smart Home or your Alexa device, you can control your home’s heating and cooling with voice commands. Something, you just can’t do with a programmable thermostat!

    PROS AND CONS OF USING A SMART THERMOSTAT

    For the most part, a smart thermostat is an excellent way to upgrade your HVAC system. There is an initial upfront cost when you invest in a smart thermostat, but the savings and convenience make up for it. In the long run, it is a great investment for your home. There are a few circumstances where you might not want to use a smart thermostat, such as if you work from home or if you plan to move soon.

    Smart home concept

    PROS OF USING A SMART THERMOSTAT

    • It’s energy-efficient
    • It’s convenient. Program it and it does everything for you
    • It’s easy to use
    • It provides you with useful information about maintenance and energy usage
    • It can be controlled from anywhere using your smartphone
    • It’s cool!

    CONS OF USING A SMART THERMOSTAT

    • The initial cost of set up
    • You may need to have it professionally installed
    • If your home is never vacant, it may be unnecessary
    • It only works over wifi
    • Some smart thermostats will not work with older HVAC systems

    WHY INVEST IN HVAC AUTOMATION?

    If you are ready to upgrade your HVAC system, HVAC automation is a great way to turn your home into a smart home. If you have already started using other smart home technology, adding a smart thermostat to your house is just one more way to make your home more energy-efficient.

     

     

  • Sunbrite TV: Light Up Your Backyard With a Top-Rated Outdoor Television

    As summer approaches, you might be thinking about purchasing an outdoor TV for your backyard or patio. Can you really bring a TV outdoors? Totally! But, you can’t just bring your normal TV outside and expect it to last for very long. This is where Sunbrite TV comes in. Sunbrite TVs are leading the outdoor television market. Their televisions are used by many professional sports stadiums across the country including Dodger Stadium, Yankee Stadium, and Wrigley Field. They can be found at Disneyland, The Huntington Library, and casinos, cruise lines, and restaurants.

    Outdoor tv mounted

    WHO MAKES THE SUNBRITE TV?

    Formed in March 2004, Sunbrite is an American television manufacturer located in Thousand Oaks, California. The company was created by inventor Larry Kaiser, and his cofounder, electro-mechanical engineer, Tom Weaver. The two-faced a common scenario, they loved watching sports but hated to be stuck indoors.

    On a beautiful day, they wanted to be able to enjoy the outdoors, grilling, and entertaining with friends. Having to run back and forth from the grill to catch the score was frustrating. So the two got together and discussed the idea of creating a TV that you could watch outdoors and keep outdoors. In 2004, Sunbright developed the first television of its kind, an outdoor television that could be watched outside, even when it’s raining!

    WHY PEOPLE LOVE SUNBRITE TV

    You may be wondering, are Sunbrite TVs worth it? If you have frequent get-togethers, or just like to be outside, the Sunbrite TV is the best television you can buy for use outdoors. It is a top-rated television, listed as Popular Mechanics, top pick for outdoor televisions because of its affordability, 4K HDR picture, and durability.

    Sunbrite TVs come in three series designed based on where and how you plan to use your television. Their Veranda Series is designed to be used in the shade. The Signature Series can be used in partial sun, and the Pro Series can be used in full sunlight. All Sunbrite TVs are engineered to handle rain, dust, insects, humidity, and extreme temperature.

    Man installing tv

    SUNBRITETV VERANDA SERIES

    Designed for use in the shade, the Veranda Series should be placed in a covered patio or screened gazebo that is fully shaded. Its waterproof case is made of durable aluminum that can withstand rain, dust, insects, and extreme temperatures. It comes with a weatherproof remote and media bay so you can stream Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, etc.

    When it comes to picture quality and resolution, the Veranda series is up to 50% brighter than a standard TV, which is perfect for viewing outside on your patio. It comes with a premium 4K UHD HDR screen and a direct LED backlight, providing you with a sharp, clear, and amazing picture.

    It comes in black and 4 available sizes, “43″, 55″, 65″, “75.”

    SUNBRITE TV SUNBRITETV SIGNATURE SERIES

    The Sunbrite Signature Series can be used in partial sun or high-ambient light. It’s three times brighter than a standard TV and can be permanently mounted outside. Like the Veranda series, it offers a 4K UHD HDR screen, with a direct LED backlight. Its commercial-grade screen uses anti-glare technology allowing you to watch this television in partial sunlight with amazing detail and vibrant, high-resolution color.

    It’s weatherproof and safe to keep outdoors all year round. It can resist temperatures as low as -24°F to 122°F. It’s available in white, black or silver and “43″, 55″, 65″, 75″.

    Sunbrite tv

    ARE SUNBRITE TVS SMART TVS?

    Sunbrite TVs are not Smart TVs. They don’t have Wi-Fi connections or Bluetooth built-in. However, it’s really easy to add. All of their televisions come with a built-in media compartment and HDMI port. You just need to plug in your streaming device, like Amazon Fire Stick or Roku. The media compartment is weatherproof, keeping all of your streaming devices protected from the elements.

    ARE SUNBRITE TVS EASY TO INSTALL?

    Outdoor television is a big investment. Outdoor TVs are heavier than a standard TV and require care when mounting. Your mounting system should be weatherproof, just like your TV. Sunbrite offers a series of videos on how to install their TV. If you are a do-it-yourself person, you can follow their videos to guide you through the process. However, a shoddy job could spell disaster. If you are uncertain of how to mount your television, it’s best to consult a professional installer, to make sure your TV is mounted safely, securely, and in the best location.

    HOW TO GET THE BEST QUALITY SOUND FROM YOUR SUNBRITE TV

    All Sunbrite TVs come with a built-in speaker. If you are using your television for entertaining outdoors, you will likely encounter background noise, such as neighbors or traffic from a nearby road. You might want to consider adding additional outdoor speakers. This will allow you to hear the television from anywhere in your yard and deliver an amazing outdoor theater experience.

  • Outdoor Lighting Trends: Placement Ideas for Best Night-Time Views

    If you are an outdoor lover, your backyard is your retreat, where you go to enjoy nature, listen to music, or just feel the peacefulness of being outside. When the sun goes down, you can still enjoy the outdoors without being in darkness. With the right outdoor lighting you can not only see where you’re going, but you can create a spectacular night-time view in your front or backyard.How you place your outdoor lighting makes a huge difference in the way your outdoor space looks at night. Proper lighting also provides you with more safety and security. If you want to spotlight features of your home or landscaping, placing lighting throughout your yard will illuminate your space and enhance the view of your home in the evening.

    If you are good at do-it-yourself projects, you may be able to place your lighting and fixtures yourself. However, a lighting expert can help you set up a safe, secure, and beautiful outdoor lighting system for your home and yard.

    Beautiful outdoor night view

    OUTDOOR LIGHTING TRENDS TO GIVE YOU THE BEST NIGHTTIME VIEWS!

    There are so many ways you can add lighting to the outside of your home. With so many ideas and lighting options out there, it may be hard to decide what you want. There are a few trends you might consider when planning the placement of your outdoor lighting. You want your lights to be functional, provide you with safety and security, but also add style to your outdoor landscape.

    HERE ARE FEW PLACEMENT TRENDS FOR THE BEST NIGHT-TIME VIEWS.

    SMART SECURITY LIGHTS

    Installing a smart security lighting system provides your home with lighting around your driveway, backyard, and entrances of your house. Smart lights have become extremely popular as technology has improved. These lights are convenient to use and many can be turned off or on from anywhere. You can program them to turn on automatically at certain times, such as sunset or a specific time of day, or you control your lighting right from your smartphone. These are a great investment. They add security and safety while lighting your whole yard at night.

    IN-GROUND PATH LIGHTING

    In-ground path lighting is an elegant and trendy way to light up your pathways. These below-ground lights illuminate your walkways by casting light along the surface of the ground. When deciding on the placement of these lights, take a look at your landscaping and your home’s unique features. These lights can brighten up your front walkway, or create fabulous uplighting to show off a favorite tree or flower bed. Additionally, because in-ground lights are below-ground fixtures, they are less likely to get damaged from lawn care or foot traffic. It is also possible to integrate/automate these types of lights into your smart home system for automatic control based on sunset or app-based control.

    BOLLARD PATH LIGHTS

    Bollard lights are another popular way to add lighting to your pathways. A bollard light is a type of landscaping light that is encased within or attached to a post. This type of lighting adds dimension to your landscaping, as it casts light horizontally or downward along your path.

    Lantern light

    LANTERN LIGHTS

    Timeless and classic, lantern lights are a great way to dress up your entrances, porch, or deck. Lanterns have been around forever. They aren’t a new trend, but their look never goes out of style. You can purchase lantern lights made of different materials to match your home’s exterior or outdoor decor.

    TWINKLE LIGHTS

    Add a little sparkle to your garden or walkway by hiding twinkle lights around plants or flowers. Twinkle lights can take your outdoor space from boring, to magical. Hanging tiny little twinkling lights around your trees, or fence posts creates a really beautiful and whimsical look. This lighting effect is really popular right now and it creates an amazing night-time view.

    TO GET THE BEST NIGHT-TIME VIEW CONSIDER HIRING AN EXTERIOR LIGHTING PROFESSIONAL

    Rocky garden with lighting

    For the best outdoor lighting consider hiring exterior lighting professional. You might think doing it yourself is the most affordable way to set up your outdoor lighting, but a professional can actually save you money. Because they have expertise in outdoor lighting systems they can help you select the most energy-efficient and affordable way to make your dream come true.

    When you factor in the work and time involved in creating your design, a lighting expert can do expert-quality work and save you money. A lighting professional can work with you or your contractor to help you avoid mistakes that can cause extra work or expenses. Also, if you work with a lighting professional the work is backed up with a warranty, and extended service plan. This means if there are any issues with your lighting system, you don’t have to worry about having to fix it yourself.