10 Ways to Tidy Up and Upgrade Your System for Spring

Posted on March 22, 2016 by Kris Dybdahl | 0 Comments


It’s that time of year when we all get out our dusters and stock up on cleaning supplies to give our living spaces a bit of a refresh. When you’re ready to get moving on some serious spring cleaning, don’t leave your electronics out of the equation. They deserve a good once over too, not only for appearance’s sake, but for top performance as well. Here are 10 ways you can spruce up your electronics this Spring for a sparkling image, sonorous sound and an aesthetically pleasing systems.

1) Connect all your equipment to a high-quality surge protector or power conditioner to get pure, clean power, eliminating noise, artifacts and interference in A/V, while protecting your gear from damaging surges.

2) Do a quick video calibration to make sure your picture settings are optimized. A video calibration will get your system to the best possible performance based on your environment and preferences. We can help with this.

3) Check your connections. If connections are loose or you feel like the picture quality is not up to snuff, you may need to upgrade to a better HDMI cable.

4) Test your speakers. Sometimes, wires are connected to the wrong speaker, whether it’s a stereo or multichannel surround setup. We can do a quick scan to make sure the sound from your speakers is accurate and tuned to your room.

5) Organize your wires. Labeling and grouping wires will keep them from collecting dust bunnies.

6) Consider ventilation. Aside from harmful power conditions, there is no greater enemy to the life of your equipment than too much heat. Heat trapped in an unventilated equipment room or rack can lead to equipment malfunctioning or shutting down altogether.

7) Amplify your network. The wireless home network is the backbone of the home entertainment system, and you need one that goes beyond what the Internet Service Provider can provide for true performance. Say goodbye to buffering forever!

8) Consider upgrading. There is a lot of great technology that is becoming more and more mainstream. 4K Ultra HD TV looks incredible and prices are coming down. Meanwhile, wireless home audio systems and affordable home automation systems are better than ever.

9) Fix your furniture. This is a good time to consider (or reconsider) your furniture. Does it have wire management capabilities? Is it your style or something you purchased just to house your gear? There are more options than ever, for any taste.

10) Clean it up! Finally, spring clean your system in the truest sense, using electronics cleaners to shine up your screen. Dust behind your electronics and make sure everything is fingerprint-free.

Give us a call (210-828-3237) or contact us on the web for upgrades, calibrations and streamlining your electronics system. Your home will feel invigorated and your system will look and sound better than ever!

Posted in 4K, Audioquest, Bjorn's Audio Video, Furniture, Home Network, Networking, OLED, Outdoor Living, Panamax, Speakers, Streaming Content, Televisions, Ultra HD

Is Your Network Ready for What's Coming in 2016?

Posted on February 03, 2016 by Kris Dybdahl | 0 Comments

You stream media all the time, but do you really know what that means? In essence, streaming is an alternative to downloading content to a hard drive and storing it there for playback, which can take up a lot of space on your device and take a long time to complete. Simply put, streaming is content—like TV shows and music—that isn’t stored on your device but that is constantly received and presented to you while being delivered by the provider. This means you don’t have to wait for a movie to download before you watch it nor do you have to store it on your set-top box, iPhone or other device. You can playback while subsequent data is being received.

So take this typical scenario. You’ve got your daughter streaming Netflix in the bedroom, your son playing online games in the garage and your wife listening to Pandora on Sonos while you stream Game of Thrones on your iPhone from the treadmill. The unwelcome buffering wheel can bring all this fun to a screeching halt. That’s because with all this great streaming content comes a heck of a lot of data flowing around the home—especially if you want to enjoy high-definition content. The more content streamed, the more the WiFi in your home will clog up.

What you may not know, however, is that there are solutions. Oh yes, you can heal thy streaming snafus with a more robust home network, preferably one installed (and even maintained) by a professional. For large homes, we can install multiple wireless access points to ensure continuous, even coverage across the house. In fact, for homes with a lot of streaming entertainment demands, we often install enterprise-grade routers and other products that go well beyond what your local Internet service provider will typically install. As an added bonus, a lot of home entertainment and networking gear can be maintained remotely. Instead of us coming out to your home on Super Bowl Sunday to fix something, more than likely, we can troubleshoot it over the internet, saving you time and money while adding convenience.

Wondering where to stream music and movies from? There are the old standbys for video like NetFlix, Amazon Prime, Sling TV and Hulu, but then you also have more niche services like Mubi—which has more obscure movies—along with cable network channels that are getting into the streaming game, including HBO Now, CBS All Access and Showtime. Free content abounds online as well with providers like YouTube, Crackle, Funny or Die and others. 

For the music lover, you can stream Spotify and Pandora free, sign up for their commercial-free and more feature-rich paid services, or go the iTunes or Google Play route. We are also digging the new Tidal high-resolution streaming service, the first of its kind.

Whatever content you fancy, content abounds. You just want to make sure you can play it. Call or come in today and we’ll get you on the road to smooth streaming for what is going to be a content-rich 2016

Posted in Amazon Prime Video, Home Automation, Home Network, Hulu, IoT, Netflix, Network, Networking, Streaming Content, You Tube

Our Top 5 2016 Tech Predictions

Posted on January 21, 2016 by Kris Dybdahl | 0 Comments

The New Year: A time when we take a look at the previous year’s successes and foibles and plan for the next. 2016 is going to be an exciting year for home entertainment and control as new technologies become more mainstream, content becomes more exciting than ever, car and home become more in sync and technology continues, as it always does, to improve. Without further fanfare, here are our top five tech predictions for the 2016.

1) Homeowners will continue the smart home quest. Traditional home automation companies and new ‘DIY’ ones that have appeared on the scene are all endeavoring to capitalize on the smart home market, which is poised to be $71 billion by 2018, according to Juniper Research. DIY Home Automation is typified by products like the Nest thermostat and Dropcam security cameras, with Apple joining the fray with its own home automation platform, HomeKit.

Just because some smart home automation products are marketed as DIY doesn’t, however, mean that average consumers have either the time or inclination to install a thermostat, surveillance system or connected door locks. Just because you buy a bathtub or water heater from the local hardware store, doesn’t mean you are going to install them on your own. Whether you want so-called DIY home automation or a more sophisticated home control system, we can help guide you through the selection and installation process.

2) The Car and home will become more in sync. Cars are more advanced than homes these days, with driverless sensor-based cars being tested now. We predict in 2016 that cars and homes will become more in tune, allowing not just your smart phone but your auto to communicate with your abode, with some manufacturers giving drivers a safe and responsible way to remotely access their entire frequently used smart home devices while on the road. Instead of just your garage door opening, in 2016, you can get your whole home primed for arrival from temperature to lights to music to door locks before you even arrive.  

3) This will be the year of 4K Ultra HD. You’ve seen the sets (and if you haven’t, you need to come demo one). They look amazing, especially on a big screen and have been steadily coming down in price. DirecTV recently announced that its customers can expect 4K content starting early 2016, which is great news for those of us who are craving an Ultra HD experience. Netflix, Amazon and YouTube already have some 4K ready to stream and companies like Roku are building UHD-ready hardware. Get ready for a truly lifelike viewing experience in 2016 with more content choices.

4) Smart devices get smarter. As sensors and chips are added to more devices, it’s easier to interact with our devices more fluidly. With this increased smarts, these devices can deliver relevant information quicker than before, and make it simpler for us to program them to suit our needs. Look for more and smarter wearables, for example, with the world-wide sales of wearable computing devices growing briskly in the next few years to projected 175 million in 2020.

5) Content is king. As more and more people cut the cord, streaming services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime are giving the networks a real run for their money. In fact, these streaming services provide some very original programming, like The Unbreakable Kimmie Schmidt, Master of None and the Mindy Project that are hugely popular in streaming households. Thanks to competition between cable and streaming providers, we’ve got some really innovative and unique content coming down the pipelines (or should we say, WiFi). Look for more unique streaming shows you can binge watch in 2016.

With all this great content and technology, it’s time to do a little sprucing up your system. Call us or come in for something as simple as an A/V calibration or as dramatic as a complete A/V makeover. We’re here to help!

Posted in 4K, Amazon Prime, Apple, Dropcam, Home Automation, Hulu, IoT, Nest, Netflix, OLED, Smart Home, Streaming Content, Ultra HD