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iPadPerhaps not a single product since the iPhone has caused so much buzz in the world of electronics until the iPad, released earlier this year by Apple.  Wherever we go with it, the reaction is the same, because it’s still so young:  You have an iPad?

The iPad  a touch-screen tablet about half the size of a piece of paper  is the lowest priced and best touch screen that has ever been released. You can read on it, write on it, browse the Web on it and more.  Most anything you can do on a laptop you can do from the convenience of the ultra-light iPad.

Prior to its launch, though, most of the touch screens that we have used and recommended (for controlling entertainment, HVAC, security or lighting systems) have run a minimum of $1,500.

The iPad, however, starts at $500.

One of applications you can download for the iPad is My Home developed by Control UI for use with Control4, a great technology that allows you to control all of the electronics and systems in your home through one simple device (provided that your electronics and lighting, security and other home systems have been installed properly).

The app is free, though you’ll need the license for the service and all your electronics integrated with the Control4 network.  It is the best on the market today in terms of all-in-one universal remotes.

Check out this demo video of the Control4 iPad app on YouTube:

And if you’re big into the environment, the Control4 app is listed as one of the five greenest apps, per the Earth2Tech blog.  That’s because it helps automate lights and ensures energy is being saved where needed.

Integrating Control4 technology into your home will require a professional installer, like Sound + Image Design.  We’re CEDIA certified installers.

For more information about how you can install Control4 home automation technology in your Richmond area home, simply call the Sound and Image showroom at 804.741.5816.  We’ll be happy to answer any of your questions about integrating your iPad and Control4 into a complete home automation system.

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Home Theater Plasma TV in Family Room or DenIf you ask a home theater installer the differences between their products versus a name-brand TV or stereo system that you can pick up off a shelf at Best Buy, most are going to claim a huge difference in quality.

I tend to be a bit more open with my reply: As a rule of thumb, there are very subtle quality differences between, say, a Samsung or Sony or other name brand that you can purchase at Best Buy versus the higher-end systems that we sell. Unless you’ve purchased a low-end, no-name brand piece of equipment, most people aren’t going to notice these differences.

But for the true audio junkie or videophile or a customer who wants the best quality entertainment available these subtleties are worth paying a little extra for.

Plus, there’s the installation side of this equation: Getting the components to work together and correctly, to ensure that all the cables and wires are best-in-class, and perhaps just as importantly making sure those ugly but important cables and wires are hidden from view.

The difference in going with a CEDIA-certified home theater installer comes down to sound and video clarity, greater dynamic range of sound, brighter colors, and customer service.

Higher-end home theater systems (for instance, Integra, which is to Onkyo what Cadillac is to General Motors) are more dependable and come with longer warranties. At Sound and Image, we’ve only had to use warranties a few times here and there. When we do activate a warranty, you wouldn’t believe how fast manufacturers react. We’re talking two-day air shipping directly to the customer. It’s an amazing degree of customer service.

And that�s the other part of what you pay for: Service.  The cost of any product you buy from us (generally only around 5 to 10 percent more than the store) includes our phone number for whenever you have issues (hopefully you won’t if we do our jobs right) or need questions answered.

Here’s a great piece from ElectronicHouse.com that we always give to customers when they ask about the benefits of hiring a pro. At Sound and Image Design, we strive to be as open and transparent as possible with you about service, cost or product quality. Drop me an email at tim@soundandimage.com if you have questions. I love talking about this stuff!

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