• Header Blog Her 001
    Welcome! What's On Your Mind?

    Go Ahead, Search Our Blog...

Father’s Day Gift Ideas from our AVD Team

Savant-Pro-Remote-1400x800

Father’s Day is a couple of weeks away and if you’re stumped for what to give Dad, we have some gift ideas from our team at AVD. Present the man in your life with a gift certificate for a fully-equipped “man cave”/media room. Or give him one of the items suggested here. And, as man does not live by home electronics, automation and integration alone, we’re offering up some additional thoughts as a way to honor Dad this month – or anytime.

What man cave/media room would be complete without a big-screen TV? Bob Copeland recommends Sony’s new XBR 65A1E OLED Display. John Veloza suggests pairing that with surround sound that works in multiple locations like the Sonos system. Brad Smith suggests one of the Leon Soundbars to be mounted with the TV. Add a subwoofer, says Bob Riddle, and he likes JL Audio. Richard Mullin says an all-in-one remote is essential and recommends the Universal Remote Control. Bob thinks the Savant Pro Remote is a must have for ease-of-use and the coolness factor (just enough to make it fun).

What would our team members like to be gifted – related to business and not related?

Bob Copeland: DAC for Sonos Connect and time with family.

Richard Mullin: Apple TV and a pair of tickets to the new Odyssey cruise ship with dinner aboard.

John Veloza: A Control4 System and an Apple Macbook Pro.

Continue reading
  8 Hits

The Problem with Alexa…

Google-Home-image-1342x800

It seems as though everyone has gone crazy for voice command devices and applications, but we are exercising caution.  Alexa, Apple’s Siri, and Google’s Assistant Allo all have flaws. That’s what we are hearing from you.  “Alexa won’t turn on the lights in my kitchen.” “Allo can’t open the garage door for my plumber while I’m at work.” “Siri can’t find anything!”

As home electronics, integration and automation experts, we feel your pain. We know you want to speak your mind and have your wishes granted: open the shades, change the music, pre-heat the oven, and on and on. This is life in the 21st Century. The good news is that eventually all of these devices will understand you clearly. In the not too distant future, they will communicate with you and one another!

These apps and devices are basic and limited in what they can do. So if you’re OK with that, go ahead and plunk down $129 for the Google Home device or $179 for the Amazon Echo, and then download the apps that make them work. Want to know the weather? The score of the Red Sox game? Change the temperature on your Nest? These will do that for you.

Name that skill

One of the issues is how the devices in your home are programmed. Let’s say you have multiple lighting sources and need to be very specific, for example, kitchen recessed lights. Your voice command will have to be equally specific, according to AVD Project Manager Glenn Middleton. You may know this but your guests may not. Another issue is that Alexa and counterparts “aren’t at full voice recognition capacity yet, which means they make a lot of mistakes understanding human speech. Eventually they will understand us 100 percent. At that time these will be great devices for interacting on some level with our systems,” says Kyle Tripp, AVD Systems Designer.

Currently Alexa and Allo do not communicate easily with any smart home systems. And they won’t necessarily be able to work the rest of the cool, high-tech stuff in your house. The latest versions from Control4Crestron and Savant have the capability to be “introduced” to Alexa and learn one another’s language. Alexa’s language is “name the skill” or “call the skill.” Once Alexa becomes more fluent, the skills it knows will be more easily understood by the home integration systems we install. For now you’ll still have to push buttons on your smart phone, tablet or wall touch panel, which in many cases is actually more convenient than voice control. The best smart home systems are now developing their own voice recognition technology.

Continue reading
  12 Hits

Setting the Mood for Holiday Entertaining

5633.pumpkinmadness.jpg-500x0

The holidays will arrive in no time at all, and we’ll be entertaining family and friends. Is your home ready? We love the festive spirit of the season here at AVD, and recommend two ways to prepare your home and welcome guests: set the mood with music and lighting.

The Sounds of Music

Music is a must for any kind of entertaining, and especially so at the holidays. With multiple streaming music services and many state-of-the-art products available, any and all musical tastes are easily shared with family and friends. There are so many services and platforms on which to curate playlists or simply listen to your holiday favorites. We like TuneIn for local radio broadcast stations via the Internet. We also like the iHeart Radio app. Perennial favorite Pandora was one of the early streaming music providers, which uses a complex algorithm to mix your favorite songs- essentially being your personal DJ. We enjoy Slacker Radio for a similar experience – all free but you can upgrade to more robust paid versions. Of course we’re fans of subscription-based Spotify and Tidal that give users access to millions of songs on-demand via their digital services, along with curated playlists.

What we like about Tidal is the option of a high-resolution audio subscription that works well with our compatible high definition audio products. These will bring you Destiny’s Child singing “Apple Pie A La Mode,” Gene Autry singing “Rudolf the Red-Nosed Reindeer,” the Trans-Siberian Orchestra playing “Christmas Eve/Sarajevo,” or Adam Sandler’s “The Hanukkah Song” in a clarity not experienced previously. Most any song can be added to your streaming playlist, all you need to use is your imagination.

We know these services and platforms can be confusing, which is why our expert design team can guide you through the myriad of choices. We will make recommendations based on your objectives and balanced against your budget. All platforms and services work with many products, but we have our favorites, and give priority to best-in-class products that offer ease-of-use and excellent performance. And, like high definition video products (think 4K televisions), music technology keeps pushing the envelope for the best sound possible.

Continue reading
  7 Hits

Named 2018 Tech Home Integrator of the Year

MOE17_winner_logo-695x800

Audio Video Design won the 2018 Integrator of the Year Tech Home Mark of Excellence Award from the Consumer Technology Association (CTA) last night at the 2018 Consumer Electronics Show (CES)  in Las Vegas. AVD Vice President, Bob Riddle, accepted the award on behalf of Audio Video Design.

The Integrator of the Year Award is presented to a company for their overall contribution to industry. AVD has been serving New England for the past 45 years, providing design, installation and maintenance of smart home systems.

“We gratefully accept this award on behalf of all of the employees and clients of Audio Video Design,” said AVD President, Brad Smith. “We are honored to have been selected for this recognition. We strive for excellence and this award is an acknowledgement of those efforts.”

One of AVD’s recent projects, Cape Cod Cinematheque, was also recognized as a finalist in the home theater category.

  10 Hits

Get Ready for Autumn with Home Technology

prestige-lifestyle-system_15851870536_o-1400x800

Enjoying the last lazy, hazy days of summer? Before you know it, Autumn will be here with football, school and falling leaves. We want you to be ready for what’s ahead with these suggestions for home technology in lighting, window treatments, WiFi and speakers, and finally home networks for computers.

As the weather turns cooler and the days begin to shorten, you can use your automated window treatments to keep the heat in – opposite of summer months when you use shading to keep the heat out and prevent furniture from fading. If you have one of our automated lighting systems with the atomic clock feature, your lights will automatically turn on earlier and adjust when Day Light Saving Time ends on Sunday, November 4th.

Did you know that switching to LED lighting will lower your electric bills? They last much longer and run cooler than other types of bulbs.  LEDs offer great illumination for tasks like cooking and homework. Most programmable lighting platforms have many options for dimming and a variety of colors, too.  So LEDs are cool in more ways than one! Visit the AVD Experience Center and play with our array of lighting solutions.

 

Turn up the volume: Speakers and WiFi

Continue reading
  8 Hits

A Smart Home Company Works Smarter

AVD-ExperienceCenter1-1400x800

As your Boston leader in home automation and smart home solutions, AVD is redefining what it means to work smart right here at our Westwood headquarters! In the past year, we’ve taken bold steps to change the way we work. By focusing on better, not bigger, we’ve saved space, reduced waste, empowered our employees to work more efficiently, and enriched our customer experience here in Westwood. Curious how we’ve done it? Read on!

A Digital Leader Ditches Paper

An industry-leading home electronics company going digital? It makes sense to us! Over the past year, AVD has become a paperless workplace. By converting all of our documents and records to digital, we’ve realized twofold benefits. First, we’ve eliminated the need for dozens of file cabinets and bankers’ boxes, reclaiming that square footage for a more valuable purpose. Second, by going digital, we’ve greatly reduced our company’s paper waste. Whenever we’re in a position to help the environment, that’s something everyone here can get behind.

Thinking (and Working) Outside the Box

AVD employees increasingly take advantage of flex work and telecommuting options on the job. In addition to facilitating a healthy work-life balance for our team members, this sort of flexibility in scheduling has allowed us to combine and reduce employee workspaces here at headquarters. Gone are the accounting bunkers and cavernous warehouses of old. Through remote work and Just-in-Time ordering, we’ve reduced our accounting and warehousing footprint by half. So, who’s benefitting from all this streamlining? We’re glad you asked!

Winning Big by Thinking Small.

By going paperless and streamlining our accounting and warehousing operations, AVD is now operating more efficiently than ever. With all the resources and space we’re now saving, we’ve been able to give back. Not only are we producing less waste, which is better for our planet, but we’ve been able to donate 30 filing cabinets to a local police station and contribute office desks and chairs to a customer’s start-up. Perhaps the biggest winner, though, is the AVD customer. Thanks to our reduced footprint, we’ve expanded and enhanced our Westwood Experience Center. Here, customers and those who advise them—architects, designers, and builders—can immerse themselves in the technologies and systems we offer. At the Experience Center, customers can see, hear, and touch our full range of products. Hidden TV’s, automated lighting and shading, incomparable speakers, home theater fixtures, and more: everything is on display. In reducing and reimagining our workspaces, we’ve EXPANDED our customer experience. As far as we’re concerned, there’s NOTHING smarter than that!

  9 Hits

Smart Home Technology & Lifestyle Guide

CapeCod-Ackerman-14

Learn about home automation and entertainment and what you can do with your living spaces when smart technology is installed and synchronized. Optimize the way you leave by creating the ultimate smart home.

Overview

You arrive home at dusk, and the exterior is perfectly lit. The garage door opens with a simple voice command, and the security system automatically disarms. After dinner, you dim the lighting and play your favorite music to unwind through your smartphone. By adding smart technologies to your house, you can achieve a more comfortable and fluid living style.

Technology is everywhere. It’s hard to imagine our lives not involving it. Between our phones, cars, offices, and homes, technology can enhance our living by bringing us closer to information, entertainment, and each other. 

It is often that our home technologies are not synchronized or work together. Luckily it t doesn’t have to be that way. Instead, you could use smart home technology to automate your life.

Continue reading
  7 Hits

Best Complete Home Automation Systems for Luxury Living

AVD-Penthouse-Perspective-MAIN-VIEW-Family-Room-TV

Best Complete Home Automation Systems for Luxury Living

Are you looking to automate your entire home? Do you want to manage your house from anywhere? Below, we feature some of the best whole-house automation systems for luxury living. Each of these brands offers premier solutions and quality support.

 

Control 4

WEBSITE

www.control4.com

REVIEW

Control4 is one of the top home automation systems. Their solutions allow homeowners to automate and control their lighting, audio, video, climate control, intercom, and security. Smart Home OS 3 is Control4’s award-winning operating system that unifies thousands of third-party products. By installing their system, you will have the ability to control everything from your digital devices. Any authorized dealer can configure and customize Control4 in your home.

Crestron

WEBSITE

www.crestron.com

Continue reading
  9 Hits

Eight Stunning Smart Home Projects

TastefullyDiscreet5-1

Eight Stunning Smart Home Projects

Innovative home technology has moved far beyond smart light bulbs, thermostats, and doorbells. Today’s designs combine fingertip control of entertainment, security, lighting, and energy with stylish architecture and décor. The projects highlighted here are more than visually stunning. They show how A/V specialists, architects, builders, and designers can work together to create automated solutions for every setting.

Penthouse Perspective

DESCRIPTION

Working parents needed a highly connected smart home to accommodate their family’s busy lifestyle. As a result, their Control4 system integrates security, entertainment, lighting, and HVAC. Highlights include a flatscreen that lifts from the foot of the bed. An advanced entertainment solution, which features multiple zones. Privacy and lighting control that open and close shades. And remote capabilities so the client can manage their home and other properties from their iPhone.

Brilliant Back Bay Brownstone

DESCRIPTION

This family needed a functional home base to accomplish several goals. First, they wanted a built-in system to connect and automate their electronics. And second, the capability to effortlessly track and manage their other properties. As a result, AVD installed a robust Creston system in their five-story house. This solution could be controlled on or off-site through touchpads and mobile devices. The entire system integrated a comprehensive list of electronics to make it a dream living space.

Cape Cod Cinematheque

 
DESCRIPTION

When you’re passionate about film, sports, and gaming, you need a top-of-the-line theater experience. Therefore, AVD designed this home theater to surpasses any local cinema by doing the following. They installed a Sony laser projector and 149″ Stewart ultra-matte projection screen. And they integrated lighting elements such as ceilings that change color and step illumination to mimic the ambiance of a theater. In addition, AVd went with highly comfortable seating for 16 that eliminates sound vibration.

Continue reading
  15 Hits

How to Plan & Select Your Home Theater Seating

Cinematech-HomeTheaterSeating

The Right Choices Can Make or Break Your Viewing Experience

Seating is a vital element in home theater design. Generally, homeowners spend hours researching the best audio-video solutions and overlook the comfortability of their media room. As a result, audio-video components are not the only factor in creating the ultimate home theater experience.

Like any other room in your home, a home theater only adds value if you want to spend time there. Not only should technology be top-flight, but the room should also be comfortable, suit the way you live, and reflect your style. The proper seating for your home theater will ensure not only that you have the best vantage point for viewing, but it will create a space that you want to unwind in. Below, we offer insight into planning your home theater and how to select the best seating.

 

Functionality

What Key Functionalities Should My Home Theater Include?

Continue reading
  12 Hits

What are the Best Home Automation Ideas?

IndustryPartners2

What are the Best Home Automation Ideas?

It is imperative to make the right decisions when beginning your home automation project. However, it is not easy since there are hundreds of ideas on building the ultimate smart home or entertainment center. As a result, we review and speak about the top ideas that bring the most value for our clients.

 

What to Consider When Starting Your Smart Home Project?

The best ideas to implement are the ones that automate and allow you to control the crucial components of your home intuitively. Generally, we consider the elements listed below critical:

  • Audio
  • Video
  • Network
  • Lighting
  • Shading
  • Heating
  • Cooling
  • Security

Furthermore, home automation ideas involving integrating the technologies under one control system are fundamental. These solutions increase the usability of your technologies and allow you to control them from anywhere. In addition, solutions that seamlessly blend your electronics into your home and give you greater degrees of customization are excellent ideas.

 

Continue reading
  10 Hits