Home Theatre on the Trump Jet

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Home Theatre on the Trump Jet

Working on Donald Trump's private plane was a 'point of excellence' for SkyTheater, a company that combines aircraft expertise with an entertainment industry background to create luxury in-flight entertainment for personal jets.

Much has been written about the home theater and entertainment system on President Donald Trump’s private plane, but how did this project come to be? CE Pro went behind the scenes with SkyTheater, a company that has become the home control and entertainment specialist for super-fancy jets like Trump's Boeing 757.

Now that Donald Trump is president, he's had to abandon his personal jet for Air Force One. But that doesn’t mean it’s an upgrade.

“A Hollywood industry magazine recently called me to ask if Air Force One is better than Trump’s plane,” says Gregg Launer, founder and CEO of SkyTheater. “I said 'No comment.'”

Launer and his business partner Andrew Guenther installed an entertainment system of home theater caliber in Trump’s personal jet back in 2011. They call the project a “point of excellence” for the company, which combines aircraft expertise with an entertainment industry background to create luxury in-flight entertainment.

“The whole experience of working on Trump’s plane changed our world completely,” says Launer.

Two Passions Come Together
Launer went to school for broadcast engineering, TV and radio. He got his first job working as an engineer maintaining transmitters at a radio station. Then he joined NBC Miami.

“I was assigned to interviews with celebrities,” says Launer. “The biggest moment for me was probably when I met Elizabeth Taylor. I think I was 20 at the time. It was there that I learned to be professional around celebrities.”

Launer also had a dream; he'd wanted to learn to fly since he was young.

“While I was working at the TV station, I had an opportunity to fly in the helicopter,” he says. “I eventually pursued my pilot’s license and my flight instructor’s license. Then I got a job in Florida working with a seafood company that had a Cessna 205, an older aircraft. On weekends I would fly this plane to go pick up lobster tails from the Bahamas. The plane had an old 8-track player, and I decided I would try to improve the sound.”

“These aircraft manufacturers were pretty much putting car stereos in these planes, and they still do. They were blown away by what we could do.”
— Gregg Launer, SkyTheater
That was the beginning for Launer. After improving the sound on 8-track players on a few different planes, he saw his first corporate jet and immediately thought of putting in a sound system or even a theater. The rest, as they say, is history.

As Launer began ramping up his business, he met Guenther at a trade show. Guenther had started his own company, then called Advanced Security Systems, installing security systems in high-end homes when he was 17.

“In the late 70s, only the very wealthy had security systems,” says Guenther. “Then around 1980, a customer asked me if I could wire some speakers for him. Back then there were no in-wall speakers. Then I started installing projectors, and Runco came along and we started buying Runco projectors, and it just went on from there.”

Advanced Security Systems became Advanced Audio Design as Guenther’s business grew to about 80 employees and $20 million a year in revenue. Advanced Audio Design became a premier home electronic installation company in Southwest Florida. Guenther and his team designed and engineered the installation of many home theaters, lighting systems, control systems, multiroom AV, HVAC and automated blinds.

Photos: Inside Donald Trump's Private Plane

“Then the economy took a crap on us,” Guenther laughs. “It was around this time that I met Gregg. He started talking about SkyTheater and asked if I wanted to get involved.”

Today, both Launer and Guenther have been trained at George Lucas’s Skywalker Ranch, home to Lucasfilm’s sound design, mixing and audio post-production facility. Guenther still runs his custom installation company, now named Advanced ESI, and the two are both managing members and part owners of SkyTheater.

A Business Idea Takes Off
The year was 1994. Launer met Wayne Huizenga, the founder of Blockbuster, and talked him into the idea of building a little movie theater on Blockbuster’s BAC 1-11 corporate jet.

This was, to put it lightly, a revolutionary idea. Before Launer started his business, there were no movie theaters or studios in corporate jets. He started to get the attention of Hollywood, as well as immersive sound system companies Dolby and DTS.

“When I found out that [Blockbuster] was trying to buy Showtime, it dawned on me that the system worked so well, why don’t I try to get a movie studio [as a client]?” says Launer. “I talked Universal Studios into letting me do their jet. Once I got a studio, it really started to take off.”

"You can’t just put a regular Vizio TV [on a plane] because of all of the internal workings. You have to make sure that everything is electrically and physically able to pass a certification program before any avionics professional can accept this as legally installable in an aircraft."
— Andrew Guenther, SkyTheater
SkyTheater was officially created in 1996, and has since become the company of choice for the most demanding private and corporate jet owners, which include A-list celebrities, athletes, Fortune 500 CEOs and entertainment industry executives.

“These aircraft manufacturers were pretty much putting car stereos in these planes, and they still do,” says Launer. “They were blown away by what we could do.”

Now, a combination of avionics and audio/visual expertise forms the core of the SkyTheater team including AV specialists, pilots, avionics integrators, system designers and computer wizards. SkyTheater does audio, video and control including lighting and shading.

Because most standard products made by custom electronics manufacturers aren’t certified for aircraft use, SkyTheater makes many of its own electronics and technology for the planes.

“You can’t just put in a regular Vizio TV because of all of the internal workings,” explains Guenther. “You have to make sure that everything is electrically and physically able to pass a certification program before any avionics professional can accept this as legally installable in an aircraft.”

This goes beyond TVs and speakers. Each step in the installation process has to pass rigorous inspection.

“The mounting hardware wouldn’t meet the requirements [for aircraft use],” says Guenther. “The framework wouldn’t, the wiring wouldn’t and the internal electrical circuitry wouldn’t.”

SkyTheater orders panels and parts specifically made for aircraft installation, and uses them to build its own products. The company makes screens, speakers, subwoofers, amplifiers, preamplifiers and video distribution. It also installs movie studio licensed audio and video processors.

The whole interior was taken out of the Boeing 757 and made available for SkyTheater to modify. See more photos.
“Everything is FAA certified,” says Launer. “Every piece of equipment that we put in these planes is completely custom made and certified. We are looking for a certain sound result and each cabin is so different, every one has to be measured carefully.”

Launer says manufacturers that make audio components for airplanes claim they use sound mapping, but he has never met a computer that understands sound the way a human can. “If a computer can’t listen to and enjoy the music, how can it map the sound of an airplane?” he asks.

SkyTheater does branch out and use some products from the market, like iPads for control. The company also owns the certification for aviation on Kaleidescape.

“We can use some devices from the industry, but if they can’t make the FAA certification, we can’t use the device,” adds Guenther. “It has to work with the electronics of the aircraft.”

SkyTheater's Vision Comes to Life
President Trump bought his Boeing 757, registered N757AF, in 2010 from Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen. Rumor has it that back then, he called the plane the “T-Bird” or the eerily prophetic “Trump Force One.” Launer had eyed the plane back in 1995 when Allen first bought it, when it was in Texas being completed.

“I had a vision at that time, if Paul Allen was my client, of what I wanted to design for the aircraft,” says Launer. “When I get into the zone with clients, I have a vision of what each plane is going to be. When you think about somebody like [industry vet] Theo Kalomirakis—he can take anybody’s home and create great movie palaces. When I grew up, not only did I remember every theater I ever saw a movie in, but I remember what the movie was and where the theater was. If I saw a movie and there was a great coming attraction, I remember what the movie was and what the coming attraction was. That’s just how I work.

“I’m a very visual thinker. So when I’m looking at an aircraft, I’m thinking, what is the theme of this plane going to be? It doesn’t matter if it’s a Boeing, Gulfstream, Bombardier or Dassault.”

When Allen referred the Trump Organization to SkyTheater, Launer originally spoke only to the organization and Trump’s attorneys, who also had an idea in their heads of what they wanted for the plane—one that reflected the kind of technology they had in their homes.

“But I had a vision. I put my foot down because I wanted to make sure our vision was going to reach the end, to the day we deliver this to Donald,” says Launer. “I knew this was a very large airplane that could easily be made into a beautiful private cinema.”

Launer had a vision for the "home" theater in Donald Trump's personal jet. See more photos.
The Trump Organization delivered the plane to Georgia and the whole interior was taken out of the airplane and made available for SkyTheater to modify. Launer and Guenther wanted to emulate the Stag Theater at Skywalker Ranch, starting with powerful sound.

“I specifically remember wanting to install this large subwoofer that was going to fire down the whole length of the cabin,” says Launer. “Members of the Trump Organization came down from New York and asked where we’re going to put the subwoofer. They explained that Donald bought the plane because he liked the wooden interior and if the subwoofer disrupted the aesthetic at all, I’d have to find another place for it.

“But I didn’t move it. Two weeks later they came back. ‘You need to find another place for this sub,’ they said. I still didn’t move it. ‘He won’t like where it’s going,’ they said. But I stood my ground. I told them, ‘That’s where I’m putting it.’”

"[Speaking to Trump] gave me new energy. The job was to deliver this aircraft to perfection.”
— Gregg Launer, SkyTheater

20 minutes later, Launer received a phone call from a number he didn’t recognize—with a New York area code.

“Is this Gregg Launer?”

“Sure is.”

“Gregg, this is Donald J. Trump.”

Trump asked Launer what he thought of his plane, and Launer replied, “It’s the greatest thing Boeing ever built.”

The two were fast friends. Over the course of the phone call, Launer was candid and opinionated, and Trump had tremendous respect for that. Launer blatantly told his new high profile client that Trump’s decision not to have a TV in the bedroom was “a stupid idea – what if [Trump’s son] Barron wants to play video games on the big TV in the theater? Are you going to stop what everyone is doing so he can play video games? And furthermore, are you going to let Barron interrupt you and Mrs. Trump in the bedroom?”

Launer convinced his high-profile client to put a TV in the bedroom. See more photos.
Launer decided to take the third room of the plane and turn it into a video game room for Barron. Trump was very pleased.

As for the subwoofer, it stayed put right where it was. 

“This gave me new energy,” says Launer. “The job was to deliver this aircraft to perfection.”

Presenting the Plane to Donald Trump
Completing the T-Bird took eight months. The crew worked 18-hour days from October 2010 to May 31, 2011 to deliver the perfect finished product, says Launer, who remembers the delivery just as well as the vision he had at the start of the project.

“We get to New York and there’s a party at Trump Plaza,” says Launer. “Many people who worked on the airplane were going to the party, but I stayed behind to make sure the system was working for the next morning. It was more important for me to impress him.”

Video: Gregg Launer of SkyTheater was on board Trump's Boeing 757 when it landed for the first time in La Guardia Airport.

The only thing left to decide was what movie Launer would use to demo the theater when Trump boarded the plane.

“Everybody expects Star Wars or Raiders of the Lost Arc,” he says. “But I picked a movie from 1959 called North by Northwest, something no one would expect to have great audio.”

Trump invited everyone in to see the demo—members of his organization and even the New York Post and New York Times.

Launer pressed play and the demo began.

“He knows the movie, you can tell,” says Launer. “He’s watching the demo. In the movie, you see this biplane that’s probably two miles away and starting to circle. The sound of the plane goes over his head, down the length of the cabin and back.”

Trump was ecstatic, says Launer. He was so pleased with the result that he invited Launer to join him on a flight to Scotland.

“On the way to Scotland, we started watching movies and testing out the system,” says Launer. “Donald picked up how to operate the touchscreen right away. We flew overnight, and I told him to wake me up if he has any trouble working the system. He was so excited that he woke me up at 7 a.m. to tell me he figured out the whole system, but he wanted to know how to get to the Elton John concert in the Kaleidescape server.

“‘How loud can this go?’ he asked. 'Very, very loud,' I said. And people were sleeping!” Launer laughs. “But he wanted to turn it up all the way. He said, ‘Let’s wake them up, they need to see this great airplane.’”

When the pair arrived in Scotland, Trump invited Launer to his golf course and the flight crew went to go pick up Melania. By the time Launer and Trump joined Melania on the plane, she had figured out the whole system with no trouble at all.

“To this day, we’ve never had one service call about the system,” says Launer. “I couldn’t be more proud of this project.”

Balancing Two Industries
When Launer discusses Donald Trump’s plane, he never talks about money, he says. He talks about art. This, Launer says, sets SkyTheater apart from the two industries—custom installation and custom aircraft—that the company brings together.

“Aircraft manufacturers” — that is, manufacturers who make electronics for planes and jets — “are basically programmed to say certain things to their clients,” says Launer. “An audio aircraft manufacturer, for example, will claim they have a surround system. When we walk onto the cabins with a studio test disk and point out that it doesn’t exist, they’re actually surprised.

“I often ask why they put [certain electronics] in an airplane that don’t actually create the best experience for the user. They always say the same thing, that they invested in their engineers to find out what would be the very best for this aircraft,” adds Launer. “But when I push them far enough, the real answer comes out: they have to answer to their stockholders. It’s all about the finances and nothing to do with what’s right for the client.”

Launer and Guenther see the personal jet as an untapped living room, and they’re as frustrated as any custom installer would be to see the equivalent of car stereos in an otherwise high-end, luxury space.

“If somebody spends $30 million on a house, they’ll spend $1 million on their home theater. When you’re spending $65 million on a jet, are you really going to put in a couple little speakers and call it an entertainment system?” Launer asks.

If clients do want to get a more robust system and go with the aircraft manufacturers, Launer says, the price will be jacked up.

“The average amount you’re going to spend with an aircraft manufacturer is $600 thousand to $1.2 million. We’re not even close to that,” explains Launer. “We weren’t looking through Donald Trump’s pocket. We were looking through his eyes and his ears. We never came close to the aircraft manufacturer price.”

The ability to bring custom installation expertise to aircraft projects makes all the difference for SkyTheater. Musing on that very first demo he presented to Trump in New York, Launer expresses a sentiment often mirrored by the CI industry.

“I’ll use older or even black and white movies because they bring back memories,” says Launer. “It could have been a drive-in, a first date, anything. When you bring back memories and bring out emotion, you’ve sold it. Aircraft manufacturers want their dollar, but we want to create an experience.”

Dealers See Sky-High Opportunity
Many integrators work in the luxury home market, and many of their clients have personal jets. The opportunity is there, but usually neither the integrator nor the clients consider expanding a project beyond the home.

"Home techology integrators can’t legally do these types of installations. If a home theater company tries to do a job on an airplane, the FAA will shut it down and it will receive all kinds of fines. But we can work together."
— Gregg Launer, SkyTheater

Launer says SkyTheater is the only company that can build a complete theater system on an aircraft and have it certified for flight. Launer and Guenther agree they’ve invested over $200,000 in creating the equipment, getting it certified and making it “airworthy.”

While this isn’t exactly a category residential integrators can pick up and start working in tomorrow, there is ample opportunity for partnership.

“Home techology integrators can’t legally do these types of installations,” says Launer. “If a home theater company tries to do a job on an airplane, the FAA will shut it down and it will receive all kinds of fines. But we can work together.”

Several of Launer’s clients were referrals by their integrators. When SkyTheater comes onto the project, the three parties can work together to perfect both the in-home installation and the aircraft installation.

http://www.cepro.com/article/home_theater_trump_private_plane_skytheater#

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XiaoMi enter the Smart Home market

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XiaoMi enter the Smart Home market

Xiaomi - the US$46 billion valued company ( the 4th most valuable technology startup) has launched it's (China only at the moment) Smart Home automation kit.

Alongside phones, robot vacuums, smart lights, and rice cookers, Xiaomi now is also in the home automation game. The kit initially comes with six components — a gateway that acts as a central hub, a smart wall plug, door and window sensor, motion sensor, temperature and humidity sensor, and a wireless switch.

As the Mi Smart Home Kit is officially limited to Xiaomi's home market, you'll have to set China as the locale in the Mi Home app to add all the products and configure them. The device pages and all the instructions are in English, but Xiaomi's storefront within the app defaults to Mandarin. Thankfully, you won't need to bother with the store to use the products in the Mi Smart Home kit. With that out of the way, let's take a look at the individual components.

The gateway is a Zigbee-powered hub that connects all of Xiaomi's smart home products, featuring a built-in speaker and an RGB LED that doubles up as a night light. The gateway features a standard Chinese three-prong plug that needs to be connected to a wall socket or a surge protector. It is rated for 100V-240V, so if you're looking to use it in the U.S., you would be able to plug it in directly provided you have a compatible socket. If not, you can pick one up for as low as $7.

Once plugged in, you need to use the Mi Home app to set it up. All of Xiaomi's products are very straightforward to set up, and the Mi Smart Home gateway is no different. Once you plug the gateway into the socket ensure your phone is connected to your Wi-Fi network and sign in to your Mi account in the Mi Home app. Then simply press down on the power button located at the top of the gateway for three seconds, and the app will automatically detect the new device. If the gateway emits a solid blue light, you've managed to pair it successfully with the Mi Home app.

After installing the gateway you're able to listen to internet radio via the built-in speaker (though you'll only be able to access Chinese stations unless you do some tweaking) and also change the color and brightness of the LED from within the Mi Home app. Installing the other Mi Home components is simple. All sub-devices have a pinhole that allows you to easily reset them by holding them in for three seconds; the gateway should automatically detect the sub-devices soon after they're reset. Pairing a component — like the motion sensor or the door sensor — takes under 30 seconds, and once it's connected to the gateway, you'll be able to set actions for it from within the Mi Home app.

Xiaomi's motion sensor is amazing. At 3cm tall, it's tiny, but it does a great job of detecting motion in its immediate vicinity — up to 1.5 meters. You can pair it with the gateway by resetting the device (via a SIM card ejector tool in the pinhole) and connecting it to Mi Home. Once it's paired, you can configure a series of actions for the sensor, such as turning on the lights, Xiaomi's air purifier, or control any of the manufacturer's connected products.

You have the ability to create custom scenes, and even set a specific time for an event to run. For instance, you can configure the motion sensor to turn on the lights if it detects activity after 6 p.m., or set up a scene to turn off the lights once you walk past the sensor in the morning. There's also the option to send a notification to your phone each time the sensor is triggered.

As the name suggests, the door sensor connects to a door, and can be used as an alarm system. You can configure it to trigger an alarm and send you a notification if it detects activity when you're outside your home. The window sensor offers a similar feature-set, but it's smaller and has a magnetic base that easily hooks onto a windowsill.

The temperature and humidity sensor is the one I rely on the most. It is also the easiest to use. Just pair it with the gateway, stick it on a wall or on a surface, and use the Mi Home app to see the temperature and humidity in that room.

The sensor shows real-time temperature and humidity data, and also offers a chart breaking down the daily and weekly trends. If you're living in a particularly hot or humid location, the sensor makes a lot of difference.

As the name suggests, the wireless switch is a programmable button that gives you fine-grained control over a component. If you have Xiaomi's Wi-Fi connected Yeelight bulbs, you can use the wireless switch to turn them on and off. You can do the same with the $30 Yeelight light strip.

Should you have several bulbs around the house, you can create a zone in the Mi Home app, and then configure an action for the wireless switch. For instance, I have two lightstrips in my office, and I paired them together so they're the same hue at all times. I then programmed a switch to turn the lightstrips on and off with a single press.

Along with a single click action, the wireless switch allows you to set customize actions for double clicks and long presses. The Mi Home app offers a myriad of configuration options for the wireless switch provided you've already invested in Xiaomi's hardware. There are options to switch the operating mode for the Mi Air Purifier, control the smart home gateway's internet radio, toggle the company's smart plug, and so much more.

 

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IKEA just entered the Smart Home market

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IKEA just entered the Smart Home market

Ikea has just announced it is entering the Smart Home market with a range of dimmable LED light bulbs, smart lighting hub, presence detectors smart sensors and light switches.  These will all be controllable via iPhone, iPad or Android phone.

 

This is big news, IKEA has sold around 10 million LED light bulbs just in the US Alone.

With TRÅDFRI, IKEA - the world's leading home furnishings retailer is now taking the smart home seriously - IKEA stores receive 1 billion store visitors each year and now join the likes of Apple (HomeKit), Samsung (SmartThings), Google (Nest), Amazon (Alexa) in the Smart Home.

IKEA's offerings are about half the cost of rivals, this could help catapult wireless smart home technology into peoples homes.

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Nuvo Audio Systems come to the KNX Ball

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Nuvo Audio Systems come to the KNX Ball

Nuvo has announced their integration of the KNX protocol for smart home devices into its Nuvo Player Portfolio, the whole home audio system you control wirelessly from your iPhone, Android or iPad device..

Available and integrated into the next firmware update, the integration allows owners of music products in the Nuvo wireless range to control them all via the KNX platform.

The integration is facilitated via ETS programming and in conjunction with the Nuvo KNX Interface that will serve as a bridge between system components and different KNX based systems, products and functions. Installers can purchase the Nuvo Interface (Nuvo KNX-INTFPOINT) from H3 Digital Nuvo’s distributor in Thailand.

Other features available with firmware version 4.2.0 include added Player Portfolio control capabilities – such as the addition of Maximum Volume and Line-In Boost settings and the option to set the Mute button to the Play/Pause function.

This update also adds support for Wi-Fi channels in Russia and Deezer and Napster music streaming services in additional regions worldwide.

All connected Nuvo Player Portfolio products will automatically implement the v4.2.0 software update to support this integration. Also the corresponding app update for iOS and Android devices will also be made available for download from iTunes and the Google Play Store.

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Phukets Best Burger - Winners of the Roth Oli RA2 speakers

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Phukets Best Burger - Winners of the Roth Oli RA2 speakers

H3 Digital's System Designer Rob Hobbs, Installation Manager Wirut and Electrician and Burger enthusiast Wit were on hand at the Phuket's Best Burger awards ceremony to present Thavorn Beach Village and Spa with their Roth Oli RA2 Speakers for winning Phuket's Best Burger 2017 at the end of March.

Congratulations guys, well done on the win in such a competitive field.

Congratulations guys, well done on the win in such a competitive field.

Second place went to Novotel Phuket Karon Beach Resort and Spa and Third to Pullman Phuket Arcadia Naithon Beach.  I think 2018 is going to be even bigger and better, we are looking forward to it.

Read more at Phukets Best Burger on Facebook.

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Sweet Sounding Roth Oli Ra1

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Sweet Sounding Roth Oli Ra1

We had the pleasure to install some of the great sounding Roth Oli RA1 stereo speakers and our own Reference:Music amplifier system at a friend of ours new office in Phuket recently.

Roth Oli RA1 Speakers in White

Roth Oli RA1 Speakers in White

He wanted a music system to provide a great sound without huge speakers, we chose to use the RA1's because of their diminutive size and ability to punch above their weight in terms of Bass and sound clarity.

In-ceiling speakers were out of the question as the ceilings were just too high and no mounting space, the Roth speakers were mounted directly to the curved wall as pictured below.

How does it sound? Great!

We are constantly impressed by the audio quality of these little speakers, fantastic sounding with a musical presence of much larger speakers.

They mount directly to the wall and really look the part, we love the white finish.

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34 Foot LED Cinema Screen (non Projection)

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34 Foot LED Cinema Screen (non Projection)

Samsung just launched a world first, a 34 foot diagonal LED HDR Cinema Screen,

Samsung is one of the industry leaders when it comes to digital displays. Now they are looking aggressively at the Cinema/Movie Theatre business with its new Cinema Screen, a LED 4096 x 2160 resolution screen that measures a massive 34 feet.  That's not big for a cinema screen but this is an actual LED Screen and not a projector based reflection.

Samsung Massive Cinema.jpg

Unveiled during the Cinemacon 2017 conference earlier this week, Samsung says its screen is the world’s first High Dynamic Range LED theater display, able to show movies at a peak brightness level that’s nearly ten times greater than standard cinema projectors (146fL versus 14fL). It also comes with very high contrast and clever grayscale settings that “enable the screen to showcase both brightest colors and the deepest blacks at a nearly infinity:1 contrast ratio”.

 It is, however, smaller than most current cinema screens, which usually measure up to 65 feet wide, or around 72 feet in the case of IMAX.  You won't likely see anything near this size for home cinema

The massive screen is currently undergoing currently undergoing the DCI certification process, having just completed compliance testing at Tokyo’s Keio University.

VP of Samsung Electronics America, Sang Kim, says the LED screens would benefit those cinemas that rent out their auditoriums for corporate events, concerts, or even gaming competitions.

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Disturbing lessons of the Smart Home (in film and tv)

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Disturbing lessons of the Smart Home (in film and tv)

Some recent television series and films have made good (scary) use of the ways in which Smart Home technology may come back to haunt us (in some cases literally) TV series like "Mr. Robot", "Black Mirror" and "The Expanse" and movies like "Her" give us a glimpse of some of the worst case scenarios of technology in the home.

"Jarvis, remind me to develop a personality for you later."

Jarvis is the quintessential artificial intelligence of film ("Iron Man", "The Avengers"), and now Mark Zuckerberg has used his Stark-like fortunes to build his own. So is film invading your smart home or is it vice versa?

Still, another security threat presents itself. Adobe's "Photoshop of speech" software (not yet released) can manipulate an audio recording to include words and phrases, imitating the recorded voice. So, potentially, you could fool someone's smart home into not being so smart and opening its doors.

Amazon and Apple save voice data from Echo and Siri recordings; data which is supposed to help improve the tech and instead presents both a privacy question and a potential investigative tool. Police obtained a warrant for recordings from Amazon over a murder in 2015, involving an Echo that was found at the crime scene. The device had been triggered and was playing music; police hoped background noises would provide clues. Amazon declined to hand over the recordings, because users' queries to Alexa are protected under the First Amendment.

The future of the smart home

If these filmmakers aim to comment on anything, it's that you won't be able to escape the smart home. One day our very own Jarvis will leave the baby crib, go to university, then come back and take care of us.

"Sir, the more you struggle the more this is going to hurt."

Hit the link (but beware of spoilers if you haven't seen the aforementioned TV and Movies).

https://www.cnet.com/news/disturbing-lessons-of-the-smart-home-in-film-and-tv/

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Apple Smart Home - Made to Order

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Apple Smart Home - Made to Order

In the US Apple is partnering directly with home builders to offer new houses with Apple HomeKit products already installed throughout.

Homekit enabled on-wall lighting and audio control.

Homekit enabled on-wall lighting and audio control.

For US residential property developer and builder of homes KB Home, the biggest threat to business is resale, not other builders.. "We're always differentiating against or compared to resale homes," said Jacob Atalla, KB's vice president of sustainability. "And this adds one additional layer of differentiation."

Atalla is talking about their technology partnership with Apple and it's Apple iOS smart home platform, HomeKit. They are on of small list of builders such as  Lennar and Brookfield Residential to build into their homes pre-packaged smart home products, these are all specified as as part of the home design process. Want smart window shades? You pick the style and KB will handle the install for you, wireless control of your hifi - you choose the speakers and hifi systems and they will build it in.

This happens all over the world but this is the first time that the technology provider is working directly with the homebuilder to help them specify their products.  Apple's foray into the Smart Home has been a long drawn out one, they might be thinking this is a great way to leapfrog their products into buyers homes, especially if they like Apple products and have iPhones and iPads to command their new home.

https://www.cnet.com/uk/news/an-apple-smart-home-made-to-order/

 

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The Sonos Playbase (Wireless TV Speaker)

The Sonos ecosystem keeps on growing, They have the Sonos amplifiers, the wireless speakers such as the Play1, Play3 and Play5 - The Surround sound enabling Sonos Playbar and Sub and now their new Playbase.

At it's basic it is a Playbar encapsulated into a base for your TV to sit on, so if you never wall mounted your TV or had no room for a Playbar this will be perfect for you, or if you are just getting started in wireless audio this and a Sonos Sub would be a great start.

Sonos launched a new advert featuring The Big Lebowski to launch the Sonos Playbase.

 

othing ruins a great movie like bad sound. Now you can enjoy The Big Lebowski with a home theater speaker that transforms your movies (and plays all your favorite music, too). Introducing the all new PLAYBASE. It really ties the room together.

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Let's Talk Toilets...

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Let's Talk Toilets...

Unusual discussion point for an Audio/Visual and Smart Home company Blog.  We are currently building our brilliant new Phuket office which will hold a veritable treasure chest of home cinema, wired and wireless audio and lighting control products, for people to come and play with. Those people (you) and us will need to use toilets, so we are trying to make sure our facilities are nice to use and as cool as we (think we) are.

Here we are about 1/2 way through construction, this is actually an upcycle of the Burmese work camp toilets that were here previously.

If the toilet block seems unreasonably large for a Smart Home company it's because we are going to have a coffee shop and cool hang out place as well, next door. More on that later.

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Bikinis and Martinis

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Bikinis and Martinis

Our latest advert is out...


Bikinis & Martinis Phuket Magazine reflects the dreams of a carefree tropical life, while highlighting our discoveries of art, culture and style around the world.

The perfect place to showcase our expertise in bringing homes to life.  Our exciting home cinema, whole home audio and smart home lighting systems make your home a more fun, enjoyable place.

As the advert says;

We bring homes to life...

Your very own cinema to enjoy the latest movies
Your favourite music playing all around your home
Your lights automated to your mood.

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