The Latest on Home Technology

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Secrets to a Superb Sound System Installation in Your Atlanta Home

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Just about every loves to listen to music. If you’re a fan of smart technology, you’ve probably already considered upgrading your Atlanta home with distributed audio via a whole house sound system installation. You’ve probably also debated whether or not to go with a wired system or a wireless setup. In this blog, we’ll show you why it’s smarter to invest in the former, and how it’s possible to distribute crystal clear audio across your entire property. Read on to learn more.

See Also: From Analog to Digital: What’s Playing in Your Home?

Why Choose a Hardwired System?

You probably already know we love Sonos. There are few better ways to enjoy distributed, wireless audio than with a Sonos system. But when given the choice between wired and wireless, we almost always prefer a hardwired connection. Not only are they more reliable, but they sound better too.

You see, while wireless sound systems seem like they might be more convenient to some listeners, their performance is almost entirely dependent on the condition of the network and where they’re placed. A hardwired system never has a problem when it comes to thick walls and multiple device connections.

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New Tech to Change How Consumers Watch the Rio Olympics

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2012 was so four years ago. Those London Games? Might as well have happened on a different planet. I guess the fact that Rio is half a world away basically means these 2016 Summer Olympics are happening on a different planet. But in all seriousness—technology has evolved so much in the last four years that those of us who will be watching the Games over the next few weeks will, in some instances, have completely different viewing experiences than our selves of four years ago.
Here’s a look at some of the technology that will be introduced to the watching world throughout the 2016 Summer Olympics down in Rio.

Olympics in Virtual Reality

In just the past few months, virtual reality has gone from a gamer’s paradise to a consumerized market thanks to the launch of products like Google Cardboard, Samsung’s Galaxy VR device, and the myriad other headgears available out there. As such, the Olympic Broadcasting Services—the IOC’s official body responsible for coordinating TV coverage of the Olympics—will have VR footage from different venues in Rio, enabling viewers to transport themselves from their living room to Rio. NBC and the BBC already said they will take advantage of the 360-degree footage being made available by the committee.

Drones Return to Rio

As big as the drone explosion has been in the consumer space, it’s been equally impressive among content providers. The spider cam at football games has essentially lost its tethering wires and can present all kinds of different angles—near and wide—for viewers to experience. In Rio, drones will be deployed to cover a lot of the open water events (rowing, for example), among other things. Drones were at the Sochi games in 2014, and made headlines when one nearly took out an alpine skier. Here’s hoping they avoid a similar fate in Rio.

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Is Your Room Ready For a Dolby Atmos Home Theater?

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Atlanta’s home theater enthusiasts have heard the news, and now they want to take action – they want Dolby Atmos delivering the best-possible sound in their private cinema spaces. But if you’ve been following our blog, you already know that the conditions of the room you’re in will significantly affect the way the sound system works. That leaves many homeowners scratching their heads over how they can have Atmos integrated into their spaces. In this blog, we’ll answer some of your most frequently asked questions about what’s required to install the best audio gear around.

See Also: How Dolby Atmos Transforms Your Atlanta Home Theater Into an Epic Music Venue

How does Dolby Atmos recreate commercial cinema sound?

As you already know, when it was introduced to the movie industry a few years ago, Atmos revolutionized sound mixing by treating each sound like an individual object. “Sound objects” don’t have to be assigned to specific channels, allowing them to move freely between each speaker. Therefore, the number of speakers in your space doesn’t matter as much as how they are positioned and calibrated. The biggest physical difference is the addition of a minimum of two overhead speakers, usually mounted in the ceiling.

Do I have to have ceiling-mounted speakers for Dolby Atmos?

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Why Trust a Control4 Integrator With Your Smart Home Upgrade?

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So you’ve decided to upgrade your lifestyle with smart home automation. Whether you’re planning a system as part of a new-construction project, or you want to retrofit your current home with the latest technology, there’s just one answer: Control4. There are plenty of reasons why you should collaborate with a Platinum-level Control4 integrator when making custom electronic updates to your Georgia home. In this blog, we’ll take you through some of the best ones. Read on to learn more.

See Also: How Does a Smart Home System Protect Your Property?

Connect Your Smart Devices

For some, they think a smart thermostat here and a smart refrigerator there means they’re living in a connected home. But really, it just means you have a few nifty gadgets that speak to your smartphone. If you want to live the connected lifestyle, you need technology that talks to each device and gets them to work together. That technology is Control4.

The reason Control4 is a quickly-growing leader in the smart home market is that it helps connect your existing technology into a single, comprehensive system. If you already have a Nest Thermostat and a Sonos sound system, Control4 integrates them both fluidly under a single interface so that they can work in tandem. For instance, you can have a single button labeled “Chill Time” that lowers your AC and streams a low-key playlist through your multi-room audio system.

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From Analog to Digital: What’s Playing in Your Home?

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If you’ve been following our blog, you know that you can enjoy excellent audio throughout your home or in a dedicated listening room, as long as the conditions are right. Once you have the best speakers for your space, and a room specially treated for appropriate acoustics, it’s time to decide what to play on your sound system installation. Georgia audiophiles will want to take full advantage of all the music available to them. In this edition, we’ll detail the various ways you can enjoy music in your home.

See Also: Why Your Home Theater Needs Acoustical Treatments

Streaming Services

Among the most popular ways to experience music today are streaming services. The upside is that you have virtually endless amounts of music at your fingertips, without taking up any valuable storage space in your home or on a server. Spotify Premium offers a great selection of songs and albums, but other services like Deezer and Tidal promise high-fidelity tracks and exclusive content. The result is hours of music for your enjoyment.

Digital Music

It’s not uncommon for many experienced music lovers to talk about how MP3s are ruining music. The fact is, despite being very popular with younger audiophiles, MP3s are compressed files, meaning you lose a lot of the sound when you save music digitally in the format. The good news is that there are plenty of lossless file formats like FLAC, WAV and ALAC that make digital music sound as good as, if not better than, analog audio.

The biggest problem with lossless audio formats used to be their size. For many years, they simply could not be stored in a reasonable way, because the components were just too large. More recently, however, smaller storage devices have become available and affordable, so you can enjoy every detail of uncompressed tracks without missing a beat.

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How Dolby Atmos Transforms Your Atlanta Home Theater Into an Epic Music Venue

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Over the past few years, Dolby Atmos has been taking over home theater audio systems. The reason is simple: it sounds better than anything you’ve ever heard before. And it didn’t just improve movie soundtracks – it made music sound incredible as well. The only problem was that it couldn’t reproduce live music with the same impact. If you wanted to experience a live concert in your home, you’d have to settle for stereo. But recently, Dolby devised a way to improve live sound mixing, giving you a more immersive experience when listening to your favorite bands.

See Also: Get the Most Out of Your Dolby Atmos Home Theater

Live Music – the Atmos Difference

While movie buffs have enjoyed the detailed sound mixing of Dolby Atmos for a couple of years now, live music has remained behind the curve. Why? Because of the complexity of mixing multiple sounds at once as individual “objects” – the method that Atmos uses to create the immersive effect – was simply too difficult.

Earlier this year, however, Dolby figured out a solution. And it turns out the translation was easier than expected. According to Ian Morris at Forbes, “The files [used to record live music] contain key parts of the track separated out, so vocals, bassline, melody and drums are all given their own tracks. This is much like a multitrack sound system in a recording studio, but greatly simplified.” Ultimately, Dolby realized the technology already existed, and they improved on it.

That means you can hear live music with the same directional sphere of sound reproduced in your home theater. Venues like London’s Ministry of Sound now offer better-than-ever listening experiences. It also means that live concert streams and broadcasts can now air in the format. So if you’re a music buff who loves concerts, you’ll potentially be able to stream concerts with full Dolby Atmos on services like Vimeo.

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What You’ll Need for True Ultra HD in Your Atlanta Home Theater

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You know you want it; the eye-catching, pixel-popping clarity of Ultra HD. Today's home theaters won't impress anybody without the sheer spectacle of nearly 4K resolution. But achieving that beautiful look in your Atlanta private cinema is about more than just the latest television or projector display – your home needs the right infrastructure to support UHD content. In this blog we'll take you through the right equipment you'll need to get the most out of your home theater.

SEE ALSO: Why Your Home Theater Needs Acoustical Treatments

A Strong Network

If you want to control any part of your connected home, a strong network is key. Smart home technology – which is commonly referred to as the "Internet of Things" – needs more than just intelligent devices and happy thoughts to work effectively, it needs enough bandwidth to support every connection without slowing it down. The same is true for streaming your favorite content in Ultra HD.

According to content delivery network Akamai, only about 21 percent of U.S. homes had enough bandwidth to support 4K content in September 2015. But there's good news: your home simply needs a network upgrade to support all of those delightful pixels.

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Set up for Spring Championships With a Smart Home Theater

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Before you know it, the holidays will be over and you’ll have to start thinking about what’s really important: the slew of sports championships hitting in the early months of the New Year. With Super Bowl 50, March Madness, NBA Finals all around the corner, sports fans throughout Atlanta won’t be seen outside of their home theaters until summer. That means now’s the time to prepare with the coolest technology available for your home theater. Read on to find out how upgrading your space now can lead to a winning championship season.

SEE ALSO:  Build a Better Home Theater for the Ultimate Man Cave Experience

4K Sports HFR Compatibility

Between 4K UHD, OLED and HDR you might feel like all of the acronyms surrounding the next generation of video displays are taking precious brain space away from important game statistics and player info. But here’s one you’ll really want to pay attention to: HFR.

HFR stands for high frame rate. Why is that important for a sports fan? The frame rate is all about motion. Movies are generally shot at 24 frames per second (fps), lending a “cinematic” depth to the image, as well as capturing the distinct difference between light and shadow. Sports are currently shot and broadcast in 60 fps, flattening out the plane and capturing movement with incredible detail. But higher resolution allows for even higher frame rates. When you upgrade to 4K, sports can be broadcast in rates well over 100hz, turning your home theater into the ultimate game-watching zone.

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Why Your Atlanta Home Theater Needs Acoustical Treatments

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It’s not as fun as talking about Dolby Atmos. It’s not as technical as analyzing receiver specs. But if you want to get the most out of your home theater surround sound system, you’re going to need specialized acoustic treatments. We spend a lot of time talking about the different components you can put into your Atlanta home to get great sound, but if the room isn’t properly designed to both absorb and reflect sound in the proper way, your components can sound muffled, muddled and will generally go to waste. Read on to find out why your home theater needs acoustic treatments.

 

 

SEE ALSO: Get the Most Out of Your Dolby Atmos Home Theater

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This Year, Give the Gift of a Custom Home Theater

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The holiday season is all about family, and there’s no better place to bring everyone together than a custom home theater in your Atlanta, Georgia home. Gather around a festive film favorite while enjoying each other’s company – an incredible AV display doesn’t hurt either. Now that Halloween is over, it’s time to start thinking about the perfect gifts to give this year. Make your family’s winter special with a unique, custom home theater.

 

 

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How Does a Smart Home System Protect Your Property?

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Summer is right around the corner, and that means the kids will be out of school, and you’ll soon start packing up for a big family vacation. The key to having a fun time is leaving your worries behind, but that can be hard if you’re concerned about the safety of your Atlanta, Georgia property. Luckily a smart home system can do a lot to alleviate the stress of leaving home. If you’re interested in staying in control of your spaces even when you’re miles away, read on to learn more.

See Also: Improve Your Daily Life With Smart Home Automation

Smart Locks

The last thing you probably do before leaving the house is making sure all of the doors are locked. But when you integrate smart locks into your automated system, your home is more secure than ever before. One touch on your smartphone or tablet will lock every entry way, simplifying your exit. Plus, when integrated with other smart components like integrated surveillance cameras and motion sensors, they can react – by locking automatically – when movement it detected around your home.

Integrated Thermostat

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Craft an Elegant Outdoor Space With Home Lighting Control

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If you're an outdoor-type, you probably know that you can set up a beautiful entertainment system and enjoy excellent audio in your backyard and pool area. But a huge part of turning your Atlanta property's exterior space into a functional and fun environment is integrating home lighting control. It's important to remember that outdoor lighting is different from interior setups. In this blog, we'll give you some smart tips on enjoying the outdoors with elegant and long-lasting lights.

See Also: Take Control of Your Home Lighting For a Smarter, Safer Property

Longer Lasting Lights

When crafting an outdoor lighting solution, it's important to consider how long the lights will last. Inside, it's easy enough to change a bulb – even when you have to grab the step ladder and screwdriver – but what do you do when you have to drain the pool or fix other hard-to-reach areas?

The fact is, you don't want to burden yourself with bulbs that should be changed often. That's why LED lights are the perfect solution. Not only are they beautiful, dimmable and customizable, but they last a very long time. How long? If you left them on all day and all night, they could last up to 11 years without replacement.

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Get Out and Enjoy the Game With These Outdoor AV Solutions

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Spring is officially here – warmer weather, longer days and plenty of great games to enjoy with friends and family. Since the outdoors are more welcoming than they have been in the previous months, it's time to get out and feel the sun on your face. So what's an Atlanta sports fan to do? How can you catch every second of March Madness or the opening of baseball season while still living it up in the great outdoors? Lucky for you, we've got some great home entertainment system solutions for your backyard.

SEE ALSO: Enjoy Your Home Entertainment Systems in Any Space

The Latest From Sunbrite

There are two major problems with moving your TV outside: the first is that it's not weather proof, the second is that it's not bright enough. Thankfully, the TV experts at Sunbrite have solved this problem – and they now offer 4K UHD resolution.
Sunbrite has long been a leader in outdoor televisions, offering water tight video display solutions perfect for your backyard. The ultra-bright image combat's glare from the sun while the incredibly durable casing is designed to withstand the elements. The company is even rumored to test durability with measures as extreme as firing guns at it. We don't know if that's true, but we certainly get the point.

Their latest model, the 84" Pro Series 4k Ultra HD Outdoor TV is sure to turn the deck or yard into your favorite media room. Sure, it won't be available for your home viewing pleasure until sometime in June, but nevertheless it's a fascinating piece of hardware. Tempered glass keeps the LED display safe, and EST tech prevents isotropic blackout – meaning you'll be able to enjoy true Ultra HD picture for hours, even in the brightest sunlight.

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4 Ways to Use Your Sonos Wireless Sound System

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Whether you want to listen to the latest installment of your favorite podcast or pull up a playlist from your music library, Sonos wireless speakers let you fill your home with sound at the press of a button. As part of your whole house audio solution, these offer reliable, versatile sound for any activity. Unlike the wireless speakers of the past that only let you listen to a select list of songs or stations, Sonos offers thousands of listening options and an intuitive user interface.

SEE MORE:What Speakers Are Right for Your Whole House Audio System?

Pull Up the Right Song in a Matter of Seconds

If you have a song stuck in your head, or the urge hits for an impromptu dance party, you don't have to scour through CDS or different media servers to find the song you want. The Sonos app lets you combine all your different media servers into one central user interface for easy access.
Once you find the song you want, whole house audio is just a button away. For personal enjoyment, play music on the nearest Play:1 speaker. If you're hosting a party, use multiple Play:5 speakers simultaneously so everyone can hear.

Listen to Your Favorite Podcasts

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What Is It Like to Live in a Connected Home?

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In a connected world, a smart home automation upgrade to your Atlanta home seems like a no-brainer. One-touch controls of all the devices in and around your property make for a simple, streamlined and fun lifestyle. But many of our clients are hesitant to jump headfirst into the world of automation – after all, it seems like a major change to even the most basic functions of your home. That's why we've put together a number of tools to give you a sense of what it's like to live in a connected home. In this blog, we'll show you what you can do to research the smart home experience before you purchase.

SEE ALSO: Explore the Possibilities of Smart Home Automation

Get Familiar With Apps

One of the words you hear most frequently when talking about smart technology is "apps." Most smart devices function with a dedicated app that uses the technology already in your smartphone, tablet or computer and applies it to controlling the device. A system like Control4 or Elan g! offers the ability to combine multiple apps under a single interface. The company can periodically update your app to include new sources for control, meaning you don't have to purchase a new remote every time you want to add a new device. You can find a list of apps for all of your home control needs here.

Take a Look at a Virtual Demo

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Home Entertainment System Upgrades from CES 2016

 

The Consumer Electronics Show may be held in Las Vegas, but this year’s event means big things are coming to your home entertainment system here in Atlanta. Whether you’re looking for the highest resolution video displays, the most convenient control of your entire system or the next big thing in wireless surround sound, we’ve put together a list of our four favorite things to come out of the biggest technology show in the world.

 

 

SEE ALSO: Which Speakers are Right For Your Whole House Audio System?

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Which Speakers are Right For Your Whole House Audio System?

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Plenty of Atlanta’s whole house audio systems are hampered by a simple, easily-overlooked aspect: the quality of the speakers. Whether they don’t offer the right quality of sound, don’t pack enough punch or they simply sound hollow, speakers can seem like more trouble than they’re worth. But they’re absolutely essential to listening to your music the way it was meant to be heard. We aim to resolve your reservations regarding your in-home audio. In this blog we’ll highlight some common problems with home speaker systems, and what to look for in your next purchase. 

 

 

SEE ALSO: A Whole House Audio System Gets You Psyched for Sound

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Everyday Solutions: How Smart Home Automation Makes Life Easier for the Homeowner on-the-Go

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Many of our clients love to while away their weekends in the comfort and luxury of a home theater or media room. But when it’s time to work, they need a smart home automation system that helps them get through the day. Whether you need to stay focused by eliminating menial daily tasks or stay in control when you’re away from home, integrated technology can enhance your everyday life. Read on to discover how smart automation helps you out when you’re on the go.

SEE ALSO: Improve Your Daily Life With Smart Home Automation

Be the Early Bird With Smart Shading

You know the old saying: “the early bird gets the worm”. Well, there’s no better way to wake up bright and early than with a healthy helping of all-natural sunlight. But plenty of homeowners prefer to eliminate outside disturbances through the night by drawing the blinds before bedtime. So how do you get the best of both worlds? The answer is simple: smart shading.

When automated shading is integrated into your smart home system, you have complete control over the position of your shades and blinds with the touch of a button. Pre-program the shades to rise at a certain time of the morning, or let them learn to react on their own to different conditions and habits.

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Change the Way You Experience Your Atlanta Media Room with Lighting Control

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If you’ve been following our blog, you know we’ve told you about how home lighting control can enhance your home security and make your home entertainment more functional. Now it’s time to break down how smart lighting can give your media and game room more personality. Automated lighting does more than simply make it easier to see in your spaces – it defines the tone and sets the scene for any situation. That goes for everything from October’s Halloween horror-movie marathons to Sunday afternoon football, to late-night gaming between your kids and their friends. Read on to find out how smart lighting can make your media room more fun and exciting.

Choose a Color

Over the past few years, LED lighting has begun to dominate the market. It’s a brilliant way to save energy and gain directionalcontrol over your lighting fixtures. But one feature has gotten us pretty excited: the ability to change the color of your lighting with the touch of a button.

In 2012, Philips launched a new line of light bulbs under the name Hue, giving homeowners the ability to change the colors of their lighting in any room was a hit, and it ended up spawning a whole new market for smart bulbs. But there’s one ability Hue bulbs have over the competition – they can be controlled by a Control4 home automation system.

That means simple, intuitive and integrated controls of your entire media room’s lighting with a single interface. When it’s time to begin the scary movie festivities, dim the lights around the screen and turn the ones in the back of the room blood red or ghoulish green. On game day, pick the lights that best represent team colors. With thousands of color options to choose from, there’s no limit to how you can customize your spaces.

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Get the Most Out of Your Dolby Atmos Home Theater

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We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again: Dolby Atmos is the best way to experience sound in your home theater. But simply having the top components in your space won’t make them sound impeccable. That’s where we come in. Atlanta Audio and Automation is Georgia’s expert in achieving the very best sound in private cinemas across the state. We tailor solutions specifically designed to function in your home because we know that each project is unique. Want to learn more about how we make your home theater sound great? Read on.
 

When Can You Get Dolby Atmos Content?

For months we’ve been excited about the impending release of 4K Ultra HD Blu-rays, in part because we expect great things sonically. But the truth is, Dolby Atmos home video, unlike Ultra HD, is here already. The latest Blu-ray releases like Mad Max: Fury Road and The Hunger Games: Mocking Jay Part 1 are being released with incredible soundtracks – leading many to call them the best-sounding home video releases ever.

But that’s not all. Netflix, which has begun streaming some 4K content, is delivering Atmos soundtracks as well. Similar services like Amazon Prime have also started experimenting with the sound format. Some experts are predicting that this could be the beginning of the end for disc-based home entertainment altogether (but we still love our Blu-rays!).

You’ve Got the Set-up, Now Get the Sound

Getting the best sound out of your home theater requires more than just great components – the entire room has to be tailored to create the ideal atmosphere. There are two steps you need to take for this to happen: specialized acoustic treatments and customized seating.

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