Ubiquiti Wifi and CCTV Cameras

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Ubiquiti Wifi and CCTV Cameras

This week our team of installers are busy working on an install in another country this week - we have a number of high profile clients who are building some great homes throughout SE Asia. This country is definitely a place that’s on the move up, high tech homes are starting to become the norm for the countries new entrepreneurs.

Outdoor mounted Ubiquiti CCTV Cameras (pair)

Outdoor mounted Ubiquiti CCTV Cameras (pair)

Ubiquiti CCTV Camera mounted to external wall.

Ubiquiti CCTV Camera mounted to external wall.

Dome Cameras allow a wider viewing angle so are great for interiors

Dome Cameras allow a wider viewing angle so are great for interiors

Although it’s weatherproof we’ve wrapped up this little guy so he doesn’t get painted on.

Although it’s weatherproof we’ve wrapped up this little guy so he doesn’t get painted on.

One of those homes is featuring lighting control, home automation (including motorised blinds), a custom H3 Digital home cinema, Nuvo multi room audio, wifi and CCTV.

For the Smart Home wifi we are using Ubiquiti’s line of Unifi products for a seamless home networking experience. As part of the installation we are putting in 22 Ubiqutui G3 cameras, both the outdoor and indoor Dome versions.

Twin CCTV Cameras help provide a safe secure environment for our customers home.

Twin CCTV Cameras help provide a safe secure environment for our customers home.

These CCTV cameras are linked to the Ubiquti POE (Power Over Ethernet) Solution so the install is neat, tidy and secure. We use ubiquiti network switches and network hardware to ensure smooth, reliable performance.

Dome camera from Ubiquiti

Dome camera from Ubiquiti

Our customer will be able to login from anywhere in the world and see exactly what’s happening in his home, with the Ubiquiti NVR (Network Video Recorder) he has 2Tb of space to store videos of every time there is movement within the field of vision of one of the cameras.

Additionally the cameras record sound, I had the pleasure of using this great feature recently to listen in on some possible rascals who were loitering around my own house. Turns out they came to the wrong address looking for someone.

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Control4 Smart Home OS3

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Control4 Smart Home OS3

Leading Smart Home company Control4 has debuted it’s new Smart Home Operating System dubbed OS3.

The new and improved "operating system" can control more than 13,500 third-party devices and independent users are able to create whole-home dashboards to monitor all of the devices in their home and see all their favourite products, rooms and zones at a glance. It will be available here in Thailand soon.

Control4 OS3

This includes multi room audio, distributed video, IP CCTV images, lighting control and home automation. It will need to be initially programmed and engineered by your smart home provider but the it can be tailored by end-users to their specific needs.

Charlie Kindel made the announcement, As the ex-Amazon executive responsible for the success of Alexa it’s obvious he’s keen on getting Control4 working with all the smart home products available to end-users.

We want to give users a broad choice rather than creating a collection of tiny walled gardens that limit homeowners
— Charlie Kindel - Control4

Smart Home OS 3 from Control4 is a complete re-write and has hundreds of enhancements over the former OS which have been driven from customer and dealer feedback. Here are some of the favourite pieces of the new OS;

  • Favorite Rooms – Swipe quickly between your family room, master bedroom, kitchen, and office.

  • Audio Favorites – One-click Favorites to play Radio Paradise on TuneIn; The Beatles White Album (Super Deluxe) in MQA from Tidal Masters; and my Radiohead playlist.

  • On Screen interface – Add Favorites for Netflix and Amazon Prime on Roku; Xfinity; Radio Paradise; lighting scenes; and door locks and garage doors so they are what you see as soon as I press the red Control4 button.

  • Music distribution – Sending music to rooms is available from the new Media Bar on the Room, Now Playing, or Sessions Screens.

  • All Rooms + Filter in Lighting – It’s easier than ever to see which lights the kids left on.

  • Volume tap – on the volume slider, use the tap-the-slider option to change volume up or down a couple of percentage points.

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Google Assistant coming to SONOS

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Google Assistant coming to SONOS

It’s been a long while coming but now Sonos the multi room music system pioneers are ready to launch Google Assistant to (at first) the Sonos One and Sonos Beam smart speakers. Although it will roll out globally eventually at first the functionality will be limited to a US launch “with more markets to come over the next few months”

This feature will truly elevate the customer experience and marks the first time that consumers will be able to buy a single smart speaker and get to choose which voice assistant they want to use. We think giving consumers choice is always the right decision, and we anticipate this philosophy will be adopted in the industry over time,” he said. Both the One and Sonos Beam ship out of the box with built-in support for Amazon’s Alexa.
— SONOS CEO - Patrick Spence
SONOS CEO Patrick Spence

SONOS CEO Patrick Spence

Sonos have been promising to bring Google Assistant to its Sonos range of speakers since October 2017, making it happen has taken a while, originally 2018 was promised but that went by without the integration as Sonos Software engineers worked to enable the voice assistant integration. Alexa integration has been around for a while now in the Sonos infrastructure so it’s been a frustrating wait for those who’se smart homes are controlled via Google Home and Google Nest range of home technology products.

Sonos revealed the details of the Google integration In a letter to shareholders (Sonos went public with an IPO recently) on May 9, 2019 where they revealed they will launch teh update via a Sonos firmware update in the coming week,

Sonos Google Assistant.jpg

Previously Patrick had said that the end game is for Google Assistant to allow you to control the entire Sonos ecosystem of speakers, sound bars, subwoofers and amplifiers - we will see how older products that lack microphones or perhaps even the raw physical computing power - for example the older ZP100 Sonos amplifier can keep up or not. Sonos has long said that although it was always it’s intention to make sure that older products (and indeed the entire Sonos line) is fully backwards and forwards compatible it also made mention of the fact that it might not be able to keep this up forever as the computing power and functionality of older units struggle with voice assistants and Apple Airplay requirements.

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Customer Handover - Sonos system in Chiang Mai

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Customer Handover - Sonos system in Chiang Mai

Another happy customer. This Sonos multi room audio system covers the lounge and living area, master bedroom, office and outdoor areas.

H3 Digital Managing Director Ben Hobbs handing over to our customer (and his 2 cool dogs)

H3 Digital Managing Director Ben Hobbs handing over to our customer (and his 2 cool dogs)

Nuvo In-Ceiling Speakers

At this beautiful home we were tasked with designing and installing the Sonos multi room audio system and TV Sound system via Playbar and Sonos Sub.

We installed in-ceiling systems from Nuvo into the Lounge/Dining Room - 2 pairs which can also be setup to act as the rear surrounds for the TV output.

The Lounge also featured a huge TV and Sonos Playbar coupled with a Sonos Sub to provide low-end oomph for movies and TV.

In the Office and Master bedroom we used in-ceiling speakers tucked away into the ceiling and Sonos Connect:amps to power those zones.

The beauty of using in-ceiling speakers are that they are tucked safely away, nearly unnoticeable with no cables visible.

For the outdoor area we used the Nuvo range of outdoor speakers, 2 pairs to provide plenty of music for a party or get together.

Sonos Soundbar

The install is neat and clean with everything tucked away out of sight. The wall mounted Samsung TV fits well into the room and the Playbar/Sub combo means the TV sound system packs a punch.

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Infocomm Asia debuting in Bangkok 2019

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Infocomm Asia debuting in Bangkok 2019

There is a new trade show which hopes to bring leading pro-AV and integrated experience technologies to one of the world's most exciting emerging markets, SE Asia.

AVIXA™, the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, in partnership with InfoCommAsia Pte Ltd, is pleased to announce it will debut its InfoComm Southeast Asia show May 15-17, 2019, at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC).

"Southeast Asia is one of the largest and most exciting emerging economic blocs in the world," said Richard Tan, Executive Director of InfoCommAsia. "It has always been our mission to help our partners open doors to new and emerging markets. In addition to our more established shows in China and India, which have seen great success year after year, we are confident that our new platform in Southeast Asia will achieve that same success. We see a lot of market potential in the region."

Infocomm Audio VIsual Show

Comprising Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, Philippines, Singapore, Thailand and Vietnam, the Southeast Asia region is currently the seventh-largest economy in the world and is projected to be the fourth largest by 2050, according to the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN). It is united politically and economically via ASEAN, which has pushed hard collectively in recent years to accelerate economic development and break down trade barriers. To that end, the ASEAN Economic Community (AEC) was formed with the goal of developing a single market. According to a study by the Asian Development Bank and International Labour Organisation, up to 14 million jobs could be generated within ASEAN by 2025.

With the addition of InfoComm Southeast Asia, AVIXA now hosts four shows in Asia-Pacific, including Beijing InfoComm China, Chengdu InfoComm China, and InfoComm India. The Bangkok show will feature an exhibition showcasing world-class pro-AV and experiential communications technologies, as well as an education summit with extensive learning opportunities.

According to AVIXA's 2017 AV Industry Outlook and Trends Analysis Asia-Pacific, the East Asian pro-AV market's value will increase by about 35 percent between 2016 and 2022. The industry was projected at $17.7 billion in 2017 and is expected to reach $23.3 billion in 2022.

Infocomm Asia

China's One Belt, One Road initiative, a massive investment in development of infrastructure and trade routes across Europe and Asia-Pacific, is prompting economic growth in Asia-Pacific. Between 2013 and 2016, roughly $60 billion was spent under the initiative, and the Chinese government plans to spend up to $150 billion per year for the next five years.

"AVIXA is continually evaluating burgeoning pro-AV markets where support and resources can help spur growth," said AVIXA Chief Executive Officer David Labuskes, CTS®, CAE, RCDD. "A show in Southeast Asia represents a big step in that direction by providing a platform for the latest in transformative pro-AV technology, industry best practices, and thought leadership. We're excited to see this region grow so dramatically and impact the overall progression of the AV industry globally."

The inaugural InfoComm Southeast Asia will run May 15-17, 2019, at the Bangkok International Trade and Exhibition Centre (BITEC). For more information, visit www.infocomm-sea.com.

About AVIXA

AVIXA is the Audiovisual and Integrated Experience Association, producer of InfoComm trade shows around the world, co-owner of Integrated Systems Europe, and the international trade association representing the audiovisual industry. Established in 1939, AVIXA has more than 5,400 members, including manufacturers, systems integrators, dealers and distributors, consultants, programmers, live events companies, technology managers, content producers, and multimedia professionals from more than 80 countries. AVIXA members create integrated AV experiences that deliver outcomes for end users. AVIXA is a hub for professional collaboration, information, and community, and the leading resource for AV standards, certification, training, market intelligence and thought leadership. Additional information is available at avixa.org.

About InfoCommAsia

InfoCommAsia Pte Ltd extends its influence through three marquee shows: Beijing InfoComm China, Chengdu InfoComm China, InfoComm India, and InfoComm Southeast Asia.

Each show comprises an exhibition that showcases the world's most cutting-edge and in-demand inventions, and a summit that presents learning opportunities. Bringing together industry players and top-level decision-makers from across all industries, the shows enable industry players to tap into the vast potential presented by the pro-AV and integrated experience technology markets of each country and region.

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THX Ultimate Cinema

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THX Ultimate Cinema

THX have launched the World’s First THX Ultimate Cinema™ at The Regency Westwood Village Theatre in Los Angeles.

The company is working closely with industry leader Cinionic, which is the Barco, CGS, and ALPD cinema joint venture which promises to deliver a new visual standard for cinema, to bring the THX Ultimate Cinema experience to consumers. The premium large-format (PLF) cinema promises to offer a superior moviegoing experience that meets all THX Certified Cinema standards.

Westwood Village Cinema

Westwood Village Cinema

THX Ultimate Cinema at Regency Westwood builds upon Cinionic’s premium offering, integrating its state-of-the-art dual-Barco laser system, which delivers a 4K resolution image with increased brightness, contrast, clarity and rich brilliant colors for premium large format screens with CGS remastered content exclusively shown at this location. The Regency Westwood Village theater, which boasts nearly 1400 seats and is home to some of Hollywood’s biggest red-carpet premieres, has also undergone numerous upgrades to the sound system and acoustics. These include an increase in low-frequency power to yield a decrease in distortion and an increase in sound power, as well as the addition of curtains to improve the clarity and accuracy of the immersive multi-dimensional sound system.

The design of the Village cinema complies with THX Certified Cinema standards. THX and Cinionic worked with the exhibitor, acoustical consultants, and equipment installers to create a unique design package with architectural and technical requirements to address the audio and visual fidelity to ensure a superior cinematic experience in the auditorium.

Min-Liang Tan - CEO of THX (and Razer)

Min-Liang Tan - CEO of THX (and Razer)

We are excited to collaborate with Cinionic to bring the THX Ultimate Cinema experience to audiences around the world, starting with Regency’s Westwood Village Theatre in Los Angeles”
— Min-Liang Tan - CEO of THX
The new projection system featured in the THX Ultimate Cinema offering delivers a fantastic image on screen, We are very excited to be able to provide an enhanced cinematic experience to our studio partners for premieres and moviegoers alike.
— Lyndon Golin, CEO, Regency Theaters
Lyndon Golin - CEO Regency Theaters

Lyndon Golin - CEO Regency Theaters

Wim Buyens CEO of Cinionic

Wim Buyens CEO of Cinionic

“Cinionic was founded to create a new visual standard that drives the industry forward. Our mission to deliver compelling cinema experiences for today’s – and tomorrow’s – moviegoers aligns with that of THX. THX Ultimate Cinema allows us to bring Cinionic premium technology to the Regency theater for the first time. Our goal is to help elevate the industry standard and bring premium experiences around the world to a whole new level.
— Wim Buyens, CEO, Cinionic

THX Ultimate Cinema will provide exhibitors with the solution they’ve been looking for: a branded and differentiated PLF offering which includes best-in-class projection technology from Cinionic, as well as an immersive audio system, acoustics and auditorium specifications that meet THX Certification standards. This is also coupled with the added benefits of flexibility and favorable economics for the exhibitor.

Premium Theater experience with THX

Premium Theater experience with THX

Driven by dedicated content and strong moviegoer demand for a differentiated experience, Premium Large Format (PLF) is one of the fastest-growing and most active areas of commercial cinema exhibition, with significant potential to grow exponentially in size over the next several years. With the business environment for PLF cinema also becoming increasingly competitive and saturated amid a startling array of brands and technologies, many exhibitors have been seeking a PLF partner that offers best-in class technologies, flexible implementation options, and a strong cinema brand that resonates with consumer audiences.

For over 35 years, THX has maintained a reputation as the acclaimed worldwide brand for optimizing the audio and visual fidelity of the entertainment experience in the cinema. THX and Cinionic are working with additional exhibitors around the world to bring the THX Ultimate Cinema experience to market and will announce new partners as installation plans are completed.

THX is the company founded by legendary filmmaker George Lucas in 1983, THX Ltd. and its partners provide premium entertainment experiences in the cinema, in the home and on the go. Over the past thirty-five years, THX has expanded its certification categories beyond studios and cinemas to consumer electronics, content, automotive systems and live entertainment. Today, THX continues to redefine entertainment, providing exciting new technologies and assurance of experiences which provide consumers with superior audio and visual fidelity and ensure an artist’s vision is truthfully delivered to audiences worldwide.

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IKEA & SONOS combine Speakers & Light

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IKEA & SONOS combine Speakers & Light

Ikea and Sonos have combined forces and made the ultimate speaker lamp.

Yes it’s true, We knew that Sonos had teamed up with IKEA to offer SONOS Music Systems through a range of IKEA Branded speakers which work within the Sonos ecosystem but they’ve done something more.

Sonos and Ikea have unveiled a pair of speaker designs that the two companies have been working on for a while, the first one up is a bit of a surprise to most in the industry though.

The first multi-room audio speaker built into a desk lamp from Sonos and IKEA

The first multi-room audio speaker built into a desk lamp from Sonos and IKEA

First up the the Symfonisk table lamp ($179) which elegantly combines a desk / table lamp with a Sonos speaker, with a dial to control the light - though you will have to buy a Smart Bulb yourself if you want it controlled with lighting control or home automation.

The next up is the normal bookshelf speaker ($99) which was well known to be coming.

Both will ship this August, although you will have to wait to see if that’s the case in the Bangkok, Thailand based IKEA’s.

They will work alongside or as new components of a Sonos system and of course you will be able to control them with the highly regarded Sonos app and/or smart home system such as Alexa, Control4, Google Home, Smartthings etc…

IKEA’s Sonos range of speakers, coming soon to Thailand

IKEA’s Sonos range of speakers, coming soon to Thailand

The products will deliver something that both companies are super proud of
— SONOS CEO Patrick Spence

Each of the new speakers can also be fully integrated as part of a multiroom audio setup for your home.

It’s obvious that both companies are very proud of what they’ve put out together, the price point is certainly very compelling and perhaps with the competition from Amazon and Google in mind, it might just be a masterful move.

We’ve given it our utter most and utter best from the IKEA side and Sonos has done exactly the same from their end
— IKEA Global Business Leader Bjorn Block

Sonos CEO Patrick Spence suggested that the lamp’s audio performance should be similar to — if maybe a rung or two below — that of the $199 Sonos One. It has a dial on the lamp body to control the light, and there are track control buttons on the base plate portion..

IKEAS Sonos Symonfisk speaker

IKEAS Sonos Symonfisk speaker

Block said that, eventually, IKEA’s smart home app will integrate music controls for the speakers, allowing customers to build scenes that factor in the lamp. IKEA have recently launched a range of smart blinds in addition to their growing range of Zigbee controlled Bulbs (That are Philips Hue compatible, sort of).

The symonfisk bookshelf speaker from IKEA is the smallest speaker that Sonos has ever made so expect it to pack a slightly smaller punch than say the Sonos PLAY1 or ONE.

The IKEA Sonos speaker mounted to the wall

The IKEA Sonos speaker mounted to the wall

Patrick expressed confidence that both speakers will sound better than anything else at their respective price points.

Both the lamp and bookshelf speakers are complete members of the Sonos ecosystem. So you will be able to join them into your existing multi room setup, use them to add new zones, rooms or areas to your current setup and even pair them as rears for your surround 5.1 setup.

We’re very excited to see that high quality whole home audio may be coming to the masses, it’s not going to sound anywhere near as good as with a Sonos amp and standalone in-ceiling, in-wall, outdoor or bookshelf speakers but for smaller areas, kids rooms, the gym or kitchen - they might just be perfect.

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New SONOS update

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New SONOS update

Sonos have released version 10.1 as an update for their range of Sonos Music players and controllers, with some new and exciting features.

My Sonos Now Showing “Recently Played Music”

A very requested feature has finally made it through to the Sonos audio system.

Sonos Music System in Thailand.jpg

With 10.1, you’ll be able to easily see and replay the music you’ve played using the Sonos app from within My Sonos. See the 40 most recent Albums, Playlists, Stations (but not individual songs) played on Sonos using the app under a new section of My Sonos called Recently Played. This is specific to your Sonos app, and doesn't show you the music started using voice control, AirPlay, or other ways to play on Sonos. Individual entries can be removed from the Recently Played section of My Sonos to assist with curation and all entries can be easily cleared from Settings as well.

Sonos Stereo System Thailand.jpg

To enable and manage, go to Settings > My Sonos Settings. You’ll need to sign in to your account in the Sonos App. This feature requires some activity information to be collected as outlined in an updated Sonos Privacy Statement. Recently Played can be turned off in the same My Sonos Settings.

Another exciting new feature will make it easier for owners of Smart Homes to control their Sonos music systems.

Add the Line-In for any Sonos components with an input (not including TV inputs). Just go to Browse > Line-In and select the three dots beside the Line-In that you want to add to My Sonos. Don’t forget that under Room Settings > Line-In settings you can also set the name of the Line-In for each device. Using unique names allows users and control partners to maintain an alphabetized list of Line-In favorites for use with home automation systems like Control4, Lutron, iPort, etc.

We can’t wait to see these new features on all our Sonos systems here in Thailand.

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Prince Harry home to feature Cinema by Thailand based H3 Digital.

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Prince Harry home to feature Cinema by Thailand based H3 Digital.

In a surprising move Prince Harry and Meghan Markle , the Duke and Duchess of Sussex, have chosen Thai Smart Home company H3 Digital, to design and engineer their home theater in their new home at Frogmore Cottage.

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

Prince Harry & Meghan Markle

I wanted only the very best home theater for my new family, Meghan enjoys Film so very much I knew it had to be really quite special. We scoured the world for the right team to build our dream cinema in our new home, and after careful deliberation set our hearts on a Home Theater from H3 Digital.
— Prince Harry

The Duke & Duchess of Sussex will be moving into Frogmore Cottage on the grounds of Windsor Estate, about 30 miles from London, Kensington Palace Harry’s childhood home, where he was raised with William by Princess Diana.

Home Theater going into Frogmore House.jpg

The original Frogmore House was built around 1684 by Charles II's architect Hugh May for his nephew. It stood on the estates of Great and Little Frogmore, which were bought by Henry VIII in the sixteenth century and let to various tenants.

The name derives from the preponderance of frogs which have always lived in this low-lying marshy area. From 1709 to 1738 the house was leased to The Duke of Northumberland and thereafter to a succession of Nobles until Queen Charlotte, needing a country retreat for her and her daughters, bought the lease in 1792.

As part of the process of updating the cottage, Harry and Meghan wanted a special room where they could escape their hectic public lives to enjoy the very latest Movies & TV. Meghan has had TV appearances in Knight Rider, CSI:Miami, CSI:NY, Suits and appeared in a number of Films. It was important for Meghan that their viewing room be “Absolutely Amazing” and somewhere that it would be a pleasure to take both important guests, friends and family.

We were surprised to be approached by the Duke & Duchess out of the blue, especially as almost all of our home cinemas are installed in Thailand and SE Asia.

They’d obviously been shown some of our previous designs and read the testimonials of our happy customers and were smitten.

Rachel (Meghan) really knew her stuff, she had input on almost every aspect of the design, from the number of Dolby Atmos ceiling speakers she wanted, through to the screen gain on the cinema screen. I was astonished at her technical knowledge, but she’s been in the film industry for a long time and wanted it all to be just perfect.

It’s nice to be getting some international recognition we’ve always known our cinemas were pretty special - In our wildest dreams we never thought we’d be installing for British Royalty.
— Ben Hobbs - MD of H3 Digital
Ben Hobbs of H3 Digital.jpg
H3 Digital

The Duke & Duchess new home will be ready for them shortly after the birth of their new baby. They are both really excited to move in and can’t wait to use their new room. Who knows even the Queen might be sitting in one of our reclining home cinema seats one day!

Home Cinema in Thailand 1
Home Cinema in Thailand 2
Home Cinema in Thailand 3
Home Cinema in Thailand 4

Some of the amazing completed cinemas by H3 Digital in Thailand that were thought to have influenced the Princes choice.

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Luxury Home Theater Seating makes a Cinema Special

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Luxury Home Theater Seating makes a Cinema Special

We are at one of our Home Theater installs today adjusting the seating for the raised platforms at the rear. If you are considering a Home Cinema here in Thailand we can highly recommend getting motorised recliners. They really do help make the room feel special, and they are so comfy.

Our custom made home cinema recliners in the reclined position

Our custom made home cinema recliners in the reclined position

Our home cinema seats are available in any leather colour and finish possible, they are hand built here in Thailand with German reclining mechanisms and the plushest leather available.

And here they are in the upright sitting position

And here they are in the upright sitting position

We’ve installed our home cinema seating throughout Thailand - They are a big part of what makes our installs so special, If you’d like your very own custom home cinema for your villa or house in Phuket, Chiang Mai, Bangkok or Hua Hin please get in touch.

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IKEA Sonos Speaker for your Smart Home

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IKEA Sonos Speaker for your Smart Home

Mega Home store IKEA is giving multi room audio users a look at the latest designs for their Sonos compatible Symfonisk speaker earlier than expected as reported in . We may very soon be seeing Sonos music systems available in IKEA Thailand.

The companies flagship speaker is powered by Sonos Technology and officially set for unveiling on April 9.

sonos-bookshelf-speakers.jpg

They offered up some sneak peeks at the finished version of the bookshelf speaker to celebrate winning the Red Dot design awards.

The Symfonisk speaker design looks very similar to the prototype IKEA and Sonos unveiled last year in 2018. Although it now has a much more polished appearance than the early version, There is also a ssubtle Sonos/IKEA tag at the top.

The Symfonisk bookshelf speaker resembles the look of a Sonos speaker hinted with IKEA design. It has a boxy, fabric-covered style that blends well with IKEAS wide range of home furnishings.

Sonos and IKEA in Thailand

The smart home device features a standing bookshelf speaker design. You can use the speaker in either a horizontal or vertical configuration, and it looks like its been designed to hang straight onto the wall.

The bookshelf speaker is powered by Sonos technology and will work alongside your existing Sonos music devices or allow you to create a new Sonos audio experience if it’s your first step into the multi room audio ecosystem.

Some things remain unknown at the moment, however, such as the audio quality and the price. IKEA and Sonos both said in a press release on March 14, though, that the new bookshelf speakers will be offered at an affordable price.

Sonos Speaker from Ikea

"For IKEA, the smart home is not about gadgets, it's about making life at home better with solutions that create a better atmosphere, make you live a more convenient life and make you feel safe," said Björn Block, business leader for IKEA Home Smart at IKEA of Sweden.

"The collaboration with Sonos is a great example of this, offering affordable high-quality sound in combination with a great design piece that we hope will find its way into the many people's homes."

It is not known either if IKEA will offer other Sonos-powered speakers other than Symfonisk at a later date - The Symonfisk is due to ship in August 2019. It’s not known yet whether the speakers will be available in the Bangkok Flagship IKEA stores in Thailand.

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HDR for your TV - So what exactly is it?

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HDR for your TV - So what exactly is it?

Lets start with the obvious, TV companies like Samsung, LG and Sony need to sell new TV models each year to keep that part of their business running.  You will never hear a store salesperson saying "Oh your TV you bought 2 years ago is still great", there is always a new must-have technology. Much the same as  Apple releasing a new phone every year (and slowing down the old ones),  their businesses rely on exciting, next big leap technologies.  They must entice consumers into wanting to have the amazing home cinema experience these new technologies promise.

So we've had High Definition, which once the dust settled has had probably the greatest impact in viewing quality since the switch from Black and White to Colour TV some 50 years ago.  TV resolution had stayed the same for so many years that when the change came about to something much closer to how our eyes make out detail in real life the effect on perceived quality was quite dramatic

Manufacturers are touting HDR as the next big thing in TV

Manufacturers are touting HDR as the next big thing in TV

More recently came 4k or Ultra HD, which quadrupled the screen pixels over high Definition, yet felt  like only an incremental gain in quality.  This is down to biology,  our eyes, which perceive detail, can only derive so much detail from an image size.  So until you get to very large screen sizes we cant perceive that much of an improvement in quality over High Definition.  

A similar thing happened with phones, once it was all the rage to trumpet higher resolutions as the main reason to upgrade, Indeed Retina became an important buzzword for Apple. Mobile phones have progresses and passed the stage whereby bigger increases in resolution now only show a small increase in perceived quality.

So now most Tvs are HD or 4K, there needs to be something new to entice you to buy a new TV set, that's where HDR steps in.  But what exactly is it?

HDR stands for High Dynamic Range. It is a technology that tells your screen with encoded data what the lightest and darkest parts of an image are so that the screen can dim those parts individually and dynamically.  Every image has a mix of darker and brighter parts, think of scenes with shadows, in a dark room with a light to one side or sunsets and sunrises.  Basically with HDR technology the image contains data that tells your TV to turn down or up the light intensity in those parts of the image (this is not the same as the brightness setting of your TV).

An Identical TV image without (Left) and with (Right) HDR

An Identical TV image without (Left) and with (Right) HDR

Previously your TV had to use one overall light intensity for the entire image, so a scene set in the shadows would dim the light intensity of the whole image. Whilst you could then make out more detail in the shadows, any brighter area in the scene would have it's colours and detail muted and washed out.

Now with HDR, your TV can dim the intensity of light in the area of the scene in the shadows seperately (dynamically) from the parts of the scene not in the shadows.  This is a much more natural looking image because in real life those seperate parts of our visual image would have different light intensity to our eyes.

hdr-tv-1.jpg

HDR images shown on HDR TV's have much better detail in the shadows, much better colours and contrast in images where there are bright colours or bright lighting, the picture will POP more. What does POP Mean? An image that POPS is more striking, prominent and defined than an image that doesn't.

DolbyVision HDR.jpg

Currently the dust has not settled on exactly how HDR is meant to be implemented in the TV world, there are - much the same way as when HD first came out - competing standards and classifications.  There are two competing formats one from Dolby, called Dolbyvision which requires a specially licensed Dolby chip and an open format called HDR 10. 

There are a number of technical caveats to get HDR up and running at home and these primarily are that the;

  • TV must be HDR

  • Souce must be HDR

  • HDMI Cable must be at least HDMI 2.0

Please note that here in Thailand not all net services are available through Thai ISPs. TVs are now available and being touted with HDR,  Netflix and Amazon prime support HDR on many devices such as Apple TV, Fire Stick, Chromecast Ultra and both the Sony PS4 and Xbox One S gaming consoles support HDR.  There are also Blu Ray discs and players that support HDR but I would suggest staying away from disc technology as streaming is likely where the future lies.

So that's what HDR is. Would I buy a TV with HDR? Sure it's a great addition and improves image quality. 

Am I about to go and buy a new TV here in Thailand because mine doesn’t have HDR? 

No - Not yet, I think there are still a few niggles to work through and in a year or two it will be standard on modern TV's and we will have access to more Thai sources.

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