Are you ready for Thinner TVs?


The LG 55″ OLED Television just premiered at the annual Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last week. This flat panel is the thinnest in existence at 4mm thick (about 3 credit cards thick). The bezel that surrounds the image is only 1mm thick.

Both Samsung and LG released their 55″ OLED sets this year, but LG took home the “Best of CES Award”.

Although OLED (organic light emitting diode) is a rather new technology in a TV this large, we expect that this format will produce wider viewing angles, higher contrast, and better picture quality than the current offering of LED, LCD, and Plasma sets. Before you want to trash your current set, keep in mind that this will take a few generations to start eclipsing the current sets on the market. The current focus with OLED is thin, thin, thin…not the best picture quality. This will come in time.

I also expect it to take some time before this technology is available in the new jumbo flat panel sizes (70″ – 85″). Perhaps we will see these sometime in late 2013.

There will be a premium price for this set but will eventually be price competitive with LED sets by 2016, according to LG. Preliminary expected pricing is $7,999 for both the LG and Samsung models.

The perfect “extra touch” for your home

At first thought, you might not think the Audio Video Guys would have any influence on interior design, but that notion has changed a lot in the last few years, as our architect and interior design friends well know. After all, improperly placed equipment, TV’s and speakers are an eyesore. And, why not hide all of the electronics when not in use, anyway? We like to hide technology.

Today’s topic deals with something you might not have given any consideration to, and that is wall shadows. What are they and how can they be eliminated?

TRUFIG flush mount light switch DSI

Well, any device on a wall, such as a light switch, an electrical outlet, a home automation touchscreen, etc. has a trim plate or bezel that surrounds it. Though usually not very deep, these devices do stick out past the wall surface and may cast shadows on the wall depending on the room’s lighting. This draws more attention to them than we’d care for. Either way, anything that isn’t artwork protruding off your wall usually isn’t a pretty thing to look at. Again, we probably haven’t given this much thought as it’s seemed to be just the way things are. But not anymore…there is a clever solution for flush-mounting common wall accessories by a company called TRUFIG. The end result is spectacular; one of those “why didn’t someone think of this before?” moments as the pictures in this post show. The clean aesthetic complements both contemporary and traditional interiors.

ipad flush mounting DSI

Really…when was the last time an ugly plastic thing sticking off the surface of a wall complemented any interior??

TRUFIG’s flush-mount system has made the following wall-mounted devices nearly invisible: light switches, electrical outlets, volume controls, data jacks, and popular integration products such as Lutron lighting keypads and AMX home automation touchscreens.

Early collaboration is needed between us, your architect and interior designer to deploy TRUFIG in the most effective way. flush mount HVAC register by TRUFIG In a perfect world we should be consulted at least 2-3 months prior to the completion of construction documents. TRUFIG device placement is very flexible and opens up possibilities for exact, repeatable wall device placement. Plus, we can help consolidate the amount of devices on the wall in the first place by consolidating them in key areas with in-wall touchscreens (such as completely removing security keypads and thermostats from the walls of the public areas of your home).

If you are building or remodeling a custom home you owe it to yourself to at least see what TRUFIG offers – either come by our office or we can make a presentation at your office or home.


Active Shutter vs Polorized 3D glasses?

Active Shutter Glasses:

This technology has been adopted by most consumer electronics firms like LG, Samsung, Panasonic, etc. With this technology, an HDTV will display one image to your left eye and one image to your right eye. Since the effective frame rate is halved, these HDTVs need to have double the refresh rate of HDTVs (60 Hz). This is why you will find that all 3D HDTVs have a minimum frame rate of 120 Hz (most have a frame rate around 240 Hz or even 480 Hz). You will need a pair of active shutter glasses if you buy a 3D-capable HDTV in 2010 and onwards.

Passive (or Polarized) Glasses:

The display shows two overlapping images and the glasses have polarized lenses. Each lens is polarized so that it can see only one of the two overlapping images.

The only drawback is that viewers will need to sit directly in front of the display to get the full 3D effect. If the viewer is sitting on the side, the 3D effects will be less pronounced.

TV’s for a “Super” Super Bowl Party

Panasonic 152 inch TV

For the most immersive Super Bowl / Home Theater experience, a front projection system (separate video projector and large screen) remains the ultimate video display technology, especially for private Home Theaters where you can control the lighting environment. But, what about more casual spaces, such as your Family or Great Room that doubles as a Media Room where you want to watch the TV in a brighter environment? It is in these situations that a large flat panel TV is a great choice, and maybe the fairly standard 65″ size isn’t cutting it. Well, we have some solutions for you…

To kill the suspense, I’ll tell you right now the largest flat panel TV on the market is the 152″ plasma TV offered by Panasonic (which is mighty huge!). Here is the rundown on large flat panel TV options available today.

First, the incredible Panasonic TH-152UX1 plasma TV. This 152″ diagonal screen size TV weighs nearly 1300 pounds and has the surface area of about nine 50″ flat panel TV’s (hint, you will want to brace your walls to handle the weight). It boasts more than 4 times the pixels of conventional high-definition displays with its 4096 x 2160 resolution. It is 3D capable and has a slightly wider aspect ratio of 17:9 which complies with the DCI standard for digital cinema. The picture height is nearly 6′. A TV this large doesn’t come cheap, it is $499,995.

Largest TVThe previous screen size champ until the 152″ came along is the 103″ plasmas available from Panasonic. It has a slightly larger picture than four 50″ displays. Like the 152″ TV above, you can get 3D at this screen size, and trust us, 3D looks much better on larger screens. 3D is meant to be viewed on larger screen sizes…the 3D effect really loses its punch when viewed on smaller TV sizes unless you sit very close to the TV. Panasonic also manufactures an 85″ plasma TV, also available in a 3D version. To give some perspective, this TV is roughly the same size as four 42-inch displays. This TV weighs around 260 pounds and is about 3.9″ thick. Like most TVs these days, this one is made with glass that minimizes glare on the screen surface. Prices range from approximately $25K to nearly $40K for the top-end 3D ready model. Like all Panasonic plasma TV’s, the picture is excellent.

In September of 2011, Sharp released their Largest flat panel TV yet at 80″. This TV has surpassed its recent predecessor, which was a 70″ TV. The Sharp flat panel 80″ TV features LED backlighting and has built in WiFi. This allows users to access Netflix through the TV.

Mitsubishi tops out at 92″. Smaller versions are available in 73″ and 82″ screens, and all are 3D ready. The only “catch” with the Mitsubishi’s is that they are rear-projection technology (think of the “big screens” that existed before the plasma TV boom). They are deeper (18″ – 25″ deep) and the picture is great. They are cost-effective for a large picture, though.

There’s still have time to order and install your BIG TV choice by the Super Bowl Sunday. Call Brett our HDTV expert to discuss the perfect solution for your room @ 979.268.6010

3D Holographic Projection at Home

True 3D\’ Display Using Laser Plasma Technology #DigInfo In this video clip, you will see something that will remind you of Star Wars or Star Trek technology…seeing a holographic 3D image in mid-air WITHOUT a screen. Yes, this technology really exists, and soon this could be the way we watch content in our future  Home Theaters and Media Rooms.And, because it produces a true 3D image with real depth, special 3D glasses are not needed.

Princess Leia 3D Holographic ProjectionThis holographic 3D projection technology uses lasers to create points of light in mid-air or even under water. The lasers excite oxygen and nitrogen particles into a plasma state to make them visible. This demonstration uses only green lasers, but by adding blue and red lasers to the mix you will have full color images.

Star Wars photo credit:

The technology was announced in 2006 and has evolved to a working demonstration system like you see here, so let’s hope development continues quickly so we can have this type of holographic entertainment in our homes.

In the meantime, you will be amazed by how good 3D Home Theater can look today. We just installed a Sony 3D projector at our College Station showroom, and wow! It is incredible. Yes, you must wear 3D glasses to get the effect like in all current commercial theaters, but the quality you can expect with a high-end 3D projector like the Sony will amaze you. Many 3D doubters have been converted to 3D fans once they see how good 3D can look when done right.

I love my ipad, but not as a remote control

Just about anyone who has touched an iPad loves it, and many of us at Audio Video and most of our clients have and love them. On a separate note, many of you know our reputation for making audio video systems that are super easy to use. Since the iPad is so multi-talented, why the title of this blog post? Here is why :

  1. Too big – the iPad is just the right size for a tablet but too unwieldy to be a practical remote control. If you are a power user, maybe you need all of this screen real estate to cover every single DVR button. For me, unnecessary.
  2. I need hard buttons – I hate to have to look down at a screen to find a volume button or the down arrow.  It is just far too slow. I surf my DVR by braille. I know exactly where all of the common buttons are so I can quickly navigate through my 25 episodes of “Pawn Stars”.
  3. It’s never there! – Too often the iPad gets absconded by my visiting nieces and nephews. It seems that whenever I have an urgent need to watch “The Real Housewives of of………” my iPad is missing, then to be found with no battery life.
  4. Mute! – Every time that annoyingly loud commercial comes on and I am unable to turn the volume down or mute (because I am buried in e-mails and don’t have my control app open) I scream. The iPad is wonderfully robust but sometimes you just need an instantly available mute button to save your sanity.
  5. Longevity – I don’t know about you, but I drop remotes. Remote controls take an enormous amount of abuse in my household. My iPad has had its fair share of spills which, knock on wood, have not affected it. I can’t imagine my luck will continue.

All of the above points assume that you are using a centralized control app/control system such as AMX, Control4, Elan, amongst others. If you aren’t using such a centalized app, the situation gets worse as you will have to bounce between different apps to control your DVR, your TV, your surround sound system, etc. Without a control system app, the iPad is just too inconvenient to consider to be a viable main remote control.

So if you are planning on going ‘iPad only’ for your main home theater /media room remote control or home automation system I suggest you look at some of the hand-held remote offerings by the guys at Control 4, AMX or URC. There is something to be said for a purpose-built device that is uniquely designed for a specific task.


Are you Listening…your Room is talking

What most people don’t know is that over 50% of your sound quality has to do with the room it’s being played in.  The goal is for the listener to hear the speaker, without a lot of echoes and reflections on top of it. You can take a phenomenal audio system, put it in a room with poor acoustics and the audio will suffer.
For optimal acoustics we need to have a balance of absorption and deflection in the room, managing decay time.  Decay time is the amount of time the sound stays in the air, or persistence of sound once the original sound has been removed. So, if you were to loudly clap your hands together and listen to the length of time you can hear the sound, that’s decay time.  Minimizing this helps the sound stay natural.

Absorption can be influenced with home decor such as carpeting, drapes and soft furniture. Too much absorption will make a room sound eerie or dead, but not enough and your audio will be echo-e and unintelligible.  Deflection sprays sound around in many directions, redistributing the sound around in a way that keeps the sound alive and energetic. Combined with absorption, deflection makes a space sound natural and comfortable.

Room acoustics are vital for optimal performance.  Audio Video can work with your designer to offer tips on best acoustical practices or, if you want to go all out and get a full acoustical treatment (which is what we recommend for rooms where performance is the 1st priority) we can make your favorite room sound amazing.

See your TV, Now you don’t

Not all of our clients want electronics to distract from their home decor.  In my opinion, it makes a huge difference to have the option to hide your TV with just the touch of a button.  Fortunately there are some extremely cool options for making your TV vanish.

Motorized Lift at Foot of Bed

Installing a motorized lift or mount is one.  This gives your TV the ability to move.  It can pivot, tilt pan and disappear entirely into the ceiling, wall or cabinetry.  We can work with your builder, interior designer or cabinet maker to set this up pretty much anywhere;  The cabinet at the foot of your bed,  for example, or we can set the TV up to come out of the wall or ceiling.  Even your outside TV can ascend from somewhere near the pool, hot tub or BBQ.  Anywhere you want, we can make it happen

Motorized Lift at Foor of Bed

Fall HD Living Magazine

Fall HD Living Magazine

HD Living Fall 2011

10 The Art of Listening – From Tin Ear to Golden Ear By David Berman
“Whether it is watching a TV show or a movie, or listening to music, the sound will determine the overall experience”

Of course, enjoy the articles on jewelry (p34), travel (p40), hot cars (p64), cool wines (70) and music (p76). Click to view the online HD Living fall issue!

World’s Largest Outdoor TV

World’s Largest Outdoor TV, just what you need in the Backyard. An absolutely amazing outdoor television that literally unfolds out of the ground. The 201″ diagonal TV is designed by Porsche Design Studio and is made by C SEED Entertainment Systems in Austria.

Weighing in at 5 tons, the TV and elevator lift mechanism represents a new frontier in television size and engineering. We expect that our wildly successful clientele will begin to pony up to be the first kids on the block to own this design masterpiece. this is the ticket. Having such a large TV appear out of seemingly nowhere and unfold in front of your eyes is the ultimate in “WOW” factor!

The C SEED TV is able to rise out of the ground to various heights (up to 15′ to top of screen) and rotate up to 135 degrees to the right/left (270 degrees total). The entire rise and unfold process takes only 40 seconds. The TV is bright enough for daylight use, and still produces a bright picture even with direct sunshine beaming on it. There are 725,760 LED pixels that produce the picture, and they are small enough (only .26″) that they shouldn’t be noticeable when viewing from 20′ away or more. The TV also allows a wide viewing angle, great for large parties.

C SEED Unfolding TV features:

  • wind and temperature sensors prevent adverse weather from damaging the TV (self-protecting)
  • built-in laser sensors (yes, lasers!) will not deploy TV if someone is too close to the TV’s ground opening
  • 3600 watt built-in audio system includes three subwoofers and features a carbon-fiber housing
  • multi-source media server is included that connects to the screen with a fiberoptic cable
  • remote control features fingerprint security lockout to prevent unauthorized access

worlds largest outdoor television

Says Roland Heiler, CEO of Porsche Design Studio: “Our goal was to develop a design concept that turned the unfolding process into a special effect. We wanted to make sure that the C SEED 201 conveyed a sophisticated aesthetic in every phase of its movement. It starts as an obelisk rising from the ground, then opens up with a butterfly-like motion. The realization of this idea was a true challenge for the engineers.”