- Top 10 Must Have Features in a Smart TV: Speed, streaming, and universal search reign supreme.
- User Interfaces: The Human Link to a Home Automation System: Available in many forms, a user interface gives you the power to easily interact with and control your home’s electronic systems.
HOME ENERGY MANAGEMENT
- 7 “Sensible” Ways to Save Energy: How to use the Internet of Things sensors to minimize your home’s electricity use.
- 4 Steps for a Better Whole-House Audio System: Want the music delivered by your new whole-house audio system to sound superb? Here’s how.
SMART HOME GALLERY
- Fast Reaction: A lightning quick automation system provides a Sarasota businessman with instant gratification.
- “TechStang” Blends Torque and Touchscreens: Residential integrator marries Crestron automation system and ’66 Mustang coupe restoration.
- Extreme Basement Makeover: Rustic DIY home theater is tech tinkerer’s dream.
- Top Security Trends: Be on the alert for voice control, geofencing, and other innovative home protection technologies.
- Marvelous Media Room Illumination: Add a theatrical flair to your media room with colorful lighting effects.
- TV Mounts: A Home Entertainment Problem-Solver: Enjoy a better viewing experience by attaching your flat-panel TV to a wall mount.
- Tips for Better Headphone Music Quality: Plug your favorite pair into a DAC or amp to experience a whole new level of listening pleasure.
NEW PRODUCTS & SYSTEMS
2015 MOTORIZED WINDOW SHADES BUYING GUIDE
- 2015 Motorized Window Shades Buying Guide
- Stylish Shading
- How To Install Motorized Shading
- Battery-Operated Shading
- Smooth Operators
- 9 Top Features for Motorized Shading
- Top 6 DIY Motorized Window Treatment Systems
- Top 6 Professionally Installed Motorized Window Treatment Systems
IN EVERY ISSUE
- Editor’s Note
- Featured Installers
- Advertiser’s Index
- Expert Commentary
Room for Improvement
Your house is already equipped with a few flat-panel TVs. Your home’s windows are already adorned with blinds, drapes, and shades. Your abode might even be accoutered with a multi-room music system (Sonos, anyone?). And, of course, no home would be complete without an ample assortment of lights. On the surface, your house is completely finished, furnished, and functional. Or is it? In this issue we dig deeper to discover ways you can make these existing parts of your house perform so much better. You’ll realize greater convenience, comfort, enjoyment and, as you’ll learn, many of the suggested tweaks are both affordable and easy to implement.
Your biggest “aha” moment may come when you find that a tech upgrade to your home’s window treatments will finally relieve you of the monotony of manually manipulating them once and for all. All it takes is a few additional pieces of hardware and a smartphone app to boil down the control of every shade, blind, and drapery to the touch of a few buttons. We give you all the nitty gritty details on how to smarten up your home’s window treatments in our exclusive 2015 Motorized Window Shade Buying Guide.
One of the many benefits bestowed by motorized window coverings is preventing sunlight from washing out the picture on a TV. However, you can improve the view on your home’s flat-panel TVs even more by attaching them to a specially designed wall mount. Available with mechanisms that tilt and swivel the display up, down and all around, a mount can help your TV combat common obstacles like sunlight, and get it into prime viewing position no matter where you happen to sit, or lay, for that matter. See how something as simple as a mount can make a monumental improvement in your entertainment enjoyment in “TV Mounts: A Home Entertainment Problem-Solver.”
The family room shades are closed and the TV is aimed perfectly at the couch. What’s left? Ah…the lights. You’ll want the room lights off, or at least dimmed a bit, to make the images on the screen really pop and evoke a movie-theater-like environment. Again, a simple home improvement of swapping the conventional light switch for a smart dimmer switch (be sure it’s one that you can operate from an app or a remote control) makes for a super convenient way to fade to black from the comfort of the couch. This basic tweak lays the groundwork for the dazzling effects that an expertly engineered and well-choreographed lighting system can create. See what’s possible in “Marvelous Media Room Illumination.”
And just when you thought the music in your house couldn’t sound any better—it can. Home systems integrator Jason Griffing shows us how to boost the audio quality of a whole-house music system with the addition of a few new pieces of equipment. Go to “4 Steps to a Better Sounding Whole-House Audio System” to learn how you can take your audio enjoyment from good to better to the absolute best. There’s always room for improvement in any home, so use these and other informative articles in this issue as a resource for making yours the best it can be.