NAX Beeswax

Picks, ponderings, and more on everything related to home theater, home automation, and high performance audio.

Invisible Speaker Systems for the Whole House

Written by on Tuesday, 26 May 2015 16:52

 

If your house is littered with unappealing black speakers, speaker grills and wires, it's safe to assume you're probably a music lover. You enjoy listening while cooking, cleaning, relaxing and working out, which means you need a speaker system in every room of the house. Invisible speaker systems allow you to enjoy music from anywhere in your home, without the hardware cluttering your space.

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Invisible Speakers

Today, a system of speakers can be built into each room, and it can be done so invisibly. Instead of planning the room's decor around the best place to park the big black speaker boxes, you can have hidden speakers installed in the ceiling and walls. Unlike speaker boxes, the location(s) of hidden speakers aren't constrained by the architectural features of the room.

Surround Sound

During your home theater installation, you probably noticed that the wonderful, realistic surround sound experienced is in part created by putting speakers all around the theater. With invisible speakers in the walls and ceiling of your house, you can experience surround sound anywhere in your home. Experience music as if the performers were there in the room with you. Invisible speakers today produce extremely high-quality sound that is as good as or better than even the most expensive black box speaker.

Wired

Once you've put in a system of invisible speakers, you can link them all together in order to control and play music anywhere. Attach your entire playlist to the system and use your smartphone or iPod to control what music you play, and in which rooms. This can all be done without having to worry about tripping over speaker cables or whether your new couch will match the speaker boxes.

 

Making Your Home Theater the Envy of Your Friends

Written by on Tuesday, 19 May 2015 17:26

 

Purchasing a home theater system can completely change the ambiance of your home, and make you the envy of your friends. Whether your interest is in being the go-to place during the big game, or just to create an inviting space for your family to hang out, there are some common pitfalls to avoid when purchasing your system.

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Do Not Rush the Process

In a world where convenience is important, it may be tempting to go to a big box store and make a hasty purchase based on a sales person’s advice. However, if you do not compare models and determine which system has the clearest sound and the best graphics, you might find it disappointing when you blare up the music at home, only to discover that the speakers sound crackly or distorted at certain volumes. One you have narrowed down a list of options, go online and check out reviews from actual owners. This will make it much easier for you to narrow down your decision.

Try not to Focus on only One Component

Most individuals are impressed by deep bass sounds that come from the subwoofer. Do not forget to test the quality of the sounds coming from the center channel and right and left speakers either, as the majority of movie dialogue emerges from these speakers. Test the speakers for both audio and movie quality before you make your purchase.

Size May be More Important than You Might Think

While it can be tempting to purchase a smaller unit because it does not take up as much space in the room, you might discover than once you have installed a smaller unit, noise becomes easily distorted, especially during louder parts of a movie. Depending on how well the speakers are made, movie dialogue might sound clear, but if a train blares its horn during the movie, the sound might sound strained. Smaller units can only move a certain amount of air, and turning up the volume could actually blow out the speakers. Look for speakers that feature three components, as opposed to two: Higher quality units will feature separate bass, treble and mid-range capabilities. 

 

The Best Games to Show off Your Home Theater Setup

Written by on Monday, 11 May 2015 17:17

 

If you're a gamer, setting up your favorite console in your home theater in Pittsburgh will provide you with the most immersive gaming experience available. With today's true-to-life graphics, earth-shaking sound effects and cinematic music, gaming has never been more impressive. The following are games that bring the "wow" factor and allow you to show off just what your home theater setup can do.

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Far Cry 4

This open world, first-person shooter drops gamers into the fictional country of Kyrat, a country with lush forests, beautiful rivers and towering mountains. With stunningly realistic graphics, an immersive story and the freedom to explore miles of terrain while engaging in visceral gunfights, Far Cry 4 is a stunning experience.

Forza Horizon 2

Car nuts have long flocked to the Forza series with its wide selection of powerful automobiles and realistic driving physics. Forza Horizon 2 represents the next evolutionary step in video game racing with over 200 lovingly crafted racing machines, a massive open map that lets players race across a gorgeous Southern European setting and a full day/night cycle with dynamic weather effects. The sound design is superb with screeching tires and accurate engine sounds that capture the feel of every vehicle. For car enthusiasts, it doesn't get any better.

Dragon Age Inquisition

The Dragon Age series has taken role-playing fans on fantastic adventures that see them using magic and all matter of medieval weaponry to complete quests and slay monsters in a detailed fantasy world. The newest addition to the series draws in veterans and new players alike with its colorful graphics, beautiful scenery and orchestral score.


 

 

At some point, everyone has forgotten to close the garage door or where s/he parked the car. With today's technology, you have the opportunity to correct or perform some of those tasks from your handheld device. These mobile controls can come in handy, save money and make life much easier.

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Monitor Your Home or Child

With cameras everywhere now, the ability to monitor almost anything is upon us. Parents can go to great lengths to watch their kids at all times. When proper monitors are installed, you can see every move from anywhere by connecting them to your electronic device. As long as you're logged in, you'll have eyes on your family.

The same applies to security systems. Taking a look your property and ensuring its safety is physically in your hands. Peace of mind can travel with you everywhere.

Thermostat and Lighting Control

Many people have returned home from work or even vacation to realize that they left the heat, air conditioning or lights on. With the right home automation system, you can link those features to your mobile devices so that you never overuse resources again.

This also comes in handy in extreme weather conditions or night arrivals. When you know that a family member is on their way home, you can adjust the temperatures for comfort and turn lights on for safety, which means no more fumbling in the dark or coming home to a hot or freezing home.

Pet Feeding From Afar

Everyone knows that pets eat the whole bowl of food at once while you're gone for the day. Now there's a way to distribute their meals throughout the time of your absence. Simply link the feeder to your phone or tablet and release the correct amount of food at mealtime. It's so simple yet incredibly useful.

The technological advances being offered to the public are not only helpful but can save money and even lives. With the click of a button, you can control almost anything in your life. Taking advantage of these tricks can provide great relief in everyday life.

 

Creative Ideas for Decorating Your Home Movie Theater

Written by on Tuesday, 28 April 2015 20:10

 

After your home theater installation is finished, you'll want to decorate the space in a way that suits your personality. From painting the walls to installing sound-proof carpeting, there will be plenty of details to take care of. One of the most exciting parts of customizing your space is putting up some decorations. These three ideas will help you get started on coming up with a theme for your home movie room.

Classic Movies

A classic movie theme is an excellent way to pay homage to Hollywood and the history of filmmaking. Frame classic movie posters from your favorite films and hang them up in custom frames or simple glass frames. If you have any movie memorabilia, you put your collection on a shelf at eye-height or in a special curio cabinet with built-in lighting. Consider some Hollywood-style spotlights focused on your decor.

Rock 'N' Roll

In addition to watching movies in your home theater room, you may also listen to some of your favorite music with the sound system. A rock and roll theme is a fun way to decorate this entertainment room. Framed album covers or hanging vinyl records are great ways to showcase some of your favorite bands and music. An old-fashioned turntable, framed concert t-shirts or a shadowbox with ticket stubs from concerts you've attended are all excellent items to use for decorating.

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Futuristic

Today's high-tech home theater systems lend themselves to a futuristic style of decor. Consider a monochromatic look to the space, such as shades of gray, chrome or brushed nickel. Include some colored LED lights for illumination, sleek appliances and seating with clean lines. A futuristic theme is typically minimalist, so the fewer small nick-knacks, the more ultramodern it will look.

 

The Best Homemade Snacks for Movie Night

Written by on Tuesday, 21 April 2015 20:05

 

When you have your own home theater system, you can enjoy a movie theater experience without having to leave the house. In addition to comfortable seats and a great film, some tasty snacks are also an essential part of the fun. These recipes are healthier than the popcorn you can buy at the movies but are just as tasty.

Nutty Caramel Corn

Sweet and crunchy caramel corn is a healthier take on the traditional buttery popcorn you purchase as a patron at the movies. To make this recipe, preheat your oven to 250 degrees. Prepare 16 cups of popped popcorn. In a saucepan, melt 1/2 cup unsalted butter. Whisk in 3/4 cup packed brown sugar, 1/2 cup light corn syrup, 2 tablespoons molasses, 1 teaspoon vanilla, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda and salt to taste. Pour over the popcorn. Toss in 2 cups of honey roasted or Spanish peanuts, raw almonds or another nut of your choice.

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Movie Theater Nachos

This salty and savory snack is a favorite of many families. To make these nachos, arrange your favorite corn chips on a platter. Pour one cup of your favorite salsa across the chips. Combine one cup of refried beans with one cup of cooked ground beef. Heat and pour on top of the chips and salsa. Pour one cup of your favorite cheese sauce on top. Broil in the oven for two minutes. Top with jalapeno peppers, sour cream or shredded cheese.

Movie Night Trail Mix

In a gallon size food storage bag, combine one cup of pretzels, one cup of marshmallows, 1/2 cup raisins, 1/2 cup peanuts, 1/2 cup chocolate chips or candy coated chocolate candies and 1/2 cup dried unsweetened coconut flakes. Toss together and serve in a big bowl. These snacks make enough for the whole family to share and can be customized to your preferences or to accommodate any food allergies or sensitivities.

 

The Best Seating Options for Your Home Theater Setup

Written by on Wednesday, 15 April 2015 20:02

 

Having your own home theater in Pittsburgh is a great way to enjoy a slice of luxury without having to leave home. Your home theater setup could include a large screen, surround sound speakers, sub-woofers and a place for snacks. Comfortable seating is essential to your home movie theater, as you'll be spending many hours enjoying your favorite films.

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Sectionals

Sectional seats offer places for you and all of your friends or family to sit and watch a movie together. Sectional sofas for home theaters offer seating in a row or in an L shape. Sectional seating arrangements can also be done in a chaise style, with a row of seats finished off with a chaise at one end. Special features such as built-in cup holders, remote control organizers and even heated backs are included in sectionals so you may relax your weary muscles and have everything you need within arm's reach.

Recliners

If you like to put your feet up while watching movies, recliners are a great option for your home theater room. Reclining seats offer padding for your lower legs that helps to improve your circulation while the reclining back feature cushions for your neck and head so you can fully relax your body. The recliner gives you the same angle of view like you would have in a tiered movie theater.

Loungers

Home theater loungers are built from luxury materials such as leather or micro-suede. The loungers may be single seat, double or triple seating in a straight row or arranged at a slight angle to create an arc. Lounger seats do not recline, but you may have the option to put your feet up. Built-in cup holders and armrests are standard for these seating arrangements. With your new seating in place, you'll never have to leave home to enjoy the thrilling experience of watching movies in total comfort.

 

How to Choose Energy Efficient Light Bulbs for Your Home

Written by on Saturday, 04 April 2015 20:03

 

Many homeowners are putting in home automation systems as a way to enhance their comfort, boost the energy efficiency of their dwellings and enhance the safety of their property. An essential part of any automated residential control system is the lighting. While incandescent bulbs were the only choice just a generation ago, today there are many different options to use in your new home control systems.

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Outdoor Lights

Your home control system has outdoor lights that illuminate your front, back and side doors as well as your fence, detached garage and front path. When choosing light bulbs for these fixtures, consider options that include photocells that are charged by the sun during daylight hours. Select motion-activated lighting that saves energy by only turning on when there is movement within a certain distance of the light bulb.

LED Bulbs

LED lights can be used inside or outdoors as specified by the product's packaging. The greatest benefit of choosing LED lighting is that the bulbs use 1/3 to 1/30 of the energy required by an incandescent bulb. These bulbs also last for up to ten times longer than incandescent bulbs. LED bulbs remain cool even when in use for many hours, making them a safe as well as energy efficient option.

Indoor CFL Lighting

CFL bulbs are affordable and last four to ten times longer than an incandescent bulb. This type of lighting is highly efficient, using just 20 to 50 percent of the amount of energy required by an incandescent bulb. The newest generation of CFL light bulbs provides a warm yellow tinted light rather than the jarring bright white light of an incandescent bulb. These versatile bulbs can be used in lamps, recessed lighting fixtures, porch lights and ceiling fans. Replacing one incandescent bulb with an LED or CFL bulb could save you up to $45 per year in electricity usage, especially when coordinated with your automated residential control system.

 

You've Gotta Hear The Tritons!

Written by on Monday, 20 April 2015 17:08

Treat yourself to this amazing ear candy from the Triton Five speakers from GoldenEar Technology.  You'll be astounded by sound like you've never been before. Call us to hear these for yourself!

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When a Soundbar Will Work for a Home Theater

Written by on Monday, 23 March 2015 21:59

 

Soundbars incorporate several speakers in one thin unit to enhance the sound quality and provide a result better than that of your TV speakers. Some soundbars are able to mimic surround sound in smaller spaces and they will provide a good entertainment experience for many. For larger rooms or a full theater experience, a component home theater system is still the best option.

 

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Selecting a Soundbar for Your Theater

If you have a smaller room, you can use a soundbar to enhance your listening enjoyment. To get the best performance, seek out a soundbar that includes a subwoofer. Some brands also include a few rear speakers to provide a more complete surround effect. When shopping for a soundbar, you want to match the size of the bar to the size of your TV. It is best to test the system at the store to gauge the sound quality.

When You Want a Full Theater Effect

Soundbars are not for everyone. The audiophile or person looking for a true theater experience will prefer a component system that offers true surround sound. These systems involve more wiring but they will provide higher quality sound. When planning your home theater system consult with home entertainment experts. While you can install the system yourself, working with seasoned professionals helps ensure your home theater will be properly installed and calibrated for maximum performance.

The Decision Is Yours

When deciding between a soundbar or component system for your home viewing, know your entertainment goals. For a smaller space, a soundbar with a subwoofer and rear speakers provides a rich sound. When you have a larger area or desire the full surround effect of a theater, you will want to go with a component system.

 

3D Televisions Include Built-in Cinema Technologies

Written by on Monday, 16 March 2015 21:14

Although visiting the movie theater continues to remain a top way to enjoy movies on large screens and with amplified sound, home theater systems are being designed to provide families with this same experience in their homes any time of the day. New technological advances in home theater systems provide consumers with the option of experiencing 3D technology. This enhanced viewing experience allows people to enjoy clear and more realistic viewing capabilities with their televisions and Blu-ray DVD players. Installation companies for home theaters in Pittsburgh can design entire home systems with this type of movie theater quality to facilitate a more improved viewing experience.

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Televisions with 3D technology were introduced into the consumer market in 2010. Plasma and LCD televisions with 3D capabilities require the use of either active or passive shutter glasses. These are battery-powered glasses that can be used for home or office theaters to enhance the viewer’s visual experience and deliver different HD images overlapping each eye. Currently, manufacturers are offering these technologies for televisions that are at least 40 inches in size, because the 3D images appear more realistic on wider screens.

3D Projectors Offers More Improved Color and Brightness

Home theater projectors are designed for family rooms and living rooms. They deliver lifelike, natural-looking images and more clarified colors, similar to movie theater screens. The 3D home projectors help to ensure greater visibility of the images.

3D technologies in Home Theater Solutions Are Becoming More Popular

Enjoying a comfortable, cinematic experience in the home is now more easily accessible and affordable for many homeowners. With the new trends of 3D technology for home theaters, people can watch whatever they want on their televisions, from sports games to movies and the latest sitcoms.

 The subwoofer is one of the most fundamental components of a home theater installation. A proper subwoofer setup can take your audio system from average to a bone rattling, immersive audio experience. The low tones of the subwoofer are felt more are heard, but the subwoofer's ability to affect you on a primal level is its key selling point. In fact, two subwoofers are typically better than one.

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Selecting a Location

The correct placement of a subwoofer has a lot to do with the acoustics of your room. If you're going it alone, you're going to need a lot of time for trial and error to find the best location. When setting up an audio system, the entire room becomes the concert hall. Sound bounces off the walls, floors and ceilings to add to the natural amplification from the speaker system. Bass waves from a subwoofer are omni-directional, which means the sound waves tend to bounce all over the room. Placing it against the wall isn't always the best option either. The ideal location is typically about a third into your room, but depending on your setup, you could place it in the wall, in a cabinet, under a couch or table, or even a corner if you have limited space.

Checking the Placement

Work with the room and walk around the space while the subwoofers are playing to listen for dead spots or a booming effect. Dead spots occur when waves reflected off your walls cancel each other out. A booming effect happens when a specific frequency is being reinforced. It's not the speaker that is causing this, but your placement of the speaker. So, if you don't like the sound you're getting from your home audio system, experiment by adjusting the subwoofer's location.

Final Considerations

Most speakers come with the ability to calibrate the subwoofer. The default setting is rarely going to provide the best result. Set the crossover frequency to about 10 hertz above the frequency response specs for your speakers. Begin your adjustments from that point, and go lower until you find the right setting to give you the best audio. Use bass-intensive music, and avoid using video games or movies when setting up the subwoofer. Finally, set the volume at about 75 percent of its maximum setting as a starting point. Tweak the system as necessary until you get a response that pleases you.

Monitor and Control Your Home Technologies While You Are Away

Written by on Monday, 09 March 2015 19:34

 

When you synchronize your technology into one integrated home automation system, you will be able to manage your home from anywhere with your mobile device. Monitor key technologies at home like your heating and cooling system, lights and security from the road to ensure your home stays safe.

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Use Automation to Keep Your Home Systems Running Smoothly

With integrated automation in your home, you can adjust lighting throughout your home with a single controller. Change the lights in the house while you are on vacation to give the appearance that you are home. Use the same mobile controller to monitor climate controlled areas like music rooms to make sure they maintain a consistent temperature and humidity. This way you can protect valuable instruments from warping or other climate-related damage.

Be Assured That Your Home Is Safe While You Are Away

When you use a home automation system, you will have the ability to integrate your home security system. There's no need to worry if you forget to turn the system on before you head out as you can simply do so with your mobile controller. With an integrated system, you're also able to monitor your system from the road. The beauty of an automated system is that the technology is integrated so your home can monitor itself and alert you to any situation that needs your attention.

Home Integration Brings Peace of Mind

Using an integrated automation system in your home gives you peace of mind even when you are away on vacation. You can take your mobile controller with you to monitor and adjust systems at home as needed. With linked technologies, your system will alert you to any changes or problems. Now you can know your home is safe and secure even when you are not on the premises.

 

The Perfect Home Theater Set Up for Watching Sports

Written by on Friday, 06 March 2015 19:34

A home theater in Pittsburgh isn't just used for movies and video games. They’re used for watching the Penguins play Hockey, the Steelers play football, and the Pirates play baseball.

Choosing the right setup for your home theater will make a difference when it comes to watching your favorite sports. For example, if you often watch more than one game at a time, you may want to look into a multiple screen set up. Here are a few examples of perfect home theater set ups for watching your beloved Pittsburgh teams.

 

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The “Fan” Room

How cool would it be to have a room decorated with Penguins, Pirates and Steelers memorabilia? The Fan Room is the perfect place to showcase your absolute fandom for any of the local squads – from high school to the pros. So you can keep up with all sports on all levels, include multiple screens or a large projector. Your friends and family will absolutely love watching games in this theater set up.

 

The Game Room

Creating the perfect game room can benefit the entire family by including “something for everyone”. You can dedicate one wall to TV screens so you can catch all the action, while using other areas of the room for a pool table, poker table, arcade games, and your kids’ video game system of choice. Add in a surround sound system and you’ve got the perfect room for entertaining guests!

 

Fantasy Sports Room

If you compete in fantasy sports leagues, you will certainly need multiple screens. Setting up your home theater with one large screen and a few smaller screens off to the side will provide the perfect “field” of vision (get it?!). You can put the most important game on the main screen and fill the rest with other sports and highlight shows. You can even watch the game in 3D! With a flat-panel display or a projector-screen combo, it’s totally possible to see your favorite player pop right out of the screen!

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The Locker Room

A more intimate set up that can easily be transformed into a movie viewing area, the “Locker Room” design features one very large screen with a few smaller screens above. Add stadium seating and everybody can enjoy the game at your place. When the game is over, unwind with family movie night!

The key to designing the perfect home theater for viewing sports in Pittsburgh is adding multiple screens. Since most sports seasons overlap, having the ability to watch multiple games without having to head to a sports bar is an invaluable feature. To help with the crafting and installation of the perfect home theater, call the pros at Northern Audio today!

 

Pros & Cons of Internet in Home Theaters

Written by on Thursday, 12 February 2015 18:00

You've created the perfect home theater and have become the envy of all your friends. Now, you're considering adding Internet access to your system, but are unsure if it's the right decision. There are some advantages and some disadvantages to accessing the internet with your home theater system, here are some helpful tips to assist you in making the right decision for your home.

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The Advantages

The main advantage you gain from accessing the Internet on your home theater is the content you can view at your own leisure. Whether it comes from a site like YouTube or NetFlix, you can view movies, shows and more on the massive screen in your theater room.

Along with viewing content from the Internet, you can also listen to some of your favorite music on your home theater system. If you have a large library of music on your computer or stored online, you can access it and listen as you please.

Another advantage of Internet access in your home theater room is the ability to watch content on your schedule. With programs such as Hulu, NetFlix and others, you can stream content on demand instead of watching it live. Some of these services may even allow you to download the content to view at a future date.

The Disadvantages

A major disadvantage of accessing content from the Internet is the quality. Typically, audio and video quality won't be as good as a Blu-ray or CD. Since the files found online are usually highly compressed, they may look pixelated on a very large screen. The sound may not be as sharp, either.

You will probably need to upgrade your Internet to the highest speed offered by your ISP. This will be required to view large files, without the annoyance of waiting for buffering. Another disadvantage is that content on the Internet isn’t always free. When you use services such as Hulu, Netflix or Amazon Instant Video, you will need to pay to get the best shows and movies.

But even with the disadvantages of accessing Internet content in your home theater, it's a great option to have. With the right equipment, you can watch unlimited shows, movies and listen to plenty of music from the Internet. For more information about adding Internet to your home theater installation, give us a call today at (412) 931-5850.

 

The Necessary Components In A Full Home Theater System

Written by on Wednesday, 11 February 2015 17:24

Setting up a new home theater system may include more components than you originally imagined. However, if you want to create an amazing home theater in our house, you need the right components. Essential items, such as speakers, big screen TV, connections, sources, receiver/controllers and more should be incorporated into your new system.

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If you want an all-inclusive home theater system, it should include the following:

  • Sources - CD player, turntable, AM/FM tuner, DVD player, Blu-Ray player, VCR, camcorder, video server, gaming console and home theater PC.
  • Receiver/Controllers - A/V receiver, power amplifier and controller/decoder
  • Speakers - Two front speakers, one front center speaker, two or four rear speakers, a subwoofer and two side speakers.
  • Display - A flat-panel TV, rear-projection or front-projection system.

These are just the basic components that can be found in most home theater systems. Along with the necessities for your all-inclusive system, you will need connectors. These can include satellite, cable, Internet, home network or over-the-air antenna. You may also require a few accessories, including universal remotes, touchpads, home media servers or digital media adaptors.

What's the most important component?

When you start to think about getting a full home theater system, you may be working with some budget constraints. If this is the case, understanding what each part of an all-inclusive system does can help you obtain the most important components for your needs.

  • Sources - This is the part of the system that provides content for listening and watching.
  • Receivers/Controllers - The most important part of your system, the receivers/controllers feed the content to your speakers and displays.
  • Speakers – This is what provides the sound for your listening pleasure.
  • Displays - The unit or units providing the actual picture.
  • Connections - This part of the system gives you the signal from outside your home and brings it inside.
  • Accessories - Makes your system much easier to work with by eliminating multiple remotes and controls.

Each part of an all-inclusive system is quite important. If you're unsure what you need for the room you want to house your home theater system, hiring a professional will help. They can come in and make recommendations to fit your budget and your specific space and can assist with all of your home theater installation needs.

 

Seven Unique Themes For Your Home Theater

Written by on Friday, 06 February 2015 23:22

Designing a theater that is unique and elaborate can offer the ideal environment for large events and meetings. There are always new trends and themes that people are using to customize the systems in their homes. Here are seven of the most unique themes that you can utilize in your home theater in Pittsburgh.

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Sports Fan's Dream

Designing your home theater system to include multiple screens, loads of memorabilia and a look much like a media room has become a popular trend in home theater designs. This design is perfect for the biggest sports fan and can incorporate bar seating, a kitchen and more.

Star Trek Theme

The ceiling is painted like the windows of the ship, while the walls include a design that features lights and screens like on the Starship Enterprise or the Voyager. This incredible design provides computer-controlled LED lighting, 11 seats and a large screen for viewing. It even has a "red alert" button.

1920s Theater

If you love the look of the old-style theaters from way back when, this design is perfect for you. This 1920s theater is quite ornate and offers chairs with custom patterned fabric. Lamps add an element of warmth and the coffered ceiling treatment provides the look of an upscale theater.

Underground Mine Shaft

A simple, yet very unique design, this underground mine shaft has the appearance of rocks on the walls and ceiling. With this incredible design, it feels like you're actually in an old west mineshaft looking for gold.

1950s Diner

Another very popular home theater design is a 1950s diner theme. It's very easy to incorporate multiple screens and seating to create an environment that is ideal for more than just a movie night. Adding a jukebox can help create the perfect home theater with a 1950s theme.

Planetarium Theme

Adding a night sky design as part of your theme can help create an incredible movie watching experience. With the right design, it's possible to make your home theater room look like it's an outdoor area, complete with stars and planets.

The Bat Cave

Maybe a bit harder to pull off, but this design will make your home theater look like something straight out of Gotham. Feel like the Caped Crusader himself with your own customizable home theater.

These are just a few of the many themes possible for a stunning home theater in your house. For more information on the top home theater systems on the market, give us a call today at (412) 931-5850.

 

How Home Automation Makes Life Simple

Written by on Friday, 23 January 2015 00:05

With the popularity of Life Hacks and living in the era of smart phones and immediate information, people are always looking for ways to make their everyday lives a little simpler. When it comes to home theaters, one way to simplify your life and sync all your technologies into one device is with the use of a home automation system. As the leader in home theaters in Pittsburgh, Northern Audio can help make your daily activities as easy as possible by assisting you with a home automation system in your house.

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Lights please

Do you ever get sick of the lighting in certain rooms of your home? Forget fumbling with light switches with a home automation solution that features a custom lighting system, which can be operated with a single control, or even your tablet or smart phone. Create different brightness settings for each room in your home, allowing you the opportunity to customize the lighting throughout your house.

Heating and cooling a breeze

Ever been too cold to get up and change the temperature on the thermostat? With a home automation system, you can alter the temperature of any room in your house with one handheld controller. For climate-controlled spaces such as wine cellars or music rooms, home automation makes it simple to keep the temperature of any place consistent and perfect.

Security no longer a concern

Everyone has experienced the sheer panic that comes from leaving the house for the day and not knowing if you set the alarm. Never worry about security concerns again with a home automation system that allows you to control your security system from any mobile device. Enjoy the peace of mind that comes from a home security system that can monitor itself and alert you if anything occurs while you are aware from your house.

Home automation systems have helped thousands of people live a simpler life, filled with fewer controllers, added flexibility and the most convenient way to manage the technologies in your home. For more information on the top home automation systems on the market, contact Northern Audio today at (412) 931-5850. We look forward to making your life simpler and more efficient with one of our top-of-the-line home automation systems.

 

What is HDR and Can it Change The Viewing Standard?

Written by on Wednesday, 21 January 2015 21:58

We predicted that 4K TV would be a big focus at this year’s Consumer Electronic Show. It looks as though our prediction was correct, as most every company announced their version of the technology. Now that all the excitement of CES 2015 has worn off, it is time to look at what other developments are in the works this year. The expansion of technology makes these improvements almost commonplace in the market. Undoubtedly, you will see a lot of 4K throughout 2015, but we also think HDR will garner plenty of attention as well.

What is HDR?

HDR stands for high dynamic range and up until now has mostly been used by high-end cameras and smartphone apps. For cameras, this technology is able to combine several photos taken in a single burst for the best lighting conditions and exposure. When it comes to HDR video, the shooting process is done with an expanded range. The process is able to capture and separate lights and darks, rather than combining them. This allows a much wider array of color possibilities on the screen.

What makes it so great?

using remote on HDR TV

While 4K technology does a great job at providing more pixels to the viewer, HDR is different because it actually changes the picture. HDR technology has the ability to allow the viewer to see images as the human eye would. This means more vivid colors, deeper blacks and brights, and objects that stand out more. Scenes which are shot with HDR compatible cameras will be clearer and much more realistic.

What makes it so real?

The key to HDR technology can be thought of in terms of brightness. Most TVs have a typical brightness of 400 nits (the unit used for measuring brightness) and some of the newer versions have up to 750 nits. HDR TVs can have a maximum of 1,000 nits. The increased brightness gives viewers a larger color scale, and brightness that mimics actual sunlight.

When can you get one?

amazing TV quality

Although we predict HDR will be massive in years to come, this technology is still in the experimental phase for both movies and TV. Several companies are already in the process of incorporating HDR technology into their Ultra HD TVs, but it could be a while before we see these on shelves. This is great news for the few companies such as Netflix and Warner Bros. who are already experimenting with HDR content. Our prediction is by 2016, the viewing standard will have made a heavy shift toward HDR.

If you are interested in learning more about emerging technologies or home theatre installation, visit Northern Audio online or call the experts at (412) 931-5850 today. 

 

3 Home Theatre Trends to Expect at CES 2015

Written by on Friday, 02 January 2015 20:03

 

The annual Consumer Electronics Show will take place on Jan. 6-9 in Las Vegas, Nev. This is known as one of the most important tech events where innovators can exhibit their contributions to the next big thing in technology. Although many of the exhibitors like to keep their bigger debuts secret, here are the top 3 trends we expect will dominate at CES 2015.

1.    Ultra HD 4K

Although there are several different names for this up and coming technology, we think this trend command much of the attention of those in attendance. As of right now, the terms Ultra HD and 4K can be used interchangeably since the difference between them is minute.

4K refers to display which has about 4 times (around 8 million) the pixels as the standard 1080p display. This difference is huge, as the more pixels on the display; the more information can be transmitted, leading to noticeably sharper and more engaging images. These TV’s are quickly becoming the standard among newly manufactured devices. These TV’s will quickly garner more attention once 4K content becomes more available.

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Photo by Intel Free Press

2.    High Definition Audio

Although this technology has been criticized as unnecessary in the past, with 4K TV’s becoming increasingly popular, we think high definition audio will become more commonplace. There is currently no universal standard for high definition audio, it typically refers to audio which has a higher sampling frequency and more bit depth than traditional compact discs.

This emerging technology provides superior sound quality to audio formats, such as MP3’s, which are compressed and tend to sacrifice resolution for the sake of small file sizes. This technology has been relatively slow moving, but 2015 is already being hailed as the year of high definition audio to complement the craze of 4K technology.

3.    Sound Bars

These devices are quickly garnering more popularity as the technology for them improves. These sleek devices are made to sit on your entertainment center or cabinet. They are said to provide a richer sound with an enhanced bass without the need to add a sub woofer. Many audio and electronic manufacturers currently have a version of this technology on the market, and we expect most major manufacturers to announce their latest versions at CES 2015.

If you are interested in learning more about this technology or installing a home theater in Pittsburgh, call the home theater experts at Northern Audio today. 

 

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