CEDIA: Vivint announce Control4 integration


CEDIA: Vivint announce Control4 integration

Vivint’s security engine now integrates two-way with Control4 home-automation systems — a technological milestone for the mass-market provider, and a nod to Vivint’s new Smart Home Authorized Pro program.

Vivint Smart Home, a pioneer in self-contained security and smart-home systems, will announce two-way integration with Control4 home automation systems at CEDIA Expo 2019 – marking Vivint’s first integration with a custom-oriented home-control system.

With Control4’s SDDP technology embedded in Vivint’s Smart Hub panel, Control4 users will be able monitor and control their Vivint security system via standard Control4 interfaces.

In addition, any security sensor in the Vivint ecosystem can be incorporated into Control4 scenes and alerts. For example, if someone trips a motion sensor in the living room after sunset, the event could trigger Control4 to turn on the lights in that room to a dim level and flip the TV to CNN on mute.

“Basically, Control4 gets to use our sensors,” says Chris Ivie, senior director of Pro Channels at Vivint.

Control4 Vivint

The effort took some technological doing on Vivint’s part – the company is new to the integration driver business – but the work had less to do with delivering a plug-and-play experience for integrators than to demonstrate Vivint’s commitment to the home-technology channel.

After all, much of the channel is still wondering: What is Vivint doing here?!

Vivint launched its Smart Home Authorized Pro program earlier this year, inviting select retailers, integrators and other home-technology professionals to effectively enter the security and mainstream home-automation business … without the burden of starting such a venture from scratch.

Vivint draws from its vast marketing, financial, technical, operational, educational, sales, legal, logistical and other critical resources to give Authorized Pros everything they need to succeed.

Control4 Smart Home.png

Participants head to Vivint’s Salt Lake City headquarters for arguably the best sales training that exists in this industry (I know, I’ve been!) and probably countless other industries as well. They return to their shops armed with easy-to-use software for presenting Vivint products and services to clients, and closing the sale … and scheduling the installation … and following the progress … and ensuring a positive customer experience … that generates new referrals … to fuel the operation and feed the retirement fund.

Vivint’s army of well-trained, clean-kempt technicians handle pretty much everything after the initial sale, and even suggest system upgrades and add-ons on-the-spot if appropriate. The Authorized Pro gets credit for products and services sold by Vivint itself, for as long as the client remains a Vivint subscriber.

The program is off to a good start, with some high-profile dealers signing on, and a network of independent reps recruited from the custom market.

Still, Vivint has a lot to prove to a skeptical market raised on Control4, Crestron and the like. Collaborating with these influential companies makes a definite statement, Ivie explains.

“Ours isn’t really a technical play,” he says. “We’re a business play. We’re bringing a full end-to-end solution to this channel.”

Vivint might have been queasy at first about relinquishing some control over the user experience to a third-party platform and the folks who install it. But it was always part of the plan to meet integrators half-way.

Vivint never integrated with traditional home-automation systems before. Why should they? They were busy activating hundreds of thousands of new security and smart-home accounts every year, driven largely by efficiency and predictability.

Vivint has new responsibilities, though, as a partner to so many Authorized Pros. As Ivie tells it, Vivint execs never flinched at the thought of integrating with the Control4s of the world: “Of course an end-to-end solution requires us to integrate,” they would say.

That one home-automation driver could open a world of opportunity for Control4 dealers (and others to come).

“We have millions of [Vivint] installations running solo,” Ivie says. “I think it’s a massive opportunity for dealers to hook into those systems.”

Long-time integrator Joe Whitaker, a Control4 dealer who joined the Vivint Pro program earlier this year, can’t wait to get going.

“With the new Control4 driver,” he says, “we will be looking back to our current Vivint customers, but also the thousands of other Vivint subscribers in our service area.”

At the same time, Whitaker sees the company’s existing Control4 clients as likely prospects for new RMR (recurring monthly revenue) programs, featuring security monitoring and SHaaS (smart home as a service).

“Either way,” Whitaker says, “we have more business opportunities for ourselves, and more ways to serve our clients with an exceptional, all-inclusive experience.”

And exceptional it is, Whitaker tells us. He’s tied Control4 into practically every compatible security panel at one time or another, and none compares to the ease of integrating with the Vivint Smart Hub.

“It requires zero extra gear and zero extra software or licenses,” he says. “It only takes a couple of minutes and it’s totally secure.”

Furthermore, the two-way communications between Vivint and Control4 is lightning-fast, Whitaker explains. He’s grown accustomed to the slight but annoying lag between a tripped sensor and the system response.

“When a door is opened, it might not register on a Control4 system for several seconds,” he says. “Or if you program the lights to turn on when a sensor is tripped, you might have to stand in the dark for a while.”

Vivint-based events, on the other hand, are reported immediately to Control4, which registers the events in an instant.

“Instant response and painless integration makes this one of the best security integrations I’ve ever seen,” he says.



CEDIA 2019 from 10th Sep to 14th Sep


CEDIA 2019 from 10th Sep to 14th Sep

CEDIA (Custom Electronic Design and Installation Association) are holding their latest expo in Denver this year from September 10-14, 2019 at the Colorado Convention Center

CEDIA is the leading global authority in the $19 billion home technology industry. We are one of a handful of Thai member companies, CEDIA in Thailand (currently as of writing) comprises only 5 companies including H3 Digital. CEDIA covers the custom smart home, home cinema, multi room audio and lighting control industry.

CEDIA Expo 2019

CEDIA Expo 2019

CEDIA represents 3,700 member companies worldwide and serves more than 30,000 industry professionals that manufacture, design, and integrate goods and services for the connected home.

CEDIA is the brand of custom-installed home lifestyle experiences that define a pathway to prosperity for members and ultimate contentment for clients. This is achieved by engaging all integrators and manufacturers, regardless of level of development and geography, with forward-looking insight and the education, tools, relationships, and support necessary to provide clients with best-in-life experiences at home.



CEDIA was founded in 1989 by a group of professionals dedicated to the advancement of the up-and-coming electronic systems industry. Their vision was to advocate the needs of the home technology professional by becoming the leading resource, promoting commerce, offering training, and aiding in the assembly of a legitimate industry that was at the time considered more of a hobby.

Since that time, CEDIA has grown into an international association with more than 3,500 member companies worldwide and has come to be recognized as the universal mark of professionalism for industry businesses.

The association has expanded tremendously in its 20+ years of its existence. The CEDIA show is a great example of the evolution of this industry. The first CEDIA show, held in Amelia Island, FL, hosted 500 attendees and featured table-top displays from some of the industry’s pioneers, the show has grown exponentially since that time in both exhibiting companies and attendees. CEDIA 2018 drew nearly 500 exhibiting companies and more than 20,000 attendees.


When it's time for your very own cinema...


When it's time for your very own cinema...

Going to the cinema just isn’t the same nowadays, it’s either too cold, too hot, too noisy, not loud enough, screens too small, screens too big and then there’s other people playing with their phones, munching popcorn noisily or shifting past you every 20 minutes.

Enjoying watching film doesn’t have to be like that, you can “Go to the movies in your own home” if you have;

  • Some unused space or an underutilized room.

  • Budget for equipment and furnishings.

  • Desire to enjoy an amazing cinema experience with friends and family at home.

It’s really as simple as that, we can take just about any sized space/room and turn it into an exceptional experience for you, your family and friends.

Almost all of our clients site their home cinema’s as one of the most enjoyable aspects of their home. If you’d like to learn more about Home Cinema then please get in touch.

Home Cinema in Phuket

Home Cinema in Phuket


New Sonos products launched...


New Sonos products launched...

Sonos the multi room music system that we’ve been installing throughout luxury homes in SE Asia and Thailand for nearly 15 years have just launched a slew of new audio products to cover what they envision most home-owners are looking for.

Their tagline is “The future of listening is here…”"

The first of the products they’ve introduced was one that’s been in the rumour mill for a while and will certainly appeal to some homeowners.

Sonos Move Portable Speaker

Sonos Move Portable Speaker

Sonos Move is the the durable, battery-powered smart speaker for outdoor and indoor listening. You can listen on WiFi or Bluetooth.

Sonos ONE SL

Sonos ONE SL

Sonos One SL - Is their new compact and powerful speaker. Which is basically a microphone free version of the Sonos One and will replace the PLay1 in the Sonos line-up.

SONOS Port in Action

SONOS Port in Action

Sonos Port tucked away in Bookcase

Sonos Port tucked away in Bookcase

Sonos Port - Is the upgrade of the old Sonos:Connect (which was the new name for the original Sonos ZP90 (the first version was called the ZP80) and is for users who want to use more powerful or matrix out the stream to multiple amps for streaming. For systems integrators one very useful feature it now has is a 12v port trigger (this will allow it to turn on other equipment such as power amplifiers).

SONOS Port - Front

SONOS Port - Front

Sonos Port - Rear

Sonos Port - Rear


IMAX Enhanced - New Home Cinema Format


IMAX Enhanced - New Home Cinema Format

IMAX Enhanced: everything you need to know about the home cinema format

The promise: the very best 4K, HDR and multi-channel audio has to offer

You might think your home cinema set-up is pretty awesome, but how do you know that it's delivering the highest quality AV experience money can buy? IMAX says it's by looking out for the IMAX Enhanced label.

Announced in September 2018, IMAX Enhanced is the latest AV certification programme, designed to guarantee that the kit you're using and content you're watching is delivering the best picture and sound quality around. You see, the company believes it’s owning the theatrical space, and now it wants to improve the home cinema experience. Watch out, Dolby? Perhaps...

So what exactly does it promise? What kit is certified? And how can you watch IMAX Enhanced content? Read on for answers to these questions and more...

IMAX Enhanced Home Cinema

What is IMAX Enhanced?

IMAX Enhanced is new certification programme from IMAX corporation and multi-channel audio specialist DTS.

Much like the Ultra HD Premium certification and Dolby Cinema logo, any piece of audio and/or visual home cinema equipment or content bearing the IMAX Enhanced badge is guaranteed to have met a certain standard; a standard that supposedly represents an outstanding home cinema experience.

In other words, if it has the logo, you can buy with confidence.

Sound familiar? You could see IMAX Enhanced as a rival to Dolby Vision HDR pictures and Dolby Atmos sound, which often combine to create a premium audiovisual experience through Dolby Cinema, the 4K Blu-ray format and some streaming content.

For content or kit to be certified and wear the badge, there are four standards to be met: image, sound, scale and content.

Firstly, image. IMAX Enhanced promises "clearer pictures and brighter images". Eligible products must meet criteria across calibration, resolution, colour, brightness and contrast, then.

We'll see IMAX Enhanced versions of films and documentaries that should look far better than the original versions, according to IMAX. This is thanks to IMAX's proprietary post-production process, which uses an algorithm to bring out the sharpest, highest-quality 4K HDR images with reduced levels of noise and graininess.

They claim that without this process, HDR content can actually look worse than the filmmakers intended due to raised levels of noise and graininess.

IMAX Enhanced Home Cinema Discs

Then there's sound. We should get "immersive, heart-pounding audio", with DTS and IMAX partnering with "award-winning Hollywood sound mixers" to use a special variant of the Atmos-rivalling DTS:X codec found within home audio kit. This should produce an IMAX signature sound experience.

As for scale, you should be able to "see more picture on the largest displays". Put simply, IMAX Enhanced content has an expanded aspect ratio,, doing away with the 'letterbox' black bars at the top and bottom of the screen.

Last but certainly not least is content. "Premium content digitally remastered by IMAX" is the order of the day.

While IMAX stops short of giving us technical specs for these standards, it claims they are the highest specifications, defined by a committee of IMAX and DTS engineers working side-by-side with Hollywood's leading technical specialists.

What content is IMAX Enhanced?

The here and now: a few Blu-rays and some streaming content. The first IMAX Enhanced Ultra HD Blu-ray titles – A Beautiful Planet, Journey to the South Pacific and Space Station – have recently arrived in the US for $20 a pop.

And it seems a small selection of IMAX Enhanced content is already accessible on select Sony TVs in the US via the Privilege 4K entertainment voucher code film service, too.

Indeed, while it's been a year since the announcement of IMAX Enhanced, the format is very much, and unsurprisingly, still in its infancy.

IMAX Enhanced devices are currently launching worldwide, with content announcements to follow shortly - IMAX will supply select IMAX documentaries and work with its global studio and other content partners to build a steady stream of IMAX Enhanced versions of movies and other programming.

On the latter, Sony Pictures and Paramount Pictures are among IMAX's partnerships for its Enhanced project, so there's potentially plenty of Blockbuster fodder available to the initiative.

All the company has said for now is that in the future IMAX Enhanced versions of films and documentaries will come via both 4K HDR streaming and Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs. Whether these new, polished versions will come through existing streaming services like Netflix is yet to be heard, but partnerships have already been struck with Rakuten TV (in Europe) and Fandango Now (in the US).

Despite a wealth of impressive launch hardware partners – Sony, Denon and Marantz among them – there aren't floods of certified products around yet. Again, perhaps that's not surprising, given that the scheme is in its early days.

Marantz IMAX Enhanced Home Cinema Receiver

Marantz IMAX Enhanced Home Cinema Receiver

Marantz's recent SR6014 AV receiver is accredited as IMAX Enhanced, and certain Onkyo and Pioneer models recently received a software update that too gives them the same boast. IMAX Enhanced AV receivers feature an optimised version of DTS:X, as well as a special IMAX Mode.

The widest range of support so far comes from Sony, who has a number of compatible premium 4K TVs (XBR A9G, XBR A8G, XBR X950G, XBR Z9F, XBR A9F, XBR A8F, XBR X900F, XBR A1E) and high-end projectors (VPL-VW995ES, VPL-VW695ES, VPL-VW295ES, VPL-VW285ES, VPL-VW385ES, VPL-VW675ES, VPL-VW885ES, VPL-VZ1000ES, VPL-VW5000ES).

Other hardware partners joining those listed above include Arcam, Lexicon, Elite, Integra, Trinnov Audio, TCL and Audio Control, so we'd expect product compatibility announcements from such manufacturers in the near future.

Don't expect to see 43-inch TVs among those certified products. IMAX says that "only the largest 4K UHD HDR TVs" will be included, due of their higher resolution.

So what if you're watching IMAX content on a system that isn't entirely IMAX Enhanced-certified? Say your TV is but your soundbar isn't. According to IMAX, "IMAX Enhanced products are designed to work independently of each other and, even alone, will perform their function at the highest level. When combined, they work in concert, creating the most immersive and highest-quality experience available in the home."

So if, for example, if you watch an IMAX documentary on a non-IMAX TV, "you'll still see the best version of the content possible on your TV, but it won't be optimised as it will be on an accredited set."

Is there a required speaker criteria?

So you have (or will have) your IMAX Enhanced TV/projector and AV receiver. What about your soundbar or speakers? Are there specific requirements?

In a word, no. But IMAX does, of course, have some recommendations...

IMAX recommends 7.2.4 for IMAX Enhanced content – that's seven speakers in the horizontal plane, two subs and four height speakers. And the minimum possible to take advantage of IMAX's DTS:X mix? You're looking at 5.1.4.

Use fewer speakers than these layouts, and the DTS:X encoder will use its spatial remapping engine to virtually render an immersive, multi-channel audio to the available speakers – so it should still sound pretty good.

Your speakers should have a minimum frequency spectrum of 20Hz-20KHz, too, and the system should be able to kick out an average sound pressure level of 85dB with 110dB peaks (115dB for subwoofers), with speakers placed 3m from the seating position.

IMAX also recommends a minimum speaker sensitivity of 87dB.

When will we know more?

Again, it's early days for IMAX Enhanced. And the programme is coming into a home cinema space that's already laden with competing technologies, so it could be an uphill battle for IMAX. After all, consumers, manufacturers and content makers are currently also dealing with HDR10+, Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos.

Right now, we're awaiting further details – and our first demo! We haven't experienced IMAX Enhanced for ourselves yet, but that will change next week during IFA 2019. We'll be bringing you our thoughts (and perhaps even more content and product information!) then...



Lutron launches Lawsuit on Savant over Home Automation Patent


Lutron launches Lawsuit on Savant over Home Automation Patent

Lutron Sues Savant Over Alleged Patent Infringement on 4-Button Keypad

Lutron are alleging that Savant's Ascend keypad infringes on Lutron's "award-winning, clean and sleek Palladiom® keypads."

Savant keypad

From Lutron's patent-infringement lawsuit against Savant: "The aesthetic equivalence of the Accused Ascend Keypads and the design in the ’277 patent is substantial."

Lutron Electonics is suing Savant, accusing the defendant of infringing on patent no. D734,277, which defines a four-button keypad design employed in Lutron's Palladiom product line.

Lutron claims Savant copied the plaintiffs design, in that Savant's Ascend keypads:

"are wall-mounted control devices for lights, dimmers, and other things such as blinds and drapes."

"include a cover housing with a flat front surface faceplate and low profile rectangular outer periphery"

Lutron vs Savant keypads

"There are buttons (typically four) provided at the front surface of the housing that are substantially flush with the faceplate."

Both companies are leading suppliers of lighting contols and home automation systems.

It seems that Lutron’s patent for a 4 button lighting control pad is from 2015, so it must be that they are objecting to the fact the Savant one looks so similar, because Smart Home Keypads and controllers with identical performance and engineering have been around for decades now.


We have officially moved...


We have officially moved...

This week we officially moved into our new head office, it’s about 1km from our old office and the Heroines monument. Close to the Alan Cooke Cricket Ground.

Our new address is officially; 51/6 Moo 8, Tambon Srisoontorn, Amphur Thalang, Phuket 83110.

Moving everything across meant some very late nights as we’re so busy with our workload that all moving had to take place after normal work hours.

IMG_20190827_200926 (1).jpg
H3 Digital Office - Home Cinema, Audio and Lighting Control in Thailand

Now we are officially moved in we can start planning our Home Cinema demo room which is going to feature 4k Projection, Dolby Atmos and Control4 Smart Home Automation.


Sonos portable speaker - More details emerge


Sonos portable speaker - More details emerge

Last week, a leak claimed that multi room audio company Sonos was planning to release its first portable Bluetooth speaker at an event in the near future. Sonos is the distributed audio system that changed the game when it revolutionized home audio smashing onto the scene in 2005.

Now, a new leak over the weekend has shed light on that product, claiming it will be called the Sonos Move. Among other things, the new leak includes what are claimed to be official product images of the alleged upcoming speaker model.

Is this the new Sonos portable speaker

Is this the new Sonos portable speaker

The new images were leaked by German website WinFuture, which claims the Sonos Move speaker will feature half a dozen microphones for use with personal assistants, as well as integrated controls for manually adjusting both volume and audio playback. Built-in LEDs will reportedly show the speaker’s charge and connection statuses.

Rather than having to be plugged into a charging cable, the report claims, Sonos will utilize a base charging station that features two contacts. Users will reportedly only need to place the speaker in the charging station to recharge it in a way similar to how smartwatches are recharged. A USB-C port is located on the back, however, for wired connections and charging while away from home.

As the leaked images show, the Sonos Move reportedly features a recessed handgrip on the back of the speaker, enabling users to easily move the speaker from one location to another. This recessed portion will feature, among other things, the ‘Join’ button for adding the speaker to an existing network.

Potential Portable Sonos speaker  with charging hub

Potential Portable Sonos speaker with charging hub

The speaker reportedly features a switch for toggling between WiFi and Bluetooth modes; in the latter, the speaker works like any other portable Bluetooth unit. In WiFi mode, however, the speaker will appear in the Sonos mobile app. Other alleged features include AirPlay 2 and Auto Trueplay. Other details remain unknown, but Sonos is expected to officially reveal the speaker later this month.

There is no timescale for a potential Thailand release but expect to see this new Sonos speaker available to Thai buyers shortly after it’s eventual release.


Is Sonos going Bluetooth?


Is Sonos going Bluetooth?

After years of shaming Bluetooth streaming wireless speakers it looks like Sonos might have to eat some humble pie. Recently spotted in an FCC filing is a new speaker that looks suspiciously like the Sonos One smart speaker but will use Bluetooth for both wireless audio and improved setup convenience.

The new Sonos speaker will be compatible with the rest of the Sonos ecosystem, and feature Wi-Fi connections, too. A purported photo of the speaker, which for now is simply known as the S17, shows the Sonos One’s touch-based control buttons, as well as what looks to be a microphone array.

The speaker uses USB-C for power and it looks like there may be an internal rechargeable battery, which would make this Sonos speaker the first portable Sonos speaker. There has also been speculation that Sonos’s Trueplay app-based EQ software could be made fully automatic, much like the EQ on Apple’s HomePod.

Is this the new Sonos Bluetooth compatible speaker?

Is this the new Sonos Bluetooth compatible speaker?

There’s no word on timing for the release of the S17, though Digital Trends and many other publications have been invited to a Sonos press event scheduled for August 26 and 27 in New York City. If the S17 is indeed heading to market in the next few months (possibly in time for the 2019 holiday season) this event would be the obvious place to unveil it, along with any other products the company has planned for the near term.

Sonos has long been wireless audio’s biggest cheerleader. But the company has a reputation for being highly selective when it comes to which wireless audio technologies it supports. Wi-Fi, with its large data capacity, ability to span longer distances and versatile networking options, has been the backbone of Sonos’s wireless audio platform from the beginning. Bluetooth, on the other hand, despite being used on virtually every other wireless speaker we can think of, has been consciously avoided by Sonos — until now.

An embrace of Bluetooth for wireless audio by Sonos isn’t just a big deal in terms of its speakers. As the wireless audio standard for earbuds and headphones, Bluetooth audio is a gateway to an entire new world of portable music, something that Sonos has avoided, choosing to focus instead on just home audio. If truly portable music is indeed on Sonos’ roadmap, it could be a big win for the company’s customers. Sonos’ app-based music system, which gives you access to dozens of streaming music services as well as your own music library, doesn’t work when not connected to your home Wi-Fi, forcing Sonos users to switch to standalone apps like Apple Music or Spotify for listening on the go. A portable-friendly Sonos app would make the software a one-stop audio shop — something Sonos users have been asking for. Earlier in 2019, a Bloomberg report suggested that Sonos was working on Bluetooth headphones. If the S17 is indeed headed our way, it’s a good bet those headphones will follow it.


Dolby Digital and DTS - So what is the difference?


Dolby Digital and DTS - So what is the difference?

There’s a surround sound battle going on in Home Cinema’s throughout the world.

Surround sound in the home came about in 1982 with the introduction of Dolby Surround which consisted of three channels, left, right and surround. The surround channel could be sent to two speakers so that a four speaker system surrounded the viewer. As home cinema has progressed many new formats have sprung up over the years each iteration bringing or promising to bring better detail, resolution and dynamics with improved sound quality.


Currently the biggest two sound formats are DTS and Dolby Digital. These are primarily audio compression technologies, allowing movie makers to record surround sound that can be reproduced in cinemas as well as homes. Both deliver spine-tingling multi-channel sound, so what's the difference? And which is better?

DTS is encoded at a higher bit rate and therefore is considered by many to be of higher quality. Although there is an argument that Dolby Digital's technology is actually more advanced, and can potentially produces better sound quality at a lower bit rate.


As a consumer it can be confusing to see these different formats and the many offshoots of the technologies but you don’t generally have to choose one.

In their most basic form, both DTS and Dolby Digital support 5.1-channel audio (in a home cinema this is the front left, centre, right, surround left and surround right and discrete subwoofer channel (that’s the .1)). More advanced versions of these formats can support 7.1-channels, HD surround sound, extra subwoofers and even separate overhead speakers, in the form of DTS:X and Dolby Atmos.

What is Dolby Digital?

Dolby Digital is a multi-channel audio codec by Dolby Labs. It delivers a cinematic surround sound experience and is commonly referred to as the 'industry standard' (primarily because Dolby Labs has been around longer than DTS).

The first film to use Dolby Digital was Batman Returns in 1992. Since then, Dolby has released a slew of increasingly advanced codecs including Dolby Digital Plus, which supports HD surround sound and up to 7.1 speaker channels.

Want the best? Try Dolby TrueHD, a lossless format that promises to be identical to the movie studio's master recording. There's also the next-gen, object-based audio system, Dolby Atmos.

What is DTS?

DTS (originally Digital Theater Systems) was founded in 1993 to compete with Dolby Labs for surround sound supremacy. The company got its big break when Steven Spielberg chose DTS for his dino-romp, Jurassic Park.

In 1996, DTS began cropping up in consumer hardware. The company might not be as well known as its main rival, but many purists believe that DTS offers better sound quality because it encodes audio at higher bit rates.

Like Dolby Digital, DTS has since released a plethora of more advanced surround sound formats including DTS-HD High Resolution, which supports up to 7.1 speaker channels. DTS has also brought out a lossless format, DTS-HD Master Audio. There's also DTS:X, which competes with Dolby's Atmos.

What is the difference between DTS and Dolby Digital?

Dolby Digital and DTS can both deliver fantastic surround sound experiences – but there are some key differences in the way that they achieve that end result.

The major differences are the compression levels and bit rates. Dolby Digital compresses 5.1 digital audio down to a bit rate of 640 kbits/s (kilobits per second) for Blu-ray discs. For DVD discs, it supports a slightly lower bit rate: up to 448 kbits/s.

DTS on the other hand, is less compressed and supports higher bit rates of up to 1.5Mb/s (megabits per second). For DVD discs, it supports up to 768 kbits/s.

The compression gap widens when you step up to the competing HD formats. Dolby Digital Plus supports up to 1.7Mbps, while DTS-HD High Resolution supports up to 6Mb/s. In theory, less compression during encoding equals more detailed audio that delivers a soundtrack closer to what was originally intended.

Case closed, then? Not so fast. Dolby argues that its codecs are more efficient than DTS codecs, and thus can sound every bit as good or better, even at a lower bit rate.

Ultimately, you can expect a fine home cinema experience from both, and often your choice of soundtrack will come down to whichever is supported by your source material.

DTS or Dolby - No Monkeying about

DTS or Dolby - No Monkeying about

DTS:X vs Dolby Atmos

These cutting-edge home cinema audio technologies are a step up from traditional surround sound. They recreate object-based effects, such as a plane flying overhead or bullets zinging around the room, thanks to multiple audio signals aimed at set-ups with a greater number of speakers than the standard 5.1.

Again, both should create an immersive experience, but there are some crucial differences between the two.

Dolby Atmos uses speakers placed in the ceiling to create to create a 'bubble' of sound. Not keen to cut holes in your ceiling? There's a range of simpler options including Dolby Atmos soundbars with upfiring drivers that bounce the sound of the ceiling to similar effect, and upfiring modules that you can add to traditional speakers.

LG's 2017, 2018 and 2019 OLED TVs also support Atmos, while Panasonic's GZ2000 4K OLED TV has its own upward-firing Dolby Atmos speakers built into the rear of the set.

You can find Dolby Atmos products from an increasing number of hardware manufacturers, as well as across Blu-ray discs and streaming services, including Amazon Prime Video and Netflix. TV broadcasters are beginning to support Atmos, too.

DTS:X is a bit more flexible. It works with standard surround sound set-ups and doesn't require extra overhead speakers. You can also manually adjust sound objects, meaning you can crank up the volume of voices on a soundtrack making it easier to hear dialogue over loud effects.

Around 90% of the home AV industry is supporting DTS:X, with many manufacturers either releasing firmware updates for existing receivers, or launching new models. The downside? It's less common. And neither Amazon Prime Video nor Netflix currently support DTS:X.

Which is better: DTS or Dolby Digital?

Based on the specs alone, DTS beats its rival with higher bit rates that promise a more realistic movie experience. That said, other factors such as signal to noise ratio and speaker calibration mean that plenty of audiophiles would rate Dolby above DTS.

With standards constantly evolving, the best way to upgrade your movie night is to ensure you have a good-quality components, set up properly and fed the highest possible source material. That way, whether it's DTS:X or Dolby Atmos, you'll be treated to thrilling home cinema entertainment.


Smart Home Sound System Sonos Sues Bluesound


Smart Home Sound System Sonos Sues Bluesound

Now there’s a tongue twister.

Sonos has a history of being the first audio company to bring streaming via iPhones, Apps and PC’s/Mac’s to the Smart Home. Sonos built up a lot of the design and engineering totally by themselves, they have made sure to patent their inventions along the way and they feel that multi room audio company Bluesound has trodden on their feet sufficiently to decide to take them to court.

Bluesound vs Sonos.jpg

Bluesound sell a range of speakers that Sonos claim violate at least 7 different patents of theirs including the control of volume across multiple speakers in a group, synchronisation of music within a smart home and playback in multiple areas simultaneously.

Instead of innovating to compete fairly with Sonos, Defendants have merely copied Sonos.
— Sonos vs Bluesound Lawsuit

Bluesounds website describes their system as;

Multi-room Music. The Hi-Res Way.

Bluesound audio products.jpg

Bluesound is an award-winning wireless hi-res sound system that lets you play music in any and every room throughout your home. Choose music from your favorite streaming service or from a music library connected to your home network. Control where, at what volume, and when music plays with a free BluOS app for your smartphone, tablet, or desktop computer. Getting the kind of crisp and detailed sound that only an audiophile-grade system can deliver has never been easier. 

The owner of Bluesound is Lenbrook industries, they were initially doing business as a Sonos distributor before they launched their own product line in 2013.

Sonos patented a lot of it’s networked audio technology back in 2002 when they were pioneering digital multi room audio, in 2004 they sued Denon over their HEOS range of wifi speakers. That lawsuit ended up settling out of court last year after the courts seemed to generally side with Sonos.


Control4 Training - Bangkok, Thailand


Control4 Training - Bangkok, Thailand

Last week saw our engineering team travel up to Bangkok for the week to attend the Control4 Automation Programmer course put on by Mahajak Thailand.

Control4 is quite simply the best Smart Home system around.

Control4 Smart Homes
  • It provides complete control over your home

  • Makes your home intelligent

  • Empowers home owners by simplifying home technology

  • So easy to use

Within 2 days of completing the course I’d ordered a complete retrofit system for my home, it’s that good.

We had already completed preliminary training prior to this 4 day course but the more we understood the more excited we became. The system solves a lot of issues we’ve had with other lighting control and building automation systems such as Lutron, Crestron or KNX.

The smart home systems we work on generally include;

  • Lighting Control

  • Multi Room Audio

  • Home Cinema

Previously these were harder than you imagine to integrate together, start adding in Wifi systems and IP Cameras and something like KNX became very complicated, very quickly. Both to program and to the end user.

Control4 Simplifies everything with a powerful set of tools that allow us to deliver Smart Homes that tie everything together into one seamless interface and user experience.

Using our 15 years+ of experience in Smart Home Technology and the power of Control4 we can deliver an unsurpassed experience and help bring your home to life.