Smart Home Technology Upgrades That Will Increase the Value of Your Home

Smart Home technology is becoming a more accessible and affordable luxury. Smart Home automation may allow for comfort and convenience for the homeowner, but it also provides a more attractive incentive for home buyers. While the baby boomer generation upgraded cabinets and countertops, the upcoming millennial home-buying generation is more interested in the latest technology and how it integrates into the modern home and lifestyle. According to a 2015 survey by Better Homes and Gardens, 64% of the millennials they surveyed were interested in having Smart Home technology in their homes. A recent study by the National Association of Realtors on buyer’s trends reports that this millennial generation represents the largest share of potential home buyers. This is an emerging market that cannot be ignored and will have different expectations in their home purchases. So as a homeowner, what Smart Home technology will increase the value of your home?

Smart Door Locks

Do you ever worry about whether you locked the door after you left the house? Smart Door locks provide the peace-of-mind and convenience of locking, or unlocking, your door from anywhere in the world from the app on your smartphone. Need to let someone in your house? No problem! Just open the app and grant them access. Never fumble for keys again, or guess which rock you hid the spare key under.

Smart Thermostats

The programmable thermostat may not be a new invention, but newer smart thermostats take out all the guess work and allow the user to control the settings right from their smartphone. Set your preferences based off specific hours of the day, or days you’re not home at all. With an estimated average savings of $173 per year, your smart thermostat pays for itself in no time.

Smart Lighting

Energy Star reports that the cost of lighting your home amounts to about 12% of your home’s annual energy bill, or around $264 per year. Smart lighting provides a solution to cut back on energy usage. Smart lighting dimmer and sensor systems allow homeowners to easily turn on and off the lights from a smartphone app. Smart lighting can also be customized to perform certain actions, like slowly getting brighter as you wake up or automatically switching off when you leave home. Another great use for Smart lighting is the increased security  by serving as a motion detector, making it safer for you to venture outside your house at night and be alerted when there’s movement outside your home.

Although there may be an initial investment in upgrading these features in a home, each and every Smart Home feature provides a valuable bonus that is attractive to potential buyers. Plus, the homeowner will also reap the convenience and efficiency benefits of a Smart home system. As Smart Home technology gains popularity and the millennial generation abruptly emerges into the home buying market, you can expect the influx in demand for Smart Home features to rapidly increase. Make your home the smartest, and most valuable, home on the block.

Thinking about upgrading to Smart Home features in your home? Talk to the experts at Quest4 today, Call 812-479-8787 or Inquire Online.

5 Things You Need to Know Before Buying a Soundbar

Your 65” 4K LED TV looks amazing in your living room. Astonishing resolution, accentuates your furniture, everything about it is mind-blowingly incredible, except for one thing- the built-in speakers. Your obvious next purchase is a surround sound system, complete with an AV receiver and booming subwoofer. A Home Theater Sound System worthy of your behemoth of a TV will require a lot of components, taking up quite a bit of space and money and involving a complicated setup that you are not ready to commit to. Is there anything else you can do?!

Alas, a soundbar is the solution to all of your problems! (Well, your sound system problems at least) A soundbar is a simple speaker that is usually powered and self-amplified and can be placed just below your TV. Soundbars can recreate that surround sound effect by utilizing an acoustic design and targeting the sound and bouncing it off the walls in your living area. Soundbars boast obvious benefits regarding convenience, placement and price since the are no worries of complicated installation and wiring or component costs.

**Disclaimer: Soundbars only create virtual surround sound effects, merely simulating the true experience of a proper 5.1 surround sound system. If you have the means, opt for a proper home theater system instead. If you don’t have the means, a soundbar is a great alternative, especially to your built-in TV speakers.

#1 What’s in the box?

A soundbar is considerably wider than it is tall and is usually a single speaker. These long and narrow speakers are generally around the length of your TV. Soundbars are traditionally wide stereo speakers and contain an array of speaker drivers. The width of the soundbar is responsible for creating the “simulated” surround sound effects of a classic home theater system. Soundbars are often self-amplified where the amplifier is built directly into the speaker itself. In these instances, power cables will be included.
A decent soundbar will probably include a subwoofer, which is connected to the main speaker either wirelessly or by using wires. If the subwoofer connects wirelessly, it can be placed out of the way (like underneath some furniture) if you have a power socket nearby to plug it into to. Ideally, a small display on the system will help adjust the volume and among other levels. Having a remote is also ideal to adjust these settings. If you choose a soundbar that doesn’t have a remote, you will instead be relying on your TV or Blu-ray player to set volume levels.

#2 Placement and Knowing What You Want:

When perusing a soundbar selection, take note of a few things. Know where you plan on placing the soundbar before you purchase one. If it’s going underneath your TV, make sure the soundbar isn’t too tall and blocks your TV’s sensor. Also make sure there is enough room on your TV stand for the speaker to sit, otherwise you may want to consider wall mounting it. Take measurements of your space beforehand, like the length, width and depth of your TV and stand, so you are prepared. Nothing is worse then getting your awesome new system home and realizing it won’t work with your existing setup. Soundbars come in all different shapes and sizes though so don’t panic, there is one out there that will work for you.

#3 Bluetooth Connectivity:

A soundbar that has Bluetooth connectivity allows you to play music directly from your smartphone or tablet. You can also stream music from your computer! The most attractive part about this feature is that pairing your soundbar with your audio devices is relatively easy. Other connectivity options include HDMI, RCA and 3.5mm stereo. If you plan on using your soundbar with an AV receiver, an HDMI cable will be useful. If you simply want to connect the soundbar to your TV, a standard audio cable will do the trick.

#4 Passive or Active:

An active soundbar describes an all-in-one setup where the speakers, amplifiers and the processing components are all contained in one system. This yields a simplified setup and a streamlined look. Passive soundbars require external amplification so you’ll need an amplifier or AV receiver that will be connected by speaker wires. Passive soundbars require a more involved setup but the end result is a crisper sound and the capability to connect to more sources. In this new age of audio equipment, a vast majority of soundbars will be active, but there are instances where you can find passive soundbars.

#5 Subwoofer:

If you’re seeking an intense, deep hum to get that full move theater effect from your sound system, a subwoofer can make all the difference. A subwoofer is an extra piece of equipment, separate from your soundbar. As opposed to older models, the newer, updated subwoofers are discreet and sleek. Some soundbars come with a subwoofer in the box, while some may require you to purchase one separately. Wireless subwoofer options make the setup process painless and simple. If you want your favorite action films to boom, consider adding the bass.

If you are in the market for a soundbar, know these five important factors before you start shopping.

First, know what a soundbar is and what it is not. It is an alternate option, not a perfect replacement, for a traditional surround sound system; however, soundbars can deliver an incredible audio experience if you’re upgrading from built-in TV speakers. Second, know where you want your soundbar to be placed and how much room you have to put it there. Third, know how your soundbar will need to connect to your TV and about its Bluetooth capability. Fourth, determine if you want an active or passive soundbar and weigh the pros and cons, though most soundbars you’ll find will be active. Fifth, decide if the addition of a subwoofer is a necessity for you and consider models that already come with one.

See our solutions page about soundbars here >>

Have more questions? Talk to the experts at Quest4 today, Call 812-479-8787 or Inquire Online.

The Best Soundbars of 2018

There are many, many options when it comes to soundbars. Our audio experts chose these models as the best of the best for 2018. Ranging in price, design and functionality, there is a soundbar on this short, but impressive list that will blow your socks off.

#1 Bose Soundbar 700

Designed to be the world’s best soundbar, the Bose Soundbar 700 is not just about the sound, but the experience. With Amazon Alexa built into it, it’s easy to play music, browse the news and learn the current weather forecasts without lifting a finger. It also features wireless add-ons like the Bose Bass Module 700 and Bose Surround Sound Speakers so you can upgrade to the ultimate home theater experience.

#2 Sonos Playbar

If you’re looking for a soundbar for an epic home theater system, this is it. With cinematic sound for music, TV, movies and more, the Sonos Playbar is here to impress. The Sonos Playbar has exceptional dialogue clarity with Speech Enhancement, pairs with your TV and remote, has a phased speaker array for immersive listening and can be wall mounted or placed on furniture.

#3 Bose Soundbar 500

It may be Bose’s thinnest soundbar yet, but this system’s powerful acoustics fill the entire room with sound you have to hear to believe. The Bose Soundbar 500 is meant to be heard, not seen. That’s why the engineers at Bose custom designed the drivers to keep the soundbar impossibly thin while maintaining the acoustic excellence Bose is known for. Measuring only 2 inches high, the Bose Soundbar 500 can fit discreetly under your TV with your entertainment system so you won’t even know it’s there until you hear it. Also includes Amazon Alexa built-in so you won’t have to lift a finger.

#4 Yamaha MusicCast BAR 400 (YAS-408)

Take your home cinema experience to new heights with sound that comes from above as well as around you. The MusicCast BAR 400 immerses the audience in exhilarating 3D surround sound from a single bar solution. Its wireless subwoofer offers greater flexibility in placement while providing explosive bass. Its elegant, space-saving design is ideal for those with limited space and seeking a discreet placement. Connectable through Bluetooth, Apple Air Play, Wi-Fi, HDMI and with Spotify, Pandora, SiriusXM and more, you can explore a world of music at your fingertips.

#5 Sony HT-CT 800 Soundbar

Thin on size. Huge on sound. Enjoy powerful, cinematic sound and wireless sound capability with this 4K HDR soundbar that also lets you expand your entertainment experience with Google Home. Stream music or even video to multiple rooms, while you hear everything at its best with Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio support. All in an ultra-slim design that lays flat or discreetly on a wall.

Stop by our state-of-the-art 9,000 sq. ft. showroom and service center at 4210 E Morgan Ave to check out these models and many more! We have a soundbar to suit every need and budget.

Have more questions? Talk to the experts at Quest4 today, Call 812-479-8787 or Inquire Online.

3 Smart Home Devices that Can Stop a Porch Pirate

It’s the holiday season! Shopping for Christmas is easier than ever with online ordering and delivery directly to your front door. No more braving the mass crowds at your local mall, battling every man, woman and child trying to find the perfect gift at the best price. One-click ordering from your couch and all of your presents for the ones you love most arrive at your doorstep in just a few days. But you better watch out! There are Grinches who want to steal your Christmas presents right off your front porch- they’re known as porch pirates and we’re here to tell you how your smart home products can help identify who they are and prevent them from ruining your holiday season.

#1 Smart Doorbell

A popular feature in the smart home trend is the doorbell. A simple, yet effective product has already proven to thwart numerous burglary attempts across the nation. With features such as HD video, two-way audio and customizable motion sensors, a smart doorbell is a viable option in preventing package theft. By setting up instant alerts to your smart phone when the built-in motion detector is triggered, you can view who is at and what is happening at your front door from anywhere in the world. Two-way audio allows you to speak to (or yell at) whoever is attempting to steal your items. And the ability to retrieve live videos means you can post, share, email, text and tweet their faces for your entire community to witness.

Here are some smart doorbell products we recommend:

Ring

Available in a variety of models to fit every budget, you can easily upgrade your standard old doorbell to a video doorbell by Ring. From a simple battery powered model to a professional-grade hardwired version, all Ring video doorbells have the capability of stopping porch pirates in their tracks while you never have to confront them face to face. Be cautious though, these doorbells require monthly service fees if you want their premium features like video recording and sharing or saving videos.
P.S. Check out this link for some great videos of porch pirates caught in the act >>> https://tv.ring.com/

Control4

The Control4 Door Stations provide premium viewing from your doorway with full-motion video and a high-quality audio intercom system. Using Control4’s integrated products, you can see who’s at your front door from any room in your house. It will even send camera snapshots to your mobile devices. There is an annual subscription to access the Control4 app so you can view your front door from your phone, but can you really put a price on a seeing a porch pirate’s face when they hear your voice over the intercom?

#2 Surveillance Cameras

Outdoor surveillance cameras also provide a viable option to identify (and hopefully prevent) porch pirates from stealing your packages. Surveillance cameras can be placed strategically around the outside of your home, providing you a comprehensive view of your property. These cameras enable you to watch delivery drivers as they drop off your package and also view your package if it was left somewhere other than your front porch. Installing a security camera may even be effective in thwarting off burglars by simply placing them in evident and visible locations to intimidate the thief. Be sure to install them in high areas so they can’t be tampered with. This can prevent package theft at your residence and also help secure your neighborhood.

Here are some surveillance cameras we endorse:

Spyclops

The Spyclops collection of cameras and DVRs will give you peace of mind from anywhere in the world with easy viewing through their free smart phone app. Record live video to watch later or view it in real-time. These cameras are weather resistant and have night vision so you can guarantee they will work under any conditions.

Luma Surveillance

With crystal-clear video in Full HD, Luma Surveillance allows you to see the finer details in life. A complete line of seamless styles and colors allow Luma Surveillance equipment to fit into any environment. Built to defend against Mother Nature and potential vandals, Luma cameras record even in the toughest conditions.

#3 Smart Locks

Smart locks, in conjunction with smart doorbells, pair together to create a game changing safety system for your packages. Use your camera feed to confirm the presence of a delivery driver at your door, press a button on your smart device from wherever you are to unlock the door so the package can be left inside, ensure the driver has left your residence and lock the door again. If having a random delivery driver enter your home makes you nervous, you can also install a smart garage door opener as an alternative.

We recommend Kwikset

Eliminate the need for keys with Kwikset’s collection of battery operated or touchscreen door locks. Keyless entry touchscreen or touchpads allow you to enter your home using a unique access code or lock your door with just the touch of a button. Lock and unlock your doors from anywhere in the world, or have Alexa do it for you.

BONUS TIPS: Prevent Stolen Packages and Save Christmas (or any other day of the year)

  • If you know you won’t be home at the time of delivery, send it to your workplace or trusted neighbor who is available.
  • Request a signature to ensure your package is received by the right person.
  • Don’t leave gifts out in the open. Surround your porch area with plants or decorations for more privacy.
  • Don’t tell social media you’re expecting a package.
  • Request the item be placed in your backyard, or hidden in a place you pre-determined.
  • Track your package so you know precisely when it will arrive.

Have more questions? Talk to the experts at Quest4 today, Call 812-479-8787 or Inquire Online.