For movie enthusiasts the pinnacle of their life is when they have an opportunity to set up their own theater at home. What can be better than watching your favorite movies in the comfort of your own home, with the biggest screen you can afford and with the best sound system you can dream of?Read More
When you set up an entertainment system, you think that once you set up everything including the cables that you are all done, yes? You couldn’t be any more wrong. If you use the cables that come with the system (i.e. the ones in the box) you will only be getting low quality visual and audio regardless of the quality of the rest of the system.Read More
Few things top having your own personal home theater system, but you’ve got to do it right. And to do it right you can’t rush it. You’ve got to have a plan first. There are a lot of decisions to be made and factors to consider, and it is best to take one’s time to get into the nitty gritty details before doing anything that can not be reversed. Here are some tips:
· Plan which room you’ll turn into a mini theater. Installing your home theater system in a room that has a lot of windows and gets a lot of light is not a good idea, as darkening it with blackout drapes would cost you extra. Besides, it would be a waste of a sunny room, which would be great as an art studio or living area.
· Plan the layout. This will save you trouble down the line. Ideally wiring should be installed you should do this before the room gets finished, so you don’t have to drill holes in the drywall. But if not, then prepare yourself for extensive work. You may use any of the many room design apps available online, so you can map out your space and virtually move furniture around. Pick out the optimum spot for your video screen, and decide where you want your speakers. Do this with your future upgrades in mind, so you can lay the groundwork for that and save yourself a lot of work in the future.
· Know which components are to be plugged into which power outlet. Plan it so you avoid overloading. Check your power outlets and make sure they can take the load of your system. Make sure you circuit breakers are in an accessible space.
· Label plugs and wires. This will help avoid confusion.
· Have adjustable lighting. Gazing at a video screen in a too-dark room could strain your eyes, but a too-bright room makes for bad viewing quality. Having lights with dimmers lets you adjust the ambient lighting as needed.
· It seems like a no-brainer, but safety comes first. Be careful when using ladders and power tools and make sure you’re using gloves, goggles, and other protective clothing. Turn off and unplug appliances while you’re installing wiring.
· Use conduits for wires and cables that run behind walls or above ceilings. They’ll protect your wiring.
· Get good cables. As I’ve mentioned in a previous post, the quality of your cables affects sound and video quality. I recommend that don’t settle for those that come with your equipment and invest in high quality cables, from reputed manufacturers such as Phoenix Contact.Read More
Shopping for a new television can be an overwhelming experience, especially if you do not know the difference between certain brands, whether you want an LED, Plasma or LCD and even if you are not sure what size you are going to need. Confusion can often plague even the most experienced of shoppers.
What exacerbates the problem is that we are bombarded with advertisements everywhere telling us that we need to have the latest technology and without it our experience with our new television will not be a positive one. We will discuss here the most important features you need to care about when choosing the TV to help you steer clear of the sales pitches.
The first thing to keep in mind is the size of the TV that you want to purchase. As a general rule of thumb the recommended size of a TV one should purchase should be dependent on the room it is going to be placed in. In a small bedroom it is recommended to go for something around the 32 inch size. This will be big enough for most while not taking over the space and leaving your bedroom to be just that.
For a living room it is not so easy to recommend. Some people will still be happy with a 32″ screen size if they predominantly watch “normal tv” such as news and dramas. Others will really want to push the boat out and hang a 50-60″ TV on the wall for watching action movies and sports. If you have a home theater then you will most likely want to go for a bigger size to emphasize the quality of the sound and picture experience.
One important consideration is to make sure that you can sit far enough away from a large screen so that you are not straining your eyes while watching. It’s not comfortable to watch for long periods and will make you feel like you wasted your investment if you end up not watching it as much as you planned to.
When it comes to TV’s we generally think that bigger is better. What can actually make a living room TV though is if you spend the extra cash on features such as a Smart TV or even a 3-D TV. Once we have a TV at home we generally get used to the picture quality and it then becomes the normal TV that we replaced. If we have extra features to distinguish from our old equipment it makes us feel like the upgrade was worthwhile.
The next thing to consider is the overall picture quality that you want from the TV. In fact picture quality if the number one thing that most TV buyers look for when they purchase a TV. Always go out and look at the different TV’s that are hanging up in places like Walmart or Best Buy rather than purchasing a TV online that way you can judge for yourself the picture quality that you are looking for.
Also make use of reviews on the internet. Choose a few sites and read as many of the opinions as possible from customers that actually own the models in question. This can be a gold mine of information from real people that may have already experienced an issue that you might in the future.
Try not to just choose a TV based on the fact that you have purchased from a manufacturer before. All manufacturers are capable of producing equipment that is not the best investment and may not actually be suitable for your next purchase.
Picture quality is dependent a variety of factors such as source quality, the room lighting, and even the picture settings that you choose.
LED, LCD or Plasma
One last thing to consider is whether you want an LED, LCD or Plasma. The difference between LED and LCD is simply the back-lighting technology that is used to help produce the picture quality on the screen. Generally LED’s and LCD’s are one in the same but LED TV’s produce better quality picture than an LCD. They tend to be much cheaper as well.
Although plasma TV’s seem to be old technology now, they really are not. They are still high quality and do not suffer from the problem of “wearing” out that we were initially led to believe. Due to this perception that has been created by manufacturers trying to get us to purchase only new technology, there are now some fantastic deals to be had for plasma TV’s. Take a look before discounting this technology as obsolete.
Ultimately the decision on buying a TV comes down to what you actually like that is within your budget. As long as the size, quality and features are sufficient then it may come down to what the TV actually looks like and whether the brand is one that you have some respect for.Read More
Nowadays you can pretty much turn anything into a home entertainment system. The same holds true for your car. You can hook up small TV screen to your car for your children to watch or to use navigation if you want. You can even build it to have 5.1 surround sound to blast from your car speakers.
There are many reasons as to why people convert their car or truck into a home entertainment system. The first reason being primarily for entertainment. No one can deny that every trip whether they be as simple as running to the local supermarket or taking a long road trip across the country, it is much easier and much more enjoyable when the kids (if you have any) have access to different entertainment options.
There are now backseat video systems which come with plenty of options that allow your kids to watch their favorite movies and cartoons or even play their favorite video game system. As an added bonus to you the parent, most of these spectacular systems come with built-in headphones into the system, so that they will be able to hear the movies or games privately while you can still enjoy the radio up front.
The many reasons why parents choose to do this to their car is the fact that simply the car is a fun environment in which to watch movies and above all it helps to keep children occupied so that the parent can concentrate on driving rather than be distracted by their children. Parents aren’t the only ones who enjoy this either.
Kids get a kick out of it and love it when they are able to watch their favorite movies in the backseat while the car is in motion. To them nothing is as enjoyable as hopping into the car and switching on their favorite movie or video game to keep them busy while they go to the supermarket or off out to visit family.
In order to have a home entertainment system within the comfort of one’s car a person basically needs only three things: a video monitor, a media player such as a DVD player, blue-ray disc player or video game console, and an audio component such as headphones that are either wired to the unit or are wireless.
In-Car Surround Sound
As with any home stereo, it is actually possible to get quality 5.1 surround sound in your very own car. In fact the cozy, enclosed environment of a car makes it easy to hear the distinct channel separation that most don’t even hear from within the comfort of their own home.
The way that this works is that your car’s front and rear speakers actually act as the front left and right and surround left and right channels that you would find in many home entertainment systems. You can even an amplified sub-woofer to complete the speaker setup to enhance the quality and nature of the sound playing out from your car’s speakers.
Even if you don’t have any children you can still use a high quality screen and sound system that can act as navigation or even a back-up camera to help you pull out of tight spots.
In-car entertainment can seem like a luxury to some, but it is becoming a necessity for some and is a wonderful treat on a long journey to have your favorite music or movie playing in high definition.Read More
When you are looking for your perfect headphones there are many things to consider for what is seemingly one of the simpler electronic equipment purchases you will make. Don’t rely on the cheap headphones that were bundled with your MP3 player. With the right pair of headphones, you can experience music on a whole different level, of course all depending on the money that you want to spend.
Most people these days use ear buds for their headphones. Ear buds are perfect for people who are short on space whether they are at the gym or on a plane but they still want to be able to listen to their music.
These types of headphones are also perfect if you carry a very small purse and want to keep your iPod and ear buds together in it. Ear buds are great if you are on a limited budget, because there is a variety to choose from at all price levels and more recently at higher quality points too.
Cheaper ear buds often come with their own list of problems, such as falling out of yours ears frequently if you can’t get them to fit or even hurting your ears. With higher prices ranging anywhere from $25 to $50, you will get more comfortable ear buds if you invest the money and time into finding them.
However, if you are on a higher budget and don’t mind spending the money you could consider other options such as a pair of Sennheiser ear buds which usually cost close to $130 or Shure ear buds which usually cost about $120. These have a reputation that is matched by their cost.
Another thing to remember is the quality of the sound that your headphones will produce. Remember, you get what you pay for and generally the more money that you spend on headphones the high quality of sound you will receive. As a general rule the more expensive headphones are made with much higher quality materials and are made better, thus improving the sound quality.
For example if you purchase $30 headphones they will definitely sound good, but not as good as most $60 headphones. Say you purchase headphones that are in the $80 to $100 price range, you may actually hear things in your music that you’ve never heard before and when you do it will astound you. I will never forget the time I listened to a CD on a pair of sub-$100 Grado headphones. I actually thought there was something wrong with my player until I realized it was the extra detail I was being provided!
If you purchase $10 headphones that were on sale these headphones probably won’t last a year and they will not produce audio of decent quality. Spending at least $40 should ensure reasonable headphones that will do the job that you are looking for and produce a decent amount of audio quality.
In conclusion, when it comes to purchasing headphones you should not skimp on them just to get them at a cheaper price. The key to remember is that the more money you spend on headphones the higher quality sound you will achieve. You may find yourself buying a second pair if the first purchase is not up to scratch, thereby defeating the point of saving money in the first place.Read More
A surround sound system is a system that provides what is known as “sound-stage width” where various instruments or sounds can be heard across the plane of the two speakers which are connected to your TV. In more normal terms it is the feeling of being surrounded by the music or sound, hence the name “surround sound”.
So, maybe you want to hook up a surround sound system to the TV you have chosen? How exactly will it work and what will it do for you? This guide will help you understand the inner workings of a surround sound system and how it will benefit you in the long run.
Normally when you purchase a surround sound system you will purchase a common two channel stereo system that consists of a mono “sum” channel which pumps out the majority of the sound for both the left and the right speakers along with what is known as a “difference” channel which pumps out both the imaging and ambiance information to the speaker to help produce higher quality sound.
The more speakers you have connected to the surround system the more the sound can be pumped out around the entire room. Most systems will provide a bass for added theatrical performance of the speakers.
Most of the time a surround sound system takes advantage of the difference in the sound quality of all of the speakers attached to help deliver music and other audio effects to the rear speakers of your system which are more commonly placed close to the viewers i.e. your family. However, these rear speakers can also be located to either side of the listening area or all around the room if that is the owner’s preference.
The reason why a surround sound system works best for you is because it is good for unmasking the reflected sound from a recording that is played on the television. What is reflecting sound? Reflected sound is the sound you hear from the wall reflections of any acoustic environment other than the sound that you hear directly from the actors performing on TV.
Most of the time you are not even aware of the reflected sound that is coming from the TV, yet it does make a large difference in your hearing perception of what you are watching on TV. As an example we’ll say you are watching a symphony orchestra playing a beautiful song in an open field.
What you would hear would sound much different from those same players if you were to hear them in Carnegie Hall. Surround sound allows these sounds to be directed to you from behind you or on either side of you in your listening environment.
Owning a surround sound system will become one of your most treasured possessions. Watching TV sounds so much better with the use of surround sound than it would with regular speakers that come attached to the TV.
You can make sporting events much more enjoyable and make it seem you are right there on the field with the players or you can make it feel as if you are watching your favorite movie in an expensive movie theater. Investing in a quality surround sound system is one that you will get a great hours of fun and entertainment from.Read More
Most mainstream articles that you find online nowadays regarding the generational shifts in sound quality often don’t make any sense. Articles written along these lines tend to draw lines between what is considered to be “yesterday’s” listening devices such as older $30,000 home Hi-Fi systems and “today’s” listening devices such as the popular iPod’s and laptops like the popular iMac. However, articles like this aren’t exactly new.
Articles like this have been popping up since sound quality has been argued about and many people still debate over this issue today. So, what really happened to the high end stereo market?
Before the personal music revolution there were no high quality devices like we have today. There were things such as record players and 8 track tape players that people used to use to listen to their music. Back then the audio quality produced from these devices was nowhere near as good as it is now.
The reality is that audio quality is much better today than it ever was before. Here is a quick comparison so that you can understand this. Take the original Sony Walkman for example. The TPS-L2 version of the Sony Walkman was sold for $200 back in 1979. That’s nearly equivalent to $650 in today’s dollars. So for that kind of money how was its overall sound quality?
Well, actually if we were to measure it in digital terms such as bits, its audio performance might be equivalent to only about 6 bits or 6 pieces of actual sound information that is being delivered to the listener. Now take an iPod classic for example.
These little devices usually cost a bit over $200 and can even hold thousands of songs at an impressive bit rate of 320 kbps. This proves not only once, but multiple times why the iPod has been indistinguishable from even the best sound products of any given age.
Now let’s take a look at some headphones. A few years ago at the height of the supposed “hi-fi” era, headphones exhibited extremely poor sound quality. In those days you really didn’t have much of choice either when it came to headphones – your main choices were usually between a pair of headphones that had no bass or had no treble!
The few pairs of headphones available at the that time were considered to be good even by today’s high standards. However, many of them would require an amp so they would never actually work with a portable device much less even be remotely affordable for the average customer.
If headphones back then were so crummy what would happen if you dropped the best quality headphones? Forget about it. There would be no way to describe how bad the sound quality would even be.
Ever since the invention of the iPod and small personal audio devices, the popularity of high end audio stereo systems has dropped dramatically for reasons such as quality, convenience and price. High end stereo systems back then did not have the quality that exists today and thus there is no competition to today’s technology.Read More
Whether or not you have a degree, there are any different options for you to choose from when it comes to working in the audio and visual field. There are many different careers you can choose that all require their own special set of educational requirements. This post will help you to decide if a career in the sound industry is attractive to you and what steps you have to take to get the special training and education that you to succeed.
The first option you have is to go into broadcasting. By going into broadcasting you can go into different avenues for this such as television, news or even radio broadcasting. If you want to go into a career in broadcasting, you can become a broadcasting technician. A broadcasting technician is typically also known as a master control operator, a master board operator or an audio engineer.
A broadcasting technician is responsible primarily for operating and maintaining both TV and radio program equipment. They are responsible for regulating program volume, monitoring broadcast signals, and also for using automated systems to record specific programs. A broadcasting technician is responsible for performing a wide variety of duties though many technicians tend to focus on specific areas of this career such as audio, projection, or TV transmitter operation.
In order to become a broadcasting technician a person usually has to acquire a two year or four year degree at any approved school that offers a program in Audio and Visual broadcasting.
2. Audio Production
The second option you have is to go into Audio Production. If you choose to go into this field you can become what is known as an Audio Visual Technician. An audio visual technician is primarily responsible for setting up, operating, maintaining, and instructing others how to use AV equipment.
They are also responsible for providing and operating equipment that are used for business conferences, seminars, meetings, and even concerts. Their primary job duties are to mix sound inputs, store audio and/or video data, design equipment layouts, and monitor sound feeds.
The typical equipment that audio visual technicians may use in their line of work includes lighting systems, speakers, video screens, and mixers. In order to become a an audio visual tech you must complete a two year or four year program in Audio and Visual Production.
3. Sound Engineering
The third option you have is to go into Sound Engineering. If you decide to go this route you would become what is known as a sound engineering technician. These technicians are usually hired to work in recording studios, concert halls and radio stations.
Technicians use different types of equipment to record sounds, edit recordings, mix music and synchronize sounds in productions. They are responsible for setting up and tearing down equipment for special events, developing soundtracks and editing equipment.
There are many different avenue one can use to get into a career in the audio and visual field. Whether you decide to become a broadcasting technician, an audio visual technician or a sound engineering technician the one thing to remember is that no matter what you need to get an education as most of these careers require a person to have no less than a two year degree. Once you have that the choices are limitless for you.Read More
Whenever we travel nowadays it is essential to pack as light as possible. This hold especially true if you plan on bringing a carry on bag. Of course on the plane, whether you have a short or long flight you always want to make sure that you are entertained so that the trip passes quickly.
Is there a way that you can pack light for a trip or flight and still be able to entertain yourself for the entire ride? There sure is and hopefully this will help you figure out what you can bring with you on the flight to make it pass by fast for you.
Of course the very first thing that one should consider to bring with them on a trip to help pass the time fast is an iPad (or equivalent). An iPad is ultra light and easy to fit in any carry on bag. On these desirable little tablets you can do pretty much anything on them whether you want to play games or even finish some office work on it.
Listening to music and watching movies is obviously another choice, just make sure you have everything you need loaded onto them before leaving for your trip.
If you will have decent quality wifi access when you are traveling you can also use the App Store that is installed to download movies, games or TV shows so you can watch whatever you want to on them.
However the battery life on these will only perhaps last at the most 3 to 4 hours without charging them so if you intend to use this on a long haul flight it is best to ensure that you have somewhere you can charge the iPad while you use it.
If you cannot afford an expensive iPad you can always go with an Amazon Kindle tablet or a Barnes and Noble Nook Tablet. While the internet functions on these tablets is somewhat more limited you can still use these to read comic books or even novels as that is the reason they were produced in the first place.
You can even play some games on them that were downloaded from the App store on any of these devices. While these tablets are cheaper than an iPad they definitely do not lack on functionality nor the acceptable size that makes these tablets perfect for light weight packing and traveling.
If you do not own an iPad, or Kindle you could always just bring along your phone with you. Nowadays people use Android phones or iPhones so these little beauties are always connected to the internet in one way or another. You can always download certain apps like video games or videos to keep you busy while you are traveling.
Even though in today’s world it is essential to pack light, you can do so without skimping on the entertainment you need to keep yourself busy while you travel. There are many things you can bring with you that are lightweight and that can still keep you busy like an iPad, iPhone or an Amazon Kindle Tablet.
The key to traveling light is to bring the bare minimum while allowing you to do everything you want. The devices mentioned here will allow that and more and that respect we really are spoilt these days.Read More
Today many phones such as the iPhone or Samsung Galaxy are built to be able to control a ton of accessories on them in the form of many popular apps. Some of the most popular apps that many people use on their smart phones are games but a majority of people use apps to be able to control their variety of audio and visual components in their home.
However, many people have many different kinds of audio and visual equipment in their homes such as blue-ray disc players, home theater systems and TV’s. So, how can you choose the right accessories for your iPhone or Android Phone?
The first app you can download onto your iPhone or Android is to purchase an app that is linked to your Blu-Ray/DVD player. The majority of new Blu-ray Disc players on the market today are capable of streaming live media as well as if they were playing a disc live.
Many popular manufacturers of these players have made plenty of control apps for these components available straight from a person’s smart phone. Some of the most popular brands such as Panasonic, Samsung and Sony offer these wonderful apps. All that you have to do is insert a Blu-ray disc into your player, include the relevant player model info into the app and the information regarding the title of the movie that is being played can be displayed right onto your handheld device.
The information that is streamed to your smart phone includes the genre of the movie, the duration of the movie, the rating given to the movie, its release date, the information on the cast and even the cover art of the movie. Some versions of these apps come with hard buttons that enable the person to be able to control the remote of the player from their smart phone.
Another creative app that a person can download onto their smart phone can even control their home theater system. Several home theater system manufacturers offer home theater systems that can stream entertainment straight from the Internet onto the person’s phone or tablet.
For example the popular Panasonic Theater Remote which was created in 2012 is designed to recreate the dials and switches found on the front panel of your home theater system receiver and place that image straight onto your touch-screen device allowing you to be able to control the system from your phone.
So for instance if you were to turn the soft dials, raise your sub-woofer level, choose surround sound effects that you want or even if you want to lower the volume, you are able to do it from your phone with this cool little app. There are many different apps out there one can choose to help control the AV settings on your favorite device straight from the comfort of your iPhone/iPad or Android device.
Search on the appropriate app store for av apps and you will see the huge availability of apps that will help to make the control of your home devices easier. The convenience of having equipment controlled from your personal device is matched by the ability to keep the multitude of separate remote controls hidden out of sight.Read More