Sunday, June 17, 2012
Let there be sound
One of the perks of being married to an IT person is the ease with which one can cut holes in the ceiling, run wire, and hook up new electronic stuff. In this case, the additions consisted of speakers in the kitchen/dining room area, Apple TV, and some new repeater thing that means our electronics can move to the basement instead of being in pointing distance of the remote. Goodbye FIOS box, DVR, tv cabinet, wires, and all sign of electronics. The only thing left in the living room is the television and playing music in the house is as easy as calling up a playlist or Pandora on our iPhones - no iPhone dock needed - and letting the electronic-magic-elves do their thing (yes, that is how I understand technology to work). Of course, we still need to get a bigger television and mount it on the wall and we'll eventually add speakers throughout the first floor but all that has to wait until we demo and reconfigure the first floor. Still, it's a big improvement to have everything hidden away and some speakers installed now.
We also tackled a bunch of smaller, non-photogenic tasks this weekend, most of which were related to trimming out the kitchen and installing screens on the two French doors that will, permit-gods willing, someday lead to a patio in the backyard. This week should bring permit approval...or a total meltdown on my part if we hit another snag. Either way, there will probably be news!
**** I wanted to add a few details about what we used so far. In the basement we have a Denon AVR-1910 reciever, Apple TV, DVD player, FIOS DVR, FIOS internet router, and a Cables-To-Go IR repeater. Upstairs we have two Polk RC60i ceiling speakers in the kitchen/dining area and a Polk PSW111 subwoofer between the kitchen and the living room. We'll have to find a place to hide the subwoofer behind a chair or something, but it's pretty small so that shouldn't be a problem. It provides the bass for the first floor really well. In the living room we'll eventually have four Polk RD60i ceiling speakers and a Polk CS20 center channel. All of this should give us quite a nice sound system for music or movies/TV at a very reasonable price. Even with two speakers the sound is great.
The IR repeater is a great, cheap way to hide all your gear in a convenient location. The workroom in the basement happens to be right below our living room where the TV is going so that provided an easily accessible, but hidden place.
The Apple TV was a great little find. I went to the Apple store to pick up a dock and after seeing that the Apple TV was both cheap ($99) and had an HDMI and optical outputs I was sold. Once I hooked it up I realized how well it integrates with the iPhone. All you need to do is open up Pandora or your music (or any app) and click the little airplay icon on the screen, select the Apple TV device, and everything starts playing over the speakers wirelessly. There's a few configuration things I had to do to make it happen with the reciever and speakers, but all in all it was an easy setup.
I almost forgot... we also have a Harmony One remote to control everything easily. All you have to do is select "watch TV", "watch DVD", or "listen to music" and voila... it works and turns on the appropriate stuff!