Systems Integration

AV • OnControls • AppleTV 4K • Polk Signature

Audio-visual and lighting integration has come a long way in the last few years. In our last house, I used a systems integrator application to run the AV. The application, called OnControls, was voted best new integration app at CES 2014. The ramp up time to learn the application was a full was amazing for the time. I could run all my systems, TV, BluRay player, Roku, Apple TV and my amplifier all from a mobile device or pad. The setup is so labor-intensive, I was dreading re-doing the setup on Skidaway. In the meantime, I upgraded the old plasma TV and bought a 4K TV. (I took the opportunity to upgrade the size too) I also added the new 4K Apple TV box. Since 2014, companies have realized that if they build in universal functionality, their products sell better. (it's called HDMI-CEC, consumer electronics control) Yay, finally. I still use a paired-down OnControls system to turn on the AV amplifier for the Comcast service. The rest of the automated functionality is in the Apple TV box. I use it for its basic (which isn't basic at all) Apple Eco system functionality...movies, music, photos...but also for VUDU, Netflix, HBO, Showtime and now Amazon Prime. I only use the Comcast/OnControls side of the system for live events. The bookshelf Polk speakers that worked in the smaller den at the last house didn't have enough presence for the new living room that's about twice the size. I upgraded the three main components of the system with Polk Signature center and L/R speakers. The L/R Signature bookshelf speakers pack real punch that's notable whether it's rockin' at 10 or lounging at 3.

Apple TV Remote Icon on iPhone and User Screen

Lighting systems • Philips Hue • 36th Lab • Apple Home Kit & Siri

I had three Philips Hue lights and a hub at the last house. I bought the first iteration of Hue lamps and hub. The hub was a closed system, it only worked with itself. The lamps were strictly mulit-color-capable. I found the best color recipe for warm white, which wasn't easy and didn't look the same on one of the three lights. (no matter how much I tweaked it) I thought at the time, I can't be the only person who just wants warm white, I have no use for purple or green or red or yellow...I just want a light bulb I can control. Voila! Just add three years and customer feedback and there they were...a whole line of Philips warm white bulbs. The new warm white bulbs do a wide variety of color temperature around white. Instead of adding dimmers and separate switching to accommodate incandescent loads, I saved on both by using the Philips system. So far, I have 41 Hue lights and a strip above the office shelves and drawers. The cool thing is, I can group rooms, set a plethora of scenes for each room, can control the whole house at once and I can do all that using voice commands with Siri on the iPhone since the Hue Bridge is integrated into Apple's Home Kit and by extension, Apple TV.

OnControls, HUE and Home Icons on iPhone and User Screens for Apple Home and HUE Lighting Control