Lutron’s Wireless Climate Control Decreases Wall Acne

Lutron is justifiably famous for their lighting control and electronic shades: now they have a new product offering up their sleeve that works well for both new construction and remodel projects. Lutron just released a new wireless climate control system (HVAC) that greatly improves on the good ol’ thermostat. Here are the main details:

  • A small wireless on-wall temperature sensor is placed where it will monitor the temperature most efficiently (2 or more can be used to average temperatures in an area). The changeable battery has a 5-year life (Lutron also includes a wired return air duct sensor is included for backup, just in case the wireless temp sensor needs a new battery).
  • Lutron’s seeTemp wall control (what we think of as the ‘thermostat’) may be ganged next to Decora light switches, dimmers, or Lutron’s own lighting control keypads (both HomeWorks and RadioRA2) to minimize wall clutter. Available in 27 different gloss and satin colors, and a Celsius version is available, too. The seeTemp control gets its power either from existing thermostat wiring, 120v AC, or 24v DC. Since the Lutron Wall Control does not have to be wired back to your heater or A/C unit, you can put these in many new and convenient places.
  • The only wired component is the ‘HVAC Controller’, which connects to your existing or new HVAC equipment…the HVAC Controller communicates wirelessly with the seeTemp wall controls and temp sensors and ties the system together. This controller device is hidden away, and mounted right next to your big HVAC unit.
  • Optional control from your Android phone, iPhone, iPad, or iPad touch both in the home and/or anywhere in the world using a $19.95 Lutron app in iTunes and the Android Market.
  • This system can be controlled from popular 3rd party home automation control systems like  AMX, Control4 and Elan.
  • Ability to set temperature schedules through the seeTemp wall control, Android, Apple apps, or through the 3rd party control systems mentioned above.
  • Works with Lutron’s wirless occupancy/vacancy sensors…select a temperature set point when a room is occupied and another when no one is around (save energy).
  • Ability to completely eliminate visible wall controls (the seeTemp) IF using your Android phone, iPhone, iPad, iPod touch or the above-mentioned home automation control systems.

Lutron RadioRA2 lighting and climate control

According to www.energystar.gov, you can save up to 16% of the energy used on HVAC with temperature controls, so a ‘smart’ climate control system is worth it, both for lower energy bills and reducing your carbon footprint.

This HVAC system allows for much more flexibility & convenience than a typical thermostat system, as the wall controls may be placed where they make sense aesthetically and for ease of access. Less wall clutter!

This is an excellent new climate control system, but there are a few limitations: you can have a maximum of 2 HVAC Controllers, and each can communicate with a maximum of 5 temp sensors, so the system will accommodate 10 climate zones max. At this point, there is no humidity monitoring/control and no outdoor temperature sensor.

Integrating climate controls with home automation systems and eliminating wall clutter is not new (we’ve been doing it for years), but the exciting news is that Lutron’s new system can easily be retrofitted to existing homes and gives some of the same benefits of integrated climate control without having to invest in a full home automation system.

For greater convenience and energy savings, you should couple this climate control system with RadioRA 2 lighting controls and Sivoia motorized shades. Then, you can have a “Green” button on the keypad that dims the lights 5%, lowers the shades to block heat gain, and set back the temperature 2%. Likewise, when leaving for vacation, you can press an “Away” button that triggers lighting scene patterns that give your home an occupied look and sets back the thermostats to an energy-saving set point. Convenience and energy savings both!

YouTube Now available on your DirecTV DVR

For those of you who have DirecTV, YouTube is now available to view through your DVR.

How do you access it?  Easy…

Press ‘Menu’

Select ‘Smart Search’

Type in what you are looking for just like you would to find a program.  If you typed in “car chase”, the result of the search will yield a few options like this…

Car Chase – HD

Car Chase – YouTube

Police Car Chases – HD

If there is a YouTube match, you will see YouTube next to the search result.

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Are you ready to cut the “Cable TV Bill” cord

Internet services like Netflix, Amazon, Apple TV, Hulu, etc. allow users to stream content at little or no cost. Many of these services are available through the new Blu-Ray DVD players and internet ready TVs.Until recently we’ve had to get our TV content from Cable (Comcast, AT&T, DIRECTV, Dish Network). For the most part these services all provide the same content at essentially the same price. .

The major service providers still have an advantage for live sports and many shows are not available online or may have waiting periods before they are posted.

All this new content has appealed primarily to the younger generations, as we have had years of training on channel surfing and traditional access to media via our remote control. But some of us older folks are looking for ways to “cut the cord” and free ourselves from $100 or more monthly bills.

What is your opinion of the alternate service providers?

The skinny on 3D TV

The industry is very keen on 3D being a total TV revolution. They are hopeful that it will be as big as the HDTV revolution.

A recent trade magazine article stated “3D is alive and well…” the author’s reasoning is that although sales are way below targets, the manufacturers are still investing heavily in the technology. In my opinion, hopeful manufacturers does not signify buy in from the market.

We are selling a lot of 3D TVs, and here is why: most top models from the major manufacturers are 3D capable. Since many of our customers are interested in the best picture quality, we sell them TVs that include 3D capability.

In summary, at this point I think 3D is still a novelty, but only time will tell.

A few downfalls to 3D are:

  • Glasses are annoying
  • Very little content available
  • Some consumers find 3D nauseating
  • Even on a 65″ TV the screen size is too small for 3D to have a dramatic effect

I have seen the demo broadcasts of sports in 3D and in my opinion, they have a long way to go.

Tron: Legacy now available in Blu-ray 3D

For the most part, the five discs in the Tron: Legacy box and their associated features are impressive, if predictable. Both films look fantastic, and each comes with a bevy of behind-the-scenes information, commentaries and other innovative features.

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One film was meant to break new ground, and became celebrated for its concept. The other took that concept and gave it a fresh look (and notably, an incredible soundtrack from Daft Punk). Instead of breaking new ground, “Tron: Legacy” became a popcorn film, and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that.

Our new product, TRUFIG eliminates “Wall Acne”

TRUFIG flush mount HVAC registersFollowers of this blog and our website know that we are big fans of  interior design-friendly products. If you haven’t seen TRUFIG’s flush-mount products yet, visit www.trufig.com for pictures and installation videos. With TRUFIG, Audio Video can make common household fixtures like electrical outlets, lighting controls, dimmers and home automation touch screens almost disappear.

Unlike one-off attempts to hide these devices that clutter every wall, TRUFIG gives us an engineered flush-mount solution that is repeatable and adaptable to nearly any well executed interior design, be it traditional or contemporary. They even have solutions for solid surfaces like granite and marble. Now TRUFIG has turned their attention to one of the most unsightly eyesores to clutter a beautiful wall…HVAC registers!
Flush mount HVAC by TRUIG at DSI Ent Systems
TRUFIG was conceived by the founders of Sonance, an industry leader in interior design-friendly products that help integrate technology into homes in an aesthetically pleasing way. Sonance was one of the first companies to introduce in-wall and in-ceiling speakers many years ago and continues to innovate.  With that  in mind, the visionaries founded TRUFIG to apply the same beautifying treatment to common wall accessories that not only “de-uglifies” wall accessories, they actually enhance the interior décor.

The new TRUFIG HVAC registers install completely flush with the wall or ceiling. The TRUFIG aesthetic is superior to conventional HVAC registers; once you see any TRUFIG flush-mounted accessory, you will wonder why nobody thought of this before.

Currently, there are 4 different HVAC register sizes available: 8″ x 4″, 10″ x 6″, 14″ x 8″, and 12″ x 12″. There are about 27 different ‘standard’ sizes of HVAC air supplies in use today, and even more sizes than this for return air, so it will be a while HVAC flush mount kits by TRUFIGbefore all sizes have TRUFIG kits available. If you are building a new home, though, just be sure your architect and HVAC technician designs around one of the above sizes. Optionally, TRUFIG can design a custom flush-mount kit for a different size (not only for HVAC but for almost any wall-mounted accessory). If you are interested in a custom TRUFIG product, please call Audio Video at 979-268-6010.

“MOG Music” better than Pandora! -free trial offer

For those of you who embrace the concept of getting music from the cloud, MOG is the latest and greatest in the race for your monthly subscription.

First, let me give you a quick run-down of what I mean by cloud based music. Music broadcasting started with regular old AM and FM radio. It was not cloud based, but you tuned to a station and got music. XM and Sirius satellite radio were the next phase in the evolution of broadcast music, offering custom stations targeted to specific kinds of music genres and commercial free, all for a small monthly fee. Next, the popularity of high speed internet connections led to music streaming in from “the cloud.” This is music based on the internet, stored away from your physical location. Rhapsody was one of the pioneers offering unlimited internet music choices for a monthly fee. Then Pandora and a host of others came along. For a very low yearly fee, Pandora lets you tell the system what type of music you like and plays similar kinds. Both Pandora and Rhapsody have pretty low bit rates, meaning they are not very close to CD quality.

MOG has been around since 2005 (with a launch in 2007), but has recently added a bunch of features that make it very interesting. The CEO of MOG was the founder of Gracenote, the world’s largest music database, which sold to Sony for $260m. I believe MOG gives you the best of both Pandora and Rhapsody, and it has a much higher bit rate of 328kbs. It’s still not CD quality, but a lot closer. MOG costs $10 per month for the service. For this you get all of the features of Rhapsody with millions of songs you can access and store as playlists. You also get an even better variation of what Pandora offers.  In MOG you choose an artist, then you can decide to what degree you want to hear songs from that artist only, or a bigger variety of similar artists. They call this the “slider” and I just love the concept. Unlike Pandora, where you have no insight into upcoming songs, MOG gives you a full view of what it intends to play next, giving you the ability to directly skip to a song you might enjoy.

My favorite feature of MOG is all of the information you can get about the current artist playing.  Many times I will sit listening to music and go onto the internet to try and pull up lyrics of a song or the webpage of the artist to learn more about them. This is all built into MOG!!

MOG also has a very cool scheme of using social networking to share and learn about music.  You can see what your friends are playing and find out what songs they listen to the most, which will help you find new music.

Right now MOG is available on your computer, smart phone, or Roku, but MOG will soon be coming to Sonos, one of our favorite delivery devices for cloud based music!

You can try MOG free for 2 weeks to decide if you like. I’d suggest you check it out.

3D Camera is Headed to Space

Panasonic announces the AG-3DP1, a Full HD 3D Camcorder that is planned to fly to space on 28 June 2011. The AG-3DP1 is equipped with dual lenses and two full 1920 x 1080 2.07 megapixel 3-MOS imagers to record 1080/60i, 50i, 30p, 25p and 24p (native) and 720/60p and 50p in AVCHD.

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It can record for up to 180 minutes on dual 32GB SD cards in AVCHD PH mode, and offers professional interfaces including dual HD-SDI out, HDMI (version 1.4), two XLR connectors, built-in stereo microphone and twin-lens camera remotes.

Aggies Win, Aggies Win… Aggies Win !!!

How sweet it sounds.

Congratulations Coach Blair, Schaefer, Kelly, Harris and the entire Lady Aggie Basketball Team on your phenomenal accomplishment of WINNING the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final in Indy!

April 5: Texas A&M players celebrate with the trophy after their 76-70 win over Notre Dame in the women's NCAA Final Four college basketball championship game in Indianapolis.

Congrats Lady Ags on advancing to the Final 4

Sydney Carter scored 22 points and Texas A&M finally beat Baylor, 58-46 on Tuesday night to send the Aggies to their first Final Four in school history.