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
Home Theater Basics: 12 Things for Newbies

Custom Installation Services - Charlotte's Home Theater Company!

C.I.S. - Charlotte's Home Theater Company!

All you really need to have a home theater are speakers, some basic audio/video equipment and some popcorn.

Getting a basic home theater system into your house may be far simpler than you think. You just need to understand what the basic components are and match them to your budget and performance needs.

At an elemental level, a home theater system needs a large video display device (generally a flat panel TV 50-inches and up or a projector/screen), a surround-sound speaker setup (at least 5.1 plus electronics for switching and processing), and some quality source components (Blu-ray, cable, streaming devices …) . That’s it.  Sure, it can be a little more involved, but it isn’t rocket science. Here’s a more thorough breakdown of today’s home theater basics:

The Sights

1. A video display can be any size or style you want, as long as it’s big. For an immersive experience, we generally suggest a screen of at least 50 inches (measure diagonally), but smaller screens may make sense in some rooms. Your display will, of course, be high definition, and mostly likely 1080p resolution, though some 720p resolution TVs are still available.
When you’re planning your theater, a guideline for display size is that the viewing distance (the distance from you to the screen) should be 2 to 3 times the width of the screen (actually width, not the diagonal size).

2. A video display can utilize one of several technologies such as plasma, LCD (liquid crystal display), DLP (digital light processing), LCoS (liquid crystal on silicon) or some others. All of these technologies have their pros and cons, but all can create a home theater-quality picture at a variety of budgets.

3. The type of video display you choose will depend on your budget, how you intend to use the display and the space where you plan to enjoy your home theater. There are lots of options, but your selection will be made easier if you know what you’re seeking.

4. Think 3D. Stereoscopic, or 3D, started getting serious attention last year, and this year that attention is even greater. A 3D TV truly separates a home theater from simply a television as it adds one more element that, until recently, was unique to commercial theaters. Plus, all the technology that goes into make a TV 3D, also happens to make it an even better 2D TV for conventional viewing.

From custom homes to corporate boardrooms, let Custom Installation Services install your next a/v project!The Sounds

5. A home theater’s surround-sound system consists of five or more speakers, with three in the front near the video display and at least two on the sides or at the back of the room.

6. The three front speakers do most of the work to produce sounds that correspond with the action on the screen. Two speakers, called the front left and right channels, are typically placed on either side of the video display. A center-channel speaker is often placed above or below the screen. Two or more speakers on the sides or rear are referred to as surround speakers. Additional rear speakers or even height-channel speakers can create an even more realistic impression on the audience.

7. The center-channel speaker is the most important loudspeaker in a surround-sound setup. This is because it reproduces a great majority of the sounds you hear in a movie soundtrack, including all of the dialogue. You’ll want to hear every word clearly and feel as if the dialogue is coming directly from the actors’ mouths.

8. The role of surround speakers is to convey ambient sounds, such as background noises, rumbles or passing cars or planes. These speakers help fully immerse you in a movie. The surround sound speakers generally shouldn’t be too obvious to the listener, so don’t crank them up too loud or the effect will be unnatural.

9. There are several surround speaker options. You can have two speakers, one on each side of the seating area. You can have three speakers, with one on each side and one in the back, allowing you to better hear the effects of movement such as that of a passing car or a train or airplane. You can have four speakers, with two on each side. Or you can have even more speakers. It’s really a matter of how far you want to go.

10. Specialty speakers called subwoofers produce low bass sounds so you will hear the full impact of sound effects such as explosions or the roar of a jet engine. Subwoofers can be placed virtually anywhere. People often put them in a front corner, behind a plant or a table or even under a couch. Subwoofers are not full-range speaker channels, meaning they only produce a fraction of the sounds you hear. In surround-sound parlance, subwoofers represent the “.1” in 5.1, 6.1 or 7.1 systems (5.1 meaning the basic surround-sound setup of five speaker channels plus a subwoofer, 6.1 meaning six channels and a subwoofer and 7.1 meaning seven channels plus a subwoofer). Multiple subwoofers can also be used.

11. To get sound to the speakers and video to the screen, you’ll need switching and processing components like a surround-sound receiver or a controller and amplifier. Receivers contain amplifiers, precluding the need for a separate amplifier, though for higher performance you may opt for a separate surround-sound controller and a power amplifier. Look for a receiver with multiple HDMI inputs (version 1.4 is the latest) for all your sources. Additional features such as iPods connectively, Internet radio, DLNA, multi-zone and audio calibration systems can add to your home theater’s functionality and ease of use.

12. Sources for all Tastes. Well, of course you’ll want something to watch, right? For most people, the two most fundamental sources will be a TV tuner (cable, FiOS or satellite box) and a Blu-ray player. Other great sources for home theaters include gaming consoles and web media players (such as Roku and similar products). Many Blu-ray players or TVs include built-in web-based services such as Netflix, Vudu and Amazon Instant Video.

 by EH Staff


Custom Installation Services, LLC – ”We may be a few dollars more than the competition, but we are a million times better”.

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Happy New Year To Everyone!

Custom Installation Services - Charlotte's Source For Home Theater!With the holidays and our busier than normal schedule over the past month, it has been a while since I have posted a blog.  So, this will be different than my normal format of product news.  I wanted to post a personal blog to thank all of our loyal clients for your support over the past year.  2010 was a good year for C.I.S., with new product offerings added to our lineup, as well as new and exciting technology trends.  None of which would have been possible without everyone’s continued support!

A new direction for us this year was to “dabble” in more commercial A/V installations.  These included sports bars as well as an overhaul of the video at Lance, Inc.  This has opened up a new revenue stream for C.I.S., and one we will continue as we move forward into the future.  As part of this new commercial business, C.I.S. has partnered with ZEE-VEE, makers of high definition boxes that enable 1080p over coax for long distance runs and combining signals to existing channels for ease of use.

Another new product in our lineup is from SpeakerCraft, with their addition of the “FloBox”.  The FloBox is a single unit that allows you to dock your iPod, iPhone or iPad, play a CD, stream from the internet, access iTunes or listen to FM radio.  Combined with substantial amplification, quality drivers and a sleek, futuristic cabinet available in five finishes, the FloBox will transform any room into a concert hall at the push of a button!

I would like to again thank everyone for your continued support, and to a great 2011!  Stay tuned for more of my traditional blogs with product news and updates!

Don Miller


Custom Installation Services, LLC – We specialize in fixing the $99 TV install by our “competitors”!

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Philips Pronto is ‘Not Dead at All,’ Distributor Says

Custom Installation Services - Charlotte's Source For Home Electronics!Sources say Pro Philips Pronto will re-emerge within 60 days, with “the same name, new owners,” and controllers announced at CEDIA will ship on time.

The buzz in Europe is that Philips Pronto is well on its way to a new life with “the same name, new owners,” sources tell CE Pro in confidence.

The news comes more than a week after Philips announced it would close its remote-control and home automation division, rather than sell the assets.

Philips had claimed that “no suitable partner was found for the acquisition of these [Pronto] activities,” even though major U.S. vendors told CE Pro that Philips never approached them about a potential acquisition.

It appears, however, that a partner has indeed been found.

CE Pro has obtained a letter, dated 2 November, from a major Philips Pronto distributor in Europe, telling dealers (translated), “As you can see, the future of Pronto is already on its way with new players. For you, for us, no worries, nothing changes.”

The distributor claims that the new Pronto Edit Pro 3 (PEP3) programming platform is still scheduled to ship this month, and that the Philips TSW9500 in-wall touchscreen will be delivered in December, as originally planned.

Furthermore, a new central controller (the Pronto CRX?) is scheduled to ship in the first quarter of 2011, according to the distributor.

Reached today via email, another European source familiar with the Pronto business tells CE Pro, “There is a deal in process” and Philips will make an official announcement within 60 days. “Dealers and end users will not see the transition to new ownership.”

The comments affirm what CE Pro learned last week from a U.S. manufacturer that had inquired about purchasing some Pronto assets from Philips. The manufacturer shared with CE Pro some correspondence that indicated Philips was pursuing other partnership opportunities.

Meanwhile, a CE Pro reader in Europe tells us, “I did contact Pronto. None of the employees have been dismissed as of today.”
So Why the Announcement of Pronto’s Closure?

Why did Philips announce in the first place that it was closing its Belgium-based Pronto business and that it could not find a buyer, even though U.S. manufacturers told us Philips never even approached them?

We have heard that Belgian and/or EU regulations prohibited Philips from selling its assets to a company that would send manufacturing overseas. We know for sure that Philips had attempted to move its manufacturing to Asia, but was unable to do so.

Our distributor source in Europe points to the “Renault law” — named after the sudden announcement of the closure of the Renault plant in Vilvoorde in 1997 — which requires that companies with more than 50 employees make a public announcement prior to business closure or impending layoffs, allowing time for employees to respond.

According to the International Labor Organization:

Further to the Renault case (related to the sudden announcement of the closure of the Renault plant in Vilvoorde in 1997), some changes to the procedure for collective dismissals were introduced by the promotion of Employment Act of 13 February 1998 clarifying the obligation of employers to consult with workers’ representatives and creating an obligation on employers to analyse and formally respond to any proposals from workers’ representatives. In addition, sanctions for non-compliance are strengthened to include the reimbursement of any subsidies paid by the federal Government to the employer to create jobs.

So Philips dealers and distributors are optimistic that the Pronto will rise again.

Meanwhile, competitors are banking on the uncertainty. For its part, URC is offering training for Philips Pronto dealers, helping them to convert them to URC’s CCP programming platform. Training begins this week.


Philips posted this notice to Pronto dealers today, indicating that PEP3 programming software will be released this month, and the new TSW9500 in-wall touchscreen will be distributed on a “best-effort basis.” In the U.S., call center support services will be offered at least through 2011.
Dear Pronto Dealer,

This letter is intended to clarify the consequences of Philips’ decision to close our Pronto business unit in relation to support, warranty, product and software availability.

Although Philips will stop selling Pronto products, we will continue to offer product service and support for the Pronto products. The intent of Philips is to make sure all warranty and service obligations will be honored by Philips.

For the United States, Philips will continue to offer call center support services (888-773-7384) until at least the duration of 2011, and the Pronto repair center will remain operational throughout that time.
Outside the USA, all warranty obligations will continue to be honored by the present Pronto distributors. Philips will ensure that a sufficient stock of spare parts will remain available to service product repairs.

Regarding products and software, all current Pronto products are still available for purchase by Pronto distributors throughout the month of November. Dealers are advised to order any additional products from their distributor immediately to secure their required product quantities.

The recently announced ProntoEdit Professional3 (PEP3) will be released as scheduled this month. The TSW9500 product will be distributed on a best-effort basis, depending on the received orders and availability of components and resources to manufacture the unit. It is also Philips’ intent to put forth a best effort to make firmware for all TSU and RFX devices available to be fully compatible with PEP3.

We hope to have informed you sufficiently and would like to thank you for the loyalty you have shown to the Philips Pronto products.


The ProntoTeam

By Julie Jacobson


Custom Installation Services, LLC – We specialize in fixing the $99 TV install by our “competitors”!

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