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John Sciacca Writes...

Features, Reviews and a Blog by John Sciacca

Random Thoughts (Blog)

Four Products That Know How to KISS

Posted on September 5, 2014 at 12:55 AM Comments comments (0)

You’ve likely heard the acronym KISS before, as in “Keep It Simple, Stupid.” It means, when faced with a problem or when coming up with a plan look for the simplest solution instead of trying to exacerbate it with an overly complicated solution.


Consider this urban legend: Back in the ’60s during the space race, NASA wanted a way for the astronauts to be able to write in the zero-G environment of space. They needed...

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Ears On with Dolby Atmos for Home

Posted on August 14, 2014 at 4:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Chances are you’ve heard a good deal of news recently about Dolby Atmos coming to the home market. If you’re totally in the dark, check out my blog, What Integrators Need to Know About Dolby Atmos to get up to speed on the basics of this new surround standard.


I was invited to New York yesterday (August 12) to visit Dolby’s offices – and more importantly, Dolby’s theater – to hear the home version of Do...

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5 Lessons Installers Can Learn from a Craft Beer Giant

Posted on July 8, 2014 at 1:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Nearly every custom installer I’ve met also loves a good craft beer. (Shamless plug: Check out my blog dedicated to craft beer reviews!) Beer is almost always part of the tradeshows we attend; either as a booth enticement or afterhours party conversation lubricant. Beer is often a crew pit stop at the end of the work day, either to celebrate or commiserate over a hard install.


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What Integrators Need to Know About Dolby Atmos

Posted on July 1, 2014 at 11:50 AM Comments comments (0)

With many customers migrating away from traditional multi-channel – 5.1, 7.1, 9.1 and even the full-magilla 11.1 – speaker offerings in favor of an all-in-one integrated soundbar, you might think that home theater surround formats peaked with DTS’ Neo:X which supports 11 simultaneous channels (the traditional 5-channel mix augmented with surround back, front height and front width). However, as with any technology that gets its start in the commercial cinema &...

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How to Sell Garbage Disposals and A/V Like a BOSS

Posted on June 18, 2014 at 12:50 AM Comments comments (0)

Recently I found myself in need of a new garbage disposal, in-sink grinder thing for our kitchen. Our previous one had failed in a spectacular fashion, with a hole that blew through the side of it, spewing tons of water out of it when we ran our dishwasher. Like most disposals, ours was located in a cabinet under our kitchen sink, so we didn’t noticed the mini-flood until it filled the cabinet with water and then it overflowed out all over the kitchen floor.

...

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Kaleidescape and DVD CCA Settle 10-year Lawsuit

Posted on June 5, 2014 at 10:05 AM Comments comments (1)

What does this mean for Kaleidescape? Q and A with company founders


On June 2, Judge William Monahan of the Superior Court of California approved an agreement between the DVD Copy Control Association (DVD CCA) and Kaleidescape to end the decade-long litigation.


At the crux of the lawsuit, the DVD CCA alleged that because Kaleidescape allowed users to play copied content without requir...

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Troubleshoot Like a Boss

Posted on May 21, 2014 at 10:20 AM Comments comments (0)

The day will come when you will press the “Watch TV” button on your fancy remote control – or however it is that you turn your system on – and…nothing will happen. Or something will happen, but it won’t be the right thing. Generally the problem will boil down to you’ll be able to see it but not hear it or you’ll hear it but not see it.


Before you panic and start spiraling down into a...

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Sharing Could Be a Kaleidescape Killer App

Posted on May 20, 2014 at 1:10 PM Comments comments (0)

Saying that “a great part of owning movies and TV shows is sharing your collection,” this past week Vudu announced a new service titled “Share My Movies.” By enabling sharing and adding the email addresses of up to five friends, users will now be able to digitally share their collections of UltraViolet movies and TV shows for free. What’s more, the shared content can be streamed up to three times simultaneously, meaning you can finally have that re...

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Ingram Micro 2014 Expo: How we are all better together

Posted on May 7, 2014 at 12:15 AM Comments comments (0)

Ingram Micro held its Spring Vendor Expo last week in Scottsdale, AZ. Ingram is the world’s largest technology distributor, owing AVAD and DBL Distributing, two companies serving as major distribution partners to the custom installation industr. The Expo featured more than 125 different vendors, including Samsung, Vizio, Sanus, Sony, Microsoft and Hisense. Ingram invited key dealers from around the country to atten...

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Undiscovered Gems in Kaleidescape's Experience

Posted on March 10, 2014 at 9:55 PM Comments comments (0)

Kaleidescape’s big news this past week was the appointment of Cheena Srinivasan to the role of CEO. I’ve been working with Cheena, one of Kaleidescape’s co-founders, since 2003 when I was one of the first reviewers selected to review the Kaleidescape system. I’ve also spoken and met with him many times since and I...

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Five Tips to Rack Like a Boss

Posted on February 25, 2014 at 4:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Perhaps other than Sports Illustrated or Hooters, no industry is as proud of their racks as ours. (OK, that will be the only rack double-entendre, I promise!) (Also, as a word of caution, “rate my rack” is NOT a site where you go to submit your best A/V rack pics…just sayin’.) The delivery and trimming of the A/V rack often indicates nearing the job’s completion, and a clean, tight rack is a mark of pride for many installers.

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Cable, Telephone, Internet and...Security?

Posted on December 4, 2013 at 3:20 PM Comments comments (0)

Your ISP wants to put the cable guy in charge of your security, automation and more…

Like a modern proof of Newton’s Third Law of Motion – for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction -  as more people look to cord-cutting as a way to sever ties with their cable and satellite providers, service providers continue looking for ways to retain customers and bring new customers back into the fold. To maintain this delicate Yi...

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Riding the Automation Z-Wave

Posted on November 8, 2013 at 12:45 AM Comments comments (0)

If your Internet search history has broadened beyond “Miley Cyrus twerking” or “Katy Perry boobs” and ventured into the realms of “DIY home automation,” then you’ve likely run across the name “Z-Wave” at some point. And then you probably wondered, “What the hell is a Z-Wave?!”


Well, Z-Wave does not describe some new shotgun-to-brain resistant strain of zombie apocalypse. No...

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Smartphone: I am become Death, Destroyer of Worlds

Posted on November 5, 2013 at 10:35 AM Comments comments (0)

When the robot overlords take over and finish thoroughly examining each bit of the yottabytes of accumulated data that make up the entire collected history of human culture – sadly a process that will only take them around 2 seconds with their quantum logic computing power stolen from the NSA, but it will be a merciful two second reprieve from the constant whippings and cruel task mastering – they will likely determine that the smartphone was the most powerful and d...

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The Best Speaker Tech You Never Think Of

Posted on October 29, 2013 at 2:10 PM Comments comments (0)

The other evening, as I was tip-toeing on top of a chair from our dining room, using a paper clip and the smallest screwdriver I could find trying to pry loose the grille of an older in-ceiling speaker I wanted to replace without totally destroying the grille or falling off the chair, I realized just how far architectural audio speaker technology had come. And I’m not talking about new Rohacell driver technology, and infinitely dense cabinetry bracing or super rare-earth ...

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Turn Your Clients into Snobs

Posted on October 23, 2013 at 3:00 PM Comments comments (0)

When I go to other people’s houses, I don’t like watching TV on their smaller screens and listening through their wimpy stereo sound systems. It feels like you’re watching TV while slightly blind and deaf.” – Allen Wong, “25 Things Rich People Won’t Tell You,” Reader’s Digest, October 2013


I’m not going to call myself “rich” by any means, but I wi...

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CEDIA 2013: Looking Back on Expo - Trends and Tech

Posted on October 9, 2013 at 1:00 PM Comments comments (0)

It takes about a full week to decompress from the CEDIA show. After spending three solid days wandering aisles under the uncompromising glare of arc sodium overhead lighting, and having your body bombarded with enough WiFi waves to make David Banner squirm, you come home so overloaded with the sights and sounds of Expo, it takes a bit to just…(deep breath)…sit back and process it all. Well, I’m done processing, and here is my wrap on some of the trends ...

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Now You See It...Now You Sell It!

Posted on September 10, 2013 at 1:25 PM Comments comments (0)

Our custom installation company is fortunate enough to have a showroom for meeting with clients and demonstrating systems. We feel it’s a huge advantage for us, and a differentiator between smaller, pop-up-over-night, one-man-in-a-van outfits as the showfront lends an air of stability and credibility. But what to display is always a concern, as that is money out of pocket that often results in gear that is never sold or sold at greatly reduced pricing.


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Director: Meridian Digital Awesome You Can Afford

Posted on August 5, 2013 at 11:55 AM Comments comments (0)

If you’ve ever picked up an audio mag or perused an Internet forum that discusses electronica, then you’ll know that in nearly every case, music must go through some transformation before it gets from the speakers to those wonderful audio receptors on the sides of your head. That transformation is from digital to analog, and it is a  very important, mysterious process, involving wizards with grizzled beards and rainbow-tailed unicorns and is done in a device ca...

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Kaleidescape for the price of your daily Starbucks

Posted on July 23, 2013 at 9:00 AM Comments comments (4)

Demonstrate a Kaleidescape system to 100 people and I bet you’ll have 100 people that would love to own one. With its world-class user interface, near instantaneous access to a vast library of DVDs, Blu-rays and CDs, automatic bookmarking of the most iconic scenes in thousands of films, and the world’s only way to download and own movies in exact Blu-ray quality, Kaleidescape systems are one of the easiest products to get people excited about. I use Kaleiedescape as...

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