Video and Audio Center Blog



Wednesday, August 30, 2017

AUTOMATING HOME EXTERIOR LIGHTING



There’s nothing more inviting that approaching a well-lit home at night. Exterior lighting not only provides a safe path for those walking up to the entranceway, but also discourages those looking to cause trouble. But what if no one is home to turn on the lights? Then the answer is simple:  automate them.

Making the lighting outside your home “smart” can be done in one of two ways: first, by hiring experts such as the professionals of Just One Touch, California’s #1 rated Smart Home Integrator and Home Theater Installation company to eliminate the stress of planning and executing the work. Or for those who prefer a do-it-yourself approach, there’s a plethora of devices available for use, many of which can be found at your local Video & Audio Center Superstore. Regardless of which option you choose, it's good to understand just what automating your home's exterior lighting is all about before you start.

LIGHTING LOCATIONS
First decision you’ll have to make is exactly where to place the lights. When it comes to illuminating the exterior of a house, there are a few areas that should be addressed: the driveway, front door and backdoor/patio—all of which function as points of entry into the home. Other places that can benefit from exterior lighting include picture windows, the sides of the house, the front yard/back yard and other areas of the property that are in the dark to provide 100% visibility of the property.

THE TYPES OF LIGHTS
Next thing you’ll need to consider are which type of lights you want to use. There are many different types of external lights, some feature energy-saving advantages, some a higher intensity beam and some that will require professional installation due to increased power requirements. Options may also include floodlights placed over the garage door to illuminate the driveway, bright LED bulbs illuminating the entranceway of the front or back doors and lights inset on the driveway or freestanding on the front yard. There is also the ability to vary the lighting intensity, as well as the color of the lights (dependent on the type of light being used). Additionally, some lights are waterproof and shatterproof, which greatly aid in their longevity. Some lights even have video cameras built into them which record and/or allow streaming of what is being seen (both day and night) to the homeowner's computer or mobile device.

ACTIVATING THE LIGHTS
Since it's not necessary for all of the lights to be always be on, there must be a way for them to be turned on when you are coming home. This brings up three options: the first option being the simplest, in that the light is activated manually by being directly paired with a key fob/remote that is in the hand of the homeowner who has just pulled into the driveway/is approaching the front door. The second option is to have the light turn itself on automatically. These types of lights feature a sensor that activates the light as soon as it detects motion.

The third option for activating the lights remotely is through a home automation system that works through the home network. These typically work through an app, enabling both timed and “at-need” control even when you’re not on the premises.

Video & Audio Center has a wide selection of smart home automation devices and systems on hand for those looking to DIY. The Superstores are located in Santa Monica, South Bay, Agoura Hills & The Village at Westfield Topanga in Woodland Hills.

Friday, August 25, 2017

TOP TEN REASONS TO UPGRADE TO 4K HDR!


The purpose of new technologies is to make the TV picture better. But the latest new technology — High  Dynamic Range (or HDR) — really represents a significant improvement over what can be seen when you switch on the television. That's because of what HDR does: it creates a more "real" looking picture by increasing the level of contrast between the brightest whites and the darkest blacks the TV can display. So what are the reasons for upgrading to a 4K HDR TV? Here's 10:

1) MORE PICTURE INFORMATION
Metadata is information about how the TV picture should look (additional information sent with the video signal). A HDR-equipped television can reach levels of brightness and colors that a non HDR TV can’t because it is receiving HDR metadata telling it such things as how bright a highlight should be or how certain colors being displayed should look. 

2) DISPLAY A WIDE COLOR GAMUT
HDR-equipped TVs can display colors with significantly more saturation than that of a conventional TV. This allows for content, which had previously been produced with a much smaller color gamut, to now be expanded for presenting a more natural looking picture.

3) INCREASED COLOR DEPTH
Color depth references the number of colors a TV can display within a color palette (example: the many shades on the skin of a banana or a person’s face). HDR increases this, which results in less “banding” of the image by providing a more detailed and smoother-looking color.

4) DYNAMIC RANGE
A HDR TV displaying HDR content has higher brightness capabilities. So you get a more lifelike picture because it can display both the highlights as well as the darker imaging without compromising on either. This means that detail as found in both light and dark areas are evident to the eye at the same time.

5) BRIGHTER IMAGE
A HDR-equipped TV can produce more light in certain areas of the image being displayed than that of a  non-HDR TV.  Increasing the brightness makes for a more visible image.
6) COLOR BITS TRANSMITTED
HDR isn’t limited to the HDTV standard of 24-bit color (8 for red, 8 for blue, 8 for green), because it can add in extra colors in between what is already there. By filling in the gaps, a better picture is provided.

7) HDR STREAMING CONTENT
HDR content is visually superior to that made without HDR in mind. It can only be seen correctly (and enjoyed) on a HDR-equipped TV.
8) HDR 4K BLU-RAY DISCS
A Ultra HD Blu-ray disc has both 4K and HDR built in and eliminates the worries of streaming, such as bandwidth bottlenecks. This requires a HDR-equipped 4K Blu-ray player, which are now available.



9) IMPROVED WI-FI CAPABILITIES
Because HDR content is basically tied to the 4K resolution being streamed, this requires the Wi-Fi capabilities of the HDR TV to work efficiently. This also means the Wi-Fi reception of non HDR content is received even better than was the case previously when HDR content wasn’t an issue. 

10) CUTTING-EDGE CONNECTIONS
HDR-equipped TVs have the latest inputs for connecting peripherals like 4K HDR Blu-ray players, Sound Bars, among others. The latest audio pass-through standards are also in play. All this means that no kind of converter boxes or other conversion devices will be needed.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

TOP TEN REASONS TO MAKE YOUR HOME SMART!




Smart Home Automation not only takes your day-to-day home management activities away allowing you to relax or remotely control them, but also yields additional benefits in home energy savings. Over the past quarter of a century smart home automation systems have gone from high-tech curiosities to truly affordable and highly accessible modern home conveniences. True automation has become so simple and easy to operate, that just about anyone can take advantage of the features and conveniences that will help simplify their lives — in another 10 years, we will all wonder how we ever lived without them! So why is a "smart" home important? Here are the top ten reasons to make your home a smart home.


#1.) Save Money On Electricity
Using an automated Wi-Fi thermostat not only knows when it's the best time to turn on or off, but it can also be controlled remotely — as can turning on the hot water heater or the air conditioner while you're stuck in traffic so everything's nice and ready when you come home.


 #2.) Lighting Controls / On-Site or Remote
Lights can go on or off automatically, depending on whether you are at home or not and their intensity can be controlled independently as well, whether you're in the room, or another state.

#3.) Appliance Control / On-Site or Remote
Many home appliances can now also be controlled from a phone, instead of having to be there—with services ranging from turning on washing machines, dishwashers, ovens, etc., the list is endless and it keeps expanding every year.


#4.) Door/Garage Control / On-Site or Remote
No more keys bulging in a pocket or getting lost because a digital door lock just requires using a keypad or digital app activation. Besides being able to remotely lock/unlock the door, you can let others have permanent or temporary access to entering. The ultimate in home security/convenience.

 
#5.) Home Security Control / On-Site or Remote
Instead of having separate devices to protect a door or window, a "hub" can interconnect any/all security devices in the home. This enables automated reporting on what is going on whether you are at home or not through an app on your phone and even check door open/close times remotely as well to see who has entered and when.


#6.) Entertainment Control / On-Site or Remote
Play your favorite tunes in any room without having to turn on a music player, thanks to streaming the music from a mobile device or computer. Even have the music follow you from room to room, because the speakers work together or independently through Bluetooth or Wi-Fi as you wish.



#7.) Surveillance Camera Control / On-Site or Remote
Personal Wi-Fi video cameras make it easy to keep an eye on your home and property — regardless of whether you're in another room or across the country. They even operate in the dark and can automatically record if movement is detected.


#8.) Fire Protection Control / On-Site or Remote
The noise from a smoke alarm will alert you if you’re at home, but what about when you’re not? A smart smoke alarm works through the Wi-Fi home network and can alert you through your phone no matter the time of day or where you might be.


#9.) Kitchen/Appliance Control / On-Site or Remote
Start the coffee maker going from your bedroom when you just get up with a tap on a phone. Or start the oven pre-heating while you're still driving home or check the status of the milk in the refrigerator. All this is possible because the kitchen devices are interlinked to you through the Internet.


#10.) Automated Cleaning Control / On-Site or Remote
No more pushing a vacuum cleaner when a robot is right there to takeover the task. Watch as it follows a path along the floor, cleaning as it goes until all the dirt is gone. Should it run low on power, give it time to return automatically to its charging station, recharge and then pick up where it left off.

Friday, March 17, 2017

NEW QLED SERIES LAUNCH A MAJOR HIT FOR SAMSUNG AND VIDEO & AUDIO CENTER!

Samsung knows TVs and they know that technology must serve a purpose and satisfy a need. That was the whole reason behind the WorldWide Premiere of Samsung’s HDR 4K Ultra HD Smart QLED TVs at Video & Audio Center’s Superstore in Woodland Hills.  And why a huge crowd gathered before, during and after the presentation so as to see for themselves the unrivaled, realistic picture made possible by a billion unique colors created by Samsung’s proprietary Quantum Dots. The QLED TVs deliver perfect color with more than a billion shades and 100% color volume; they deliver elite contrast and expanded color detail, even in the brightest and darkest areas in any scene; outstanding blacks, bringing new life to dark scenes; a wide angle viewing, where color stays true from any perspective, so every seat is a great seat. Plus more features, including the Samsung Smart Hub for accessing favorite apps, content and sports.

The Quantum Dot technology is an amazing leap in displays for a number of reasons, not the least being the a new metal shell and core that increases light efficiency and stability, delivering optimal brightness and achieving — for the first time — 100% color volume. This makes for a better image with fine detail and a level of brightness and contrast that needs to be seen to be believed. But there's more — when a family sits down to watch a QLED TV, some family members are forced to sit to the side. Then with conventional TVs, the brightness drops down significantly for those not viewing from dead center — but with the QLED TVs, looking at the TV from an angle is no longer a horror. This terrible viewing restriction to viewing pleasure is gone.

Opening the presentation was Joseph and Mayer Akhtarzad, co-owners of Video & Audio Center. They said that premiering new technologies at Video & Audio Center isn't new: Joseph Akhtarzad pointing out that this is where the latest and greatest electronics go to present themselves to the consumer. And Samsung continues this great tradition with the QLED TVs. With comments by Tom Campbell, Chief Technologist, Jorge Madrigal, Sr.Director Samsung, Brian Garland, Executive Dir. 20th Century Fox, Dan Freeman, Director of Sales Samsung and Amy Fife, Sales Manager Samsung and others, the crowd was treated to anecdotes and real knowledge as to why the QLED TV is a leap forward in viewing.

On display were 55", 65" and 75" models, both curved and flat, such as the curved QN65Q8C 65”, the QN55Q7F 55”, the curved QN65Q8C 65” and the QN75Q7F 75”. You could even say that the TVs "flew" off the shelves (the sets are light enough to be wall mounted, but no they don't come with wings), because 7 QLED sets (including a 75" model) were sold in the first hour that they were offered by the store. And by 5PM   23 QLED TVs had new owners who happily left the store so as to bring their new entertainment center home.


Monday, March 13, 2017

Sony New Flagship XBR A1E 4K HDR OLED TV's Deliver Revolution in TV Sound and Clarity!

Get ready for precise contrast, absolute black and a true revolution in TV sound as Sony prepares to release their new line of Bravia XBR A1E OLED TVs just introduce at this year's CES Show in Las Vegas. One major breakthrough that has everyone talking about is the dynamic advancement made in the sound that the A1E Series delivers. 
Sony has built the TV speakers directly into the glass display itself, projecting powerful sound from the entire display—eliminating the traditional spatial "disconnect" between image and sound while significantly improving the sound quality. Sony even built a sub woofer directly into the TV stand—enabling the screen to be incredibly thin and the design to be sleek and modern.
But its’ the picture that really shines with Sony’s new flagship A1E Series. Sony's OLED technology brings true reality to life with perfect blacks and deep, vibrant colors. In all, each of the over 8 million self-illuminating pixels are precisely and individually controlled by the X1 Extreme™ processor giving Sony's A1E OLED TVs exquisite, unprecedented contrast, with previously hidden areas of dark shadow and bright highlights are now full of claity and detail.

Video & Audio Center is one of the first retailers in the country to offer this ground-breaking new line of Sony Bravia XBR 4K HDR OLED TVs for sale; call or visit your local Video & Audio Center location for more details or to order yours.
 

New Samsung QLED TV Worldwide Introduction this Thursday at Video & Audio Center!

Please join us this Thursday, March 16th at Video & Audio Center's Woodland Hills showroom as Samsung debuts their brand new QLED Series TVs to the public for the very first time—with attendees able to be among the first to purchase this ground-breaking technology on-site!

Video & Audio Center's exclusive Worldwide Introduction press conference is scheduled for 11:30 am—with doors opened to the public at Noon. Drinks and Hors d'oeuvres will be served, and we will be giving away a special Home Theater package — valued at $5,000—featuring a stunning 65" Samsung 4K HDR LED Smart TV, a Samsung 4K Blu-ray player — including delivery and basic set-up, and a library of 25 4K movies to one lucky person in attendance, no purchase necessary to win!

The new QLED TVs feature a more refined quantum dot technology with better color accuracy and sharper brightness than ever before, and when combined with the TV's 4K HDR image, the result is a truly astounding and lifelike picture that needs to be seen to be appreciated.
Samsung is also making home entertainment more integrated, seamless and easy to use with their new Samsung Smart View App, allowing users to find their favorite shows, as well as control the “regular” TV functions.
Join Video & Audio Center, the news media, Samsung executives and special guests this Thursday at our Woodland Hills showroom, located at The Village at Westfield Topanga Mall (6344 Topanga Canyon Blvd., Woodland Hills / 818 888-1500) for this special preview—and bring a friend to double your chances at winning this amazing prize package; we look forward to seeing you there!


Thursday, March 9, 2017

2017: A Big Year For Ground-Breaking New TV Technologies!


The latest TVs introduced at this year's CES show in Las Vegas are making their way to the public starting this month, and Video and Audio Center wants to give you a look at just a few of the amazing innovations and technological advancements in home entertainment now arriving at our showrooms.

Samsung

This year Samsung will debut its new QLED Series TVs — and as usual, Video & Audio Center will be among the first to offer them to the public. The new QLED TVs features a more refined quantum dot technology with better color accuracy and sharper brightness than ever before; combined with the TV's 4K HDR image, Samsung has produced a truly astounding and lifelike picture that truly needs to be seen to be believed.

Samsung is also making home entertainment more integrated, seamless and easy to use with their new Samsung Smart View App, allowing users to find their favorite shows, as well as control the “regular” TV functions.

Video & Audio Center is among the first in the country to offer the new line of Samsung QLED TVs for sale, call or visit your local Video & Audio Center location for more details or to experience Samsung's latest in one of our showrooms for yourself.

Sony
The Sony Bravia A1E Series—using Sony’s new OLED technology will also be released later this month with the 55” model. One major breakthrough is the dynamic advancement made in the sound the A1E Series delivers. Sony has built the TV speakers directly into the glass display itself, projecting powerful sound from the entire display—significantly improvong the sound while also enabling the screen to be incredibly thin and the design to be incredibly sleek.

But its’ the picture that really shines with Sony’s new flagship A1E Series. The new OLED technology brings true reality to life with perfect blacks and deep, vibrant colors. In all, each of the over 8 million self-illuminating pixels are precisely and individually controlled by the X1 Extreme™ processor giving Sony's A1E OLED TVs  exquisite, unprecedented contrast and clarity. 

Video & Audio Center is also one of the first in the country to offer this ground-breaking new line of Sony Bravia OLED TVs for sale; call or visit your local Video & Audio Center location for more details or to order yours today.

LG
2017 will also see the release of the "game-changing" new LG OLED Signature W7P 77-inch TV, introduced during this year’s CES show in Las Vegas. Overall, LG is releasing several new models, including technological and design advancements to their C7P, E7P and G7P models, but the hit of the CES Show, and winner of the INNOVATION AWARD is the W7P OLED TV. The W7P is being called the “wallpaper TV” as LG has produced a thin, extremely lightweight and bendable screen by removing the TV’s internal speakers, ports and electronics from the TV and placing them into a sound bar hub which connects to the TV with a thin ribbon-like connection.

From brilliant brights to deepest darks, the new LG OLED TVs, unlike other 4K televisions, optimize the picture scene-by-scene, making them the ultimate expression of a cinema-quality experience in the home thanks to Active HDR with Dolby Vision™. The Dolby Atmos® audio is just as impressive, creating sound that can appear to come from anywhere; with LG OLED TVs, audio now becomes an incredibly realistic, immersive experience.

Video & Audio Center will once again be the first in the country to offer the new line of LG OLED TVs—including the amazing W7P model— for sale, so call or visit your local Video & Audio Center location for more details or to order.