Joseph Gantert
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Automation to Get the Most Out of Your Entertainment Center

by Joseph Gantert 11/22/2021


The vast majority of homeowners have put some time and effort into setting up their entertainment centers. Whether it's movies, TV or video games, we all have our priorities. No matter what enjoy, automation can be a great way to get more from every experience at home. Of course, this means that you'll need to tackle the technical setup of all your devices, as well as figure out which ones you actually need. We'll look at some ideas to get you where you want to be.

Lights, Camera, Action

Automation makes it possible for you to dim the lights, draw the shades or start/pause the movie. Maybe you hit a single button that can do all three, or maybe you program voice commands through virtual assistants like Siri or Alexa. If the doorbell happens to ring during a pivotal scene, an automated entertainment center can immediately pause until you come back.

How you design your home theater will depend on where it is and how you consume content. For instance, a basement converted into a home theater won't necessarily need to account for outside sunlight. A home encased in concrete walls might present challenges for reconfiguring cables. You also need to take into account how large your screen size is, whether you'll be using (or eventually using) a projector and what kind of sound system you want.

Equipment Tips

We're used to thinking about equipment in terms of the manufacturer. For instance, an Apple device isn't immediately compatible with your PC (and vice versa). New developments such as Z-wave technology make it possible to connect a variety of devices no matter where they originated.

Linking everything together on one network serves several purposes. Not only do you get the benefits of having each component communicate with the other, but you can also mix and match different home theater equipment. This can save you money, depending on sales from different companies, and also help optimize everything from your picture to sound.

Here are a few suggestions to take your viewing to the next level:

  • Turn up the lights whenever you pause a movie, TV show or video game
  • Allow access to all media so people in the house can watch what they want, when they want
  • Program victory music or colored lights for dramatic moments (e.g., sports games, video games, etc.)
  • Play a custom introduction before a movie or TV show

One Remote

Having more than one remote has become more the norm than the exception, but automation provides a way for you to consolidate. So instead of trying three remotes before you remember that the sound system came with its own separate remote, use a single remote to control everything from the lights to the playback. Customized remotes are more available than ever, and this can be a great way to cut back on the clutter and confusion in an entertainment system.

An automated wonderland is one that's built around your needs. Some people might be interested in nothing more than dimming the lights, while others will want everything. Whatever it is you're looking for in automation, you can bet there is technology to help.

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