## Determining Optimal Viewing Distance

Have you ever bought a new TV, only to find out that it was too small or too big for your viewing space?  Or maybe you have a room in your home and you want to know what size TV you should get for the space.  If you want an easy way to calculate the optimal viewing distance from your TV, look no further than this handy tool by Omni Calculator.

Optimal TV Viewing Distance Calculator

For the home theater enthusiast, figuring out screen placement and optimal viewing distance is crucial to maximizing the enjoyment of your investment.  You spent good money on a good device and want to enjoy the best picture quality possible.  This tool may help you estimate how far you should place seating from the screen.

All you have to do is type in your screen size and select the screen resolution from the drop down list.  Your optimal and minimal viewing distances are instantly calculated and displayed.  It’s just as easy as that!

But what if you don’t know what your screen size or resolution is?  You can gather that information from a variety of places.  Your TV might have a sticker on it, or if you still have the original box or instruction manual, it might be listed there.  And of course, you could look up the TV model online.  Sometimes, the model number itself will give you a clue to its screen size and/or resolution.  If you are interested in learning the secrets to decoding TV model numbers, check out this article posted by PC Magazine.

## How to measure TV screen size

The size of a screen is the length of its diagonal measurement.  If you were to draw and measure an imaginary line from a bottom corner to the opposite upper corner, you would discover the screen’s size.  Screen size is always expressed in inches. For example, a 32″ screen has a diagonal length of 32″. If it has a regular aspect ratio of 16:9, then the sides of this screen are 27.9″ and 15.7″, respectively.  You can check our math with Omni Calculator’s Pythagorean theorem calculator.

Naturally, the longer the diagonal measurement, the larger the screen. But does bigger mean better when talking about TVs?  Not necessarily!  To determine which TVs are the best, we also have to take into account screen resolution.

## So what does TV resolution actually refer to?

By now, you may have seen or heard of marketing terms such as “HD” or “4K” used to describe the features of TV model.  These terms are often used in describing screen resolution – or rather, the number of pixels on the screen.  A pixel is the smallest “dot” on the screen can accurately display color information. If you look really closely at your TV, you will discover that the lines are a bit jagged because they actually consist of tiny squares.  What you are seeing are individual pixels of the screen.

Screen resolution is a measurement of the number of horizontal pixels times the number of vertical pixels along the edge of the screen.  A screen is really just a grid of tiny pixels, similar to the multiplication tables they used to teach students in elementary school.  Screen resolutions are typically denoted by the number of horizontal pixels across the edge of the screen.  Typical screen sizes are defined in the table below.

• 480p – 720 pixels by 480 pixels
• 720p – 1280 pixels by 720 pixels
• 1080p or HD– 1920 pixels by 1080 pixels
• Ultra HD – 3840 pixels by 2160 pixels
• 4K – 4096 pixels by 2160 pixels
• 8K – 7680 pixels by 4320 pixels

It is important to note that screen resolution has nothing to do with screen size.  There are 70-inch televisions with 4K resolution monitors as well as smartphones outfitted with 4K resolution screens.  So those high-end smartphones have screens with very tiny pixels, while the pixels on a 70-inch screen are much bigger.  The Jumbotron screen installed at the Dallas Cowboys‘ AT&T Stadium, measures 160 feet wide by 72 feet tall (49 m x 22 m), made to display HD resolution video viewable from the stands, has pixels that are roughly 1 inch wide!

## Calculating the ideal TV distance

If you want to calculate the optimal distance between you and the TV, you should know that a typical viewing angle `θ` lies in the range between `30°` and `40°`, as depicted in the image below.

Armed with this knowledge, you can start setting up a room and the furniture within it to take advantage of optimal viewing distance.  Although optimal viewing distances can be quickly estimated, there is a science to it all, which involves some pretty involved trigonometry.  If you really want to learn the math and science behind proper viewing distance, read the full article by Omni Calculator.  Or you can just use the calculator at the beginning of this article and save yourself a bunch of time.

## Or just ask the professionals!

Our installation technicians are experienced in mounting TVs and optimizing viewing distances in all kinds of room sizes.  Whether you just need a single TV mounted to a wall or want to design a home theater in a bonus room, contact us to learn about all the ways we can help you.  Headquartered in Pembroke, GA, we service Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Skidaway IslandTybee IslandStatesboroPoolerRichmond Hill and Hilton Head SC, we install technology for both business and residential customers.

## Integrating Home Security Systems into Control4

Many homes nowadays are equipped with security alarm systems.  These modern security systems feature sensors for fire, smoke, heat as well as break-in detection.  Security cameras are another common feature that can be included in modern security systems.  A standalone security system provides its owners with peace of mind, but doesn’t offer much in terms of functionality.

Smart home enthusiasts outfit their homes with powerful smart home systems such as Control4Control4 takes different aspects of your home, such as lighting, motorized door locks, audio, thermostats and more, and allows them to work in concert with each other.  This networked automation provides new levels of convenience, such as one button control, scheduled interactions and remote access, while providing increased power savings.

But did you know that home security systems can be fully integrated into a Control4 smart home setup?

Above:  Action shots of Jesse integrating a home security system into a Control4 smart home setup.

Control4 is a convenient way to control all the smart devices in your home.  The real power of Control4 lies in its ability to integrate security with other smart home functions. You can set up custom “scenes” that simultaneously adjust your security settings, lighting, and temperature based on certain triggers.  For example, you could create a scene called “Away” that locks all entrances, sets the alarm, turns off all lights and sets the thermostat to an eco-friendly temperature, all with one button press on your mobile phone.

Most likely, your alarm system will come with its own control panel that allows you to enter your pin code, enable and disable the alarm, and check for faults in the system.  However, all those functions can also be accessed from any Control4 interface installed in your home, increasing the availability and flexibility of the system.  The pictures above demonstrate security system functions fully integrated into a Control4 interface, to include views of the security cameras on the premises.

By integrating your security system with Control4, you’re not just enhancing security; you’re enhancing the overall functionality of the entire smart home system.  With Control4’s seamless integration, you can tie together various devices and systems, creating a truly intelligent and responsive home environment that works exactly the way you want it.

If you value both convenience and security, integrating your home security system with Control4 is the way to go. Experience the power of real-time monitoring, remote control, and a unified interface that puts you in charge of your home’s security. Whether you’re just getting started with smart home technology or looking to expand your existing setup, Control4 opens up a world of possibilities.  Contact us to learn about all the installation options available.  Headquartered in Pembroke, GA, we service Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, including Skidaway IslandTybee IslandStatesboroPoolerRichmond Hill and Hilton Head SC.

## Enhancing Outdoor Spaces with Smart Home Technology

Are you looking for ways to enhance your outdoor living space?  As we are finishing up another smart home project for one of our clients, we wanted to show some examples of our work and some ways that you can upgrade your outdoor space with smart home technology.  Our client has graciously allowed us to take some pictures and video of their beautiful 3 story home in Downtown Savannah.

Possibly the most breathtaking aspect of this home is actually outside the structure itself.  This house was designed with amazing use of its outdoor spaces, including a private courtyard and a rooftop area, granting its owners and guests a fantastic panoramic view of the surrounding area.

Starting with the rooftop area, there is a 50-inch LG flatscreen television that had been weatherproofed by Sealoc.  The proprietary weatherization process can take an off the shelf television and shield the internal electronics from weather, adverse elements and corrosive environments, increasing the television’s lifespan and usefulness.  Although you can’t really tell from the video above, the television is comfortably viewable in partial sunlight.  However, on the bright sunny day that we recorded this video, the onscreen images were a bit hard to see, especially with the glare.  In those instances, the owners have a retractable sunshade that completely covers the television viewing area.

Most of the smart lighting, as well as the outdoor speaker system has been seamlessly integrated in and around the rooftop vegetation.  This keeps the rooftop area beautiful without being visually cluttered with unnecessary technology.  The outdoor speaker system is integrated into the rest of the whole home audio via Control4, so the family and guests can comfortably listen to the television or enjoy the music that is being piped all throughout the house.

The downstairs courtyard area, as well as the entire home itself, is monitored by security cameras that discreetly blend into the environment.  Every entryway and window is protected by alarm sensors.  The entire security system, including the camera feeds, smoke, fire and entry alarms are all integrated and controllable by the Control4 panels installed throughout the home.

The courtyard features smart lighting and outdoor speakers, discreetly nestled amongst the trees and bushes of this picturesque garden.  Just like the rooftop area, every aspect of this outdoor system is controllable and integrated into the rest of the home.  Even the water fountain control is integrated can be turned on and off with a simple click of a button.  This courtyard garden this exudes classic old Savannah charm while providing state of the art safety and enjoyment for its owners and guests.

If you have an outdoor area that is in need of a smart home upgrade, connect with one of our professional installation consultants at Allegiance Technology Solutions.  We love to take our client’s vision and make it reality.  We are always researching the newest technology advances and we will be able to intelligently suggest the best components to build the smart home system of your dreams.

## What You Should Prewire When Building a Smart Home

Are you in the process of building a new home?  Are you thinking about incorporating smart home technology into your new living space?  With so many devices supporting wi-fi, are you wondering what to wire, or if you need to wire anything at all?

## First, do you even need to wire at all?

With most smart home technology having built in support for wi-fi, do you still need to run wires for the all the technology in your home?

The short answer is: it depends.  But before we go any further, it is worth understanding how wi-fi works, and how its advantages and disadvantages will affect your desired outcome.  Wireless devices are obviously more convenient in retrofit homes, but if you are building a new construction, seriously consider the advantages of prewiring.

Wireless networking is an evolution of radio transmission technology.  Just like radio broadcasts, wi-fi signals get noisy the farther they are from the source.  Also, certain obstacles, especially those made of metal can impede the signal and severely reduce its strength.

This does not happen with wired connections that are properly installed.  Wired connections do not suffer signal degradation like wi-fi.  Their transmission speeds remain consistent.  Wired connections always have higher speed and reliability when compared to wi-fi.

Any modern commercial network will contain a mix of wired and wireless devices.  The same is true for a smart home network.  It all depends on the application, but the general rule of thumb is that wired devices will perform better than wireless devices, especially when it comes to signal quality.

So here are the top 8 things we recommend wiring in your future smart home:

## 1. Video

• TVs – TVs need wires for 3 things: Video inputs, network, and control.  Some specifics can be researched in the blog post How To Prewire A Smart Home’ from TYM Homes.
• Projectors – For projectors, we typically run Cat6 Ethernet, Fiber Optic cable, and electrical power in conduit to the projector.  Keep in mind, HDMI tends to go bad or obsolete over time. Conduit and the Cat6 Ethernet allow you to change or upgrade HDMI cables as needed.
• Conduit – Although it is overkill to run conduit to every TV, focus on running conduit to the primary TVs.
• Fiber – If your budget allows, run Fiber Optic to TVs, especially those without conduit.  Fiber Optic cable is great because it allows for high bandwidth and it is not susceptible to magnetic interferences.

## 2. Surround Sound

When you’re wiring for surround sound, remember to consider both Primary and Secondary Surround locations. These don’t have to be elaborate or expensive setups. It could be a simple powered soundbar and sub, or a simple 5.1 surround system.

• Primary Surround – Run wires for the Home Theater, media room, or any other primary viewing room.
• Secondary Surround – You can expand your primary surround sound to other areas of the house.  Sometimes referred to as Whole Home Audio, areas like your dining room, covered patio, game room, bonus room, or outside areas can also play the primary source all over the house, or different sources in each room.

## 3. Home Audio

Once you experience the benefits of Whole Home Audio, you’ll want more.  The audio source can be anything you might listen to on your phone, not just for music.  If you think you might want music in a room, prewire it for audio.  Places like bathrooms; covered decks; front porch; pool speakers are great areas for listening to music.  There are speakers for just about any application you can imagine, the shower, the pool, the cold… they are even hidden speakers, which blend in seamlessly with the rest of your decor.

Don’t forget your outdoor Landscape Speakers!  Places like the pool, fire pit, sporting areas and gardens are ideal locations for outdoor audio.  If you’re going to spend time outside, or entertain guests on a nice spring day, wire for outdoor areas for landscape speakers.

## 4. Cable, Satellite, & Internet

• Point of Demarcation (also called the Demarc) – This is a location on the exterior of the home where Cable, Phone and Internet Service providers connect their services.
• Satellite Prewire – A satellite prewire prevents the home from being ‘wrapped’ where the Satellite company staples wire around the side of your home.  Satellite prewires, are usually run to a location in the soffit nearest the Satellite location.
• Satellite Internet – Similar to the Satellite prewire for TV, you can run wire to the attic or soffit if you plan to use Satellite Internet.
• Satellite Heaters – If you live in a colder climate, you can run a low voltage wire to power a heater that can melt snow off the satellite.
• Cell Booster – A cell booster is almost a no brainer in a new build, especially if it’s a larger build.  You’ll thank yourself when your cell phone actually has service in your brand new dream home.

If you’re planning to do the prewire work yourself, we recommend contacting your local service providers to verify their cable requirements for their applications. Service Providers can be very particular about the wire used for these applications.  Some will provide their own cable for you to pull, and some even have approved lists of cable.  Some service providers, like Pembroke Telephone Company, will even offer to prewire your new build for their services.  However, don’t expect them to wire for anything other than their current services.

## 5. Surveillance Cameras

Surveillance Cameras should be prewired.  A lot of clients ask about wireless cameras, but with few exceptions wireless cameras still need power.  If you’re going to run a cable for power anyway, it makes sense to also run Cat6 Ethernet, which will save you time and money.

## 6. Home Security

With Home Security systems, prewire the keypads for power.  This keeps the keypad installs clean and void of visible power adapters.  Beyond the keypads you can reliably cover smaller homes with wireless sensors.  Larger homes struggle with the wireless range, and benefit from hardwired sensors.  Likewise, if you’re using iron or metal doors and windows, those can cause interference with the wireless signals.  It is best to prewire areas constructed with metal.

## 7. Home Network & Wi-Fi

• Hardwired Network – If a device has a permanent location, hardwire it to the network.  This would include the TV, streaming device, Surround Sound Receiver, Printer, Desktop Computer, etc.
• Wireless Access Points (Hotspots or WAPs) – Other than mesh wi-fi systems, wireless hotspots require an Ethernet connection back to the main router or network switch.  To be safe, you may want to consider wiring up more locations than you think you will need.  This ensures that you will be able to expand or improve the system with future growth in mind.

Motorized shades may not be standard in every home, but they are a nice feature to have.  If motorized shades are something that you want to invest in, it makes sense to go ahead and prewire them.  Keep in mind, motorized shades do not have universal wiring standards. There are similarities, but manufacturers all have different requirements.  If you’re thinking about installing motorized shades, it’s best to select the brand before you wire.

## Extras

The items listed here are optional and vary from home-to-home.

• iPad Mounts – Charging stations for your iPads are very popular and will need to be prewired.
• Touchscreens  Systems like Control4 have tablet style touchscreens that mount to the wall.  Prewire for these in common areas, and in home theater rooms, but honestly you can wire them anywhere you think you might want a touchscreen to control your smart home.
• Intercom Systems – Believe it or not, intercom systems are making a comeback, especially in larger homes.
• Voice Control – There are options for all the voice control solutions, Amazon Alexa, Josh.ai, Google, that allow you to mount a node to the wall, or ceiling for easy voice control.  If you’re thinking about using voice control in your smart home, it may be worth considering prewiring locations in your home for these devices.
• Video Doorbells – When prewiring for the doorbell, run the electrical the same way it’s always done, then add a Cat6 Ethernet cable, and a 22/4 wire for good measure.  You may only need Ethernet or 22/4, but by running both you will be able to install any brand of Video Doorbell that you wish without complications later on.
• Fireplace – If you have a smart fireplace, you can run a 22/4 wire from the fireplace switch to your Smart Home Controller.  This will allow you to control the Fireplace along with the rest of your smart home tech.

### So What’s The Next Step?

If you are already experienced in low voltage wiring, and can’t wait to get your hands dirty, then get to work building your new smart home!  Buit if you are not sure where to start, or just want to hire a good professional installation service to perform the work, contact us and learn about the process.  The experienced install technicians at Allegiance Technology Solutions will help you build the smart home of your dreams.

## Using Professional Installation Services

Have you ever had a television mounted or some other equipment installed and you weren’t completely satisfied with results?  Maybe the installers did a sloppy job and you were left with a tangled mess of wires hanging around?  Or the installation was done with a “quick and dirty” mindset and afterwards you had a mess to clean up?

You are not alone.  Unfortunately, many installation technicians will use shortcuts and hacks to shave time off of their work.  Sometimes they just don’t pay close enough attention detail.  Sometimes they rush through their work because of demanding workloads.  Sometimes the technicians are inexperienced and make careless mistakes.

We have all been there, and it makes you feel like you didn’t quite get what you paid for.  But if you are like our typical clients, you demand quality, professionalism and attention to detail.  You want the end result to function properly and look like it is seamlessly blended into the rest of your home or office.

Our professional installation technicians are true craftsmen and take pride in their work.  We obsess over the little details.  We keep the visible wires to an absolute minimum.  We strive to provide a finished product that has a clean, professional, seamless look.

We love to take on challenging projects.  Just like the pictures above, mounting televisions to textured walls requires expertise, attention to detail and careful planning and execution.  If you are a person that desires excellence in design and execution, then contact us about your project.  If you want the best, contact the best in the area, Allegiance Technology Solutions.  Headquartered in Pembroke, GA, we normally service Savannah, GA and the surrounding areas, such as Skidaway Island, Tybee Island, Statesboro, Pooler, Richmond Hill and Hilton Head SC.  And if you are located outside of the Greater Savannah area, we are always open to working with clients from in any area if the partnership makes sense.

## 7 Key Things to Know About Smart Home Technology

Smart home technology transforms the way we interact with our households, offering comfort, convenience, and efficiency. By combining intelligent systems, appliances and devices, homeowners can easily control and manage their houses, either with a few taps or voice commands. From customizing lighting or temperature to managing security systems, home automation technology allows people to cater to their needs by just a click of a button.

## Here are seven key things to know about smart home technology:

• Compatibility – It is important to ensure that your devices are compatible with each other and with your chosen platform.  Modern voice assistants, such as Amazon Alexa, Siri from Apple or Google Home have become a convenient way to automate devices in the home.  Of course, for the most powerful smart home package on the market, Control4 is the way to go!
• Security – As with any internet-connected device, home automation technology can be vulnerable to cybersecurity threats. It is important to follow best practices for cybersecurity and to ensure that your devices are protected against potential breaches.
• Ease of use – A smart home installation should be easy to use and intuitive, with clear instructions and a user-friendly interface.
• Integration – home automation technology should integrate seamlessly with your existing home systems, such as your home Wi-Fi network and entertainment systems.
• Scalability – Like technologies used in other industries, home automation technology should be scalable, allowing you to add and remove devices as needed without disrupting your overall system.
• Energy savings – A properly configured smart home can help you save on your energy bills by allowing you to control your heating and cooling systems and lighting more efficiently.
• Cost – Smart home technology can be expensive, with some devices costing hundreds of dollars. It is important to set a budget and to shop around for the best deals.

Home automation technology offers the chance for you to remotely monitor and control different aspects of your home environment that provides energy saving, peace of mind, and convenience.

If you have questions about your current smart home installation or are interested in making your home smarter, contact us or give us a call at 912-216-4050.  Our technicians at Allegiance Technology Solutions are experts at home automation and will help you embrace the future of smart living!