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Articles tagged with: lighting control

A New Year Home Addition Just for You

TVs from both Samsung and Sony make great additions to any home

A New Year Home Addition Just for You

It’s a new year, you survived the holidays, and you spoiled everyone in your family.  Now it’s your turn!  With the Superbowl quickly approaching, now is the time to consider a fun addition to the home for you – a new TV or projector to watch the big game on - or dream big with a home theater.  

TVs from both Samsung and Sony make great additions to any home, both with high-quality pictures.  However, if you are putting it in a room that serves a dual purpose and isn’t dedicated to just your entertainment, you may want to hide it.  Echo Workshop can engineer mounts so your TV can rise from furniture or descend from the ceiling.  Perhaps your new TV is going to go in the living room and you don’t want it to take away from the aesthetics of the room.  The Frame from Samsung can go from the big game to art mode with the push of a button, displaying art chosen from the Samsung library or your favorite family photo.

Maybe you’re already dreaming of spring and summertime activities with your family and are thinking about enhancing your outdoor space. We have TVs from partners like Séura that are engineered to withstand Houston’s extreme weather and reduce glare.  The picture is clear and bright in both direct sun and shade, making it perfect for poolside watching or movies in the evening with your neighborhood friends. 

If you’re looking for a new experience, you may want to consider a projector?  We partner with entertainment gurus like Sony and Screen Innovations to provide the clearest picture and most up-to-date technology, making colors richer and blacks deeper, and also eliminating annoying glare.  And, again, you can hide the screen if you like.  Go with a motorized option and Echo Workshop can put the screen just about anywhere.

However, let’s just think about all of the possibilities.  Have you been considering converting that unused room upstairs into a theater?  Perhaps you’re building or remodeling.  Echo Workshop specializes in designing and building unique, high-end home theaters.  Of course, TV and projector selection is an important part of the process, but getting us involved will also give you great insight when choosing audio for the room, as well as other fun features.  Imagine walking into your dedicated home theater and with the push of a button your motorized shades descend, your lights dim, and your new Screen Innovations Black Diamond screen descends.  Add to that some comfortable theater seating or a theater bed from Elite Home Theater Seating and you are ready for a perfect night in with the whole family.

Echo Workshop is your premier Houston smart home company, with TVs and projectors to fit every lifestyle and budget.  Contact us today to learn more about these great products or how to get started designing and building your next home media project.   

Some of Echo Workshop's Favorite Things for 2022

Top Technology Trends for 2022

Some of Echo Workshop's Favorite Things for 2022

If you’re in my age group, you remember as a child having one TV in the house.  It was probably a 19” tube TV, and if you were really advanced, you had a remote control. For part of my childhood, I was the remote control- “Hey kid, go change the channel!” I’m digressing… Upon my visit to CEDIA this year, one of the items that stuck out the most was TV sizing. I’ve been involved in this industry for 36 years now, and I remember when having a 42” flat screen was a big deal. It certainly was an upgrade from my 19” as a kid.  Soon after, it seemed that 55” was a good trend.  Years have passed since then, and we’re now in the age of the MicroLED panels.  It has become common to install an 85” TV in someone’s living room these days, but as of the past three months, it has become common for us to install 98” TVs in client’s homes, and we’ll soon be installing a 122” TV at someone’s poolside that comes out of the ground.  When asked what are the 2022 innovations that have really stood out, MicroLED is certainly top of mind.  I recognize they have been available for a few years, but the pricing structure is making an exit from the ridiculous level and more people are now able to afford them.  MicroLED is certainly a change in trend that will become more apparent over the next few years, and they all come with remote controls.  I foresee the theater room experience will significantly change as well.

Landscape audio is another changing trend. It isn’t what I would consider a new offering, but it is finally catching some traction. The ability to place multiple speakers dispersed throughout your yard that point back towards your home creates a much more enjoyable experience in your space, as opposed to the old way of blasting your neighbors with speakers under your eves.  I hope this trend catches on more as it is a phenomenal solution for audio distribution.

Along the same lines, invisible speakers have certainly been around for several years now, but there has been a significant change in the technology behind this offering. Once upon a time, I used to say, “yes, they’re completely invisible to the eye, they are more expensive, and you’re giving up sound quality to gain the invisible feature.” The technological change is that we no longer have to give up sound quality to have an invisible speaker. Our partners at Revel, Artison, and Sonance have released some incredible sounding speakers that are now invisible.  Really great stuff!

This is just a snapshot of three standout trends in technology.  Since technology is an ever-changing industry, Echo Workshop makes it a top priority to keep up-to-date on the best products for your home and business.  Design, technology, lifestyle…that’s what Echo Workshop is all about!

                                                                                                                                            - Luis Cortes


Smart Lighting Perfect for the Holidays

The possibilities are truly endless with smart lighting.

Smart Lighting Perfect for the Holidays

As the sun sets earlier every day, we can begin to feel the doldrums of winter.  Adding extra lighting to your home can be just the thing to “lighten” things up, create a little magic with special scenes, and perhaps improve your overall wellbeing.  At Echo Workshop, our American Lighting Association certified lighting designer can help you with all of your lighting needs.  Let’s take a couple of minutes to look at some of the reasons you may want to consider smart lighting for your home.

It's holiday time!  That means special time with family and friends, or maybe even some fun entertaining and parties.  Using smart lighting as part of your smart home system allows you to set the mood and the scene.  Echo Workshop partners with companies like Savant Systems and Lutron Electronics to create the perfect system designed for your home.  Scenes have pre-set on and off times, give you the ability to set brightness and color/warmth of the lighting and which rooms you would like illuminated.  With one touch you can be ready for an intimate dinner, a glitzy party, or game night with the family.   You can even set a scene to turn your holiday lights on and off at set times – talk about convenience! 

Like so many of us, you may be feeling a decline in your energy with the coming of winter.  Perhaps you can’t sleep through the night or just aren’t feeling as sharp mentally.  You may have seen talk on the news lately about wellness and how your circadian rhythm plays into this.  As we spend more and more time indoors, we need to be conscious of keeping our bodies and minds in balance.  By simulating the sun’s natural path through automated lighting, many sleep issues can be eliminated, mood disorders improved, and, as an added benefit, people often find themselves with far more energy.   

Finally, lighting can just make things prettier and more festive.  Things like additional landscape lighting and changing the color of your lights for special events can bring your holidays to life.  Does your family have a favorite holiday movie that you enjoy together every year?  Along with the hot chocolate and popcorn, adjust your lights to red and green for some added family fun. 

The possibilities are truly endless with smart lighting.  From setting the scene for a perfect Thanksgiving dinner to improving your overall health, lighting can have an immense impact on you and your family.  With our certified lighting designer, Echo Workshop can help illuminate (sorry, couldn’t help myself) the whole process, from design to installation. 

Your Dream Home Theater

The experts at Echo Workshop can walk you through the whole home theater design process.

Your Dream Home Theater

If you are just beginning the process of looking into building a home theater, then you know that there are numerous elements that need to be taken into consideration before starting the building process.  A home theater should feel like an escape from reality and be the most immersive experience possible. Let’s take a look at the numerous important components that need to be considered when designing your own dream home theater.

Probably the first thing that most people think about is the type and size of the video display.  Do you want a TV or a projector and how do you determine what size is best for your space?  Both the size of the room and the distance that you will be sitting from the video display are determining factors that need to be considered.  If that isn’t enough to boggle your mind, there are numerous types of projectors (short throw or mounted) and numerous types of screens.  You also want to think about how much ambient light will be in your home theater.  Extra light can make your picture look washed out or cause a glare on the screen that can be frustrating and take the magic out of the whole experience.

Of course, the video display is very important, but the speakers and how they are placed is equally important.  We know you want surround sound, but what about Dolby or Dolby Atmos?  Do you want the speakers in the ceiling, in the wall, or mounted on the wall?  Have you considered how many subwoofers you would like or whether you want them hidden?  Whew!  There are already so many decisions to be made.  Did you know that producing great sound in a home theater often requires exact measurements for the best clarity and overall experience?  The acoustics of the room are also extremely important.  Are you planning on having wood floors or paneled walls?  There will be more sound reflection and that can possibly interfere with clarity and even cause an echo effect.  Carpet and drywall may be better materials, but there are other options, such as acoustical treatments, that can also improve overall sound quality.   

One of the biggest mistakes people make when designing their own theater is not checking to make sure all of their components are compatible.  This can cause big issues when one device won’t “talk” to the other.  Also, have you considered where these components will be stored (in a cabinet, on a shelf, in a closet) or the cooling device you will need to keep your equipment healthy?  Sound generated from this equipment also has to be carefully thought through.  You don’t want something as simple as noise from a fan ruining your theater experience!    

Don’t forget about perfect lighting - like art lights to highlight those movie posters and special fixtures to set the mood.  We also have you covered when it comes to comfortable seating.  And if you’re looking for something to take your home theater to a whole new level, you may want to consider a starry sky.  The sky is the limit here - with the ability for you to have constellations and even shooting stars. 

I know!  There are so many things to consider that you may be feeling overwhelmed, but the experts at Echo Workshop can walk you through the whole process.  With thoughtful design and a vast knowledge base about all things home theater, we can take the confusion out of what to choose and help you make thoughtful and informed decisions.  Contact Echo Workshop today to learn more about our design and installation process.