August 2015: Table of Contents

SMART TV

SMART HOME

HOME ENERGY MANAGEMENT

HOME AUDIO

SMART HOME GALLERY

HOME SECURITY

  • Top Security Trends: Be on the alert for voice control, geofencing, and other innovative home protection technologies.

HOME LIGHTING

HOME THEATER

HEADPHONES

NEW PRODUCTS & SYSTEMS

2015 MOTORIZED WINDOW SHADES BUYING GUIDE

IN EVERY ISSUE

electronic-house-august-cover

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.

—Lisa Montgomery
lmontgomery@ehpub.com