A Truly Versatile Outdoor Home Theater System

August 28th, 2015

Dedicated home theater space is no longer a requirement for a home theater. In fact, the new outdoor theater screens are almost completely customizable and feature all the new technology available inside your home but now can be placed almost anywhere outside.

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We especially like the Stealth Home Theater systems. It features LED screens, outdoor loud speakers (with new processing systems like Dolby Atmos) and the option to customize screen specifications for placement in brighter lighting including the ability to adjust the resolution and brightness. And the screens can be placed almost anywhere because of the enclosure system that will protect the screen when not in use. And an added bonus, these systems play Blu-ray movies, digital files, files stored on a network or in a cloud, cable or satellite, as well as streaming systems like Roku, Amazon Fire, Netflix, and Apple TV.

The customization of the screen and versatility of streaming sources make this theater system an easy solution for families looking for more entertainment options outsideInterested in planning an outdoor theater for your home?  We are happy to help!

Protect Your Home From Lightning

June 29th, 2015

According to weather.com Florida is ranked #1 as the most lightning prone state in the US, with almost 1.5 million strikes per year. A direct strike to your home can cause thousands of dollars worth of damage, never mind the headache of replacing and repairing all the equipment and appliances that get fried.

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Have you ever wondered how effective a surge protection service would be if your home was struck by lightning?  CE Pro conducted a short one-on-one interview with one of our key staff members at ETC, Inc. to get the low down on how one of the two services we use, SurgeX and Furman, may help protect your home.

Q&A: Short and Long-Term Effects of Lightning Strikes

Ted Bremekamp from ETC, Inc. explains keys to surge protection, suppressing a massive over-voltage, and what happens when lightning strikes twice.

By CE Pro Editors, May 15, 2015

Earlier this week, CE Pro discussed 14 Tips for Surge & Transient Protection for Telephone, CATV, Satellite Services. Learn more about this important topic in a Q&A with Ted Bremekamp from CE Pro 100 integrator ETC, Inc.

Q. They say lightning never strikes twice, but tell me about your customers who have been hit more than once and what they learned? A. Unfortunately, some customers learn the hard way that a single lightning strike does not decrease the probability of being struck again. It is inconvenient and troublesome to go through the process of replacing damaged items at the time of the strike and for months afterwards. One strike can be an annoying on-going issue for several months.

Q. Everyone knows a massive surge can fry electronics boards, but what are some of the less catastrophic results of a lightning strike? A. The most common side effect is the weakening of power supplies in electronics. Appliances with compressors and motors are also affected and may continue working for several weeks or months afterward, but eventually just fail to turn on unexpectedly.

Q. Is there any way to suppress a massive over-voltage on the scale of a lightning strike? A. There are no full proof devices or products that will protect 100 percent if you have a direct lightning strike.  The best thing you can do is minimize the effects and the losses by integrating premium surge protection everywhere a surge can cause catastrophic damage, which includes all low voltage and high voltage lines that come from outside the house. Some examples include: the data line from the pool controller, the wire from the gate pedestal into the phone system, and the wires from a camera on the outside of the property. These are all places where surges can enter the house and where surge protection should be included.

Q. How do you go about educating customers about the importance of surge protection? A. Here in South Florida, we discuss the number of thunderstorms and the frequency of lightning strikes that occur on a regular basis. Most customers watch the local weather reports where they highlight the location and number of lightning strikes in a given day, so it’s just a reality. We discuss how much they have invested, dollar-wise, and that it makes good financial sense to integrate premium protection.

It’s important to paint a picture of the inconvenience caused by systems not working or locking up because of surges from electrical storms. We use SurgeX surge protection to maximize reliability of system performance for A/V, lightning, control, and network equipment as well.  We will not sell a system without premium surge protection because it’s what’s best for the customer, and we prefer not to deal with the service calls that result from not having it.

Q. What’s the craziest thing you’ve seen as a result of a lightning strike? A. I have seen a lightning strike where it struck the house at the incoming high voltage lines and it left about a 15” diameter hole in the side of the house. The electric wires in the wall of the house going to the breaker panel were completely exploded and charred inside the wall. It was pretty crazy.

Q. As a dealer, what are the service benefits of installing premium surge protection and energy management gear? A. More reliability of equipment working, less service calls and happy customers which means more referrals. Another nice thing about SurgeX is that it does not use shunt-to-ground technology so it does not contaminate the ground during and after surges and transients. This is nice because it also reduces the need to reboot systems and products.

Q. What are some misconceptions people have about surge protection and energy management?  A. All surge suppression is the same; it will protect 100 percent from direct lightning strikes; if you have surge suppression on the power line, you don’t need it on other devices like network lines, phone, cable TV, etc.; surges only come on the power side of devices.

The Lady of the Home

March 5th, 2015

Many of our clients are building custom homes, but we also have families renovating older houses to take advantage of all the ways we can make living easier.  A big influence on the choice of new amenities is the lady of the home.  Her biggest concern is aesthetics and safety.  She wants to make the house look beautiful and easily watch over the children, especially if her husband is away often for work.

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Some of the more popular technology features that are important to the entire family include easy-to-use lighting controls, quick access to music and availability of the DVD and music collection in multiple locations of the home.  Some items that are of more importance to the lady of the home include security features in her closet to protect jewelry, handbags, shoes and other accessories, nanny cameras and pool cameras to watch the kids.  She also wants all the wires and boxes that make all of this happen hidden out of sight.

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The woman of the home usually anticipates that new technology will be complicated to use and look a bit clunky around the home.  Many of our clients are pleasantly surprised to find everything is easier to use than expected and most of the accessories and controls blend right into the aesthetics of the home, some are virtually invisible.

iPad flush mount by TRUFIG

iPad flush mount by TRUFIG

One of the most favored features is the “Away” button that can be set for everyday use or vacation/work mode. This button shuts all the lights in the home off, activates the security system and makes sure the garage door is closed. On vacation/work mode, music can be pre-set to play in the home, lights turn on and off and the motion detector can be deactivated to allow the pet to roam freely.

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We take pride in making sure the overall look and feel of the decor of the home will not be secondary to the tools that make the magic happen.  We build a great working relationship with the architect, interior designer and carpenters on each project.  Our goal with each home is to design and deliver highly-functional, accessible technology that blends in seamlessly.

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Technology in the home has come a long way in the past ten years.  We have numerous ways to make technology invisible without compromising quality.  Hidden speakers in the ceiling or walls, wireless audio, and Trufig components that make it possible to mount items like iPad docking stations flush with the wall.

Many of our clients are amazed with the results, especially the lady of the home.  We have several satisfied customers who are happy to share their experiences of how their expectations were met and exceeded. Read some of their comments here. We have solutions for all who live in the home.