Monthly Archives: May 2018

Future Home Entertainment Now

Just a few years ago, home entertainment had an entirely different meaning than it does now. In fact, the first home entertainment system was the family radio, where you would sit around as a family and listen to shows that were broadcast. The choices were somewhat limited. Now we are entering an age where our entire lives will be digital, including our home and how we entertain ourselves while in our homes. Now, houses come built with a theater room that can be completely set up with video and sound to mimic that of an actual theater, thus providing a monumental home entertainment experience.

This article will examine just how far the idea of home entertainment has come and now, how the idea of media delivery is transitioning from an actual piece of media, like a compact disc, DVD, and even the new Bluray, into a completely different animal, streaming media.

Traditional Home Entertainment Ideas

Just to rewind a little in order to appreciate the newest and hottest technology that is out, I’d like to just point out some of the older forms of home entertainment. I’m going to skip from the early radio and TV eras into the origins of actually setting up an entertainment hub in the home. Partly this is because of the introduction of the television in the home. Before the television, families were forced to basically invent ways to entertain themselves. If we could go back in time, to the 50’s lets say, and show a family a modern day home with a fully decked out theater room, can you imagine their reaction! We’ve evolved from books and board games, which I still enjoy, to radio, to TV, to fully stocked theaters in our houses.

Origins Of The Home Theater

The original home theaters usually consisted of an oversized cathode ray tube television set, a couch, maybe a recliner, and there weren’t too many options for sound other than the speakers on the television set. The main source of media would have been delivered from over-the-air signals, then from cable (if you could afford it), and also from your home VHS or BETA player. This set-up probably describes most dens or home living rooms from the middle 80’s through the middle 90’s. Several companies saw the potential of the living room as a major source for revenue. Sony, KLH, JVC, AIWA, and Yamaha electronics companies were some of the pioneers in the home theater market that started to produce products specifically marketed for creating your own home theater in your house. The latest two editions to the home entertainment room are the DVD player, which replaced the VHS, and now the Sony Bluray players. There was a brief war between Sony and Toshiba for High Definition format superiority, but Sony’s Bluray Player won that war.

Now a home theater room can come fully equipped with oversized plasma televisions, LED televisions, and gigantic movie screens with accompanying 1080p video projectors suspended from the ceiling. That old sofa has been replaced with specialized seating that included media room recliners and sectional sofa recliner combination furniture, all to enhance the viewing experience. Not to leave out the sound, you can now have your audio delivered in up to 7.1 channels of crystal clear sound. You can hear the bullets whizzing by your head, don’t forget to duck! Now the home theater is headed for an all new destination, an all new digital destination and you can get there wirelessly.

Your Living Room And Streaming Media Players

The whole idea of having a DVD tower in the living room and picking a movie, and plugging it into a DVD player of some sort is rapidly dying. The digital media player is taking over what was once the homes of the DVD and now the Bluray players on the shelf under the television. The first real media streamer came from Netflix, when they offered a set top box that allowed the user to have access to thousands of movies, streamed over the internet directly to your TV, and you could view the movies in high definition. Then Microsoft started to offer different content downloads through the Xbox. Sony also eased into this market through the PlayStation 3, by making some games and movies downloadable, as well as add on content.

The idea has been there for the past few years, but only until this year have we seen a major boom in media HD Media players, digital media adapters, and digital media receivers. It really has been just a matter of time. People have been storing their own home movies and music on their computers for years, and as the home theater room evolved, so did the consumers’ need to be able to access their media content not only in the living room or entertaining room, but now that need has grown to be able to access content in every room of the house. The demand has become even greater for the HD media player with the ability to back up personal DVD collections on your own PC. Now whole movie collections are stored on terabyte drives and can be accessed with these digital media players. As an example, The Patriot Box Office HD, with the wireless adapter, can connect wirelessly to your home network router and give you access to your media content. It outputs video at 1080p TrueHD and also outputs Dolby Digital sound. These digital media streamers not only play content from your network, but also support services such as YouTube, Google Video, Yeoh, and Hulu.

Upcoming Thoughts

In the next few years, it is my theory that over 80% of the content that we view in our home entertainment rooms and living rooms will be streamed over the internet directly to us. If television manufacturers want to keep pace, I think that eventually the televisions will come with built in media streamers and the ability to communicate wirelessly with home networks. As the ability to transfer information wirelessly gets faster and faster, I think we will see jumps in entertainment technology. The industries of Cable and Broadcast media will take the biggest hits in the next few years also, just like the music industry in the early 2000’s. This time I think we could see some companies just go under or change. They will have to change the way they deliver media to their customers, because if the service gets too far behind the demand, consumers will always find a way to get what they want.

Home Floor Plan Designing

Designing Your Own Dream Home for the New Home Builder:
What is your dream home? Do you have an idea of what it will look like? Defining a dream home is very difficult, especially if you have a spouse or significant other that has tastes different than your own. Although you might be able to agree on a floor plan, do you both agree on what the purposes for each of the rooms? My solution to this matter is simple. Brain storm together. Make it fun! After all it’s your dream that you are talking about. Privately each of you collect floor plan ideas from other sources, and prioritize what you like. List the top 10 bedroom floor plans, bathroom floor plans, kitchen floor plans and of course the floor plan layout styles.

You can do this by researching these topics: Log Home Floor Plans, Model Home Floor Plans (which, by the way, utilize small spaces very efficiently), Kitchen Floor Plans, Apartment Floor Plans (another very good space effective plan), and various architectural floor plans. Collect your “top ten” sources from each of these plans and then select your top ten out of those. You will have a very comprehensible top ten list to discuss with your spouse or significant other. Keep in mind that you can make any room the size you desire from these plans, but it’s the concept and ideas of the plans that you should be collecting.

You both then get together with your top ten lists and discuss why you really like the plans you choose. Make it fun! Make it a party if you want with friends and family, but you need to remember to be open minded and “listen” to the each other since you both have your own pro’s and con’s with each of the plans. Surprising enough, eventually you will agree on a top ten between you. In fact you probably will have extremely similar plans picked out! I did this with my wife and found that in a few hours we agreed completely on our dream home! This was the hardest part! (This method also works in determining baby names and other life critical significant other issues.)

Factors to Consider:
Probably the hardest factor to consider is financing availability and budget. You need to review your own current budget and evaluate how the new budget will affect your current life style. If you check your credit report and it is not what was anticipated, you might have to adjust your budget or take the necessary steps to clean it up. Since I am not a financial specialist, I would ask you to consult with the credit personnel at your local bank. Once your credit is cleaned up as much as possible, apply for a loan. Apply for the maximum amount you can get. Find out what the monthly payments would be and see if that works in your budget. Make sure your monthly payments do not affect your ability to landscape and buy some interior design items and new furniture. A common mistake most people make is that they put everything in their home but leave out the funds and budget for interior design and landscaping. Always have available financing reserved for future emergencies. Do not put everything in your home and become house poor.

Location of your new dream home is also a factor. Does the neighborhood have houses similar to your style? Is there a variety of home styles? Do research on what type of neighborhood it is. Are there neighborhood, city or county ordinances that might affect your lifestyle? Make a list of all the pro’s and con’s of each of your choices of sites, narrow it down to your top 3 to 5 and seriously think about all the factors that might influence your decision. You don’t always want the perfect size or shaped lot if there are ordinances that will effect how you use it. Be careful.

Make sure you have no surprises. Ask your real estate agent for a list of permits necessary to build your dream home on the lot you chose. If they will not provide this, then go to your city and county and get the list. Make sure your construction contactor provides all of these permits in their contract with you.

Local codes can also surprise a lot of dream home builders. Ask the architect that does the signed blue print on your floor plans to research local codes that may or may not affect your floor plan and dream home design. Homework pays. You can save yourself a lot of money and time if you do your homework up front.

Future Home Owners Are Lost in This Economy

There are many homeowners who are lost in this economy but there are ways out of it because spending millions for a home to live in that you cannot afford is not right no matter whom you are; the pleasures of growing up and getting your true love and raising a family has changed. People are not even following the same patter in life as it has been throughout history, couples are staying single well into their thirty’s and are not wanting to get married or even have children, so jumping right in and wanting to marry and buy a home is basically old school and for those that do want to follow the norm are struggling with financing and high cost of interest rates.

But with the new technology in everything there are many ways out of struggles this generation is facing. Many still want to buy a home but cannot quite make ends meet and are turning to other possibilities, what are these you might ask; well a simple solution of putting your money into modular housing, you might be shocked but do not be. These prefabricated homes are actually better quality than a new built home in today’s market, they are much more stable and convenient the waiting period is a fraction of waiting for a home to be built and the cost is dramatically less, much less than you think.

So if you are looking to start a new life and wanting to own your very own piece of the pie well then this is truly the way to go, everything is included such as full plumbing and all of the electricity is fully up to code; you can pick your piece of property and have it fully designed to your taste and in no time it will be up and ready to go.

Is this what you and your new family are looking for in your future or are you wanting to revert back to the old norm of purchasing someone else headache, move forward into the future and have some place very nice built just for you; besides you are the ones that are going to live in it for many years to come.

Do not get left out in the cold or stuck in some old apartment complex just because you do not think that you can afford a new lifestyle, because you can and it is a lot easier than you think; by living in an apartment you are paying someone else to live in their facility when it could be your very own for you and you whole family to grow in and making it an investment as well.

Why Have Your Future Home Professionally

There are good reasons why you should have your future home inspected. But before we go into that, you must ask yourself: do you want the cheapest inspection, or do you want a professional inspection?

Some inspectors can be alarming and point the way for their own company to get maintenance work, to fix up very minor details of your future home. Some inspectors will want to write about every little thing wrong about the building that they can find, and much of it is simply unnecessary if the building is aged. In such a case real issues might get missed.

A professional inspection would be one that notes everything, highlights the most concerning details – structural concerns – at the front, and has the other data in the report, but notes how relevant it is to the age of the building and the circumstances of the building.

In other words, one would not note every scratch and scuff of every room, and somewhere there also note that there were termites found, which might be missed by the reader.

In a twenty year old building it might be enough to state the building’s age, that it appears to have been ten years without refurbishing, and thus has the associated wear and tear of such a home of that age. Then on top of that note any major significant defects. But in a brand new home it might be important to note that three tiles were scratched on the floor of the bathroom, and provide photographs. The circumstances are different and the reports are too.

The person ordering the inspection has to work this out. He has to know who his inspector is, and likely this is why people who move from house to house will find a professional inspector, and keep them over decades.

So what makes a professional inspector? Inspectors who come from a professional building background will obviously have an edge on the same inspector who comes from a non-construction background. And there are many who have no qualifications at all. So find out and ask. The best qualified inspectors will have it noted on their website somewhere.

A builder will know all the ins and outs of how someone can fudge and obscure construction errors. The same is for an engineer or architect who moves into building inspections. These people can stand back from the house, seeing what is on the surface to be seen, and ask themselves why certain blemishes might appear, and then trace those back to their source errors. A professional inspector will not just find a crack and report it; he will and should determine the cause of the crack in the first place. This takes a thorough knowledge of building procedure.

So this is why it is wise to get a professional building inspection. If you are not in the building profession and you see a slight crack somewhere, you may not be able to see at a glance that the crack is inside a patch and that the building is moving. A professional is more likely to see it and be able to look for telltale signs indicating where that crack initially come from.

Cracks can come from building settlement, trees and vegetation withdrawing moisture from the soil, different materials interacting with each other – bricks grow (absorb moisture) while concrete shrinks in time, termites and timber pests, different materials heating and cooling at different rates, and other reasons. If you are buying a home you are best to know why.

But regardless of their knowledge, know that most inspectors will not crawl through openings that are too small, and they will not move furniture, and they will not do an invasive inspection. That is, they will not dig into a wall, or try to get below the surface of the building they are inspecting. Usually their terms and conditions state this. So, if possible have this worked out before the inspector arrives.

When you buy your home you really want to know that it is what you think it is. You do not want to pay half a million dollars to find you then need to pay a lot more.

Professional building inspectors also carry professional indemnity insurance and that helps you sleep. Obviously an inspector is not equipped with x-ray vision. But this does not mean he cannot observe, and cannot use tools, such as moisture meters, to find leaks behind showers and so forth. However, it does mean that he cannot always really tell what is behind the surface of what he sees. What he has is decades of experience, and it is that experience you are calling upon when you need his help.

Is it worth paying that money to have your home inspected? It is likely that the money you spend will give you peace of mind. It will also give you information about the building so that you can ask to have it fixed if it is a problem. As a social phenomenon it also keeps people honest. But in the end it is up to you.