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Beware of unlicensed A/V Companies!

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on Friday, 21 June 2013
in General

Lately I have talked to some customers that are doing business with companies in the Twin Cities that are not licensed to do Audio/Video work. This is a bad idea for many reasons. First, it is not legal for them to do work in your home. Second, they most likely don't have the training, insurance or a bond that is required to be a licensed Technology Systems Contractor in Minnesota. So if something goes wrong, you may have no recourse to get your money back. It is very simple to check on the company you are considering. Just check here: https://secure.doli.state.mn.us/licensing/licensing.aspx

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What is the deal with LED TVs?

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on Wednesday, 13 March 2013
in Home Theater

There appears to be a lot of confusion over the new so called "LED TVs" made by Samsung and others. First of all, these are NOT really LED TVs! They really are standard LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) TVs but they use LEDs (Light Emitting Diodes) to back light the LCD screen. Up until now, most LCD TVs use Cold Cathode Fluorescent Lamps (CCFLs) to back light the LCD screen. There are many potential problems with CCFLs with the biggest ones being Black Levels and Power Consumption. Since you can't really dim a CCFL, you never get very good black levels so dark scenes tend to lack detail. Manufacturers have learned some tricks to make this better over the years, but LCD is still lacking as compared to Plasma Displays. So LCD TVs that use LEDs use less power and have the POTENTIAL to have better black levels since LEDs can be dimmed or turned off very quickly. But as always, make sure you view any TV before you buy it to verify the picture quality. So why wouldn't you buy an LED  backlit LCD TV? They are thinner, use less power and have better black levels.. Well they are much more expensive than a standard LCD TV so you have to decide if it is worth the extra money. Of course over time, as the volume goes up and competition increases, prices will come down on these models. Comments?

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Is 3D TV for Real?

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on Thursday, 21 June 2012
in 3D TV

There is a lot of hype around 3D TV coming from the major TV manufacturers. But is it for real? The short answer is yes, but of course there are many things to consider here.

3D Basics:
3D content is filmed using a special camera that has two lenses that are roughly the same distance apart as your eyes are. Then the two images are alternately displayed on a 3D TV to make up each frame. By wearing special glasses that are synced to the TV, the left eye only sees the left image and right eye only sees the right image. These are active glasses (so battery powered not those dumb red/green plastic things) that talk wirelessly to the TV or Blu-ray player.

3D Content:
You can find 3D content on Blu-ray Discs or on DirecTV Satellite. And of course your Blu-ray player has to be 3D capable in order to play a 3D movie. There isn’t a ton of content right now but more is coming shortly.

3D TVs:
Currently, Panasonic and Samsung are leading the way with LCD/LED and Plasma 3D TVs available right now. There are many Projector models available also. Samsung is the only one that has TVs that will convert 2D content to 3D. So you can watch your favorite movie, TV show or sporting events in 3D! Although it is not as impressive as native 3D content, it is still a great effect. 

3D Blu-ray Players:
As I said before, your Blu-rau player will have to be 3D capable. It will also have to be connected to your 3D TV via an HDMI cable. And 3D brings in a new version of HDMI (1.4) so that means that if your current receiver is doing HDMI switching, that probably won't work anymore since most receivers only support HDMI 1.3a..

Still confused about 3D TVs? ADI can make it all easy for you. We have a 63” 3D Plasma set up in our showroom. Call us today to setup an appointment for a demo!

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Big Box Retailers.. Are they installation experts?

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on Monday, 30 April 2012
in Home Automation

I have received two calls just this week where the so called big box retailers have fallen short. The first one was a customer that had bought a Home Theater at Circuit City and had their Firedog installation arm install it. Well, they had some issues and now that Circuit City is out of business, they didn't know what to do. If you have had any issues with a Firedog installation, just call us and we can take care of it!

The second one was a customer that bought some Control4 products from Best Buy and had the Geek Squad install the system. But they never finished the installation and it was only partially functional. Part of the problem was a poor design and the part of the problem was lack of knowledge on the installation & programming of the Control4 products. We were able to get the system working in very short order.

Now, don't get me wrong, I buy products from Best Buy frequently. But their installation services are over-priced and they under deliver on anything but the most basic installations. So contact us before you have that big retailer do anything but the most basic installation. You will save money and it will be done right the first time!

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Are you ready for 3D TV?

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on Saturday, 21 January 2012
in 3D TV

I was at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) last week and the big buzz was 3D. Let me first say that we have come a long way from the old cardboard multi color glasses that have been around since the 1970s. Today, you still have to wear glasses, but they are electronic and stylish. Many manufacturers are now delivering (or about to deliver) both flat panel LCD and projection systems that support 3D. These new displays "talk to" the glasses wirelessly so that the right and left lens turn on and off in sync with the display. I wear glasses already, and all of the 3D glasses I tried fit nicely over my glasses. So you will need a Blu-ray player, a 3D movie (titles are limited at this time) and a TV that is capable of displaying 3D. Samsung has some flat panel display that will be shipping soon that will also convert 2D content to 3D! There have been some articles lately that indicate that some people are having bad reactions to 3D. Things like eye strain and headaches have been reported after long periods of 3D viewing. The demos I saw were incredible and 3D has been applied to gaming too!

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3D on DirecTV!

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on Monday, 12 December 2011
in 3D TV

So I am still enjoying my new Samsung 63 inch Plasma 3D TV. I was watching the U.S. Open tennis match in 3D awhile ago and it was very impressive! DirecTV has three 3D channels currently available. Although there is not much content yet, what is there is very nice. Let me know if you would like to stop by for a demo! This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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Samsung 3D Smart TV Update

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on Wednesday, 22 June 2011
in 3D TV

After living with my new 59 inch Plasma Smart TV for a month, everything is good! 2D quality is outstanding. 3D quality is good, but the room needs to be pretty dark to get the best results. The Internet Browser works OK, but is a bit slow for my taste. But I signed up for Netflix and that is cool! I have a 10 Mbps cable modem and movies start pretty much instantly. The picture quality of the streaming movies are excellent, but the audio is only stereo.. I would much rather have at least Dolby with Dolby Digital preferred. I have this connected in to my Denon receiver and only get Stereo.. :-(

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