Tag Archives: electronics

Five Things Every Home Theater Needs


Even visible speakers can be incorporated into your home decor.

Home theaters are becoming more popular as home theater technology gets better and better. Things like 3D televisions, 7.1 sound systems, and crisp video playback…a well-built home theater can be like having a private screening room. That said, though, there are things you need and things you don’t for your home theater, and what they are might surprise you.

Location, Location, Location
The first and most important step is deciding where everything will go. For example, placing your television behind a window will both block the sun in a room and draw undue attention to it, making it hard to watch and distracting. Putting it on a wall opposite the windows may make it difficult to watch during the day. Before buying and installing, do some measuring and thinking; properly placing an integrating your home theater into your home will mean fewer arguments and a happier home.

A Well-Built Amplifier With the Proper Wattage
The foundation of every home theater system is the amplifier. To understand why, you need to understand how speakers work. Essentially, all speakers really do is push air at certain frequencies that the electricity flowing in tells them to push at; but, the more air you want to push, and the more energetic the frequencies, the harder it is to push. An amplifier gives your speakers just the right amount of power; overpowering might trash the speakers, and underpowering can result in distortion. Pair your amp with your speakers carefully, and your theater will sound that much better.

Hiding Places
It’s very rare that you want your home theater to dominate the room, but if you put a gigantic television and thumping sound system into your living room, it’ll draw attention even if you don’t turn it on. It doesn’t help that many systems are designed to look cool, not blend into your home décor. Look into touches like home automation that tucks screens and speakers away, or building a cabinet into the wall that lets you keep your living room as a multipurpose space.


This might be a bit of overkill.

Proper Speaker Placement
Getting perfect sound requires placing your speakers properly. There’s a specific place in each room where the speakers and the acoustics align to create a perfect listening spot. It may not always be ideal to create this, but where possible, you should try to do so. Beyond that, think about how the space will be used; will you and your friends be watching and discussing TV shows and sports games? Will you be sitting in appreciative silence watching a movie? Place your speakers for the best effect to get the most out of your system.

Hidden Cables
Unfortunately, making all home theater technology wireless is a work in progress; there aren’t really any solutions at the moment that rival their wired cousins. That means you’ll need to choose wires and cables carefully, and also look for solutions to hide them. One popular method of organizing and tucking cables away is to thread them through the walls; that way, you have fully wired speakers, but also flawless home décor. If that’s not an option, look for cables that can be painted over, or consider covering them with electrical cord covers; there are quite a few available at your local hardware store.

Whichever methods you choose, remember that you can have a home theater in your home without it dominating, and a well-designed theater makes a home that much better. Happy shopping!

Photo credits: Viet Hoang,

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How Automation Can Complement Contemporary Design?

How Automation Can Complement Contemporary Design?

Think interior design and home automation technology are mutually exclusive? Think again. While home automation is a relatively new home addition concept, if planned properly, it can work hand in hand with and even enhance a home’s design. Check out these automation options that work well with modern design.


Home automation may seem futuristic but it’s very accessible and very cool.

Automated Lighting
Imagine being able to set the lighting ambiance of any room in your home with the simple touch of a button. Many exciting automation devices are making this possible and often at a very reasonable price. Some automation systems are available as smartphone applications while others come with their own high tech controllers. Whether you crave soft lighting for the evening’s dinner party or prefer bright lights for easy reading, automated lighting systems simplify the task of setting just the right mood.

Automated lighting blends well with modern design by highlighting certain parts of a room, such as an abstract painting, while dimming the lighting in other areas. Certain lighting systems can even turn on the lights when a person enters the room and turn them off when occupants leave, thus drastically improving a home’s energy efficiency. Enhance the appeal of a room’s furniture, artwork and other elements all with an automated device or app.

Improved Efficiency
As environmental awareness continues to increase, most modern home designs now incorporate increased efficiency. From furniture made out of reclaimed wood to energy efficient light bulbs, new design trends are capturing the essence of efficiency. Now, home automation systems are complementing that efficiency.

Just a few examples of automated systems that increase efficiency include intuitive and programmable thermostats, automated blinds and more. Imagine having an intuitive system that automatically turns off the AC and draws the blinds each morning and turns the AC back on each evening before you return home, all without you even having to think about it. More advanced systems even adjust a home’s HVAC system based on the month’s energy consumption.

Intuitive Home Entertainment
Are you hosting a party this evening but are running late at work? No problem. Set the mood to complement your home’s modern design by turning on the music, adjusting the television and more, all from a distance.

Many automated home devices allow you to set specific moods based on the evening’s plans. For example, you could create a mood for movie nights that will instantly adjust your home entertainment system, draw the blinds, adjust the temperature and dim the lighting, and it’s all done by touching one button. These features of home automation are all about simplicity and convenience and perfectly accent similar trends in modern home design.


Tired of paying too much for utilities each month? Find the solution in home automation.

Home automation may be a fairly new concept, but it’s already making a big splash in the home design world. From automatically setting a room’s lighting with the touch of a button to controlling your stereo system from anywhere in the home, there are many ways to complement and enhance your home’s design with automation technology.

Photo credit: Advanced Telemetry

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Automation Startups With an Eye for Design

Automation Startups With an Eye for Design

The home automation industry is still in the early stages, but a few startups are already garnering attention. The best blend technology with sleek design. Take a closer look at these startups and maybe get in on the ground floor before they make it big time.


Automated systems such as the learning thermostat from Nest Labs are making big splashes in the home automation market.

Nest Labs – Learning Thermostat
Nest Labs made a big splash in the home automation and energy efficiency market with the release of their learning thermostat. Unlike old school thermostats that must be left at one temperature for the entire day, the learning thermostat learns your schedule, programs itself and can even be controlled from your smartphone. If you train it well, the company’s learning thermostat may lower your heating and cooling bills up to 20 percent. It truly is the next generation thermostat and its sleek design is the perfect complement to modern and efficient home designs.

KISI Systems – Automated Apartment Entry
An old school house key and lock don’t exactly complement an urban property design. KISI Systems offers the solution with cloud-based apartment or house access. Enter your apartment with the push of a button or grant visitors access even while you’re away on vacation. 

The system also provides access to such information as a record of when key holders have entered your residence and for how long. The system utilizes advanced security technology and also integrates with a traditional key locking system. If you happen to lose your smartphone, you can simply change your password and use your physical keys. 

iControl – Openhome Platform
iControl is making a name for itself in the home automation market by making the ‘connected home’ a reality for average consumers. By working with leading broadband service providers and home security companies, iControl offers next generation home management and automation services at an affordable price. The company’s automation solutions include interactive home security, energy management and home care. For example, the home security platform allows for distance monitoring of your modern home from your computer, smartphone and more. 

Leviton – Intuitive Lighting
One of the best complements to modern home design is automated lighting. As a top light automation provider, Leviton offers automated lighting control solutions in wired or radio frequency wireless configurations. The company’s lighting solutions are offered for residential and small commercial applications. 

Whether you desire soft lighting to complement a modern dining room setting or need bright lighting in the kitchen or bathroom, the company’s automated systems allow you to achieve the perfect lighting with the touch of a button. Use the system’s presets to program your preferred lighting and simplify the task of brightening or dimming the lights at any hour. The company also offers a slew of other products aimed at improving energy efficiency and more.

Home automation is new and exciting and several startups are leading the trend. From automating your home’s lighting to improving the property’s energy efficiency, learn how you can utilize the best of these startups to incorporate automation into your home’s design.


How cool would it be to control your entire home’s lighting with the touch of a smartphone button?

Photo Credit: David Berkowitz

Photo Credit: James Coverdale

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