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Smart Home Checklist

17 Questions to determine if you are ready for a smart home.Managing a house, no matter how big or small it is, can be challenging for any family. Busy schedules and hectic routines can make it difficult to keep your household running efficiently, and to have time to relax and unwind.

Necessary mundane tasks, such as setting back the thermostat and shutting off the lights before you leave the house or go to bed, are easily forgotten or simply ignored due to lack of time or energy. Even activities that are seemingly so simple, like closing the drapes to block out the harsh afternoon sun or choosing a song to enjoy on the stereo system, can become tedious when you're tired or pressed for time.

Here's where a smart home system can help. Programmed by a professional home systems integrator, a smart home system can control the lights, thermostats, motorized shading, audio system, security system, home theater equipment - basically anything else that uses electrical or battery power - so you don't have to.

Answer the following 17 questions to determine if you and your family could benefit from a smart home system. The questions are similar to those that would be posed to you by a professional home systems integrator about your lifestyle and family dynamic to determine the practicality of having a smart home system installed.

 

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Solutions for Designers: What About That TV?

A great home interior always maintains a consistent scheme throughout.  Architects and designers work closely to create the kind of ambience the homeowner client desires. Sometimes, though, introducing technology into a room can interfere with that ambience...but it doesn't have to!  Certainly not when you have experienced technology experts who keep "design magic" on hand for just such an occasion!

Since an "Old World" look is so popular with finer homes, we thought we'd demonstrate a problem and suggest some solutions.

Problem. The home below has a certain look its trying to achieve.  With the furniture removed, its easier to see the problem:

That TV!  What's that doing in a room like this?  Well, truth be told, it probably needs to be there as a main place for family gatherings.  But we would suggest hiding it exactly where it is now!  We'll show you how a little further in this article.  You might also notice the speakers to either side (visible just beyond the columns) and another center speaker right above that flatscreen?  Painting the grills to match the room is a great idea.  But if you want those to be impossible to see, we recommend speakers like LiveWall.  Even your painter will never know they are there!

Solution A.  Let's suppose you, your architect and your designer have collaborated on a room with the following look:

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Video Projection Still a Top Option

Video projection technology has really come into its own over these past several years.  TV screen sizes have grown to 80 inches and larger but so have their prices.  More often than not, the choice for home theaters is still video projection.  And with the picture quality so amazing, why not?

But lets consider the homeowner who decides he wants to retrofit his existing home with large-screen format TV viewing.  A typical floor plan doesn't include a spacious but windowless room which could accommodate a home theater.  So the homeowner wants to use their family room for large-format TV viewing.  In that case, the most typical set-up will be installing a drop-down projection screen.  You'll have a few factors to consider in making your choice of projectors and screens.  Here's where you need your professional A/V installer on-board.

Briefly, factors to consider are: (1) screen placement in relation to seating; (2) screen size in relation to room dimensions; and (3) the amount of both fixed and ambient lighting which might reduce picture clarity.  There are other factors, to be sure, not the least of which will be the kind of sound dynamics the homeowner wants to achieve.  But for this discussion, we're just considering the viewing aspect.

The first two factors are simply a matter of ratios and proportions.  But the third factor--balancing the brilliance of the picture with existing room lighting--is the main dance.  The balance to strike is between a projector with proper luminosity and a screen with the optimum reflection surface.

Check out the photo included here comparing two screens in action.  You'll notice this demonstration includes a renegade light source bleeding onto the left side of the projection field.  The image on the upper screen really gets lost on that side because its reflecting that light back to the viewer.  Not so with the lower screen.  Also, its quite evident the upper screen offers less contrast overall than the lower screen.  The blacks appear more gray in the upper screen.  Lesson learned: the issue is not lamp strength of the projector but rather screen surface material.  Click here for a brief video demonstration of the difference between screen surfaces.

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2014: The Year of Home Automation?

2014 could very well be the year home automation comes into its own.

One writer in his blog listed six good reasons he believes 2014 is the break-away year for home automation.  But what impact will that have on homeowners in general?

First, the marketplace changes dramatically when people go beyond having heard of a technology to actually grasping what it is AND its benefit!  Due to mass marketing, people have seen commercials about being away on vacation and remember they didn't change their thermostat settings, so the actor in the commercial simply does so on his phone.  Or else its the one where they can't remember if they locked the house and--again--casually do so on their phone or tablet.  As a result, the public is beginning to understand that is an example of what home automation (AKA smart homes) is about.  John Q. Public, therefore, now gets both what home automation is and also why it can add security to our lives.  Smart technology is found in our phones, homes and even cars (see our post on smart car technology here!).

Second, as people are understanding the value of home automation, they realize its something they want for themselves.  Remember in the early days of the internet when travelers wanted internet access in their rooms and had to pay a small fee for it?  Hotels quickly learned they could entice guests with "free wi-fi access."  That's because they understood the value of offering that amenity to their guests.  Before you knew it, it seemed wi-fi was everywhere.

That might be just how home automation takes off.  What has been a growing technology in recent years may just about mushroom into popularity the way desktop computers gave way to laptops and tablets

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acadian
HTA Certified

10552 Perkins Rd.
Baton Rouge, LA 70810

(225) 906-2589


218 E. Bearss Ave. #315
Tampa, FL 33613

(813) 725-3838

Acadian Home Theater & Automation is rated 4.9 out of 5 based on 44 reviews from around the Web.


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