Can Your Television Receiver Stand Another Storm?

storm, storm damage, fallen, blown, dangerous, aerial, satellite, tv dish, repair, remove, replaceWe’ve had Storm Ciara, and this weekend it looks as if we’re going to have another named storm in the form of Storm Dennis. If your satellite dish or aerial withstood the last gale, could it withstand another one?

TV aerials and satellite dishes work by presenting as large a surface area as possible to the incoming signal. The more signal the better, so you get excellent picture and sound as well as a complete choice of channels. Which is great if you live somewhere that isn’t prone to frequent gales and storms in the winter and up to sixteen hours of intense sunlight in the summer. While it’s calm everything is fine, but when the wind picks up that large surface area acts in exactly the same way as a sail, and it’s only the great job the installer or maintenance engineer did when they last looked at it which keeps it from flying off, potentially causing incalculable damage to anything or anyone it hits along the way.

If your satellite dish or aerial antenna was installed recently it’s probably going to be quite safe and do a fine job of standing up to the weather. If it does happen to move at all it’s no problem for a professional installation and maintenance firm such as Briant Communications to realign the dish or mast so that it picks up signal again. The bigger problem comes from old redundant receivers which aren’t being used any more. It’s a faff to have the old receivers taken down and removed when you’re putting the new one up, so why not leave it in place?

The problem is that you now have an ageing piece of unwanted and untended technology attached to your wall, chimney stack or roof which is still getting battered by the wind and rain. You won’t notice that they’re getting loose because your reception isn’t affected, but a large piece of unsecured metal on the roof poses a huge threat to your house and personal safety! 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?

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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

Get Smart, Get Superfast WiFi Access Throughout Your Home And Garden

The convenience of wireless it that you can take your networked devices anywhere with you. Desktop computers no longer outcompete laptops, except that they don’t need recharging and the screen size isn’t limited to the dimensions of a laptop. Phones work everywhere, and Wi Fi enabled speakers can be set up anywhere you want throughout the home to enjoy hifi quality sound in every room. The only drawback was that stray too far from the router, into the garden for example, and your wireless connected devices would start to misbehave. Sound stutters, downloads pause and streaming TV or movies pause (invariably at the moment where the action gets exciting).

While this is irritating for those of us who use Wi-Fi strictly for entertainment, for those of us who have Smart Home Automation a poor Wi-Fi signal means that devices such as burglar alarms and CCTV can’t be relied upon. If you work from home as a writer, designer, musician, or any other profession which requires instant and dependable access to digital communication, including internet, Skype, or file transfer platforms a poor signal in the home is a problem. And if you’ve set up your office or studio in an outbuilding or converted the garage into a workshop then one option is running a cable from your Wi-Fi or internet router to your laptop or desktop. A far from perfect solution. Read more

Looking For The Best Electronics Installation Professionals In The South East Of England? They’re On This List

installation engineer, fibre optic, flat screen, satellite dish, aerial, security, CCTV, burglar alarmInstalling home entertainment and Smart Home Technology, including flat screen TVs, wireless burglar alarm systems, Smart CCTV cameras, aerials and satellite dishes isn’t a job for just any old handyman. For a reliable installation carried out by expert professionals it’s best to call in specialised tradesmen who carry regulatory body membership, insurance, who offer warranties and also guarantee their work and the products they use.

Before you agree to allow workmen to carry out work installing TV receivers, cables, security cameras and alarms, as yourself, and them these questions:

Is this company qualified?

Anybody installing Smart Home Automation devices should be a CEDIA member. CEDIA are the Smart Home trade association so you can rest assured that if your installer is a member they will hold all the necessary certification required.

Companies who carry out other home entertainment installations, such as flat screen TV installations and putting aerials or satellite dishes on the roof don’t need to be members of a trade body, but should carry insurance to protect themselves, and you, in case of any accidents during the installation, or as a consequence of the work they undertook. Read more

Top 5 Gadgets for Starting Out In Home Automation

home automation, smart home, connected devices, connected homeAs Smart Home installation engineers we meet people at every stage of their Home Automation journey. From those just starting out to those who are fully cognisant with the tech but need help with the labour it takes safely and securely fit the Smart devices they want in their homes.

Many people still don’t grasp what a connected home has to offer. They see the devices fitted with Smart technology as simply gadgets, knick-knacks which you put around your house for entertainment’s sake, but have no real practical use. It’s only when we explain the many different applications these devices can be put to, the way they can be controlled and control one another that the potential benefits become clear.

The ideal place to begin is to explain what practical tools a Smart Home can be started off with. Once the concept and application have been grasped the possibilities explode! Everyone’s needs and wants are different, so the fact that Smart Home Technology can be so adaptive and expandable is just what the doctor ordered!

So, if you’re one of those people who’s heard about Home Automation, who likes labour saving, energy efficient tools, but you’re not sure what the Smart Home has to offer you, read on.

Video Doorbell

Intercoms are nothing new. From old buildings converted to flats to businesses in office blocks we’ve all buzzed and struggled to hear the voice coming from the panel on the door frame. But today’s Smart access control is very different. Now there’s no need to go to the handset on the wall to let people in, you can admit anyone you want from wherever you are instead. Not only can you speak to people on the doorstep, you can see them, but they can’t see you. That means that if you’re in the bath, in the garden, on the sofa, even away from home, you can see who’s calling and either let them in or ask them to come back another time. Read more

Wifi Signal Extenders or Mesh Networks, Which is Best To Ban Blindspots and Increase Speeds?

smart home, connected devices, wifi signalSmart Home systems are the tech revolution the world seems to have been waiting for since the invention of science fiction, maybe even longer. The ability to simply ask a robot to carry out all of the mundane tasks, to have everything controlled from a simple device, and to be able to see and do things from anywhere we like was always on the cards, because we could see people doing it on Star Trek, and we knew that one day science reality would catch up with science fiction.

But with so many things the surface is glossy and works perfectly, but underneath there is a whole raft of issues which need dealing with before your tech can work properly. And one of the main considerations for people looking for whole-home connectivity is signal strength.

Clearly, in order to work effectively, the Connected Home needs to be connected. In the past if there was a spot where signal was weak then we just wouldn’t try to connect to the internet from that room. Today however, with Smart Home devices being what they are, it’s not reasonable for anyone who’s interested in making their home Smart to simply write off a room, the garden or an outbuilding because of poor wifi signal. Read more

Why Buy A Smartwatch? All Your Apps On Your Wrist

Smartwatch Photo courtesy of Maxpixel.netEach watch and phone/computer manufacturer seem to be making their own versions of the Smartwatch. They’re convenient, user friendly, and absolutely packed with functions.

Wristwatches were only invented just over a century ago. Having a watch which you could just glance at to tell the time was critically important to men in the trenches who previously had to dig about in their tunics to find their fob watches to see whether it was time to launch an assault or expect a barrage of artillery fire.

Since then the wristwatch has always been something of a status symbol. Rolex and Cartier made the watch a statement piece, more jewellery than a practical means of keeping track of the time, but with mobile phones the popularity of watches was beginning to wane. There was no point having a watch if you had the time, a calendar and alarm clock all available on your phone. However, the reason why the wristwatch was invented became important again. Digging around in your pockets or trying to find your phone at the bottom of your bag is inconvenient, and having all that functionality on your wrist just makes sense.

Keep All Your Apps Close At Hand

Because we use our mobile phones for so much more than just making calls it makes sense to be able to have an interface somewhere upon us that is easy to get to. So what are the benefits of having a smart watch instead of simply taking your phone out every time it beeps? Read more

Light Bulbs Featuring Motion Detection, Speakers, And More!

GE LED+ LightingWhat if you want Smart lighting, but don’t want lighting attached to your Smart hub?

There could be any number of reasons why you want the advantages of Smart lighting but would prefer not to attach your lights to your home hub. Security is one issue. It has been found that in the past some manufacturers were not adding sufficient security to Smart bulbs, which left a huge hole in people’s security. You may want to keep your Smart Home hub sleeker, adding only the most necessary items to your portfolio of apps, but still with to take advantage of energy saving lights with offer more than just on, off or dimmed. Or you may not even have a Smart Home, but you like the idea of lightbulbs which have several functions.

If that’s the case then GE, Philips, Feit and Ecosmart have a range of LED+ lightbulbs which are intelligent enough to install into your home without needing to be added to your home hub.

What Do They Have To Offer?

Specialised LED bulbs are a relatively new addition to the market and offer several features and benefits which up until now had only been available through specialist retailers or via Smart Home technology. These features include:

Motion sensors

Bluetooth speakers

Colour control

Battery assistance and backup

‘Dusk to Dawn’ outdoor lighting 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.

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