Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home audio and Video Services in Matthews, NC.  TV installation, Surround Sound, Home Entertainment Systems
Bose SoundTouch throws down multiroom audio gauntlet to Sonos

New SoundTouch Wi-Fi line includes three speaker models at launch: the SoundTouch 30, SoundTouch 20, and SoundTouch Portable

All the speakers have six 'presets' on top of the unit. This speaker is the SoundTouch Portable, which has a built-in rechargeable battery

Over the years, Sonos, once a fledgling startup, has grown up to dominate the DIY multiroom wireless audio space. Now it has some serious competition.

Bose has officially unveiled a new line of Wi-Fi speakers under its new SoundTouch brand, which features simple setup and operation, and it’s definitely aimed at the same audience that Sonos has targeted.

The three new speakers that are available at launch — you can order them today — are the SoundTouch 30 ($699), a larger speaker designed for larger living spaces, and the SoundTouch 20 ($399) and SoundTouch Portable ($399), which are designed for somewhat smaller rooms. Bose will also introduce a Wave SoundTouch music system ($599) in December and other SoundTouch speakers and audio products in early 2014, signaling that it’s going all in on wireless audio.

It shares many of the same traits as the Sonos system, but one of the differences is that it’s designed to work with your existing Wi-Fi network and doesn’t require a special “bridge” like Sonos does. However, that Sonos Bridge, which connects to the Ethernet port on your router, sets up a separate “mesh” wireless network that’s dedicated to streaming your audio and helps remove the hiccups typically associated with a Wi-Fi network, which aren’t incredibly reliable.

But Bose is pushing the simplicity of its system and how easy it is to set up “using your existing home Wi-Fi network” and nothing else. The other simplicity theme revolves around Bose’s use of “presets”; both the new speakers and new apps –  Android and iOS devices are supported at launch along with Macs and Windows PCs — are equipped with buttons numbered 1-6. Each number corresponds to a preset in the app.

Using the apps, you can drag and drop specific Pandora radio stations onto a number to set it as a preset. You can also link one of the presets to the music library on your PC or a specific playlist.

To get your music up and running, you simply press one of the preset buttons that’s on the speaker or the included remote, or within one of the apps. Thus, the SoundTouch name.

Sonos comparisons
Like Sonos, the speakers and apps will get software updates that add new features and services. At launch, I was underwhelmed with Bose’s line up of services. Beyond Pandora there’s nothing: no Spotifiy, no Rdio, no Deezer, no nothing. Sonos has a huge roster of service tie-ins, so Bose has a big hole to fill there.

The other thing you can’t do with the Bose SoundTouch speakers is combine two speakers to get stereo sound. That starts to get a little expensive when you’re combining $399 speakers to make a pair, but these types of speakers that have their drivers very close together typically feature little to no stereo separation, so it’s a nice option to be able to go stereo like you can with Sonos.

The SoundTouch 30 and SoundTouch 20 both offer Ethernet connectivity, so you can use a wired network connection if you want, and there’s an auxiliary input, so you can hook up an audio device to a speaker using a cable.

The Bose speakers aren’t equipped with Bluetooth (neither are the Sonos speakers), but they do support AirPlay streaming from iOS devices and PCs running  iTunes. And like Sonos, you can stream music to a single room or have the same music play on all your speakers at the same time. You should be able to play different music sources in different rooms, but I didn’t test that feature yet.

Sound demo
Bose did a sound demo in a controlled environment with hand-picked music tracks, and like most of Bose’s demos, the speakers came across in their best light and seemed to sound quite decent for their size. I suspect the SoundTouch 20 will match up just fine against the Sonos Play:5, which is about the same size and also retails for $399. Currently, Bose isn’t offering any SoundTouch speakers for less than $399, but you’d think that may change in the future with Sonos offering more-affordable speakers.

However, the next batch of SoundTouch products will be more expensive except for the SoundTouch Controller, a swankier remote that will come out early in 2014 for $99.

As I said, a Wave SoundTouch music system is coming in December for $599. And a SoundTouch Stereo JC (Jewel Cube) system ($1,199), a SoundTouch SA-4 amplifier ($499) for select Bose products (including outdoor speakers), and a SoundTouch wireless adapter for Lifestyle systems and VideoWave entertainment system will ship in “early 2014.” (Bose did demo that new stereo Jewel Cube system, which also includes a subwoofer, and, needless to say, it sounded better than the single-speaker systems.)

I’ll let you know how the launch speaker systems sound — and how smoothly they operate — as soon as we get our hands on some review samples. Naturally, it will be interesting to see how the market responds to having a second major competitor in the DYI multiroom wireless audio space. But one thing is clear from Bose’s announcement: it’s going all in on wireless audio; it’s not messing around and will surely put big bucks toward marketing the new SoundTouch line and telling everybody how easy it is to use.

by David Carnoy

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57606930-221/bose-soundtouch-throws-down-multiroom-audio-gauntlet-to-sonos/

Custom Installation Services, LLC – Authorized Bose Dealer in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

Posted in Audio Demos, Audio Systems, Home Theater, Home Theater Setup, Multi Room A/V, Music and Movies, News, Outdoor Speakers, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Anatomy of a Central Vacuum System: 5 Easy Pieces

What goes into a central vacuum system? We lay out the five basic pieces: power unit, piping, inlets, hoses and brushes and accessories.

Do you hate dirt and hate to vacuum? A central vacuum system may be just what you need. Instead of lugging a canister around the home, the heavy lifting is done by a power unit located some place like the garage, where it can barely be heard.

A central vacuum system can also be a healthier and greener choice, as it won’t emit dirt particles into the air, as do some other vacuum systems.

For consumers who are new to the category, we provide the foundations of a central vacuum system.

 1. Power Unit

Drives the system and is usually mounted in the garage.

Bag vs. cyclonic (bagless) filtering: Bag-type systems require users to replace bags, but don’t require venting the system to the outdoors. Cyclonic units require no messy bags, but do need to be exhausted to the outdoors. Typical homes under 6,000 square feet can run off of a dedicated 20-amp, 120-volt circuit. Larger homes may require a larger, dedicated circuit. AirWatts typically indicate the power of the unit, but be cautious of using single high-air watt motors in larger home applications, as they may wear out too soon. Consider a unit with a utility valve on the tank for cleaning the cars and garage Typically code requires the wall between the garage and home to be penetrated with steel pipe. Check local building codes for safety requirements.

2. Piping

Provides suction from the power unit and delivers waste to the power unit.

2-inch special piping tested to specific standards. Cut the pipe with a miter box, chop saw, or tubing cutter. It must have a smooth, straight cut to reduce potential for debris getting stuck. Use wide sweeping turns at all locations after the inlet valve. For less friction loss, make jogs with 45-degree ells instead of 90-degree ells. Low-voltage wire follows along the outside of the pipe. Strap it to the pipe with zip ties or tape. Wire is run in series rather than home-run.

3. Inlets

Installed in the walls between piping and hoses.

Typically, one inlet covers 600 to 900 square feet of living space. Inlets are located at the same height as electrical outlets, but they can also fit in to the baseboards. Inlets are available as “air-only” or electrified. Electricity is required for traditional power brushes, but can still be provided with a separate cord for non-electrified (less expensive) outlets. Remember to place inlets near outdoor patios and porches. Plan for an inlet near the base of the stairs.

4. Hoses

Connect from the inlet to the vacuum cleaner.

Hoses normally come in 30-foot lengths, but 35-footers are available. Consider buying an additional hose and tool set for upstairs. A hose sock can protect baseboards and furniture. Designate a closet to hang the hose and tool set. Options are available for easy-to-tote spools and for hoses (up to 50 feet) that retract into walls.

5. Power Brushes, Accessories

Connect to hoses for cleaning everything from carpeting to pets.

Power brushes are the best central vac accessory for cleaning carpets and other flooring. Most brushes require electricity, but some lower-powered units can operate via air power. Brushes come in a variety of shapes and sizes for cleaning upholstery, staircases, cars, underneath furniture and more. Additional accessories can be used for cleaning tight spaces, ceiling fans, pets and more.

Grant Olewire of MD Manufacturing contributed to this article.

By CE Pro Editors

http://www.cepro.com/article/anatomy_of_central_vac_systems/T320

Custom Installation Services, LLC – First choice for low voltage wiring and central vac in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

 

Posted in 3D TV, Automation, Central Vac System, Flat Panel TV's, Home Theater, IP Cameras, LED, lighting control, Low Voltage Contractors, Lutron Radio Ra II, Media Rooms, Outdoor Speakers, Structured Wiring, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off


Netflix 1080p Timeline: When Will it Come to CE Devices?

The existing universe of 1080P Netflix devices includes the Sony Playstation3, Roku 2 XS and XD, WD TV Live and now LG 2011 Smart TVs and Samsung Smart Hub enabled devices, according to Tech of the Hub.

Netflix launched 1080p streaming in 2010, but we’ve barely seen it in smart TVs, networked Blu-ray players and other common CE devices from top brands such as Samsung, LG and Tivo.

Netflix 1080p was supported exclusively by the Playstation 3 when it launched last year, and since then has trickled out to media players from Roku and Western Digital. Netflix only this summer released a software developers kit for everyone else, and those everyone elses are finally incorporating the technology into their new and legacy devices (via firmware upgrade).

That’s good news for Netflix Watch Instantly lovers, but might be confusing as well.

As Tech of the Hub suggests:

The toughest part for the consumer is distinguishing the differences between all of the Netflix enabled TVs, Blu-ray players and streaming boxes at retail stores. All of them have the same Netflix logo on them. So, you can’t tell which Netflix boxes support 1080P, surround sound and subtitles.

The blog site has reached out to several major brands to determine when they will enable 1080p Netflix streaming for their CE devices.

Here is an overview, but check out Tech of the Hub for more details.

Samsung updated its Netflix app two weeks ago for Smart Hub-enabled Blu-ray players, TVs and home theater systems.

LG displays with Smart TV have been updated as well, with other LG devices following this month.

Netgear’s new NeoTV NTV-200 will support Netflix 1080p next year.

Pioneer’s Blu-ray players will not support 1080p for Netflix.

TiVo is working on 1080p Netflix streaming, but won’t say when it will be commercially available.

The big question is: Will Netflix raise its rates again when 1080p becomes universally available?!

By Julie Jacobson

http://www.cepro.com/article/netflix_1080p_timeline_when_will_it_come_to_ce_devices/?utm_source=CEPWeekly&utm_medium=email

Custom Installation Services, LLC – First choice for low voltage wiring in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

Posted in 3d movies, 3D TV, Blu-ray, Flat Panel TV's, Gaming Systems, HDMI Specs, LED, Low Voltage Contractors, Media Rooms, Music and Movies, News, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Custom Installation Services, LLC | P.O. Box 132 Matthews, NC 28106 | 704-400-8701 | dmiller@cis-nc.com
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