alarm system

Security System – what they can do and who should you trust with installation part 2

  • For a shop premises we can connect a panic button that can either send a silent alarm (no sirens) to the security company or an audible alarm.
  • There are many different movement detectors that can be connected. Back in the old days we used “reed switches” (a magnetic switch on the doors and windows to send the alarm off), also 360 degree sensors that look right around, “PET” detectors (only sensors larger items, it’s designed to ignore small things moving like a small dog or cat), a “beam” laser that when broken activates the alarm, “glass breaker” that basically is a microphone and listens for glass breaking, vibration sensor, ”wireless” movement sensors for places where cables cannot be run to, and of course the traditional sensor that we all know about.

Alarm systems have come a long way in recent times and of course will only advance further as time goes by, as proven above an intruder alarm is so much more today than it was in the past, it can be a fire alarm system, a fridge alarm system for a shop or factory (one alarm system can do the lot), basically any type of sensor can be connected to it and the system will monitor it. Crime rates are on the increase and are different from suburb to suburb; stats can be seen athttp://crimetool.bocsar.nsw.gov.au/bocsar/ so it’s becoming ever more important to have a system installed.

So when it comes to having an alarm system installed, you need to make sure your happy with the installer as he will know all the in’s and out’s off your house, also make sure he has a security licence and the company also has a master security licence. If the alarm system will be connected to the phone line, make sure the installer is carrying a cabling licence as per the Australian telecommunication regulation. Without all or any of these licences, the installer and the company are working illegally.

Our Master Security Licence Number is 000100765, and personal licenses can be presented upon request.

jamo 360hcs8

Flush Mount Verses Free Standing Speakers

Speaker Aesthetics

Aesthetics in a lounge room or home theatre room is a big deal, but so is sound quality, so choosing the correct speaker type and configuration for your home theatre or lounge room isflush mount speaker a big deal. As a sales and installation company, we understand the needs of both and we always let our customers know before making any purchase of both advantages and disadvantages of both systems, though we always lean towards free standing speakers.
There is a lot of controversy between in wall/ceiling speaker as compared to free standing speakers, to the point where many sales people (just to agree and sell you something) and home improvement TV shows are saying “you’re not compromising on sound quality at all with ceiling speaker or in wall speakers”. In our option this is totally incorrect for many reasons.

Home Theatre Compromsing

A compromise is always made with speaker systems, if you want all the speakers hidden away into the wall, then you’re compromising on sound quality, if you’re after sound quality, then it’s the ascetics of the room that will be suffer.
A true high quality home theatre system is completed by choosing free standing speaker. As the speaker is enclosed in a box, that box was especially acoustically designed for that speaker to sound its best, this reinforce the sound that the speaker is creating. As opposed to in wall speakers where there is no backing, the soundJamo C109 quality will be decrease dramatically as the speaker is not working as good as it cold be, for some in wall/ceiling speaker there are back boxes that can be purchased separately to try to improve sound quality, but this was designed to stop sound leaking into other rooms and disturbing other people throughout the house.

Aesthetically Pleasing Free Standing Speakers

jamo 360hcs8Free standing speaker do not need to look ugly, so this depends on what you choose and what your budget is, out in the market there are some very attractive speakers that come in many different sizes to suit many different rooms, the same can be said for in wall/ceiling speakers, there are speakers that have grills on them and then there are speakers that can blend right in with the wall and not even look like there are any speakers there. So choose carefully and do your homework as you’ll be spending many years with the home theatre that will be installed.

Choosing the correct speaker size for your theatre room

When you’re thinking of purchasing your first home theatre system or consider upgrading, where do you start? Usually the speakers, but what size speakers do you need? Selecting the correct speaker size is important for many reasons, usually you go in the retail store, look around and if you’re lucky somebody will come up to you and ask if you need any help, then you’re relying on there SALES skills to sell something that you hope is what you need.

Choosing the correct speaker package

Speakers that are too big;

The correct speaker package for home theatre room is important for a number of reasons, in our opion are all Large speakers, small roomequal. Starting with a speaker package that is too big for the room – there are limits and guide lines that need to be followed, if the sales guy walks you to the biggest speakers they have on display and talks you into them, and your room size for argument sake is 5m x 4m, there are a few problems, firstly you’ll never be able to use the speaker to their full potential, the sound pressure levels that they can produce would deafen a person in a small room, not the mention they’ll be taking up too much room and also usually bigger means more money, so you’d be wasting money there well on large speakers, although you can spend a lot of money on small speakers, if things were equal, the same amounts of money was spent on the right set of speakers (smaller speaker), you would be purchasing high performance award winning speakers for the same value as regular large speakers.

Speakers that are too small

The opposite is try as well, if the speaker package you purchased is too small, you’ll always have the system turned up to full all the time, the room will not fill up with sound properly and you’ll never feel immersed in the movie, if this is the case the life span of small speakers will decrease due to extreme wear and tere. In this case your budget needs to be extended regardless, even purchasing a larger amplifier to accommodate the extra power required to drive the larger speakers. To get the most out of floor standing speaker (larger speakers), there is a different way to wire them up, nearly all sales people and most installers do not know about the appropriate way, so do some research, ask the questions and be careful of installers that are unsure of your basic questions.

As a conclusion, to size up your home theatre room properly, a technician should come out to you and see the room first, to consultant with you and talk about options you’ll have, talking to a sales person only in the showroom can result in mistakes being make and we’ve seen this on many occasions which only after the installation, regrets are made.

 

Heos by Denon – Multi-Room Audio (Part 2)

Controlling and using the Heos System

The Heos app could not be any easier to control, the Heos system can be controlled from any apple and android device, so this means you can stream music off your phone or tablet straight into the speaker through your home Wi-Fi, it’s all done directly from the Heos app, also on the app you can create your own playlist too. Playing music on an external hard drive like a NAS and not to mention internet radio is also just at a figurers touch. The Heos app  has Pandora, Spotify and TuneIn (radio stations from around the world) preloaded, it doesn’t have as many as Sonos currently but as with any new product the list will grow in time. The entire Heos range has AUX input and as we mentioned you could plug in your TV in, or you could use the input to connect an external CD player or anything else you would like that has an A/V output.

Party mode

If you’re holding a function or party, this is a great feature of the system, link all your portable speakers together through the app (iPhone, iPad, Android…) and you have created one large sound system, place the speakers in any desired place to create an orr inspiring wireless sound system. Denon Heos 7

Pricing

Sonos largest wireless speaker is the equivalent size of the Heos middle sized speaker, and not to mention the Heos RRP in line with sonos’s pricing so not only is it competitive, Heos is a far superior product for the RRP on offer.

Conclusion

Although the Heos will do everything the Sonos can does, the Heos system is much easier to control and has many more inputs to choose from, Sonos is more of technology company where Denon is an audio company and the amount of awards the Heos system have won are on going, not to mention Choice Magazine did reviews no half a dozen wireless systems including Bose and Sonos and the results were Heos 7 and Heos 5 were at the top of list. The Heos 7 also is larger than the Sonos PLAY:5 speaker, so you know you’ll be able to fill any room without any problems. The system works through your existing Wi-Fi network so it doesn’t mean having to purchase and network devices with the Sonos, the Heos can also be hardwired as well. No doubt Denon will release more product as time goes on. To get the biggest bang for your buck, the Denon Heos system is the way to go. To conclude, when Sonos announced they were suing Denon through the Sonos website, it has been very interesting to read what Sonos’s own customers have had to say about the Sonos product itself.

Sources

https://www.choice.com.au/electronics-and-technology/home-entertainment/personal-listening/reviews-and-tests/networked-speakers – need subscription to Choice Magazine

http://blog.sonos.com/news/protecting-what-we-invented/ – Some very interesting comments from Sonos customers

http://www.soundandvision.com/content/denon-heos-wireless-multiroom-sound-system – US review with US prices

http://usa.denon.com/us/news/news – Heos progress

http://www.strata-gee.com/sonos-sues-halt-heos/

http://www.cepro.com/article/dm_group_responds_to_sonos_litigation/

Heos by Denon – Multi-Room Audio (Part 1)

Blog_Heos3_5_7By Simon – Custom Audio Visual Solutions

Multi room audio systems are becoming more popular as time goes be with many advantages. It is at a point where many manufactures are trying their hand at it, for example, Samsung, LG, Bose, Bowers & Wilkins are a few, and now Denon. Ever since 2002, Sonos has dominated the multi-room audio market and since the Heos has come to the market in 2014 and not to mention having done such a great job at producing the product with many commendations form different technology review websites which has attracted a lot of attention, Sonos has decided create waves and slow the success of Heos.

AUSTRALIAN BORN IDEA

Unlike Sonos, Bose or any of the other multi-room audio systems, Heos is an Australian born idea, originally developed in North Sydney and then Denon taking up production, so purchasing a Heos system means supporting Australian engineers and an Australian idea, Denon will be keeping development in Australia, but Heos does also have another R&D centre in California and of course Denon in Japan.

The Sydney Morning Herold Digital Life” dated 22.4.15, article on the Heos range.

ADVANTAGES

Blog_HeosExtenderThe main advantage of a multi-room audio system is each family member is able to play their favorite music or radio station in any rooms of the house without interfering with other family members, and unlike with a home theatre amplifiers where you can play something in the main room – then have a second zone playing for example outside on the deck, and in some cases with high end receivers, play a third zone, with the Denon Heos you can place a speaker in every room of the house, no more CDs lying around as it is possible to put all your CDs on your phone, tablet or better yet, onto a NAS to share your collection around to all the Heos units. Another is with internet music services like Pandora where you give a thumbs up or down, each family member can have there own account on there own device and not interfere with your account settings, and with some services that are geographical by nature – only music services that work in Australia are displayed (or the country the system is being used in). The Heos system also has an input, so this would be a very good substitute for a soundbar (with the right add-on equipment) with all the added extras of a multi-room audio system. Currently Sonos is the king of wireless multi-room audio and has Heos in its sights as a serious contender.

RELOCATING THE HEOS TO ANOTHER ROOM

Taking the Heos from room to room is very easy as well, disconnect the power, pick it up and carry it to another room and then plug it back in to power, wait for it to reconnect to the network and away you go again, it couldn’t be any easier. For those odd places where the Wi-Fi is a bit poor, Heos has range extenders, so this mean no room or area is out of reach.

Wi-Fi, why it may not be the best solution (Part 2)

Is There a Solution to Unblocking a Blocked Doorway?

Blog_Wi-Fi_InternetCapableFridge

Yes, there is a solution, every router not only has Wi-Fi, but can also be hard wired (plugged in) in as well. So this basically means that device can have a direct link to the router. So now for example a computer can directly access a networked hard drive with less of a chance of the connection slowing down. Now we’re created multiple doors (it’s one door per device now), if there is a hard drive directly connected to the network, that’s one doorway, and if some computers and TV’s connected directly connected, that’s more doorways created as well, this would end up freeing up the Wi-Fi for things like laptops and iPhone/iPads, android devices to have a more reliable connection to the internet or other devices in the home.

 

Installing Data Cables

Blog_Wi-Fi_StructuredCablingInstalling data cable could be one of you best investment you make, just short of decorating your house. I can hear it now, nothing beats decorating a house, but I’ll tell you why it’s an investment. We live in a technology orientated world, it’s around us and we can’t get away from it, as many devices then ever connect to the internet nowadays and will only increase as time goes by, so unless your 80 years old or want to be disconnect from the world, you will be connected in one way or another. Any building can be wired up but of course when a house is in the stages of being built is the best time to get it done. Electricians can wire up your house but this is not the wisest choice, if you have a look at our home automation blog, there we tell you why, but to repeat, there are many government rules and regulations and most electricians will ignore just too either get the job or to finish the job in a very fast manner. If the data cabling is not installed correctly, it can course major problems, anything from interference in the signal through the cable to not working at all to even causing fire or equipment damage. When planing out a data network in the house, not ever electrician will not know where to put outlet to future proof a home, and even to a point miss outlet out that are critical that needs to be done now, the amount of times we’ve seen this is unbelievable.

 

Internet Speeds

One thing to always remember is “your fastest speed is your slowest connection” and this is at the moment your internet connection, but with the NBN coming (National Broadband Network), streaming video, or any content that requires high bandwidth will be easier in the future as streaming faster internet speeds get better.

 

  Previous – Wi-Fi (Part 1)

 

Wi-Fi, why it may not be the best solution (Part 1)

By Simon – Custom Audio Visual Solutions

Blog_Wi-Fi_DeviceConnectionIn recent years Wi-Fi technology with-in the home has been getting better, implementation for home theatre systems and TVs are getting much better by opening up many more opportunities with-in the home network to access the internet. But improvements happen that quickly that it feel like as soon as we buy a piece of technology, it’s already out of date as soon as it’s plugged in, unfortunately to get an easy and quick connection to the internet, this is a necessary evil. With more and more devises around the home that can be connected to the internet, Wi-Fi can very easily get congested and bring everything to a stop, even if only a few people as using it.

 

Problems with Congested Wireless Network

Blog_Wi-Fi_SamsungSmartTV

As mentioned, congestion is easily created, two or three people streaming video on different TVs or computers or even playing games over the internet can slow other computers uses down or even stop them from accessing anything on the home network or assessing the internet entirely. The problem doesn’t sit with the Wi-Fi but more with its limitations and the amount of devise connected, what they are downloading at that time. We could for example have 100 computers connected to a wireless network and if all those computers were only browsing the internet, everything would be ok. But then get two or three of those computer downloading video off the internet, or a smart TV accessing a hard drive with video streaming HD content, then there goes all the Wi-Fi space for the other computers, Another reason to reduce the use of Wi-Fi is if your controlling your home theatre amplifier off your smart phone or tablet, the signal needs to bounce from your device to the Wi-Fi and then to the amplifier, even though it is easy to setup wireless, the time it takes for the signal to travel is a lot longer and less reliable than through cable as Wi-Fi can be interfered with and produce errors in the signal along the way, if errors are produced, the device needs to send the signal again to get through, this applies for anything that is wireless. A wireless device and a hardwired amplifier will respond much quicker and work more reliably than if both devices are wireless. An analogy we can use is if everybody is trying to walk through a doorway at one time, the doorway gets blocked.

 

  Next – Wi-Fi (Part 2)

Finding internal TV problems before the warranty period expiries

TV issues can arise at any time but what about the problems inside the TV you can’t see. Recently we calibrated a TV for a customer after completing a full home theatre installation, and such a problem presented itself. The installation entailed two home theatre installations in the same home, we wall mounted all the speakers, along with wall mounting two TV’s and repairing the TV antenna system.

Many people setting up a TV directly out of the box, thinks that it looks “OK” but this is directly from the manufacture and not setup correctly, a better picture quality will only happen when the TV is fully calibrated, and this will have many benefits. The manufactures way is for the TVs life span to be as short as possible to turn out a higher volume. Some benefits from calibration will include less eye strain, TV life span extended, realistic colours which results in a more pleasurable experience and more.

When a problem exists in an electronic device, the device is performing outside the manufactures specification; as a result the original problem can cascade to other parts of the electronics device until the problem becomes noticeable or the entire device fails and won’t work at all.

picture image problemThe problem we came across was on a 3 month old LG TV. Before we calibrated the TV, the setting had not been touched and the TV looked and worked as expected straight out of the box, everything looked perfect to proceed with calibration. After we calibrated the TV, it became noticeable there was an issue with the screen, in a bright scene the lips of the characters was the wrong colour tone and coming out a bright pink, this was very noticeable. After make other changes as well as defaulting the TV, the issue persisted and we recommended that the TV go in for repairs; on return of the TV two circuit boards had to be replaced as they were faulty. The TV was re-calibrated for a second time and unfortunately the problem still existed but as prominent. As a consequence the customer has decided to exchange the TV for a different brand.

As a conclusion, the TV calibration we did for the customer presented a problem that was originally not visible, if the calibration was not performed the problem would have continued on to effect other parts of the TV and a total failure was only a matter of time, if failure was to occur (usually just outside the warranty period), this would have cost the customer another new TV but we inevitably saved them this cost by finding a problem before the warranty expired so the manufacture is paying for the repairs.

Calibrate your TV or projector with-in the warranty period and you may save yourself many thousands of dollars in the process and not to mention all the benefits that come with the TV or projector calibration.

TV antennas

TV ANTENNA PROBLEMS – DO IT YOURSELF

There are many types of TV antennas on the market. But choosing the right one and installing the antenna yourself can be difficult. Some do look similar but perform differently. we’ll go through the main ones so you know which TV antenna is the best one for you with-in the Newcastle, Lake Macquarie and the Hunter region, as different parts of Australia will need different TV antennas.

THE YAGI TV ANTENNA

To start off with, the most common type of antenna is the Yagi TV antenna. Back in the days of analogue TV reception, this kind of TV antenna was ideally used for line of site to the TV tower (and still can be used with digital). A Yagi antenna can come in different lengths. This will plays two roles, first off it is to focus the TV reception, and then second, the longer the antenna is, the more focused it is. As a result, the antenna will pick up more reception (gain). This type of antenna was also the cheap when bought in its shortest form because it had low gain.

Unfortunately, analogue TV reception has it’s bad points, which one was, it can produce ghosting images on the TV. This is due to a reflected signal from something like a mountain or building. The TV antenna would pick up the reception from another angle and then introduce it into the antenna. So both signals, the reflected and original signals are both displayed on the screen at the same time. Depending on the distance and the strength of the reflected signal (off the building or mountain), this would tell us how bad the reflected signal would be (the ghosting image). One way to combat this was to move the antenna in a different direction. Turning the antenna as much as possible to 90 degrees of the ghosting signal or better yet install a high gain (longer antenna) TV antenna to focus the main reception more is better again. Yagi TV antennas are still used and are still an excellent solution to a problem that needs to be fixed, but only if you line of site to the tower.

Standard gain yagi TV antenna radial patternStandard gain yagi TV antenna

A standard gain Yagi TV antenna on the right. This antenna is short in length, as you can see on the left, the radial pattern diagram of the antenna starts to really loose reception at 30 degrees. At 90 degrees it will not pick anything up at all.

 

High gain yagi TV antennaA high gain Yagi TV High gain yagi TV antenna radial patternantenna pictured on the right. Notice the length of this antenna is longer than the antenna above. The radial pattern on the left for this antenna show that the reception really drops off at 15 degrees. This antenna is more directional then a standard gain antenna.

 

PHASED ARRAY TV ANTENNA

There is another type of TV antenna that is used and mostly seen these days in and around the Newcastle area. The main reason it is common is that it is an excellent all round antenna. The phased array TV antenna is flatter and again comes in both standard gain and high gain. Back in the analogue days, this type of antenna was used to fight scatted TV signals. So for example, if your home is surrounded by trees in the bush, the idea of this type of antenna is that the large flat area would be big enough to pick up scatted reception. If a tree was in front of the TV antenna and was blowing in the wind, each time the tree moved, there was still some kind of a path through the trees for the antenna to pick up the reception.Phased array TV antenna radial patternPhased array TV antennaPhased array TV antenna radial patternPhased array TV antenna
On the left is a Phased Array TV antenna, notice that it is a flat TV antenna. This antenna has a larger surface area to pick up the reception from scattered signals. The radial pattern on the right shows that this antenna is not as directional as the Yagi TV antennas. The reception starts to drop off at 30 degrees and even more so at 45 degrees.

DIGITAL ERRORS AND GENERAL PROBLEMS

With digital TV, we won’t see this issue as much as we did with analogue TV. The signal is either there or not, but the signal can also have “digital errors” within the signal. Without the proper equipment to find the problem, knowing what the problem is will be a lot harder and you can be running around in circles wondering why the TV keeps freezing or saying No Signal (square boxes and the picture freezing). There can be many reasons for this and it’s always going to come down to the location of course. If you are down in a gully or surrounded by a lot of trees, this will be worse than being high up on a hill of course. Also, if your antenna equipment is full of rust (not necessarily falling apart) or your antenna equipment is ancient, this can also be a major problem as those parts may need upgrading, not to mention the type of TV antenna you’re now using as some antenna just are not up to standard. Other major problems can also be poor workmanship from the last antenna installer, so keep an eye out for that as well.

As a conclusion

Have a go yourself, but if it doesn’t work and you end up giving up, you’ll then have to call us in to fix your TV antenna installation problem. As a result, you could be paying a little bit more than if you would have called us in originally, trying to achieve something yourself is great but you could be just giving yourself more headaches. Please note, a TV antenna booster will not always work, the reason is if you start with bad reception, you will only boost bad reception.

Helpful links;

https://myswitch.digitalready.gov.au/

http://www.communications.gov.au/television/Reception-difficulties-television

http://www.acma.gov.au/Citizen/Consumer-info/My-connected-home/TV-reception/is-interference-causing-my-reception-problems

Smart Home Brains

HOME AUTOMATION – WHAT IS IT ALL ABOUT?

Home Automation is, in the easiest way to explain, made upHome Automation brain of different electronic devices to make your life easier. It’s the combination of a number of individual systems to come together, to work all as one system on a single device or even a single item to work on multiple devices. Lighting control, home theatre systems, fans, air conditioning, blinds, curtains, luvers, multi-room audio and more can be controlled off a single remote control. Many other systems like the intercom systems, security cameras and phone systems as well as access control can also be implemented and as time goes on the number of devices will increase, and as a result all these systems are talking to each other through Cat5 data cable (blue computer cable) through the network as well was using the internet. A home automation system can be as simple or as complicated (as large) as you want it to be.

THE PARTS YOU DON’T SEE

The infrastructure that’s hidden away in the walls (that can’t been seen, the data cabling) is the backbone of any home automation system, it is imperative that this is installed correctly and having an electrician to install your data cables can be a cheaper alternative but can also be the wrong decision, the only companies that should install your data cables SHOULD be either a systems integrator or a data cabling specialist, there are many government rules and regulations when it comes to installing data cables and many electricians have a tendency to ignore them, as a result there can be anything interference produced in the cable and as a result from the interference, the end product may work poorly to not work at all, right up to the extent of fire, so data cabling should be completed only by a qualified company, not an electrical company.

WHAT DOES A HOME AUTOMATION SYSTEM DO

Home Autiomation from an IpadA basic home automation system can consist of lighting control and home theatre control in a single room, so if you like the idea of pressing the power button on a remote control where the TV can turn on, the Blu-ray player will turn on, and the lights all turn on, you then put in a movie and as soon as you press play button, all the light start to dim down by them self or cascade off (what ever effect you would like to create) and the blinds automatically shut to darken the room, this type of system may be the system for you. From there we can go up right up to the entire house, simulating some of the same controls from the theatre room throughout the rest of the house.

IT’S NOT AS EXPENSIVE AS YOU THINK

A home automation system can be as cheap or as expensive as you’d want it to be, a single room in a house could initially cost you around $5000 and go up from there (not per room), and as every building is unique in its requirements, only the sky’s are the limit with what can be done and what can be controlled. Start thinking now, what would you like your home automation system to do, and the odds are, yes it can be done.

Sources

http://www.residentialsystems.com/news/0003/an-integrators-guide-to-home-automation-tips-and-case-studies-to-help-you-succeed/86442