Wednesday, February 24, 2016


Having a big screen TV really sets a room apart when it comes time to sit down and watch. But for this space to be called a “home theater,” speakers must be included in the equation. That’s because TVs, as thin and svelte as they are, might not be able to provide for speakers that can give the kind of volume and sound-field that makes a room reverberate with excitement. The choice today consists of two: you can add a Soundbar to compliment the TV or go with a number of components that will drive a set of speakers. Both solutions have their own advantages so it’s worth taking a look at each in order to make the best decision for your particular room and listening attitude

A Soundbar usually consists of two components; the first being the Soundbar itself with the second one being a wireless subwoofer (in most cases) for providing deep bass. The Soundbar itself is horizontal and designed for placement beneath the TV (either on a cabinet or wall-mounted). Connections are also minimal and usually consist of just one HDMI cable between the Soundbar and the TV, along with a plug for AC outlet power. Placing the Soundbar in position tends to be pretty non-invasive and so can be done by the user, although any wall mounting must take into account the possibility of interior wiring (one of the reasons why having a professional installer like Just One Touch handle such mountings becomes prudent rather than overkill).
The advantages of the Soundbar are many: the Soundbar is self-contained with all the speakers and amplification built-in and so doesn’t require additional components to be added in order for it to create a sound field. This makes them highly useful and usable in rooms that don’t have a lot of space, for example a bedroom. Additionally, Soundbar prices are quite reasonable, although cost can vary widely depending on manufacturer and feature-set (which now can include “smart” functions for video applications other than just for audio). Soundbars are also optimized to make sure that dialogue comes through clear and crisp. This is very important for those watching sports or the news where in both cases commentary is a necessary and vital part of the overall experience.

A surround sound system at its core consists of an A/V Receiver to provide amplification and left and right speakers, a center channel for dialogue and a pair of surrounds and a subwoofer (additional speakers can be added into the mix as well). Placement of the speakers usually requires stands and wiring between the A/V Receiver and the speaker’s positioning on the floor, although wall and ceiling mounting is also possible (to do this properly and safely will require professional installation services so as to avoid any problems with code violations of the City, Home Association you belong to, etc.).
There are many advantages to having a surround sound system. The multitude of speakers allow for distinct separation of sounds (i.e., “surround”) which makes for a dynamic sound field that can envelop the listener. This also goes for listening to music (stereo), not just watching movies. The size of the speakers can be varied from small to large, depending on the size of the room or the inclination of the listener (and the bigger speaker cabinets make for better sound too). Plus the volume can be adjusted from minute to very loud, as the amplifier is a separate component and so can be matched in the power it outputs to the number of speakers that are desired. Prices for speakers and A/V Receivers are also varied — so the cost can be adjusted to one’s budget without having to compromise on getting the audio results you want. 

A home theater takes the best of the movie theater experience and lets you have it in the comfort of home whenever you want. Plus you don’t have to spend lots of $$ on snacks and drinks. The sooner you get your TV and audio system set up, the sooner your home theater will start to make your watching more enjoyable.

Friday, February 05, 2016


Everybody seems to be taken aback when they hear the term “whole house automation.” But all that means is that the various things you like to do at home — listen to music, watch TV, control the heat or AC — is automated so that it works when you want it to where you want it to. The fear of being overwhelmed by the technology needed to make all this happen is no longer in vogue; wireless home networks are commonplace, as is Bluetooth technology for cable-free connections and smart phones to provide control from your pocket or even remotely. And there’s professional installers, for example Just One Touch, who are willing and able to put all the needed components together for you without making painful alterations to walls or carpets or other parts of the home.

So what is needed in order to have home automation in your home. Here are the two basics that must be considered:

Flexibility of the System

There are different kinds of home automation controllers on the market and while they all will do the job, they do it in different fashions from one another (although of course standards like WiFi, Bluetooth and others are in play). The high-end systems can integrate with whatever electronics you have already in place — TVs and audio equipment being good examples — and not just update themselves on a regular basis so as to function as good as possible, but can do that updating automatically through the home network.

Controlling the Home

Automation systems are designed to help the homeowner save money, for example being able to integrate themselves with “housekeeping” controllers that deal with the house’s heating/AC, lighting and even home security systems. Others are made to integrate with security cameras. And there are those that are designed with their own tablet-like touchscreen controllers that are to be placed throughout the home, or add to that with smartphone/tablet app control. Even the most basic controller which doesn’t have all the “added” benefits will bring a level of control to your home that you hadn’t thought possible.

The main take-away for making the home “smart” is that home automation works best when all of the elements that compose it are integrated so as to work together. Do-it-yourself systems that are cobbled together with parts from this place and electronics from that place may work, but they’ll never entertain the level of quality and ease as those put in place all at one time. It’s for that reason that having a professional installer makes so much sense. Home automation is designed to make your home feel even more comfortable, because it’s responsive to your needs and the way you live your life. Because the technology can fit a range of needs and budgets, there’s no better time than now to join in on the home automation revolution.

Sam G.

I had never thought that by my playing music from one room to the other, traveling using my phone and having Bluetooth speakers in all my rooms, that what I was really trying to do was to have the music “following” me. I had an installer put together a very cost-effective audio system in my house and now I can play play music in whichever room I want just by telling a server what I want to hear and in which room. I can also play different music in different rooms at the same time — something that works well with my daughter since just as she doesn’t care for what I am playing, I’m more than okay with not having to hear what she like to listen to.