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BTZ Audio and Video talks about your surround sound setup

Surround Sound Setup

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After you’ve read our blog post on the surround sound setup, you’ll learn: 

  • What components you’ll need for the best surround setup 
  • How to set up surround sound for the ideal audio experience 
  • Where you can turn for help with your surround sound setup 

You’ve just set up your brand new, 8K HDTV. The visuals are crisp, with whiter whites and blacker blacks than you’ve ever seen on a television screen. Everything’s perfect until you start to turn up the volume of the TV’s built-in speakers. Then you turn it up some more. And a little more. Even at maximum volume, the sound is tinny, wimpy, and nowhere near impressive. 

This is a problem that newbies to the home theater world encounter all the time. No matter how beautiful the picture is, a TV’s built-in speakers are not nearly powerful enough to create the full sensory experience you desire. 

Luckily, building a sound system doesn’t have to be difficult. With a few high-quality components, you can be well on your way to living the surround sound lifestyle. And, even if you’re not sure how exactly to set up your audio experience, you can always rely on the experts at BTZ Audio Video to provide the best surround sound setup for your home. 

Surround Sound Home Theater Experience 

Before we launch into the nitty-gritty, we should probably define what surround sound is and why it adds to the home theater experience. A surround sound system uses multiple speakers and audio channels to create a complete 360-degree audio experience. When the system is properly installed and tuned, it’ll feel like you’re in the middle of the action, with sounds coming at you from all directions. 

This differs greatly from a stereo system in which two speakers on both ends of the TV (or built-in the TV) emit sound from only one direction. You won’t feel as immersed in the audio experience with a stereo system as you would with surround sound. Even if you have a high-quality soundbar, the sound quality may be good, but you’ll still feel like you’re watching plain, ol’ TV instead of truly living the director-intended experience. 

Surround systems come in multiple configurations. While stereo is often referred to as 2.1 (as in, two speakers and one subwoofer), surround sound systems can come in 5.1, 7.1, or 9.1 set-ups. While it’s true that the more speakers you have, the more immersive the sound will be, not everyone has the required space for such a configuration. So, most people opt for the 5.1 set-up. 

Surround Sound Computer Speakers 

Of course, each speaker isn’t necessarily playing the same sounds. You can even hear this in stereo setups, where the left channel may be emitting different sounds than the right one. So, the very first step in any how to set up surround sound guide should be a list of the components you’ll need: 

  • Left and right speakers (either bookshelf speakers or floor standing ones) 
  • Central channel speaker 
  • Surround speakers 
  • Elevation or in-ceiling speakers (if you’re going for a 9.1 set-up or want to take advantage of Dolby Atmos) 
  • Subwoofer 
  • A/V receiver 

Each of these plays a proper role in providing the immersive audio and visual experience. The A/V receiver, though listed last here, is perhaps the most essential component as it directs sounds to the correct speakers.  

The central speaker typically handles dialogue or actions occurring directly in front of you on the screen. Music and sound effects are often played through the left and right speakers while the surround speakers handle moving sounds (such as an airplane rushing by you) or other ambient noise. Your subwoofer will emit low-frequency sounds, such as explosions or other audio that requires deep bass. 

There’s also the Dolby Atmos set-up for those looking to take the audio experience to the next level. These speakers are elevated or installed directly into the ceiling to provide a full sphere of sound. These types of set-ups are also listed differently, typically with a second decimal in the configuration (such as 5.1.2.). 

As technology progresses, you may want to consider wireless surround sound speaker configurations. These systems are an excellent option for those who don’t want to do any drilling or want a sleek, wireless set-up. However, wireless technology can often lead to lagging audio. There are ways to fix this with newer televisions, but it will always be tough to beat the fidelity of a wired system. 

How to Setup Surround Sound 

Beyond the larger equipment, you’ll also need specific wires and cables to maximize the audio performance of your surround sound system. First and foremost, you’ll need HDMI cables that help connect the source of the sound (such as your Blu-ray player or video game console) to the output. HDMI cords are standard today, so you should be able to find inexpensive options both online or in-stores. If you have a 4K video set-up, you must get HDMI cords specifically rated for 4K video. 

You’ll also need speaker connections to help get the sound from the central receiver to each speaker. Again, you want to make sure you’re purchasing high-quality components, or you may find that the sound quality is lacking. There are guides online that can walk you through how to connect speaker wire, as it isn’t always intuitive, and a bad connection can lead to audio latency or other sound-related concerns. 

Optimal Surround Sound Setup 

No two rooms are the same. Even if the specific dimensions are similar, furniture and other things in the room can affect the acoustics. That’s why it’s not enough just to set up a surround sound system; you must also optimize it for the room in which the system sits. This is perhaps the most painstaking process of the surround sound set-up, as you may need to try multiple configurations to finally get the best sound for your home theater. 

However, there are basic guidelines that will make it easier to set up surround sound. First, you’ll need to look around the room your home theater sits in and identify potential sound traps or reflective surfaces. Hardwood, for instance, will bounce sound around and could create an echo-like effect. Rugs or thick curtains can help mitigate this and keep the audio from moving around the room. 

Additionally, remove anything that stands between you and a speaker. Lamps, plants, and furniture can make it difficult to hear what the speaker is emitting. This, of course, ruins the audio experience. 

Placing the speakers in the right place is also essential. The central speaker should be directly in front of you, with the left speaker to the left and the right speaker to the right. The surround speakers should be behind you and off to the side to help create a full 360-degrees of sound. 

BTZ Audio Video is Here to Help 

If you’re struggling with finding the right equipment, the right set-up, or just prefer to have the experts take over, BTZ Audio Video is here to help. Our team of audio and video technicians can help design and install the right surround system for your needs. By sourcing the components and installation from one team of experts, you’ll save money and reduce frustration, all while giving a boost to your home theater experience. 

Call us today at 972-234-9292 to add immersive, high-quality sound to your home theater.

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BTZAudioVideoComputerSpeakerSetupGuide

Computer Speaker Setup Guide

By | Blog

As you read about setting up your speakers, you’ll learn:

  • How to choose the right output for the best gaming experience
  • How to choose the best placement for your speakers
  • How to connect the speakers to your computer

If you want to have the ultimate gaming experience, you need to immerse yourself in sound. The audio from your computer alone may be sufficient for you to hear the sounds of the game, but you need additional equipment if you want to enhance your gaming experience. Getting the high-quality audio you want involves more than just connecting speakers to the back of your computer or investing in new headphones. You need to know how to set up speakers on a PC to get the best gaming experience. Here’s what you need to know about computer speaker setup.

Invest in External Speakers

Your computer speakers aren’t designed to sound great. You can hear well enough to know what is going on in your game, but if you want a truly immersive experience, you need to connect external speakers to your computer. If you wave an entire room dedicated to gaming, you can choose to set speakers throughout the space for a surround-sound effect. However, two speakers are usually sufficient for enhancing the quality of your audio, and because they fit easily onto a desk, they are the most common option for improving your gaming system. Choose high-quality speakers that connect to your computer via an audio cable.

Choose the Right Output

There are three ways to output sound from your computer to your speakers. Choose the best method for your specific setup, and remember that when connecting external speakers to desktop computers, it is important to use high-quality audio cables securely connected to each port. Before you can start setting up your speakers, choose how you will output sound from your computer by analyzing the following options.

  • USB: The best way to output sound to your speakers is to use a USB cable. This bypasses all of the audio from the computer so that it comes strictly from your speakers, resulting in crystal clear sound. However, for a USB cable to be an option, you must choose speakers or a DAC with a USB port.
  • Toslink digital: If your speakers or DAC do not have a USB port, you can use the Toslink digital output from your computer. The sound will not be quite as clear and immersive as if the speakers were connected via a USB cable, but the difference in quality is minimal,
  • Mini plug connection: You can use a mini-plug connection if you have analog speakers. This option offers the poorest quality of the three output options as it doesn’t divert audio from the computer but rather directs it to the speakers to make it louder. However, using a mini-plug connection is still a good way to enhance your gaming experience because it drastically improves the quality of the audio that comes from your PC.

Make Secure Connections

Regardless of which type of output you choose to use, you need to run wires from your computer to powered speakers. Ensure the USB cables, Toslink digital connectors, or mini plug connections are secured tightly to both the speakers and the computer. Otherwise, the audio that comes from the speakers may not be clear. When running speaker wire, do not let any stray wire touch the speaker on the other terminal, and make sure you use the same type of material to connect both terminals to the computer.

If you have wireless speakers, you have the option of using software to divert sound from your PC to an external stereo receiver. Install a USB driver from the speaker or amp manufacturer and then open your audio settings. You should see a list of audio options. Choose the appropriate speaker and mark it as the appropriate avenue for audio out. This diverts sound from the computer to the speakers.

Set the Speakers in Place

Once you have your desktop speakers hooked up, you need to find the perfect placement to give you the best audio quality. The right placement varies depending upon the size of your gaming space, so before you can choose the right speaker setup, you need to know exactly how you plan to use the space. To get the best audio experience, the speakers should be set up in a way that forms a triangular shape with your ears, but the spacing depends on how your desk is set up.

If you have a gaming room and want subversive sound, you should use a 2/3 ratio to determine the best spacing for your speakers. For people who sit nine feet from their screens, speakers should be placed six to nine feet apart. Make sure the speakers are at least six feet away from you. This setup provides a surround-sound experience that immerses you in any game.

The process is a little simpler if you only want immersive sound at your desk. Instead of placing speakers around your room, you only need to place them on your desk. The best placement for this setup is an equilateral triangle. Use each of the speakers as a corner of the triangle, and use your ears as the third. Place each speaker the same distance away from your ears and the same distance apart. For example, if you sit two feet from your computer, there should be two feet of distance between the speakers. There should also be two feet of distance between your ears and each speaker. This equilateral distance provides the best sound quality.

If you want to boost your sound quality even more, you can invest in tilted speaker stands. When you sit at your desk in a chair, your desktop speakers are naturally aimed at your chest. While this still allows you to hear the audio well, it is not quite as clear as it would be if the speakers were aimed directly at your ears. Tilted speaker stands attach to the base of your audio equipment and angle it up so that it points directly at your ears rather than at your chest.

Improving the quality of your gaming experience sounds difficult, but it doesn’t have to be hard. Taking just a few simple steps, such as tilting your speaker or changing the spacing between them, can drastically improve the quality of your audio. If you use all of these guidelines, you can get an immersive sound to have the ultimate gaming experience. 

You don’t have to settle for using the built-in speaker in your computer to enjoy the audio in your favorite game. Learning how to set up external speakers for the best audio experience is a learning process. Still, if you complete all of the steps listed in this guide, you can have the ultimate gaming experience with fantastic audio. Let BTZ Audio Video, LLC help you create the perfect setup for your gaming space. Contact us today to discuss your audio needs and get started on getting the right speakers installed. Then, we can help you create a customized sound system to always have a great gaming experience.

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BTZAudioSoundbarVSSurroundSound

Soundbar vs. Surround Sound

By | Blog

As technology advances, televisions have gotten lighter, larger and have screens that display a stunning kaleidoscope of colors. Unfortunately, the factory audio often doesn’t match the picture’s brilliance. If you’re looking for a way to elevate the sound to match the picture quality of your new TV, chances are you’re considering a home theater system with surround sound or a soundbar. There are pros and cons for each. The one that fits your needs best depends on a variety of factors, such as:

  • Room size
  • Existing technology
  • Budget
  • Personal preference

Soundbars are a hot trend, but they may or may not be the right choice for you, depending on these factors. 

Soundbar vs. Surround Sound

Before deciding between a soundbar and surround sound, it’s essential to understand the difference between the two. Soundbars come in various shapes and sizes, from small, slim models to larger units that are thicker and longer. Each contains several small, built-in speakers, which can deliver a wide sound field. The larger the soundbar, the more speakers are incorporated, the wider the sound field. As a result, you can achieve more sound depth.

Soundbars come with amplifiers and connection options for your television. Depending on the unit, it may also come with a built-in subwoofer. You can mount it on the wall under the TV or place it in the entertainment center.

Surround sound is what you get with a home theater system. These systems typically consist of five or more speakers placed around the room and a subwoofer on the floor at the front, pointing toward listeners. This configuration gives viewers 360-degree, three-dimensional sound. Once you decide to upgrade the sound, it’s time to determine what system works best for your setup.

Soundbar Pros

The compact size is one of the primary benefits of a soundbar. Although it’s generally larger than a standard speaker, the all-in-one design gives you a lot of bang for your buck. You don’t have to worry about finding space for the speakers or placing the subwoofer from a home theater in an out-of-the-way location. Some models simulate surround sound by effectively bouncing sound waves around the room. However, the size is not the only benefit to soundbars.

Easy Installation

If you rent your home or don’t want to deal with the wires involved with placing speakers in the various positions, a soundbar may be the right choice. For rooms with very little extra space, the compact design is ideal. Soundbars attach to the television with an HDMI or optical cable. Some models can act as an HDMI hub when connected to a streaming device, cable box, or gaming system. There are HDMI ports on the soundbar, so you don’t have to get behind the television to plug in your devices. Many of today’s options are operated via WiFi instead of being wired, which means connecting via a device such as remote control or smartphone is fast and easy.

Affordable Models

You don’t have to make a significant investment to improve the audio quality of your entertainment center noticeably. Although some of the best soundbars can cost a thousand dollars or more, you can markedly enhance the sound, starting at about $100. Top surround sound systems can cost tens of thousands of dollars, making soundbars remarkably affordable in comparison.

Surround Sound Pros

Technology is a wonderful thing, and while soundbars can upgrade your electronic devices’ audio, nothing compares to authentic surround sound. The top benefit of a home theater system is sound quality. When the speakers are positioned correctly throughout the room, it puts you in the center of all the action. Like being on a soundstage, you can hear the roar of the crowd surrounding you at a ball game and hear the creak of a door behind you during a thriller. These systems offer the immersion of a cinematic experience. While this benefit is the most apparent, additional benefits may outweigh the cost.

Customizable features

Unlike the soundbar, which sends sound from only one location, you can place the surround sound speakers based on the room’s layout and personal preference. Mount them on the walls or ceiling, put them behind the sofa or wherever you get the best results. Home theater systems have several components, which you can often upgrade and add later.

Many brands use the same type of connection for their components. Depending on your needs and preferences, you can either stay with the same manufacturer or add those from other brands. Using the speakers from the same manufacturer helps you maintain a uniform look. If your home theater encompasses multiple rooms, you can add the style and type of speakers you want while keeping the style of each room.

Flexibility

Home theater systems with surround sound use receivers as the primary connection point. Even if your TV has only two HDMI ports, the receiver typically has several, making it simple to connect several audio-video devices, cable box, and speakers. Receivers that have multiple zone capabilities allow you to connect additional sets of speakers. Sync the audio throughout different parts of your home, even outside. Play your favorite movie or music as you move from one room to another without pressing pause or missing a beat.

Soundbars vs. Receivers

If you have a surround sound system with a failing receiver or need to downsize, you may be wondering if you can fill the gaps with a soundbar. A receiver processes the surround sound properties, digital sound features, and video data from the home theater system and sends it to the right equipment. If you have an active soundbar, you may not need a separate receiver. This type of equipment has a built-in surround sound processor. It acts as a self-contained amplifier and receiver and doesn’t need additional hardware.

Set up the active soundbar by connecting to your TV through the component port and turn it on. The upside is that you’ll have fewer wires to hide and achieve a digital surround sound effect with a single speaker. The downside is that the soundbar you want may not be compatible with the other speakers, and the sound quality may not be as good as it could be with a receiver. 

Home Theater vs. Surround Sound vs. Soundbars

The decision about enhancing your entertainment lifestyle may come down to how much space you have available. A small apartment or cozy family room may not have the space for a home theater system, which can also be expensive. You can emulate surround sound with an active soundbar and wireless digital speakers. While it may not have the same quality as a high-end home theater setup, it can be a huge step up from the speakers that come with your television.

If your budget is small, a soundbar is a good way to get started toward a home theater system. Without spending a lot, you can enhance the audio quality of your television and gaming devices. At BTZ Audio Video, we carry a broad range of devices to meet your entertainment needs, whether you’re streaming the latest Epic game, Hollywood action flick, or looking for the best big-game experience from home. Contact us to learn more about how you can get the best equipment for your space and budget.

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BTZAudioVideoWhatIsChannelCenterSpeaker

What Is A Channel Center Speaker?

By | Blog

Installing a surround sound speaker system in your Fort Worth, TX, home sweetens the experience of listening to music and watching movies. For a truly rich indulgence in the aural, a front center speaker is a must, but precisely what is this type of speaker, and why does it improve your enjoyment? This article will break down several key points:

  • A brief overview of how surround sound works and why it enriches viewing experiences
  • What is a channel center speaker and the role it plays in a surround sound system
  • Phantom centers versus physical center speakers and what makes a physical speaker more desirable

What Is the Benefit of Surround Sound?

Before we get into center speakers specifically, let’s understand the surround sound system as a whole. How does it work? Why does it matter in movie and gaming experiences?

How Surround Sound Works

Sound systems transmit through what are known as channels, and each channel directs its sound to the corresponding speaker. When audio engineers mix the soundtrack of a movie or game, they can independently adjust each channel’s volume regarding music, dialog, and sound effects. This influences a listener’s perceptions about distance and positional relationships between that person and what’s happening on-screen, thus replicating certain real-world perspectives. A surround sound system takes advantage of the channels by strategically positioning multiple speakers around a media room, creating an immersive experience like you are physically in the movie or game you are playing.

As an example, if the movie camera is trained on a particular person in the right-hand foreground and someone in the left-hand background of the scene calls out to that person, the second character’s dialogue may route exclusively through your front left speaker. This gives the impression that you, like the foreground person, are standing afar and to the right of the background person. In playing a game, surround sound might even save your virtual life, alerting you to which direction to turn when you hear offscreen sounds such as gunfire.

In short, encircling your media room with several speakers creates depth and variation in the sounds, mentally sucking you into the setting. The deeper you are pulled in, the easier it is to get lost in the movie or game and suspend disbelief, tuning out distractions in your immediate environment and perceiving more nuance from your digital territory.

How To Achieve Surround Sound

To achieve surround sound, your Fort Worth home’s setup can include as few as three speakers or as many as seven, plus at least one subwoofer in each scenario. If someone references “5.1 surround sound,” they mean that the system consists of five speakers and one subwoofer. If a system is 5.2, it includes two subwoofers. Note, however, that a system with fewer than three speakers is stereo (dual) sound, not surround, thus the need for three or more.

What Is a Center Speaker and Why Is It Important?

Now that we understand more about surround sound systems as a whole, what is a center speaker, and how does it fit into that picture? Simply put, the center speaker is an integral component to achieving an optimal “auditory perspective” from a reproduction. Emulating real auditory perspectives is one of the factors that transform artificial facsimiles into realistic and engrossing sensations.

Auditory perspective has been scientifically studied extensively since as early as the 1930s. The goal is to better understand the relationship between the position of the listener and that of live performers and then to convincingly reproduce that relationship through a speaker system. To that end, in 1933, a performance by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra was transmitted from Philadelphia to Washington D.C., and “the effect upon the listening audience in the distant hall was essentially the same as though the orchestra had been behind the stage curtains there instead of miles away in another city.” This experiment used three channels to achieve that effect, and history was made.

In a system with three front speakers, the center speaker brings it all together, enabling a smoother transition from left to the right speaker and creating an anchor point for the listener. It is also the speaker through which most of the on-screen dialogue travels. It provides greater depth to the sound. If a center speaker is absent, such as in a stereo speaker system, the centering effect must instead be replicated by the left and right speakers, which is known as a “phantom” center.

Is a Phantom Center Good Enough?

While phantom centers can partially compensate for the lack of a center speaker by mirroring the audio from the left speaker to the right one and vice versa, it is an imperfect solution. For a phantom center to perform effectively, several factors must work together perfectly to achieve the desired sound from only two speakers.

Soundwaves

First, the soundwaves of the left and right speakers must have an unobstructed reach to each other and the listener. Placing them set back to either side of an obstacle, such as a television or entertainment stand, disrupts the soundwaves. As the sound waves bounce off the obstacle, they don’t blend effectively, and this can lead to a subtle perception of imbalance or disjointedness in the audio.

Synchronicity

Second, the two speakers must be perfectly synchronized. Because identical audio must emanate from both speakers simultaneously if it is to form the perception of a center speaker, the process relies on perfect synchronization. If the timing falters even a little, it becomes distracting and, again, disjointed, shattering the realism.

Location

Third, the location of the listener is consequential, too. The listener must sit precisely at the center of the axis between the left and right speaker to enjoy the full listening experience, generally referred to as the “sweet spot.” If position strays from that spot, then the audio quality degrades, creating a feeling of imbalance and losing some of the frequencies and tonality responsible for the richness of sound. Without richness and balance, realism is again reduced or lost.

Is a Physical Center Speaker Better?

For an audience of one whose seat is directly in the middle of the media space, a phantom center may be acceptable. For everyone else, installing a dedicated center speaker as part of your system creates a wider sweet spot, adding flexibility to where you can sit or how many can join in while still enjoying the full range of audio.

One other advantage a dedicated center speaker has over a phantom center is fine-tuned dialog volume for easier comprehension. The center speaker channel focuses heavily on dialog. This makes it possible to independently adjust the dialog when there is a separate center speaker, whereas dialog adjustment may be minimal or nonexistent in a system reliant upon a phantom center. Taking all the above advantages together, a physical center speaker offers an overall superior listening experience for the audience versus a phantom center.

When you’re ready to start installing your next audiovisual system in Fort Worth, contact BTZ Audio Video, LLC for a personalized touch that you won’t get anywhere else. We work directly with you to ensure that you receive the system you want while fitting it to the space and budget you have.

Featured Image: G_O_S/Shutterstock

By P11irom-min

How to Choose the Best Home Theater Screen

By | Blog

One of the best features of a home theater system is the screen. Whether you’re projecting a screen size that rivals your local movie theater or choosing a wall-mounted TV that fits your budget, find out how to select the best home theater screen in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Create an entertainment system that helps you unwind at the end of the day or ramp up your next weekend gathering with the help of BTZ Audio Video.

How to Compare Screen Sizes?

Your home theater screen can range significantly depending on the size of your room. While a bigger screen always sounds like a great idea, it’s important to match your screen size with your viewing distance, room size, and pixel count. A slightly smaller screen and a higher resolution may be better for your home theater environment and your budget.

Don’t let a salesperson at your local TV store talk you into a massive, costly screen. It may be worth investing in a high-quality TV or a more affordable option that offers a comparative viewing experience. Our team at BTZ Audio Video won’t try to oversell costly items, but we’ll work with you to create a room and experience that fits your goals.

Screen Measurements

Most TV screens fit within a typical range of 32 inches to 85 inches. This measurement is taken by measuring the screen diagonally. Thankfully, most manufacturers also include length and width measurements. Our team at BTZ Audio Video uses these screen measurements to make sure your chosen TV or projector system will not only fit in your home theater room but is sized correctly for your room and viewing distance.

Screen measurements are a big selling point for screens, but they aren’t the only important figure. Don’t get caught up in a massive, 85-inch TV sales pitch, but work with our team to ensure you receive the best screen for your situation. You’ll need to factor in your room’s total arrangement and a number of other factors, which is why it’s crucial to work with a dedicated audio/video design team before making a TV purchase.

Projector Screen Capabilities

Many home theater designs use a projection screen. Projector screens have many benefits over traditional TV screens. Here are just a few advantages you can enjoy when you switch from a TV to a projector:

  • Larger available screen sizes
  • Durable, discreet screen
  • Improved resolution
  • Custom sizing available

Typical projector sizes range from 50 inches to 120 inches. This means you can create a screen that’s larger than most flatscreen TV units. In most cases, it’s also more affordable to choose a projector when working with large dimensions. Consider the pros and cons of a projector with your BTZ Audio Video technician for more information.

A professionally installed projector is mounted on your ceiling or wall with a retractable projector screen on the viewing wall. These screens are easy to roll up in a multi-purpose room. Rolling up your screen is also a great benefit if you have young children or pets in your home.

Just like a flatscreen TV, you’ll want to size your projector accordingly and review resolution options. Installing a projection system requires more audio/video expertise, so be sure to work with our team for hassle-free installation.

Viewing Angles and Room Size

You may want to get out a calculator and tape measure for this feature of your home theater system. Sizing your TV screen appropriately requires a few measurements:

  • Viewing angle
  • Room size
  • Distance to a primary viewing location

Optimal home theater viewing requires a viewing angle no more than 30 or 40 degrees. Finding the right size of TV requires taking the measurement from your TV to your primary viewing location and using a multiplier. For example, the multiplier for sitting close to your TV at a 36-degree field of vision is .746. Multiply your distance, in inches, by this multiplier to receive the diagonal dimensions of an appropriately sized screen.

If you’re more comfortable sitting farther away from your screen, or you have a larger home theater room, then you’ll need to adjust the multiplier. For example, a middle-row viewing distance uses a .6723 multiplier.

Ask your local audio/video technician about increasing your viewing angle. While a 30-degree viewing angle is ideal, it’s not always possible. Look for wide-angle-viewing solutions that allow you to match your screen with your room and your viewing setup.

If all that math sounds overwhelming, then take the easy way out. Contact our team at BTZ Audio Video, have a trained professional review your home theater room, take the necessary measurements, and perform the necessary calculations.

Select a Resolution

You’ve probably seen a TV screen that looks impressively large but is grainy or not quite lifelike. This is a case of large screen size and low resolution. You want a resolution that’s high enough to offer the crystal-clear images you deserve. There’s nothing wrong with a high-level resolution, but expect to invest more in this setup.

Work with our team to create the optimal resolution level for your home theater system in the Dallas-Fort Worth area. Start by comparing lines of resolution. Here are some common lines of resolution available for TV and projector screens:

  • 720p
  • 1080p
  • 2160p
  • 4320p

 

These lines of resolution are also expressed in pixel counts, such as 800 x 600 pixels, or a resolution name, such as UHD. The ideal resolution depends on your chosen aspect ratio and screen size, so it’s best to work with a qualified audio/video expert to size your system correctly.

All About Aspect Ratio

There are two basic aspect ratios to choose from. These offer significant differences in your viewing style, so it’s important to compare the two. An aspect ratio of 16:9 is the most common option, but it’s still worth considering which one will offer you the best viewing experience.

Aspect ratio is the ratio of width to height of a particular screen. Older screens used to be closer to square, or 1:1, while newer screens are typically far wider than they are tall.

16:9 Aspect Ratio

Also known as widescreen, this aspect ratio ensures you see the full image of a movie. The most common way to view movies is with a 16:9 aspect ratio. This may create black bars at the top and bottom of the screen, but it ensures you see the movie image’s full width.

2.40 Aspect Ratio

This aspect ratio is less common in modern TVs. However, it’s a common aspect ratio for movies to be shot in. A projector is a great way to view films in 2.40 aspect ratio with the intended width and height dimensions. Discuss the pros and cons of these two ratios with our team at BTZ Audio Video to see which one is right for your system.

Prepare Your Home Entertainment System With BTZ Audio Video

Create a home entertainment system that allows you to control your universe. Contact us at BTZ Audio Video for in-home measurements and full-service home theater setup. Create an unforgettable viewing experience in your Dallas-Fort Worth home. From a new TV screen to a fully immersive entertainment room, we help you meet your audio/video goals.

By Operation Shooting sound system-min

Home Theater Optimization

By | Blog

The ideal home theater can be a relaxing oasis after work, a great setting for weekend family time, and an unforgettable experience for your next gathering of friends. Use these home theater tips to shop carefully, set up your theater room, and optimize your home theater set up. Work with our team at BTZ Audio Video for a setup that’s the highlight of your community in the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area.

Shop Carefully for Home Theater Equipment

The right equipment is the first step in creating the ultimate home theater. At its core, a theater system includes a television and a set of surround sound speakers. Throw in a video game system and other media to watch, play and connect in a fully immersive entertainment room.

Match Speakers to Your Room

If you’re not using Dolby Atmos, you may not be getting the most out of your surround sound system. The most popular options are 5.1 and 7.1, but be sure your speakers are matched to your room. Home theaters come in all sizes, and an outdated or improperly sized system won’t deliver the immersive experience you’ve been waiting for.

Compare TV Sizes

Bigger isn’t always better when it comes to a home theater TV. As television screens continue to grow, it’s important to remember that your system still needs to be matched to the size of your room. Here are a few key factors in comparing TV sizes:

  • Viewing distance
  • Viewing angles
  • Mounting style

Optimal viewing distance is typically expressed as a formula. Use a tape measure to measure the distance from your couch to the TV in inches. Divide that number in half to find the room’s best TV size. So, a room with most chairs about 10 feet from the screen should purchase a 60-inch TV. The viewing angle and mounting style can affect this formula, so it’s best to work with a professional to consider all the factors.

Sizing your TV also includes considering the screen resolution. Resolutions are measured in pixel counts. The full description should have two counts, such as a 3,840 by 2,160-pixel screen. Most TVs include this information but use a shorter phrase to describe the resolution, such as UHD or Full HD. Pixel count isn’t the only factor in resolution, but a professional video technician can help you navigate refresh rates and other features as you shop for the best TV for your room.

Inspect Your Home Theater Room

Your home theater room plays an integral part in creating the ideal setup for your home in Texas. These home theater tips not only help you pick up the right system but also focus on other home improvements and set up features. Here are a few items you need to consider in your room as you prepare for your next movie night.

Ask a Professional About Acoustic Treatments

Acoustic treatments are products that help improve the sound profile of your home theater room. They could be used to dampen the sound that leaves the room or adjust the room’s sound profile.

 

Sound dampening products block excess noise from entering or leaving the room. This step is critical if you don’t want local traffic, important phone calls, or kids playing in a nearby room to affect your immersive experience. It also helps keep the home theater sounds inside the room, rather than filling your entire home.

 

Sound-enhancing acoustic treatments reflect or absorb sound to reduce echoes and other unwanted acoustic features. Determining the best features for your home and installing them can require a professional team’s skills, so be sure to work with us at BTZ Audio Video to create a great acoustic profile.

Create an Optimal Viewing Area

All TVs have a specific viewing angle. Newer models may offer a wider angle of clear view, while older TVs are best viewed from a small field of vision directly in front of them. Research the viewing angle on your system and adjust your furniture accordingly. There’s nothing worse than settling into a couch or chair for a home theater experience only to see poor video quality.

Place Speakers in the Right Areas

Your speakers also need to be carefully placed to maximize your surround sound experience’s effectiveness. Any items blocking, redirecting, or absorbing sound waves can negatively affect the experience. Let our team help you place speakers carefully and check for any obstructions. Measuring the distance between speakers, seats, and obstructions is a critical step in your surround sound calibration.

Update Lighting and Decor

A home theater is about more than audio and feature features. Watching your favorite movies, playing the latest video games, or catching up on your TV shows’ newest episodes are all fully immersive experiences. The lighting and decor of your room can add to, or detract from, this experience.

 

Ask your audio video team about installing dimmable lighting in your home. You may need a licensed electrician’s assistance, but our team at BTZ Audio Video can work with you to create a fully immersive design and complete the project.

 

Movie posters, a snack bar, and other features help turn a spare bedroom or living room into a true home theater. These decorations and additional items add the finishing touches to a professional setup to impress your friends and delight your family.

Work With a Professional Installation Team

A professional audio video technician can help you purchase and install the equipment. Once these steps are complete, all that’s left is to fine-tune your surround sound and hide all the cords to finish the professional image and tone of your new home entertainment system.

Dial-in Your System

Optimizing and calibrating your TV and surround sound requires a professional touch. Color temperatures, black levels, bass and treble management, and channel assignments are just a few features you’ll need to understand and adjust to enjoy professional-quality audio and video. At BTZ Audio Video, we can quickly take care of these steps after installing your system.

Hide Cables

No one wants a mess of cables hanging all over their home theater. If you’re tripping over speaker cables and your TV is in the center of an ugly web of wires and cables, it’s time to contact our team. We work with you to hide cables and streamline your setup.

One way to do this is to mount cables on the ceiling or top of your walls. This unobtrusive area can be hidden by wire molding for a discreet setup. Another common way to hide wires is to run them through your wall cavities. A straight vertical run is the easiest way to do this. If your TV is mounted directly above your entertainment center, we can typically run the cables through the wall and bring them back out conveniently hidden by your entertainment center.

Upgrade Your Home Theater With BTZ Audio Video

Grab some popcorn and invite your friends over for an unbelievable home theater experience. Contact us at BTZ Audio Video to learn more home theater tips and to schedule a consultation with our audio/video designers. We’ll work with you to update your home theater and dial-in your surround sound just in time for your next big movie night.

Image credit: Shuttershock/Operation Shooting

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Your Guide to The Ultimate Home Theater System

By | Blog

There’s nothing quite like sitting back and enjoying your favorite movies on the big screen. But do you know what’s even better? Getting a theater-quality viewing experience in your own home, without all the uncomfortable crowding and disruptive mumbling you encounter at your local theater.

As theater ticket prices continue to rise with each passing year and top-tier electronics become more available and affordable, many homeowners have turned to build their very own home theaters in Dallas, TX to get that perfect viewing experience without leaving the house.

Health issues like COVID-19 have spurred even more homeowners to jump over to in-home entertainment options like building a home theatre as well. This option is perfect for keeping your friends and family safe and socially isolating while still getting to enjoy that big blockbuster movie experience. You, too, can build the perfect space for viewing your favorite movies, TV shows, and streaming services in your very own home. 

The question is: where do you get started?

Deciding What You Need

Generally speaking, home theaters consist of a viewing screen, a sound system, and any number of accessories. A home theater should be so much more than simply mounting a high-resolution TV on your wall and calling it a day, though. You deserve the ultimate viewing experience, but to get that, you’ll need to put a little thought in. The first step to creating the ultimate home theater experience is assessing your needs. This involves asking yourself questions such as:

  • How many people are usually going to be watching?
  • How much space do you have to work with?
  • What can you afford?
  • What will be your primary use for the theater space?

These might seem like obvious questions to ask, but they seriously help you sift through your options, which is highly useful considering you’ll have thousands of products to choose from during your theater-designing journey. Additionally, having a list of priorities for your theater will help you keep focused throughout the design process, so you finish the project with the results you really need. Once you’ve made your list of wants and must-haves, it’s time to choose your products.

How to Choose the Screen for Your Home Theater?

When selecting a TV for any modern home theater setup, there’s one law to abide by; bigger is almost always better. A bigger screen means easier viewing for a party of any size, making both solo film-watching and entertaining a classic filmfest or even video game night an absolute breeze. However, with great screen space also comes a not-so-great price tag. The bigger your screen is, the more you can expect to pay. However, this is quite arguably the most crucial part of your home theater’s setup, so if you must pick an area in your plan to be frugal, your television isn’t it.

Of course, size isn’t everything when it comes to modern electronics. There are dozens of other details to pay attention to, including:

  • The resolution, which determines image sharpness and clarity
  • Internet connectivity, especially for those who enjoy streaming services
  • Inputs for video game systems and other accessories like Blu-ray players

This is where making the list of your needs comes into play. If you primarily use your theater for gaming, you may not require it to be a Smart TV. However, if you’re highly invested in streaming services and don’t spend your time on games, then the number of component inputs and HDMI ports your TV has may not be a big concern. In the end, there is no “best TV” for a home theater because the TV you choose should fit your individual needs.

In the spirit of building a truly customized theater, it’s always important to remember that TVs aren’t your only option, though they are by far the most popular. Some home theaters stick closer to their source of inspiration and implement projectors with screens instead. When installed correctly, these can provide a bigger picture for a lower cost, but may not have the clarity, sharpness, or vivid color provided by a TV screen. This depends on the model you choose, of course, but much like TVs, the higher the quality, the higher the price tag.

Consider a Projector and Screen Combinations Instead of TV

Want to create a “movie theatre” setting in your living room? Consider a projector and screen combination. An affordable projection screen tends to start around 100-120 inches,  and you can get a projector with solid brightness, good color reproduction, and even 4K resolution for a lot less than a high-end 4K UHD TV. So, while TVs are a traditional home option, projectors are, by a very wide margin, the most cost-effective way to get a movie theatre experience perfect for the whole family.

How to Choose the Right Audio System?

As is the case with a home theater television, there is no best brand or model when it comes to selecting your audio system. However, keep in mind that you don’t want to just stick with the standard speakers that come on your TV. After all, the whole point of creating a home theater is to replicate a theater-quality experience. Some of the audio components you might want to incorporate into your design include:

  • A soundbar
  • Multiple surround-sound speakers
  • A subwoofer

No matter how many speakers you have, one item you can’t do without is a home theater receiver. This brings together all the elements of your sound setup and ensures they’re all working in sync to get you the best possible experience every time you settle in to watch your favorite flicks or take your turn hosting a movie night. In the end, your goal is to achieve a full, rich sound to match every show, movie, and game that goes up on your screen.

How to Pick the Right Space?

Again, the term “right” is entirely subjective when it comes to building a home theater simply because no two homes are exactly alike. Ideally, you’ll have a spare room in your home that’s just begging to be repurposed into your own private viewing station. Dedicating a whole room gives you more power over both the final design and how you enjoy your viewing experience. However, many homeowners have made comfortable, high-end home theaters in their living rooms by transforming a barely passable viewing experience into something to be remembered. The best setting for a home theater system is the space you have on hand – but preferably one you can keep dark and quiet for the best viewing experience.

How to Set Up Your Home Theater System?

So now that you know what parts you want to incorporate into your final design, how do you set up a home theater system? While there are a million ways to DIY a home theater project, by far the easiest and best way to see to this final step is to trust it to a team of trusted professionals. Home theater designers in Dallas have more experience in the industry and can give you solid recommendations on placement, seating, installment procedures, and many other crucial details that will define your viewing experience. Furthermore, when you work with pros from the beginning of the project, a greater number of more professional-looking options become available. Professional installation means upgrading that TV to a full projector system, or that budget soundbar to a built-in speaker system that blends flawlessly with your room’s design.

Building a theater in your own home involves a bit of research and work, but in the end, the results are definitely worth it. At BTZ Audio Video, we’re dedicated to getting you the home theater of your dreams from start to finish. Contact us to learn more about how we can help you find the perfect parts for your dream theater and how we plan to fit them all together to deliver a high-end experience that gives any theater a run for its money.

Image Credit: Shutterstock/Macrovector

Pros of Having a Smart Home | BTZ Audio Video, LLC

10 Benefits of Smart Home Automation

By | Blog


A “smart home” might sound like something from a futuristic, sci-fi movie, but home automation has made that dream an everyday reality for millions of homeowners across America. In the span of just a few short decades, technology has completely transformed our everyday lives, making daily tasks easier and more enjoyable. We’re more connected than ever before, and now have access to exciting innovations that help us live happier, safer, and more efficient lives.

Smart home automation has quickly become one of the most popular upgrades for homeowners, particularly those interested in making a smart investment in the value of their homes. And although many people are unsure if home automation is right for them, you may be surprised to learn that this versatile technology truly has something to offer everyone.

What is Home Automation?

Home automation, often called smart home technology, refers to the cutting-edge systems that put you in control of your home and/or business. A home automation network can consist of varying combinations of devices, systems, appliances, and other elements, all of which can be both remotely and independently controlled. Generally, a smart home allows the homeowner to access and control all facets through either a universal control interface, a smart device (like a touchscreen device or smartphone), or both.

A smart home can be made up of just a few elements or many, depending on your personal preference, budget, and property size. For example, home automation can connect your entertainment system, security camera, kitchen appliances, thermostat, lighting, speakers, your locks, and more. With just your smartphone or touchscreen device at hand, you will have the ability to control everything and make adjustments whenever needed.

The Top Ten Benefits of Home Automation

Smart home automation has evolved from a seemingly impossible luxury to something that everyday homeowners can enjoy, offering a wide range of benefits that make it an excellent investment. If you’re considering upgrading to a smart home, here are the top ten benefits you’ll have to look forward to:

1. Peace of mind

We’ve all experienced the nagging feeling that we left home without locking the front door, closing the garage, or even turning off an appliance like the stove. But once you’re living in a connected home, confirming that everything is safe and secure is as easy as glancing at your smartphone. There, you can double-check that you armed your security system, locked your doors, and left your home well-protected. And if you forgot? With just a few taps, you can correct your mistake and go on with your day.

2. Top-notch entertainment

Stop searching through the couch cushions for lost remotes, or worse, realizing that you forget to set up your entertainment system for weekend movie night. Home automation can connect your TV, sound system, streaming devices and technologies, and more, offering one-touch control over your favorite forms of fun.

3. Make yourself right at home

What if you could pre-set all your interior lighting to activate the moment you arrived home so that you could walk into a cozy, perfectly-lit space after a long day away? Add in the relaxing sounds of your favorite music or the evening news, and you’ve created the perfect retreat. Smart home automation gives you the ability to design your ideal living space so that you always feel wonderfully comfortable.

4. Easy to use

Smart homes are an impressive blend of luxury and tech-savvy functionality, but you certainly don’t have to be a technology expert to operate and appreciate home automation. Many people are impressed to learn exactly how simple it typically is to utilize their home automation system, particularly when they choose a high-quality system installed by knowledgeable experts.

5. Maximized energy efficiency

Home automation gives you a simple way to power down your appliances when they aren’t in use, cutting down on unnecessary usage. Additionally, some smart home systems can even monitor energy use to make recommendations for improvement, so you can easily make smart changes.

6. An investment that actually saves you money

Although installing a smart home system does come with an upfront cost, it can more than pay for itself in the long run. Between improved energy efficiency, less gas wasted on trips home to check security, and even the cost of hiring home sitters while you’re away, the savings seriously add up.

7. Flexibility to make future changes

Once you’ve installed your home automation system, you aren’t stuck with the same set-up forever. In fact, today’s home automation technology makes it easy to add in new appliances and devices, adjust system operations, and even upgrade with the latest advancements.

8. Learn more about your lifestyle

It may sound futuristic to be able to analyze and improve your own everyday habits, but that’s exactly what you can do with home automation. You’ll better understand how your home operates and how you’re living in it, open your eyes to ways you can adjust to achieve your ideal lifestyle.

9. Be present even when you’re away

Instead of spending your next vacation worrying about what’s going on at home, smart home automation gives you the option to check everything at a glance – and then get back to enjoying your trip. Get immediate smartphone alerts so that you’re always aware of what’s going on, even when you’re far from home.

10. Gain access to brand-new innovations

After getting set up with smart home technology, you’ll be ready for whatever the future brings your way – and that includes the most thrilling new developments in the tech world. With a high-quality system, the stage is set for you to make the most of the place you call home.

Streamline Your Space with Smart Home Automation Technology

Now more than ever, you can put your home to work for you, thanks to ongoing innovations in home automation. From security to entertainment – and everything in between – it’s time to upgrade your every day and start living smarter. Convenient, flexible, and designed to be tailored to suit your lifestyle, home automation is the perfect balance of practicality and technology.

Here at BTZ Audio Video, one of the most common questions we hear from clients is, “Is home automation worth it?” As leading experts in the industry, our answer is always the same: it’s more than worth it. Having a smart home isn’t just a tech-savvy luxury, it’s a new standard of living that offers convenience, peace of mind, and so much more – and that is something you simply can’t put a price on.

Get the Best in Smart Home Installation in Dallas-Fort Worth with BTZ Audio Video, LLC

So many homeowners assume that home automation is an option reserved only for those with limitless budgets; however, BTZ Audio Video makes home automation installation in Dallas and Fort Worth accessible for virtually everyone. Because our team has the specialized expertise to design, source, and install highly-customized smart home systems, BTZ Audio Video can create an array of options to fit your budget, home, and lifestyle. Are you ready to bring your home into the future with smart home automation? Contact BTZ Audio Video to get your no-hassle quote and start the process today

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