Complete Your Home Theater Experience with the Proper Seating

After installing a home theater, the perfect addition to complete the theater experience is home theater seating. After all, you should enjoy your entertainment in utmost comfort. Installing comfortable, functional seating has its benefits and is easier than you might think.

Photo Credit: Fortress Seating

Photo Credit: Fortress Seating

Theater seating is fully customizable to fit your needs. If you’re working with a small space, seating can be built to your space’s specifications with zero-clearance and yet still fully recline – even when placed directly against a wall. Seating can be built with manual or motorized reclining functions and can also include a leg rest if desired.

Think of the seats at a deluxe cinema. Now think of those seats in your home and you have the ultimate theater experience. Theater seating is built to help you withstand long periods of binge watching your favorite movies. To discover more about home theater seating, visit our showroom at 9 Forest Street in Wellesley Hills and spend a few minutes in our home theater.

Trend: Outdoor Living

More and more homeowners are taking advantage of their outdoor space by bringing traditionally indoor activities — cooking, entertaining, even family movie night — to their backyards. Yes, even in New England’s climate, these “rooms without walls” are a growing trend in home redesign, and a great way to add tremendous value to your property as well.

No longer do you need to stop at a deck and gas grill; if you want to do it outside, there’s probably and option for you. It’s like going on vacation except it’s only steps away.

outdoor kitchen

If the kitchen is the heart of your home, it can also be the heart of your yard as well, and the sky is the limit in terms of how simple or complex you want to make it. Because of the explosion in demand for these types of appliances, manufacturers now offer an outdoor version of nearly any item you’d find in an indoor kitchen. Love pizza? Get a brick oven. Host large family gatherings? Get a 12 burner stove top with grill top, warming rack, and even a deep fryer.

Let your inner Emeril out and consider adding to your home’s charm and entertaining options with more than just an expanded outdoor cooking space; add a sink, dishwasher, granite counters, and more.

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Want to bring family movie night outdoors? Just add a high-def TV, but be sure and use one specifically suited for outdoor conditions and is triple-sealed for weather protection. Make sure any mount you use is also meant for outdoor use and won’t rust or fall apart. These mounts are also designed to handle the added weight of outdoor sets as well. You may also want to consider a rotating mount as well to provide multiple viewing angle options as well as perform better in windy conditions.

Now it’s time to consider location. While outdoor televisions do deliver a brighter image than their indoor counterparts, you may want to consider a spot that is fully or partially shaded for a better viewing experience. Finally, think about the type of content you’ll likely be watching. Will you be tapping into your cable or satellite service to watch the game live or more likely streaming online content to binge watch shows or your favorite movies? This will be an important consideration to make as part of the installation process.

outdoor fire pit 2

But is an “outdoor room” investment worth your while in a climate like New England’s where you can only count on Mother Nature for warm weather four to five months a year? This is where the hottest trend in outdoor living — pun intended — comes into play: fire pits and outdoor fireplaces. Nothing will increase the amount of time families spend outside than adding one of  these options to the yard, perfect for those cooler evenings in the spring or fall. Better Homes & Gardens magazine just released a report saying nearly half of all millennials now have an open fire feature in their outdoor space.

Create the outside oasis that’s perfect for you and join the outdoor room trend this summer.

Things to Do In Denver…At The CEDIA EXPO 2013!

The 84" Planar 4k Ultra-Res Display can display 4 separate source images!

The 84″ Planar 4k Ultra-Res Display can display 4 separate source images!

Things were definitely not dead in Denver last month during the CEDIA Expo.  CEDIA is the Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association, and the Expo is the leading trade show for the custom residential electronics field.  The show was held in Denver from September 25-28, 2013.  I attended the Expo along with Elite Media Solutions owner Brian Gibson and Sean Farrell, one of our service and installation technicians.

According to CEDIA, there were more than 470 exhibitors and 17,900 attendees representing 84 countries. Although not as large as the Consumer Electronics Show, it’s specifically geared towards custom home electronics dealers and showcases products from audio, video, computer networking, lighting, automated window treatments, A/V specific furniture such as seating and cabinets, and home automation and control manufacturers. It’s a good opportunity for dealers to interact with manufacturers and their representatives, attend training classes, and keep up with the latest product offerings.

On our first day in Colorado prior to the start of the Expo, we enjoyed a little sightseeing outside the city, and visited the Red Rocks Concert Pavilion and some friends in Evergreen, CO.   While in Evergreen, we even saw a large bear run across the road!    We went to a Colorado Rockies vs. Red Sox baseball game, which our Red Sox won.   It was funny how a Rockies fan was telling me how cool their ballpark was because they have an old-style scoreboard with people inside that move the numbers manually.   Wow!   I wonder where they go that idea?   Partied a little with the nice folks from Sonos, and heard some good music. Oh, and we ate too much.

So what were the trends and products at the CEDIA Expo that caught my eye?

  • Savant Systems announced several new controllers, including a new system bundle that will make their technology available at a competitive price point, sort of a Savant starter package that still offers a lot of bang for the buck.  Savant, located in Hyannis, MA, also introduced a number of additions to their smart lighting control products.    To see more about Savant’s lighting control options, click here for a short video from Savant, filmed at the CEDIA Expo.
  • Stewart Filmscreens – One of the coolest demos I saw was at the Stewart Filmscreen booth, specifically showcasing the Director’s Choice 100 screen system.   This screen is a true “shape-shifter” and allows an amazing amount of flexibility with the well-designed masking options, and up to a 14 foot wide image!   Lately there has been news about IMAX home theaters at prices in the 2 million dollar minimum range.  For that price, you end up with many limitations ranging from content availability to requiring a massive amount of space – not to mention the cash.  At $50k, this Stewart Director’s Choice Screen is a bargain for those desiring a spectacular theater with unmatched flexibility.    Even after adding other top-notch components,  a homeowner will spend a fraction of what an IMAX home theater will cost, and have many more ways to enjoy the investment.      Click here to see a short video of a demo on the Director’s Choice Screen.
  • Sonance Loudspeakers – Sonance has been our “go to” company for in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, and their line of outdoor speakers including the Sonnarray and the Landscape Series are nothing short of amazing.    The Sonance booth was rocking and showing off their new and improved in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, along with their re-designed invisible series that are installed completely in a wall, and then plastered over.    The first time I heard these speakers, I was prepared to be unimpressed, but I was wrong.   The performance and engineering of Sonance products is impressive, and we’ll be upgrading some of our showroom speakers to the newer Sonance models in the near future.   Interested in learning a little more about the invisible series speakers?  Just click here for a video from the Expo showcasing these hi-tech and hi-performing speakers from Sonance.
  • Yamaha Corporation introduced the CX-A5000 and the MX-A5000, separate pre-amplifier and amplifier, respectively.   I checked out both of these units and listened to them as well.   The build-quality seemed great and they sounded fantastic.  This would be a great step-up for a system from an all-in-one audio visual receiver.   Separates have many benefits, as explained in this short video from the Yamaha booth at CEDIA!   I’m going to try to be extra good for the rest of this year so Santa will bring me this set-up.
  • KEF Loudspeakers – Regular readers of the Elite Media Solutions website and blog know we are fans of KEF Loudspeakers.   KEF had a great booth, and probably the most comfortable floor, which is always a welcome after being on your feet for many days in a row.   KEF was demonstrating a number of their products, including their amazing M500 headphones.   After listening to these headphones, we immediately bought a case of them for the store!   KEF was also playing their new in-wall series of speakers boasting aluminum fronts, THX Certification, and the well-regarded Uni-Q driver.   KEF’s line of CI (custom installation) speakers was also impressive, and we’ve enjoyed the sound and build-quality of the KEF products for years and they continue to impress.   Here is a video courtesy of Rave Publications featuring Johann form KEF doing a walk through of some of the highlights at the KEF booth.  
  • Planar showed a brand-new 84″ Ultra-Res (4k ultra-high definition display) that looked fantastic, and allows the proud owner to show up to four different images at once!    Some of the models offer touch screen capability, and 3D content is handled without a problem.   This was probably the coolest display at CEDIA in my opinion  Planar has been around since 1983, and although not quite a household name, they make great products.  Come on in to Elite Media Solutions in Wellesley, MA to see this amazing display.  We ordered two at the show, and they should be arriving soon.   To schedule a demo, just call Steve at (781) 237-2929, but for now you can check out this video on the Planar Ultra-Res thanks to Rave Publications shot at CEDIA.

I could go on about the CEDIA 2013 Expo, as their was a lot of great stuff to see.  I didn’t even get to the cool shading and draperies displayed by QMotion and MechoShade, and some of the new video projectors, so I will lover those in future posts.   Other interesting products I saw were from JVC, Sony (new 4k displays), and some nice new cabinets and seating from our friends at Salamander Designs.    Bose and Sonos booths were also busy with activity.

So, thank you Denver and CEDIA for a good show.   See you in 2014!

If you would like information on any of the products covered in this post, or any thing else, please just get in touch with Elite Media Solutions of Wellesley, MA.   We provide custom video, music, home networks and wi-fi, automated shades and drapes, lighting control, and home automation and control throughout Massachusetts, including the Needham, Dover, Sherborn, Weston, Wayland, Natick, Newton, Bedford, Brookline, Boston, Norfolk, Medfield, Walpole, Canton, Westwood, Hingham, Cape Cod, Stow, Concord, Lincoln, and Acton areas.

 

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The Seura booth at the CEDIA Expo 2013, makers of high-end displays for indoors and out

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The Denver Convention Center – CEDIA Expo 2013 – our only cloudy day

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Revel Performa Series speakers at the CEDIA Expo! You can hear these at our store in Wellesley, MA.

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Balancing Your TV Location and Interior Design – 5 Tips

Note: This post originally appeared on the Boston Design Guide Blog!   Check it out by clicking here!

Just like real estate, location is a top consideration when it comes to televisions – especially in a multi-use room where most of us watch TV.  Your display should fit the room.  Whereas some people just focus on selecting a “gi-normous” flat-panel television, I think it is important to consider the design elements in the space and integrate the display accordingly. Remember the following bits of advice:

  • No law in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts requires mounting a television over the fireplace.
  • Don’t ruin your relationship with your significant other by arguing over-size or locations for your TV.

Although the spot above your fireplace could be a good location for your television, it may not be the look you, your spouse, or your designer envisions for the room.  So, how should you handle the sometimes-delicate balance between design aesthetic and a good location for a flat-panel TV?

Glad you asked!  Many options exist, so be creative and enlist the help of a home entertainment firm experienced with custom installations.  In the alternative, you might try “rock, paper, scissors” or a grueling thumb-wrestling tournament with the winner getting to decide.  In the meantime, here are five things to consider when thinking about TV placement:

Option 1 – Acceptance

A flat panel television may not be the most beautiful thing in the world. The good news is that many of today’s televisions do look better – maybe at least a seven I’d say.  Besides being extremely thin like me (big lie), the edge bezel is almost non-existent on many of the newer models, meaning more glass and a nicer overall appearance.  Learning to accept your TV is the least expensive option.  Just learn to embrace the look and then have your TV installed on a quality mount or on a cabinet by a professional so that no wires or cables are visible and it is at the correct height, etc.  There a wide variety of mounts available, from fixed to fully articulating low-profile options.

Option 2 – Here’s Lookin’ at You

Whether turned on or off, this TV from Seura looks fantastic and blends nicely with your decor.

Whether turned on or off, this TV from Seura looks fantastic and blends nicely with your decor.

Here’s an idea! Just buy some really expensive fabric and drape the TV with it.  I call this “Swag-o-Vision.” When you want to watch a movie, just carefully remove the fabric and…Ta-dah!

Ok, this is a clearly a silly idea, but wait… what if your television didn’t even look like a television? What if your television transformed itself into an attractive framed mirror as soon as the “Off” button on your remote or iPad was selected? Such options are readily available.  Seura makes fantastic displays that become mirrors when powered off, and they have over 100 frames available in various styles and shapes as long as it is a rectangle. Seura TVs are available from a 32” to a 65” and I’ll add that they are nice folks and build a premium product.   Yes, you will pay more for one of their sets, but this option may be a great idea for your room.

Option 3 – Night at the Museum 

Perhaps you don’t love the mirror idea and you really wanted artwork over the fireplace or at another location in your room that would also be a good spot for your display.  No problem, you can have both! We can take care of that by using a moving frame that holds artwork, hiding the TV until you’re ready to watch.  The entire frame can move out-of-the-way vertically or horizontally, or your art can roll up out-of-the-way to reveal the screen.   Personally, I like a painting of a television to hide the television, but I’m a rebel.  I like the products available from Media Décor, and you can click here to see some of the art frame options available.

Option 4 – “TV?  We Don’t Need No TV!” 

Like the line above from the 1948 film, Treasure of the Sierra Madre referencing proper law enforcement identification, and later used in Blazing Saddles of course, you could decide to just go without. NO TV?  Many of you are likely surprised that a TV, music, and smart-home professional is suggesting this option.

Please allow me to explain. How about considering something larger than any readily available flat-panel that provides an amazing viewing experience, and then just disappears?  Just call me The Wizard of Awes.

Just add a projector and a retractable screen. Problem solved! People sometimes fail to consider projection systems and think they only belong in a dedicated home theater.   Today’s projectors and screens may be a great choice in certain rooms, even multi-purpose rooms.  Screens are available in many sizes, allow the viewing of different video formats, and can retract up into your ceiling or a soffit when not in use.    It’s tricky if you ask us to hide an 80-inch TV, but we can hide a large retractable screen without ruining your view.

One of our current projects involves a luxury hi-rise condo in Boston with great views.  You can see the State House and skyline from there, but not Russia.  The resident’s view will be clear when not watching a movie or TV, because the 120” screen will retract at the touch of button.   The projector can be hidden in some applications as well, and some projectors can be ordered in custom colors and boast sports car-like curves.

Option 5 – Need a Lift?

Another way to get your TV out of sight is by using a motorized lift to move your TV effortlessly in and out of a cabinet, the ceiling, the floor, or even out from below your bed!   Yes, that is going to set you back a pretty penny or two.  Mechanisms can also swivel the display, so different configurations are possible depending on the project requirements. Furniture with lifts pre-installed are available, but may not suit your specific purpose or taste.  One popular option is a cabinet at the foot of the bed with a lift for the TV.

 

When planning a location for your display, don’t forget wires and cable requirements along with thinking about where the other components of your system will be installed. Be creative, and reach out to professionals to help you integrate video, music and other products into your home with style, no matter what your décor.

Steve McDonough is Vice President at Elite Media Solutions of Wellesley, MA.  You can learn more by visiting their new website and blog at EliteMediaSoutions.com, or email Steve at smcdonough@elitemediasolutions.com

Elite Media Solutions of Wellesley, MA is your source for music systems, TV, video, home theater, motorized shades and automated window treatments, lighting control, and home automation.    We also provide quality seating and AV furniture for your home.  Serving Boston and the surrounding areas, including Weston, Wayland, Bedford, Wayland, Norfolk, Dover, Sherborn, Needham, Hingham, Natick, Framingham, Newton, Brookline, Concord, Canton, Medfield,  Lexington, and Cape Cod.  Call us at (781) 237-2929 to discuss your next project with us.

Motorized Shades & Drapes – Wellesley & Boston

For many years, Elite Media Solutions has been a leader in the A/V scene, but did you know we also sell and install automated window treatments such as motorized shades and draperies?  Automated window treatments are visually appealing and come in a variety of styles, such as:

lifestyle-shades

Call Elite Media for your automated shades and draperies!

  • Roller Shades
  • Skylight
  • Roman Shades
  • Honeycomb Shades
  • Blinds
  • Draperies

The increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets as automation controllers, along with greater choices in fabrics and power options are making automated (also known as motorized) shades and draperies more popular than ever.    All this is great, but perhaps the most important new advancement pertains to installing shades in existing homes.

Not long ago, adding automated window treatments to an existing home meant a messy and expensive installation because low-voltage wire needed to added inside finished walls.  For today’s homeowner, this is no longer a concern thanks to some clever engineering. For instance, manufacturer QMotion has developed a shading line that is battery-powered. The batteries are commercial-grade D cells, and last between 3 and 5 years depending on usage.  The QMotion shades are a fantastic option for anyone with a window! Installation costs are much lower thanks to this technology.

Sure, it looks cool when window treatments move at the touch of a button from your smartphone, but don’t forget significant benefits such as:

  • Protect furniture, rugs, and artwork from the sun’s harmful rays
  • Enhance security by using automatic settings to open and close window treatments, or just change them remotely
  • Privacy
  • Great for large or hard to reach windows
  • Control views outside your home
  • Absence of cables or cords –  safer for kids and pets, and adds a sleek appearance
  • Energy Management – help control the temperature inside your home
  • Pre-set options so shades open at a specified time in the morning, or close at night-time along with your lighting, etc.

Of course, the pros at Elite Media can integrate your window treatments to work in conjunction with your smart home control system, so that your lighting, shades, and audio-visual systems can function together from your iPhone, iPad, or Android device in most cases. Other control options exist as well, such as advanced remote controls.

We can easily work with you and/or your designer, so you get the look you want for your home or office.   When you are looking for automated shades or motorized draperies, whether you live near Boston, the Back Bay, Weston, Natick, Wellesley, Wayland, Dover, Sherborn, Hingham, Norfolk, Medfield, or on Cape Cod, just call us at (781) 237-2929 to schedule a consultation.

Click here to see a video of automated shades in action!    This preview is approved for all audiences.   Please don’t tell anyone how it ends…