We live in a world where almost every new piece of technology we purchase is crying out to be connected to the internet. Light bulbs, thermostats, the latest 8K UHD TV’s, one way or another practically every powered device is able to connect to the internet. All these devices come under the umbrella of the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT) and simply having these devices in your home does not really class it as a smart home.
But why is the requirement for the internet so crucial to these devices? The obvious answers are the popular ‘video on demand’ (VOD) or ‘Catch Up’ TV services which allow you to binge on box sets or box office movies to view in your own time. For radio fans there’s an infinite number of internet radio stations and for music lovers, music streaming services such as Spotify, Tidal or Apple music where, for a small monthly fee, claim to offer you “all of the music in the world“. But more important is the ability for the manufacturer to send updates, bug fixes and improvements to the devices on a regular basis. This is part of the manufacturers continued support and responsibility to ensure smooth operation of their hardware and hopefully deliver great customer satisfaction, although there are some who are not so good at this!
By this point you may be asking what has all this got to do with a Smart Home? Well, a truly smart home is an environment where all of these devices connect together and work seamlessly hand in hand. Cutting out the multitude of different App’s or remote controls and instead provides operation via simple to use single interfaces. Whether this is a dedicated app, tactile remote control, smart light switch, or even motion detection where the house can do it for you. In order to achieve this a “brain” is required, whether this be cloud based or a piece of hardware in the home, there needs to be something in place to pull everything together. Once this is in place and programmed, scenes and events can happen autonomously or from the press of a single button, the possibilities are endless;
Pull up on the drive, the CCTV cameras detect your number plate and by the time you open the door your favourite radio station is playing in the house.
Having a party? A single button press can start the playlist and set the lights to “party” mode.
Lights automatically turn on when you enter the room and off when you leave.
A smart home should work for you, it will become part of your everyday life and as such it will become the norm.
In order for this to be achieved, one of the most important ingredients in any Smart Home is a correctly designed, reliable and robust home network consisting of both wired and wireless connectivity. In a poor network with under specified hardware, bad coverage and limited connectivity there will undoubtedly be problems. Multiple devices will fight to connect, constant drop outs will occur and when devices begin to “fall over” the outcome will result in a lack of communication across the network and ultimately impacting on the user experience. All of this leaves you thinking “why did I bother?”
At Connected Home Systems the infrastructure is a core feature of our projects which is never overlooked. From the design to the installation and right through to maintenance, we tailor all aspects to suit your project now and for years to come.
Having recently installed one of LG’s signature series “wallpaper” TV’s I thought I would give a run down on the process and the challenges we faced during this not so standard install.
The screen mount itself is pretty straight forward and not to dissimilar to a standard screen wall mount. Bracket on the wall first which in this case is a thin sheet of steel with two notches towards the top and the screen “hooks” onto these notches then sticks to the rest of the bracket with a series of magnets.
Then comes the not so straight forward sound bar. In order to make the screen so thin all of the I/O, power and electronics are located in the sound bar with the screen being just a sheet of OLED’s. There is no supplied wall bracket for the sound bar and it is assumed that LG want you to install it onto a piece of furniture below the screen, even though their original promotional images show it mysteriously floating. Indeed this was requested by our client and because of the location there was no option to have a piece of furniture below so we had to come up with a solution.
Having searched high and low we opted to go with a simple gloss black floating shelf and appropriate brackets to hold the weight. Fortunately we were able to find a shelf to match the width of the bar and also deep enough to accommodate the I/O connections and cabling.
So with the screen position and sound bar mount dealt with then came the next obstacle, the ribbon cable. The interconnecting cable from screen to sound bar is a 40mm wide ribbon cable which is fixed into the screen and plugs into the bar with a serial like connection. LG say that the cable can be installed onto the wall as it is so thin it will not be obtrusive, but we wanted to have this cable out of sight just like the promotional images referred to earlier.
This posed a number of challenges, namely the excess and the fact it is fixed to the screen. It comes in at around a metre in length and as we were mounting the bar just below the screen we had a ream of not so flexible cable to conceal. Fortunately we were installing onto a dry lined wall so with a bit of clever routing we were able to tuck it away but then we had to handle a very bendy £7K TV whilst feeding this cable through the wall.
As you can see we acheived the desired result, the picture quality excellent and sound reproduction is as good as any other sound bar, but I just wish that LG would give the option of supplying the screen without the bar, but a tuner box in its place much like the first Panasonic plasma screens for those of you who can remember back that far. This would allow for more flexibility when it comes to the installation.
As is the way of the tech world competition is fierce and hardware is constantly evolving so we shall wait and see how durable this design is and what comes next…
TV’s, we’ve all got one and in most cases we don’t pay too much attention to the picture quality because it’s “OK” but there are differences out there and with the most popular broadcasters now offering 4K is it worth the hype?
It’s all about the Pixels or to be more precise the amount of pixels crammed into a TV screen, the more there are the higher the resolution the clearer the image.
Standard Definition or SD with 704x576 pixels it is the lowest resolution and the majority of TV broadcasts are still in SD, if you’re not watching a channel with HD after it then it will be a standard definition broadcast.
High Definition 1080p or HD with 1920x1080 pixels although increasingly popular still not every broadcast you watch is a High Definition channel which is incredible considering the first broadcast in the UK was over 10 years ago.
Ultra-High Definition 4K or UHD with 3840x2160 pixels currently the highest resolution available, content is still limited but gaining traction in all formats.
In answer to the original question “is it worth the hype?” well ultimately it is really down to personal preference but if you are looking to purchase a new TV in the upcoming festive period then there are some key things to look out for to ensure that it will be able to display those 4K images should you decide to subscribe in the future. UHD, 4K, HDR, HDMI2.0, HDCP 2.2
It’s a sad thought but there are plenty of opportunists around who will not think twice about checking out an obviously empty property. A few tips to deter would be intruders are fairly straight forward, locked windows, timers on lights, car keys out of plain sight, get a neighbour to call round every few days to pick up the post and check things over. But a more successful deterrent is a professionally installed CCTV system.
A competent company will ensure that the most vulnerable areas are covered, High Definition IP cameras are used, ample local storage for weeks of footage and live viewing from smart phones and tablets so you can check in on your home whenever you like.
There are a multitude of additional options to ensure that your property is secure including motion sensing and smart tracking cameras, even the ability to link up to a 24hr monitoring centre who will be alerted by any unexpected visitors.
No matter how many cameras are on a property they will not stop intruders but should the unfortunate happen then the footage could be vital in assisting the police in their investigations.
For more information on protecting your home or business please don’t hesitate to contact us and arrange a free consultation.
We have given ourselves a brand new name. AVICCI never rolled off the tongue and nobody really knew what it was an acronym for, not even those who worked here!
Connected Home Systems better encompasses the services we offer, well nearly…
The truth is as home technology professionals we deal with all sorts of “connected” devices each having its own remote control or app and it is our role to ensure these products are correctly installed, correctly configured, simple to use and where possible integrated together to create a complete system within the home.
Taking this into account we think our new name will give a head start when trying to explain what we do and for you, the end user, to make the right decision when looking for a company to help with your tech. Whether its existing products, new products or you’re not really sure where to begin we offer all levels of service tailored to meet your needs.
Get in touch through our contacts page if you have an upcoming project or would simply like a bit of tech advice.