The Connected Life

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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  |  Oct 01, 2013  |  2 comments
Coupled with high-speed Internet and the growing app marketplace, smartphones are often the most important tech device in many of our lives, with phone calling often the least used feature. The exciting news for techies is the amount of control available for your home from anywhere in the world, and much of this amazing tech is affordable and DIY-friendly to install!
John Sciacca  |  Apr 22, 2015  |  3 comments
While video manufacturers were busy demonstrating their takes on the technologies best suited for UHDTV, espousing the relative merits of High Dynamic Range and wider color gamuts, and discussing the all-important question of 4K content delivery methods at the International Consumer Electronics Show back in January, everyone else seemed concerned with making sure practically every device imaginable will be connected to the Internet in some form or fashion.
John Sciacca  |  Jun 21, 2012  |  0 comments

This is the tale of two companies whose products you likely interact with on a daily basis. Two companies that aim to capture the Holy Grail of the consumer electronics world: your living room. One company has had great success with its mission, while the other one has repeatedly failed.

The companies are Apple and Microsoft.

John Sciacca  |  Aug 14, 2012  |  0 comments

My family recently visited the Magic Kingdom park at Disney World in Orlando. One attraction we checked out was “Walt Disney’s Carousel of Progress,” a revolving theater that follows a “typical” family through the decades, starting around the 1920s and winding forward to the future.

John Sciacca  |  Dec 23, 2015  |  1 comments
As we get ready to head into the new year, 3D "immersive audio" is the driving force behind home theater. A rundown of where things stand with the three competing formats: Dolby Atmos, DTS:X, and Auro-3D.
John Sciacca  |  Apr 08, 2015  |  7 comments
You’ve likely heard that Star Wars will be re-released in a digital movie collection on Friday (April 10th), finally allowing people to legally own and enjoy all six of the films (or at least enjoy four of them, tolerate Episode II and just agree to disagree on most of the filmmaking decisions from Episode I ) on a host of devices wherever they are.

John Sciacca  |  Oct 14, 2015  |  1 comments
In a recent blog I dealt with some of the big-picture infrastructure items when planning a video installation. Beyond the brand and size of TV you’ll be getting, the big four preinstallation items requiring attention are power, sources, audio, and control.
John Sciacca  |  Sep 22, 2017  |  1 comments
Beyond designing and installing new AV systems, one of the things my installation company does is perform service calls on existing systems. Whether it has been installed by the homeowner themselves, a trusted friend/family member, or some other “professional,” we routinely run across the same kinds of installation issues when we pull open the rack or cabinet and start digging into the guts of the gear.
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  |  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  |  Dec 23, 2013  |  0 comments
As 2013 winds down, it seems appropriate to share the trends—tech and otherwise—that struck me at the annual CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association) Expo this past September in Denver.
John Sciacca  |  May 21, 2014  |  0 comments
The day will come when you will press the “Watch TV” button on your fancy remote control—or however it is that you turn your system on—and…nothing will happen. Or something will happen, but it won’t be the right thing. Generally the problem will boil down to you’ll be able to see it but not hear it or you’ll hear it but not see it. Before you panic and start spiraling down into a world of Apocalypse Now-level darkness, try these five simple troubleshooting tips. Chances are one of them will get you back on track before the first commercial break!
John Sciacca  |  Dec 09, 2015  |  20 comments
As 4K TV sales prices continue dropping and sales steadily increase, the public’s demand for true 4K content continues to increase. At this past CEDIA, Kaleidescape announced its new Strato 4K Movie Player as well as the company’s third generation movie store that will offer more than 100 4K downloads at launch. DISH also discussed plans about its upcoming 4K Joey joining DirecTV in offering some 4K content. And with the International CES just a few weeks away, it seems likely one of the big stories from the show will be the launch of new Ultra HD Blu-ray players. But, will anyone care?

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