Articles tagged with: Home Lighting

Product Spotlight: Sonos PLAYBAR

on Tuesday, 30 April 2013. Posted in Northern Virginia Audio Visual Installation

Award-winning Northern Virginia audio video expert takes a look at the latest

home theater

It probably goes without saying that Encore is in business because we have an unbridled passion for all things audio and visual. Few interactions are more enjoyable than simply talking up what’s new and exciting in our industry. We’ve heard a lot of chatter recently about the new PLAYBAR from Sonos, so we thought we’d take the opportunity of this blog post to take a look at this new phenomenon a little closer…

“It’s the ultimate music machine for fans.” – Variety Magazine

home theater

The biggest reason why Encore offers Sonos brand solutions is simple…because we’re fans of music and any tools that make listening to music fun and easy hold a warm place in our hearts.

With a sophisticated 9-speaker design, the PLAYBAR is surprisingly simple to set up. It syncs with other Sonos speakers wirelessly and plays all sources plugged into your HDTV (cable/SAT boxes, Blu-ray, game consoles…if it’s connected to your HDTV, PLAYBAR will play it).

PLAYBAR is also a stand-alone all-in-one Sonos player that allows you to wirelessly stream all the music on earth. The PLAYBAR can sit above or beneath your TV, on a table, or can be mounted on a wall. Whereas the initial products from Sonos were all stereo-centric, the PLAYBAR was designed to enhance your television playback like no other device on the market. After all, while TVs have gotten thinner and lighter, the sound has suffered. Not anymore.

Remember when TiVo first came on the market? Or the iPhone? The people who have had the SONOS system installed talk about it with the same kind of enthusiasm as the first consumers of those market-changing products. It’s as if they had forgotten how music and ambient sound can enhance their lives. Now that they’ve rediscovered this passion, they feel compelled to share their experience with friends and neighbors and anyone who isn’t in the know. We feel much the same.

We’ve had the opportunity to experience a diverse range of systems in our time here at Encore, and Sonos truly has a product that gets people talking. Sonos components are convenient, simple to set-up and use, and (most importantly) a lot of fun! We recommend it wholeheartedly. When industry professionals get THIS excited about a manufacturer and their products, it usually pays to listen.


Want to add a new dimension? The Sonos SUB subwoofer can be added for increased fidelity, providing incredible lows that never generate distortion from its compact package.

Anytime you want the lowdown on the latest technology advancements being launched in the home technology field, please don’t hesitate to call us at Encore! It’s very much why we’re here.

home theater

What are the Priorities when Planning a Home Theater Build? (Part 3)

on Monday, 15 April 2013. Posted in Northern Virginia Home Theater Installation

Award-winning DC Metro Audio Video Expert Offers Professional Advice

In our last two posts, we discussed the importance of determining your (1) space, (2) display, (3) Sound Reproduction, (4) Speakers and (5) Subwoofers before making any commitment to building a home theater. As we complete this trilogy of informational blogs, we want to close out by getting physical (as in in components, surge protection, wires, remotes and furnishings). Shall we?


6. The Components

DVD or Blu-ray? Do you still have a VCR and a collection of VHS? Maybe you want a DVD Recorder too? And how do you receive your television programming? Cable, satellite or antenna? If you have high-speed internet access, you might not require a Blu-ray or DVD player as you can stream both music and movies. New Blu-ray players and televisions can actually connect to the internet directly, but you can also purchase an external box (Network Media Players or Media Steamers) as an affordable option. It’s all predicated on what you need from your theater and how much you want to invest in it.

7. The Protection

Surge protectors may replace your pet as your new best friend. Power outages and brownouts happen with no notice so, while surge protectors aren’t foolproof, it’s always a good idea to defend your system as much as possible. Another option is a Line Conditioner, a more comprehensive way of protecting against power surges, as well as monitoring and even regulating the power reaching your components.

home theater

8. The Cables/Wire

There are a lot of variables at play when addressing your connections. Speaker cable alone depends on the distance from the amplifier or receiver (different gauges for different distances). You want to make sure everything is color-coded for future maintenance or additions.

9. The Remote

Each component in a home theater system comes with its own remote control, which means your fully-realized home theater includes a collection of a half dozen or more. A favorite solution is a sophisticated, but easy-to-use, universal remote. This will control most of the functions of each of your components, enabling everyone in the family to use the theater system without issue. Another option is total integration, whereby the entire system is accessible from an iPad or other tablet. We can help with that.

Blewitt Theater 057 640x480

10. The Seating

Once more, it can be as simple or elaborate as your personal style allows. Traditional sofas, favorite armchairs, or high-end specialized overstuffed theater seating with cupholders…it depends entirely on your theme, taste and desired comfort. What IS important is determining your seating as early as possible, as the finely adjusted acoustics will depend heavily on where the viewer is seated. The seats are among the last to be installed, but they really do rival the projection and audio in terms of getting the most from your investment.

In the Final Reel

All home theaters are different. Different spaces, different budgets, different styles, etc. On average, the most successful build are the ones wherein the homeowner has an idea of the basic requirements from the very beginning of the project. Regardless of how much homework you want to do, the Encore team is available to answer any questions and offer helpful advice based on years of experience. Call or stop by!


 Home Theater

What are the SOUND Priorities when Planning a Home Theater Build?

on Wednesday, 03 April 2013. Posted in Northern Virginia Audio Visual Installation

Award-winning DC Metro Audio Video Expert Offers Professional Advice

Last time, we discussed the importance of determining your (1) space and (2) display before making any commitment to building a home theater. This time we focus on sound.


3. The Sound Reproduction

Many would argue that the quality of your theater's audio capability is even more important than how clear the images are on the screen. Your options include either an AV Receiver or a Preamplifier/Amplifier combination.

An AV Receiver combines the functions of three components:

a) A Radio Tuner for AM/FM and, in some cases, HD (Hi-Def), Internet or Satellite Radio

b) A Preamplifier for controlling which audio and video source is selected (Blu-ray, DVD, CD, etc.), it processes the incoming stereo or surround sound signals and distributes them through the correct channels/outputs

c) And a Multi-channel Amplifier that sends the signals and power to the speaker system


A Home Theater, AV, Surround Sound Receiver or Separate Preamp and Amplifier provides most of the inputs and outputs that everything, including your TV, connects into. A receiver can be an easy and cost-effective way of centralizing your home theater system. That said, many high-end theater installations use separate components for each channel (which gives more flexibility in changing or upgrading and prevents the interference that can happen with combining functions with one unit). On average, a good Receiver will prove more than adequate.

Snippit Speakers in Build

4. The Speakers

In much the same way the size of your space determines how large your video display should be, your room will determine what speakers are going to work best. We recommend listening to several different speaker models before you buy, and consider utilizing the same brand throughout (ensuring a better acoustical match). We have suggestions, but audio is subjective. How they sound to YOU is most important.


5. The Subwoofers

The Subwoofer reproduces the low frequencies found in music and movies. Again, the size of your space (and flooring) helps determine which subwoofer will work best and we highly recommend you sample a variety to find the unit that performs to your requirements.

Tune in next time...
Our next blog will look at the product protection, wiring, furnishings and more. On
average, the most successful builds are the ones wherein the homeowner has an idea of the basic requirements from the very beginning of the project. Regardless of how much homework you want to do, the Encore team is available to answer any questions and offer helpful advice based on years of experience. Call or stop by!