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Archive for December, 2012

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out the light you left on when you went to sleep led to energy wastage and added a few cents to your electricity bill. Such oversights and mistakes are commonly seen in households everywhere. With the economy in recession and the earth battling global warming, higher utility bills and heat emissions are two things you cannot afford. There is a way you can control the lighting in your home and make it environment-friendly: house lighting control.

As the name clearly states, house lighting control helps you manage and regulate the lighting in your home. It covers the entire span of your home, from the basement to the garage. You can control all the lights in your home, indoors and outdoors with a remote. The remote is customized specially according to your needs providing you better control. Not only does it allow you to prevent wastage but to create a perfect ambience by manipulating the lighting.

The biggest benefit of house lighting control is that you save energy. A system is installed in your home and the lights are programmed according to it. You can set the specific time at which you want certain lights to turn on or off. That way, you can have minimal lights on during the daylight hours and more lights when it is dark outside. Most importantly, there are occupancy sensors installed in the system. If a room is unoccupied, the lights there would turn off automatically.

What this means is that you no longer need to worry about lights being left on after you have gone to bed. You can control the lights in your home while lying in your bed. Wouldn’t you love to turn the light on the porch off without having to get up from the bed? Of course, it is a highly convenient option that saves much of the hassle associated with managing the lights in your home.

There are some other benefits of home lighting control apart from the eco-friendliness.

  • You can leave the home empty with the lighting programmed to a sequence. Depending on your programming, the lights in certain parts of the home will go on and off as you wish. That way, you can create the illusion that the house is occupied even if you are on a different continent!
  • The energy savings translate to cost savings. House lighting control not only allows you to turn the lights on and off but to dim them when low intensity lighting is required. That way, the power consumed is minimized as is the heat produced by the lights.
  • Preventing the lights in your home from being on uselessly lengthens their life. You can use the same lights for a longer time period providing you greater value for money.

The only obvious drawback is that the house lighting control system might be incompatible with older homes. Yet, it is the best way for any homeowner to go green. Get a professional to install house lighting control and give you the remote that turns lights on and off!

House lighting control is the best way to keep your house well lighted in an eco-friendly manner. Houston Custom Installers (www.houstoncustominstallers) are experts at installing lighting control systems.

A coaxial cable comprises of two conductors with a common axis. The conductor on the inner side is just a straight wire which can be stranded or solid. The conductor on the outer side is braided or foiled so that it can act like a shield.

The following layers are found in a coaxial cable. The first layer discussed takes up the centre spot and the last layer is the outermost layer. All other layers are found in between these two.

  • As mentioned above, the central layer comprises of a conducting material. The preferred choice for the core is solid copper. This layer transmits the baseband video signal. During transmission, a certain amount of signal is lost due to long distance. The main reason for this is resistance, so a bigger conductor should be used. Resistance is inversely proportional to area so it is decreased this way, and most of the signal is retained.
  • The dielectric layer surrounds the centre copper core. This is basically the waxy, opaque part of the cable, and is made up of hydrocarbons such as polyolefins, polystyrene and polypropylenes. At times, air is also used as dielectric, but in this case, spacers are used to support the inner wire and to prevent it with from coming in contact with the shield. The function of the dielectric is to separate the inner conductor from the shield and provide physical support.
  • The next layer is the metallic shield, generally composed of braided copper. It has two main purposes:  to protect the conductor from noise or other unwanted signals, referred to as ingress, and to retain the transmitted signal in the conductor, referred to as egress. On this basis, coaxial cables can also be classified as dual and quad. Dual cables have two layers of shielding and quad cables have four.
  • The last layer is the outside insulation which encloses all the inner layers. This is called a jacket and is usually made from PVC.

Attenuation or Insertion Loss:

Attenuation is the process of losing a signal when it is being transmitted. It is caused by long cables, humidity, temperature and excess return loss. Insertion loss is not only present in the coaxial cable, but is also seen in devices connected to the cable such as amplifiers and splitters.

Systems are design such that attenuation is minimized.

Blu-ray Disc or just Blu-ray or even BD is a format of the optical disc, which has been developed for recording, playing and rewriting high definition (HD) audios and videos. It is also used to store massive amounts of data since its capacity is five times more than traditional DVDs. Over the years to come, Blu-ray will eventually replace DVDs completely.

Reasons for Upgrading to Blu-Ray

You might be wondering why you should upgrade to Blu-ray when your DVD player is doing fine. The answer to this is very simple. It is because of High Definition TV that you should make the switch. If you have seen an HD video, then you have probably noticed that the picture is of superb quality with vivid colors and incredible sharpness. This is because HD allows more details to be put in than DVD, hence the improved quality. The need for more storage was this very reason in fact, and led to the development of Blu-ray.

Moreover, Blu-ray also has other special features such as interface and networking. The menus and graphics have been taken to an entire new level. You can also download content, update it via the internet and even watch live broadcasts. All this means a much better experience.

Buying a Blu-ray player does not mean that you need an additional DVD player as well. The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has set standards which make sure that every BD device is compatible with DVDs. This is also a surety of the fact that your DVD collection will not be rendered useless once you get a BD player.

Functioning

Blu-ray players read data using a blue colored laser beam, hence, the name. A blue laser has a better focus than a red laser, which is used in DVDs. This improved focus allows more data to be packed on a disc of the same standard size than when compared to a red laser. As already mentioned, the storage capacity is five times more, so you can imagine how much better a Blu-ray disc is.

Equipment

You need the following components to get started off with viewing the greatest quality videos to date.

  • BD player
  • HDTV
  • HDMI

If you are interested in purchasing a Blu-ray player, then Houston Customs Installer is a great choice. The organization has an expert technical team which deals with the design and installation, and ensures your Blu-ray player gives you optimal performance.

The growing demand for entertainment at home has prompted manufacturers to come up with new and better designs and models of their devices from time to time. At present, the variety in the market is at its optimal level. It’s quite easy to get confused when you venture out to buy a home theater system for yourself. The endless range of options can have you caught up in two minds about which one to buy. Given the fact that the home theater system is going to set you back a few thousand dollars, it is essential you spend a little time making your decision. Here are some tips to help you select the best home theater system.

Branded Doesn’t Mean the Best

There are many brands of home theater systems. Some are well-known across the globe while others are a little difficult to recall since they aren’t as popular. Brand name brings with it a higher price tag as well. However, when it comes to home theaters, brand isn’t everything. You have to consider a number of other factors and buying a branded system doesn’t mean you have bought the best. It is often the case that an unknown company turns out to be better in quality than a renowned one. Of course you don’t get the warranty, guarantee and other things that come with branded products.

What Do You Want It For?

The term ‘home theater’ is a bit restrictive to say the least. All a person does when he/she goes out to the theater is watch movies. Yet, not everyone is a movie buff but that doesn’t mean he/she should be kept from enjoying a topnotch visual and audio experience. Here, you have to consider the purpose for which you are buying the home theater system. Some people use it exclusively for watching movies. However, you do have the options of playing video games, listening to music or watching TV on your home theater system. The features you need are determined by the purpose for which you are buying it.

Availability of Space

The most obvious of all factors is the space which is available in the room you want to have the home theater system installed. The systems come in a range of sizes, spanning from a small setup to a huge room-spanning layout. Your decision will depend partly on the size of your room. If there isn’t enough space to install the home theater system properly, you would have to buy a smaller one. This is where hiring a professional could help you sort out any issues related to size and space.

Getting it Installed Professionally

You might feel that wiring up your home theater system and connecting it would be easy. It is anything but. There are several technical considerations which have to be made. The design of your room might have to be modified to accommodate the system properly. Moreover, some changes to the electronic supply available in the room would have to be made. Though these may sound like small issues, they have an impact on the performance, durability and life of your system. Also, improper installation could cause a safety hazard for you and your family.

These are some of the factors you have to consider when selecting a home theater system for your home. To ensure proper installation, contact Houston Custom Installers right away. Hire a team of experts to do the job perfectly so you can enjoy high quality visuals and audio.

Proper installation of home theater systems is essential for superior performance and quality. Get a professional to install your home theater at Houston Custom Installers (www.houstoncustominstallers.com).

High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is the standard used to regulate the quality of connecting equipment for home electronics and computer-related paraphernalia. The importance of HDMI can be judged by the fact that your electronics are considered safe from voltage fluctuations and other common problems if you use HDMI-certified interface. With this in mind, you should ensure you check the HDMI certification when having your home entertainment system or computer installed.

The Key Factor

The main thing separating HDMI from the rest is that it sends digital signals. Different kinds of cables and wires are used to send the signals to the devices which need to be operated. Considering the fact that digital signals are considered the best, you are simply making sure you get the best quality on your high-definition equipment.

Of course, there is the possibility of some distortion and other issues with HDMI signals as well. There are several things which interfere with digital signals, any of which can cause problems for you. What you can do is make sure you eliminate the risk of faulty or substandard cabling by opting for tributaries’ cables, which the professionals recommended.

The Benefits

Why should you go digital when normal conduction can do the job for you? There are some great benefits of using HDMI instead of the conventional cabling options. Here are some of them:

  • The signals to your aural and visual devices are sent from the same source. You don’t need to set up multiple interfaces to do so.
  • With HDMI, you can go digital with your home entertainment system. The interface can be integrated seamlessly into your current system or you can upgrade it.
  • You can keep adding devices to the setup if you have already installed HDMI. You don’t have to get a new installation every time you buy a new device.
  • Obviously you enjoy the benefits of complete digital entertainment as there isn’t any compression or conversion involved.
  • You will enjoy a wonderful quality in picture and sound, thereby enhancing your experience of watching movies and playing games.
  • HDMI is constantly improving and upgrading hence it is modified to include any new device introduced into the market.
  • Perhaps the biggest advantage of all is that your devices interact with each other in a more ‘intelligent’ way. It reduces any excessive load while enabling you to enjoy the best possible experience.

If you want to get the best out of your home entertainment system, call Houston Custom Installers. The professional installers will provide HDMI to improve the performance of your devices.

When you purchase a home theatre system, you must be aware of several factors that can affect the performance of your equipment. It is really important to keep the following points in mind when you install and set up your home theatre system.

The Room

A home theatre system has been designed to give you a cinema-like performance. Cinemas usually comprise of rectangular rooms which are completely enclosed. The same goes for your home theatre system. The room where you install them should be rectangular, fairly big and have little to no sunlight. Outside light will reduce the picture quality and an open space will reduce the sound quality.

Go for curtained walls and carpeted floors if your budget permits you. These decrease disruptive echoes, and considerably improve performance.

The Display Screen

Set up the television in a place where it is easily visible, and where there is little or no outside glare. The best place for the screen is usually the far flung wall of the room.

The Sound System

Choosing a suitable place for the sound system is one of the most difficult parts. The front speakers must be set up at the same height and distance from each other. They should also be located near the screen so that it seems that the sound is coming from there. If you have ever been to a real theatre, then the speakers are usually not noticeable. The sound just appears to be coming from the screen itself. The same should go for your home theatre system.

The rear speakers can be positioned in many different ways. You can either place them on the sides or the back of the room whichever is the place farthest from the screen. Whatever their location, they must also be set up at the same height and be equidistant from each other.

The subwoofer can also be placed in any location in the room. The best place is, however, against a wall or on the floor so that you can get a rumbling sound effect.

The Lights

Lighting is one of the most important factors which affects performance. The room should be as dimly lit as possible so that there is no bright glare on the screen, but the light should be enough to prevent your eyes from straining. Too much light in a completely dark room often causes a strain on your eyes.

Lightning control systems are an efficient way to manage all the lights in a house or building. The lights can be configured to settings which switch them on, turn them off or dim them at predefined times or under specific conditions. The system is so proficient that it can reduce energy consumption by as much as 70%. This is probably the most notable advantage of a lightning control system.

The system can be controlled with a personal computer, a mobile phone, a remote controller and even a touch screen located anywhere on the premises.  The system can be installed in a residence, an office, a theater, a restaurant or anywhere else where there are a lot of lights.

Lightning control systems can also be integrated with dimmers and ceiling fans, and then they can also be switched on or off centrally. Using a dimmer is highly recommended because it can be configured to reduce or increase brightness by taking the sunlight present in the room into consideration. The lesser the sunlight, the more bright the light will be, and the more the sunlight, less bright will the lights be. In fact, if the room is well lit, then lights are turned off altogether.

A standard light control system will usually have the following components:

  • A central control unit
  • Options for brightness
  • Sunlight detectors
  • A communication protocol
  • An application or a software which displays energy usage

There are many types of lightning control systems on the basis of complexity and technology. Sophisticated systems give a higher level of control, but are also priced higher than the standard systems. Lights can be controlled by any of the following means:

  • Scheduling: Scheduling allows lights to be turned on and off at predefined times. The times can easily be set through the control interface. There are also options for dimming the lights during daytime and increasing the brightness at night. Scheduling operates on the basis of timers.
  • Day lighting: This feature detects the presence of sunlight in the room, and automatically changes the brightness of lights. If there is an ample amount of sunlight, then all lights are turned off. If it is night, then all lights are turned on at full brightness. Day lightning is made possible through photo sensors which detect outside light.
  • Occupancy sensing: Lightning control systems can be integrated with occupancy sensors, which detect the presence of person in a room. If the room is empty, the lights are switched off whether it’s day or night.

Home automation has been designed to ease users and facilitate them with their day to day tasks. All the devices in the house are connected to a central control unit and can be programmed for various tasks. Thus, a home automation system provides you control, ease and even a form of savings.

There are many design possibilities of a home automation system. You can connect any device to it, and it will do whatever you want it to do at your preferred time. The central control will also be your choice. You can manage the entire system with your PC, your mobile phone, a remote or even a touch screen located anywhere in your house. You can choose a suitable level of control for yourself.

A home automation system can be installed in your new house or integrated in your old home. Every choice is yours to make if you get it done through a renowned organization such as Houston Custom Installers.

The many possibilities of home automation systems have been summarized below.

Lightning

Control all the lights in your home whether they are located in the bedroom, the kitchen, or out on the porch from a single location. One click is all that will be needed to turn off all the required lights. If you choose to control your system with a mobile phone, then you can do it from anywhere, even outside your house. Some systems allow you an extended control from an altogether different location in the world.

Security

Installing an advanced home automation system will give you access to modernized cameras. You can use them to view every room in the house, and even the yards outside it whenever you are away. You can also enable video recording and set the cameras to automatically take pictures whenever a movement is detected.

The system is smart enough to set off an alarm, and notify the nearby police station or the fire department in case of an unwanted disturbance or a fire. It even informs you of the situation on your mobile phone.

Home Theatres

While you can install a home theatre system by itself, you can integrate one with your home automation system. Home theatre systems are complete with a large screen, surround sound and an optimal quality. Moreover, anyone who does not want to enjoy it, does not have to be disturbed by the loud sounds. This is made possible by completely sound proofing the room.

Heating Ventilation and Cooling (HVAC) Systems

Specially designed thermostats maintain a fixed temperature in your house. You can even set it to automatically lower the temperature in hot weather and increase the temperature in cold weather. Maintaining the house at a different temperature during the day and a different temperature during the night is also possible. Moreover, the system will automatically shut down if you are not at home, which will reduce your electricity bills. You can easily switch it back on or program it to turn on by itself some time before your return.

A home theater system gives you a cinema-like experience from the comfort of your own living room or any other room in the house. It consists of:

  • Audio
    • AM/FM, satellite or internet radio
    • Media server
    • CD
    • Speakers
    • Sound system
  • Video
    • DVD or Blu-ray player
    • Projector
    • Plasma TV or flat screen TV
    • Satellite or cable
    • Request DVD server
  • A room where this equipment can be installed

A description of only the main components is given below.

Sound System

The most important things that set apart the experience of watching at a theater and watching on a standard television are the sound system and the large screen. Every home theatre system must consist of at least 5 speakers termed as the 5.1 surround system. One speaker is set up at the front, one at the back, one in the centre and two at the sides.  This configuration has been chosen to allow the audio signal to split up in a number of channels, so that a different sound can be heard from each speaker.

AV Receiver

The audio-video or AV receiver acts as both a receiver and an amplifier. Its purpose is to receive signals from the source such as a VCR, DVD player or cable, amplify these signals and transmit them to output devices which are basically the television and speakers. An AV receiver comprises of a preamplifier, signal processor and a power amplifier, which aid in the functioning.

DVD or Blu-Ray Players

Digital Versatile Discs or DVDs are characterized by a great picture quality and rich sound. Widescreen DVDs are also available, and support a variety of sound formats.  So a DVD player may be a good choice, but an even better option is a blue-ray player. Blu-ray supports HDTV, and gives a five times better performance than DVDs.

Television

The large screen is another important factor which makes a movie experience at a theatre so much better than one at home. Since a home theatre system allows a person to have that very same experience, it also consists of a large screen in the form of a rear projection television, front projection television and plasma screen. Any of these devices can be used depending on the budget. A standard television can also be set up with a home theatre system, but it naturally will not have that same charm.

Whatever device may be selected, the size, picture resolution, signal format and digital capacity are important for determining the output quality.

The advent of the internet has changed the needs of the average household. It is a common sight to have more than one computer/laptop/gadget in a single home. When there are multiple users, resources can be shared among them by creating a computer network. Through a network, the users are able to use a common internet connection as well as making use of other hardware such as printers & speakers. There are several types of home computer networks and you can have one depending on your needs.

Top Reasons for Networking

One may argue that living under the same roof makes having a computer network redundant. The users can share any software, hardware or other resources without having a formal structure in place. Yet, there are some reasons why having a computer network is the ideal solution in a home with multiple users.

  • As mentioned above, both users can make use of the same internet connection. You don’t need to have separate connections for either user. Also, this allows them to browse and download simultaneously without having to wait for the other user to finish.
  • People can engage in multiplayer gaming while being in the same room. There are many such games available online which you can enjoy with your family and friends. It also provides your children an activity they can do together.
  • The users of a network can share any files or documents without the use of USBs or email. If one user wants to send or receive a file from the other, he/she doesn’t have to upload or download the file.
  • Once a formal structure is in place, more users can be added to the network in the future. If there are two people using computers in your home, it doesn’t mean that the number of users cannot increase with the passage of time.

Why Have Your Computer Network Pro-Installed

You might be wondering why is it important to have the computer network installed by a professional installer. Using the information available over the internet and user manuals, you can easily do it on your own. However, the professional provides something extra in terms of quality and security.

  • The professional knows the kind of wiring to use to make sure the transmission of internet is seamless. There are cases in which electronic interference can disrupt the signals from your Wi-Fi.
  • Professional installers know how to deal with the electronics involved. A computer network involves computers, modems, routers and other equipment. You have to ensure none of them is at risk from voltage fluctuations. It could pose a risk to you as well.
  • Most importantly, professional installers know how to secure the network. They analyze the type of network you have opted for and provide you the adequate security measures to prevent unauthorized intrusions.

These are the main reasons why you should have your home computer network pro-installed. Call Houston Custom Installers to get a computer network for your home.