Author Archives: Optimize Worldwide

Tech Tip #5 – Insist on Integrated Systems

Tech Tip #5 – Insist on Integrated Systems
February 7, 2012 | Tech Tips | no comments

When buying home audio and visual electronic equipment, it is often frustrating to get all the pieces working together in perfect harmony. From a TV purchase a year ago, to an audio system three months ago, it may prove hard to get each to communicate properly with one another due to advancements in technology. By double checking that all your equipment can operate together at the time of purchase is one step in controlling your home, but is sometimes more complicated than expected when it comes time to install.

That’s why making a purchase of a fully integrated system, one that works together and operated as one unit, systems can easily communicate and simplify one area of chaos in your life. By considering a “Home Theater in a Box” that includes an all-in-one surround sound system, and a compatible flat screen, you can save yourself time, money, and energy searching for a solution.

At LinkUs we understand that not everyone is fully up-to-date on all the home audio and visual systems available in the marketplace today. By enlisting one of our design professionals, you can rest assured that you will receive the best performing system for your budget. Using the latest Crestron technology, we can integrate your home media system and help simplify your life by giving you 24/7 access to your system using your phone, tablet, or personal computer.

With system integration, you’ll never have to search for the right cords or remotes again!

Give us a call at 1-888-8-LINKUS (1-888-845-6587) to speak with a specialist who can educate you more on home media integration, costs and services.

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Tech Tip #7: Make Lights Energy Efficient Like Your Appliances

Tech Tip #7: Make Lights Energy Efficient Like Your Appliances
May 22, 2012 | Tech Tips | no comments

Energy efficient appliances can perform better than their older counterparts using less energy and water. Why not apply that same efficiency to your lighting?

Here are a few easy examples of how you can save money on your energy costs:

Open curtains and allow more natural sunlight to brighten your rooms. This small step will provide adequate lighting and but helps set the mood and atmosphere of the room.
Replace your light switches with dimmer switches. This will save you 4-9% on your energy costs per switch. This also extends the life of your bulbs so you’ll purchase fewer light bulbs each year.
Install an automated lighting system. This will alleviate the hassle of remembering to turn off and on your lights. It also will ensure proper lighting in each room throughout the day.

LinkUs offers a variety of automated lighting systems that can accomplish all of this and more! Ready to start saving? Contact Linkus!

Tech Tip #6 – Get the Most Out of Your HDTV

Tech Tip #6 – Get the Most Out of Your HDTV
March 5, 2012 | Tech Tips | no comments

When buying home audio and visual electronic equipment, it is often frustrating to get all the pieces working together in perfect harmony. From a TV purchase a year ago, to an audio system three months ago, it may prove hard to get each to communicate properly with one another due to advancements in technology. By double checking that all your equipment can operate together at the time of purchase is one step in controlling your home, but is sometimes more complicated than expected when it comes time to install.

That’s why making a purchase of a fully integrated system, one that works together and operated as one unit, systems can easily communicate and simplify one area of chaos in your life. By considering a “Home Theater in a Box” that includes an all-in-one surround sound system, and a compatible flat screen, you can save yourself time, money, and energy searching for a solution.

Here’s an interesting fact: High definition television ownership has increased 50% in the past year, as more and more people have the desire to upgrade from traditional televisions to theater style home entertainment systems. However, only about two-thirds of those consumers are actually watching their new equipment in full HD.

Why is that?

Televisions cannot switch over to HD on their own. They need a few key elements to give them that extra boost. With the purchase of the right accessories, the difference in picture quality will be worth the extra investment.

Most crucial among HDTV accessories is a proper high definition multimedia interface, as it is more commonly known, an HDMI cable. A standard definition television runs on analog signals, which travel on a sporadic and varying electrical current. HD televisions on the other hand, are now powered by digital information which travels by electrical pulses. Aspect ratios have also changed, transforming the picture quality from 4:3 to 16:9. Since there is more data for the HDTV to read, the data needs to travel very quickly.

HDMI uses transition minimized differential signaling to move data fast, while also preserving its integrity. The HDMI cable partners with the media device attached to your television, so signals can be carefully encoded by the device and then decoded by your television, preventing miscommunication. This partnership provides a better quality image and allows your television to work at its full potential.

However, don’t forget that a large HDTV is meant to have high definition input directed to it. This means upgrading your current cable or satellite package to one with high definition. The investment in an HD receiver or HD-DVR can make all the difference while watching your favorite action film or sports team in the playoffs.

Tech Tip #13: Strategic TV Placement

televisionThe television is arguably the most important piece of our home entertainment system.

Acting as the main stage, our big screens provide a backdrop for family and friends to gather and cheer on their favorite team, cuddle up together on movie night, or challenge each other to the newest videogame. As a device we use almost daily, it is essential to keep our television working at its fullest potential. But just as furniture location can improve our home’s Feng Shui; our entertainment equipment must be thoughtfully purchased and strategically placed to work at maximum efficiency.

At LinkUs we understand that not everyone may be fully up-to-date on all the home audio and visual design secrets. That is why we have constructed the following quick cheat sheet for creating a better television viewing experience.

Do your research before hitting the store:

The expression “bigger is better” is fairly valid when shopping within the flat screen television world. You never want to be at home wishing you had brought home something different if you had the means to do so. However, make sure you always take into account your budget, viewing distance from the television, and living room size before taking the leap.

Not sure about the whole “screen size to viewing distance ratio” stuff?

HDTVs are really the new “hip” grandchildren of the analog television. With the great advancements in technology in the past few years, it is now possible to sit a lot closer to the screen without being bombarded with a grid of blurry pixels. This does not give you permission to set up an 80? display three feet away from your bed however. It is important to remember that the perfect distance between your seating and your screen can make all the difference in picture quality.

Here’s a quick guide to the perfect viewing distances:

Evaluate your options for room placement:

A television usually has a predestined spot within a room near an exposed cable wire. Unfortunately in most instances, this is where home owners find that they have little choice but to place the entertainment center within this vicinity.

However, for those who are in the process of building or remodeling a home, adequate wire planning during the construction process can alleviate this pressure. If you are planning on investing in a large home entertainment center, touch panel automation or alarm system, it is important to remember that it is far less complicated to pre-wire, than to deal with the hassle of dangling wire through the living room after the home is completed. By making this decision early in the home-development process, you can have a little more time to think about the most efficient television placement. This will also easily add substantial value to your home.

Find the perfect entertainment center:

Finally, we must insist that proper care be placed on selecting a perfect entertainment system for your investments. An entertainment center that complements a television’s size can really make all the difference in improving a viewing experience.

For a smaller television, an enclosed piece of furniture would provide concealed storage when not in use and will help the viewer focus on the television. A big television would be better accommodated by either a built in entertainment center to complement the size or a television stand for visual symmetry.

An important, but often overlooked, factor when choosing a new entertainment system is the angle of a person’s head while watching TV. The combined height of the entertainment stand and the TV should be at eye level from a seated position. Too high and you get a sore neck from craning it up, too low and you get a distorted view.

For further reading:

For placement of speakers we have a wonderful article that breaks down the different speakers and the perfect spot for each one! So, click here for some great tips and ideas on speaker layout.

What do you mean NFC doesn’t stand for National Football Conference?!

microchipIn today’s fast paced, ever evolving world it’s easy for our eyes to gloss over from information overload. Even trying to keep up with the latest in technology can be a challenge for one person to manage alone. Our goal here at LinkUs is to sift through all the chaos and pick out those cool technological advances that can impact you directly and help simplify your life.

One such gem that is starting to appear on our smartphones and tablets is the Near Field Communication (NFC) chip. The part itself is not a new product, but its use on the consumer market can simplify how we interact with the world around us.

So where did it come from? How does it work? And how can it be beneficial to you? – We’re glad you asked.

WARNING: Short history lesson below:

During World War II, the participating militaries had issues detecting if enemy aircrafts and vehicles were located nearby. Luckily with the help of a Brit by the name of Sir Robert Alexander Watson-Witt, the radar was created to help alleviate the problem. The Radio Detection and Ranging (RADAR) system would work very similar to the way a bat uses sound navigate in the dark. By sending out pulses of radio waves with a directional antenna, the sound could reflect back from ships, aircrafts, and the ground. Thus giving the receiving antenna an accurate image of what was around it.

After the war, scientists and academics all over the world started looking for other ways to use and improve upon this brand new technology. This resulted in the creation of Radio-Frequency Identification (RFID) which became widely popular in the 1970’s to help businesses with supply chain management. Now companies were able to see what was in containers, boxes, and crates without actually opening them. This in turn led to faster loading and unloading times during product transport.

How it works:

Watching someone use the NFC function on their smartphone is like watching James Bond use one of his gadgets. As you may have noticed from recent smart phone television commercials, it is now possible to acquire information by simply “bumping” two similar phones back to back. Pairing one NFC chip with another chip, tag, or smart poster, it is now possible to acquire information quickly and wirelessly. Although the Near Field Communication (just as the name suggests) has a shorter range of communication compared to traditional RFID, it not any less impressive. The close range limitation provides a more secure connection between two devices, and prevents unwanted connections from being able to access private information.

Current uses and future possibilities:

Today NFC chips can be found in smartphones, tablets, security cards, and some credit cards. Businesses are able to use them to provide customers with a quicker and easier check out process. One example of this is the recent PayPal scanners installed by some retailers. Again, security is not an issue because of the close proximity that is needed for the NFC to work. Companies have also used NFC chips in their security cards which function as keys to enter the building. Some of which don’t even have to be removed from a wallet to work!

Luckily we won’t have to wait very long to see other cool uses for this relatively new technology. Many businesses and non-profits have already begun to test the waters for creative ways to make better experiences for their patrons. For example, museums have started implementing NFC chips within plaques and paintings. When scanned by tablets and smartphones, the user can then gather further information that might not be provided on the description plaque.

There is also a positive implication for environmentally friendly consumers! As there are already a few applications out there for smart phones to store frequent buyer and rewards cards, there may be similar advancements for credit cards in the future. Imagine eliminating the need for all those physical cards that bulk up your wallet. This would be perfect for transportation; making buying tickets for buses, trains, or taxis nearly instantaneous. Just swipe your smartphone across a scanner—and go.

If you’re a social technology buff like we are, and have used NFC chips, let us know your experience! We’d love to learn if there are other amazing uses out there that we haven’t listed.