This page serves to be your guide to terms that we use in the A/V industry. Use this page as a way to research terms or equipment that you may be unfamiliar with.
70 Volt Audio System
A system that allows for speakers to be easily “daisy chained” for wiring. A single amplifier can operate several speakers with a “summed” stereo signal, meaning a single speaker can produce both Left and Right information. This is especially important in large spaces where sound is very directional and cannot be steered toward a “sweet spot” similar to a hi-fi system, meaning if a target for the audio is closer to a left speaker then all the person will be able to focus on is the left speakers output and will not hear most of what’s happening on the right hand side. A 70 Volt system when designed correctly should offer almost none of this drop out or dead spot sound. Speakers can be installed in almost any configuration; on wall, in wall, hanging pendants or in ceiling, etc. These systems are typically less expensive and more efficient for commercial sound spaces. Amplifiers include microphone inputs for an easy general announcement or voice support where public address is important.
A modern signage medium that utilizes video displays to deliver content to the public. These displays can feature advertisements, information, videos, streaming content, and/or images. Digital signage can be used for many purposes but is most commonly deployed for menus, sales, televised events, and marketing/advertising. These displays are manufactured and designed for continuous operation and carry a better warranty then consumer designed displays, this is very apparent when comparing price but well worth the extra dollars when the cost of maintenance, replacement and installation are considered.
HDBaseT can deliver uncompressed ultra-HD video (up to 4K) to a network of devices using CAT 5/6 wiring (CAT5e is borderline for 4k and is very dependant on length) or as a point-to-point connection. Uncompressed content supports all video sources, including legacy products, accurately renders gaming graphics and features such as electronic program guides, and does not degrade video quality or add latency. It supports TV and PC video formats, including standard, enhanced, high-definition, ultra-HD (4K), and 3D video. Due to bitrate limitations of 10.2 Gbit/s instead of the required 18 Gbit/s in the HDMI 2.0 specification, HDBaseT 2.0 can only support 4K at 30 Hz, not the full 60 Hz.
There are many ways to describe these systems, they can range from several hundred dollars on the low end to just plain silly amounts of money. A single pair of speakers located in an equilateral triangle from the seating position is a great start, relaxing and enjoying music is the next step. This experience is highly subjective and difficult to nail down for every person. We recommend a visit to our showroom where our staff can evaluate and recommend a system that “fits the ear as well as the wallet”.
This is a dedicated space for watching movies and television programs. We recommend sound treatments to keep loud sounds from intruding into the rest of the home and either Blackout Shades or the complete lack of windows. TV/Digital Displays are getting larger and less expensive all the time, but we still recommend front projection in all but the smallest rooms. A feature that has its roots in large professional theaters is acoustically transparent video screens - this is taken for granted when we take in a movie at the local theater but this technology can be easily used in the home too. Placing speakers behind the screen is a key feature in ensuring that the actors voice is heard from the center of the screen where most of the dialog comes from. This method also provides the least obtrusive locations for speakers as they are really invisible behind the projection screen.
A single dimmer or switch with remote control capability can be a great start into this kind of automation, several dimmers and switches can be combined to create a system where control based on occupancy, day vs. night, intensity of natural light or scenes in which a mood is set for entertainment or even a way to make a home or business look occupied. Controlled dimming and switching can reduce costs and reduce the overall carbon footprint as well. Larger spaces benefit greatly from Centralized Lighting where much of the wiring is “homerun” back to panels instead of large banks of dimmers and switches, this allows for a single keypad in a large space instead of a row of dimmers on an otherwise beautiful wall. For more information please follow this link to Crestron’s Lighting page: Crestron.
Stereo Audio Distribution
This is mostly a residential audio system used in homes where rooms can have in-ceiling, in-wall or traditional speakers in a stereo pair within a smaller space where a hi-fi/stereo signal can be appreciated or at least heard. Modern systems allow for volume and source to be chosen through the use of a smart phone/tablet. Streaming services allow for incredible selection of individual albums, artists, and radio stations from around the world.
Systems that allow multiple displays to show the same or a different picture/video from a centralized location. In the past this was largely accomplished by creating mini-cable systems or modulated COAX distribution systems. True High Definition Video has made most of these systems obsolete with the adoption of HDMI signals from high definition AV sources such as Blu-Ray players, cable boxes, satellite systems and even Media Drives. This has created the need for very powerful Matrix Switches and HdBaseT wiring designs that allow centralized sources in one location “feeding” multiple video displays all over homes and buildings.
Control of shades or drapes using a keypad, a smart phone/ tablet are just a few ways to gain control of motorized window treatments. These systems can also be completely automated based on the time of day or even the amount of light desired in a space. These systems are a great way to better control temperature, choose whether to enjoy natural light or block it out for privacy. which can damage floors, furniture and other surfaces. Controlling the Natural Light (window shades & drapes) in spaces is one of the most effective and beautiful ways to increase the comfort, usability of your home or business and as with most of these systems increase efficiency and lessen the waste of energy.