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Streaming Home Theater: Welcome to the Future

The days of running to the corner rental store for a DVD or Blu-Ray are quickly fading; indeed, the days of simple walking across the room to choose from among a stack of discs may soon be fully behind us as well. That’s because the future of watching movies at home has arrived, and film buffs have discovered they no longer have to limit themselves to the selections they’ve found for themselves, or even what their local stores have to offer.

Content on-demand means home theaters can now stream high-definition video and audio selections into the home over the internet instantly, choosing from a nearly limitless number of titles offered by dozens of providers. Films and television episodes are available the moment they’re released, and can be viewed in whatever order and timeframe you choose; instead of conforming to the studio or network’s broadcast schedule “must see TV” now waits for you, not the other way around.

This brave new world offers a lot of benefits, but it’s important to ensure your existing system — or the home theater we’re helping you design — is ready for it. This means that in addition to using the highest quality and best-suited audio and visual equipment for your space and budget — e.g. high-definition displays and screens as well as exceptionally lifelike speakers  — you must be certain to have a sufficiently robust internet connect to support the high data rate inherent in streaming high-definition audio and video content . It’s also critical to make sure you’re incorporating a streaming device that can successfully decode that data and produce the best sound and picture possible — and are using cables that are rated for the high-bandwidth workload they’ll be under whenever you’re watching streaming movies or television.

Streaming content from the internet isn’t limited merely to films and TV; a variety of exceptional services have popped up to offer audio selections as well, at a level of quality suited to everything from casual music in the kitchen to audio sampling in the world’s finest listening rooms. Contact us today to discover how to expand your horizons streaming home theater and audio!

Seagull Electronics sells the right electronics. We don’t sell the stuff you’ll find in boxes at your local shopping mall. We design custom systems using some of the world’s best electronic components. Serving Tequesta, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Jupiter Island, Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, Singer Island, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and North Miami.

kalomirakisOne of the most well-known names in luxury home theater design is Theo Kalomirakis. He’s an influential leader in this industry.  His designs take a home theater beyond being merely a room with a big screen and lots of speakers, into a place with its own personality with lighting control and home automation.  The homeowners will have a total sensory experience from the moment they cross the threshold of their home theater room.

Kalomirakis-designed home theaters have won recognition from Electronic House Home of the Year Awards. Kalomirakis recently gave a presentation at Crestron’s Design Showroom in New York City.  He talked about common mistakes people make when building a home theater, the importance of home automation and how he approaches his designs with lighting control.

Q: Are there any frequent mistakes that people make when planning or building their home theaters?

A: It’s become like a little cottage industry for me, talking about the mistakes people make that started by mistakes I made. You don’t learn unless you make mistakes.

Mistake number 1: You get into a home where a designer is involved, and they have put the home theater seats on cement. This is not good for sound. If you don’t have carpeting on the floor the bass doesn’t hit you in the heart. It’s just like having a violin having its cavity filled with cement.

Mistake number 2, Risers: People think that if you separate the seats in your home theater by one step you’re going to see over other people’s heads. But it doesn’t work that way. If you have a screen that’s all the way to the floor, you’re going to have to do a lot more than one step. You’re going to have to do sightline risers, and this is something Home Theater Designers usually don’t know when designing a home theater room.

Mistake number 3: People think that if you put acoustical treatments on the wall, it seals the home theater from the rest of the house.  You have to be prepared to do both room isolation and room acoustics as they are two totally different things. These are the technical mistakes that I see people do. I’ve seen a lot of architectural mistakes, as well as made them myself in the past.  Hopefully I don’t make them anymore.

Q: What are some of the different enhancements that you can bring to a home theater that clients may not have thought of themselves?

A: I want to understand the design that goes into the rest of the house so that the home theater is not an ugly stepchild of the rest of the house. I believe that the home theater should follow the design direction of the home, but bring it to a new level without making it totally isolated.  I wouldn’t put an art deco home theater in the middle of a classical house.

What I think I bring to my clients is to educate them to actually justify the cost. I try to prevent them from making mistakes. I want them to be able to live in a home theater room that is heightening the experience without being so aesthetically different from what they have in the rest of the house.

You have to interview them. You have to learn what they like. Some people may not like the red curtain that seems to hang in every home theater room.  They may want something more neutral. You have to listen to them and be an interpreter of their dreams. I’m trying to tune into what they want and direct them into realizing their dreams without imposing myself on what they want to do.

Q: What can home automation bring to the experience of a home theater?

A: Everything. Without home automation you get a bunch of electronics that don’t communicate with each other.  There is nothing more frustrating for a client than having to hit ten remote controls to turn the lights down, open the curtain, or start the system. Home Automation is probably the most vital aspect for enjoying your home theater.

In my mind the most unique thing you can do is through lighting control. You can set up the levels of the home theater room so it’s lit up architecturally, not generically. In the home theater, lighting has to create drama. Home Automation allows you to create presets in the lighting control that gives the client the ability to see a variety of things.  Such as the slight illumination of the speaker grills when you watch a movie, or not seeing them at all, or having the step lights shown.

Q: At what point in the consultation does home automation customization enter the conversation with a client?

A: At the end of the project.  It’s very important that you separate all the lighting control sources in circuits. Step lights on one circuit, column lights on another, and curtain lights on yet another. So you can play with different levels, bringing certain lights up and down to the client’s desire. I don’t do that by myself. Each client will have different aesthetic preferences, so I sit down with them and ask them what levels they like their lights at and then have the Lighting Control Integrator hit the lighting control button and show them.

Q: Have you noticed any trends or shifts in what people are asking for lately?

A: There is more and more focus on multipurpose home theater rooms and less on dedicated home theaters because people are misinformed. Younger people, especially in the 20s and 30s, are used to experiencing media on tablets and iPhones. So for them a dedicated home theater room is not as important.  I see a trend toward not having a home theater in the center of the house. In my opinion you have to have both. You have to be able to watch your movies on a tablet while on a trip, but you don’t want to watch a movie on a tablet at home. And you don’t want to watch an epic movie on just a 50 or 60-inch TV. You want to be engrossed in the experience with home automation and lighting control in your home theater room.

Q: Do you have any advice for a reader who is interested in having a home theater installed but doesn’t know where to start?

A: Talk to their Home Theater and Home Automation designer. Designers are getting more perceptive about home theaters. Have someone take you by the hand and guide you through the process, show you what’s available with regards to lighting control and home automation for your home theater room.

SmartHomeIf you’re looking for a way to connect the technologies in your Smart home, our Home Automation package is your answer. This package features all the products in the Home Security and Energy Management packages plus a lot more Home Automation.
  • Go!Control Touch-screen Panel with Remote Internet and Smart Phone Access
  • Window and Door Sensors
  • Glass Break and Motion Detectors
  • Smoke and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
  • Smart Thermostat and Energy-Efficient Bulbs
  • Small Appliance and Lighting Controls
  • Video Surveillance
  • Automatic Door Locks

Lock your doors, turn off lights, adjust your thermostat, arm your Smart Home system, and much, much more. No matter where you are in the world, you can manage your entire Home Automation system through any of your devices such as your smartphone, computer, or tablet.

From premier security to heating and cooling your Smart Home, to access control and video surveillance, our Home Automation package meets all your needs in your Smart Home while helping you prepare for a smarter future.  For more information on Smart Phone Home Automation and many other services, contact us today!

 

blind controlIn recent decades, homes have been built more and more with energy efficiency in mind – windows are tighter, doors close more completely; indeed the climate within a house is rarely exchanged with that beyond its walls, with most HVAC systems finding peak efficiency in keeping their system closed-off throughout the day’s heating and cooling process.

These systems are quite efficient; however there are drawbacks to excessively conditioned air and some people are more sensitive to a lack of constant fresh air than others. Until recently, however, there were no automated systems that could compare in efficiency to a fully closed-off air conditioning and cooling system; fortunately, with the advent and widespread use of home automation systems that incorporate window, shade & blind control, there are 21st Century solutions that, in many ways, feel like a step back in time.

Before central heating, builders knew to get the most “solar gain” heat from the sun, a bank of south facing windows would add warmth to a home on the coldest day – provided the sky was clear. And before air conditioning, it was commonplace to open windows at night to let cool air in, then close windows to trap it until things cooled off again. But this requires you to stay on top of things.

Today, home automation systems can open and close windows, shades and blinds in direct response to conditions outside and the desired temperature inside – greatly improving the efficiency of any central heating or cooling system, and simultaneously increasing the amount of fresh air brought into the home when the time is right. Window, shade & blind control systems can bring the knowledge of the past into your home’s future; for more information about these and other home automation systems, contact us today!

Seagull Electronics is a Home Theater and Automation leader in home, business, and yacht integration systems since 1988. Servicing Jupiter, North Palm Beach, Palm Beach Gardens, Wellington, Boca Raton, Miami, Florida.

Home Automation: Good for your home, good for the environment

home-automation-systemThere are a lot of good reasons to bring your home into the 21st Century and start enjoying the benefits of home automation systems — convenience is a big one, and our customers find the high level of control such systems bring quite satisfying on many levels. But you might be surprised how much home automation can help with the “greening” of your lifestyle — even if you don’t consider yourself an environmentalist at heart.

Home automation systems can customize the user experience within the home to personal habits and preferences, such as particular lighting or music that “follows” homeowners and guests from room to room as the sensors detect their movement. But, especially in larger homes with multiple zones, that customization can reap huge benefits in using less energy to run the home.

Imagine a home automation system that understands patterns in room use to such an extent that a room that’s rarely entered is kept shuttered and heated (or cooled) less. Or a system that recognizes the wife gets home first, and typically confines her activities to one or two rooms in the first part of the evening — so those rooms are brought to the appropriate climate only just before her arrival. When the husband gets home, the areas he typically inhabits get the attention of the automated system. And on weekends, when things change, the system changes along with it, tweaking energy use in different rooms and zones to heat and cool where needed, and to save energy where it’s not.

Couple that with systems that will lower blinds and close windows to trap the night’s cool air automatically in the summer, then raise the blinds and re-open the windows at night to bring fresh air in — then doing the reverse in winter, opening the blinds to get the maximum solar gain at just the right times of day.

Home automation offers the possibility of spectacularly efficient energy use, controlled centrally and customizable to fit every sort of household pattern — whether you’re interested in helping the environment, or just your pocketbook at utility bill time.

Seagull Electronics sells the right electronics. We don’t sell the stuff you’ll find in boxes at your local shopping mall. We design custom systems using some of the world’s best electronic components. Serving Tequesta, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Jupiter Island, Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, Singer Island, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and North Miami.

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Understanding the Difference between Home Automation and Home Control

Everyone understands that your lifestyle and living standard vastly improves when the technology behind home automation becomes implemented in your daily life. The interactive element, strictly on its own, creates new efficiencies that are inarguable; activate your sprinkler from a smartphone? Grab your tablet and TIVO your favorite show from the office? Start a movie in your home theater and watch the lights dim as the curtain goes up — and watch them brighten again as the credits roll? As our applications become more powerful, we discover the technology itself creates value in our lives and in how we interact with it — and with one another.

At Seagull Electronics, we understand that the technology is meant to be a boon, not a hurdle to overcome. That’s why we offer whole-house installation and implementation, bringing you the promise of the technology without the fear of having to wade through it all on your own. Part of this is understanding the difference between home automation, and home control.

Home control is just what it sounds like; you have every option mentioned above, right at your fingertips whenever you need it. But home automation is the next step: creating a “hands-free” home control experience. Imagine motion sensors that detect movement as you walk from room to room, or even outside, reacting to your presence to perform pre-programmed tasks such as turning lights or heat on and off, following you with the music you prefer, raising and lowering blinds to your inputted preferences?

When technology integrates with your daily routine and knows how you like things, life within the home automation world becomes truly effortless. And it is a process that’s not merely efficient with your time — it can also lower utility bills.

Home automation is here, and home and business owners are enjoying it today. Contact us and learn how integrating technology into your lifestyle can improve it!

 

Seagull Electronics sells the right electronics. We don’t sell the stuff you’ll find in boxes at your local shopping mall. We design custom systems using some of the world’s best electronic components. Serving Tequesta, Juno Beach, Jupiter, Jupiter Island, Palm Beach Gardens, North Palm Beach, Singer Island, West Palm Beach, Palm Beach, Boynton Beach, Boca Raton, Delray Beach, Fort Lauderdale, Miami, and North Miami.