The Connected Life

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John Sciacca  |  May 07, 2020  |  0 comments
Motorized window shades and smart lighting are a godsend for controlling light in an open, mixed-use media room. Here’s how.
John Sciacca  |  Feb 20, 2020  |  0 comments
In my last blog, I discussed the generational improvements my custom installation company has witnessed since we started installing whole-house distributed audio systems back in 1995. Of course, almost everything has gotten better — and cheaper — over time, but one thing often overlooked in modern installations is operational simplicity for the guests who visit your home.
John Sciacca  |  Jan 15, 2020  |  0 comments
My company has installed whole-house, distributed audio systems since literally the day we opened our doors back in 1995, and over the years we’ve witnessed generational improvements in technology. Mostly gone are wall-mounted rotary volume controls, now replaced with smartphone app control. And “fixed” six-source/six-zone audio systems of the past have largely been replaced with scalable streaming systems that let you add more zones as needed.
John Sciacca  |  Oct 30, 2019  |  0 comments
After 20-plus years in the custom installation business, I’ve learned the value of making a project as future-proof as possible. In System Building Advice, Part 1, I discussed the importance of prewiring, installing conduits for future access, covering large areas with multiple speakers, and buying the best subwoofer possible. I have some more bits of advice to share.
John Sciacca  |  Aug 30, 2019  |  1 comments
During my many years in the custom installation industry, I've been involved in hundreds of projects of all sizes. These are some of the pearls of accumulated wisdom that I typically share when new customers come in to my shop with plans, or we are walking together through a jobsite.
John Sciacca  |  Jun 20, 2019  |  0 comments
In my last blog, “Home Theater Planning: Walk Back the Design,” I discussed the process I use to help clients decide on a new surround-sound system installation. Basically, I encourage them to work back from how they want the project to look when it’s finished instead of focusing up front on other criteria like performance.
John Sciacca  |  Apr 26, 2019  |  0 comments
In my last blog, I discussed the many clients I meet with who have no idea how to begin the design process when planning a new home theater or media room installation. Instead of focusing on specific technologies and performance, I have found it best in these cases to work the design process back from how they would like the room to look after the installation is completed.
John Sciacca  |  Mar 01, 2019  |  0 comments
When I first began my job as a custom installer back in 1998, I frequently had to explain to people exactly what our company did. “We install home theater systems; it’s like having a movie theater in your house,” I’d usually say.
John Sciacca  |  Nov 09, 2018  |  1 comments
In my two previous blogs — Top Home Theater Design Mistakes, Part One and Part Two — I described basic home theater/media room design mistakes that I’ve repeatedly encountered during my 20 years of doing custom installations.
John Sciacca  |  Oct 05, 2018  |  1 comments
As I mentioned in my last blog Top Design Mistakes, Part One, I’ve worked as a custom installer for the past 20 years, and a key part of my job is designing and installing media rooms and home theaters. (The difference between the two: a media room is typically an open, multi-use space, while a home theater is a dedicated room purpose-designed for watching movies.)
John Sciacca  |  Aug 31, 2018  |  0 comments
I’ve spent the past 20 years in the custom installation industry, and it would be no exaggeration to say I’ve worked with more than a thousand clients during that time. A regular part of my job is consulting with clients on the design and installation of media rooms and home theaters. (The difference between the two: a media room is a social, multi-use space, while a home theater is a purpose-designed room for watching movies.) Sometimes the project is a new build (the best). Other times it involves repurposing a room or trying to fix and improve an existing room.
John Sciacca  |  May 11, 2018  |  0 comments
As I’ve mentioned in previous columns, prior to becoming a custom installer I was a golf professional at a club in California’s Bay Area. I bring this up because we recently started receiving Golf magazine in the mail. (Bizarrely we’re also suddenly getting The New Yorker and Money, none of which we subscribed to.) As I flipped through a recent issue of Golf, I was reminded of really how little has changed in the golf world since I left.
John Sciacca  |  Apr 13, 2018  |  0 comments
As audio/video systems have advanced in performance, features, and capabilities, they have also become increasingly more difficult to operate. Back in the day, a TV was just a TV, with a single remote control and about 13 channels to navigate. You pointed the remote at it, and if it didn’t work, you changed the batteries. A sound system had an input selector to choose what to listen to and a volume knob to make the music louder or quieter.
John Sciacca  |  Mar 09, 2018  |  5 comments
There are lots of cool aspects to my job as a custom installer, but my favorite is installing home theater systems. And when designing a surround system with a customer, one of the first discussions is whether they should go with a direct-view, flat-panel display or with a two-piece projection system. Sometimes this choice is obvious; either due to room size, budget, aesthetic demands, or some construction issue that dictates one over another. Other times it becomes a gray area.
John Sciacca  |  Feb 09, 2018  |  5 comments
Last month’s blog detailed the first part of the process of installing new speakers. Since planning before cutting is a massive part of retrofitting new speakers, I focused on making sure you could actually install speakers where you want. This involved determining the best wiring route to the new speakers and ensuring the route was clear of any obstacles like wall purlins.

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