Create Your Own Temporary Outdoor Home Cinema

home cinema, home theatre, outdoor, projector, projection screenDrive-In in the Back Yard, Your Next DIY Project

Summer’s here, but the time isn’t yet right for dancing in the street. Instead, while lockdowns are being eased, it’s still not wise to gather in large groups with strangers. Nevertheless, the nice weather means that it’s nice to relax and enjoy the garden. So why not set up a temporary home cinema in the garden and enjoy the big screen experience without the hassle of having to leave the house? The first thing you’re going to need will be something to watch the movie on. You could haul a TV into the garden, but if that kind of hassle isn’t for you, then a projector is going to be the answer. Depending on the size of your garden, and where you’re going to sit will affect the kind of projector you want.

Projectors today are quite different from anything you might remember if you’ve only been keeping an eye on televisions. Today they are small, adaptable, and so bright you can watch them in daylight while ‘short throw’ projectors can sit a few inches away from the screen and still provide a huge, high definition picture. If you need to hang the projector above head height you can invert the image, or reverse it if you want to project the picture from the back of the screen.

Getting your movies from your computer to your projector and speakers is a synch. A Chromecast or Fire TV Stick can be plugged direct into the HDMI port, making it simple and trip hazard free (the projector does need to have a powered USB port though, as casting devices don’t have batteries). Read more

The Revolution Was Television

Billy JoelIn Billy Joel’s seminal hit We Didn’t Start The Fire the singer/songwriter chronologically lists the major events since his birth which have shaped the world today. In between Studebaker and North Korea he mentions “Television” without any clarification or context, but since television was invented in the thirties, and colour television wasn’t available until the sixties, what does he mean putting it here?

Possibly he means that television entered his life between Nixon and the Korean war, as it may have been when the Joel family finally got their first television set, or it could mean that television finally became the universal means of mass communication during this era, finally superseding radio as the medium through which most people received information about world as well as local events. Read more

Summer Sounds Perfect For Outdoor Home Audio

If we’re going to be living in our gardens this summer it’s worth looking at outdoor smart home audio.

Summer’s almost here, but it doesn’t look like the wisest decision will be to fly away to foreign climes. What with the queues at the gates for Spain, Portugal, France or Italy and the threat of unknown Covid variants further afield it might be wiser just to stay at home, even after having been unable to stray too far from one’s front door for over a year! 

But if you’re going to be spending the summer at home, how do you glam up your garden to make it somewhere you’ll want to spend time? Read more

Why Now Is The Best Time To Start Looking For Your New Flat Screen TV

flat screen wall mountingIs now the best time to buy a new flat screen TV or other home entertainment tech, or is it better to wait until the trade shows are over?

If you’re in the market for a new television, hifi, or any Smart automated home devices you’re almost always stuck in a quandary, when is the right time to buy to get the best deals without missing out on the latest developments?

If you’ve ever bought an off-the-lot, straight out of the showroom car you’ll have dealt with the same questions. You could buy a “brand new” car today with this year’s registration at full price, or wait until this years’ new releases come out and buy the car as ‘nearly new’ at a discount as the dealer wants to clear the showroom forecourt to make room for the latest models.

The same goes with electronics. Retailers such as Argos, Currys PC World, Hughes, and Richer Sounds only have so much shop-floor and warehouse space so they can’t have ‘old’ tech cluttering up the shop when the new lines are in demand. The problem is timing. Get in too soon and you’ll buy a product today which will be on offer at half the price in a few weeks. Leave it too late and the deals are over, the old stock is already sold or sent back to the manufacturer to be resold in a different market, or shipped away to be recycled and made into more of the pricey technology of tomorrow. Read more

Our Finishing Touches Turn D-I-Y Into D-I-WOW!

home entertainment, barn conversion, home office, work from home, wifi extenders, mesh networkWhile Covid has kept millions of people at home with nothing to do DIY projects all over the country have finally been completed. Stuck at home, entertainment has been at a premium. With no reason to put all those niggling little jobs off, and all the time that could never be found before shelves have been going up, doors touched up and re-hung, bedrooms painted and bathrooms re-grouted. And then there are the people who like to get their teeth stuck into the big jobs!

A marvellous example of ‘finally getting around-to-it’ is this exceptional outhouse we recently tricked out with home entertainment, internet & TV in Wonersh, a beautiful little village not far from Guildford in Surrey.

Creating Workspaces You Want To Enjoy Spending Spare Time In

The homeowners wanted a space where they could ‘break out’ when they got sick of being trapped indoors, but with all the access to modern technology that we’ve all become used to. It’s a space to relax, and to work, but it also needs to be secure. A perfect scenario for for Briant Communications! Read more

Christmas is Over, Now Get To Grips With Those Tech Prezzies!

digital technology, digital tech, smart speaker, alexa, sonos, Did you have a good Christmas? What was your best present? Did you get lots of Smart Tech and digital gadgets? Good for you!

The market for Smart devices and high definition television keeps on growing. Smart speakers are now on to their fourth generation, and with 5g technology becoming available throughout the country their usefulness is becoming amplified.

What’s 5g got to do with your Smart Speaker or Home Automation system?

Smart devices connect to one another wirelessly, that’s true, but they don’t juts perform one operation or have one conversation with another smart device at a time. Smart devices are always on, looking out for updates, listening out for each other as well as your voice in order to perform their role properly. If they didn’t there would be no point having them. There’s no point yelling “Alexa! Turn the kettle on!” in the lounge if nothing in the kitchen is connected. Read more

Top Ten Smart Devices To Get The Most Out Of Alexa

If you got an Alexa for Christmas you’ve been living with her for a month now. How’s that going for you? Many people will be getting used to having her around and thinking about what else she can do. As a stand-alone device she can be a lot of fun, but her real benefits only come when she is synchronised to the rest of your Smart devices.

It’s easy to choose the smart tech which will work with Alexa, because the answer is basically anything! If it’s an Amazon or Echo product it will work with Alexa with the minimum of fuss. Then there are all the third party products which Amazon has given licenses to. Manufacturers have recognised that if their product is going to sell then it’s necessary to make it compatible with the leading Smart home interface, which is essentially Alexa. Google Home is right along side Amazon with market penetration, so it’s handy that these two major players are working together to create a ubiquitous format which will support all devices.

But now that you don’t have to worry about whether your new investment will work with others, which are the top choices of nick-nacks which will bring joy and ease of function to your life?

Why not check out these top ten purchases to begin with, and see where the Smart home revolution takes you?

Read more

Prepare & Position Your TV To Get The Best Picture Possible

flat screen TV, television, installation, wall, wall hangingPeople admit to watching around three hours of TV a day, but we all know the reality is that while you might only remember watching TV for that long many of us switch the TV on when we get in and probably won’t turn it off again until we go to bed. It keeps the kids quiet after school, then there’s the soaps, followed by the news, then a movie and before you know it you’ve been watching television for six hours. Maybe not really concentrating, but still, that’s a quarter of your day when the TV has been on.

Considering how large a part television plays in our homelife today it’s important that you choose the right one for you. In the days when we only had one big TV per household the choice was easy, pick one which was big enough to be seen from the other side of the room and put it where it wouldn’t get glare from the sun streaming through the window. But things change. We now have more channels via Freeview, Freesat and Sky than we could ever hope to watch, and that’s before we even begin thinking about Netflix, Hulu (via a VPN), YouTube, and streaming sites.

There is choice not only in size, but in picture quality too, both factors which naturally affect the price of the television set you ultimately end up bringing into your home.

Simple economics would dictate that you get the biggest screen for the lowest price if you want to score yourself a bargain, but in reality that’s far from the case. A large TV in a small room will absolutely overpower the space and you won’t be able to get physically far enough away from the screen in order to be able to enjoy the picture. The rule of thumb is that the screen should be positioned one and a half to three times the screen’s diameter from your head. So if you have a 70cm screen the closest you would want to be from it is just over a metre, and the furthest you would want to sit would be approximately 2 metres. You would most likely want to sit within a 30 degree angle of the screen. Flat screen TVs are made up of laminated layers which perform a different task in the makeup of your picture. Increase the angle you’re watching at too far from 90 degrees and your view of the layers goes out of phase, meaning that colours change or invert entirely. Read more

Turning Your Family Room Into A Home Cinema

home cinema, family room, entertainment, home theatreWhen people think of a home cinema they probably think of a small bank of recliners, low light, big screen and an audio system most of us would have to take out a second mortgage to be able to afford. And yes, such home cinema exist and we’d all love to be able to have one in our home if only we could, but what about we mere mortals who don’t have the kind of wallet that allows for a wing of the family pile to be given over to home entertainment?

What if we’ve got kids, a regular size house, bills and car payments to make? How do we get into Home Cinema?

First of all, think about which space you’re going to use and how you already use it. People don’t tend to keep the Front Room for best any more, nor do they have dining rooms which are only used to entertain guests. Often these spaces have been knocked through to provide a larger living space or made into family rooms where the kids can shout and scream until they wear themselves out in time for bed.

Aha! There’s the trick! If you’re going to use it for watching serious movies or playing until it’s your bedtime there is no overlap. Once the kids have vacated it it’s yours for the use of.

Read more

What’s Stopping You From Installing A Home Cinema?

home cinema, home theatre, projection screen, Unless you’re building a new home or have the luxury of being able to add an extension to you home just to facilitate your new home cinema you’re going to have to work with the layout of the room you’ve got when thinking about configuration & location. Windows and doors offer the biggest problems, followed by chimney breasts and fireplaces. Not only can you not place a projector screen or large format TV across a window or door, you need to be able to use them, and can’t put speakers in them either!

Chimneys and fireplaces offer their own inconveniences as a mantle is a great place to hang a regular size flat screen TV, but a large format is too big to hang where they can be seen without straining your neck while hanging a projector screen in front of the fireplace makes it a fire hazard.

And once you’ve found the right location for your TV or screen, where do you put the speakers to get the most out of your surround sound?

In order to get the most out of your home theatre you have to be both flexible, and imaginative. Windows, doors and furniture tell you where things can’t go, so you have to work that little bit harder to find the perfect spot where things can go.

Often placing the picture, be that the TV screen or projector screen is the least of your worries. You’ve got a perfect, UHD display, but now where to put the speakers to get the surround sound to finish off the full theatre experience? Read more