Video: Working With Partners to Provide the Best Client Experience

When a client is looking for a custom job that fits all of his or her needs, it’s important that all the vendors working to make this happen are in harmony. Is this the experience you are having with the team making upgrades to your home?

 This brief video explains our philosophy at Elite Media Solutions, focusing on our working relationship with Bevilacqua Builders in Wellesley.

 

 

Apple Watch & Home Automation

apple-watch-selling-points

Controlling your home’s temperature, lights, and audio from your wrist? If it’s a technology that’s available, Elite Media will be the ones to find out and let you know what’s possible.

Because we wanted to be sure we had the potential answers to our customers’ questions, we set our own watches for an early alarm on Friday, April 3rd. How early? 3:00 a.m., the moment that pre-sales for the Apple Watch began.

With bleary eyes, we placed an order for two watches to ensure that we’d have them delivered on Friday, April 24th, the first day that the watches would be available to the public. Having the latest technology options — and understanding how they can best be used by our customers — is the type of extra step we like to take for customer service.

And yes, if you ask nicely, we’ll be happy to show off the bells and whistles of our new acquisitions. We’ll even give you the time if needed.

Save Energy with an Automated Energy Management System

Savant Systems

Photo Credit: Savant Systems

Let’s face it – caring for your home is already a lot of work, but a complete automated home energy management system – like a system from Savant Systems – can take much of that concern away.

Home automation and automated home energy management comes with many benefits and energy savings might just be the most beneficial. Tools such as these provide users with complete control of their homes through an easy-to-use smartphone app. Forgot to shut off the lights? Not a problem! Want to turn the heat up a few notches while on your way home? Go for it!

Savant Systems

Photo Credit: Savant Systems

Home automation may sound expensive at first, but the savings really do add up. According to Energy Star, a programmable/automated thermostat can save approximately $180 annually. Your thermostat is only part of it, though. Appliances can be programmed to run during non-peak hours. Lights can be set to turn off when no one is in the room. Sprinklers can be set to run at night. All of this in an effort to control costs and save precious natural resources by operating on an efficient schedule. Homeowners may also find savings through their homeowner’s insurance for installing such systems. It’s recommended to check with your insurer to see what discounts are available.

In addition to the energy savings, home automation provides peace-of-mind. Your home can be controlled via a convenient smartphone app, meaning you can control the locks, lights, garage door, everything from wherever you are. Many home automation systems include security cameras that can also be viewed and controlled from your smartphone. Many of these tools are key in deterring thieves by making it appear someone is home.

Whatever your motivation is for installing home automation tools in your home, we can help develop the right systems or you.

Tip: Improved Outdoor Audio for Your Home

When you spend time outside by your pool or on your deck, what audio options are you using? Speakers hanging on the back of the house? A sound dock or bluetooth speaker for your phone or iPod? A bit limiting, right? Either you’re too far away and can’t really hear all that well or you’re stuck sitting next to the music and the sound is too loud to have a conversation with the person sitting next to you. Plus your neighbor may not share the same tastes in music. Or decibel level.

The good news is there is a better solution for providing high-fidelity audio that doesn’t require excessive volume and that blends into the landscaping of your backyard.

image courtesy of Sonance

image courtesy of Sonance

The above diagram shows an example of the speaker layout in a backyard with pool. Instead of one or two sound sources, the outdoor array of speakers easily covers all areas where you and your guests would be spending time outdoors. The sound is directed towards your property and can be kept at a pleasant volume thanks to the number of speakers.

One complaint about outdoor speakers is their lack of bass, but the new trend solves that issue by ingeniously burying the sub-woofers underground to provide tremendous bass coverage. All the speakers are run off a single audio output and relayed together without disturbing the beauty of your landscaping. Below is an example of just how little of a visual impact the speakers have.

courtesy of Sonance

courtesy of Sonance

These speaker systems can be installed using a single cable from the audio source. It is always best to use direct burial wire for an outdoor system as this type is made to deal with the range of temperatures and moisture conditions present in soil. We recommend and use 14-gauge wire for direct burial as this will provide the best quality and performance over the lifetime of the sound system.

Keep in mind when installing direct burial wire that you should dig down at least six inches when creating the channel for the wire. You’ll likely be aerating your lawn annually and you want to make sure your wire doesn’t get harmed during this process.

Rock your yard this summer with a new outdoor sound system.

 

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.

Backyard-spa-web

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.

Changing Providers? Take These Steps Before the Service Call

According to the American Consumer Satisfaction Index survey, the least popular industries in the U.S. last year were internet service providers and subscription television services. Customers get fed up and decide to switch providers, figuring another option has got to be better than their current service.

Photo Credit: fios.verizon.com

Photo Credit: fios.verizon.com

If you’re planning to switch providers, be sure and contact Elite Media first. One of the most common calls we get from our clients is that their universal remote isn’t working any longer or the home network is acting funny. And far too often the reason is the homeowner has changed providers and needs us to re-program their remote or system.

How can you avoid this happening to you?

Call us before you schedule your service call. We can plan to have one of our technicians on hand as soon as your new service is up and running so you’re never sitting at home with a remote that isn’t working and unable to access your favorite programs.

Don’t be reactive. Be proactive!

Elite Media Receives ProSource MVP Award

Elite Media Solutions was honored to receive the ProSource MVP 2014 Award at the company’s annual ProSource Summit in March in Orlando, Florida. ProSource is the largest specialty and consumer electronics purchasing group in the United States.

Elite Media ProSource MVP Award

Brian Gibson, our Founder and President, received the MVP Award, which is presented to an individual that exhibits loyalty and commitment to the group as a true advocate for the company. As stated by ProSource in handing out the honor, “[Brian Gibson] is consistent in his support of the initiatives, vendors, programs, and actively promotes the group to other dealers and vendors in the industry (without asking). Gibson is also a resource for other group members in his area; they call him for advice and direction.”

This recognition by his peers for his hard work and dedication is also recognized by his customers in his approach to servicing the particular needs of each job.

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…

 

Why Your Home Computer Network Needs Help

network cables connected to switch

Using quality networking equipment just makes sense.

Home computer networks are expected to do a lot for us these days.  Inexpensive consumer-grade products are not designed to handle the higher demands of audio and video systems, such as distributed music and video, security systems including cameras, and smart-home control systems.  The result is poor quality wi-fi, loss of data, frequent need to reboot, and even product failure.   This results in more service calls, translating into additional expense and frustration.

Other negatives of lower quality “off the shelf” network equipment (routers, switches, wireless access points) include:

  • Producing erratic signals and overall lower performance
  • 90 day or other short-term warranty
  • Built with slow processors
  • Inexpensive hardware
  • Reduced feature sets, no VPN or VLAN capability
  • Firmware changes and incompatible release
  • All in one devices, such as a router/switch combination, is not practical for a more robust home or commercial network

So, if you have an inexpensive router and/or switch, which includes many of the brands that consumers are familiar with, then set your expectations accordingly.

With our homes and systems becoming more connected, babies buying and selling Exchange – Traded Funds on their iPads from their cribs, and many more wireless devices in the typical home, people working from home, it is time for you to seriously consider stepping up your home network infrastructure.  When you step-up to an enterprise grade network, the benefits include:

  • Significantly increased reliability and longevity
  • Faster internal speeds
  • VLAN Capability – Virtual Local area Network, allows prioritizing the devices on the network
  • Enhanced Security
  • Configuration Options (web server GUI, command line interface)
  • Remote Management, including port forwarding
  • Ability to remotely power cycle POE ports
  • Email alerts
  • Error Logging

Enterprise grade networks include higher quality wireless access points (WAPs), including WAPs designed specifically for outdoors, and unique designs for interiors spaces, such as an in-ceiling WAP.  Switches and routers can be rack mounted for a clean appearance, with all cables in the back.

Thus, if you want superior wifi-roaming, stability, quality music and video streaming, clean IP telephone conversations, clear images from IP cameras, and less frustration whether wired or wireless,  then consider moving up to one of our enterprise grade network solutions.

Home network solutions, network provider, wireless home networks in Weston, Wellesley, Wayland, Dover, Sherborn, Newton, Brookline, Medfield, Norfolk, Lexington, Concord, Bedford, Carlisle, Stow, Acton, Sudbury, Natick, Boston, Lincoln, Hopkinton, or Westwood areas, please call Elite Media Solutions of Wellesley at (781) 237-2929