Google Nest Home Max

We just aren’t sure if everyone realizes what a big deal it is that Google’s innovation and Nest’s products have finally combined to create Google Nest. So to drive home the point, we are taking a deeper dive into the Google Nest Home Max (and why you should be so excited).

* Photo credit: Google Store

Google Nest Home Max

The first product release date for Google Nest is official! The Nest Hub Max will be available beginning on September 9th. The world was notified of the release date when the product announcement was originally made at Google I/O this past May. Google seemingly mistakenly added the actual release date to the product description on the Google Store. The date was almost immediately removed but ultimately, Google confirmed the date was real.

Are you thinking, “Oh great. Another smart home hub. What’s the big deal?”

Here’s why the Google Nest Home Max is a big deal. First of all, the original Google Hub was already an excellent product and extremely well received. So, take that product and then add in the features listed below, and you’ll begin to understand what the big deal is.

  • A 10-inch touch screen
  • Built-in Nest Camera with motion sensor
  • Louder speakers
  • Face recognition
  • Gesture recognition (It can recognize certain gestures and respond with tasks like playing music)
  • A competitive price of $229

Simply put, not only is the Google Next Home Max geared up to be the best smart home hub on the market at a reasonable price point, but it offers all of the seamless integration with the multitude of Nest smart home products.  None of the other smart home hubs have the near the number of product integrations that you will find with Google Nest. 

If reading more about the Google Nest Hub Max doesn’t tempt you, it may be that you aren’t that into home automation. In which case, it’s ok; we are here for you and whatever media room, smart home, networking, and A/V needs you have.

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Google Nest

On June 18, 2019, a momentous occasion occurred in the world of home automation. The Nest smart home website was shut down and all products were added to the Google Store, creating Google Nest. The old Nest website left a message that warmed our smart home hearts that confirms what we’ve been saying and feeling about home automation for the past several years.

Photo credit:

Google and Nest Combine for your Smart Home

For too long, the smart home hasn’t been very smart. It’s complicated to set up and manage, with a lot of different devices that don’t work well together. So, we’re simplifying things and bringing together all Nest and Google Home products under one roof. Introducing Google Nest. Welcome to the helpful home.

This is it. This is the seamless integration between home automation and smart home products that we’ve all been desperately searching for. With Google Assistant leading the charge with, in our opinion, the best AI assistant software on the market combined with Nest’s robust selection of smart home products, you are certain to have a seamless experience with setup and usage of this home automation system. Better than any other system currently available. 

As we all know, the Achilles heel of the home automation industry has been the lack of full integration between AI assistants and smart home products leaving consumers confused about purchasing as well as frustrated with in-depth and difficult setups. With this launch of Google Nest, that is gone, and consumers have more than 25 smart home products that are fully integrated with Google’s AI assistant software (Google Assistant). 

Things you can now seamlessly control with Google Assistant via Google Nest:

  • Thermostats
  • Video Doorbell
  • Smoke detectors
  • Video monitors
  • Smart locks
  • Alarm system
  • Smart lights
  • Video streaming

If you have been waiting for the right time to start your home automation journey: This is it. 

Now is the time and we couldn’t feel more confident saying that. All systems go! If you are still unsure or need some extra guidance on the right products for your home, give us a call and we’re happy to give you our best tips and expert advice.

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4 Steps to Building a Media Room

There are many reasons for adding a media room to your home, but the most important reason should be the fact that it is the room you and your family will find yourselves relaxing in most of the time. Whether you are Netflix bingers, Xbox addicts, or music aficionados, having a space that is not only dedicated to these activities but is specifically designed for these activities will enhance your media experience. 


4 Steps to Building a Media Room

If you are adding a media space, re-designating an area in your home as a media space, or purchasing a new home and are deciding how to design your new space, we have outlined the 4 major items you will need to take into consideration in order to create the perfect media oasis. 

Pick the Space

It may seem like a no brainer that the first step should be picking the room or location of your media space, but it is just not that simple. Picking the right space sets off the entire path of all the other decisions you will make in terms of the layout of your lighting, audio needs, and furniture. Some quick tips are utilizing rectangular rooms in terms of acoustics and avoiding rooms with a lot of natural light if you will be gaming or tv watching. 

Light the Space

We like to think of setting up your lighting strategy as a map for the entire room. At this stage, you will not just be determining where to place your lighting, but also where your furniture will be best utilized. 

Start with the room’s total square footage and plot out exactly where your television, couch, stereo, bar, pool table, etc. will go. From there, you will know not just where you need lighting, but what kind of lighting. For example, the lighting you have above a pool table will vary greatly from the lighting above your couch. 

Tech-nify the Space

Now that your optimal lighting plan is in place, it’s time to get the bones of your setup in place. We strongly suggest adding an audio-visual component rack. This will be the central hub of all your source components (DVD, media streaming, cable box, etc.). Adding a central hub like this will give you more options for hiding cords from view. 

In this stage you will do the tedious job of wiring all your equipment, including your sound system.

Furnish the Space

In our opinion, the last stage is picking out your furnishings. To some, this might seem backwards. But considering that most of us don’t have a lot of spaces in our home to choose from for our new media space, you will likely be making do with the one space you have. Since lighting, acoustics, and television size and placement depend more on math and science in order to be optimized than furniture, we think those are the more important items to prioritize. More than likely, you can more easily find a couch that suits your tastes and fits your space requirements than being able to fit your sound system around the furniture you want. 

This stage will either be your favorite part or your worst nightmare. Tech nerds will probably dread this part while design nerds will love the opportunity to give the space some of their own personal flare. Whichever camp you are in, have fun with this process as your media room will not just be highly utilized but a focal point of your home!

That’s it – the four most important steps of building your media room. We hope you have a blast designing this space! As always, Home Theater Solutions is happy to assist you in any way possible.

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Turntables: The Vinyl Revival

We admit, we thought it may be just a fad. We thought that along with skinny jeans and beards that the revival of vinyl records would pass by in a matter of time. Surprisingly, though, vinyl record sales in 2018 only skyrocketed further than the already shocking numbers of sales in 2017. In fact, this vinyl revival is so legitimate that top record players were featured at CES 2019. The nostalgia of playing records mixed with the genius age of technology has made for some incredibly fun sound systems. Here are our top picks for most noteworthy turntables of 2019.

Best Vinyl Record Players

The Turntable Returns: Best Vinyl Record Players

Best Sound – Alva TT

When it comes to playing records versus any other form of music (i.e. digital, CD, 8-track, etc.), the overall sound quality should be king. Don’t limit turntables to the ‘cool’ retro factor of playing something that is old, but enjoy the fact that something old can be reinvigorated and create something beautiful. The Alva TT is the turntable that we believe is the best suited to create that beautiful something. 

This turntable is the first of its kind to support the aptX HD Bluetooth codec, which supports 24-bit audio file transmission to any compatible wireless devices. With the aptx HD there is lower noise distortion and better signal to noise ratio.

Sexiest Turntable – Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN

While there are legitimate reasons to like the Audio Technica AT-LPW40WN the biggest reason will stare you in the eye. It just looks sexy. With a beautiful walnut stained woodgrain base, this turntable will melt perfectly into your living room as another piece of furniture and not a huge electronic eyesore.

Budget Conscientious Turntable – Sony PS-LX310BT

This turntable supports Bluetooth streaming but not as impressive sound quality as with the Alva TT. There is also a built-in phono stage so the TT can be plugged right into an existing sound system. 

The PS-LX310BT also has an automatic tone arm, which is typically a feature only seen with the high-end turntables. With an automatic arm the TT will move the arm from its resting place, place it carefully onto the record and remove/return the arm to its resting place when the record ends. 

The Vinyl Revival may well be here and gone by next year’s CES, but we hope it isn’t. It has been and continues to be a fun journey of seeing exactly where technology can take audio. If you are new to being retro, start small with the Sony PS-LX310BT at the reasonable price of $199 you can learn or re-learn what it means to “put a record on”.

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CES 2019 TVs on the Horizon

The annual Consumer Electronics Show (CES) held in Las Vegas every year is always heavy on television technology. While this year was no exception, the quality and excitability of TV technology unveiled at this year’s CES has us suitably geeking out. If you aren’t as obsessive as we are over the latest and greatest in televisions but still want to know how to impress your neighbors, we’ve got you covered! Let’s look at the latest television trends on the horizon for 2019.

Rollable LG TV and other TV News from CES 2019

CES 2019 TVs on the Horizon

Keep on Rolling (your TV)

LG basically showed up just to show off. Literally and figuratively, they were showing off their innovation skills with their OLED R. The ‘R’ stands for roll-able. Yep. ROLLABLE. As in, the screen rolls-up for easy and jaw-dropping storage.

At the touch of a button, the screen unrolls into 65 inches of high caliber picture quality. There is not much else to say accept, holy moly the future is here.

Did you hear that?

Not as jaw dropping as the OLED R but still swoon-worthy is the Panasonic GZ2000. An OLED set with Dolby Atmos integration with its speakers gives you a TV that sounds just as good as it looks, and maybe even better than that. 

While at a glance the Panasonic GZ2000 OLED might not look as cool as some of the other CES TV unveilings, keep in mind that love isn’t just about looks. 

MicroLED Technology

MicroLED technology continues to ramp up in major ways. If you are unfamiliar with MicroLED, it is basically the next big thing expected to dominate the television market and ultimately replace OLED technology as the gold standard. 

Samsung wowed the crowds with a 219-inch Micro LED television, outdoing its current 146-inch set. We will admit 214- and 146-inch televisions are not practical for the everyday consumer. Don’t worry, Samsung is not new at this and has unveiled a prototype of a 75-inch display that will hopefully be on the market by the end of year.

4K & 8K TV Models

The unveilings that have everyone confused and excited all at once are the debuts and announcements of 8K TV models. That’s twice the resolution of 4K, right? Wrong! It’s actually 16 times the resolution of 4K resolution (something about 2-dimensional math). The point is, the resolution is the best in quality that we have seen to date, and that’s exciting.

So why are so many confused about the push for 8K technology? Well, if you own a 4K television or keep a close pulse on tech trends, you know that content providers are barely keeping up with producing in 4K. While we wait for 4K content to catch-up, you might be wondering why 8K TVs are even available. And the truth is, you have every right to wonder. It is going to take some time, likely several years at least, for 8K to become the new norm. On that note, if you just bought yourself a gorgeous 4K set, not to worry. You’ll be fine for quite some time.

We be keeping our eyes peeled on all the great TV technologies unveiled at CES 2019.  You can be sure for more content from us covering the trends.

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Apple’s Introduction at CES 2019

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES) is held every January in Las Vegas and is arguably the most important and anticipated electronics show globally each year. This year was no exception. In fact, this year’s CES was one of the most exciting electronics events we’ve seen in recent years. 

If you are not familiar with CES or aren’t a tech and electronics aficionado, you are probably wondering what could have happened this year that left such an impression on the electronic world. 

Well, Apple. 

Apple's Introduction at CES 2019

Apple happened to CES 2019. And Apple didn’t just happen, but the behemoth-multinational technology company joined CES for the first time EVER in 2019. That is big when you consider that giants like Samsung, Google, IBM and Microsoft have long attended the conference to unveil new products and boast their trendsetting technologies. When Apple, for the first time ever, threw their name into the CES ring, the tech world started to buzz.

Apple has historically and quite famously unveiled new products on their own via independent and dramatic pageantry. Their exclusive events draw attention worldwide as their latest cutting-edge technology is showcased by the current Apple CEO in front of thousands of eager tech journalists and experts. We’d be lying if we said we didn’t love it. On that note, we’d also be lying if we said we didn’t love the mystery of Apple joining CES.

At CES 2019, Apple made a joint announcement with Samsung that iTunes would be available on all Samsung TVs without the need for added cables or contraptions. This announcement may seem underwhelming to the untrained eye, but as we dig deeper into the current state of the industry, we see what this partnership might mean for Apple’s long-term strategy. 

The 2018 sales of the latest iPhone models were unimpressive. The company’s stock price dove 9% in recent weeks. And the company’s hiring trends has all but halted as a result. As companies like Google and Amazon have started to squeeze Apple’s market share, they have also made strategic alliances with other powerhouse companies (think Amazon + Sonos). Which is something Apple has yet to do – until now that is. 

The integration of iTunes on Samsung televisions is the first time Apple has ever allowed third-party devices to access its video library (outside of Windows PCs). Such a long-awaited move from Apple gives us good reason to anticipate forthcoming, larger than life announcements from Apple as they attempt to make a name for themselves in the world of streaming services. 

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5 TV Buying Tips

So, you watched the big game at your neighbor’s house, who just so happened to have bought a brand-new flat screen. The colors, response time and majesty of the television has you itching to up your viewing game as well, but you’re not sure where to start. 4K, high-res, LED, smart TVs, HDR…all the television tech terms can be overwhelming. What are the important things to consider when shopping for a new television? We have great news; it is not that complicated.

5 TV Buying Tips

5 TV Buying Tips

TV Size Matters

The first thing you need to determine is what size television you need and want. Determining the size of television that makes sense in your room doesn’t have to be a guessing game. In fact, there is a simple formula to help you figure it out. Start by measuring the distance from your favorite seat to the wall (in inches). Then divide by 3 and boom: you have the recommended size of television that will fit best in your room.

Example: Lazy Boy to wall = 150 inches. 150 inches/ 3 = 50-inch television

4K is The Way

We are not saying that 4K is the latest and greatest, but what we are saying is that 4K technology is becoming the standard across all brands and price ranges. If you are investing in a new television, at the bare minimum make sure it is 4K.

4K for Beginners: 4K televisions offer a clearer picture than standard 1080p HD televisions, meaning better picture quality, definition and clarity.

Get Personal

You’re starting in the right place with researching online about the features to look for and consider when buying a TV, but don’t let an anonymous online review alone sell you on a television. We strongly suggest speaking with a home theater pro to help you understand what features benefit your space and needs the best. You might find that some of the features you thought you’d love aren’t for you.

Consider the Viewer

That’s you! What are you planning to use the television for? Gaming? Sports? Binging Game of Thrones? Will your television be in a dark room or a bright room with a lot of natural light? These are important things to consider since not all televisions are created equally or for the same purpose.

If you’re unsure where the answers to these questions leads you in terms of television set, we can help you sort that out. That’s exactly what we do.

Take Advantage of February TV Prices

February is an insanely good month to purchase a television for two factors. First, the deep discounts for those big-game shoppers but possibly more influential is that the new TVs typically hit market in March or April. This means amazing deals on last year’s models.

Ready to buy? Please let us know if you need some help!


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Beer, Wings, Football, and TV

The big game is just around the corner, and for us that means, TV TIME! Did you know that more Americans buy televisions this time of year than any other? Even more than during Black Friday. That’s right, Americans love beer, pizza, wings and FOOTBALL. If you are gearing up for the ultimate party for the big game, you need to make sure your television is the star of the show.

Unfortunately, just like pizzas, not all televisions are created the same, and not all of us have champagne budgets. You might be wondering what the top three televisions are at the low, mid and high range tiers? Well, we’ve got out picks outlined for you below.

Top 3 TVS for watching football Continue reading

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Stocking Stuffers for Tech Lovers

We look forward to this post every year. Is it our love of tech gadgets? Is it the joy of stuffing the stockings of the ones we love? Or is it that these delightful, albeit sometimes quirky, gadgets are wallet friendly? We are happy to state that it is truly a mix of all those things.

If you don’t have stockings to stuff, or you prefer not to hang your socks near an open flame, the good news continue to get better. This post is still for you and your stocking-less chimney! Maybe that is why it is one of our favorite posts of the year; it can be enjoyed with or without socks. That’s right, we have scoured the internet for a list of tech gadgets that will bring a smile to anyone’s face and a sigh of relief to your budget.

Stocking Stuffers for Tech Lovers Continue reading

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Why Black Friday Isn’t a “Good Deal”

It’s November and two things come to mind: Turkey and Black Friday shopping. A lot of folks head out Thanksgiving night and/or early Friday morning to scoop up some great deals and cross a bunch of things off their holiday shopping lists. And while we love a great deal as much as the next person, we know how important it is for electronics and smart home devices to be shopped for with a well-thought strategy.

Why Black Friday Isn't a "Good Deal"

Why Black Friday Isn’t a “Good Deal” for Electronics

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