Audio visual integration may not mean what you think. It is not just the pairing of sight and sound. Integration is about bringing together all of the components in the audio visual system, getting them to communicate, and getting them to function together harmoniously within the environment. Your experience of sight and sound are influenced by more than one input. What you see is affected by ambient light, the color of the room, the spatial relationships of objects in the room, objects in your peripheral vision, inattentional blindness, and many other factors both physical and mental. In fact, most of what you see isn’t what your eyes resolve, but what your brain constructs. Likewise, many factors influence what you hear, speaker placement, innate room acoustical characteristics, room materials, absorptive and reflective materials, age-associated accumulated hearing loss, and so on. Effective audio visual integration requires a comprehensive understanding of all of these factors.
The first step in audio visual integration is to assess the program requirements, as they say in the architectural community. That is, the customer’s wants and needs for the audio visual system. The next step is to assess the site conditions. Then, as with an successful project, a plan is created. We call this the system design. Once the plan is approved, the individual components must be installed and wired together. Some components may not need to be wired as they are wireless by design, using WIFI, infrared, radio frequency, Zigbee, Z-wave, or some other wireless standard for communication. Even after every component in the audio visual system is wired together, there is usually some configuration or programming required to get all components communicating together in concert.
Lets talk a bit about the components of audio visual integration systems. To most, it will be obvious that speakers are the endpoint of any audio system, and most speakers are wired back to an amplifier with 14 gauge wire. In most surround sound systems, the amplifier is built-in to the receiver, which is the heart of most integrated audio visual systems. The audio visual receiver actually handles all audio amplification and video switching in the home theater system. Most modern receivers even include audio equalization to make the speakers sound great in the room their situated and network connectivity to turn the receiver into a streaming audio visual source. Sources are sources, MP3 players, CD players, Blu-Ray Disc or BD players, and streaming media players like Apple TV. Audio sources are connected to the receiver via stereo audio or optical audio interconnect cables, and video sources are connected to the receiver via HDMI interconnect cables. The visual endpoint in the audio visual system is the display device. Display devices include projectors with projection screens and flat panel LCD televisions and monitors. These are connected to the receiver via an HDMI cable or HDMI balun, which is an HDMI transmitter and receiver kit for transmitting HDMI over category cable.
All of these components need power, but electrical power in most buildings is dirty. That is, there are voltage spikes and drops and other irregularities that affect audio visual performance. This is where power conditioners come in. Power conditioners regulate the power going to your high performance electronics, which brings fidelity to your audio and video.
With all of these components, you are going to end up with a lot of remotes. That’s where a remote control processor comes in. The remote control processor gives you a single remote control interface for one-button control of your receiver, BD player, and Apple TV to watch or listen to whatever you want.
All of this addresses the technological aspects of the integrated audio visual system but not the physical aspects. As technology integrators, we can’t move walls, but with our client’s cooperation, we can plan better furniture layouts, built-in cabinet designs, window shades, and acoustical treatments. A balance of absorptive and reflective materials are critical to audio performance, and light controls, dimmer switches and motorized shades, are critical to visual performance of displays.
It’s a lot to consider, but it all must be considered in order for audio visual integration to function properly. Fulkra has more than a decade of experience integrating audio visual systems. We don’t just integrate technology; we balance it with your environment, your values, your lifestyle.
Call 877.738.5572 today to learn more about audio visual integration. Fulkra is Orange County’s most trusted home automation company.