Choosing the Right Sized Screen for Your Theater or Media Room

Choosing the Right Sized Screen for Your Theater or Media Room

Viewing Distance, Viewing Height, and Screen Size The first question we are frequently asked is “just what size screen should I buy?”  There a variety of reputable sources to ask this question and tons of research has been done by SMPTE (Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers) and THX (Tomlinson Holman and George Lucas’s company for movie standards).  Of course the distance you sit from your screen and its size will also translate into your viewing angle. When HDTV was being developed as a format, the final research indicated a 30 degree viewing angle was optimum for the 1080i standard of HDTV.  The testing suggested viewers felt a pleasant level of presence and immersion when the viewing angle was 30 degrees or greater.  To put this into perspective, SMPTE suggests a 65” diagonal HDTV set should be viewed at a recommended distance of about 104 inches (8 feet 8 inches).  For viewing movies, THX recommends a viewing angle of 36 degrees.  Again, for some perspective, this puts the ideal distance from a 65” HDTV set at 88 inches (7 feet 4 inches) or less for viewing movies.  What does this mean for the consumer?  On first take, it means most people are sitting way too far away from their sets for an immersive experience!  We think that is totally true.  If you really want the true home theater experience, you need a big front projection screen, period!  However, let’s not forget that a 65” HDTV set is still a lot more fun to watch than an old 36” tube non-HDTV!  We suggest you buy the biggest and best television (because big and not good is unpleasant) picture you...
Apple iPad Mini Literally has a World of Home Control Possibilities

Apple iPad Mini Literally has a World of Home Control Possibilities

Apple’s new iPad Mini, the newest worst-kept secret in the company’s history, has finally been officially announced. In comparison to its larger siblings, the Mini features a 7.9-inch screen, is a mere 7.2 mm thick, and weighs less than seven-tenths of a pound. But perhaps most importantly, it can be held in one hand, and costs a mere $329. And if you’re not already controlling your home from the palm of your hand, you really have no excuse left. Just as the original iPad made touchscreens commonplace in the home two years ago (has it really only been two years?) due to its features, apps, and yes it’s price, the iPad Mini’s reduced barrier to entry will almost certainly lead to a new boom in the proliferation of touchscreens in the home. Before the iPad, home touchscreens were generally only sold as part of much larger home automation systems. They were the remote control interfaces for advanced home theater, lighting, climate, and security control. And yes, they made it easy to see at a glance what was going on around the home, as well as activate sophisticated, complicated home control scenarios at the touch of a button, but at upwards of $1500 apiece, they were also a significant investment, especially when you consider that home control and monitoring (and maybe rudimentary web browsing) were all they could do. The iPad changed all of that, putting touchscreens in the hands of a much larger audience, who naturally wanted to control their lights and security and home entertainment systems, too. It still required a custom installer to configure all of the...

Control4 and Sony Partner to Blend Automation and Receiver Technology

Throughout the Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association’s (CEDIA) Annual Expo, held here in Indianapolis, Indiana, all the buzz seemed to circulate around a very intriguing partnership – home automation leader, Control4 and consumer electronics powerhouse, Sony. During the highly-anticipated Sony press conference, the manufacturer shared the exciting news that it had integrated Control4® automation technology into its new ES receivers (introduced at CEDIA Expo). Even more exciting is the fact that the marriage of these two technologies promises to deliver best-in-class AV performance and home automation within one easy-to-install and easy-to-use product. This is a powerful partnership redefining the AVR category by delivering an unprecedented integrated AV and automation experience in a single device. Consumers will enjoy top AVR performance, unmatched 4K content and a stunning selection of streaming media services, plus the added lifestyle benefits of personalized automation that can transform a house into a smart home. With companies like Sony embracing and marketing the benefits of home automation, the custom installation industry benefits as a whole. Together, Sony and Control4 have created an exciting new avenue to drive consumer awareness for the category. “We are delighted that Sony selected Control4 technology to revolutionize their receiver line and deliver a fantastic automation experience,” said Martin Plaehn, Control4 CEO. “Enthusiastic dealer feedback validates the power and promise of our integrated solution. Together, Control4 and Sony are delivering a unique and strategic product for our dealers – providing them with a high impact addition to their product portfolio to grow their business.” “Sony has delivered many firsts to the industry and now we elevate the category standard again by...

Digitech Attends CEDIA EXPO 2011 in Indianapolis

Digitech Custom just returned from CEDIA EXPO 2011, an annual tradeshow for the residential electronic systems industry, held this year in nearby Indianapolis. And we’re happy to report we saw some very compelling products while there! The conference featured many of the brands and products we use everyday in our home theater installations and audio/visual solutions. We stopped by several of their booths including Sony, Crestron, Control4, Lutron and JVC to see the latest and greatest products they’ll be offering in the near future—and we were pretty impressed. One of the new products that really caught our eye is Lutron’s Battery-Powered Shades. While Lutron is generally regarded as an expensive provider of motorized shades, these new battery-powered shades are moderately priced, beginning at just $299. We think these shades will be the perfect finishing touch for any home theater. Other new home theater products and topics from CEDIA EXPO 2011 –    New CinemaScape update from Kaleidescape –    Sony and JVC unveil new 4K resolution Home Theater Projectors –    Control4 revealed a host of new products –    Creston’s digital media trade program –    APC’s network controlled surge Digitech Custom also mingled with some new companies as we walked the tradeshow floor and we can’t wait to introduce some of their products and technologies soon—it will be worth the wait, we promise! But the conference wasn’t all work and no play. At the CEDIA Electronic Lifestyles® Awards Banquet on the final evening of the event, attendees were treated to a special performance by Alizma, a group featured on the hit reality competition show, “America’s Got Talent.” Overall, we’re very excited about...
Taking TV to a New Level: Inside the New TiVo Premiere Elite

Taking TV to a New Level: Inside the New TiVo Premiere Elite

Over a decade ago, TiVo hit the market and blew everyone away with their unparalleled digital recording device. It was unlike anything people had seen before and it completely changed the way people consumed TV. It didn’t take long for cable and satellite TV companies to build their own recording devices—and soon DVR and TiVo became the norm. But TiVo is back—with an even bigger and better product sure to impress even the most discerning television viewer. Introducing the new TiVo Premiere Elite. It’s the only product on the market with four digital tuners. What does that mean to the consumer? You can record up to four different shows while viewing a fifth recorded program! Not only that, the Elite’s industry-leading two-terabyte hard drive allows up to 300 hours of HD programming. For all those following along at home, that’s more than two times the recording space offered by TiVo’s competitors. Not too shabby. Tuners and recording space aside, one of the most impressive features of the new Premiere Elite is the best-in-class user interface. In addition to a new HD, wide-screen interface, the Elite also includes an unmatched integrated search. This means you can instantly browse across all channels and sources including TV, Video on Demand and available Internet content to find something to watch or record. So, if you already have a DVR through your cable company, why should you invest in a new TiVo Premiere Elite? The answer is simple: better, advanced-yet-easy-to-navigate features and an intuitive user interface. Here are just a few of the unique features of the TiVo Premiere Elite: TiVo Premiere Elite Features...