SoundVision

The new Apple TV is out – be careful

****UPDATE****

2-17-16 – Well, ok, I was excited to get the new Apple TV.  Michael Rahtes, our lead installer and I both were.  After having it in our homes for the last month, we have, independently, come up with the same conclusion.  While it a very cool and slick interface, we both like the older version better.  When navigating the menus, searching on Netflix and Hulu for example, the older version is faster and just makes more sense.

Full disclosure that neither of us are gamers, so we don’t use that part of the new Apple TV.  Additionally, while Siri is nice, I don’t find myself using it when searching for things on the TV.  I have tried it, but, have not felt it offered a huge benefit over simply searching with the remote, but, it does work.

In short, unless you are a gamer, or just want the newer model (like me), I would save some $$$ and get the $99 version 3 Apple TV.

 

The new Apple TV is out, and it does some really cool stuff.  While I could go on and on and extol the benefits, there are many sites that already do that. If you want to read about the Apple TV’s new features, check them out here.

This blog is NOT about that. As a Hone Technology Professional, it is our job at  SoundVision to integrate these into larger systems.

Many of the new technologies that come out are designed in a vacuum, in and of themselves. They work well as a stand-a-lone system, and are always demonstrated in that way.

The problem is that, many times, these devices are incorporated into larger systems where they don’t always mesh or play well.

Take, for example, the new Apple TV’s remote and use of Siri. While the ability to have a touch sensitive remote with a microphone to access Siri is very cool, the problem is now the remote HAS to be both close to both you and the Apple TV. Many times it is the best practice to hide these devices and have a more system integrated remote interface.

These remote capabilities can inhibit the overall integration into a larger system and make it MORE DIFFICULT to operate.

Our goal is to Simplify Life Through Technology, plain and simple. We want our Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius, Huntersville and Charlotte to have systems they enjoy and can operate.  That is why we install these new devices in our homes BEFORE we put them in yours. You can trust that we won’t use your home or business as a test site.

The best advice is to wait and see how these devices stack up. That way we don’t deal with all the bugs and, a lot of times, save money too.

If you have questions, call at 704-696-2792 or email us at [email protected] anytime![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

 

When Black Friday Comes….oops, that’s a Steely Dan song

That time of year is upon us again! I am not talking about the changing of the leaves during my favorite season of the year, fall, or the incredible meal at Thanksgiving, the beginning of decorating for the holidays, the brisk changing of the temperature, or any other part of this wonderful time of year.

I am talking about Black Friday.  That’s right, Black Friday.

That eerie Friday after Thanksgiving that drives people crazy and turns us into mad demons, racing to the stores EARLY in the morning or now later in the evening of Thanksgiving to beat the next person and get the door buster special that only happens once a year.

Now I am not saying that I am not as tempted as the next fella during this time; and, my family and I certainly enjoy a bargain and talking about the deal we just got; however, when it comes to some of the electronics that will be purchased, I just want to draw attention to some potential “hidden costs” that might not be readily apparent when you bring that new box home to roost.

First and foremost are the TVs.

There are some amazing deals on Black Friday to be had with TVs.  However, if you are one of our clients that has a custom remote system (e.g. Universal Remote Control or Savant), you might want to give us a call BEFORE purchasing that new 75″ HDTV with all the wiz-bang features.  The reason is that if you currently have a Samsung TV and you purchase a new Sony TV, your remote will not know the difference and will not turn the TV on, change the volume, or have access to any Smart features you might be itching to try out.  It might be as simple as having us swing by to change the programming of the remote for your new TV. Heck, if you have one of our automation systems, we might be able to do it without even coming by your home.  How cool is that?!

While we are on the subject of TVs, if you are upsizing (going from say a 50″ to a 75″ HDTV) there is also the potential issue of the mount.  What works for smaller TVs might not support the weight or width of the newer TV.  A simply call or email to us can help save you some frustration when you get the new TV home, out of the box, and want to swap them yourself.  BTW, a picture is worth 1000 words you know; so, if you have a question, send us a picture which will help us diagnose the issue quicker.

All of the mounts we sell and install also have micro adjustments so we can account for walls that aren’t plumb and make sure that your TV is perfectly level (which sometimes can be a major pain)!

If you are in the market for a new Apple TV, please make sure to check out my previous blog (by clicking here) on the potential issues that could crop up after you bring it home.  We want to make sure your experience is the best it can be when using this incredible new piece of electronics.

Finally, with video games, Blu-Ray players, and any other piece of SOURCE electronics (a device that delivers content in some way to your TV), you might want to call us BEFORE you purchase it to see how it might impact the rest of your system.  Many of today’s gaming systems are proprietary and require specific cabling to deliver everything the game promises.  There are numerous things to consider to make sure these pieces will fit into the rest of your system harmoniously.

If any of this seems Greek to you, don’t worry, that is why we are here.  Shoot us an email at [email protected] or give us a call at 704-696-2792 anytime and we will gladly help out.  Also, if you are new to the Lake Norman, Mooresville, Davidson, Cornelius or Huntersville, North Carolina area, drop us a line.  We would LOVE to be your partner going forward and help your family or business navigate through the electronics jungle.

At SoundVision, it is our mission to help “Simplify Your Life Through Technology.”[/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

 

It’s official – it’s the Christmas season

OK, there are many, many things to be thankful for.  We should all know that!

Here at SoundVision, the Lake Norman, Mooresville, Davidson and greater Charlotte area has helped us have a banner year; and, for that, we are so thankful for you, our customers.

As we enter into the Christmas season, I am reminded often of a story that has touched my life at so many times in different ways during this season.  The funny thing is that I can not remember for the life of me where I originally first heard it.  I know it was not when I was a kid, so, I am not sure how this story first touched my life.  I just know that I love hearing it and thinking back to the times I know it touched my life.

At this very special and holy time of the year, it is my hope that it will, in some way touch you and your family.

The story is the one about the three trees and so profoundly reflects this time of the year.  Click the link below and watch the video.

The story of the Three Trees

 

From all of us at SoundVision, to all of you and your families, Merry Christmas!  May the reason for the season be alive in your lives![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

 

Everyone is talking about Home Automation

Home automation is a wonderful way to Simplify Life Through Technology by having your home do things you do every day for you, without you having to do them. Let me give you some examples.

  • Lights dimming or turning off, with just the touch of one button; or, without touching a button at all!
  • Arming your security system triggers doors to lock and outdoor lighting to turn on
  • Turning the TV off after 9pm at night arms the security system, turns back the temperature and lights a pathway to your Owner’s Suite, while also turning on the children’s night lights.
  • Forget to arm the alarm and turn back the thermostat when you leave; no problem, the system recognizes no motion from your motion detectors over a period of time and automatically does it for you.

Home automation is what it sounds like: automating the ability to control items around the house—from window shades to pet feeders—with a simple push of a button (or a voice command).

home-auto2

Still, imagine monitoring your home using an interface on your computer, tablet, or smartphone, or even panels mounted around the house.

It’s going seriously mainstream. Google made a big investment in it, spending $3.2 billion dollars buying Nest Labs, the company behind one of the cool thermostats and smoke detectors out there.

home-auto3

Before you buy a bunch of home automation products, you should understand the technologies involved in setting up and using them. There are many different types of communication protocols that products use to talk to each other and their controllers. Some are wired, some are wireless, and some are a combination. Try to stick with one protocol when buying products; you’ll be better off.

Z-Wave: Another wireless home automation protocol, Z-Wave is owned by one company, Sigma Designs, which makes all the chips for other vendors to make Z-Wave-capable products.

Wi-Fi: This is the networking protocol we’re all used to for sharing an Internet connection among laptops, game consoles, and so much more. It’s super fast and ubiquitous. So, of course, it’s inevitable that some vendors would make home automation products to take advantage of that. The other protocols use less power and bandwidth but Wi-Fi’s reach can’t be understated, even if it is overkill to use it to turn a lamp on and off.

ZigBee: That’s a name for a wireless 802 standard from the IEEE, which is to say, a bunch of gear heads came up with it before an outside group (the ZigBee Alliance) made up of vendors made products to work with it. One of the key elements in IEEE 802.15.4 (its real name) is that it makes a mesh network so that most of the devices communicate equally. It’s also very low power.

Insteon: This may be the best of all protocols because it combines wired power line-based protocol with wireless. Both work as a mesh; all nodes on an Insteon home automation network are peers that can communicate when in proximity. If one fails, the other mesh can take over.

At SoundVision, we research ALL of these products and use them in OUR homes before we recommend them in YOURS! We are proud to offer our services for Davidson, Lake Norman, NC and more. Give us a call today![/vc_column_text][/vc_column][/vc_row]

 

BE CAREFUL of Time Warner’s new modem upgrades

It is always our intent at SoundVision to provide our clients with the latest information in the world of technology that can affect their lives.
Recently, there have been a big hub bub around faster internet speeds and FREE upgrades.  This is wonderful.  We, like you, were very excited about getting additional speed for no additional cost.
Most recently, in our service area, Time Warner cable, has been touting this increased speed.  The issue is that, to get this speed, you had to upgrade your modem.
Over the past several weeks, we have had NUMEROUS clients experience issues as a result of this upgrade.  For the first few clients, we believed it might be the parts of the network we installed; however, now it appears it might have more to do with the Time Warner modem than our equipment directly.
These issues have manifested themselves into erratic internet connectivity and / or WiFi speeds, loss of connection between the modem and the router (which severely affects WiFi), and other, odd issues that manifest into slower speeds and shaky connectivity.
The main issue seems to stem from when you have the modem that has
BOTH Internet and WiFi built in.  When you have a home network which includes a quality router, like the ones we use, there is
NO NEED to have WiFi built into the modem that Time Warner provides.
In speaking with Time Warner, typically they will suggest this combination, as it makes the most sense in many homes, but, NOT our clients.
In short, call us
before you upgrade your modem or service, and we can instruct you on what to get to minimize your frustration.  Otherwise, do
NOT get the modem / router combination unit from Time Warner.  Instead, simply get the modem only.  This will alleviate many of the issues.
If you would like to learn more about the modem and what it does, click below.
As always, if you have any questions, please contact us and we will gladly walk you through it.  We are here to help!

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System Resets are here to stay – what to do when your system acts up

Let’s face it, technology is both a wonderful thing and a frustrating thing.

When it works, it truly can make your life easier, more enjoyable, and COOL all at the same time.  However, when it isn’t working, it can be REALLY FRUSTRATING.

Of course, as always seems to be the case, this happens at the least opportune times; like:

  • When you are trying to hit a deadline at work,
  • The kids have a paper or test due that they need to complete on the laptop the schools have handed out and can not get online
  • In the middle of the Super Bowl when the picture freezes or you can not get the audio system to work.

Over the past few years, we have been getting increasing calls like this, with a great majority of these issues being tied to system resets.  There is no doubt that in today’s advanced technological systems, system resets are something we have to deal with.  The good news is that they do not have to be something that you need to wait for us to come out and do; and, we have developed some tools and documents to help you diagnose and reset your systems so that you are back up and running, thus minimizing your frustration level.

The first and telltale sign that your system needs a reset is anytime you start to experience erratic or inconsistent performance from a device or system in general.  Examples could be:

  • Cable or satellite box,
  • WiFi performance not what it used to be
  • Cameras that are no longer viewable, or
  • Apps not working or working inconsistently

These are all potentially fixed through a system reset.  While not a guarantee, the system reset is the quickest way to see if your system is in the proper state, and will let you know if you need to contact us for a service call or not.

Because some of these reset require a certain order of steps to be completed properly, we have created a few documents to help out.  Included below is a link to a copy of our network reset document to help you do this step by step reset to help correct network and WiFi irregularities.

Network Reset Procedure v1 – 4-15-15

Additionally, below is a link to a letter we include in our customer system packets.  There are a number of FAQ items here, many dealing with resets and what to do in the event that you think a system component needs a reset.

Client Instruction Page v1 pdf picture — 4-20-14

 

By doing these resets yourself, you can save valuable time, not have to wait on us, and save the cost of a service call.  All in all, being able to handle this yourself is clearly a win / win situation.

We want to make certain your system is up and running with as little downtime as possible.  This is just one way we are doing our best to “Simplify Life Through Technology.”

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Media Rooms are SUPER COOL!

Media Rooms are a term that is used for many different ideas and concepts.  In some cases, a Media Room can be one with dual purpose, like playing games and watching TV, it can include multiple TVs, or it can just be a wide open space that allows for social gatherings without feeling enclosed in a more “theater like” experience.

While it could be called a “Man Cave,” our Media Rooms are designed to allow everyone to enjoy them.

In our world, here at SoundVision of Lake Norman, Media Rooms are simply  a space that is multi-purpose in use and DEFINITELY accommodates some terrific audio and video.  This time of year, with the Super Bowl and the NCAA Basketball tournament right around the corner, they are HOT areas and people get a lot of use out of them.

At SoundVision, you have an expert, right here in Mooresville, North Carolina.  We pride ourselves on designing spaces that are elegant, offer an incredible video and audio experience, while at the same time are simple to use and enjoy!

Contact us at 704-696-2792 or via email at [email protected] to set up a time for us to look at your space and create the Media Room of your dreams.

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Welcome Zach Simpson

There is s lot happening here at SoundVision of Lake Norman.   We are super excited to welcome industry veteran Zach Simpson to our team.

Zach brings with him a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and a spirit of customer service. Having worked in the industry since 1998 in various capacities, not the least of which was owning his own successful business in S3, Zach is a HUGE addition to our SoundVision. Learn more about him here.

In 2016, Zach will be charged with helping SoundVision advance our growth in luxury residential as well as both commercial and the ever advancing digital signage arenas.

Most importantly, Zach is going to help “Simplify Life Through Technology.”

 

SERVICE

Clients can expect a response to emails by noon the following business day. For more immediate support, please call (704) 696-2792 extension 2 for Service

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Send us your contact info and we will contact you to discuss our custom membership option.