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If I tell you that we could install speakers that you won’t see when you walk into a room, of what do you think? You probably imagine speakers hidden behind a sofa or char, or a room where you can see speakers that are flush against the wall, or plugged in up in the corners of the room.

But what do I actually mean?  I mean the speakers are invisible.  You literally do not see the speakers. You can look around the room all you want, and you won’t find them.

You still get tremendous results out of this technology, and invisible is the ultimate in home theater. It’s the way to go.

What’s that take to install? Check out this video it’s not us, but it’s similar to how it works

If you’re looking to install invisible speakers, honestly, don’t even bother researching brands.  There are a lot off them out there, and we’ll happily recommend the best ones you can get at different price points.

Are you worried about us tearing up your walls and making a mess of the house? Don’t be. In fact, some of our clients hire us for installations that we can do while they’re away on vacation.  They don’t even notice we were there, but having a complete home theater system with those invisible speakers is a nice surprise to have upon their return.

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Forty-five years after its release, The Sound of Music is still attracting audiences and bringing in the cash. If you didn’t get your copy on blu-ray for Christmas, you may want to order yours today.

You can purchase this and other movies on Blu-ray at this link: Blu-ray.com

Categories : Home Movies
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Despite the fact that we’re online almost constantly, can carry around the web in our pocket or surf it from inside a coffee shop, there’s still one place where the Web hasn’t taken hold: our TVs.

It’s not easy to use a keyboard with a TV, and there’s no mouse, so Web browsing on your flatscreen is still clunky.

Well, that’s about to change.

By 2014, In-Stat reports, 57 million U.S. households will be watching full-length online content from TVs. That’s expected to be a $17 billion industry. Why? According to NewTeeVee.com:

This research is supported by the belief that the number of installed web-enabled video devices will increase to 237 million units over the next five years. In-Stat also believes that in 2014, the the set-top box market will be worth $1.4B, undoubtedly a major part of that potential growth, thanks to the 11 million hybrid boxes enabling that web-to-TV connection.

There are a bunch of new devices and services available that will contribute to this. At Sound and Image Design, we’re seeing more and more boxes being built with Internet connectivity and, as NewTeeVee mentions, new set-top boxes and services (see Boxee, YouTube’s so-called Leanback user interface for couch — or recliner — viewing and Google TV) make it easier to browse the web on a TV.

Many of these services turn the TV screen into an easily navigable iPhone-style app center.

If you’re in the Central Virginia area, you’re a phone call away from getting the web on the final frontier: your living room TV.  Give us a call at 804.741.5816 for a complimentary assessment of what you’ll need to get it done effectively, and at the right cost.

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VUDU On Demand HD Video ServiceVUDU, one of the biggest and longest-running providers of HD streaming movies, has upped the ante on quality and availability. VUDU already offers the biggest library of HD movies available anywhere at over 3,000 titles (and that includes physical or online sources) through the many VUDU-embedded HDTVs and Blu-ray players.

Fun fact: VUDU was actually the first on-demand service that offered download-to-own HD movies. Now they’ve expanded their services to provide higher quality, new apps, trailers, and connections to social media.

First, the big news. VUDU has added a new highest quality option to viewers – HDX. Compared to the normal instant high-definition format of 720p, HDX is 1080p at 24 frames per second. This is roughly the equivalent of Blu-ray quality – provided over web streaming.

This quality of streaming HD is unmatched, but with great high definition streaming comes great web speed requirements.The current minimum requirements for internet connection speed run at 1Mbps for SD, 2.25Mbps for HD, and 4.5Mbps for HDX.

Other new features include Coming Attractions, VUDU’s catalog of trailers for upcoming movies. New apps gives VUDU some versatility, allowing users to stream their own video, host and browse photos, listen to music and more. As they say, there’s an app for that.  Social.Media. (not a typo, VUDU’s name for it) allows tweeting and Facebooking straight from your TV, as well as access to other popular sites such as RottenTomatoes, Wikipedia, and New York Times.

The great thing about using a web-based service is that updates to the system are smooth and automatic.

If you’d like to know more about how you can provide the best of HD video in your Richmond area home for you and your family to enjoy, simply call us at 804.741.5816.  We have many options from which you can choose.

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You probably don’t get too excited over cables for home theater and entertainment systems, but we certainly do. In fact, the latest development in this segment of our industry (that being home electronics) has us pretty pumped up.

HDBaseT CableYou may have heard of HDMI cables, which essentially get rid of the standard red, blue, yellow, green and other colored cables that have long been used for connecting stereos, set-top boxes, TVs, video game systems and the like. HDMI cables combined all those cords into one, and were optimized for high-definition devices and TVs.

Enter HDBaseT.

Now, let’s cut past the jargon. This new home theater technology uses the same Ethernet cord that you plug from your computer into an Internet jack. It looks like a phone cord, but is a little thicker. HDBaseT is a standard that will be built into many new TVs, stereo systems, high-definition Blu-ray players, and more consumer electronic devices. Provided the device is built with the HDBaseT standard, you’ll be able to connect everything with a typical Ethernet cord (expect really pricey ones to come on the market that’ll try to take your wallet for a spin).

At Sound + Image Design, it’s our belief that HDBaseT will usher in a new era of Internet-connected devices that will plug straight into your high-definition TV and make browsing the Web on your tube much easier (see Google TV). And because the wires can extend up to 328 feet, you can connect a PC in your home office directly into your TV in the living room (Our company can hide that cable in your walls, too).

As the NewTeeVee blog puts it: There’s really no more excuses for not connecting your PC to your TV, even if the two devices are located in different rooms of your house.

Plus, HDBaseT could eventually declutter the bird’s nest of cables you may have underneath your home theater system, streamlining them all into one. The standard is supported by LG, Samsung, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Valens Semiconductor. You should start seeing devices from these consumer electronics makers (and certainly others) later this year before being adopted heavily in 2011.

If you’d like more information on HDBaseT or want to develop a plan for integrating it into your Richmond home, call our Richmond Home Theater Showroom today 804.741.5816.

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You may have already seen consumer products with designated as ZigBee Smart Energy Certified Products. According to ZigBee, “these products represent solutions across the entire efficiency ecosystem energy services portals, meters, displays, thermostats and load controllers. Each product may wear the ZigBee Certified logo and the green ZigBee Smart Energy icon so that they may be easily identified in the marketplace.”

What may be more relevant to consumers are the products designated as ZigBee Home Automation Certified Products.Per Zigbee’s website, “Only ZigBee offers an established, competitive marketplace providing the core technology for simplifying common household tasks. ZigBee Home Automation is the affordable and easy way to control and monitor energy use, while adding safety, security. With ZigBee Home Automation products, your home will be more convenient and smart.”

Products such as the Control4 Home Controller HC-300, often used as the central building block for a smart home, making it easier to add intelligent control to a home at an affordable price. An HC-300 replaces on average more than four traditional remote controls and delivers easy navigation and use through a single universal Control4 system remote.

Sound and Image Design is uniquely qualified to assist you with all your home automation needs. Just call ourRichmond areashowroom at 804.741.5816. Home theater and home automation made simple.

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