Archive for Home Electronics

Technology, in and of itself, can be very complex. Boxes contain buttons and lights and switches and ports and inputs and outputs and wires and cables. So when we see a high-end piece of home theater equipment that is clean, simple to use and works well, we get happy.

Musical Fidelity M3i Integrated Amplifier

Musical Fidelity M3i Integrated Amplifier

Take Musical Fidelity’s new M3i integrated amplifier. This thing looks like the sports car of amps. Audiophiles will love having this as part of their high-end home theater system. This review from Neil Gader at AVGuide.com really puts the 20-pound M3i through the paces.

It’s proudly back-to-basics in functions and connectivity. True to the audiophile ethic, there are no tone or balance controls to tarnish the signal. It even shrugs off the near-commonplace front-panel iPod mini-jack.

But with a handful of RCA inputs, a tape loop, home-theater bypass, and pre-outs, the M3i is all about business. The flat-black front panel is accented by a large aluminum rotary volume control and tiny pushbuttons with virtually unreadable micro-labeling and pin-lighting.

A sign of the times, yes, but with the emphasis having shifted to remote controls, front-panel legibility is rapidly becoming an afterthought. Unless you have the eyesight of a barn owl or wear night-vision glasses leave the switching to the full-featured remote.

The review goes pretty deep, as Gader points out the A/V minutiae that only an audiophile like us would notice (the little things make a big difference!). He sums up:

Its performance is rock-solid, it’s sonically well-rounded, and it’s comfortable with a wide array of speakers. And it’s all served up in an elegant, no-nonsense package exactly the way I like my audio prepared. Well done.

The M3i starts around $1,500. Give us a call and we can show you an array of amp options in addition to the M3i.  804.741.5816.

Comments (0)

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.

Comments (0)
Aug
18

Posted by: | Comments (0)

There’s a term for the people in our industry that you should probably keep away from when it comes to home theater systems: Trunk slammers.

These are the guys who mainly work out of their car, just doing what he needs to do to get by. Home installs are probably a side job for him.  You’re not really dealing with a company, per se.

With us, you are. And we can prove it, with the little icon you see in this post.  We’re CEDIA certified.  So what does being CEDIA certified mean to you?  Seeing the CEDIA stamp means you can trust that you’re dealing with proven experts who are committed to a higher standard of education, according to the organization.  You’ll not only get the finest in custom electronics design and installation, but you’ll also have peace of mind.

CEDIA Member Logo

Sound + Image Design, Richmond, are members of the trade association, CEDIA.

Our experience with CEDIA which stands for Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association is that this is a group that is extremely supportive of our industry and is serious about the work that comes out of it.  Sound + Image Design went through rigorous testing and training because we believe in CEDIA certification so much.

But let’s be serious for a moment: This is a fun job.  And we meet tons of fun people and get to play with all kinds of fun toys.  CEDIA’s annual Expo (see pics and a review here) gives us an idea of the latest and greatest (and the blah products) coming on the market.

We’re confident that we’re the company that will meet your unique needs. Talk to others who have been through the process. Read our testimonials.  If you’d like to talk to or see projects we’ve done, let us know.

We think you’ll realize: When it comes to home theater, audio and video installations in Central Virginia, we set the bar.

How can CEDIA help you as a homeowner?

Adding custom home theater, multi-room audio, or automation is a wonderful investment that will add to the enjoyment and value of your dream home. But an investment of this size shouldn’t be trusted to just any company. That’s why you should consider a CEDIA certified member.

CEDIA certified companies have met vigorous industry standards and have been formally educated and specially trained. These are critical steps to ensure that your investment in your home is not wasted. In addition, CEDIA member companies have agreed to the CEDIA Code of Ethics, perhaps the most highly regarded standard in the Electronic Lifestyles industry.

For a free home theater consultation in the Greater Richmond or surrounding areas, simply call our office at 804.741.5816.

Comments (0)

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.

Comments (0)