The landscape of Home Tech Experts, Integrators, A/V guys, Installers, Technologists, or whatever you want to call them, has been rocky. In Southern California, 20 years ago, we had about less than 50 companies and they all specialized in Custom Home, now we have about 7000 companies in all sizes and specialties. Unlike medicine, law, or architecture, there exists no real qualification process to open a business and call oneself a “home technology professional”. This low to no barrier of entry has resulted in countless sub-par technology experiences for consumers. This problem has plagued the home technology industry for decades. Everyone has suffered. Consumers own homes that they cannot operate, manufacturer’s names are sullied, and qualified home technology firms are faced with an untrusting public.
Historically, homeowners have chosen firms based on price or the personality of a salesperson. Sometimes the company was referred by a builder or architect. Typically, consumers have not done much due diligence on prospective technology installation firms, and the selection process has been confusing. This confusion has led to hiring the wrong company, bad system design, and bad technology implementation.
The company that did an amazing job on your cousin’s 1,500 sq ft home may not be the right company to outfit your 10,000 sq. ft estate, and vice versa. The first step of a successful home technology project is hiring the right company. This is also easily the most important ingredient in the recipe for success.
Here are some helpful tips in choosing the right home technology firm:
1 – Understand Your Budget
Some firms specialize in projects of $600K and above, others are great at projects between $10 – 20K. Typically, the really good firm that specializes in $20K projects is not equipped for the $600K project, and the $600K specialist may not be interested in the $20K project. You want a firm that has the most experience at your budget level. So, how do you determine your budget? This is a difficult task for homeowners with a limited knowledge of technology. Here are some basic guidelines: On a new construction project or a major remodel, expect to spend between 4 – 8% of the home’s value on your home’s technology installation. You will be on the higher end of the spectrum in regions where home costs are lower (Houston, Atlanta, Utah, etc.) and on the lower end of the spectrum where real estate costs are high (New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, etc.). We have a proven metric system to calculate what the appropriate budget for your project is to maximize your enjoyment and Return of Investment. Do not be alarmed if your budget range comes as a surprise. We have found that most homeowners spend 2.5x the original number they had in their head for home technology.
2 – Hire a Firm that Specializes in Homes of Your Size and Value
Budget is not the only guideline. Also consider the size and value of homes the firm specializes in. The complexity and fit/finish expectations of a 15,000 square foot custom home are wildly different than a 3,000 square foot production home. Technology systems do not “scale” in a linear way; the larger the home, the complexity increases exponentially. Find a firm that matches up nicely to your home size, and more importantly, your home value. In our dealer profiles, we show you these statistics. Hiring a firm that is out of their wheelhouse is the single biggest mistake homeowners make.
3 – Assess your Service Needs
Unlike an electrician or a framer who you rarely see after the home is finished, your technology specialist will be a fairly regular visitor to your home. Technology is imperfect and changes constantly, so you need to choose a firm that gives you the level of service responsiveness you require. Are you ultra-demanding and expect immediate service when there is a hiccup, or can you live without technical perfection for a few days? Home technology installation companies handle service in different ways. Here are the things to look for:
Does the company have a dedicated service department? This indicates a commitment to after-the-sale customer service.
Who handles the service call? Do you get a service technician, or is it a small company where the owner is also the one to service you? Which do you prefer?
Does the company offer 24-hour service for that evening or weekend problem?
Does the company offer same day service for emergencies?
4 – Find a personality fit
This will be a long-term relationship, so be sure to hire someone you feel comfortable with. If you do not feel the main person you will be dealing with is a fit, abandon ship. Also, understand the firm size and pick a good fit for you. If you only ever want to deal with the owner, a small boutique firm of under 10 people is best. If you desire a larger firm that has a team of specialists, look for those firms with 20+ employees.
We suggest that you use these criteria as a start to select who you will interview. Pick three firms and get to know them, their approach, and what makes them different from their competition. This is a good starting point, though we encourage you to do your own reference checks as well.
We are specialized in Custom Home larger than 5000 sq feet, over $500/sq feet in property value. Our primary focus is to serve Homeowners in Professional field: Doctors, Lawyers, Engineers and Domestic/ International Business Owner who wants to enhance their security, comfort and convenience in their custom dream home with Smart Home Technology. Our service area include Pasadena, San Marino, La Canada, Arcadia, Malibu, Pacific Palisades, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Hollywood Hills, Manhattan Beach, Palos Verdes, Bradbury Estate and Newport Beach.
Remember, this is just the beginning, exciting and more technology will come ahead! Good luck on building your dream Custom Home!
Crestron Lighting Guide for Architect and Specifier Made Simple
Step 1: Determine the lighting load
For Electronic low-voltage, LED, incandescent, tungsten-halogen, electronic CFL, 2-wire fluorescent ballast, please choose: CLW-DELVEX-P Cameo® Wireless In-Wall Dimmer, ELV, 120V, $270 each (or $230 each for the Express version, non 3 way application)
ForIncandescent/ Tungsten Halogen and Magnetic Low Voltage up to 750 Watts, please choose: CLW-DIMEX-P Cameo® Wireless In-Wall Dimmer, $230 each (or $180 for Express version, non 3 way application)
For 0-10 Volt fluorescent ballast or LED driver (4 wire) loads, please choose: CLW-DIMFLVEX In-Wall 0-10V Dimmer, 120V, $200 each
Step 2: If you need a slave/ remote dimmer for 3 way or 4 way application, please add:
CLW-SLVU-P Cameo® In-Wall Remote Dimmer, 120V, $120 each
Step 3: Choose the Brain/ Processor
Pyng Hub (OS1) for lighting, shading and climate control only $599
CP3R (OS2) for lighting, shading, climate, audio video, pool, security $1800
Theater Electronics : USA Made Cinema performance speakers and American electronics engine and amplification, Dolby Digital / DTS 7.1 system
Theater Seating: USA Made non motorized/ standard motorized chairs with luxury leather
Equivalent to Mercedes E Class
Luxury Home Theater Level III 250K (BEST)
Acoustical Panels: Engineered Acoustical Panel with Luxury Fabric with motorized drapes like commercial cinema, Custom Millwork & Bar and High End Fiber Optic Ceiling
Theater Electronics : USA Made High End Cinema performance speakers and High End American or European custom electronics engine and amplification, Dedicated Movie Server (skip Preview, no wait time), Dolby Atmos/ DTS 1.2 system
Theater Seating: 100% USA Made Motorized chairs with high end luxury leather that can be adjusted to any position.
Equivalent to Mercedes S Class
Note: Above illustration is only for general information only, since Dedicated Home Theater is truly CUSTOM project, Client can mix and match the different level that fit their needs, lifestyle and budget.
OUR PROMISE: BEST SOLUTIONS, SERVICES & PRICES…Guaranteed!
Best Solutions: When it comes to the latest home entertainment and automation, EXPERIENCE & KNOLWLEDGE matters. Our SIMPLE, yet SYSTEMATIC approach will guarantee your Best Solutions that will match perfectly to your taste, expectations and budget. We have been providing Audio Video and Technology solutions to many satisfied customers, ranging from several thousand to multi-million dollar projects. Remember, Best Solutions may NOT always be the Most Expensive. Trust our experience and expertise and let us design your next system!
Best Services: With the Best Solutions possible, we guarantee your system, from simple to complex, will work properly for many years to come. All of the systems we have put together more than a decade ago are still running till this day. We respond to most Service Calls within 24 hours and most issues can be solved over the phone or email. We regularly attend advanced training and seminars to polish our skills to provide you with the BEST SERVICES Possible!
Best Prices: Of course, price matters! No one likes to overpay for anything. That’s why we guarantee BEST PRICES, to offer you the absolute LOWEST COST OF OWNERSHIP. Our unique approach and great partnerships with many top manufacturers will assure you the best possible pricing. If you have a competitive quote/ bid, let us match it or beat it; if we can’t, we will give you $100 Amazon gift card or 1% of the total project cost*, whichever greater.
Best Solutions, Services and Prices, Guaranteed! Not just a slogan; let us prove it to you. Call us (626) 395 9597 or better yet, stop by our showroom in the beautiful City of Pasadena.
*Quote/ Proposal must be from an Authorized Dealer and represents a good faith estimate and working system.
Alarm.com is the leader in Smart Home Security, giving you solutions to monitor, protect and automate your home. More than a smart app or a cool thermostat, Alarm.com seamlessly connects the key devices in your home on one platform — so they work together, and work smarter.
Every solution can be easily customized to your home’s unique configuration and your needs. With our expertise over 10 years on home automation and security, we can ensure you that you are in good hands.
Smart Home Security
Keep your home and loved ones protected with professionally monitored Smart Home Security. Alarm.com is engineered for reliability so your home stays protected even if the power is out, the phone lines and internet are down, or your panel is smashed. And, you’ll always be connected to what’s happening at home with real-time alerts and remote control through our mobile app.
Advanced Energy Management
Keep your home comfortable and save energy — no wiring, patching or painting required. Alarm.com Energy Management is professionally installed, and integrates seamlessly into your smart home system. It uses learnings from across your home to provide smarter automation, and can be controlled remotely from your mobile app.
Stay aware of what’s happening at home, even when you’re away with Alarm.com’s interactive Video Monitoring. You’ll never miss a moment of the key activity you care about, thanks to real-time video alerts and peek-in access to live streaming video feeds.
Premier Smart Home Automation
Upgrade your smart home with simple control and intelligent automation across all of your connected devices, all in one totally integrated system. With Alarm.com, you don’t have to worry about how to install a new device, or how to get your security system and lights to work together. Our professionally installed systems are configured to your home and controlled in one app.
Cell Phone Booster – Who is this for?
If you need reliable signal for talk & text and high-speed 4G LTE internet for a very wide area, spanning up to 7,500 sq ft depending on your outside signal.You can’t deal with dropped calls, fish tank voices, stuck text messages and internet slower than a checkout line.
With this signal booster, get better talk & text and much faster high-speed 4G LTE internet. Perfect for people needing fast uploads and downloads for streaming apps such as Google Chrome, Safari browser, YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, Spotify, and other data-heavy apps.
Get the stronger signal you deserve. Get ready for dependable connections, clear calls, and fast 4G internet. It works with any carriers: AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and US Cellular
How Does it Work?
It works by pulling in the existing weak signal with a directional antenna, amplifying it multiple times. The amplified signal bypasses all exterior and interior obstructions and interference directly to your entire home, office, or large area.
From the cell tower straight to your phone for clearer calls, faster Internet, wider coverage, and stable connections. Say goodbye to interruptions.
Top 10 Benefits:
2. Eliminates dropped calls
3. Crystal clear voice quality
4. Quickly delivered text
5. Faster uploads & downloads (streaming)
6. Reliable connection
7. Improved reception
8. Wider coverage
9. Reduces dead zones
10. More bars
11. Longer battery life
MONACO® Audio Video is an Authorized Dealer for Wilson Cell signal Boosters, please call us at (626) 395-9597 to schedule your FREE in home consultation!
Update and Automate- Benefits of Automated Lighting By John Sciacca Residential Systems
The world’s foremost audio, video, automation AND craft beer reviewer
The modern-day toggle light switch – you know, the one that flips up-and-down that you grew up with in your parent’s home before you got all hip and modern and installed a decora-style dimmer in your own place – was invented by William J. Newton in 1916. I’m sure that back in the day, the folks contemplating replacing their “modern” John Henry Holmes switches – “offering the finest in guaranteed not to kill you lighting control since 1884*” – in their homes felt this new toggle switch was akin to sorcery and probably expected to be zapped by 110-volts every time their flipped the lights on and off. (* Probably not actually their slogan)
Today, technology’s steady march has not turned a blind eye to lighting control, and we have lots of cool options to control virtually any lighting load – incandescent, fluorescent, halogen, CFL, LED, electronic low voltage, sharks with frickin’ laser beams – you can think of. Even still, most people are controlling their lights in much the same way as in Holmes day; getting up off the fainting couch and turning them on and off one at a time.
Now, sure, if you like living in the past, this is a great way to do it. Equally great is churning your own butter and washing your 1000 thread count sheets by beating them against stones down at the local crick. And there are probably some great reasons for not automating your lights and bringing your home into the 21st century. In fact, here is a list of the top 7 Reasons NOT to install automated lighting in your home:
1. You are hoping to get your home listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
2. You live in a Tiny House that literally has only one light switch.
3. Your father owned/ran the local electric company and on his deathbed made you promise to use as much electricity as possible.
4. You are fabulously wealthy and employ a personal lighting butler whose sole job is to go through your mansion setting lighting levels.
5. You are *super* committed to getting your 10,000 daily FitBit steps in and relish each trip off the couch to turn lights on and off.
6. You are convinced that Terminator was really a documentary and that giving technology even the smallest foothold will help to realize Skynet.
7. You live in a cave in Tora Bora and don’t want to make things any easier for the Navy SEALs.
If none of those sound like you, then congratulations! You’re totally a candidate for automated lighting!
Automating the lighting in your home is a lifestyle improvement that once made is tough to ever go back from. Similar to using a universal remote control to operate your entertainment system, automated lighting simplifies control, allowing you to control one light, groups of lights or every light in your home with a single button press, or while you sleep, blissfully unaware of the powerful technology working to improve your life. Heck, you can even control them by using your fancy smartphone or tablet, an idea that would have gotten you burned in Salem for sure!
Here are three key benefits you can enjoy by automating your lighting: Scenes Set the Perfect Mood
Whether it’s “Dinner Party,” “Goodnight,” or “Let’s Get it On,” lighting helps set the mood around your house. (So does music. But that’s a topic for another day.) And instead of having to walk through each room of your home individually turning lights on and off and dimming or raising them to get the right ambience, an automated lighting system lets you recall the perfect lighting scene every time with the push of a single button. Create the scene once and then never do it again! No more will you have to live with the shame of having your classic ‘80s Nagel being light to only 46% instead of the full 61% that really captures all of the artists’ colors and visual elements. Never again will the bedroom light’s full, harsh intensity reveal the years of neglect you’ve shown your body, instead lighting you in a cherubic and majestic warm 15% glow. Perfect Lighting Any Time of Day
Want to make sure that your outside lights are on for security at night? But also hate coming home at 5 PM in the summer and finding that they’ve been on all day long? Those puny 100-watt bulbs trying to outshine the 1.6 billion candelas per square meter of the sun! Like to leave a dimmed kitchen nightlight on, but only after 11:30 and then off at sunrise? With an automated lighting system you can have lights turn on and off at specific times each day, or automatically change in response to the rising and setting of the sun through the use of an on-board astronomic timeclock. (Understanding Stephen Hawking’s works totally not required!) You can also set different events for weekday and weekends, ensuring that not one stray scintilla of light affects your Sunday morning sleep-in. Help Save the Planet
Even when set to “full blast,” every dimmer saves between 4-9% in electricity usage compared to a standard light switch. Factor in the additional energy saved by dimming lights even a few percent – your eye likely can’t even the difference between 90% and 100% light levels, but your power meter sure can! – and then multiply that savings over the 20, 50, 100 dimmers throughout a home and you’re talking about some real savings. Go ahead, buy that 6-pack of ultra-premium, oh-so-delicious Stone Brewing Co craft beer! You’ve earned it! Further, dimming will lengthen the life of incandescent and halogen bulbs, meaning you’ll replace them less often and cut down on adding waste to the landfill. Your children’s children may not thank you, but, well, they’ll probably resent you a little less.
The other terrific thing about automated lighting systems like URC’s Z-Wave®-based Vivido? It is totally, 100% retrofittable into virtually any home. (If your home is *really* old and wired with aluminum wiring instead of modern, copper Romex, then you might be out of luck. Also, spoiler: aluminum wiring is 55 times more likely to catch your home on fire. So, ummm, yeah.) This means there is almost no excuse to not update and automate.
Please call us for your personalized in-home consultation!
Every homeowner wants Smart Home Automation now. If you can control your house remotely, the real question will be “How safe and secure is it”
According to Kashmir Hill from Forbes: “Googling a very simple phrase led me to a list of “smart homes” that had done something rather stupid. The homes all have an automation system from Insteon that allows remote control of their lights, hot tubs, fans, televisions, water pumps, garage doors, cameras, and other devices, so that their owners can turn these things on and off with a smartphone app or via the Web. The dumb thing? Their systems had been made crawl-able by search engines – meaning they show up in search results — and due to Insteon not requiring user names and passwords by default in a now-discontinued product, I was able to click on the links, giving me the ability to turn these people’s homes into haunted houses, energy-consumption nightmares, or even robbery targets. Opening a garage door could make a house ripe for actual physical intrusion.” For full article, please click here
Like any other products and services that exist in the market place, there are always 3 different levels: Low (Basic), Mid Level (Better) and Luxury (Best). Since the Smart Home Automation is considered as new technology, many homeowners will be most likely putting their first Smart Home Automation system.
Choosing the right infrastructure and company to implement the Smart Home Automation that fit your lifestyle will be the key. MONACO® AV specializes in providing complete Smart Home Automation solutions for homeowners looking for better or best solutions. We provide Smart Home Automation backbone from URC Total Control and Crestron.
American consumers need to be aware of there are many counterfeit aka FAKE consumer electronics products out there. Typically, everyone is aware of the existence of fake Rolex, fake Gucci handbag, etc however fake consumer electronics? Yes, there are many of them. Typically, these products are sold through non authorized online retailers. Please see sample below for fake KEF speakers, Sony TV and Samsung TV
Most manufacturers now put the warning sign on their website regarding counterfeit products. Please see example below from KEF website
Wanna kick it up a notch on fake stuff? What about Fake milk? Fake McDonald? Fake KFC? Fake Coca Cola? Fake Egg? Fake Nike? Fake iPhone? Fake Apple Store? Fake BMW? Fake Rolls Royce?
Our advice, always buy any consumer electronics from a legitimate establishment. If it is too good to be true, probably it is too good to be true!
MONACO® Audio Video is a true Authorized Dealers for KEF, Sony, Martin Logan, Krell, Parasound, Dynaudio, MIT Cables and many more!
If you are planning or building your dream modern or up to date custom home, here are 5 technologies that you MUST consider: Enterprise Grade Wireless WiFi Internet Networking
Most internet provider such as Verizon, AT&T or Time Warner Cable will give you a FREE all-in-one Modem, Router and WiFi. The all-in-one unit typically works flawlessly in typical small track homes under 2000 square feet. However, in larger custom homes, especially above 3000 square feet, those freebies don’t work as well as the Enterprise grade wireless WiFi such as products from Pakedge that are designed for larger home. To make matter worse, if your home has state of the art appliances such as appliances from Viking, Wolf or Sub Zeros or marble floors, you really need to have a strong signal from your Wireless Access Point otherwise the wireless signal will be very weak. If you need help to design a robust wireless internet WiFi, please let us know!
Integrated Lighting Control
With the new Go Green movement and California newest Title 24, lighting control is almost not an option anymore. The benefit of lighting control is beyond the energy saving. If you walk into any 5 star hotels and wondering why the ambiance seems to be perfect, lighting control is the secret. With lighting control, you can illuminate all your furniture and arts with proper and adequate lighting. You don’t have to waste your time and energy every day just to walk around throughout the whole house just to turn on or turn off the lights. We can create a “Home”, “Away” or maybe “Sleep” scene so you can simply pressing one button to take care your whole house lights. We have lighting control solutions from Crestron® and Lutron®. If you are working with architect, interior designer or home builder, insist to have Integrated Lighting Control. Lighting control is a technology that once you own and experience it, you can’t live without it!
Having whole house climate control is much more than simply adjusting temperature of your home. You can monitor and control everything from zone temperatures to the humidity of your wine cellar from your touch panel or Apple® IPad. Plus, the common place to that we see homeowner install the thermostat is in the hallway, yet no one really live in the hallway. We can install a remote sensor for your thermostat, so you can monitor the temperature in the room that you’d like to monitor more accurately. Not to mention you will remove all the wall clutter from your wall!
Automated Shades Motorized drapery and shades provides convenience, comfort, luxury and privacy to any custom homes. Careful planning for motorized window covering systems will help create luxury appeal and energy efficient place to live. If you have a valuable piece of furniture or piece of arts, you can use the automated shades to protect them from the sun light. We can design, build and install your automated shades with hundreds of fabric material and color to choose from.
In the old days, every television in the house will need its own cable box or satellite box. In other words, if you have 5 TVs, you will need 5 satellite boxes. However, if there are only 3 of you in the family, technically at any given moment, you can only watch up to 3 different channels. This is when Video Distribution comes handy. You don’t have to have unnecessary multiple video sources such as Directv boxes, BluRay players, Apple TVs etc for every single TV that you have in the house. The same goes with your audio system; you can seamlessly integrate your whole house audio and be able to control everything from your Apple IPhone or Ipad.
If you need more information, please call (626)395-9597, we will be more than happy to guide you!