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Landscape Lighting in Bloom

Finally! It’s starting to look and feel a lot like springtime in Calgary! 

This must mean it’s time to start planning your annual landscaping. Will it be roses or lilies, tulips or petunias? But once all the gardening is done and you are admiring all of your hard work, does it still feel like something is missing? Maybe you need to add the element of landscape lighting! 

Why should you only be able to watch your beautiful creations bloom during the day? There is a magic that happens at night and with Inlite outdoor lighting, we can add a layer of beauty that can only be experienced in the dark.  

Total Home Technologies is excited to add Inlite outdoor and landscape lighting to our automation family!

Lighting designs are limitless and can be tied into your current home automation system or run on their own schedule. From the front of the home, tree and garden features to everything back yard, patio, stairs and fences, Inlite has an option for you. 

Not only does landscape lighting offer amazing night views of your home, garden and yard, but it also offers additional security in dark areas of your property. All wires are easily hidden and products are outdoor rated for our crazy Canadian winters. 

From the initial design to the final installation, we can help you take the next step in a beautifully designed outdoor space for you to enjoy this spring and summer.

#Trending – Home Theatre Power Conditioning

Over the past few months, we’ve been diving into home theatres and media rooms. This month, we’re going to take a look at the most important area for any electronic device, power conditioning and management.  Simply put… No Power = No System.

So… You’ve just purchased an entertainment system, home automation system or another electronic device.

What’s the first thing you do? You may make your connections to other devices, connection to your TV, speaker connections, etc. Eventually, you’re going to plug it into the wall for power. Whether it is an advanced and complete home theatre system, a single electronic component, an appliance or a computer, it’ll need the power to function. Of course, you are looking forward to powering up and having a great experience but first… what are you plugging into?

Most electronics get plugged directly into a wall outlet.

This leaves them completely defenceless against catastrophic power surges such as a lightning strike. But everyday power spikes and over and under-voltage occurrences from standard household devices such as vacuums, refrigerators, microwaves can noticeably degrade your electronics’ lifespan and performance over time. It’s not just the AC power line. Without protection on signal and data lines, the equipment is still susceptible to damage from an outside lightning strike.

Think of power conditioning and management as the secret service for the president.  It’s there to ensure all your electronics are protected from catastrophic events.

Need more than two outlets?

Many of us turn to power strips or surge protectors but how much protection do these devices offer? Inexpensive strips often provide little to no protection against catastrophic voltage events, repeated over and under-voltages, or performance corrupting AC line noise. Be sure to check specifications and make sure you know what you are plugging into.

Protect your investment!

Having a proper power conditioning and management system in place can mean the difference between replacing electronic components every few years, or having them last for 10+ years or more. Before you plugin that electronic device, ask yourself… What am I plugging this into? If you don’t know, give us a call and we can help!

High Resolution Music: Your Favourite Music… As the Artist Intended

We love music! It motivates us, lifts our spirits, sets the perfect mood, and so much more. 

Music in many ways, an expression and extension of ourselves. When listening to our favourite music, we want to listen to it as the artist intended.  We want to hear every piano key, guitar chord, bass line, and drum beat… we want to hear it all.  In today’s digital age, this is where high-resolution audio comes in.

What is High Resolution Audio?

For those who remember, the CD was introduced in 1982. Since its introduction, the audio CD has set the bar for digital audio quality. “Hi-res audio” is used to describe any digital audio file or format that matches or exceeds the quality of an audio CD. In late 1999, following in the footsteps of the CD, SuperAudio CD and DVD Audio discs were introduced, which promised even higher quality audio tracks, however, they did not last. In 2001, Apple revolutionized the music industry and the world when it released the first iPod. Overnight, any growing momentum toward hi-res music was decimated by Apple’s promise of “a thousand songs in your pocket,” and music fans gobbled up iPods at a dizzying pace.

If you wanted to have thousands upon thousands of songs on your favourite portable music player, there was no way to include hi-res music files due to a lack of space. In order to fit that much music, the iPod and other players at the time relied on the MP3 digital format. A lossy digital audio format that actually deletes much of the information on an audio CD to keep file sizes as small as possible. Hi-res audio couldn’t compete. It would be almost 15 years before portable storage was cheap enough and plentiful enough to house their large file sizes.

How Do I Play High Resolution Music?

You’ll need a player or device that is capable of playing high-resolution tracks. Many devices on the market will be able to play these high-resolution tracks.  Desktop computers, portable music players, smartphones, Google Chromecast, DACs (Digital to Analogue convertors), wireless speakers, and whole-home music systems are all capable of playing these superior audio tracks.  But there is a catch….. While a smartphone is capable of playing these high solution tracks, in most cases, you won’t be able to hear the difference due to the speakers built into these phones. These speakers don’t have the ability to play every note. While a high-resolution player connected to a pair of bookshelf or in-ceiling speakers will do a better job of playing back every note the artist recorded.

How Do I Get High Resolution Audio Tracks?

There are many ways you can obtain high res audio tracks. Here are the top three options.

  1. Download the tracks you want. Here is a list of popular download sites: https://www.digitaltrends.com/music/best-sites-downloading-hd-music/
  2. Subscribe to a music streaming service that offers high-resolution music. Streaming providers such as Tidal, Amazon Music HD, and Qobuz.
  3. Deezer Hifi and Spotify both offer better than MP3 options.

What About My Existing CD Collection?

While not true high resolution, converting your CDs will allow you to playback those audio tracks on your favourite music player.  All while sounding better than MP3 tracks found on most online streaming services.  For help converting your CD collection, please reach out to us for more information.

The Tip of the Iceberg.

High-resolution audio is just starting to gain momentum and is predicted to replace the MP3 in a few years. If looking for more information, please click on the link below for more information.

Link: https://www.whathifi.com/us/advice/high-resolution-audio-everything-you-need-to-know

Pro-Tip: Importance of Structured Wiring. Think Long Term Investment!

As a company, we often find ourselves fielding questions regarding structured wiring and whether it’s important in a renovation or new home build. Absolutely!  It’s one of the most important investments you can make with your home. It’s a digital world with innovation pushing the limits of what’s possible every day. Here are some reasons why you should consider a structured wiring package.

·         Future requirements: What will the future look like 5, 10, 15 years from now?  Whatever the future holds, structured wiring will play a part in delivering data to those devices.

·         Structured wiring and wireless technologies: As more and more wireless devices enter our home, this will put further demand on your wireless network. Having a wireless network with a wiring backbone will ensure wireless devices receive the data they need at the fastest speeds possible. Hardwiring devices will also take the burden off the wireless network.

·         With Structured Wiring, all runs can be terminated at a central location (closet, storage room, mechanical room, etc.) so that all components can be hidden and out of the way. Having a centralized wiring design allows for easier upgrades in the future, it also allows for seamless integration of all subsystems.

·         Structured wiring can have multiple different uses. Examples: Category cable can distribute video, audio, control, and much much more.  Coax can be used for video/audio distribution, data networks and more.

·         Make a plan. Working with a specialist to ensure the structured wiring package will cover your needs today and into the future.

·         Unlike other technologies or devices, structured wiring doesn’t depreciate. That wire will continue to work and do its job long after it’s been installed. It’s an investment in your home for tomorrow’s digital requirements.

Here are only a few points on why you should have a structured wiring plan. Before you build or renovate, ask about Structured Wiring, it will save you lots of money in the end!

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