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  • Smart Cinema: How to Create an Outdoor Movie Space with Smart Elements!

    There’s something special about the long days of summer that makes you want to spend more time outdoors. And what better way to soak up those warm evenings than by transforming your backyard into the ultimate outdoor movie space? But we’re not talking just about any portable projector and sheet-screen setup — we’re talking about creating a smart outdoor movie theater!

    Of course, an outdoor movie theater will look slightly different than those huge home theaters you’ve heard of, but the comfort will be just about the same! So, what do these outdoor theaters look like? Don’t worry; We’ll walk you through what smart elements your outdoor movie space needs!

    The Location

    The first step to creating a magnificent outdoor movie theater is selecting the proper space. The best areas for your outdoor movie theater are the patio or other enclosed areas because you can add more smart elements to ensure your comfort! With a patio space, you can get a louvered room you can automate with sensors to open and close based on weather conditions so there’s no delay to movie night. You can also include LED integrated lighting, automate the projector screen, and add optional cooling and heating elements (like an automatic fire pit or fireplace!).

    Other smart elements to include in your covered outdoor space are bug-proof screens, automated water features (like a fountain, pond, or aquarium), and automatic glass doors to leave open when the water is nice and close when it gets too cold!

    Pro Tip: We can also help you create “scenes” to create the best movie-night ambiance at the touch of a button (like closing the louvered room, dimming the lights, and distributing the audio and video to the desired sources!).

    The Video

    Of course, the video is the most vital part of your outdoor movie space, so reviewing your options is critical! You can invest in an outdoor TV with a powered lift for glare-free images in full shade, full sun, or partial sun. Or you can have a projector integrated into a powered lift that only appears when you turn it on and lowers the screen at the same time.

    And like with audio, you can also distribute the video to multiple screens, so you don’t have to limit the viewing space to just one location. You can have a screen or TV by the pool, in the garden, by the bar, and play the same video on your indoor TVs so no one misses a single scene! So, if you have children who can’t sit still or always have to duck inside as the host, you can’t go wrong with distributed video!

    Pro Tip: Having your projector, TVs, and other electronic equipment on a powered lift maintains your home design and protects your electronics when not in use — we strongly recommend them!

    The Audio

    When it comes to outdoor movie magic, you need the best audio setup! This means surrounding your movie space with wall-mounted patio speakers, landscape speakers, and built-in subwoofers to recreate the reverberating feel of a movie theater. But that’s not all — you also need distributed audio!

    If someone needs to go inside during the movie, they don’t have to miss a beat of the same crisp, clean Hi-Fi audio distributed throughout the house. And you can control which speakers play the movie audio (like the kitchen and bathroom) along with the volume. Now you don’t have to pause and wait for someone to return from the restroom; they didn’t miss a thing!

    The Lighting

    While you might not think it, perfecting your lighting setup is essential to upgrade your outdoor movie space. With integrated lighting, you can include all the lights you have in your backyard space, like pool lighting, landscape lighting, patio lighting, string lights, etc., and control each section with a single device!

    You can set up the automation so that once you hit play on the video, it turns off the lights in the main viewing space and dims the other lighting so everyone can still see where they’re going in the dark. You can also assign colors for different sections or include UV sensors, so they automatically dim or brighten based on the amount of sunlight!

    Luxury Life in Action!

    And there you have it — the essential smart elements your outdoor movie theater must have! With control over every detail, from your audio and video to the space and lighting, you won’t go back to viewing movies under the stars any other way! So, if you’re ready to upgrade your movie experience to luxury status, contact us at [store name]!

    Our experts will sit down with you and help you plan every step for the best experience!

  • How Home Music Audio Evolved from the Gramophone to Wireless Speakers

    Gone are the days when listening to music at home meant playing a vinyl record on a gramophone. Today, we can access millions of songs with just a tap on a device. But have you ever wondered how we got here? The journey was incredible!

    From the birth of gramophones to the latest wireless speakers, let’s look at how far music audio has evolved to bring us the best quality and height of convenience!


    You might’ve seen the terms phonograph and gramophone used interchangeably, but they are two separate devices. The phonograph was invented by Thomas Edison in 1877 while he was designing telephone transmitters and used tinfoil cylinders to capture sounds and engrave movements. The first recorded sound was Edison’s rendition of “Mary Had a Little Lamb,” which he sang to his young children at the time!

    The phonograph had a hand crank to move the cylinders and produce sound through the acoustic horn, but the sound quality was poor and could only be played back once. The intention behind the phonograph was more to record and playback business-related diction and not music.


    After the success of the phonograph, other inventors challenged themselves to improve the technology further. Alexander Graham Bell had minor success with the graphophone, which used wax cylinders to record sound, but it was meant more for recording telephone conversations. It wasn’t until 1887 when Emile Berlinger made the gramophone, the first recording device to use grooved, flat disks instead of cylinders (the earliest version of the record player!).

    The gramophone itself used a turntable needle and a direct drive system to play music through the grooves on the flat 78s discs! By 1895, the first record players were mass-produced and paved the way for the introduction of popular music people could enjoy from the comfort of their own homes!

    Did You Know? The 78s records played at a speed of 78 revolutions per minute and could only hold up to three minutes’ worth of music!

    Vinyl Record Player

    Gramophones were the norm until they produced the first vinyl records in 1948. At this time, the first 12-inch Long Playing (LP) 33 ½ RPM and 7-inch 45 RPM singles came on the scene, creating an affordable solution for the middle classes after the war. From then on, record players had three speeds available: 33RPM, 45RPM, and 78RPM; some were portable, battery-powered, and featured a built-in amplifier and speaker!

    But it wasn’t until the 60s and 70s that new and improved record players took the world by storm. These were the first turntables to provide stereo playback and reproduce high-fidelity sound, which made the 20 minutes worth of audio on either side of the LP worth listening to!

    Did You Know? Record players are making a comeback as they’re still one of the best ways to hear music as the artists intended and recorded in the studio!


    The birth of radios in the home was in direct competition for record players, especially since radio programs gave access to sports scores, voting results, soap operas, lectures, weather reports, comedians, political commentaries, and stores (like early podcasts!).

    But by the 50s, these all-service stations gradually changed to the top 40 stations since it required less equipment to devote the program solely to music, which eventually led to popular music as we know it today! And since the invention of the transistor allowed for radios to be made smaller, it made portable music a reality by the 60s and 70s!

    One-Piece Hi-Fi Audio System

    Even though portable audio was becoming necessary for consumers, one-piece Hi-Fi audio systems were still popular. These devices came as a result of the booming suburbs happening post-WWII. They featured wooden-built consoles featuring amplifier-powered stereo speakers with a turntable and radio hidden under a lid in the center. The fancier ones even had full bars and TV sets implemented— think of your home entertainment center and home bar in one, and you’ll get close to what these were.

    But it wasn’t until 1968, when Harman Kardon developed the first stereo receiver featuring a radio tuner with wider FM bandwidth, an amplifier, and a preamplifier, all in a complete chassis, that the Golden Age of Hi-Fi audio started!

    Component Stereo System

    By the 70s, technology improved on the one-piece audio system with a component stereo system. Instead of an all-in-one setup you couldn’t control, these component stereo systems had multiple pieces, including an amplifier, speakers, radio, turntable, and a tape (or CD player in later years) player. The ability to customize your sound took audio enthusiasts by storm, as they could assemble high-end audio better than any pre-packaged item.

    Not to mention, these stereo systems made it easier for families to enjoy music without having to switch from one system to another.


    From the 50s to the 80s, most music was recorded on tape. In fact, the first home use machine to use tap was the reel-to-reel player, which offered the most fidelity and improved analog audio playback. But the more popular 8-track tape and compact cassette tapes became the norm.

    • 8-Track Tapes was the first viable portable tape player that was also included in many classic-era muscle cars like the ’66 Mustang and Thunderbird.
    • Compact Cassettes were introduced simultaneously as 8-track and gained popularity with their improved technology, better high-fidelity, and hyper-portable audio players!

    CD Players

    While tapes were an authentic way to reproduce sound, the introduction of digital audio through Compact Discs (CDs) revolutionized home audio. The first commercial CD was produced in 1982 and quickly made digital music more portable at a larger scale for the first time. And CDs let people choose what music they wanted and allowed skipping through to preferred tracks at the click of a button — which was a first at the time!

    Soon CD players were incorporated into all the latest component stereo systems!

    Did You Know? The first commercially released CD was Billy Joel’s sixth album, 52nd Street, on Oct. 1, 1982!

    MP3 Players

    Speaker of portable audio, when MP3 players came on the scene, they quickly changed the music scene. The MPEG III audio codec that allowed digital audio compression from CD quality was standardized in the 90s, making storing and playing audio files easier!

    And while the devices were portable, they could easily be adapted to a stereo system with an iPod dock or a 3.5mm aux input. So, you had even more control over your music through curated playlists and the benefits of no more skipping from scratched CDs!

    Wireless Speakers

    With the rise of smartphones and streaming in the early 2000s came the need for wireless speakers. More and more manufacturers started making internet-connected speakers so you could connect to your favorite content on a streaming platform while at home.

    Today, more wireless speakers have Bluetooth, making connecting several speakers much more manageable. And with multi-room audio, you can have built-in wireless speakers in any room and have them play the same playlist simultaneously with no lag or completely separate playlists. You can even apply this to your outdoor music setup!

    Rock All Night!

    As you can see, home audio has come a long way from the first gramophone. Now we have more Hi-Fi audio options you can integrate into any part of your home! Of course, you don’t have to create or plan your audio system yourself — leave it to the experts at [store name]!

    We’ll create a home audio or theater system that’ll leave your ears singing for more! So, don’t wait to get started; contact our team today!

  • 7 Striking Reasons Why You Shouldn’t DIY Your Smart Home

    There are tons of technology to make your home life easier, especially with smart home automation. While you might think you can cobble a few smart devices together, you’d miss out on a true “smart” home and what it can do.

    Smart home integration requires several steps and a complex setup to create a smooth working system. When you have a few devices, all you have is the ability to control a few aspects of your home — not the whole thing. So, while DIY-ing your smart home seems like a great idea, there are several reasons why you shouldn’t!

    1. Complex Home Installation

      You might think installing your smart home device by device is simpler, but it’s quite the opposite. If your home has complex building materials like interior stone, radiant floor heating, or mirrored walls, getting those devices to connect wirelessly is challenging.

      And some devices will require more wiring than anticipated, which means tearing up more walls. And if you mess up the first few times, you’ll have an easier messier home installation, especially if you plan to install multiple devices.

      Pro Tip: Our team will work with you to review what you want your smart home to do, and we’ll plan the installation down to each wire!


    2. Privacy and Security

      You’ve undoubtedly heard that a smart home system will upgrade your security, and that’s true of a fully automated system. But when you DIY with individual devices, you leave yourself more vulnerable to privacy and security flaws. For instance, some off-brand devices will store and sell your personal data or have hidden settings that leave you more vulnerable.

      And when you set it up yourself, there’s no guarantee that your network is secure enough to handle every device. However, when a professional (like our team) sets up your fully automated smart home, they’ll secure your home (and your information!).

    3. Programming Apps
      women using tablet

      When you have multiple, singular smart devices, you have different apps for each. Each device will have its own system, which means there’s a learning curve to figure out each one, and you’ll have to program them individually. This makes it harder for all the devices to communicate; if they’re incompatible, they might not speak to each other at all.

      Not to mention, you’ll also have to deal with separate remotes for each one!

      Pro Tip: Professionals like us will set up a fully automated smart home system that works and communicates seamlessly and connects to a singular control. This control can be a separate control panel or a single app on your preferred smart devices!

    4. Incomplete Systems

      Another drawback of DIY-ing your smart home is that your system won’t be complete, even if you have devices for every aspect of your home you wish to control. Instead, you’ll have essential control functions, but none of the automation features that truly make for a more convenient and luxurious lifestyle.

      For instance, you won’t be able to set scenes like an “Away” mode that turns off the lights, locks the door, and lowers the thermostat when the system senses no one is home. Or set a “Home” mode that senses when you’re close to home, immediately sets the thermostat running to your preferred temp, and turns on the porch lights if it’s dark.

      Pro Tip: If you’re interested in a system you can tailor to your needs, contact our team! The sooner we hear from you, the better we can plan what you want your smart home to do for you!


    5. Lack of Custom Options

      The beauty of smart homes is that you can customize them to your needs — which isn’t possible when you DIY. When you buy individual smart devices, you get the standard options from the manufacturer, so you can’t customize them to your needs.

      You can’t get options like customized lifts to fit your TV, specify your outdoor audio setup, create a themed cinema room, or have a resort-worthy backyard complete with automated water features and screens.

      Pro Tip: The earlier you contact our team, the more customized options we can give you, so always plan in advance!

    6. Lower Home Aesthetic
      smart home wall

      You might not think it, but DIY for your smart devices could ruin your home’s aesthetic. With the individual devices, you’ll have more difficulty hiding the wires and making the tech appear seamless. Instead, there’ll be more obvious tech in your home décor that could ruin the vibes you want to go for. And if you don’t install them right the first time, you’ll have to deal with more holes in your walls and other installation damage.

      When you hire professional custom integrators (like our team), we will wire everything discreetly and hide your tech when they’re not in use so you can have the best of both tech and your home design.

    7. Network Challenges

      Did you know that smart devices work only as well as the network they’re on? With a seamless network setup, you’ll have minimal interruptions, which isn’t likely if you try to connect everything yourself. And when you build out your smart system by device, it can put undue stress on your network and cause lagging, buffering, and network failures.

      Pro Tip: Avoid network failures by getting our team to set up your smart home system from the start — we’ll handle all the connection issues!

    Bonus: The Labor

    After all those challenges of DIY, the biggest one is the labor — doing it yourself is more complicated than you might think! You have to spend hours researching which devices to buy, how they work together (if they will work together), how to configure each device, wire the sensors, and connect them to the router.

    Not to mention that installation could also involve pulling wire through crawlspaces, attics, or climbing up on the roof. But if you leave it to the professionals (aka us), we’ll handle all the heavy lifting and plan the ideal places to get it done!

    Pro Tip: If you’re building a new home or remodeling your current one and want an automated smart home, contact us as soon as you start planning — the earlier we’re involved, the easier the installation will be!

    Leave it to Us!

     While DIY-ing your smart home is tempting, you’d miss out on the actual benefits of a real automated smart home! One that you can control every aspect and fit your needs! So, don’t miss out — contact our team at [store name] today to get started!

    All you have to do is let us know what you want, and we’ll devise a plan to customize your smart home to your needs!

    Do you feel tempted to DIY your smart home? Don’t! There are more drawbacks than you think — let the professionals do it instead!

    That way, you won’t miss out on everything your home can do!