THE CONNECTED LIFE

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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  |  4 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.
John Sciacca  |  Jan 17, 2018  |  0 comments
In my October blog, I listed 11 must-have tools for your DIY toolkit, laying out the minimum tools you need to tackle some basic audio/video installations. Then I tackled how to wire and mount a flat-screen TV in “Mount a TV Like a Pro:” Part 1 and Part 2. Now it’s time to learn how to install some speakers!
John Sciacca  |  Dec 15, 2017  |  2 comments
Last month’s blog, Mount a TV Like a Pro: Part 1 detailed the first part of mounting a flat-panel TV onto a wall. To recap, it covered determining the size and location of where the new TV will go, figuring out the needed wiring for the install, making a plan for powering the TV, making sure there’s a clear path in the wall for routing the cabling to the TV, and then cutting wall boxes into the sheetrock and running the wiring.
John Sciacca  |  Nov 17, 2017  |  2 comments
In my last blog I listed some essential tools for tackling various DIY custom install projects around the house. This time, we’ll put that toolkit to work mounting a flat-panel TV! I’ll cover running the wiring to your new TV, and in my next blog we’ll tackle the physical mounting of the set.
John Sciacca  |  Oct 20, 2017  |  0 comments
Having the right tool makes any job easier — or even possible — and when my company’s vans show up for an installation, they are loaded down with a huge array of gear to help us overcome virtually any hurdle. Between specialized drill bits, to hand tools for terminating an assortment of fittings, to fiber-optic cameras for peering into walls, having the right tool on hand can make the difference between a job well done and an impossible one.
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 18, 2017  |  0 comments
Without a doubt, one of the most impressive and important speakers in your home theater system is the subwoofer. The sub lays down the bedrock foundation of a good system, producing deep, tactile bass that makes music more dynamic, movies more visceral, and raises the overall performance of any speaker system. When I’m working with clients on designing their surround systems, my recommendation is almost always that they buy the biggest and best subwoofer they can afford.
John Sciacca  |  May 19, 2017  |  0 comments
How to enjoy a large TV without having it dominate your room.
John Sciacca  |  Apr 26, 2017  |  0 comments
Does your Wi-Fi network suck? Here are five things you can do to significantly improve its performance.
John Sciacca  |  Mar 01, 2017  |  0 comments
The number-one service call issue at my custom installation firm used to be cable TV related—generally resolved by rebooting the cable company’s crappy set-top box. But as people increasingly “cord cut” away from traditional entertainment means, the majority of calls we receive now are internet and network related, specifically of the, “My Wi-Fi sucks. Can you fix it?” variety.

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