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Heos soundbar 3

Denon Heos 5.1 with multi-room audio, NAS and CCTV

In this installation, the customer’s request was for a home theatre system downstairs, some audio out in swimming pool area, audio upstairs, a CCTV system, along with a NAS to distribute music and movies.

Heos multi-room was the choice for this installation. In the theatre room, a soundbar was used as the customer did not want at the front any floor standing speaker. Only half the room was renovated so the rear speakers are a pair of Heos 1 wirelessly connected to the soundbar to create a 5.1 system. In the cabinet houses a Heos Amp for the pair of black Niles speakers out in the swimming pool area, we wall mounted the TV and also installed all the data cables throughout.

Upstairs a Heos HomeCinema was used for streaming audio as well as for the TV, the TV is installed on a pivoting and the soundbar is mounted on the bracket as well.

The modem, NAS, and CCTV NVR are located in a cupboard. All TV’s and audio equipment’s internet access is all hard-wired back the cupboard, this means all TVs have assess to the NAS where movies and music are distributed.

Click on the pictures to enlarge.

Heos soundbar downstairs 1Heos soundbar 2Heos soundbar 3 Denon Heos installation 4Heos subwooferHeos soundbar and Heos AmpHeos 1 surround rightHeos 1 leftNiles outside speakers 1Niles outdoor speakers 2Niles outside speakers 3TV on cabinetBehind TVTV wall mountedTV and Heos installed on pivot bracket 2Heos and TV installation completedData equipment

Streaming Movies

Streaming movies

Streaming movies is becoming easier as time goes on, taking into account how cheap streaming services are, why would want to rent a movie anymore? If you know how to turn your TV on and off and have some basic knowledge of navigating your TV or streaming box, you should have a streaming account.

The only problem with today’s technology is that there are so many ways to stream movies, so what is the best way? To answer that, where do you plan the play the content? In a home theatre room? A lounge room where only a soundbar is connected? A bedroom? Different situations will allow or even dictate different technologies to use.

Streaming sites like Netflix or Stan are available on many Streaming Standifferent devices in the form of an app. They are accessible on a smart TVs, Blu-ray players, Apple TV, Xbox, Sony Play Station, Google Chromecast, Telstra TV, Fetch TV, any many more devices. There are other streaming sites like Curiosity Stream that currently is only available on Apple TV, Chromecast, Xbox, and through Google PlayStore.

As 99% of movies are transmitted in surround sound and some even in 4K (on Netflix with the correct account), staying with the mainstream content providers like Stan and Netflix, what room are you play content in? If it is in a home theatre room, one of the best ways to stream is using a smart Blu-ray player. A Blu-ray player is the sole reason to play movies, in high-resolution and surround sound; this would be your best option, follow that would be a gaming console like PS4 or Xbox, using a TV will most of the time (check the TV specs) down convert surround sound to stereo. For the living room or lounge room where and sound quality is not as important, streaming directly from the TV is ok, the same can be said for the bedroom. The time you would mainly use an Apple TV or Google Chromecast is when the content being different or is directly related to the device you are using, for example streaming Curiosity Stream or casting a phone or tablet screen onto the TV to show photos. It is also possible to use these devices to stream Stan or Netflix but check the specs; not all devices will output 4K or surround sound, so user beware, there are some helpful links at the end of this blog.

Streaming free content is also possible, but Seebo Maxxdepending on how the material is used, this will dictate if it is legal or not. With current laws (early 2017), if content is downloaded and stored locally, that is illegal, but if the content is streamed and not saved, that is 100% legal. There are a few ways this can be archived, the easiest way we have found is using a device called Seebo, this is a plug and play solution like Apple TV, just connect it to the internet and away it goes. With Seebo there so no monthly fee, just purchase the box and that is it. The upside of Seebo is that the content is free, it can playback in surround sound, the downside is currently it does not support 4K and the content can vary in quality, overall worth looking at.

ACMA – http://www.acma.gov.au/theACMA/streaming-services—get-the-full-story

Seebo – www.seebo.com.au

Apple TV – https://support.apple.com/kb/SP724?locale=en_US

Google Chromecast – https://www.google.com.au/intl/en_ie/chromecast/tv/chromecast/tech-specs/

Samsung Blu-ray player – http://www.samsung.com/au/audio-video/uhd-blu-ray-player-k8500/

PS4 Q/A – http://blog.us.playstation.com/2016/09/08/ps4-pro-the-ultimate-faq/

Disclaimer: At the time of writing this blog not all devices will output 4K, HDR or Dolby Vision picture. Not all TV’s will output surround sound audio and many devices will not output Dolby Atmos immersive audio.

Wi-Fi Vs Hard Wired Home Network and the Internet

With the advancement of wireless technology, how relevant is hard Marantz LAN backwiring your home to access the internet? You may be surprised to hear but it’s more important than ever. It is extremely important to ensure data passes through without interference to your Foxtel box, home theatre system, your TV, gaming systems like the PS3 or PS4 to enable streaming services like Netflix and Stan and stream music without dropouts too.

More and More internet capable equipment

We only need to look back about 5 year ago at how many devices we had that connected to the internet and then wireless devices in general, not as many as today right. Today we have everything from TV’s, home theatre systems, gaming consoles, phones, tablets (iPad and android), multi room audio systems and now even our watches can connect to the internet (apple and android watches), no doubt future internet capable fridge’s and washing machines will become a lot more price comparative, and then who knows what else will be internet capable.

So as more technology is introduced into our homes, our use if the internet will only increase, we cannot escape that, so a well-built infrastructure is necessary to maintain proper connection otherwise problems from slow to no connection at each/all devices will occur.

A well designed system

So we’ve established that the infrastructure is important, but where and how to start? If a device has both options to hard wire as well as wireless, always choose the hard wire option first if possible, only then will you be guaranteed that you will have the best connection possible, wireless should only be used as a last resort or if you cannot hard wire your device like a phone or tablet.

Apple TV backDevices like Foxtel boxes, TV’s, home theatre systems, computers, gaming consoles and most portable music systems (multi room audio systems) are all capable of being hard wired, if they are not hard wired, issues can develop from the device constantly buffering (trying to catch up) to the connection failing, especially noticeable if streaming HD movies from a NAS system internally (within your home) or externally using services like YouTube, Netflix or Stan.

The work involved to hard wire your equipment

Hard wiring your devices is not as simple as it sounds, unless your equipment is in the same room as your modem/router you can go ahead and plug it in and away you go. Australian standards in wiring rules exist everyone and if these are not followed, hard wiring your devices will become a waste of time and money. Without confusing you too much, data talking is like fax tones and for those of you that remember what a fax machine looks like and sounded like, it’s the same idea, if noise is introduced into the cabling due to poor installation, this will interfere with the sending and receiving data and hence being a waste of time and money.LAN port

Conclusion

Wi-Fi is a great idea but should only be used as a last resort, hard wiring all other devices will give you the best results for internet and data access, most equipment has a choice of either being wireless or hard wired, some are wireless only and some are hard wired only like Foxtel boxes for example.

Media Room

Entertainment Distribution Through the House, what is the best way?

HOME MEDIA SERVERS AND PLAYERS

Distributing your entertainment throughout the house is slowly growing in popularity. Any type of media can be distributed. The main ones include Blu-ray or DVD movie and music, but doing it correctly is important otherwise there could be major interruptions or unnecessary upgrades due to poor equipment choice. Although there are many ways of distributing your entertainment, the most practical way is the building being completely cabled for data. Getting the infrastructure completed correctly is extremely important, almost every piece of equipment today will in one way or another use data cabling and use internet connectivity for many reasons. Of course there are many ways of distribution, from the cheap to the expense ways, so lets dive straight in.

NAS (Network Attached Storage)

A NAS (network attached storage) system is the heart of any system, we won’t go on too much about this as our previous blog goes into depth about it, but basically its where all the data sits waiting for you, a NAS will hold all your music and movie (depending on size of the NAS), using a NAS can be difficult when it comes to storing all you DVD and Blu-ray movie as extra equipment is needed to put them on there, as well as some computer and software knowledge is also a requirement. A NAS will in a way act like a server and distribute the media to more than one device.

Media Player

One of the cheapest ways to play back your movies throughout the home is using the TV’s DLNA function (plug the data cable straight into the back of the TV, the only problem is audio coming through the TV. Most TV’s will only decode stereo and not surround sound, so if your playing something in your home theatre room, this option will give excellent picture but only stereo sound, another option is to us a if your TV is a bit older, in some cases it will output the audio in surround sound, but this will also depend how that file was made, if it was made in stereo, that’s all you get, but if the file was made in surround sound, only then will you get the full benefit from it.

Dedicated media servers

This option is of course the best and theMedia Server Display on TV easiest to use but the most expensive. A dedicated server will have the all the component in it to store your movies and music on the hard drive and with dedicated players, it is then possible to playback your movies in full HD with surround sound. A media server will also give you professionally looking movie cover artwork when browsing your movie collection, where as a standard media player will only give the file name of the movie.

Price

A NAS system can vary in price, from a few hundred to a few thousand, depending on how big the hard drive is. To playback using your TV is of course free as your TV already has the software built in, but there are external media players that can be connected if your TV is a bit older for a few hundred dollars.  A dedicated media server (the best of the best) can cost from a few thousand and up, and then there are the media plays that attach to the server as well, they can cost up to a few thousand dollars each.

Some products can be seen at

http://www.kaleidescape.com/products/

http://www.wdc.com/en/products/products.aspx?id=1270

nas

NAS systems for the home

NAS systems are becoming more and more popular forDLNA use in homes and are notDLNA limited to a business environment any longer. As the price of hard drives is coming down and storage space is going up, there are many benefits of incorporating a NAS system set up at home.

With the increase of several computers being used at home at any one time and not to forget things like TV’s, Blu-ray players, internet connection, home theatre systems as well as multi-room audio systems adding a NAS is just a natural progression. A NAS device is the perfect solution for data sharing and internet access within the home.

Gone are the days where you stored all your files, music, movies and even photos on a computer, thumb drive or disc. If the computer gets a dangerous virus, and all the data is on the computer, and you did not back up your files (as we all usually don’t), you can say goodbye to everything. With a NAS device that is setup correctly, each person with a computer connected to the network will have access to the NAS with their own folder setup that only they can see, and these files can be password protected as well.

It is also possible to play DVD’s and Blu-rays that are stored on a NAS directly to any TV that is connected to the network as well, so there is no need for a Blu-ray player anymore. Playing multiple movies to the different television’s at the same time is also possible from a NAS device.

If all the files are on a NAS it doesn’t matter about a new computer being added, just access all the files as normal as you won’t lose anything and nothing needs to be transferred over to the new computer only the software to run the files like MS-Word, Outlook etc.

from a network to all the devices on a networkNAS systems can start from a few hundred dollars and go up to a few thousand, so it all depends on how much storage is required – will dictate how many hard drives you need for the storage required.

If you are building a new house or renovating now is the best time to future proof your home. A NAS can be installed at any time in your home but if you are renovating or planning to build a new home it works out cheaper to do the work at this time as it is easier for the installer to run the cabling that is required.

Installing cables is best for overall speed to all devices and although wireless is an option, it is not recommended as there are limitations in regards to the amount of bandwidth that will be available to each device. A wireless connection can easily degrade over distance and especially if your router is an older model, so you should only run wireless if there are no other options. Realistically wireless should only be used for emails and general web browsing.

We’ve found this short video to illustrate the purpose of a NAS – the video is only 3.5 minutes long.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bzAjpS1cFe0