Room-by-Room Guide: Inside a Smart Home

You’ve probably heard of a smart home. However, you’re probably curious what exactly makes a home smart?

Automated, connected, remote-controlled. Those three things are necessarily what makes a smart home. This type of technology makes life more comfortable, more convenient, and more straightforward for everyone.

In today’s post, let’s take a look at each component of a smart home in every room of the house.

Living Room

Home Security System

You can set up a security system throughout your entire house – not just the living room. However, since your living room is the first area from the front door, it’s best to ensure that your living room has is equipped with the proper home security measures.

You can set up a camera system that lets you see who is at the front door. Some home security systems can even let you remotely lock or unlock the door through a mobile app. These security systems can help you elevate your home security efforts.

Smart Lighting

There are many different automated lighting systems for a smart home. They are entirely customizable to help you get the right settings that work for you and your lifestyle. Some smart lighting systems can be controlled remotely – you can turn the lights on and off through your mobile device even when you’re not at home.

Other smart lighting systems have lighting sensors that can detect the amount of natural light in the space. When there’s not enough of it, the lighting system will turn on some of the bulbs and lamps connected to it. Aside from being convenient, this helps in your energy-saving efforts since you’re only using the lights you need in the house.

Smart Thermostats

With a smart thermostat as part of your smart home system, you can program the thermostat from your mobile device. Similar to smart lighting, you can also set the thermostat to turn on or off at certain times of the day. This feature helps you save energy.

According to the Department of Energy, you can save up to 10 – 15% on your monthly utility bills when you use programmable thermostats.

Kitchen

Smart Refrigerators

This kitchen appliance is one of the most popular smart home appliances. Refrigerators equipped with the smart home technology come equipped with a number of exciting features.

Refrigerators equipped with the smart home technology come equipped with a number of exciting features

One of these features that homeowners love is the touchscreen on the front door. When you’re running low something, you can write it down on a list created from the fridge’s built-in system.

You can then link this list to your smartphone. Next time you’re at the grocery store, you can conveniently pull out this list, so you don’t miss anything.

You can also write down your family’s activities, schedules, and other appointments. You can leave notes for each other. This is perfect for a busy household that needs help being coordinated and organized.

Monitors and Alarms

As you know, you can install home monitors and alarms throughout the home. However, they are especially helpful in the kitchen.

Monitors and alarms can detect if there’s any gas buildup from a forgotten or leaking stove or if there’s a presence of carbon monoxide. Many of the kitchen monitors and alarms can also work as a timer, which is especially handy when you’re busy cooking or baking in the kitchen.

Voice-Activated Appliances

Voice-activated appliances are all the rage nowadays. While voice-activated appliances are not limited to smart kitchen appliances, they are especially helpful when you have your oven mitts on or when your hands are covered in flour.

Voice-activated smart kitchen appliances are extremely helpful when you want to quickly convert tablespoons to grams or see what you can substitute for cream of tartar. 

Bedroom

Motorized Shades

With motorized shades and blinds, you can conveniently control your bedroom window treatments from the comfort of your bed.

This is especially helpful when the sun is shining brightly, but it’s the weekend, and you just want to relax and sleep in.

Smart Beds

Many smart beds from different brands have a variety of functions.

Many smart beds from different brands have a variety of functions.

However, these are the main functions of a smart home bed: sleep tracking, temperature control, firmness control, app integration, air chambers, position control, and self-making.

All these features are designed to help you get extensive comfort and improved sleep.

Media Room Installation: Common Errors to Avoid

When done right, a media room installation is the ultimate dream upgrade for any home. On top of that, with the rising prices of movie tickets and snacks and the inconvenience of going to the movies, you may be better off in your comfortable home theater.

A media room installation, while impressive, requires sufficient knowledge and investment of time and money – especially when you’re going to the do-it-yourself-route.

Even if you’re hiring a professional media room installer, it’s hugely beneficial to arm yourself with the know-how of a media room installation, so you know how to tailor it precisely to your needs and preferences.

In today’s post, let’s take a look at the common mistakes to avoid in a media room installation.

Choosing the Wrong Room

Your pick of the room will dictate if the media room installation is going to be a success or not. You’ll need to select a room in your house that offers ideal sound, lighting, and wiring. A rectangular or square room with not too much natural light coming in is best.

When it comes to the location of the room in your house, it must be somewhere that any sound or noise coming from the outside can be cut off.

The size of the room must also be sufficient enough to maintain the right viewing distance and angle from the screen, as well as a comfortable seating layout.

Buying the Wrong Speaker System

You can spend money on high-end home theater speakers. However, if they’re not suitable for your space, then your media room installation can go awry. A common misconception when designing a home theater is that the surround sound is an inflexible feature of a home theater design.

A surround sound can improve your home theater experience.

While speakers can drastically improve your home theater experience, people opt to do away with it, especially when they don’t have enough space.

Speaker systems come in many different shapes and sizes. You can definitely find one that suits the size and type of your room. For instance, don’t get massive floor-standing speakers if you have a smaller media room. Aside from taking up too much space, you won’t be getting the best audio quality.

Consider the size and layout of your room before you purchase a sound system. This part may require a bit of research on your end. However, it will all be worth it when you finally complete your media room installation.

As an alternative, you can always get expert guidance from a professional home theater installer. They’ll be able to give you good recommendations on a sound system that best suits your space.

Incorrect Wiring

Wiring your home theater is a vital part of the installation. This can make or break your home theater experience. If you (no pun intended) cut corners on wiring, then it can completely ruin your home theater systems.

Don't cut corners on your home theater wiring.

You may think that the cables and wires that come with home theater components are enough. However, if you want more extended protection for your connection cables and wires, you’ll need a more heavy-duty approach.

With that being said, you don’t have to spend a ton of money on wiring. Don’t be misled by expensive HDMI cables.

Get ones that can keep up with the speed requirements. As for the speaker unit, get up to 18 gauge thickness wires.

The only item you shouldn’t cheap out on is a surge protector. If you buy a low-quality one, you risk damaging your prized home theater equipment. Spend money on electronics safety equipment.

You must also make sure that no live wire is left under the seats or anywhere else in the room.

Buying the Wrong Screen Size

Whether it’s a flat-screen TV or a display screen, you most likely will want a big display for your media room installation for fantastic home viewing.

Again, the size and layout of your media room are an essential consideration when buying a screen. This will tell you the viewing distance you need for optimum watching. Generally, the viewing distance must be 1.6 times the size of the screen. For a 55” television, 88” is the best viewing distance.

A Dream Upgrade

When a media room installation is done right, you can have the best home cinematic experience. We hope the information you learn today will help your home theater design journey.


Advantages of Surround Sound Systems

Surround Sound is the term normally used to explain a system in which the sound output appears to surround the listener — that is, the technology gives the feeling that sounds are coming from all probable directions.

Surround Sound Systems Create a Realistic and Engaging Experience

Surround sound is a way to present a more realistic and appealing experience. Sitting in front of your television or playing a computer game with basic $10 stereo speakers plugged in will give you sound. You perceive sound, voices and other sounds coming to you from a straight line. Using a surround sound system, though, you’ll hear variances in the sound and it will be accessible to you from different directions. For instance, the car driving off-screen will sound like it is coming from the left. While playing a 3D shooter game, the rocket gun blasts sound as if they are being shot from in the clouds or grenades sound like they are setting off at ground level.

The Challenges of Cloud Integration


Nowadays, customers require immersive amusement and surround sound systems play a big part in delivering an appealing entertainment experience. To this end, there’s no be short of options when it comes to surround sound equipment and systems.

buying surround sound systems

How Surround Sound Systems Work


All technological aspects aside, surround sound works because numerous audio channels are received through speakers that are located at a variety of locations in the room. This is programmed into the source and the sounds are decoded when the source is played. While this may seem unsophisticated, it is important to remember that sound systems started out with monophonic sound, a single outlet system. In monophonic (mono) sound systems, the signal sent to the sound system is programmed as one single stream of sound — and the sound is usually arriving through a single speaker.

Advancements led to stereophonic sound (stereo) where the sound was come apart two channels, left and right. Stereo sound enabled listeners to hear some ambience of the creation — for example, a soundtrack of a live concert in stereo where you begin to hear playback from unrelated noises at the concert. Surround sound systems take it a step more by producing a live-quality result. If you’re at a real concert, you hear sound from behind you, and listening to a soundtrack in surround can create the effect of this noise — impending from behind you, or to the right, or even from above and moving down.

Surround sound adds practicality and a new field of depth to your listening experience. This is accomplished not only because you have additional speakers for output, but because the sound soundtrack itself contains more auditory channels.

The A/V (audio/video) Receiver


At the center of every home theater is an audio/video receiver (A/V). Using a DVD movie as an example, the audio is programmed when the DVD is produced by packing numerous audio channels into a compacted format for storage. When you play the DVD movie, the DVD player or A/V receiver (usually called a home theater receiver) decodes the encoding method (i.e. Dolby Pro Logic II for example). Decoding capabilities of an A/V receiver are built in.

Most A/V receivers today can decipher Dolby Digital and Digital Theater Sound (DTS), while higher-end receivers may also consist of DTS-ES or THX Surround. Today’s A/V receivers let you to control the video source and other video options, but for the sound you’ll need it to transmit the sound from different sources (TV, DVD, VHS), organize bass, treble, and volume. You can intensify signals to the speakers, and modern A/V receivers also handle the all-important surround sound decoding.

home surround sound systems

5.1, 6.1 and 7.1 Channel Surround Sound Systems


Both Dolby Digital and DTS are 5.1 channel formats. 5.1 surround sound is a multichannel sound technology that makes five channels of sound in the left, right, center, left-surround and right-surround positions. These five channels are the lowest amount necessary to produce 5.1 surround sound. The .1 represents the channel for LFE (low frequency effects), which is typically sent to a subwoofer.

Whereas 5.1 surround sound has been the benchmark for some time now, newer A/V receivers are able of delivering 6.1 surround sound. 6.1 multichannel sound equipment uses the same set-up as a 5.1 system, but it has a sixth speaker that takes the rear-center surround point (or back surround position) to offer a more 3-D sound. 6.1 surround sound uses comprehensive surround sound formats, such as THX Surround EX and DTS-ES.

Moving forward, we now also have 7.1 Surround Sound, which splits the single rear-centre speaker into separate left- and right-rear surround. These systems are not a true distinct 7.1 channel system as 7.1 formats don’t currently exist. In a true discrete 6.1 surround system, the back centre surrounds location separate from the surround left and surround right positions. A 7.1 channel system uses matrixed extended surround where the left-back and right-back (rear-center surround) multichannel are blended simultaneously and stored.

10.2 Surround Sound

Created by THX, the name itself, 10.2 is an understandable marketing play on 5.1 (10.2 is twice as good as 5.1). In a 10.2 surround sound 14 channels are used. This includes five front speakers, five surround channels, Two LFE and two heights, plus adding up of a second sub-woofer. 10.2 Surround Sound was a study conducted by Tomlinson Holman in December 2007. You can read the experiment details here.