The custom home integrator holds one large trade show each year.  This year the CEDIA EXPO show took place just a few weeks ago in Denver.  As always it is filled with many many toys but here are the first of some of what I think are the best products that I saw.

A big screen and projector are always the best way to watch movies, sports or streaming.  Not only is it larger than the largest TVs, it looks different.  It’s always more of a movie experience, even if it’s in your family room.  But not every home has a room deep enough for a good projector and screen setup, or you can’t install it without taking apart half of your ceiling to run power and video.

Now Epson, one of the industry leaders in reasonably priced but still theatre quality projectors, has put together the Smart TV1 Laser Projection System

Here is BIG screen (120″ or 100″) with the projector sitting ONE FOOT away from the screen, shown here sitting on top of a regular piece of furniture.  Simple.

Full 4K resolution, HDR, all the features that you get from every modern TV.  But much much larger.

The screen is built so that you can use it in a regular room without any special lighting.  We saw it on the trade show floor in a regular convention centre with powerful overhead commercial lighting and it looked great!

Of course you will still want to add great audio so that you get the full theatre experience but this lets you add in theatre size and quality video without rebuilding your room.

Price has not been released in Canada yet, but we expect it to be about the same price as a good quality 85″ TV.  Except that you get 120″!!

The Great Outdoors

Tech meets nature in the modern outdoor living space

Canadian summers are short so to ensure we soak up every drop of sun before the weather turns, Canadians are embracing their pools, patios, balconies and backyards as an extension of their interiors. And similarly to what’s happening indoors, outdoor technology and automation is trending in a big way. With AV and automation you can create a space that you and your guests will flock to on evenings, weekends, and any time you want to get away without leaving the comfort of home.

Here are some ways we are letting you use your outdoors as an extension of your indoors

OUTDOOR AUDIO – create different “zones” of audio for conversation areas and to accommodate multiple uses at the same time. Each area can play audio independently, from local radio to streaming music services to whatever you have on their phones or tablets. For entertaining you can easily join the zones together to play the same music everywhere.

Proper speakers are completely weatherproof, small and unobtrusive, and are easily hidden by greenery and planters in your project. You hear the music but you don’t see the tech!

LANDSCAPE LIGHTING -take your outdoor lighting plan and automation it! Create independent groups of lights, for example landscape lighting around the entire perimeter, direct lighting for the barbecue and outdoor kitchen, conversation lighting built into a pergola or gazebo, and accent lighting to complement the whole space. Each of these lighting zones can be separately controlled from a single keypad or from anywhere via a mobile app.  Turn on exactly what you want, before you even step outside.

OUTDOOR TV – no living area is complete without a television, so why would an outdoor living space be any different? You can add easily add a large outdoor 4K television, up to 75”.

A true outdoor television is both heated and ventilated so that it can operate all year round. It is filtered to keep out dust. It is also much brighter than an indoor television, so it can be seen in outdoor sunlight.  Last but not least, it comes with a high-quality speaker system, so you don’t have to connect it to external speakers if you don’t want to.  Your TV sources – Rogers, Fibe, Apple TV etc – can be safely housed indoors. The video is in full 4K quality, and you can sit outdoors and change channels or choose a movie as easily as you would indoors.

WIFI – a dedicated outdoor weatherproof Wifi access point to cover your yard, delivering the same great Wifi coverage outside as inside.

This entire system is controlled via an easy-to-use app from Control4. Inside and out, everything from AV to temperature to windows, lights and locks is right at your fingertips. And, isn’t comfort the hottest trend of all?

Advantages of a Smart Home

You invest a lot of time and money into your home so that it’s a place you can relax and be comfortable.  We believe that technology can enhance those benefits even if you live in an urban condo with limited space.  And there are real benefits from using a single comprehensive smart home automation system like Control4

ENTERTAINMENT – instead of a table of remotes that each work with one piece of equipment and that you have to use in the correct order or nothing works, replace them all with ONE remote for all your audio/video needs.  You can use the remote even when the equipment is tucked away inside a cabinet or even in another room.

CLIMATE CONTROL – a confined space can get too hot or too cold very quickly.  A “smart” thermostat can work together with motorized shades and fans to keep your home comfortable.

LIGHTING – Because of close living quarters, using lighting to highlight different areas can help to make your home appear larger, separate spaces and offer less disruption when walking around at night.  Smart lighting in your home can be easily programmed to set lighting at appropriate levels, use less energy and save you money.

KEYPADS – Keypads let you combine different actions into a single press of a button.  Your TV can pan from the living room over to the kitchen, turn on a favourite channel and turn the kitchen lights to a “cooking” mode.  Another button can start your music playlist and dim the lights when it’s time for dinner.  No more back and forth across your home to get from the stereo to the lights.

SECURITY & REMOTE ACCESS – You may have more than one residence including vacation spots.  The Control4 app lets you keep a virtual “eye” on all of them.  Access security cameras at any time from anywhere to check up on things.  Lock and unlock doors, or arm / disarm security systems remotely.  Even receive a push notification when someone enters a house.

ONE APP FOR EVERYTHING – Instead of learning to use a separate app for each of these items, a single Control4 app does all of this and more.  Learn it once and use it for everything, from anywhere in the world.

Look to a technology specialist like Zentertainment to help you create a home that you want to come home to.

The Inside Scoop on Whole Home Audio


Enjoying a whole home audio system should be easy – and it is when you work with a dedicated and experienced professional. But if you’re new to smart technology or if you’re looking for an upgrade, you may want to brush up on certain details of the experience.

MP3 Is Dead

If you’ve built a music collection within the past decade, chances are you’ve obtained a few MP3s in your day. The MP3 was somewhat revolutionary in its heyday because it allowed users to store thousands of files in small digital spaces. That meant you could bring your music with you wherever you went thanks to MP3 players like Apple’s iPod.

But all of that content came with a cost: MP3s gave up bits of information to compress them into file sizes small enough to store. That meant they inherently sounded worse than your average 16- or 24-bit CD. Audiophiles then had to face a dilemma: enjoy a wide array of songs that simply didn’t sound great, or invest in much larger, lossless files that offered higher quality but were much less convenient to store.

Then, in the early part of 2017, the original creators of MP3 announced that they would no longer license the technology necessary to manufacturers to play the format. The MP3 was dead – what were music lover’s to do?

Lossless Is the Future

Since the end of the MP3 there have been plenty of developments in the audio world. One of the biggest has been the emergence of lossless audio streaming. Lossless files had been notoriously hard to store and nearly impossible to stream, but thanks to the advent of Master Quality Authenticated (MQA) files, streaming services like Spotify and Tidal have begun offering lossless account tiers for their clients.

That means you’ll want a system that can handle lossless streaming (and 4K video if you’re upgrading with a full AV distribution system) without losing quality. Whether you choose a wireless system or a hardwired system connected over a network, you can enjoy full-quality audio anywhere in your home.

Are you ready to enjoy lossless music in all of your spaces with smart whole home audio solutions?  Contact Zentertainment today!