What will you look for when buying your next LED Flat Screen TV?

flat screen television, TV hanging, TV Mounting, television hanging, television wall bracketI wonder how many people would go back to buying a cathode ray tube TV if they had the choice. They were big, heavy, and not very impressive in terms of picture quality. Their only redeeming feature, so far as I can remember, was that once ensconced in the corner of the room they were a handy place to keep ornaments. The fact that you can hang your flat screen TV on the wall means that extra space is freed up, so you can find a proper bookcase where you can display your prized knickknacks.

Meanwhile, you should also be choosing your flat screen television, but which one?

LCD, LED, OLED QLED Flat Screen TV

LCD and LED TV sets make up the majority of TVs available on the high street today. The LEDs, or Light Emitting Diodes, can be made extremely small and that means that when they are build into a flat screen it’s possible to generate a picture of much higher resolution than was possible with the old vacuum tube TVs. Active dimming is used to ensure the contrast of the picture. Achieving a black which is really black has always been a problem for TVs of any kind, and active dimming is one way of ensuring that dark areas of the picture remain dark, even when nearby areas of the screen are fully illuminated. They also have a backlight which boosts the brightness of the picture but this comes with drawbacks: it makes the picture more visible if you’re watching in the dark, but it means that the true black everyone is looking for is impossible. Read more

The Biggest Threats To Safety In The Home

Home, by definition, is a place where your can feel safe. A place to relax and unwind without being worried or stressed by the everyday troubles of the outside world.Coming home and relaxing isn’t always possible though. There are always safety concerns that it would be remiss to ignore. In the UK there are an average of 2.7 million visits to Accident and Emergency and 6,000 deaths due to accidents. Along with these accidents there are 650,000 break-ins each year. That means that 2% of homes every year have intruders break in and damage or steal goods from the householders.

Some groups are more vulnerable than others. The elderly and infirm are prone to accidents and it’s important that if you take extra special care of your home security and personal safety. These safety home measures needs help from a professional locksmith.

People who wish to ‘age in place’ have a number of options today which weren’t available until very recently. Sheltered housing may have had call buttons and alarms in the bathroom in case of slips or falls, but adaptations for the home were normally restricted to additional handrails and ramps for people who had trouble with steps. Personal alerts in the form of a fob worn around the neck were available, but if you weren’t wearing it when you slipped they weren’t much use. Read more

Keeping Kerb Appeal Flowing When Selling Your Home

kerb appeal, garden, cctv, home security, bathroom, selling, housebuying

You’ll undoubtedly have heard the expression “Kerb appeal,” the makeover you give your house to make it attractive and give potential buyers a warm, positive feeling about your property before they’ve even stepped through the gate. It’s something agents and vendors bang on about all the time, but how can you get it, and how do you keep that positive feeling going up to and beyond exchanging contracts?

The fundamental thing about kerb appeal is making the house and garden look like the sort of place the buyer can see themselves living in without having to lift a finger. Even if they think they’re looking for a ‘fixer-upper’ most buyers will be daunted, to say the least if the property looks like a building site which has been abandoned or worse yet, a derelict which is rotting before their eyes.

So What Do You Do To Make That Unforgettable First Impression?

It’s a truism that you have to speculate to accumulate, so you’re naturally going to have to put money and effort into the appearance of your house if you want to get the best price for it, but naturally you don’t want to waste money on baubles which won’t make a difference to the impression you make or price you finally achieve. Read more

We Know Alexa, But What About Google Assistant?

Everyone seems to be talking about Alexa when it comes to Smart Home Assistants as hers is the name that everyone seems to call when asking for help around the house or for answering questions. Perhaps this is because Alexa is more closely associated with home assistance while those of us who remember are more likely to associate saying “OK Google” with voice activated phone searches. If you Google “does anyone still use Siri?” (the iPhone’s progenitor to voice activated assistants) you’ll find that the novelty wore off almost instantly and by 2016 approximately 2% of iPhone users still asked her to do her tricks.

So while Alexa is on everyone’s lips Google is still producing a range of Smart Home Automation devices which are geared toward efficiency and security. You’ll probably have seen in the news recently that Nest devices won’t work with Google’s Home System from this summer onwards. That is an over-reaction, all Nest home security and environmental controls will still work perfectly, however, you will have to connect your Nest goods via the Google Home app rather than the Nest app which it ships with. You certainly won’t be left high and dry if you’re a Nest customer.

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New To Smart Home Technology? Which Devices Should You Buy First?

Moving is reckoned to be one of the most stressful life events, finding the place you want to buy, finding the money, liaising with lawyers, vendors, estate agents, banks and lenders, packing up all your worldly possessions and shipping them, only to unpack them, hoping that none of them have been too badly damaged or lost along the way. You’d have to be mad to do it! And yet millions of us do, every year.

Once you’re in your new home, unpacked and things have calmed down you might want to think about how you can use Smart Home Technology to make your house more efficient, with added convenience all round. There are a plethora of different Smart devices available on the market today, many are handy, many are the Automated version of the toasted sandwich maker: a fun invention which does its one job well, but is soon relegated to the proverbial cupboard under the sink.

That’s why it’s wise to look at what you’re investing in and look coldly at the features and benefits each device offers, and assess whether it’s something you really need, of if it’s simply a fun gadget with no real purpose. Read more

Not Sure If You Locked The Door Or Turned The Oven Off? Check It Without Rushing Back Home

Woman using a button access control panel on a white wallIf you’re anything like me you’ll find yourself constantly returning home to check you’ve locked the doors or turned off the stove. Barely a week goes by when, if you were my stalker, you’d see me turn around before I’d even got to the end of the street and checking I’d locked the door to the office when it comes time for me to go home.

Some say it’s down to obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD), others say it’s a short term memory problem, but personally I put it down to an incredibly short attention span. If I deliberately try to notice something or do something out of sequence, such as turning the locks in a different order, then the event is impressed into my memory and I can get on the bus, safe in the knowledge that work will still be there when I come back in the morning.

If the anxiety sets in soon enough I can come back and check, but sometimes that nagging doubt doesn’t manifest itself until I’m on the bus miles toward home. I reassure myself with the fact that never once have I ever forgotten to lock up and, thanks to the aforementioned short attention span, I soon forget to worry about it and carry on without turning back. Read more

Running Out Of Space At Home? Don’t Move, Improve!

We’d all love to live in a luxury home with all the mod cons and labour saving devices that come with a life of leisure, but few of us can afford it. If you don’t have the money to move house, but you still want the trappings of a luxury lifestyle there are always ways and means. Create a budget, shop around for bargains and muck in, doing as much of the work yourself as you can and you could improve your home so much you won’t even want to move home!

If you’ve ever been channel surfing at about 7pm on a weeknight you’ve probably seen an episode of Buying and Selling with Drew and Jonathan Scott, a show where two unrealistically handsome twins, one the rugged construction guy type, the other the smart lawyer looking one, renovate a family’s old home and bring the value up so much they can afford to leap several rungs up the property ladder. The thing that often grabs me is, after the work they put into making the old place look fantastic, why bother moving at all?

Transforming the home is something which is essentially within anybody’s reach, unless you live somewhere that is so tumbledown that it needs serious restoration, and if that’s the case, this isn’t the blog for you!

On the other hand, if your home is just looking tired, dated, shabby and doesn’t conform to your needs any more, why not look at other ways you can get the most out of it without selling up and moving on? (And if you still want to move on, do those improvements anyway, the work you carry out is proven to add to the overall value of the house, meaning you get what everybody wants when moving house: options.) Read more

Is Your Home Security Butch Enough To Baffle Burglars?

Keeping your home, family, property and person safe is a priority for anyone, but are you doing enough to ensure your security is a deterrent to prevent burglary?

While it’s impossible to guarantee the security of any property there are a number of reasonable and inexpensive steps you can take to ensure your home isn’t the next to be added to the local crime statistics. Some are obvious, such as keeping doors and windows locked, some are less immediately apparent, such as keeping your hedges and fences in good order, so let’s take a look at your house from the point of view of a burglar to see what they see, and what can be done about it.

Kerb Appeal

Despite common misconception, most break-ins take place in daylight and last for between 5 and 10 minutes. Burglars will be drawn to high value items which can be easily sold on, most especially things which can be easily carried, such as jewellery, cash, phones, laptops, and the like. If anyone passing can see into your home, that doors and windows aren’t secure or are old and worn, then they may be tempted to break in and take what they want. Read more

Take Complete Control Of Your Automated Home With Control4

Control4 is one of the world’s leading complete home automation systems, allowing you to take total control of a huge variety of electronic devices with a single touch, swipe or voice command.

Described as an ‘operating system for the home’ by some, it seamlessly connects TV, lighting, security, communications, and entertainment systems not only in the home, but for retail and business premises too. It’s the unified Smart Home system which enhances the experience of all its users by being easy to use, and energy efficient. Control4 integrates and operates with more than 13,000 different third party electronic devices made by a huge range of household name manufacturers of a multitude of diverse durables and services, including Sonos, Nest, Lutron, Hulu, Napster, Apple Macintosh, Pioneer, Bose, Mitsubishi, and Toshiba. All these companies make devices which can easily be added to the Control4 environment, all working together and making use ever easier. Read more

Using Smart Technology To Cut Costs Around The Home

Woman using a digital heating control panelAs well as saving you time, smart home devices can cut costs and save you money too, and while the initial outlay is still higher than other household goods which haven’t been smart-enabled, those prices are falling, meaning that barrier to entry is becoming an ever lower bar.

Smart thermostats by Nest and Hive and lighting controls such as Philips Hue can turn the boiler or lights on and off more efficiently than timers or traditional thermostats because of the intelligent software which they contain. Lights which shut themselves off after a brief interval of inactivity are incredibly annoying, leaving you waving your arms about in the dark waiting for the sensor to see you, so why not use highly efficient energy saving LED bulbs which you can either turn on and off from your phone or program to go off when you leave a room, either as part of an IFTTT sequence or using the location of your phone if you’re leaving the house. Read more