Correct TV size
“Selecting the right size television for a given room is first and foremost about matching your preferred taste. Experts vary in their recommendations for viewing distance anywhere from 1.5 to 2.5 times the width of the TV, and there is no single correct size for each application. It really comes down to your personal preference. And the best way to start your search is to think about where you normally like to sit in the movie theater – near the front, in the middle, or in the back. This will generally give you a good sense for the size range you might want to consider when shopping for a new television.
TVs today keep getting larger and larger in size, because the picture quality and detail is so much better than years ago. High Definition (HD) TVs, and corresponding HD broadcasts, are now easily available on every antenna and cable/satellite service, and also through most streaming services such as Netflix. So your new TV size might be much larger and still look just as clear and amazing as your old smaller set. General size ranges for TVs today are:
- Small – 15” – 26”
- Medium – 27” – 46”
- Large – 47” – 63”
- Extra Large – 64” – 90”
And for the newest TV technology known as Ultra High Definition (UHD), the detail is roughly 4 times better than a standard HDTV, which means you can likely sit much closer or use a much larger TV than with standard HD. The viewing distance ratio on these TVs can be only 1 to 1.5 times the width of the TV. The images are so detailed and immersive, they almost look more ‘real’ than real life.
Let the experts at Xcite AV advise you on your new TV today!”
CL2/CL3 low voltage
CL2 is the designation for Class 2 Circuit wire and CL3 is the designation for Class 3 Circuit wire. Both are regulated under NEC Article 640, 725 & 820. They are both used for Video, Audio Interconnects, remote-control, signaling, and power-limited circuits. In plain English that means that CL2 and CL3 are rating types for most types of low voltage cabling such as: speaker wire, Cat5/6, and HDMI cables.
The difference between the two is that CL2 is rated for up to 150 volts while CL3 is rated for up to 300 volts. (NEC 725.71 F) According to NEC 725.2, CL2 offers some protection from electric shock while CL3 offers a bit more because it is rated to carry more voltage. CL3 may be used in place of CL2, but not the other way around.
This designation is very important when wiring homes. The rating relates to fire safety. When wiring homes during construction and in retro-fit applications, the wire is typically ran within the walls. This allows for a “Clean/Neat” look after the any A/V equipment is installed. It is important to ensure ALL wiring has a CL2/CL3 rating on the outer jacket. During construction, inspectors will check for this rating on the wire that is being used.
What is Apple TV?
AppleTV is latest in in-home streaming entertainment. AppleTV allows you to stream digital content from your I-Tunes Music, I-Tunes Radio, Netflix, Hulu-Plus, HBOGO accounts and many more right to your TV and entertainment systems.
The AppleTV is a small device (4” x 4” x 2”) connected either via ethernet or via wireless signal and then to your TV via a HDMI cable allowing for digital media playback.
AppleTV was first launched in 2006 and since has been through three upgrades including its size and price. For just $99 you have access to all the latest movie rentals from the Netflix App (Requires Netflix Subscription), all your current favorite TV programs from other popular Apps and podcasts and videos from YouTube. Parents rest easy, AppleTV lets you set “Parental Controls” restrictions for any of the content being offered.
If that’s not enough, AppleTV will allow you to stream all your pictures/photos directly from your computer, I-Pad or I-Phone straight to your TV for an awesome digital picture or video slide show for everyone to see and enjoy.
If you want the latest in digital streaming technology and the ease of use that AppleTV offers let the experts at Xcite Audiovisuals get you connected!!
What is an HDMI Balun?
HDMI-type cables are required to connect most audio/visual components together today, sending both picture and sound over a single high-quality digital link. Over short distances, less than 30 or 40 ft, these links can be maintained without much difficulty. However, at over 40 ft, HDMI links using a direct HDMI cable often become unstable. The longer the standard HDMI cable, the more these issues occur, such that your TV or projector might not even function at all.
The solution to long-run HDMI is using a different kind of cable which is designed to easily handle very long runs with ease – Category 5E, 6, or 6A shielded cables, commonly known as Cat5E or Cat6 – with an electronic adapter at each end called a “balun”. These baluns convert from HDMI out of the source component to Cat5E/6/6A over the long run, then another balun converts back to HDMI again at the other end of the line. Baluns may use one or two Category cables to make this link. And the length of the Category cable run is determined by the type of Category cable used (5E, 6, 6A) and the type of balun selected. Generally, using a higher grade of Category cable allows longer runs, and using a shielded Category cable provides best insulation against possible interference.
The only type of HDMI baluns which Xcite AV uses are known as “HDBaseT” extenders, which use a single Cat5E/6/6A cable to run up to 330 ft on each link. Longer runs are also possible with fiber-optic based balun extender systems, up to 1,000 ft or even up to 5 miles in distance. The HDMI signal arrives at the other end of the line with zero loss in picture or sound quality, perfectly preserved as if the source component was right next to the TV or projector.
“Over the last few years, home networks have become an essential part of every A/V entertainment system. The rapid increase in popularity of streaming video applications such as Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, and the increasing quality of these services, have added a heavy load to your home network. Additionally, many families have multiple smartphones, tablets, and other components which are used to stream music, TV, and movies over the home’s wireless network. Indeed, Internet access is considered an essential service by most, like water and heat. So, how do all of these things work within the home?
There are four main components to most home networks – modem, router, switch, and wireless access point – detailed below:
- The modem is a small device which connects your home to the Internet and the outside world. Typically rented from an Internet Service Provider (ISP) such as Comcast or CenturyLink (in the Denver metro area). You will only have one modem per home, in most cases.
- The router is another small device which connects to the modem, and translates the Internet from the outside world to the many components within your home that use Internet services, and manages all of those component connections too. You will only have one router per home, in most cases.
- A switch is the means to share Internet and inter-device connections within the home from a single router – essentially a “splitter” for the network. Note that multiple switches may be deployed in a home, to share wired connections with many components. Wired network connections are the most reliable, and the fastest option, if the component has this capability.
- A wireless access point is a device that translates the wired network to wireless, for components which can use a wireless connection. Some components such as smartphones and tablets can only use a wireless connection, so reliability for this system is essential. Note that multiple wireless access points (WAPs) may be required to cover a larger home with good wireless strength and speed.
Chances are that you might be using an “all-in-one” gateway device from Comcast or CenturyLink which combines all four functions into one unit. Xcite AV does not recommend relying on this one device to do all four functions, as they have proven to be unreliable and slow, especially for streaming TV and movies over wireless connections. The best plan is to use the gateway device only as a modem, and then add a better quality higher-performance router, switch(es), and wireless access point(s) to manage everything within the home. This plan will provide the best speed and reliability to all of your network-connected components now and into the future.”
Home Security and Peace of Mind
Xcite Audiovisuals is proud to announce our recent partnership 2 GiG, Monitronics and Alarm.com to offer you peace of mind with home security and monitoring systems. Helping you safeguard your home and your families is an area we feel is important and are excited to provide. Below are just a few of the reasons we feel that a home security and monitoring system are the right fit for everyone.
1. Protect your valuables – rest easy knowing your property and your family are secure and someone is there to help if needed.
2. Deters Crime – although this does not prevent crime, studies show that most criminals will move on if they see your home is being monitored.
3. Gives you remote access to your home – control your system from your everyday smart-phone or tablet.
4. Help to lower your home owners insurance – installing a security and monitoring system can lower you home owners insurance by up to 20%. With packages starting at $34.99 per month, your insurance savings will almost cover the cost of your monitoring.
5. You receive unauthorized entry, fire or carbon monoxide detection notices – police, fire and rescue are alerted immediately when there is an issue, no phone call needed.
6. Keep an eye on your kids while you are away – with interior and exterior cameras you can see what’s happening when you’re not at home by logging into your cloud based account.
7. Helps reduce energy cost – control your thermostat and lights while you are away from any web-enabled device.
8. Peace of Mind – again, rest easy knowing that your home, and most importantly your family, is safe and comfortable.
Sonos Wireless Sound
With technology constantly evolving, it’s sometimes hard to keep up with what’s new and what really works in the world of home audio and video. We are always scanning the horizon waiting for the next big thing to make its debut and prove to us, that it has what it takes to be just that, the next big thing, and SONOS has made that happen.
Wireless sound is becoming a large category in our industry and SONOS is leading the way. With multiple options to fit every customer’s needs, they are delivering big sound in beautiful, price friendly packages. From the Play1 table top speaker, to the PlayBar and wireless Sub for home theater, you get music or movie sound in any room of the house.
SONOS allows you to play your digitally stored music and streaming services (i.e. Pandora, Spotify, Rhapsody, i-Tunes, etc.) all on one easy to use, free, app from your smartphone, tablet or PC. But wait, it gets better! With SONOS, you have the ability to link all your wireless speakers together to create whole house audio for your parties or gatherings, now that’s cool!!
Feel free to see for yourself at www.sonos.com and please contact the experts at Xcite Audiovisuals to help you get setup before the holidays!!!
Tablets and Smartphones vs. Dedicated Touchpanel Controls
Do you own an iPad, and iPhone, or similar smart mobile device? You likely have a few that your family uses every day. And you likely use them for many different applications, such as streaming music or TV shows, playing games, reading magazines, and more. Now, these mobile devices can also be used to control home automation and music systems. Anywhere you are in the home, even outside the home too, the power of control is right there in your pocket!
You might ask yourself, why then would I ever need a dedicated in-wall touchpanel controller in my home? Smartphones and tablets are already present in most homes, often in multiples. And new mobile devices are typically very low cost, compared to dedicated controllers which might be 2 to 5 times the cost. The answer in most cases is usually to plan for both types of controls – a mix of perhaps one or two dedicated controllers, and then all of the mobile devices in the home as supplemental points of control. This makes the best blend of reliability and instant access, combined with ease of use and lower costs.
A few points to consider when making this decision:
- Do you always have a smartphone or tablet right by your side? If so, then it will likely be quite handy for quick access to adjust volume, change channels, etc.
- Mobile devices connect to the home control or music system via WiFi, and after a certain amount of time, mobile devices will go into a “sleep” mode in which they actually disconnect from WiFi to save battery life. When you “wake” them up, it can take up to 10 seconds or more to reconnect to WiFi and be available for system controls. If you like instant access, then a dedicated touchpanel which is always connected might be the best choice.
- Do your kids (or your spouse) have a habit of losing your mobile devices in the sofa cushions or laundry basket (or elsewhere)? If so, you might consider having at least one wired in-wall touchpanel in the house that cannot be misplaced or hidden. It’s always there, always on, and ready to give you instant access to your favorite music and other controls throughout the home.
- And because mobile devices do so many things every day, they also have a risk of problems from viruses and other issues that can compromise reliability and speed in control applications. A dedicated touchpanel controller only performs one function – control of your system – and as such does not have the vulnerabilities of tablets and smartphones.
When all points are considered, the choice is of course up to you. Xcite AV recommends at least one wired in-wall touchpanel control point in each home, with a combination of handheld remotes in TV viewing areas and tablets and smartphones for music and other supplemental controls everywhere else.
What is 4K, and how can I get it?
4K, also known as Ultra HD TV, is the next evolution in television picture quality. The resolution of standard HDTV (what we’ve been watching for the last decade or so) is 1920 x 1080 pixels, or about 2 million “dots” of detail on the screen. As TV sizes have greatly increased over the last few years – to 65”, 75”, and larger sizes – the same level of detail has become inadequate in some applications.
So, Ultra HD (UHD) TV was introduced in 2012 as the next step, with resolution of 3840 x 2160 pixels, or FOUR times the detail of standard HDTV. With this new level of detail, larger screen TVs and projector images look much clearer and almost three dimensional if calibrated correctly. UHD 4K TVs are now widely available from Samsung, Sharp, LG, and other brands in a wide range of sizes from 46” to 105” in flat panel formats, and unlimited sizes up from there with 4K projectors from JVC, Epson, Sony, and others.
The next big question – What is available to watch in UHD 4K right now? TV service providers like Comcast, DirecTV, and Dish currently have some limited programming available through On-Demand channels (downloads and streaming), and are currently preparing to launch much more content on dedicated 4K channels later in 2015. But the best way to watch UHD 4K movies, TV shows, and documentaries right now is through various streaming video apps. Samsung TVs, for example, have multiple service apps available from Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, M-Go, and UltraFlix (subscriptions and/or paid rentals required). Also, Samsung offers a pre-loaded UHD 4K player that plugs into their TVs and contains 10 Hollywood films and 30 documentaries (think IMAX-style), to get you started. This device comes free with some Samsung UHD models, and is available for purchase with any Samsung UHD model as well.
One important note regarding UHD 4K streaming is that it requires a very fast Internet connection (we recommend the 40-50 Mbps service or better), and also a high quality router that can handle that huge amount of data. Also, a Wi-Fi connection probably is not stable enough in most cases to sustain a 4K stream, so we recommend a hardwired Ethernet link directly to the 4K TV for best stability and reliability.
Overall, we’re now just getting started with the fourth generation of UHD 4K TVs, and they keep getting better and lower cost every generation. Many more 4K programs will launch in 2015, including a few dedicated 4K channels on cable and satellite systems, plus a huge increase in the availability of 4K streaming options too. If you’re considering getting a new large screen TV or projector system, you should ask about 4K and let Xcite AV help you through every step!
Apple Brings Innovation Back to Television with The All-New
The App Store, Siri Remote & tvOS are Coming to Your Living Room it?
SAN FRANCISCO — September 9, 2015 — Apple® today announced the all-new Apple TV®, bringing a revolutionary experience to the living room based on apps built for the television. Apps on Apple TV let you choose what to watch and when you watch it.The new Apple TV’s remote features Siri®, so you can search with your voice for TV shows and movies across multiple content providers simultaneously.
The all-new Apple TV is built from the ground up with a new generation of high-performance hardware and introduces an intuitive and fun user interface using the Siri Remote™. Apple TV runs the all-new tvOS™ operating system, based on Apple’s iOS, enabling millions of iOS developers to create innovative new apps and games specifically for Apple TV and deliver them directly to users through the new Apple TV App Store™.
“There has been so much innovation in entertainment and programming through iOS apps, we want to bring that same excitement to the television,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s senior vice president of Internet Software and Services. “Apps make the TV experience even more compelling for viewers and we think apps represent the future of TV.”
The new Siri Remote dramatically simplifies how you select, scroll and navigate through your favorite content while bringing unique interactivity to the new Apple TV by using a glass touch surface that handles both small, accurate movements as well as big, sweeping ones. Adding touch to Apple TV creates a natural, connected experience, even if the TV screen is on the other side of the room. Developers can take advantage of the built-in accelerometer and gyroscope, and the touch surface on the Siri Remote to create games and other app experiences that have never been seen on TV before.
With Siri, you can use your voice to search TV shows and movies by title, genre, cast, crew, rating or popularity, making it easy to say things like “Show me New Girl,” “Find the best funny movies from the ‘80s,” “Find movies with Jason Bateman” and “Find popular TV shows for kids.” Apple TV will search iTunes® and popular apps from Netflix, Hulu, HBO and Showtime, displaying all the ways the resulting TV shows and movies can be played. Siri also offers playback control and on-screen navigation, as well as quick access to sports, stock and weather information.*
tvOS is the new operating system for Apple TV, and the tvOS SDK provides tools and APIs for developers to create amazing experiences for the living room the same way they created a global app phenomenon for iPhone® and iPad®. The new, more powerful Apple TV features the Apple-designed A8 chip for even better performance so developers can build engaging games and custom content apps for the TV. tvOS supports key iOS technologies including Metal™, for detailed graphics, complex visual effects and Game Center, to play and share games with friends.
Pricing & Availability
The new Apple TV will be available at the end of October starting at $149 (US) for a 32GB model and $199 (US) for a 64GB model from Apple.com, Apple’s retail stores and select Apple Authorized Resellers. A new Xcode® beta is available for developers today that includes the tvOS SDK at developer.apple.com/xcode/downloads. Developers can request an Apple TV developer kit at developer.apple.com/tvos/.
*Siri availability and functionality varies by country. Subscription required for some content.
Apple revolutionized personal technology with the introduction of the Macintosh in 1984. Today, Apple leads the world in innovation with iPhone, iPad, the Mac and Apple Watch. Apple’s three software platforms — iOS, OS X and watchOS — provide seamless experiences across all Apple devices and empower people with breakthrough services including the App Store, Apple Music, Apple Pay and iCloud. Apple’s 100,000 employees are dedicated to making the best products on earth, and to leaving the world better than we found it.
Selecting the correct Television size
Using CL2/CL3 rated low voltage cabling?
What is AppleTV?
What is an HDMI Balun?
Sonos Wireless Sound
iPad vs Touchpanel controls
What is 4K, and how can I
Apple Brings Innovation Back to Television with NEW Apple TV
Commercial 70V/100V Speakers
Commercial speakers are far different than typical speakers for the home. Most commercial speakers are 70V/100V, because they use a transformer between the amplifier and the speaker. Home speakers are 8 Ohm and require a home run to the amplifier via speaker cabling. Commercial speakers can be wired in series, greatly expanding the efficiency of installation and coverage. Commercial speakers have Taps on the transformer. This allows them to be optimized for the power output of the amplifier. Typically, you take the output of the amplifier and calculate 80% and then divide by the number of speakers in the circuit to set the taps correctly. Commercial ceiling speakers can provide very good coverage for background music, paging and program audio in conference rooms. The key to good coverage is quantity. If there are too few speakers, the sound will not be even and require more volume, which will result in more uneven sound. By incorporating the correct number of speakers, you can achieve good, even volume throughout the space.
Commercial 70V/100V Speakers