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Home Theater, Distributed Audio, Home Automation... what does it all mean?

The title is a question that I feel is the disconnect between the majority of our clients and it all

could be wrapped up into one simple phrase; Custom Electronics Design and Integration. We

get tons of requests for TV Wall mounts and as we get to talking, they sense that I know a bit

more than mounting a TV on the wall. Then I go on to all of the projects we have completed and

as always, they had no clue that this was were were people they can call other than the Nerd

Squad. Yes, you know who I mean, not to bash their marketing and their huge big brother, but I

find that we are often called to finish or complete a task they were not able to do. Integrators do

not follow the cookie cutter application that the manufacturer intended, we think outside the box

and find ways to expand their potential and in turn, provide the best solution for our clients.

As years have past, Home Electronic manufacturers have found that being able to work with

other manufacturers to develop a common solution for their customers has been the trend. Nest

for example has built their empire with the popular headline; “Works with Nest”. This concept,

more than ever, is in our nature to simplify things in our lives. You may have heard of “Life

Hacking”, or the act of taking two, or more unrelated everyday items to work together to create a

desired result. For example, using aluminum foil and a double A (AA) battery, you can create a

hand warmer! You may have also seen a similar hack in the show “Orange is the new black”

they used gum wrapper foil (with paper lining) and a battery to create a lighter.

If you were trying to figure out how this applies to the electronics in your home the person you

would be looking for is an integrator. Integrators design and install Audio/Video, Smart home

systems (Home Automation), and surveillance to be managed in one simple application. Let's

talk about a few examples to really bring this home.

Distributed Audio:

This is also called Multiroom audio, Multi zone audio, Whole home audio, etc. Simply put, the

application is one or more sources playing through your home. Now this could be easily done by

adding a radio in each room and turning them all on individually and setting the station or

inserting the same CD in each room (Who does that? Yes, I meant who uses CD’s anymore).

You may have also realized that you cannot connect to multiple bluetooth speakers using the

same phone or device.

However, Sonos has since then found thi