No longer a luxury for the rich and famous, today’s homeowners are installing home theaters with big picture and big sound into their personal spaces
“Today, both music lovers and movie buffs can have a professionally installed system that meets their budget, while still offering high-end performance,” says Rich Stroman, owner of Innovative Audio Video, LLC.
Stroman explains that over the past two-to-three years, the quality of home theater equipment has increased, while prices of this equipment have decreased. Simultaneously, modern technology has made streaming favorite video and audio content instantly to home theater systems easier than ever. As a result, more and more homeowners are experiencing movie theater-quality entertainment from the comfort of their own homes.
Innovative Audio Video, LLC’s offerings run the gamut from high-definition video displays and screen projection systems, to home theater, media and gaming systems with digital surround sound. The company also offers a suite of customized solutions to create the ultra home theater environment, including lighting design, automation and control system integration, as well as extras like home theater seating and acoustic treatments.
“It is always our goal to bring the latest, proven technologies that offer high, long-term value beyond their cost,” explains Stroman, a former electrical engineer who was responsible for the design and manufacture of new products before he launched Innovative Audio Video in 2006. As a musician with a piqued interest in premium audio and video components, the home entertainment and technology industry was simply a natural fit for him.
One such technology making waves in today’s home theater systems is Smart TV, which refers to the integration of Internet applications, interactive and user-generated content, as well as on-demand media into today’s home television panels, Blu-ray® players or Apple TVs.
Stroman explains that the most popular movie and TV content providers who have had success with Smart TV technology are Netflix, YouTube and Amazon Instant Video. Each of these content providers allows homeowners to stream movies, television shows and other video content over the Internet with direct playback on home theater systems. When it comes to music, Stroman says that iTunes, Pandora and Rhapsody are the most popular applications for this technology.
However, Stroman warns that “with the onslaught of new Internet streaming and applications that can be used to enhance your theater system, it is crucial that you have a high-speed Internet connection. Most user frustrations in streaming content over the Internet are due to a less-than-adequate Internet speed or wireless signal strength.”
For a completely immersive experience, 3D televisions (which do require 3D glasses) are also available. Although these televisions haven’t completely penetrated the market just yet, cable programmers, like ESPN and Discovery Channel, have been creating new channels to support this technology.
Stroman also explains that wireless technology has made great strides in the past few years, especially Apple’s Airplay technology, which allows homeowners to stream audio over home networks from iPods or iPads direct to new receivers from Denon and other leading home theater receiver manufacturers.
“Wireless high-definition video is also making advances this past year for short distances, although the technology is fairly expensive and no wireless standard has been adopted by the manufacturers,” he adds.
SUITING YOUR STYLE & SPACE
While some homes do have a dedicated theater and/or media room, many of today’s homeowners are installing system components into their multipurpose rooms, such as an expanded living or family room. “These areas tend to be located near the center of the home, and can be enjoyed more frequently and typically by more members of the family, on a daily basis,” says Stroman.
No matter what area of the home the theater is installed in, it’s imperative that the system not only complements the homeowner’s lifestyle, but also the space they have planned for the theater.
“When beginning the design process, most people typically start with the flat panel or screen size, which is often the determining factor due to room size or layout,” says Stroman. “Nothing can beat the impact of viewing a quality high-definition movie or sporting event on a large screen.”
He also points out that the audio quality is often the most overlooked attribute of a home theater, even though it can hugely impact the overall experience.
Lighting, seating, system control and room aesthetics are also important components that must be factored into the design. For stand-out home theaters, massage chairs and popcorn machines make for fun additions, while functional features can include items such as a single remote that can control the screen, video, sound and lighting. “We’ve even installed custom chair shakers on the theater seating to give the bass more impact and feeling,” says Stroman.
Taking into consideration all the components necessary for a home theater, along with the constant cycle of upgrades that drives the consumer electronics industry, it’s easy to understand why a professional is oftentimes needed to outline the various options that will provide long-term enjoyment and value.
For instance, Stroman recalls an installation Innovative Audio Video recently completed for a music-loving client. “She had not been listening to her music for years, other than in her car while driving, due to the fact that her music was spread in different places,” he says. “We consolidated her complete CD and iTunes collection on a high-quality music server, and she is now able to play immediately in one of six zones in her home with the push of a single button … She is ecstatic!
“It’s important to spend the appropriate time to educate the homeowner to what activities are available to integrate into their new system, based on their lifestyle preferences,” he adds. “As equipment performance continues to grow exponentially, it is extremely important that the average homeowner can easily operate their system, and that it provides a high-quality experience.”
Contact Rich Stroman of Innovative Audio Video, LLC at (321) 777-3063 or (321) 626-9041. For more information, visit www.InnovativeAVFL.com.