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

4 Best 3D Blu-Ray Movies to Watch at Home

Written by on Friday, 26 December 2014 21:44

As technology has evolved over time, movie producers were able to bring us increasingly clearer films. The relatively recent emergence of 3D and Blu-Ray technology only furthered these abilities. With crisp, high definition special effects and top quality soundtracks, enjoying these films on anything less than Blu-Ray from the comfort of your own home theater would just be silly.

Avatar

avatar

(Photo by Playing Futures)

James Cameron is an all-around visionary. Following a run of media criticism on his “new” use of 3D film tactics, he hit the screens with something unlike we’ve ever seen before. We’re of course talking about Avatar. Differing from many 3D films you’re probably familiar with, Avatar is easy on the eyes due to Cameron’s stereoscopic approach rather than the typical “pop-out” 3D effects. You’ll feel fully enveloped by the film’s depth.

Tangled

tangled

(Photo by Millena Brito)

Don’t let the cartoon element fool you – Disney’s modern take on the classic Rapunzel is surprisingly charming, regardless of your age. Employing multi-planed cameras, Disney’s innovative approach used stereoscopic effects to incorporate 3D elements throughout the film that look absolutely stunning on Blu-Ray. Many would say this is Disney’s most beautiful and artistic film since the early days of movie production. We’ll let you be the judge.

Tron: Legacy

tron 3d

(Photo by Pop Culture Geek)

As a sequel to the 1980s film, Tron: Legacy is, if nothing else, a showcase for 3D design and filmmaking as an art form. The neon-lined machines, vehicles, and outfits accentuate every curve and crevice of the alternate, computerized world and really bring the action effects to life. While critics were not wholly impressed with the overall storyline of Tron: Legacy, they couldn’t help but be taken with the visual and aural sorcery. 

Hugo

Yet another flawless blockbuster from our pal Martin Scorsese, featuring his trademark “tracking shots”. Set in 1930s France, young Hugo is left orphaned and alone after his parents die in a fire. Before his father passed, he gave Hugo an automaton and a notebook. Upon linking up with the granddaughter of a toy merchant, the pair is able to bring the automaton to life and begin looking for a place to call home. The automaton shows the two children a world that is like “Neverland and Oz and Treasure Island all wrapped into one.” If that doesn’t scream “special effects overload,” nothing does. This colorful 3D adventure is one that even the biggest of film buffs will find captivating.

If you’re looking for a mind-blowing night at home, pop one of these films into your Blu-Ray player, sit back, and relax in your home theater. In the market for a home theater upgrade or remodel? Get in touch with Northern Audio for home entertainment systems in Pittsburgh at (412) 931-5850.

Five Holiday Movies Ideal for a Home Theater

Written by on Friday, 19 December 2014 19:16

The holiday season is great for snuggling up under a warm blanket, drinking hot cocoa, and enjoying time with family and friends. It's also a perfect time to break out the holiday-themed movies and enjoy a night (or three) at home and out of the cold, harsh weather conditions. Below are five classic holiday movies that are ideal for family movie nights in your awesome home theater.

Nightmare Before Christmas

Jack Skellington

Photo by JD Hancock

This beautiful stop-motion tale of Jack and Sally is at the top of every Tim Burton fan’s list of favorites. When Jack, aka the Pumpkin King, accidentally crosses over from Halloween Town to Christmas Town and plots to kidnap Santa, you know things are about to get good. With names like Danny Elfman and Catherine O’Hara on the musical score, this is a holiday movie you won’t want to pass up.

A Christmas Story

A Christmas Story

Photo by s_herman

Originally making its debut in the early 1980s, A Christmas Story has a storyline that everyone can relate to: having to convince your parents why you absolutely NEED a particular Christmas gift. Enjoy watching this family-friendly film with a family of your own as Ralphie tries to get a Red Ryder B. B. gun for Christmas.

Elf

Elf 

Photo by J

Will Ferrell stars as Buddy the Elf, a human who grew up in the North Pole thanks to a classic case of “switched at birth.” Upon realizing that he’s not quite like all of Santa’s other elves – most notably MUCH larger and less productive in the workshop – Buddy sets out on an epic journey to find his real parents. On his journey, he finds his parents (who weren’t quite as excited as he was to find them), reminds New York City of the true meaning of Christmas through overzealous holiday cheer, and inadvertently finds himself. With Zooey Deschanel as Ferrell’s co-star, this is a movie you can watch time and time again.

 

How the Grinch Stole Christmas

How The Grinch Stole Christmas

Photo by Sarah Ackerman

In any of its various adaptations, How the Grinch Stole Christmas is a friendly family film that reminds us exactly what the holiday season is all about. When Cindy Lou Who opens her heart to Mr. Grinch, he can’t help but feel a bit of internal happiness. Watch this with your kids for a sidesplitting night in (or by yourself…we won’t tell).

Home Alone

Home Alone

Photo by s_herman

Macaulay Culkin is all grown up now, but it’s still fun to see him make the famous “home alone” face once a year. No matter which volume of Home Alone you watch, you’re in for a sweet holiday treat as you watch 8-year-old Kevin McCallister foil two conmen’s various attempts to clean out the McCallister estate.

Of course the list of classic holiday movies is endless, but these five are sure to warm up your home theater with some serious laughs and holiday happiness. To set up your home theater installation just in time for a holiday movie night with the family, call Northern Audio at (412) 931-5850.

 

How to Automate Your Home Theater Set Up

Written by on Thursday, 20 November 2014 20:15

If you’ve been trying to come up with ways to automate your home theater system, there are many options available to you. More and more people these days are not only designing their own home theater systems, but they are automating them to their preferences. Here are a few ideas for an automated home theater system.

redtheater-lighiting

The Gamer Setup

While most people set up home theater systems for watching movies and television, a lot of people do it with gaming in mind. If you’re one of those people, these tips will help you to automate your setup for ease of use. You can have controller-docking stations attached to each seat, as well as having multiple screens set up for multiplayer gaming.

The chairs in this type of setup should recline and have wide armrests for comfort. For automation, you could have the sound set up to switch between the game audio and background music by just pressing a button. You can also set your system up to automatically connect to the Internet upon powering on, set up a victory song to play when you’ve won a game and set up the lights to shine brighter whenever you pause your game.

Hollywood Setup

If you mainly use your home theater system for watching movies, you can set up your system with a Hollywood theme. You can organize your home theater to have curtains around the screen, complete with automated dimming lights that will decrease in brightness when a movie is about to play.

Have accent lights along the walls or floor, with stadium seating like you would find in a movie theater. You can also set up your system so that the movie will automatically pause when there are distractions, such as when the doorbell rings.

Sports Fan Setup

If you love watching sports, you can easily set up your home theater system to be the ideal spot for watching the big game. Have multiple screens, so you can watch more than one game at a time and set the lights to automatically flicker or flash different colors whenever your team scores a point. Have plenty of seating and tables situated around, so there is room for snacks and drinks. Also, make sure to decorate the room with sports memorabilia to complete the look.

For more information on home theater installation, contact the audiovisual experts at Northern Audio today at (702) 931-5850.

 

The Most Popular Home Theater Design Trends

Written by on Thursday, 20 November 2014 19:11

If you’re thinking of designing a home theater, there are a variety of popular designs that many people are using as the basis for designing their own. While you can design the system of your dreams with components you already have in mind, here are some starting points that will help you discover exactly what want out of your ideal home theater system.

OpenLivingRoom

The Modern Look

You can design your home theater with modern elements, using neutral colors like beige and terracotta with lots of sleek lines throughout the design. Situate your favorite modern theater chairs with a soft fabric, large headrests and curved armrests, with small tables between them for drinks and snacks. Create a 3D effect with your wall design by layering wall panels and installing backlighting that softly glows and gently lights the room.

The Dark Contemporary Look

Design your home theater room in shades of reds, blacks and grays to pull off a darker and moodier feel. Design the floor at two different heights, so you can bring in a couple sectional sofas and situate one on the higher floor level and the other on the lower level. Create a neat effect on the ceiling that resembles the night sky with thousands of glowing stars twinkling softly. Install soft theater lighting along the walls and ceiling, which will dim when a movie starts playing.

The Soft Contemporary Look

Design your home theater in shades of tan. Install a hardwood floor and lay down a soft area rug in the middle of the room. Add in a comfortable leather sectional in a tan color, with a coffee table and end tables within reach. Create one wall of the room with a faux bricks or rocks and have soft canister lighting on the ceiling along the walls.

The Star Trek Look

Some people are even going all out and have designed their home theaters to resemble the inside of the USS Enterprise, complete with motion-activated air-lock doors and sound effects. The theater seats resemble those of the Star Trek chairs and the window of the ship is actually the movie screen.

There are many different ways you can design your home theater. You can go for something simple and comfortable where the whole family can sit and enjoy watching movies together, or you can opt for fancy design elements that will turn your home theater into a fun attraction for your friends and family.

For the best home theater in Pittsburgh, contact Northern Audio today at (412) 931-5850 for more information.

 

Are Ultra or 4K HD Televisions Worth Your Money?

Written by on Thursday, 18 September 2014 17:12

Ultra and 4K HD resolution televisions have started reaching the market, providing a level of quality not seen on shelves before. There always seems to be new technology for consumers to get on board with, but is it worth the money?

Technology is constantly advancing and with each new breakthrough, new technology prices are high while older units will start to come down. In the television world, 4K HD and Ultra televisions are here to bring highly advanced resolution to consumers, for an even clearer television in your home. But many consumers are wondering if this new advancement is worth their money.

What is Ultra HD and 4K HD Resolution?

Ultra HD, or UHD, and 4K HD resolution televisions contain a higher number of pixels, to make larger televisions more clear. This means more vivid colors and intense images can be seen, thanks to this new technology.

As larger televisions become more popular, this technology is a huge advantage. Consumers don’t have to worry about if buying a bigger screen will cause a loss in the clarity of the picture. Most consumers don’t realize that the old technology used the same amount of pixels on every size television. UHD and 4K HD Resolution offers more pixels for a larger sized screen.

What is the difference between the old and new technology?

The old technology of televisions typically offered 1080p. The “p” stands for progressive scan, which offers 1,080 vertical pixels and 1,920 horizontal pixels. This standard amount of pixels is great on a smaller television, but as television needs change and consumers want bigger screens, having only 1,080 pixels does not allow for a clear picture.

A television over 70 inches, using the same amount of pixels as a 40 inch television, is not going to be as clear, since the pixels have to cover a much larger area and may look blurry. This new technology is the answer to this problem.

What’s the difference between Ultra HD and 4K HD?

The Ultra HD option means you are getting over 3,800 horizontal pixels and more than 2,000 vertical pixels for your resolution. A 4K HD option contains even more pixels: over 4,000 horizontal pixels and more than 2,000 vertical pixels. This is quadruple the amount of pixels compared to older HD televisions.

Tech experts say that the new technology is absolutely worth the extra money. Check out Ultra HD and 4K HD to experience it yourself, and enjoy a newer television that everyone in the room will be able to enjoy more clearly. For more information on a home theatre system, contact Northern Audio today at (412) 931-5850.

What are the Advantages of Home Automation?

Written by on Tuesday, 16 September 2014 21:20

Home automation is the latest trend in technology, allowing you to control your appliances and home systems with a simple remote. No longer do you have to manually control your thermostat, lights or door locks, since you can do it all from a remote or smart phone. Here are some of the advantages of home automation.

Security

Automation in the home is becoming very popular due to the advantage of the security behind it. You don’t even have to remember to lock the door anymore, or worry about security while on vacation.

With home automation, you can connect everything to your computer or smartphone. This allows you to watch your security cameras from anywhere. You can also turn on the alarm system, shut the garage or lock the doors from anywhere.

You can schedule the days and times you want your home alarm armed, and the system will even notify you when someone leaves or enters the home. Even if you arrive at work and feel you’ve forgotten to lock up the house, you can do it with the push of a button.

Children

Another great benefit of home automation is that you can keep an eye on the kids. You’ll be able to make sure your children made it home safely, unlock the door for them from anywhere and even watch them leave and come home on your security cameras.

In addition, you can use the system for watching your newborn sleep at night. You can make your phone or laptop show multiple images on the screen for each room or area you’ve set up a camera.

For example, you can have four squares on your device with one showing the front door, one square displaying the baby sleeping, one square showing the living room and another box presenting the back entrance. This way, you can see all parts of the home on your screen to make sure there are no issues.

Saves Time & Money

Home automation allows you to save money by making sure appliances are turned off while you’re away for the day. You can use home automation to make sure curling irons are turned off, the oven isn’t on after breakfast and the lights are turned off for the day. You can even have the temperature adjusted so that you’re not wasting heating or air conditioning while nobody is home.

Convenience

Home automation provides many conveniences. You can set timers for most things in your home, so that you don’t have to worry about turning the alarm system on at night or turning all the lights off in your home. In fact, you can program these systems to turn the lights on during the day, so that if you are on vacation it will appear that someone is still in the home.

Home automation is a really easy way to keep your household running no matter where you are. For more information on home automation services, contact Northern Audio today at (412) 931-5850.

Why Should You Consider a Wireless Music System for Your Home?

Written by on Monday, 15 September 2014 22:53

Having a wireless music system in your home allows you the freedom and ability to connect all the music devices in your house to one system. Finally, you can put those old CD’s and vinyl records away and access your entire music collection in one spot.

Wireless music systems are easier to install than wired systems, take less time to install and provide easy access from anywhere in your home. Here’s a look at some of the benefits of a wireless music system in your house.

Why does wireless make sense?

Many people don’t realize that the best time to deal with wiring something in their home is when it’s still under construction. It’s easy to run wiring when the walls are still exposed. If you decide to wire your home at a later time, expect high costs and many obstacles. Unless you’ve already had your home wired or plan to in a future home, consider going wireless.

Easier than traditional wired access

Most people trying to add a music system to their home are not set up for a wired system. It can be an endless nightmare trying to make an old space fit with new technology.

This type of system will simply use your home’s Wi-Fi router to distribute your music. You can do this with Radio Frequency or Internet Protocol. The only wire required is a hard wire connection for some IP-based systems, which is simply a jack at the target location.

Easy access to your music collection

People are tired of bulky CD collections. Using iPods and MP3 players allow you to access your music collection in one location, without taking up so much space. Instead of switching CDs, hit a button on the wireless audio system for your next song. You can even connect your Pandora stations or Spotify playlists to the wireless system.

Multi-room audio

With wireless, you can access the audio from anywhere in your home. It’s available everywhere, unlike wired systems. In fact, your friends and family can access the wireless music if they download an app on their smart phone and connect to your Wi-Fi.

Simple installation

Wireless music systems are clean and simple. They are easy to install, which will save you time and money. Don’t try to force a wired system when you have plaster walls and intricate woodwork. For some, wireless is the only smart option for providing quality audio throughout your home.

Turn on your favorite music while you cook dinner or throw on some tunes while guests arrive for your party. It doesn’t even have to disrupt the conversation because your wireless system can work from anywhere in the home. Put a speaker in each room you’d like and control it from your smartphone. For more information on whole house audio, contact Northern Audio today.

Photo by Alvimann

Six Common Mistakes Made When Shopping for a Home Theater System

Written by on Tuesday, 26 August 2014 17:01

Those looking to enhance their home with a home theater system may make the same mistakes others have when shopping for their home theater. Mistakes can happen when you don’t do the research first, such as, choosing the wrong size or going after a good deal, but getting bad quality. Here are a few common mistakes people make when they try to purchase a home theater system.

Don’t rush

Be careful not to rush. Many people don’t test out their favorite recordings and they have no idea how that one will sound on the set of speakers they are considering.

Instead, take your favorite recording to multiple stores to test on multiple speakers. If they will let you take it home as a test run, that’s even better. This will help you avoid purchasing something, bringing it home and finding out the sound is too harsh or boomy.

Choosing the pretty speakers

Some people like the attractive, small speakers that blend in well with the décor. Then, they try the speakers out in their home and the tiny speakers rattle when the sound is louder.

Don’t choose the small ones that match the walls, because you’ll sacrifice the sound quality you need.

Buying the promotional package

Most of the time when companies package speaker systems, advertise and run promotions, the package contains the cheapest possible cone drivers.

You are better off researching online for the latest test reports and for customer reviews of any speaker system you are considering.

Only paying attention to the subwoofer

Even if the deep bass of the subwoofer sounds great, most of the high-frequency and midrange sounds come from the main left and right speakers.

Before purchasing a home theater system, make sure you listen to voices to see if they sound is natural and easy to understand. You don’t want speakers with deep bass, but hollow or unnatural voice sound.

Poor Placement in your Home

So you bought a good home theater, but now your subwoofer doesn’t sound great. Most people don’t realize that simply shifting the subwoofers a few feet will make a huge difference in the bass quality.

Getting scammed

You bought speakers from a guy out of their truck that looked like brand names, but were actually not. These speakers won’t have good quality and may even have a woofer that is not connected.

You will always want to work with a speaker designer that has been in the business for years.

While it’s hard to know which home theater system is best for your house, avoiding these mistakes and doing your research will often lead to a better purchase. Looking for quality home theater installation? We've got you covered.

Photo By Tore.95

Choosing a Home Theater System for an Unusual Room Layout

Written by on Wednesday, 20 August 2014 16:42

When you purchase a home theater system for your home and the room you want to place it in is a bit unusually shaped, how do you deal with this? What is the best placement for my rectangular room, my small room or my square room? How high should the speakers sit off of the floor?

When you have an unusual room layout, you have to be careful to place the speakers just right or you risk lowering the sound quality. Here are a few tips on speaker placement in different shaped rooms and unusual layouts.

Small-sized room

When your room’s longest wall is less than 14 feet, your room is very acoustically small. Even though you are tempted to put the couch against the back wall, make sure you keep it about 6 inches off of the wall to get a better balance. It may also be best to have the speakers firing straight ahead for a better sense of space.

Rectangular room

This is a more commonly shaped room, but people don’t always agree on the best placement for speakers in rectangular rooms. You can either have them on the longest wall or on the short wall to fire down the length of the room.

What happens when placing the speakers on the short wall is that you will have your room filled with more sound, but you are limiting the soundstage size. With a long wall placement, you sit closer to the speakers, but the side walls are going to help with the size of the space.

Should I elevate the speakers?
Placing the speakers off of the floor can be tricky. You can raise the speaker or purchase a floorstanding speaker if your seating is really low or really high. This might help to create better sound quality. Subwoofers are intended to be as close to the floor as possible, so elevating the subwoofers is not a good idea.

Square rooms

Square rooms are the trickiest because of the shape. You can try mounting the TV between the speakers and placing them in the corner so that the sound comes from a diagonal.
If you have a very larger room, small room or oddly shaped floor plan, you can still angle your speakers a certain way to improve the sound quality. Use these tips for the best sound quality for your home theater system in any room.

Photo by Metoc

Choosing the right components for your custom home theater system can be a daunting task. There are so many choices and making sure you get the right set up for your home is important. If you want to create the best home theater system for you and your family, here are a few things you should consider first.

Where to You Fit on the Home Theater Scale?


Before you start shopping, it's important to figure out where you fit on the scale. It starts with a few questions you want to answer including:


•    How often do you listen to music and when?
•    Do you immerse yourself in the music or just let it play in the background?
•    Does your family enjoy watching movies more or listening to music more?
•    How will the look of the system fit with your decor?
•    How much can you spend on your new custom home theater system?


Answering these questions will allow you to figure out where you fit on the scale. Once you know where you fit, it will be easier to start matching the right system to your specific needs.


Music or Movies?


Most custom home theater systems will play both music and movies very well. However, these systems can be customized to fit one or the other better. Good sound isn't just good sound. Music quality requires a different type of speaker system compared to movie quality. These types of tracks are made differently and will play differently on some types of systems.


A good example of how music and movies differ is the unlimited soft-to-loud dynamic range found in movies today. Along with this type of difference, movies also provide a more surround sound type of effect, deeper base and the dialogue will be mixed to the center channel.


Music, on the other hand, provides a more dynamically compressed sound and the base may be nonexistent. Most of the music today isn't available with multichannel sound, but some of the other music is available in this format.


Does Size Matter?


The simple answer is YES! Size matters quite a bit, actually. If you get speakers for your home theater system and they are too big, it can be overwhelming. However, if they are too small, you may not get the sound quality you desire.


If you want to feel the sound and you want a very powerful experience, a system with 2,500 cubic feet or larger will provide just what you need. This type of system will be a full-size and full-range system with plenty of big sound.


The size of your speakers and your overall system will be based on the size of the room, too. When you're using the custom home theater system for a larger space, larger speakers are a necessity. However, with a smaller space, you can get away with smaller speakers.


These are just a few of the many things to consider when choosing a custom home theater and sound system. If you're considering a new system for your home, make sure it fits perfectly with your needs and your space.

Which Room is Best for Perfect Home Theater Design?

Written by on Wednesday, 06 August 2014 17:05

 

Planning and designing your new home theater system can be a bit overwhelming. If you understand the right type of room for home theater design, the process won't be so overwhelming. Here's a look at some of the things you should understand about the room you choose for your home theater.

Where Should You Start?

The process should really start with the financial and the technical side of things. Home theater systems can range from $1,000 to $25,000 and can even become more expensive. It's possible to design your own system without much technological knowledge.

Considering the Features of the Room

The room where you plan to install your home theater is one of the most important factors. The size, shape and design of the room will make a difference in the type of system you design. Consider the following aspects of the room:

  • Windows - A room with no windows is the best choice, but if this isn't possible you want to consider a room with the least amount of windows. Windows cause the sound to distort as it reflects off the glass and they can cause glare on the screen when viewing a movie.
  • Shape - A perfectly square room will actually cause some distortion. However a rectangular room works perfect and allows the sound to project better.
  • Drywall is Best for Walls - You don't need to staple all types of egg cartons to the wall to make the sound better. Drywall works great for home theater walls. However, concrete isn't a good choice and you will want to avoid installing your system in the basement or a room with concrete walls.
  • The Floor - Carpeted flooring with a new pad will not only create a cozy feeling, but also help with the sound. This is the best choice for the floor of your home theater.
  • Color of the Room - When you paint the walls a darker color, you will actually be able to view movies and TV shows better. Bright colors can reflect the light and distract your eyes. The best colors are tans, browns and olive. Avoiding reds and blues will help to ensure you don't end up with a strange ambient light in the room.

If you haven't chosen the right room for your home theater system yet, make sure you take these factors into consideration. Your home theater design will be based on the room you choose and the room that fits best will make a huge difference.

 

Should you Handle Your own Home Theater Installation?

Written by on Monday, 28 July 2014 16:58

 

After investing thousands of dollars into a new home theater system, you may be considering installing it yourself. The installation can make a big difference in the quality of the sound and picture from your home theater. Depending on the type of system you purchased and your technical knowledge, you may want to hire a professional installer.

What's involved in the Installation?

If you're a rookie to home theater installation, understanding what you're getting into might make this an easier decision. The installation will include:

  • Measuring the room and placing the projector in the right spot
  • Designing the layout for your system
  • Choosing a seating arrangement for the room
  • Picking the right speaker placement
  • Building the seating platform and the stands for equipment
  • Running wires for the system
  • And More!

Many other tasks will need to be handled and the installation of your home theater system can become very time consuming.

How can a Professional Installer Help?

Trusting a professional installer to handle your expensive equipment may be difficult. However, they install home theater systems for a living. There won't be much they cannot handle and they will be able to do the job to your specifications.

A professional installer can also help with recommendations on speaker placement, seating arrangements and other tasks involved in the process. They will handle all of the design and heavy lifting involved.

What Should You Look for in a Professional Installer?

If you make the decision to hire a professional installer, you should consider the following criteria:

  • References and Pictures from Past Jobs
  • Can incorporate your designs and ideas
  • Up-to-date knowledge of technology and home theater systems
  • Professional association member

Make sure the contractor you hire to handle your home theater installation meets these criteria. This will ensure you hire somebody with the ability to handle the job in a timely manner.

Making the Final Decision

Whether you still plan to install your home theater yourself or hire a professional, you need to make sure you're making the right decision. If the job is too big and time consuming for you, hiring a professional might be the right choice. However, if you have knowledge of construction, electrical work and home theater installation, you may want to tackle the job yourself.

Keep in mind, the equipment you have purchased or will purchase for your home theater isn't cheap. You want to make sure you trust the right person, whether it's you or a professional, to handle your investment.

 

Choosing the right projector and screen for your home theater system will make a big difference. Finding the right one doesn't have to be difficult. However, there are a few things to consider before you make your purchase.

Answer These Questions Before Choosing a Projector

As you start to shop for the right projector, keep these questions in mind:

  • How bright do you want it to be?
  • What is your budget?
  • Do you have any constraints for installation?
  • Which aspect ratio will work best?
  • Which resolution fits your needs best?
  • How much contrast is necessary?

You will want to understand the basics about the aspect ratio and the resolution. These two features of any projector are very important.

Aspect Ratio and Resolution

The aspect ratio is simply the rectangular shape of the actual video image. The three most common choices include:

  • 4:3 - Great for classic films and IMAX specials
  • 16:9 - Excellent for HDTV, Blu-Ray and widescreen DVD
  • 2.40:1 - Perfect for modern movies wider than 16:9

Along with choosing the right aspect ratio, you will need to choose the right resolution. Resolution is the number of pixels the projector can use to create the image. The more pixels, the clearer the image will be. Common resolutions include:

  • 1280x720
  • 1280x800
  • 1920x1080
  • 4K

The newest resolution is 4K, which is known as the best and also called Ultra HD.

Choosing the right Screen

After you've made the decision for the right aspect ratio, you can choose a screen. This will make the difference for your screen size, along with the viewing distance for your home theater system. Of course, the width of the room will make a difference too.

Make sure you consider the surface area necessary for the aspect ratio chosen, along with how far the seating area and projector will be from the screen. If you already have your projector, you can shoot it onto the wall where your screen will go and measure to make sure you choose a screen large enough. This can also be done with a white bed sheet.

Choosing the right home theater projector and screen will make or break your home theater system. You don't want to end up with great sound and a grainy image. Make sure you figure out what you need from a projector and choose the right screen for the room and the projector.

 

Five Huge Benefits of a Home Automation System

Written by on Monday, 28 July 2014 16:33

Automating the home has become one of the most popular trends in recent years. With the advancement of technology, just about anything in your home can be automated. It's possible to control your home from a smartphone or a tablet. Here are a few of the top benefits of a home automation system.

Additional Safety

Adding automation to your home allows you to control your lights from anywhere. You can turn them on at different times of the day and make it seem as if somebody is home. You will also be able to check and see if small appliances have been turned off, such as curling irons, toaster ovens and other items that could start a fire.

Add Security Cameras for Even More Safety

If you want to keep your eyes on your home, you can do so remotely with a home automation system. With security cameras, you can watch your dog while you're gone, keep an eye on the kids or check in on a house sitter. The camera feeds can be pulled up on your tablet or smartphone from anywhere.

Adjust the Thermostat

Pairing the right type of thermostat with your home automation system will allow you to change the temperature from anywhere. If nobody is home, you can turn off the thermostat to save energy. Of course, this feature also allows you to turn the air or heat on before you arrive home.

Add Automated Door Locks

Have you ever left your house without locking your door? With automated door locks, you can check to make sure your doors are locked from anywhere. This feature can also allow you to let your children in when they arrive home from school without the worry of a lost key.

Saves Plenty of Time

Automating your home provides many safety features and conveniences. However, the most important benefit may be the time you will save with this type of system. When your home is automated, you won't have to run home to open the door for the kids or for anybody else. You can adjust temperature, unlock/lock doors, turn lights on/off and many other things from anywhere. This will put more time back in your life and less time making unnecessary trips home.

There are many other benefits to a home automation system. If you're considering automating your home, it's a good idea to understand all the different benefits you will gain from controlling your home from anywhere.

 

Northern Audio on Wheels

Written by on Monday, 27 January 2014 16:01

If you're out and about, be sure to keep an eye out for the new Northern Audio - KIA Sportage.  It's hard to miss it.  Just look for the giant logo on the car's passenger side.  And don't forget to say hi!  

In fact, if you spot us somewhere other than in front of Northern Audio, say hello and we'll give you a coupon good for 10% off your next purchase!

Northern Audio KIA Sportage 

Mythos ST-L in Aspinwall

Written by on Thursday, 23 January 2014 15:31

Yes, we carry them at Northern Audio.  The speaker you've been waiting for...the Mythos ST-L SuperTower. Their new flagship SuperTower is a complete overhaul and redesign of their original Mythos ST SuperTower. The new ST-L keeps the same tall, slim profile of its predecessor but everything else has been rethought and redesigned.  Mythos ST-L

The granite base of the ST is gone and in is a new milled cast aluminum base, where the speaker can be level without having to reach underneath. The four spikes can be hand-turned from the top. The rear mounted controls and binding posts are now less recessed for easier access. In the front, it still sports a single active subwoofer driver and dual racetrack passive radiators, however the cone material and amp have been changed. 

Highlights include:

 

- Built-in 1200 Watt powered subwoofers deliver massive bass, eliminates need for separate subwoofer
- Racetrack shaped carbon fiber active driver pressure coupled to two low bass radiators equal the surface area and bass output of a 15-inch woofer but with far greater control, definition and speed
- Aircraft-grade extruded brushed aluminum enclosure with proprietary damping technologies and machined cast aluminum base to ensure total rigidity and stability
- One-inch Pure Magnesium/Aluminum alloy dome tweeter for extended highs that reveal nuance and shimmer without a trace of edginess.
- CES Innovations Design and Engineering Awards Honoree

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Northern Audio Expanding with AudioMart

Written by on Tuesday, 14 January 2014 18:32

 

AudioMart Showroom












  






Opening soon at our brother store, Music To My Ear, is AudioMart, where you can buy, sell, and trade your speakers, amplifiers, pre-amps, turntables, and other used hi-fi gear.

Some of the highlights of AudioMart:

- Shop for used hi-fi gear in a dedicated, newly-built showroom...an expansion of Northern Audio and brother store, Music To My Ear.
- Showroom will feature used hi-fi equipment secured through purchase or trade.
- Gain access to discontinued, but like-new items from trusted manufacturers.
- Everything on shelves will have been tested and in good-working order.
- Also browse and buy at AudioMart, the web presence for the Aspinwall store.
- Get cash or trade for your old gear with added visibility online at audiomart.com.

More details as construction continues!

 

Two Store - Grand Opening Celebration

Written by on Wednesday, 23 October 2013 18:55

Northern Audio Showroom


Along with our brother store, Music To My Ear, 
we're having a two-store, Grand Opening party, featuring live acoustic music, hors d'oeuvres, giveaways, and 1-day only savings on exclusive products and services.


TENTATIVE SCHEDULE OF LIVE PERFORMERS:

12:30p - 2:00p - Middle Ages
2:30p - 3:00p - Steve Foht (lead vocalist of Music From Another Room)
3:30p - 5:00p - Steven Adams
5:30p - 6:30p - Juniper Six






GIVEAWAYS (HAPPENING THROUGHOUT THE DAY)

Music To My Ear Showroom
- Win a Sonos Play:3 and Bridge (retail value = $348)
- Win a Spin-Clean Record Washer MKII (retail value = $79.99)
- Win a Definitive Technology Sound Cylinder (retail value = $199)

 


SPECIAL OFFERS & SAVINGS

- Receive 10% of all audio items, good 11/2 only, in-store (excluding Sonos)
- Receive 5% of all video items, good 11/2 only, in-store
- Receive additional offers on products and installations, good for the remainder of 2013


FOOD

- enjoy delicious, free food from feast on brilliant

MEET THE EXPERTS, SEE OUR PRODUCTS, BROWSE AND RELAX

Chat with our knowledgable staff about:
- home theatre,
- home automation
- high performance audio and video,
- 4K TV 
Northern Audio Theatre




- speakers 
- headphones
- whole-house streaming audio
- DACs
- turntables
- cartridges
- vinyl
- vinyl care products
- cables

and more!

 

4K TV That Must Be Seen To Be Believed

Written by on Friday, 06 September 2013 15:50

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Yeah, it's that realistic. And we have it in-store at 23 Brilliant Ave in Aspinwall. You have to see for yourself why this new LG 84LM9600 would be the centerpiece of anyone's home theatre room.  No one else in Pittsburgh can show you 4K 3D TV like we can at Northern Audio.

The Triton Sevens Are Here!

Written by on Wednesday, 28 August 2013 14:50

We're shouting it from the mountain tops:  the Triton Seven speaker towers from GoldenEar are here and available at Northern Audio!  The new Triton Seven brings Speaker-of-the-Year Award winning Triton Series performance into a more compact size and even more affordable price range at $699/ea. GoldenEar’s Triton Towers have set new performance and value standards all around the world. The new Triton Seven follows in this auspicious tradition.

Although it is the first Triton Tower without a built-in powered subwoofer, it still achieves superbly deep, subwoofer-like impactful bass performance by combining advanced technology drivers with our highly evolved and sophisticated bass-loading technologies.  Check out the most recent review from Sound and Vision Magazine.  Or better yet, stop in today to hear their performance and marvel for yourself at their amazing sound!

 

Triton Seven

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Contact us

(412) 931-5850

3003 Babcock Boulevard
Pittsburgh, PA 15237
Mon-Fri, 10a-6p, Sat, 10a-5p