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This is the place to find out about the latest television and stereo sales, why 4K TVs are great and which surround sound receiver is best for you. Check us out frequently for information about monthly audio/video sales and tidbits about the electronics industry.
2020…well, that was horrible. Although there were about 432 things wrong with last year, there were some great elements, particularly with audio/video products. We’re listing below our own personal “Best of 2020” list for televisions, surround sound receivers, home speakers, WiFi products, universal remote controls and more.
Best TV for 2020: Sony A9G OLED TV. This TV is the best set that we’ve ever seen at the consumer level. You may have read our prior articles about OLED technology and why it is awesome (SEE LINK HERE).
Sony has taken this OLED technology and overlaid it with their world-class color and motion processing. The end result…a picture that in our opinion, is unparalleled. P.S. You can buy Sony’s A8H OLED set for a lot less $$$ and get most of the features and performance of the A9.
Best surround sound receiver for 2020: Marantz AV8015 surround sound receiver. In the past, you would normally choose a separate pre-amp and amplifier combo when you want HIGH-PERFORMANCE out of your audio and video system. With Marantz’s new receiver option, there may be no need for this added expense. This 11.2 channel X 140 watt having, Dolby Atmos providing, 8K processing, multi-room sending, toroidal transformer possessing, 38.4 pound weighing BEAST is unbelievable. Sonos vs. Heos? It’s got Heos built-in which saves you $$$ over buying a separate music streamer. The best surround sound receiver we’ve installed.
Best tower speaker for 2020: Martin Logan XTi60. We love when we get a new product and are blown away…especially when they are speakers. Home audio speakers and audio in general have an emotional component that you don’t get out of wireless routers, TVs, etc. These speakers sound SOOOOOOOO good! This 66 pound monolith features 2 X 8” drivers, 1 X 6.5” mid-range speaker and Martin Logan’s reference 2.4” Folded Motion tweeter. More importantly, they provide a presence and presentation of music that made one of our in-house listeners simultaneously want to cry and then fight, depending on the content being played. That emotional response is what great audio and speakers can provide. We like these so much we got a pair for our San Diego showroom.
Best WiFi for 2020: Eero Pro 6. With WiFi, we have a couple features that we see as very important. 1st, it’s just got to work. We’ve worked with other WiFi companies (we’ll omit the names so we don’t get sued) where every other job is a nightmare of slow speeds, devices not working and that have no concrete resolution from the manufacturer’s tech team. Eero just works with no nonsense. We’ve got hundreds of Eero and Eero Pro 6 units in the field that attest to this. 2nd, Eero gives us a way to “see” your network remotely so we can tell you if it is up or down, if your connected device is misbehaving, etc. This is VERY important for us to be able to service our clients in a quick and efficient manner. See link HERE. Want better WiFi San Diego? Eero Pro 6 is the answer!
Best universal remote for 2020: URC universal remote. In this category, we are picking a universal remote company instead of a specific product. URC is the best universal remote company for 2020 in our opinion because: 1) Things just work. We get calls frequently from people that have universal remotes from other companies and they HATE them because their systems aren’t intuitive and their home automation products get out of sync constantly. This doesn’t happen with URC. 2) Multiple solutions: URC has universal remotes that can “talk” to your WiFi network and ones that don’t. Want a universal remote for your 93 year old grandparent to watch TV? You DON’T want something that relies on the Internet. When the Internet or WiFi is down, Grandpa can’t watch TV. URC has remotes for Grandpa and for someone that wants an Elon Musk-level of technology.
Want the best home technology in 2020? We sell all of these products. Come to Aire Theater Designs for the best TV, stereo and WiFi that you can buy. P.S. Stay tuned for our "Best Outdoor TV of 2020" and "Best Outdoor Speaker of 2020" blog...coming soon!
Airplay is now available on Roku devices!
Airplay: "AirPlay lets you share videos, photos, music, and more from Apple devices to your Apple TV, favorite speakers, and popular smart TVs." (definition from Apple’s website).
Want to take something you’ve filmed on your phone and “zap” it to your TV? Use Airplay.
Want to play something on your 4K television from a website you’ve accessed on your iPad? Use Airplay.
Want to use your GIANT 123” TV as a monitor for your iMac laptop: Use Airplay.
As you can see from the examples above, Airplay is a neat feature that can provide a lot of utility and fun. In the past, Airplaying video content to your surround sound system was only possible through an AppleTV streaming device. There are many popular streaming devices on the market (Roku, AppleTV, Fire Stick, etc.) and this was one of the reasons that people would sometimes choose an AppleTV over a Roku in a “Roku vs AppleTV” challenge.
However, Roku has just added a feature that allows you to use Airplay through their newer devices. If you have a Roku Ultra, Roku Premiere4K (we sometimes call it “Roku Orange” as it has an orange box) and their 4K Stick, you can now Airplay to Roku without having an AppleTV streaming device!
Our technician Will was nice enough to film a video below showing how to do this. Check the link below. Thanks Will!
How to Airplay to Roku Video HERE
Got questions about which streaming device is best or why you should choose AppleTV vs. Roku? We install these things every day! Give us a call and let San Diego’s Roku experts go over the pros-and-cons with you.
2020…this year has really been a bummer. One of the only good things we’ve seen from it are some of Sonos’s new products! Sonos has some fantastic new products for 2019 and 2020 that have made listening to your favorite music more impactful, easier and better-sounding than ever. Listed below are two of our favorite new Sonos products; the Sonos AMP powered streaming amp and the Sonos ARC reference soundbar.
Sonos AMP - $649.00: This piece has become our go-to when powering areas of audio, especially when these areas are separated from where all of the audio/video equipment is housed. In the past, you would need to walk to where all of the equipment was located, pick your music, push a few more buttons to make speakers in other areas play and then walk back to the area you wanted to listen in. Now, you can be in any room with speakers, touch a few buttons on your phone and you’re rocking! This is great for outdoor areas or large homes where the equipment is located in a room/closet that is far away.
The included 125 watt X 2 channel amplifier is powerful enough to drive most speakers on the market. In fact, this will make most existing audio systems sound MUCH better than they currently do. This is because many existing whole-house audio set-ups are using amplifiers that deliver 5-30 watts/channel to the speakers. This increase in power from using the Sonos AMP will in most cases, give you better bass, clearer highs and more-defined sound. NOTE: If you already have amplifiers or a surround sound receiver, you can use the Sonos PORT streaming device to provide these streaming services without the power that the AMP provides. The Sonos AMP also includes the Sonos “brain” which gives you access to almost every app known to Man such as Spotify, Pandora, iHeart, Apple Music, etc. You can use Sonos AMPs to power different areas of the house or landscape. If you opt to do this, each area can either have its own source (ex: one room could have “The Smiths” on Spotify while another room has “The Beatles” station on Pandora) OR you can touch a button and all of the areas are playing the same thing! This is great for gatherings or parties.
NOTE: When using the AMPs in large homes or in spacious backyard settings, you need to ensure that your WiFi network is sufficient to provide adequate range and bandwidth. See our article HERE that discusses a great WiFi network.
Sonos ARC - $799.00: The Sonos ARC is their new soundbar for 2020 that replaces the Sonos PLAYBAR model which was their staple for many years. This 8 woofer, 3 tweeter, 11 channel marvel sounds fantastic, allows you to play the Sonos music sources detailed above and can be incorporated into surround sound set-ups with the separate Sonos SUB subwoofer and Sonos ONE rear speakers. The limitation of most soundbars in the past is that they have frankly, sounded middling at best. Thin mid-range, minimal bass and operational issues have been the norm (the need to power cycle cheapy soundbars is very common…this is when they lock up, won’t do anything and you have to unplug them/plug them back in to get them to work). This isn't the case with Sonos. The Sonos ARC can provide GREAT sound in a soundbar format, which can be cheaper and easier to wire than a conventional surround sound system. We give it two thumbs up!
Looking to see how Sonos can enhance your life with music? Call us! We are the experts on Sonos 2020 products AND everything they've ever made! We also have Sonos on display in our by-appointment only San Diego showroom.
Sonos experts are here! We've been selling Sonos since it came out! Aire Theater Designs proudly serves all of San Diego County which includes Del Cerro, Talmadge, Kensington, Hillcrest, Mission Valley, Fashion Valley, El Cajon, Blossom Valley, La Mesa, Lake Murray, Friars, North Park, Balboa Park, Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Mission Bay, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Point Loma and Downtown San Diego. We also gladly serve those in North San Diego County which includes Carlsbad, San Marcos, Vista, Elfin Forest, Oceanside, Escondido, Encinitas, Cardiff CA, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Cielo, The Bridges, The Crosby, The Lakes, Torrey Pines, Alta Del Mar, Carmel Mountain, Carmel Valley, Coronado, Fairbanks Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe, 4S Ranch, Santaluz, La Jolla, Poway, and Rancho Bernardo. Need help in Murrieta, Wildomar, Temecula, Fallbrook or Bonsall...we're there too. House by Pardee, Shea, Lennar or other builders? We can help!
RIDICULOUS speaker and subwoofer sales are here for a limited time!
In our industry, if you can save sales tax on an item, that's a good deal. Saving 25% as you see above...that's INSANO! For a limited time, save 25% on in-stock speakers from one of our favorite speaker brands. The Dynamo series of Martin Logan subwoofers and the Motion series of bookshelf and tower speakers are all 25% OFF until May 31st!!!!!!!!
We are currently offering free delivery on Martin Logan purchases of $400.00 and up. Want to get some amazing sound and have some change left in your pocket? Give us a call. Our client Roy just took us up on a wonderful set of Motion35 bookshelf speakers and his quote "These things sound amazing!" is the common response from new owners.
Subwoofers: Dynamo400, Dynamo600, Dynamo800, Dynamo1100, Dynamo1600 - Put some boom in your room and depth in your music without the distortion found in many subwoofers.
Bookshelf/tower speakers: Motion15i, Motion35XTi, Motion20i, Motion40i, Motion60XTi (these are our favorite!) - These provide clarity and accuracy that we don't hear out of many speakers.
Center channel: Motion30i, Motion50XTi - Dollar-for-dollar, this and your subwoofer are the most important speakers in your surround sound system. Go big and bad here. You won't be saying "I can't hear what he said!" anymore!
Surround speakers: MotionFX, Motion AFX - Put yourself into the movie with amazing surround effects from these on-wall/on-table surround speakers.
Need a sound or audio expert? We are Martin Logan dealers and know the line! Aire Theater Designs proudly serves all of San Diego County which includes Del Cerro, Talmadge, Kensington, Hillcrest, Mission Valley, Fashion Valley, El Cajon, Blossom Valley, La Mesa, Lake Murray, Friars, North Park, Balboa Park, Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Mission Bay, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Point Loma and Downtown San Diego. We also gladly serve those in North San Diego County which includes Carlsbad, San Marcos, Vista, Elfin Forest, Oceanside, Escondido, Encinitas, Cardiff by the Sea, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Torrey Pines, Alta Del Mar, Carmel Mountain, Carmel Valley, Coronado, Fairbanks Ranch, Rancho Santa Fe, 4S Ranch, Santaluz, La Jolla, Poway, and Rancho Bernardo. Need help in Murrieta, Wildomar, Temecula, Fallbrook or Bonsall...we're there too. House by Pardee, Shea, Lennar or other builders? We can help!
During this strange time, we’re understandably getting more questions about computer and network health than ever before. We wanted to provide you with some technology health elements and troubleshooting tips. These are points that may help to cut down on frustration and make you more productive. This is somewhat of a long read but please check it out as we’re confident this can help now and in the future. See below:
Got an important Zoom or video call tomorrow on your computer?
Want Healthy web browsing?
Random tips and opinions
My computer stopped connecting to the Internet the other day. All of my other wired devices were working as well as my WiFi devices. Therefore, the simplest thing was to replace my Ethernet cable. TA-DA! My computer was working again! There was no reason that the cable should have gone defective…but it did. The point is that most problems are fixed by doing the simple stuff first.
We hope that this information helps you to become more Internet-savvy and that your devices behave. Need further help in San Diego with WiFi, computer troubleshooting or electronics...give us a call!
Wattbox IP power piece to provide easy system resets and network monitoring
Luxul WiFi access point, wireless controller and router providing GREAT WiFi
We get calls frequently from clients that haven’t dealt with us before that go something like this:
“Our WiFi only works in certain portions of the house.”
“We seem to have problems all the time with WiFI not working.”
“Our Internet keeps dropping out.”
“Our Netflix keeps pausing.”
We LOVE these calls as it lets us provide these new customers with reliable WiFi and Internet connectivity that just works. Here’s a story from one our recent Projects Of The Day.
A client was referred to us and their long story-short was:
A friend technician had put in a high-end wired/WiFi network for them
The WiFi dropped out constantly and there were areas throughout the property where WiFi just wouldn’t connect.
These issues were a work hindrance when they tried to accomplish tasks from the home and were a nuisance for the family when they all tried to use their gaming systems, iPads and entertainment devices.
We looked at their set-up and recommended and installed 3 components.
The benefits to these specific components for them and for MANY of our clients are:
Single WiFi network with tech support and remote compatibility: A network that acts as a SINGLE entity is important so you don’t have to change networks on your device as you walk around your house and property. Network product with tech support is important so we can call someone if odd issues come up. Many of today’s solar devices and DIY equipment can act in a strange manner and having a tech department that you can talk to is important in solving many issues that arise from this gear. One of the most popular networking brands out there has literally NO support. This client previously had this brand which is one of the reasons they were never able to uncover some of their issues before they met us.
Remote visibility tools: We see this as the most important element for us and for you in order to ensure reliability and satisfaction. These tools let us “see” in real time if your network is up, down, slow or if certain devices are attached to the network. Ex: With this client, we were able to see remotely that their network had 79 drops in service within 2 days AFTER we put the equipment in. Normally we see 0-10 drops in a 30 day period. This let us know that the issues were from the cable company and we then facilitated getting this handled. This client had dealt with years of bad Internet and we were able to get to the bottom of it right away. Our devices also let us see your connectivity at any given time. Netflix not working? We can let you know if it is a problem with the modem, the router, the switch or the device providing Netflix and take you fixing this quickly and easily. We offer these tools from Domotz and OVRC.
IP piece with triggered on/off: It’s great when you don’t have to deal with problems at all and this piece fixes many issues automatically. Many of today’s devices need to be power-cycled from time-to-time to get them to behave. However, unless you know which electronic gadget to unplug and the order and timing that is needed for this, it can be frustrating to get your Internet working again. Our 3 and 5 port IP piece AUTOMATICALLY resets your modem, router and associated pieces in the correct order any time it can’t get out to the Internet. This gets your Internet working again and in most cases, you wouldn’t even know this happened! We get a notification on our side that lets us know this happened and this ensures that you know there were potentially issues. When Internet pieces are starting to go defective, we see lots of disconnects and this helps us head off any catastrophic drops that might come at inopportune times (Ex: Big presentation due that you need to work on, work meeting on Skype, Friday Movie Night, etc.).
To recap, if you want the best network available that is reliable, covers your property with WiFi and that makes troubleshooting easy or non-existent, you need:
We supply all of the equipment, provide the design and make it all work so you don’t have to worry about the mumbo-jumbo above. Want the best WiFi available for you and your family? Start with San Diego WiFi experts at Aire Theater Designs!