Video and Audio Center Blog



Friday, January 12, 2018

SENSIBLE TIPS FOR PUTTING TOGETHER YOUR HOME THEATER


A home theater is the ultimate in home entertainment. You get to sit in comfort, with munchies and goodies that came from your fridge (not wallet), and watch something you’d like to see when you want to see it. But unless you have a professional installer like Just One Touch putting your home theater together, there’s a number of things you must do in order to have a safe environment for watching So here’s 5 tips for a safe DIY home theater:
 


1.         USE NEW CABLES AND WIRES - Don’t scrounge around for the √•cables and wiring that might be on hand, but instead use new ones. This will not only insure you’re meeting the latest standards for video and audio transmissions, but also avoiding any chance of electrical issues. 




2.      PROTECT THE FURNITURE – Snacks and drinks are always a good idea when watching, except when they end up on your furniture. That means you’ll be doing the cleaning. Having a TV tray or end table designated for putting drinks or snacks onto them works better than your lap.




3.      GLOW IN THE DARK STRIPS – A fast way to tell where the light switch or wall is located can be done with a simple and (mostly) unobtrusive glow in the dark strip or sticker.





4.      DON’T OVERUSE THE ELECTRICAL OUTLETS - with everything in the home theater running on electricity, there’s a tendency to just plug everything into any outlet and expect the best. But with power outages and brownouts happening regularly (and not just in the summer), having a power conditioner interceding between the electricity hungry devices and the electric grid will keep everything working smoothly and better even (since “bad” electricity introduces interference to degrade video/audio). Also, no extension cords unless they are heavy duty and made for home theater use.




5.     5.      DON’T THE USE OF SMARTPHONES/TABLETS - It shouldn’t seem odd to not be looking at a phone/tablet when a movie is playing. But besides being just plain rude with potential phone calls, it also introduces light into the room as well as creating a less friendly environment for those who have to put up with it.






Friday, January 05, 2018

SAFETY TIPS FOR THE HOME THEATER


Having a home theater means no longer being dependent on going to the movies — who needs to spend a lot of money for barely 2 hours of images flickering across a screen? Big TVs, home projection systems, speakers and sound bars, 4K players and 4K streaming — all these combine to make watching at home a great experience. But that experience will suffer if someone trips or spills some popcorn or something worse happens. So here are 5 safety tips that will help to make sure your home theater provides a fun, but safe time for all.


HIDE THE WIRES
Tripping over wires — be they speaker wires, electrical wires or otherwise — can ruin anyone’s “movie night” as well as lead to possible disaster. Be sure to keep any/all wires out of the seating area as well as the “traffic” area, which means the path people must take to get to their seats in the home theater. Floor bumpers and cable protectors and other systems can be used to keep the wires from getting tangled underfoot; the best way to proceed will depend on how the home theater is set up.


NO LIGHTS IS A NO-NO
While having all the lights out might seem good while watching, even in the movie theaters there is some spot lighting to avoid it being totally dark. Arrange some lighting so that viewers aren’t forced to feel their way back to their seats, should someone have to get up to leave the home theater. These lights can be discreet and even the use of LED light strips against the floorboards will work. The idea is to ensure that anyone moving about will not get hurt from not being able to see where they are going.

USE A POWER CONDITIONER TO POWER THE HOME THEATER
While just plugging the various electronic components into wall outlets and extension cords might seem the easy way to do things, the actual fact is that it’s the worst thing you can do. Besides shortening the life of the various components, due to fluctuations in the electrical grid, sudden thunderstorms and the like, using a “clean” electrical source will improve the quality of what you see and hear as well as avoid having a circuit breaker shut everything down. A power conditioner plugs into the wall outlet and then the various components are plugged in. No learning curve, it’s easy to do and the results will be worth it.


KEEP THE EQUIPMENT COOL
It might seem prudent to stack all the electrical components away in a closet or concealed space, but there needs to be a proper airflow to dissipate heat. Dust and other detriment covering a component’s air vents can also prove disastrous, so dusting and regular vacuuming of the home theater area is suggested (watching out for static electricity build up when carpeting is involved). This will not only add to the life of the components, but make for a healthier environment for those watching.


PROPER SEATING FOR THE HOME THEATER
Enjoying what’s on the screen is difficult when the seat one is in isn’t comfortable. Adjusting the seating — or purchasing seats especially geared for home theater use — should be done so that those watching don’t experience neck or back aches. It’s also important, in the case of watching 3D movies, that the seats allow the person to sit upright without slouching. Being comfortable while watching will make the watching even more enjoyable. 


MAKE YOUR HOME THEATER FUN


Part of the fun of going to the movies is the movie theater itself — it doesn’t look like a living room at all. But just because you’re staying home to watch doesn’t mean your home theater has to be boring — why not make it fun? Here’s 5 ways you can turn a ho-hum home theater into something as entertaining as what you will be watching:

SIGNAGE AND POSTERS - Bare walls might make for a quiet environment, but why not liven it up with some movie posters?  There’s non-invasive ways to put these up on the walls, should it be only time for them when its “movie night” too. Or go for a “This is our Movie Theater” or a marquee with the family’s name on it or some other sign — maybe with neon glowing or LED backlighting? Let your imagination soar before you start watching.


MOVIE THEATER PROPS - Bring out a cardboard cutout of your favorite actor or a movie theater usher and place them in a strategic spot to show off before the  “movie” starts. Maybe a movie theater-themed clock to keep the time while also keeping the look of the theater. Or even a decorative table for holding the popcorn until its time to eat.

MOVIE THEATER SNACKS - If there’s anything that gets the taste buds going, it’s the wide array of candies and other foodstuffs that wait behind the concession counter. A quick trip to the grocery store will let you stock up on your favorites so that they’re ready when you are. Plus the price for indulging in hot dogs or piazza or other edibles will be significantly less. Your stomach wont know the difference.


LOOK, IT’S A POPCORN MACHINE - Okay, so microwaving popcorn is fast and convenient But a home popcorn machine with all the trimmings really impresses in the kitchen. And somehow makes the popcorn taste better too. Plus it looks cool.


HOME THEATER SEATS - no, there’s nothing wrong with sitting on a couch to watch a movie, but being in a cinema home theater seat (sort of a fancy specialized lazy-boy) is not only more comfortable but also safer for your living room (or wherever your home theater calls home). That’s because they have cup holders which, unlike you, never lose their grasp on what you’re drinking. There’s also a feeling of awesomeness when reclining because you know you’re in a seat whose only purpose is to let you watch with an unencumbered view of the “screen.”


FIVE TIPS FOR A CLEAN HOME THEATER


A home theater is all about the picture and sound. But getting all the electronic components to work together efficiently requires more than just their being hooked together — they must be kept free from dirt and impurities. So here’s 5 tips for keeping your home theater clean so it can perform at its best:

 1) DUST THE COMPONENTS – Most, if not all electronic components will benefit from having dust removed from on them and around them, including speakers. This can be done with a soft lint-free cloth that has a bit of a furniture spray applied to it (never to the components directly though). Take special care where there are air vents (examples: disc players, audio amplifiers, etc.) so the dust doesn’t get blown into them. A soft new toothbrush can be used to clean vents as well as crevices, and areas that get exposed — such as an ejected disc player tray. This should be done on a regular basis to maximize a clean environment.


2) CLEAN THE TV SCREEN - The TV attract dust, which is hard to notice, however, there’s no doubt that this will inhibit the best image from being seen. Cleaning the TV screen requires not only a special cloth and special fluid, but a procedure that is more involved than just “wiping” from left to right. Don’t forget to first dust the bezel and base (unless wall mounted) since this can cause dust to go onto the screen. Then the screen should be cleaned. 


3) CLEAN THE CONNECTIONS - It might sound counter intuitive to worry about connections between components, but since dust can worm its way in — some cleaning is indicated. Removing cable connections and dusting off the connectors as well as the sockets they go into can be done with a soft lint-free cloth and that clean toothbrush (which dislodges adhered dust). Of course dusting around the sockets first makes sense also.


 4) FILTER THE AIR - Air quality can affect the home theater components negatively. A small air filter next to where the components “live” will easily deal with this issue. Or having an air filter strategically placed to cover the entire home theater will be good for those watching as well.


5) VACUUMING THE FLOOR - The area that constitutes the home theater needs to be kept clean on a regular basis. This is especially true if there are windows left open or the flow of traffic brings in airflow, with the results effluvium. A vacuum on hard floor or carpeting will do the trick, and cleaning chairs and couches regåularly as well is indicated. Just beware of static electricity generated from using the vacuum (or in some cases from just walking on the carpeting) and avoid touching any component other than the remote to play it safe (at least, until you discharge the static electricity).