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
Are Plasma TVs Still Alive?

LG and Panasonic are trying to revive plasma displays.

CRT TVs. Laserdisc. VHS. Beta. CED (bet you have to look that one up).

All of these once represented a state-of-the-art technology, but have since made their way to that big home theater in the sky.

Many consumers think plasma displays also are dead, or are on their way out. But plasmas shouldn’t be relegated to the book-ends of the display market just yet, at least not as far as LG Electronics and Panasonic are concerned.

LG is releasing eight new plasmas, including its INFINIA line. Trying to kick the stereotype that plasmas are thick and heavy, the INFINIA series includes a 60-inch model that’s only 2-inches thick and only 95 pounds. These models will feature:

-LG NetCast for access to Internet streaming media like YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, and more
-“Wireless Media Hub” design that allows components, such as Blu-ray players, to be connected to a hub that wirelessly transmits the signal up to 90 feet
-THX certification
-Light-sensing automatic calibration
Panasonic will release more than 20 models, including four 3D-capable TVs that range from 50-65 inches. The 3D sets, which won both “Best In Television” and “Best In Show” at CES 2010, will include one pair of 3D glasses. Other features include THX certification, NeoPDP picture enhancements, and Viera Cast network streaming.

Plasma won’t take back the middle of the flat-panel TV market, but it will look to continue to be the meat of many high-end display lines and an important part of the push for 3D in the home.

by Stephen Hopkins


Custom Installation Services, LLC – Home Theater, Audio and Video Services, Home Automation  in North Carolina and South Carolina

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4 Tech Gifts for Valentine’s Day





C.I.S. - Your Media Room Experts in Charlotte, NC!

C.I.S. - Your Media Room Experts in Charlotte, NC!

Set the stage for a romantic evening at home with the addition of a few electronic products like dimmers and a wireless music system.


 Forget the dinner at a fancy restaurant, a bouquet of flowers and a box of chocolates.

They’ve been staple gifts for Valentine’s Day for way too long.

It’s time to shake things up.

With a few simple electronics additions, you can turn your own home into a romantic hideaway with some mood lighting, music and more. Plus you can use them and stay in on birthdays, too.

Click here for 4 Tech Gifts for Valentine’s Day.

by Lisa Montgomery


Custom Installation Services, LLC – Home Theater, Audio and Video Services, Home Automation  in North Carolina and South Carolina

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Smart Thermostats, Cool Climate Control

HAI-BlueAdvancedThe Smart Grid’s helpful little brothers may be the smart thermostats that do more than just monitor your home’s heating and cooling.

You’re going to be hearing a lot about smart thermostats. That’s right, the boring little device on your wall has gone from being just a thermostat to a “programmable” thermostat—and now a “smart” thermostat. Some come with color touchscreens.

And yes, smart thermostats will connect to their bigger brother, the smart grid.

You may also find smart thermostats being called programmable communication thermostats (PCT), which can receive information wirelessly. That wireless data allows the thermostat to receive a signal—say, from your local electric utility—to turn down the air conditioning if the electric rates are high.

That means variable rate or time-of-day pricing from your utility, so peak demand hours such as 3 to 8 p.m. will be priced higher than those at night. Some utilities are already implementing this, and it is a BIG part of the smart grid initiative.

Here’s why: It will save us energy and money. You sign up for discounted rates (as in not the peak rates) and the utility can turn down your A/C or shut off your washer or dryer or other energy-hungry appliances during peak periods. This is called demand response, or demand-side management.

This is where some people scream “Big Brother!” Not that many may want the utility interfering with their climate comfort or their domestic chores, but if you had the choice of when the air conditioning turns down or the washer goes on, depending on the price of electricity—that would be a different story.

That’s where thermostats connected to some sort of processor or home control system comes in. The processor gets the information on rate changes from the utility, and according to how you’ve programmed it, tells the smart thermostat to turn down the A/C a degree or two.

This, I believe, is how we’ll see an energy-saving smart grid implemented in the home. There are lots of smart and communicating thermostats out there, from companies like HAI, Trane, RCS and more. Some use mesh-networking technologies like ZigBee and Z-Wave, allowing them to communicate wirelessly. And they can do some cool things.

HAI’s Omnistat2 thermostats, for instance, can display your heating or cooling patterns and learn them, and display the costs of electricity from the utility and your set-back points. It can even control your lights. Pretty slick. HAI also has an In-Home Display unit.

Trane’s TZEMT400AB32MA Remote Energy Management Thermostat can send you email and text alerts when unwanted adjustments are made. It also works with Schlage’s LiNK door-lock and control system. RCS’s RCS TZ43 offers remote control operation and is designed for use with networked systems. And Ecobee’s Smart Thermostat offers weather, a web portal, a setup wizard and quick save function to remember your current comfy temperature setting. 

So why would one need all these brains in a thermostat that you can walk up to and set yourself? Because we don’t manage our thermostats well. Many people, according to a recent McKinsey & Co. report on energy efficiency, don’t even program their programmable thermostats, choosing to override the time of day options with a constant temperature. That wastes energy and money when you’re sleeping or not at home. You can also save a significant amount on both just by turning the heat or A/C down one degree Fahrenheit.

What Smarts to Seek in a Thermostat

Wireless communication (ZigBee or Z-Wave)
Easy-to-use interface
Readable display
Connectivity to home control system
Email, text or phone alerts
Learning ability of your habits
Display of utility data
Web portal or other display device
Remote programming and operation

 by Steven Castle


Custom Installation Services, LLC – Home Theater, Audio and Video services in North Carolina and South Carolina

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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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