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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!
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!
Eero won't work with your new device? We've solved that one before.
Does Eero not work with your new:
Baby monitor or pet cameras?
Smart home technology?
Here's why it doesn't work and how to fix it.
Eero is great product and we love it. See the article HERE why it's one of our favorite offerings. HOWEVER, there are some limitations to Eero and it's why we also have better WiFi offerings for certain applications. Eero emits both 2.4Ghz and 5Ghz wireless networks and the way their product works is that your device will "see" 5Ghz until you get out-of-range. At that point, connected devices "see" the 2.4Ghz WiFi network. As a refresher, 5Ghz is faster than 2.4Ghz but it doesn't propagate as far in space.
Here's the problem, many of today's inexpensive DIY devices are cheaply constructed or engineered and as a result, the initial set-up app (or sometimes the device itself) only operates on the 2.4Ghz band. In most cases when you are trying to set these devices up with Eero, you are in range of the 5Ghz network and not the 2.4Ghz network that the device can attach to. As a result, the app from your smart device may display "no network", "set-up failed", etc. You can fix this in one of two methods:
This is an issue that has perplexed MANY people. However, this is a simple one for us. Want help from network professionals? Call San Diego's WiFi and Eero experts!
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!
Want better WiFi San Diego? Eero Pro is the answer!
What are 3 things that we do as humans in the year 2018? In our opinion, these are eat, sleep and rely on WiFi. Unfortunately, many of us aren’t doing too well with #3 and have to deal with BAD WiFi coverage, drops in WiFi signal and slooooooooooooow playback with Netflix and other streaming applications. In the past, getting solid and reliable WiFi could cost thousands of dollars. We’ve become fans recently of a newer WiFi company that may have finally gotten it right. This company is called Eero and they occupy a new place in our WiFi line-up.
For our clients, we want WiFi to be robust, to be easy to manage and to be reliable. You may have read our earlier article on Apple vs. Eero where we weren’t big fans of Eero’s products:
Eero recently came out with a Generation 2 line-up of products and we were anxious to test them out. There were some things we liked about Eero previously but at that time, we felt that they weren’t quite ready for prime time. Present day: Regarding our 3 needs above:
Robust: We hooked up one of the Eero Pro WiFi router units in our showroom and set it up as our main router. We then walked out our front door, travelled downstairs and plugged a 2nd unit into an AC outlet. We then started walking outside our business wondering just how far we could get from our store while maintaining good WiFi speeds and coverage. We got about 80 YARDS from our office and still had decent speeds. This was way above our expectation and got us excited about further testing.
Easy to manage: All network products lose a WiFi signal or drop connection with your wired Ethernet network from time-to-time. This is just a part of WiFi life. However, until you get into BETTER>BEST level WiFi products (this means $$$ in the thousands), there isn’t a way to easily determine what products are working and which aren’t. If you’re not a techy guy/gal, this can be very frustrating. However, Eero has solved this! Eero provides an app that allows us as WiFi professionals to monitor your network and to see if any units aren’t functioning! Here’s an instance of what happened the other day. Example: I got a notification the other day that one of our clients had an issue with their WiFi network. This was AUTOMATICALLY sent from Eero. I called this client and let her know that one of her 3 Eero units was off-line. After being amazed for a minute or two, she mentioned that they had unplugged it while they were painting. She also mentioned that her WiFi wasn’t great in the other areas and now she knew why. This type of visibility allows us to provide much better service to our clients.
Reliability: What do you do when Eero units need to be power-cycled? You do NOTHING! As long as it isn’t the piece wired to the modem, the Eero units power-cycle themselves AUTOMATICALLY! Take it from someone that answers MANY phone calls every day with the same response; “Unplug it…wait 30 seconds and then plug it back in”…this is extremely helpful to ensure that you as a client have a reliable and non-frustrating Internet experience. See our link below about power-cycling.
After our time with Eero...we’re sold and we’re now dealers. If you want better WiFi, let us help you make the right choice regarding your WiFi products and installation. NOTE: These things don’t install themselves. Our network specialists can make this EASY for you. Life’s too short for bad WiFi…give us a call. Aire Theater Designs – Better audio, video and WiFi.
Luxul WiFi Router, Switch and Wireless Controller Makes for GREAT WiFi!
We got another call today from a client that was not pleased with his WiFi performance and wanted to know how to get better coverage. After talking for a bit, we realized that any of our WiFi solutions would provide a robust, fast WiFi signal for his home and devices. Unfortunately, the cable company WiFi solutions are quite lackluster and don't provide the range, speed and quality that literally every one of our models do. Want better WiFi San Diego? Read on...to ensure great WiFi performance in your house:
1) CHOOSE A BETTER WIFI ROUTER
The wireless router supplied by the cable company is rarely a good choice. Selecting a better router from companies like Apple, Eero, Luxul or Ruckus will make a BIG difference in your range, speed and capabilities. Which is best? That's where our WiFi experts come in. We factor in elements such as the square footage that we need to cover, number of current devices that need WiFi, plans for the future and building materials when selecting the perfect piece for you. Additionally, quality routers make for a quality network as long as they are optimized correctly. Read on.
2) OPTIMIZE YOUR NETWORK
As more and more devices become wireless, all of these competing devices make it increasingly difficult to get a better WiFi signal. This can cause websites to take a long time to load, streaming services like Netflix or Amazon to drop out or other computer issues. Did you also know that your neighbor's network and devices can affect how things work in your home? Our WiFi technicians are trained to inspect your network to ensure that problems such as competing wireless channels, 2.4 Ghz noise, insufficient network speeds from the provider, etc. are dealt with promptly and accurately so that your WiFi network makes you love technology...not hate it!
Is your wireless network driving you insane? Let us help. We solve network and WiFi problems every day for our clients. Aire Theater Designs is San Diego's choice for better WiFi and wireless solutions.
Want better WiFi San Diego? Aire Theater Designs proudly serves all of San Diego County which includes Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, 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, Imperial Beach, Pt 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, 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.
Did you know that 99.99999999999999% of the population in San Diego has bad WiFi? OK, maybe there aren't that many 9s. However, many people curse daily at their household WiFi when Netflix gets slow, you venture into a WiFi "dead zone" or on-line videos keep buffering. Fortunately, your WiFi saviors have arrived in the shape of Aire Theater Designs! We are San Diego's WiFi experts and help our clients on a daily basis to navigate WiFi smoothly.
Before we bring on any new product, we make sure that we test it extensively in many different environments to ensure that it lives up to the reliability and performance that we expect from all of our product lines. For a few years, Apple's EXTREME router has occupied a GOOD slot in our GOOD>BETTER>BEST WiFi and networking hierarchy. However, we've been intrigued by Araknis Network products and their WiFi solutions and have finally put in the time to test them in both commercial and residential environments. It's time for the Araknis vs. Apple face-off! (HINT: Araknis wins! See below).
Eero vs Apple...who will be victorious?
Let's face it...98% of people have bad WiFi. You may be one of these. Do you have areas of your house where accessing the Internet gets s....l....o....w? What about rooms where Netflix doesn't work and just keeps starting and stopping? If you do, there is a new player in the industry that claims to fix these issues. This company named Eero is advertising a seamless WiFi product that allows for high speeds throughout your entire home. As many of our clients know, we here at Aire Theater Designs believe NOTHING that advertisements portray and that we only bring in products that are tried-and-true and that have undergone thorough testing by our team. We decided to put Eero through these tests after an offer was made to bring on the line. Here's the scoop.
In our line of networking products, Eero would occupy a GOOD position in our GOOD>BETTER>BEST line-up. We decided to compare it to Apple, which currently resides in this space. We then did some head-to-head testing in both a residential and commercial space. Here's how Eero graded out.
Rancho Santa Fe High-Speed Internet
If you live in Rancho Santa Fe and want high-speed Internet, you know that the Internet speeds enjoyed by 99% of San Diego aren't available to you. In fact, many areas of Rancho Santa Fe have maximum speeds of only 3 Mbps! To the uninitiated, think of this as miles-per-hour. Most areas of San Diego get anywhere from 25-200 Mpbs (megabits per second), depending on the area. Imagine if you had to drive everywhere at 3 miles-per-hour...pretty frustrating? This is what many residents of Rancho Santa Fe have had to deal with for years. This makes things like streaming Netflix, Amazon Prime or using most basic forms of home automation and universal remote an impossibility.
The good news is that a contract has just been signed with the R.S.F. Covenant that will bring high-speed Internet to the area. The bad news is that it is realistically years away. However, we here at Aire Theater Designs, Rancho Santa Fe's technology company have found some options for you.
1) HughesNet: This company offers solutions that provide speeds of up to 5X what ATT provides (the local Internet company).
2) Exede: This company offers solutions that provide speeds of up to 8X what ATT provides.
Have questions about what solution is right for you? We have helped clients in the area for years with their audio, video, home automation and Internet and WiFi options. Give us a call and let us assist with your high-speed Internet needs.
Rancho Santa Fe's home automation and High Speed Internet resource proudly serves all of San Diego County especially the communities and cities of Central San Diego County which includes Del Cerro, Allied Gardens, Talmadge, Kensington, Hillcrest, Mission Valley, Fashion Valley, La Mesa, Lake Murray, Friars, North Park, Balboa Park, Clairemont, Kearny Mesa, Mission Bay, Mission Beach, Pacific Beach, Ocean Beach, Imperial Beach, Pt Loma and Downtown San Diego. We also gladly serve those in North San Diego County which includes Carlsbad, San Marcos, Vista, Elfin Forest, Oceanside, Olivenhain, Escondido, Encinitas, Cardiff by the Sea, Solana Beach, Del Mar, Rancho Santa Fe, 4S Ranch, Santaluz, La Jolla, Poway and Rancho Bernardo. We aren't forgetting about our East County friends in El Cajon, Blossom Valley, Lakeside and Alpine. Need help in Murrieta, Wildomar, Temecula, Fallbrook or Bonsall...we're there too