If you’re like many Americans who are interested in saving money and technology, you may have invested in a smart thermostat. Even if you aren’t using one now, you’ve probably heard of them. While most people know about smart thermostats, not everyone has heard about smart HVAC vents. What are smart HVAC vents and are they a smart investment?
If you’ve purchased a smart thermostat, it makes sense to continue upgrading your home automation. One way to do this is by installing smart vents for your HVAC system. Before you do this, however, it’s important to understand what they are, what they do, and all the advantages (and disadvantages) of smart vents.
What are Smart HVAC Vents?
Most people don’t think about the air vents in their homes, but those vents are what control the airflow in your home. With a traditional ventilation system, in order to open or close a vent, you have to get up and open or close vents manually. This is inconvenient and most people don’t routinely do this. However, if you don’t need to heat or cool a certain area of the home, closing the vent can save energy and money.
Additionally, having greater control over the airflow in your home can give you more control over the climate of your home, allowing you to heat or cool your home more evenly without cold or hot spots.
Typical HVAC systems are designed to regulate the temperature of your whole house, not a single room. Airflow is one way your heating and cooling system regulates the temperature of your house.
Smart thermostats, while responsive, do not control the airflow in the home at all. Generally, they adjust the temperature throughout the whole house, not in individual rooms. The best way to have complete control of the temperature and airflow in your house is to install a smart ventilation system.
Smart Vents Make a Smart HVAC Automation Smarter
A smart thermostat paired with smart HVAC vents gives you complete control of the temperature in each room of your house. You can adjust the temperature in a single room, without altering the temperature of any other room by controlling the airflow. This is useful for rooms that are infrequently used, such as an extra guest room. You can save energy by not heating or cooling those rooms, without having to manually open or close the vents.
If you’ve ever tried to heat or cool a two-story home, you know how difficult it can be to get the temperature even throughout the house. In order to get the bottom floor comfortable, the top floor might feel like an oven. Smart vents can help with this. They not only make your home more comfortable, but they are also much more energy-efficient.
What are the Advantages and Disadvantages of Smart HVAC vents?
-Smart vents are generally affordable and easy to install.
-You do not have to do a complete overhaul of your home’s air vents to take advantage of smart HVAC vents. You can install smart vents in one or two rooms at a time.
-When integrated with sensors they can be programmed to automatically turn off or on when nobody is in the room.
-You can control your vents with an app or voice control.
-They integrate with other smart home technology.
-They allow your HVAC system to heat and cool your home more evenly. No more hot spots or cold spots.-They provide more energy savings than a smart thermostat alone.
Disadvantages of Smart HVAC Vents
-In order to use smart HVAC vents to work, you must purchase a separate smart thermostat. The thermostat works with both the smart vents and your home’s existing thermostat.
-An HVAC system using two thermostats can potentially cause problems. For example, if you close off all the vents in your home, but continue forcing air through the system, it can potentially damage your HVAC system.
-The motors that control the HVAC vents take up space which can sometimes cause reduced airflow.
Overall, installing smart HVAC vents is a smart idea. Their affordable, easy to implement, and make a great addition to your smart HVAC automation. If you’re just getting started with smart home technology or automation, Intuitive AV is here to help with any questions you may have. We can answer any question you have, whether it be about installing a smart thermostat or designing a fully-automated home.
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.
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
Perfect for small spaces
Wireless (or minimum cords and wires)
May not include a subwoofer
Sound will only come from one area of the room
HOME THEATER SYSTEM PROS AND CONS
Exceptional immersive surround sound
More options in speakers and components
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
If you are trying to use your internet-connected devices outside, you may be wondering if there is a way to boost your wifi signal. You might find that it is impossible to get a good wifi signal outside. If you want to be able to use your laptop, tablet, or other internet devices outside, there are options like using the mobile hotspot on your smartphone to connect to the internet. But, if you are using high-speed internet to transfer a lot of data, or if you are trying to connect and control your audio/video, music system, or smart house, this is not a practical solution.
WHAT IS THE BEST WAY TO BOOST YOUR WIFI SIGNAL OUTSIDE?
If you want to be able to connect to your wifi when you are outside there are things you can do to boost your wifi signal.
MOVE YOUR ROUTER
The easiest and first step would be to try moving your wifi router near a door or window closest to the outdoor space where you want to use it. Keep in mind that this might affect the wifi signal inside of your house. It is generally recommended that a router be located in a central location so that the signal will reach all areas of the house. If you move it to one side of the house, you may have issues with your signal being weaker on the other side of your house. Moving your router may help, but it often doesn’t give you enough range for you to use it anywhere that isn’t in close proximity to your house. Also although some windows will allow for WiFi transmission easily, special coated “low-E” windows are like kryptonite for WiFi and will cause large drops in single level before reaching the outdoors.
USE A PORTABLE MOBILE HOTSPOT
Another option is to use a portable mobile wifi hotspot. A mobile hotspot is an independent portable device that allows you to connect to a wifi network from anywhere close to the hotspot. Most smartphones come with a hotspot feature. However, tethering your phone to a hotspot can be problematic. It uses a lot of data and it also drains your smartphone battery quickly. Purchasing a separate portable hotspot can be a solution for connecting to wifi outside. This method may also not work well if you are trying to connect and control your music system or other smart home features on your home network.
PURCHASE A WIFI EXTENDER OR WIRELESS REPEATER
A wifi extender can help you boost the reach of your wifi signal. If you have a weak signal in certain areas of your house or want to extend the reach of your wifi router, using an extender can help. A wifi extender works by connecting to your wifi router, and then sending the signal from your router to the extender. The extender receives the wifi signal then transmits it to the surrounding area.
Keep in mind that the signal from your extender is going to be weaker. This is because your wifi signal is going through two steps. First through your wifi router and then relayed through the extender.
USE AN ETHERNET CORD
Purchasing a 100 ft or more ethernet cord may be a good way to get your wifi to reach outside. You can connect the ethernet cord to your router. Then use the cord to connect directly to your internet devices, or you can connect the ethernet cord to a second router. Configuring the second router may be confusing if you’re not tech-savvy, but a second router will allow you to boost your wifi signal so it reaches outside of your home. For detailed instructions see the instructions on your router to log in, set up your router name, password, and internet connection.
THE BEST WAY TO BOOST YOUR WIFI SIGNAL
If you really want to have the best wifi signal outside, hiring a professional networking installer is the way to go. A lot of people try to do it themselves. Buy a wifi extender or second router only to be disappointed that their signal is still weak. Getting your wifi network configured properly is not as easy as it sounds.
In addition, most routers are not designed to be used outdoors. Walls, trees, and other interference can affect your wifi signal. An installer can evaluate your house, and your outside area to help you determine the best way to set up your wifi network. This may include outdoor-rated WiFi access points to ensure no loss of speed or signal strength in your outdoor living space.
If you are thinking about purchasing a TV to use outdoors, you may be wondering what makes an outdoor tv different than a normal tv? You might think that a regular tv will work outside if it’s placed in a protected area. Normal TVs are not made for the conditions outside, even when they are protected by a covering.
Humidity, moisture, dust, and sun exposure can damage an indoor television. Even if you keep your tv inside of an enclosure, it will be exposed to extreme temperatures that a normal tv is not designed for.
CAN YOU USE AN INDOOR TV OUTDOORS?
It’s possible to use a normal television outside, but you don’t want to store it outside. You would need to bring it back indoors after use, or expect the lifespan of the TV to be dramatically shortened. Many indoor TV’s left outdoors will fail in about 1 year.A standard tv is meant to be used indoors, away from direct sunlight, extreme temperatures, and the outdoor elements. An enclosure might keep rain or dust from getting inside of your tv, but keeping an indoor television outside is still not a good idea.
Using a normal tv for prolonged periods in direct sunlight can damage or warp the LCD screen. The heat and ultraviolet rays from the sun can also affect the liquid crystals inside of the plastic outer frame, causing them to break down over time. When the liquid crystals become degraded, the contrast, luminance, and resolution of your display will deteriorate.
In addition to sun damage, insects, moisture, condensation, and temperature changes can break a normal television. When moisture gets inside of an indoor television, it can break it. If the temperature drops, the condensation can freeze and thaw inside the television damaging electronic components.
Aside from weather concerns, a normal television won’t give you the picture quality you would get with an outdoor tv. Outdoor TVs are designed for use in bright sunlight. Indoor televisions have a much lower Nit count. Nits are units of measurement used to measure luminance or brightness. A tv designed for outdoors has a much higher Nit count. This is why if you take your normal tv outside it will look really dim, even though the picture quality looks great indoors
WHAT MAKES AN OUTDOOR TV DIFFERENT THAN A NORMAL TV?
OUTDOOR TELEVISIONS ARE WEATHER RESISTANT
An outdoor tv is perfect for entertaining outside. Outdoor televisions are designed to withstand higher ambient temperatures than normal indoor televisions. Sunbrite televisions, for example, are durable, waterproof, and can withstand temperatures as high as +122 degrees F. They are designed for permanent outdoor use. An outdoor tv’s housing is made to keep insects, condensation, and humidity out. Additionally, the wiring inside the tv is different. Unlike normal TVs, the electronics wiring and board is conformal coated inside to protect these devices from being harmed in the extreme outdoor environment.
AN OUTDOOR TV IS BRIGHTER AND HIGHER CONTRAST FOR OUTDOOR CONDITIONS.
If you want to actually see the big game or movie on your tv, you really need a television designed for outdoor use. Most indoor TVs have a Nit count of around 500 or less. An outdoor television’s Nit count can be 1000 or higher. Even if you go with a partial shade outdoor TV, your picture will be 50 percent higher than a normal tv. The higher the NIT count the brighter and more vibrant the picture will be.
Indoor TVs are designed to be used in dim lighting, they have a lower NIT count and lower contrast than an outdoor TV. Both are important when you have your screen in bright light. Having a higher contrast will make the images clearer and crisper when you’re watching it outside.
If you plan to entertain outside, an outdoor television is the way to go. You won’t have to worry about bringing in and out of the house. You can keep it outside permanently. You can relax, and enjoy the outdoors while you spend time with family and friends.
ONE OF THE MAIN ADVANTAGES TO SWITCHING TO HOME AUTOMATION IS SAVING ENERGY, WHICH IN TURN WILL SAVE YOU MONEY.
Depending on which devices you upgrade, you can save a substantial amount of energy. For example: A Nest smart thermostat saves 10% to 12% on heating and 15% on cooling, while a motion-sensor light can save 35-45% on energy consumption.
Listed below are a few ways that home automation can save energy at home.
Check for vampire drain:
Vampire drain means when an electronic device drains energy even when turned off. TVs, cell phones plugged into the wall, computers, stereos, video game consoles, and microwaves are all common devices that can suck energy. While unplugging these devices can help, it’s not always possible. Switching to Energy Star-certified appliances is a start. Oftentimes our appliances are old and use a lot more energy than their modern-day counterparts. Energy Star certification means the appliance is designed to lower energy usage AND save you money. Another option is using smart plugs. These little devices let you plug in a device and turn them off by voice command or Alexa.
Switch to smart lighting:
Did you know that old light bulbs use anywhere from 25-80% more energy than modern energy-efficient light bulbs? While smart light bulbs usually cost more than traditional incandescent bulbs, they will save you up to $75 a year and last 3-25 times longer. For even greater savings, set your lighting on a schedule or switch to motion-sensor. Many lighting brands such as Lutron or Colorbeam now have bulbs that you can control from an app on your phone.
Upgrade your kitchen appliances:
Unfortunately, we live in a world where waste is common. Oftentimes consumers swap out big-ticket items such as TVs, computers, and cell phones every year. We understand the desire to not rid of appliances when they work perfectly fine, but if your home is full of energy-sucking devices, it might be time to consider an upgrade. Nowadays, every kitchen appliance you can think of, from the refrigerator to the toaster to the oven, has a smart option. We know buying new appliances can get expensive, but when a new fridge uses 60% less energy, the long-term savings is worth it.
Automate your heating and cooling:
Your heating and cooling systems are one of the biggest energy sucks in your house, accounting for 47% of energy consumption. Fortunately switching to a smart thermostat such as Nest uses 15% less energy. That’s a $131-$145 savings each year. As for their competitor ecobee, their research has found that their smart thermostats use 23% less energy. Fortunately, most of these devices cost between $100-$300, meaning they will pay for themselves after 1-2 years.
Switching to home automation might create some upfront costs, but in the long run you’ll not only be saving yourself money, you’ll also be helping the environment too.
Contact us to learn more, or get a free consultation!
WHEN IT COMES TO HOME ENTERTAINMENT TECHNOLOGY, IT IS AN EXCITING TIME TO BE ALIVE.
In our world of “new normal,” social distancing, and health cautions, going to the movie theater is less and less common and home entertainment systems are becoming more popular. Why trade your arm and leg for a large popcorn and a drink when you can have the same experience from the comfort of your own home where the snacks are all yours?
If you’re reading this, maybe you’re thinking of building an entertainment room that is the envy of your neighborhood. Maybe you’re thinking, “Should I purchase a TV or should I upgrade to a projector?” This is a great question. TVs and projectors both have their pros and cons, which we’ll dig into below.
First, let us say that televisions are a remarkable invention. They’ve been entertaining families, making kids laugh, and bringing comfort to house-bound individuals for over nine decades. During those early days of TVs, the screens were about the size of a piece of paper. Now you can purchase TVs that are 292” (Samsung’s The Wall). For many of us, a television will always be the way to go.
Pros: As compared to projectors, televisions beat out for brightness, color, and contrast. Why? Because projectors have issues displaying HDR (high dynamic range) content. (There are higher end projectors that shrink this gap, but we will get to that in a bit). In addition, televisions are easier to maintain. As pointed out by CableTV.com, televisions use LEDs which last a long time, meaning that repairing your device is nonexistent. However, projectors use bulbs that can burn out, and they regularly need dusting.
Cons: While the prices of large televisions have gone down over the past decade, they can still be mighty expensive. That 292” Samsung we mentioned above? While the price hasn’t been announced yet, it’s looking like it will be in the six figures. But most folks don’t buy monstrous 292” TVs for their home. A large television for a more regular set-up, let’s say a Sony 85”, will run you around $2,000. Once you pass that 85” threshold, you enter the territory of projectors as it becomes incredibly cost prohibitive to purchase a TV above 85”. That price spike will something like going from $2,000 up to 5 figures.
Projectors have been around, in one form or another, for centuries. But high-quality digital at-home projectors weren’t really a thing until the 2000s. As digital streaming services rose and people started going to the movie theater less (even pre-COVID), home projectors began flying off the shelves. Now it’s not uncommon for a household to have an entertainment room with a projector instead of a TV.
Pros: If you want to go big—and we mean as big as a wall—then projectors are the way to go. While purchasing a 100”-120” screen for your projector will give you optimal viewing, projectors are handy because they can be used on any blank surface. One of the biggest advantages with a projector is that they can disappear. While big TVs are a permanent fixture, projectors are usually tucked away, and if you’re able to invest in a screen, they can be rolled up as well.
Cons: Projectors can vary wildly in price. You can find one for as cheap as $50, but it’s not going to provide you with anything close to that cinematic quality you are going to want. If you’re thinking about purchasing a 4k projector, it will run you anywhere from $2500 to $5,000. And if you don’t have a blank wall and you don’t want to use a sheet, you’ll have to invest in a screen, which adds to the cost. Some projectors have speakers, but they don’t usually compare to the sound of built-in speakers many TVs have, meaning you’ll have to invest in good speakers for your projector system.
Overall, the main thing that we encourage any client to think about when deciding between TV or projector is the “dollars per inch” factor. If you’re looking for that massive movie theater feel, you’re going to want that massive movie theater screen. In this scenario, a projector is probably going to be the way to go (unless, of course, you are hoping to spend $50,000 on a giant TV). The projector is going to offer far more bang for your buck in terms of screen size and provide a more accurate representation of that cinematic feel!
If you are looking for a more low-key family room type of entertainment center, you’ll probably want to go with a TV. When you are using this screen for more than just movie night, the screen size becomes less important. A good TV will provide a whole lot more versatility in what you can use it for, when you can use it, and is significantly easier to maintain.
There is countless augments for either option to make them more suitable for your needs, as well as countless “rule breaking” scenarios in which one or the other may be a better option for an unorthodox use. Your best bet, is to consult with a professional to help you analyze the actual room you’re using and what you want to get out of it. This way, they can give you a personalized and accurate recommendation of the tools you’ll need to make your dream media room a reality!