New H3 Digital Office Sign is Up!

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New H3 Digital Office Sign is Up!

Our new Phuket headquarters is nearly finished, last week our sign went up. It’s been a long time building it (we’ve been busy) but it’s finally starting to come together and we expect to be moving into the new office in the early part of next year.

 Sign goes up at our new Phuket HQ

Sign goes up at our new Phuket HQ

 Cinema, Audio & Lights since 2004

Cinema, Audio & Lights since 2004

 H3 Digital - Smart Homes since 2004

H3 Digital - Smart Homes since 2004

 Cinema, Audio & Lights - Smart Homes

Cinema, Audio & Lights - Smart Homes


We can’t wait to show people our great home cinema, audio and lighting systems. In the coming year we’ve got lots of exciting news.

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IKEA's Smart Home collection grows

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IKEA's Smart Home collection grows

IKEA have been adding slowly to their off the shelf smart home products gradually over the last few years. They started out offering light bulbs to go into their light fittings (IKEA was at the forefront of the push to LED bulbs over incandescent and fluorescent lights).

 IKEAS growing number of Smart Home products

IKEAS growing number of Smart Home products

Then they moved onto offering Zigbee controlled light bulbs and light switches under their TRADFRI in-house brand (These are semi-compatible with Philips Hue with a few minor hacks).

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Now it looks like IKEA will be offering up a number of Smart Blinds that should work with Apples Homekit and iPhones and Android devices through an app. These smart blinds will be powered by a lithium ion battery so should be easy to assemble and fit into standard sized windows. Due to launch any day now its great to see more home automation and smart home technology filter out into normal homes.

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Sonos ONE now available in Variety of Colours

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Sonos ONE now available in Variety of Colours

The cute small Sonos One smart speaker, which can be used as part of a surround sound Sonos system as the rear speakers is now available in a number of colours.

 The SONOS one multi room speaker is now available in Thailand in a number of colours

The SONOS one multi room speaker is now available in Thailand in a number of colours

Originally the SONOS One was only available in Black or White. Now it will also be available in five new colours: Forest Green, Pale Yellow, Soft Pink, Light Grey and Vibrant Red. The Sonos One’s new colours have been available since the 5th November but likely will be a special order for the Thailand market.

 SONOS multi room sound system, audio now available in Yellow colour.

SONOS multi room sound system, audio now available in Yellow colour.

The Sonos One speaker is alexa enabled and ideal for very small rooms, bathrooms or as rear surrounds in a home cinema setup. The Sonos multi room sound system is one of our best sellers in Thailand and now you can (probably) match the colour scheme of your home or villa much better.

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4k Home Cinema in Phuket

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4k Home Cinema in Phuket

This week saw us working on our latest Home Cinema in the Amanpuri development near to Surin Beach, I will be showing more of the transformation of this room in a post after it’s complete. It was previously an unused storage room and as the premier home theatre company here in Thailand we were tasked to transform it into something special.

 120” custom built Cinema Screen ready to be hung

120” custom built Cinema Screen ready to be hung

It’s a 4k cinema, with a quite large projector by today’s standards but it’s going to be a bright, punchy and vivid image. The screen is 120” and the 7.2.2.1 surround sound uses in-wall speakers for the Front Left, Right and Centre Speakers, Side and Rear Surrounds and in-ceilings for the Dolby Atmos height channel. A 12” Sub handles the low end.

 Cinema Screen is up and in-wall speakers start to go in

Cinema Screen is up and in-wall speakers start to go in

 The equipment cupboard where our speakers and electronics run to

The equipment cupboard where our speakers and electronics run to

 Our custom home cinema motorised recliners in premium leather in Ferrari White

Our custom home cinema motorised recliners in premium leather in Ferrari White

The room is fully carpeted and features our motorised leather recliners, these are finished in a Ferrari White that would look just at home in one of their cars as it does in this home theater.

 Starfield ceiling in the home theatre

Starfield ceiling in the home theatre

A starfield gives the ceiling some depth and interest, and it’s all controlled with a one-touch remote control. Really looking forward to firing this up for the owners, it’s going to be a lot of fun.

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Home Cinemas of the Rich and Famous: Eddie Murphy

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Home Cinemas of the Rich and Famous: Eddie Murphy

Eddie Murphy’s old house is up for sale and going to Auction later this month when it’s expected to fetch around $10 million at sale.

Eddie Murphy made his name in performances in 48 Hrs., the Beverly Hills Cop series, Coming to America, Trading Places, and The Nutty Professor and Dreamgirls. His work as a voice actor includes Thurgood Stubbs in The PJs, Donkey in DreamWorks' Shrek series, and the Chinese dragon Mushu in Disney's Mulan. As of 2014, Murphy's films have grossed over $3.8 billion in the United States and Canada box office and $6.6 billion worldwide.

Eddie Murphy
Eddie Murphy's old California Home
Plush Master Bedroom

The sprawling property is located in Granite Bay, which is near Sacramento,California, and only an hour drive from San Francisco.

Eddie’s former Home also features a 500sqm Guest House, Arcade, Tennis & Basketball courts and a huge home Gym.

Lounge
Beautiful Kitchen/Diner

The Home Theater features plush purple velvet and has a very Art Deco theme, interestingly the seating is arranged in a semicircle facing the cinema with additional seating on the edges of the room. It’s looking a little dated now so I’m sure it could do with an upgrade, how great would a starlight cinema look in that ceiling?

 Eddie Murphy’s old Home Cinema feels very 90’s - I’m sure the new owners will want to update.

Eddie Murphy’s old Home Cinema feels very 90’s - I’m sure the new owners will want to update.

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H3 Digital - Cinema, Audio and Lights - New Phuket Office nearly ready

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H3 Digital - Cinema, Audio and Lights - New Phuket Office nearly ready

Over the last couple of years we have been building out of recycled oil drums, shipping containers and as much re or up-cycled materials as we can use to build our much larger H3 Digital Phuket Headquarters, whilst we have an office in Chiang Mai and work in Bangkok, Hua Hin and Yangon (Myanmar) many of our staff are still based in Phuket.

Currently we are looking at fitting the front door and seating, we’ve got some cool recycled barrels in the toilet as sinks, our waiting chairs are recycled commercial cinema chairs - it’s been a ton of fun and we are really looking forward to getting over the finishing line in the next few months.

 Home Cinema space to teh bottom left and meeting room overhead with adjoining office.

Home Cinema space to teh bottom left and meeting room overhead with adjoining office.

The plan is to have a knock out home cinema demo room featuring our fantastic home theatre recliners, a massive 4k screen and a Dolby Atmos sound system to top it all off. We are currently looking at some newer control options and may have some exciting news in the coming months on that front.

Upstairs will feature our meeting room and office space for our systems designer and me whilst downstairs we will have a large open plan reception and demo room for audio, with adjoining container hosting our engineering and installation team.

Going forward the new showroom and office will help us to remain Thailand’s premiere Cinema, Audio & Lights company for the home.

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Fibre Optic Ceiling Lights - AKA Starlight or Starfield

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Fibre Optic Ceiling Lights - AKA Starlight or Starfield

One of the home cinemas we are building currently will feature one of our Starfield ceilings, these are really fun and create a great atmosphere and ambience in the home theatre room, especially when the lights are dimmed and you look up and see tiny stars twinkling in the night.

 A Starfield ceiling in a home cinema (Phuket)

A Starfield ceiling in a home cinema (Phuket)

Care must be taken to do it correctly, with the right fibre optic strands and light engine. If it’s done poorly, or cheap products are used then it looks cheap and ugly.

Done properly, by experts and with attention to detail and the better fibre optics it can look outstanding. Giving what is essentially a closed/boxed in room a feeling of scale and depth.

It all starts with a full plan of what stars go where, if you were to just place the individual threads willy nilly it wouldn’t look right. Each fibre thread is pushed through the ceiling in a pre-planned position, and then trimmed to length before being carefully glued into place with special glue.

Fibre Optic Starfield Cinema Ceiling
Fibre Optic Starfield Cinema Ceiling

The cinema we are currently working on has over 1,000 strands of fiber optic cable, driven by a powerful LED light engine to ensure reliability throughout it’s life. The first part of the project and where we are at currently involved threading these into place where they will be needed for the eventual ceiling. This particular cinema features wooden look beams on the ceiling, the effect will be akin to looking up at the night sky through a trellis.

Test Run of the Fibre Optic Cables
 H3 Digital’s custom cinema recliners

H3 Digital’s custom cinema recliners

Today we tested out the threads for brightness and consistency, in the photo above you can see the ends lighting up and the luminescence of the cable bunches. We’ll post more when it’s finished, this theatre also features our fantastic custom seating.

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SONOS now works with IFTTT (IF This Then That)

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SONOS now works with IFTTT (IF This Then That)

In some great news for the smart home the SONOS music system (speakers and amplifiers) now works with automation via IFTTT (If This Then That) integration.

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IF This Then That (IFTTT) is the free way to get all your apps and devices talking to each other. You can automate chains of conditional statements that involve almost anything connected to the internet.

To explain it basically you set up a set of conditions that if fulfilled send commands to your connected apps or devices. So for example you could set up a service that IF the time is after 7pm THEN turn on the Philips Hue Lights. Or IF its raining THEN play music by Stormzy.

So basically;

IF this condition is fulfilled
THEN get app or device to do this

These are created in a recipe with easy drag and drop functionality, no programming or coding knowledge is required at all.

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IFTTT has integrated hundreds of different smart home products, websites and content providers and with today’s beta launch, you can trigger your favourite songs and sounds on Sonos from millions of different IFTTT events.
— SONOS

For the SONOS sound system and IFTTT integration you will be able to manage playback control, play/pause/resume/next/previous, and volume controls including up, down, mute and unmute on your SONOS Amplifiers and Speakers.

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IFTTT will be able to command a pre-defined Sonos song, ‘favourite’ album and playlist to be started or stopped, you will need to set it up with the easy to use IFTTT website or app and will need to link your SONOS account and IFTTT account to create recipes.

This is a great way to get into home automation or make your home smarter without having to buy any extra equipment or hardware. IFTTT is a load of fun but will need and only work with your internet up and running.

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IMAX is coming Home

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IMAX is coming Home

 IMAX Theatre

IMAX Theatre

IMAX in Partnership with DTS Audio has announced a certification program that will bring the unrivalled IMAX audio and visual quality to home theatre, living rooms and home cinemas around the world.

Much like the lauded THX certification, IMAX in conjunction with DTS will officially certify devices from TV, Soundbars, Stereo, Speaker and Amplifier manufacturers that meet or exceed their tough standards.

 IMAX Home Cinema

IMAX Home Cinema

To qualify and carry the IMAX Enhanced logo, the highest-end TVs, projectors, sound bars, and AV receivers must meet stringent performance standards established by IMAX, DTS and Hollywood’s leading colorists in order to create a consistent and higher bar for image and sound performance on premium devices,
— IMAX Enhanced Website
 IMAX Cinema

IMAX Cinema

Launch partners include Sony, Denon and Marantz and IMAX are promising the clearest images, immersive powerful sound powered by DTS and expanded Aspect Ratio on select Movies and unique IMAX content digitally mastered (or remastered) for the platform. The press release by IMAX and DTS follows below;

 DTS Audio Technology

DTS Audio Technology

IMAX AND DTS PARTNER TO LAUNCH IMAX® ENHANCED PROGRAM FOR HOME ENTERTAINMENT
NEW CERTIFICATION AND LICENSING PROGRAM GIVES CONSUMERS ACCESS TO THE HIGHEST-QUALITY IMAGE AND SOUND EXPERIENCES FOR THE HOME
PROGRAM LAUNCH PARTNERS INCLUDE SONY ELECTRONICS, SONY PICTURES, PARAMOUNT PICTURES, AND SOUND UNITED
IMAX Corporation (NYSE: IMAX) and audio leader DTS®, a wholly owned subsidiary of Xperi Corporation (Nasdaq: XPER), today announced a new partnership for the next-generation of home entertainment with the launch of the IMAX® Enhanced program. The new certification and licensing program combines the highest-end consumer electronics products with IMAX digitally re-mastered 4K HDR content and DTS audio technologies to offer consumers a new level of quality in immersive sight and sound experiences for the home.

Illustrating the breadth of the initiative, the companies also announced that a number of global consumer electronics and entertainment market leaders have joined the program as launch partners, including Sony Electronics, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, and Sound United – parent company to Denon and Marantz.

IMAX and DTS developed the program out of their decades of combined expertise in image and sound science to make it easier for consumers to select the products and content that will deliver the highest-quality, sharpest 4K HDR images and powerful, immersive sound at home. The companies are designing an IMAX Mode for the enhanced devices that will be meticulously optimized to play digitally re-mastered content as the filmmaker intended in the home.

Consumers can access content from Hollywood studios as well as select IMAX documentaries through its IMAX Home Entertainment division. The company will also work with its global studio and other content partners to make available a steady stream of enhanced versions of blockbuster movies and additional programming.

“While the IMAX theatrical experience continues to be the gold standard in blockbuster movie-going, today we are launching an exciting new program that applies components of IMAX’s and DTS’ technology and expertise to deliver consumers a level of quality never before experienced at home,” said IMAX CEO Richard L. Gelfond. “This is a natural extension of our core business in experiential entertainment. By partnering with a well-established consumer electronics licensing leader, we can leverage both our brand and key technology innovations through DTS’ global licensing platform, without having to make the direct investments often necessary to build a new revenue stream. DTS will build that new business and we will share in the benefits from the program. We’re encouraged by the strong interest from our launch partner companies and look forward to working with DTS to grow the program further over time.”

“DTS has a rich history in delivering premium entertainment experiences to the theater and at home, and the IMAX Enhanced program is an exciting opportunity to stay at the forefront of home entertainment,” said Xperi CEO Jon Kirchner. “Through the combined engineering and licensing efforts of the DTS and IMAX teams, as well as support from a number of the world’s leading device and content partners, the IMAX Enhanced program will bring a completely new, enhanced experience to the home while also supporting the continued penetration of DTS decoders, bringing premium sound to consumers’ devices.”

To be accepted into the program, leading consumer electronics manufacturers will design top-of-the-line 4K HDR televisions, A/V receivers, sound systems and other home theatre equipment to meet a carefully prescribed set of the highest audio and video performance standards, set by a certification committee of IMAX and DTS engineers and Hollywood’s leading technical specialists.

The program will use the newest, proprietary post-production process developed by IMAX to digitally re-master content to produce more vibrant colors, greater contrast and sharper clarity. The companies will also partner with award-winning Hollywood sound mixers to use a special variant of its DTS:X codec technology integrated in home audio equipment to deliver an IMAX signature sound experience.

The IMAX Enhanced program will launch beginning this fall. For more information about the IMAX Enhanced program, please visit www.IMAXenhanced.com.
— IMAX and DTS

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RIP Sonos Apple iPod Dock (2010 - 2018)

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RIP Sonos Apple iPod Dock (2010 - 2018)

At one time, one of the most popular ways to listen to music through your Sonos Home Audio system was to grab your iPod and dock it into the Sonos iPod dock. Back in 2010 Sonos launched the iPod dock to much fanfare, it was part of Apples “Made for iPod” line whereby consumer electronics companies got to pay huge fees to Apple for the privilege of letting people play their music on their own iPods, through their own sound systems.

 The iPod Dock for Apple iPods and iPhones for SONOS

The iPod Dock for Apple iPods and iPhones for SONOS

The idea behind the iPod dock was a good one, at that time (barely less than a decade ago) almost everyone who listened to digital music had to be doing so on an MP3 player of some kind or an Apple iPod, the iPod was the most popular device and iTunes was a popular way to collect music.

By plugging your iPod into the dock you could - using the SONOS controller (remember them) select and choose any music from any docked iPod in your SONOS ecosystem. The problem with iPod docks (all of them) is that Apple are constantly changing interfaces, plugs, adaptors and software so eventually they just stop working properly.

Most of the people still using a SONOS ipod dock in 2018 will be using it to run music off an old iPod they had lying about, it’s easier to store music on iTunes or use something like SPotify and stream directly from the cloud nowadays BUT some places don’t have internet, so an old ipod loaded up with your favourite music could still be useful, not for long though!

 Wireless iPod dock

Wireless iPod dock

Sonos have decided they will stop supporting the iPod dock, essentially they are “Bricking” the device. Once the October update comes (In October) and is downloaded to your Sonos system firmware the iPod dock will simply cease to work. Sonos optimistically tell us in their press release (below) that the dock “can still be used as a charger for older Apple devices” Doesn’t seem a great tradeoff for people who are still using iPods docked in their Sonos though, you probably won’t hold up long without updating either with the amount of nagging that products do to get you to upgrade to the latest firmware nowadays.

The word “brick”, when used in reference to consumer electronics, describes an electronic device such as a mobile device, game console, or router that, due to severe physical damage, a serious misconfiguration, corrupted firmware, or a hardware problem, can no longer function, hence, is as technologically useful as a brick.
— Wikipedia
 Brick

Brick

Introduced in 2010, the Sonos Dock provided a way to play music directly from your Apple devices to your Sonos system without the need of a wireless connection or the Sonos app.

For eight years, Dock has provided a way to keep some of Apple’s oldest, unsupported devices continuing to play music on your Sonos system, long after they could no longer stream music on the Sonos app. However, with our latest software update in October, we’ll no longer be able to support the Dock as part of your Sonos system.

What does this mean?

When you accept our next software update, your Dock will no longer connect to Sonos.

You can still enjoy music from your older Apple devices by connecting via line-in to any compatible Sonos product (Play:5, Connect, Connect:Amp).

Once the software release has been accepted, the Dock will not play music to your Sonos system, but it can still be used as a charger for older Apple devices.

If you’d like help accessing your local music library on a supported device, please see our how-to guide, or reach out to our Care team. And now with voice, direct control, and AirPlay 2, there are more ways than ever to get more of the music you love on your Sonos system.

Ultimately the decision to update your Sonos system is yours. If you choose not to update, you will need to turn off updates on both your Sonos system and all devices where you have the Sonos app installed. Going forward, you will no longer be able to add new speakers or devices to control your Sonos. You also will not be able to take advantage of future feature/functionality improvements or security updates.
— SONOS

SONOS Wireless iPod Dock WD100
SONOS Wireless iPod Dock WD100

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The Perils of having a Smart Home

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The Perils of having a Smart Home

This brilliant advert from Rema (A supermarket chain in Norway) shows that it's not always smooth sailing when you are the owner of a Smart Home.  With Amazons Alexa, Googles Home and Apples Siri and Homepod technologies it's now easy to control your homes lights, sound system, music, heating and air conditioning and even your front door with you voice.

In the advert the owner of a very suave, modern, smart home is seen walking downstairs, turning his music system on and listening to Jazz, he then asks his Smart Home to make him a Smoothie, checks his calendar, turns the fire off and opens the front door all with his voice control.

The smart house has even reminded him of his Dentist appointment later on that day.  There perhaps is one thing that our smart home owner hasn't thought about though.

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Harman Kardon launch SONOS style CITATION range of Smart Speakers

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Harman Kardon launch SONOS style CITATION range of Smart Speakers

Harmon Kardon, the manufacturer of home audio products since 1953 and more recently bought out and now owned by Samsung, took time at the IFA Show in Berlin to release their range of SONOS rivalling smart home speakers.

 Harmon Kardon CITATION smart Speaker lineup

Harmon Kardon CITATION smart Speaker lineup

Their range launched under the CITATION name includes a whole suite of speakers, soundbars and a subwoofer.  All feature  voice technology from Google Assistant and support Chromecast, Bluetooth, and Wi-Fi for multi room music.

 HK CItation 300 Display

HK CItation 300 Display

The voice controlled smart speaker range starts with the CITATION ONE (aimed squarely at Sonos ONE) then the CITATION 100, 300 and 500 series - The 300 and 500 series feature touch screen LCD displays showing album cover art and enabling play, pause, volume control and FF/RW.

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There is also the CITATION bar and sub and even a pair of Floorstanding Speakers all featuring Google voice technology and able to sync throughout your home for music everywhere - although no outdoor speakers have been included in the series, note that SONOS also hasn't launched a waterproof or outdoor speaker yet - something that's possibly a bit harder to implement as these speakers need to be powered with a plug and power socket whereas traditional outdoor speakers are waterproof and wired back to a central amplifier indoors.

It's great to see more and more companies, especially of this pedigree and with the backing of electronics GIANT Samsung getting into the smart speakers game.  To my ears though all of these smart speakers aren't anywhere near the quality of sound a traditional pair of speakers wired up to a seperate amplifier would give, but that's the trade off.

I do wish that they would have launched a separate amplifier that featured the same CITATION technology so that people could make that choice if they wanted a higher quality sound.

 

 

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