THE CONNECTED LIFE

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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  |  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?

John Sciacca  |  Jul 01, 2011  |  0 comments

Friday the 13th is nothing to fear this month as remote control giant URC releases the first wave of its new Total Control platform of housewide automation, control, and audio distribution components today.

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  |  Jun 29, 2016  |  1 comments
As I write this I’m sitting in a hospital room waiting for my wife, Dana, to be induced sometime around 5:00 this evening. My weekend plans had been to grab some craft beer and watch The Masters in 4K on DirecTV, but this was a late-in-life, bonus baby (I’m 46), and the pregnancy has been fraught with “excitement” as we’ve dealt with high blood pressure and gestational diabetes. If you get nothing else from this column, heed my advice to have kids sooner rather than later.
John Sciacca  |  Jun 03, 2015  |  1 comments
While doing some research for an upcoming Connected Life column on Wi-Fi security practices, I stumbled across a practically rotten piece of “fruit” called the Wi-Fi Pineapple. And while the company that makes this, Hak5, says that it serves “penetration testers, law enforcement, military and government” the sub $100 device is available to anyone and is designed to “enable users to quickly and easily deploy advanced attacks.” With the Pineapple performing hotspot honeypot, man-in-the-middle attacks, a hacker could quickly and easily have access to all of the data and information from your browsing sessions. If you frequently connect to Wi-Fi hotspots when you’re out and about, here are some things you need to know about the Pineapple in order to better safeguard yourself.
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.

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