Posts Tagged ‘home’

How To Set Up A Home Entertainment System

Friday, July 8th, 2011

Home entertainment systems are more than just your average TV and Blu Ray player plugged in and set on default. They involve multiple components and aim to provide the ultimate media experience in your living room, whether you are looking to bring the magic of the cinema to your own home or to get right next to the action at the next big sports match without forking out for a ticket. As such setting up a home entertainment system can be tricky, but this brief guide should give you enough information to help you get started.

Home Entertainment Center
Photo: Blake Patterson (CC)

First you will need to appreciate the kind of space you are working with and base your choice of entertainment technology on these immutable parameters. If you are starting from scratch and buying an HDTV along with an audio system, media player and DVD/Blu Ray device then you can be much more exacting in your choices. For example, it makes no sense to slap a 50 inch TV set in a room where you will be sitting just five feet away from the screen because all that display real estate will overwhelm the space and have a negative impact on your viewing experience.

It is also advisable to pick a consistent selection of components which are ideally made by the same manufacturer. So if you have a Sony TV it will work at the top of its game when paired with a Sony Blu Ray player and Sony brand surround sound with a compatible amplifier. Of course this kind of perfectionism is not essential because most devices should be cross-compatible on a basic level, but since most home entertainment devices from individual manufacturers are designed to interface with one another and provide inter-device control from a single remote, you may want to make the investment upfront to ensure smooth operation at a later date.

Positioning your TV so that it can be viewed comfortably is relatively simple, but setting up surround sound speakers can be a little more taxing. The satellite speakers at the rear may typically operate using long wires running from the amplifier by your TV, although some models have wireless rear speakers to reduce clutter, but be prepared to pay more for this convenience. Pay close attention to the manufacturer`s instructions when it comes to angling your surround sound speakers to ensure that the full effect of the advanced audio is experienced by the viewer.

If you want a truly flexible home entertainment system setup then you might consider buying a flat TV wall mount so that your television can twist, rotate and hang remote from the rest of the gadgets. Wall mounts can offer varying degrees of articulation, with the more complex setups typically costing extra but letting you swivel and pan the screen precisely. This may be of particular interest to anyone who has a 3D TV that requires the viewer to be seated within a particular viewing angle to enjoy the latest effects without any blurring or image disruption.

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Smart Home: Green Is Probably Smarter And Greener Than Your Home

Tuesday, June 16th, 2009

In recent years, it seems like there is a huge push to be green. It’s not a bad thing, though. I’m not one of those people who turns his nose up at someone who drives a gas guzzler and I use up my fair share of electricity, but I applaud the growing segment of today’s society who pitch in where they can to help protect our Earth’s future. Be it the purchase of a 2010 Ford Fusion Hybrid or just shutting it all off for 60 minutes when Earth Hour comes around, every little effort to reduce your footprint on the planet is a step in the right direction.

Smart Home : Green

Enter The Smart Home : Green, powered by ComEd exhibit at Chicago’s Museum of Science and Industry is a fully-functioning, three-story modular and sustainable “green,” structure designed to showcase the many ways people can make eco-friendly living a daily part of their lives. Designed by Michelle Kaufmann Designs and built by All-American Homes, MSI put together this smart home with WIRED Magazine serving as the technology and automation advisor.

Smart Home : Green

The home comes complete with software to not only help manage the electricity and all the devices, but also to show the energy consumption and production. The whole thing makes me wish I was in Chicago right now so I could take a tour through it in person. Entry is $23 for adults, $22 for seniors and $14 for children 3-11.

From the press release:

The home will feature two computers from MSI, the Wind Top AE1900 All-inOne PC and X340 Ultra-Slim Notebook. The AE1900 offers green-minded users a PC that uses 80% less power than a normal desktop computer. Similarly, the X340 notebook features an Intel ULV (Ultra Low voltage) processor that use just 1/6 the power of a standard mobile CPU.

“We chose products that showcase the engineering, design, and ecopreneurism that challenge conventional wisdom and give us practical tools to live healthier and more productive lives,” said Howard Mittman, Publisher of WIRED.

This is a great model on which my dream smart home setup will eventually be built.