A Great 2020 Resolution: Upgrade Your Home Audio

The new year is here in full force, and if you’re like most of us, you’ve already made some resolutions for the year.

Maybe you’re making 2020 the year you get fit. Or perhaps you’re setting a more intellectual goal for yourself, to read a certain number of books or to finally learn another language.

Here at Experience Audio Video we applaud those efforts, of course— even if we can’t be much help with your physical fitness or intellectual goals.

What we can do is encourage you to make just one more resolution for 2020. Why not make 2020 the year you finally upgrade your home audio? Here are a couple reasons to upgrade your home audio in 2020.

A Matter of Quality

Have you ever had a day where you visited two similar establishments in the same day and you noticed some real quality differences? Maybe you grabbed a quick fast food lunch near work and then went to a high-end restaurant for a dinner date. Or perhaps you’ve been out shopping and ended up with a big box discount store and a high-end retailer in the same trip.

When juxtaposed like this, you can’t help but notice the differences. Both experiences are serviceable, but one is clearly better than the other.

It’s the same way with home audio. Cheap home audio gets the job done. You can hear the music, after all. But are you enjoying it as much as you could? Definitely not.

The bottom line: improved sound quality is one great reason to resolve to upgrade your home audio this year.

It’s Your Home— Enjoy the Time You Spend There

A better system translates to a better and more enjoyable listening experience. Do you want to keep settling for fast-food-level home audio? Or are you ready to upgrade to something more akin to fine dining? Make 2020 the year to switch.

 


2020 Trends in Home Theater: Our Top 2 Predictions

Now that it’s 2020, it’s time to take a look at upcoming trends in home theater. As with any area of technology, new developments are happening all the time. So what are the most significant developments that look to trend in 2020? Here are the top 2 predictions from the Experience Audio Video team.

Soundbars Reign Supreme

We know, soundbars aren’t exactly a home theater aficionado’s dream, but trends are trends. 2020 looks to be a promising year for soundbar technology. All sorts of manufacturers are trotting out improved models at CES. Functionality, intuitiveness and sound quality are all on the rise.

Of course, as a custom home theater installer, we’re never going to recommend you settle for a soundbar alone. Your home theater needs more. But consider how much bang for your buck you could get for any secondary TVs in your home—ones that aren’t a part of your main home theater setup.

Some of the new offerings include innovative approaches to accommodate 5.1 channel sound and more. While these soundbars can’t match a full surround setup, they are nonetheless impressive.

8K Ascending

The other trend we’re watching is toward 8K displays. We’ve been seeing prototypes at shows like CES since 2013, but displays have only become available at retail in the last couple years. They’re still quite expensive, but prices are dropping. Samsung’s 55-inch 8K display is offered at around $3500 today, a reasonable price for cutting-edge equipment.

There isn’t a ton of native 8K content available yet, but it’s a mistake to dismiss 8K as a trend on this basis alone. That’s because, according to Digital Trends, 8K displays will upscale 4K content, giving a significant difference in clarity. In simpler terms, your 4K content will look even better on an 8K display than on a 4K.

 


Why You Want a Media Center PC for Your Home Theater

One home theater component we get a lot of questions about at Experience Audio Video is the media center PC. What’s the value of having a media center PC? In the age of streaming sticks and smart TVs, what makes a media center PC a worthwhile investment?

It’s true that smart TVs and streaming devices have changed the landscape somewhat, but for a truly deep, immersive home theater experience, you’ll still want a media center PC. Here are a few reasons why.

A Media Center PC Simplifies Your Home Theater

First, a media center PC simplifies your setup. Have you ever visited someone’s home and been invited to “help yourself” to the TV? Easier said than done, right? A typical TV setup can involve 4 or more remotes, and good luck recovering if you turn devices on in the wrong order.

This is one problem you can solve with a media center PC. With one device controlling all your entertainment options, you simplify the process of running your system and accessing your content. With a few basic instructions, your guests can control what they need so they can enjoy your home theater.

A Media Center PC Gives You Greater Consumption Options

Streaming sticks and smart speakers are great, but they have their limits. You’re limited to the subscriptions you’re paying for, and even then, not every service works on every device. Want to watch an obscure foreign film from the 1980s? Good luck finding it on a major streaming platform.

To make matters worse, most smart devices can’t play the media you own outright. Most of us have a hefty collection of purchased music and movies that we can’t access on our Rokus, Fire TVs or Apple TVs.

A media center PC is the solution to your back catalog of content. And a quality modern media center PC can handle your streaming services, too.

 


Why You Want a Media Center PC for Your Home Theater

One home theater component we get a lot of questions about at Experience Audio Video is the media center PC. What’s the value of having a media center PC? In the age of streaming sticks and smart TVs, what makes a media center PC a worthwhile investment?

It’s true that smart TVs and streaming devices have changed the landscape somewhat, but for a truly deep, immersive home theater experience, you’ll still want a media center PC. Here are a few reasons why.

A Media Center PC Simplifies Your Home Theater

First, a media center PC simplifies your setup. Have you ever visited someone’s home and been invited to “help yourself” to the TV? Easier said than done, right? A typical TV setup can involve 4 or more remotes, and good luck recovering if you turn devices on in the wrong order.

This is one problem you can solve with a media center PC. With one device controlling all your entertainment options, you simplify the process of running your system and accessing your content. With a few basic instructions, your guests can control what they need so they can enjoy your home theater.

A Media Center PC Gives You Greater Consumption Options

Streaming sticks and smart speakers are great, but they have their limits. You’re limited to the subscriptions you’re paying for, and even then, not every service works on every device. Want to watch an obscure foreign film from the 1980s? Good luck finding it on a major streaming platform.

To make matters worse, most smart devices can’t play the media you own outright. Most of us have a hefty collection of purchased music and movies that we can’t access on our Rokus, Fire TVs or Apple TVs.

A media center PC is the solution to your back catalog of content. And a quality modern media center PC can handle your streaming services, too.

 


Recliner-Style Theater Seating: The Ultimate in Home Theater Luxury

Are you thinking about installing a home theater? Perhaps you already have one, but you’re looking to renovate or upgrade it. Here at Experience Audio Video, we love helping our customers achieve fantastic results with their home theaters.

One area where customers can differentiate their home theater experience is with seating. We looked recently here on the blog at two seating options: stadium and theater style seats. Both are great options, but some of our customers want something a bit more luxurious: recliner-style seating.

Recliner-Style Seating Is the Ultimate Home Theater Luxury

Recliner-style seating is the ultimate luxury upgrade for your home theater. It’s a combination of two great things. Everyone loves the comfort of watching TV in an overstuffed easy chair, and everyone loves the experience of sharing a movie with friends and family. With recliner-style theater seating, you’ll get both of those at once.

There are many options available, of course. Most will have cup holders and trays between seats perfect for storing snacks, devices and remotes. Less expensive models may be finished in an imitation leather like at the movies, while higher-end versions are outfitted with luxurious real leather.

A few newer, nicer movie theaters have innovated in this way, providing a recliner experience in every seat. It’s a nice touch of class to be sure, but it’s nothing compared to the intimate luxury you can get at home. You can have larger recliner seats in a more intimate space, and you don’t have to worry about rude guests (unless you invited them yourself!).

Ready to Learn More?

If you’re considering new seating for a home theater room in your home, contact Experience Audio Video today.

 


HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC: What’s the Difference and What Do They Do?

If you’re running cable to carry video signals in your residence, you’re almost certainly using HDMI cable. The HDMI cable has become ubiquitous in residential applications, connecting nearly every video device in your entertainment system.

Did you know that there are actually many different types of HDMI cable with differing capabilities? Most consumers don’t. That’s because most of the time, the cables work perfectly, and users don’t need to think about the technical specifications.

If your system involves any audio more complicated than the speakers inside the TV, you may have come across the terms HDMI ARC or HDMI eARC. What’s the difference, and what do they do?

HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC: What They Do

The ARC in both terms stands for Audio Return Channel. All HDMI cables carry both video and audio signals. That’s why you can watch a Blu-ray (with sound) over just a single cable. But often this isn’t quite enough. If you’re using an A/V receiver to distribute audio to a speaker system, you also need to send an audio signal from the TV back to the receiver.

Before ARC, you’d need a separate cable to do this. But HDMI cables with either ARC or eARC can send audio both directions—in other words, they have an audio return channel.

What’s the Difference between HDMI ARC and HDMI eARC?

ARC can handle stereo and 5.1 surround signals. eARC is newer and can do more, including technologies like Dolby TrueHD and Atmos. HDMI cables with the 2.1 specification or higher include eARC, while those following the 1.4 specification have ARC. Older cables have neither.

The Takeaway

So, what’s the point? Well, if you’re buying new cables, get those with the HDMI 2.1 specification so you’ll be prepared for any future expansions. And if your fancy new audio gear isn’t working, make sure your HDMI cables are following the needed specification.

Of course, if you don’t want to worry about any of this yourself: give us a call. We’ll happily take care of it for you!

 


2 Seating Ideas for Your Home Theater

The team here at Experience Audio Video loves assisting our clients in building out the home theaters of their dreams. Of course, a great home theater matches the style and personality of the owner. Seating is one great way to customize your home theater room, giving it a flavor and feel all its own.

There are plenty of great options available for home theater seating. Today we’ll look at two of them.

For the Sports Fan: Stadium-Style Seating

One of the simplest ways to choose your seating style is to consider how you’re planning to use your home theater. Is your family crazy about sports? Are you die-hard Dodgers or Lakers fans? Then consider stadium-style seating for your home theater.

Yes, there are vendors who will sell you the iconic fold-down seats found in stadiums around the country. Colors and even team branded options are available as well.

Are you a true die-hard fan? Most teams have either renovated or moved to a new stadium in the last decade or so, and you might be able to find actual seats from their previous stadium. These tend to be collector’s items and pretty expensive, but it’s worth taking a look.

Of course, most of us don’t find baseball stadium seats to be the most comfortable. If you agree, consider a hybrid of sorts: padded seating in the style of stadium chairs.

For the Movie Buff: Theater Seats

If your idea of relaxation is less sports and more cinematic in nature, consider theater-style seating for your home theater. Install a row or two of comfortable, limited-recline chairs complete with cup holders and even food trays, if you like. With theater-style seating, your home theater gets one step closer to a truly immersive cinematic experience.

 


’Tis the Season to Upgrade Your Outdoor Entertainment Space

As fall turns into winter, the world grows cool again and families retreat inside for the long, harsh winter months.

OK, not really: this is Southern California, so it’s more like “people break out the sweaters and hoodies.” But you get the idea. We’re heading into winter and the holiday season, and the weather isn’t quite as lovely as it is the rest of the year.

Why not put the dormant winter months to good use by refreshing your outdoor entertainment space? At Experience Audio Video, we say say “’tis the season” to get your outdoor entertainment space ready for another year or ten of beautiful sunny SoCal entertaining.

Winter Is the Perfect Time to Renovate Your Outdoor Space

We think winter is the perfect time to renovate your outdoor space. Consider this: you’re probably not entertaining outside as often in the winter months as you do throughout the rest of the year. Your space is mostly sitting vacant, gathering outdoor grime from the changing seasons.

And that’s what makes winter the perfect time to upgrade your outdoor space. You’re not using it, and it’s undergoing natural wear and tear anyway.

Waiting Until Spring or Summer Takes Your Space Offline

Consider that if you wait until spring or summer to plan your outdoor entertainment space renovation, you’ll end up taking the space offline right when you and your family need it most. It’ll be under construction during some of the most beautiful months of the year, and you’ll be stuck inside, watching the progress. We think it makes more sense to start a project like this in the cooler months, when you’re more likely to be inside anyways.

Ready to Upgrade?

If your outdoor entertainment space is starting to show its age, let us help you refresh it this winter. Contact us today for a free consultation.

 


2 Reasons to Choose a Multi-Room Music System for Your Home

One of the many impressive offerings that Experience Audio Video provides to our customers is a multi-room music system. This technology upgrade adds a serious touch of class to any home, allowing users to listen to music throughout the home and to customize their listening experience room to room.

Of course, there are many ways to listen to music today. What makes a multi-room music system the right choice? Here are two reasons you might choose a multi-room music system for your home.

A Multi-Room Music System Gives an Immersive Experience

Music is a powerful thing, and we use it in a wide variety of ways. At its best, listening to music is a fully immersive experience. The listener can get completely lost in a wash of beautiful sound, and if you’ve ever experienced this you know how powerful it can be.

But most home music systems don’t do a very good job at immersive. Your smart speaker can play your favorite tunes and might even sound pretty good where it is, but walk to another room or another floor of your home, and the music is gone.

With a multi-room music system, your favorite music can permeate your entire home, creating the ultimate immersive experience.

A Multi-Room Music System Reduces Music Confusion

Another nagging issue in home music listening is the confusion of a fractured marketplace. Most people’s music collection is scattered across a handful of devices and streaming services both. Your smart speaker may know your favorite songs, but not your spouse’s. And then your kids start asking it for specific songs (Baby Shark, anyone?), and there goes the speaker’s idea about your musical tastes.

In a multi-room music system, you can centralize your library to one database, giving your both control and freedom to reign in the musical confusion.

 


Building a New Home? Why You Should Wire for Networking

Watch any video advertising about technology today, and you’ll get a singular message: the future is wireless. Truly, you won’t see wires anywhere in commercials from Apple, Google, Microsoft and the rest. They’re ugly and they look cluttered, so let’s innovate ourselves away from them, right?

No. At least, not yet. Sure, the tech gurus have a point that visible, cluttered wires are no one’s idea of luxury. And yes, wireless technology has made major strides in the last decade. But wired networking is still far and away the better choice.

If you’re building a new home, you should wire it thoroughly for networking. Here are a few reasons why.

Follow Their Walk, Not Their Talk

Yes, tech companies have removed wires from their advertising. But if you could peer inside the walls at any of those companies’ headquarters, you know what you’d find? Wires. Gobs and gobs of them.

That’s because they know what we know: wired networking is still the most efficient and reliable option, and it will be for years to come.

You need the most bandwidth possible. Wireless may be sufficient for that standard def video on your phone, but soon you’ll want to push 4K or even 8K streaming to your TV. Can your wireless network handle the strain? Doubtful. You need a wired connection.

Building In Wired Networking Fixes the Clutter

When you build wired networking in from the ground up, you can fix one of the biggest drawbacks to wires: clutter. The reason most people’s wires look terrible is that they aren’t built in. They’re strewn across desks or emerging from uncovered walls. When you build in wired networking, you can run it through the walls, dropping out connection points strategically— only where they’re both needed and out of sight.

Ready to Build?

If you’re ready to build and want to explore wiring for networking, the Experience Audio Video team is here to help. Let’s get started today with a free consultation.