HouseWide Blog

Calm, Cool, and Connected

Blog Post

Posted by HouseWide Support on December 26, 2016

Time for a Universal App

This from John Ellington:

“Back in the day, my coffee table had a bouquet of remotes, and then I got a universal remote that controlled everything. It was the future and all my neighbors were envious… I don’t want to now have a bouquet of apps to deal with. One universal app will always be better.

I believe the use of separate apps will still be stuck in the consumer market for awhile. The example given was a Universal Remote with OEM remotes sitting in a drawer. That is exactly where they should stay until worst case scenario. Now on that note, sometimes the manufacturer app may be more appealing with features? Some of those features may loose a bit of luster when the jumping around your phone for different App’s, just to achieve what possibly 1 system can do?!

I do have customers using camera DVR app, Savant App, and Lutron App, sporadic but happens. This is only the most techy of clients, but if everything is setup correctly it works as it should.

Picture this…

So here I am, just got done with all my work emails, about to watch some TV. I settle down on the couch,
Sh*t… Comcast app won’t turn on my TV, gotta get up. I work through the many app’s on my phone and find a Flashlight to find the power button.
Awesome, now its on. After sitting for a second, I realize the TV is on the wrong input, kids love video games.
Find flashlight again and fix that. Okay here we go!

Back to the Comcast App, pull up the guide, Guy Fieri is cooking some pork ribs, mouth watering, wait, what?!… no sound…
Ok, let me find Sonos app and get that going. As soon as I find and open that App, I get a text,…Ok text replied.
Back to the Sonos App, where is it again? Oh yeah found it, now it wants my login info..Ugh, ok 3rd attempt, got it… so many passwords to remember!

Im in, I have volume!! The only problem now is the glare on my TV, another app for that I guess, where is it, Its gotta be here somewhere?
Actually I’ll just get up and close the shades. That’s better, but I still need to turn off the lights.

Get to the lutron app for the lights, … some one rings my DoorBird! Click on that app to see who’s outside. It’s the UPS man. Run upstairs to sign for a package, get back to the couch and re-open lutron app. Lights off.
Now we are grilling, but it’s time for bed…

I’d prefer to be able to do all this with just one application, not to mention that I’m cold,… so now I need to find my Nest app…”

Thanks John.

Are you juggling two too many home & media control apps?  HouseWide System Design is your source for a “universal app”!   Contact HouseWide today to fashion your home – Calm, Cool, and Connected.

Posted by HouseWide Support on September 21, 2016

Bose Lifestyle 650



Bose’s Lifestyle 650 impressed me for two reasons: audio quality and style. Demoed in a home-theater system at CEDIA, the sound was excellent and the bass was memorably impressive. The system includes four OmniJewel satellite speakers, the smallest in Bose’s history, featuring a 360 sound pattern. It also includes a console, an OmniJewel center speaker and an Acoustimass wireless bass module:.


With its premium glass-top finish, Bose wireless Acoustimass module delivers on sound and style. A powerful driver and QuietPort technology combine for best-in-class performance for its size.

The system has a minimalist yet higher-end feel created via brushed anodized aluminum, curved console and polished glass. The Lifestyle 650 retail is $3999.




Less effort, more music

With the Lifestyle home entertainment system, Bose puts a lot of thought into taking the thinking out. Sure, there’s the premium home theater performance that you’ll love for movies, TV and sports. But when it comes to enjoying your music, you can listen whichever way you want, without worrying about which technology is best. This system lets you play music directly from a phone or tablet using Bluetooth, or connect the system to your Wi-Fi network for instant in-home listening, without the need for your phone.

Posted by HouseWide Support on September 6, 2016

Unruly Hillside Turns Backyard Amphitheater with 220-Inch Disappearing Screen


Home of the Year Gold Winner for Outdoor Space. Impressive combination of Niles Audio speakers, Elan g! app control, Optoma projection and a Vutec motorized projection screen set the stage of big-time backyard entertainment.

When most homeowners add an entertainment system to an outdoor space, they stick with a modest-size weather-hardy TV and surround-sound system.

This type of setup is nothing to sneeze at, but the owner took the idea several steps further by turning an unruly, unusable hillside into an honest-to-goodness amphitheater, complete with big, beefy, professional-grade speakers; a stealthy, motorized 220-inch screen; a full-featured, live-performance stage with connections for musical instruments and microphones; and a slew of automated lighting for visual effect.

Although the equipment and features of this outdoor entertainment system are full-blown and full of bells-and-whistles, the owners need only grab a smartphone and touch a button to cue the sophisticated assemblage of A/V components.

Working the Land

The control of this elaborate outdoor entertainment system might be a cinch, but its implementation certainly wasn’t, says Justin Brees from AM House, the Los Angeles, Calif.-based firm hired by the homeowners to design and install the electronic gear during the drastic renovation of their backyard.

“The entire hillside had to be backfilled, which took 18 months, in order to create enough space for the theater gear and for the hundreds of people the homeowners planned to host during charity events and special occasions.”

Several tiers would be carved into the backyard, creating the look and feel of an actual amphitheater. Using this landscape design as a template, AM House configured a system that would also perform on par with that of a commercial amphitheater, which among other tasks required carrying a 1,200-pound-screen from the delivery truck parked in the driveway at the front of the house to the custom-built stage at the rear of the house.

Stage Presence

The 20 Niles Audio speakers that pepper the grounds were positioned to blanket the entire yard with even, dynamic audio, be it dialogue from a movie soundtrack, tunes from musical instruments, oral presentations from a microphone, or music from a rack of components located inside the house.

When a live performance has been planned, the homeowners can roll out four additional YamahaDBR12 speakers from underneath the stage, plug them into the system, and use a professional 10-channel Mackie mixing board to tweak the volume, tone, and dynamics of the various audio signals feeding into them  — similar to how it’s done at a commercial venue.

But no matter what’s playing on the stage — a movie, music, or a live performance — the audio can be directed to every speaker outside, as well as to speakers inside the house, or the owners can choose to have the audio play through only certain groups of speakers.

“For example, they can choose to broadcast audio from a movie on only the speakers near the screen while the speakers around the swimming pool and gardens remain silent, or even play music from a different audio component,” Brees says.

As yet another option, the owners and friends can don a Sony Walkman (20 sets are available) to listen to the movie audio without having to use the speakers. AM House installed FM antennas to direct the audio wirelessly to the portable, wearable players.

“It’s a good way to hear a movie without bothering anyone else who may want to enjoy some peace and quiet,” Brees adds.

App-Controllable Events

The homeowners are able to select and direct music to as many as six different outdoor listening zones via an Elan g! app that was installed by AM House onto the owners’ smartphones and tablets. The same app can be used to operate a 3,600-lumen Optoma video projector, a Vutecmotorized projection screen, dozens of lights, and a Jandy swimming pool and spa system.

AM House designed the g! interface to streamline the process of preparing the backyard for parties, neighborhood movie nights, and other occasions. The owners need only touch a button to have all of the appropriate gear activate and adjust perfectly for whatever activity has been planned.

An Elan g! app operates a 3,600-lumen Optoma video projector, a Vutec motorized projection screen, dozens of lights, and a Jandy swimming pool and spa system.

Video presentations are particularly impressive, given the enormous size of the screen, which stretches nearly 9 feet wide and 16 feet tall, the clarity and brightness of the 3,600 lumens hitting the screen, and the remarkable way in which the screen reveals itself.

On command from the Elan g! app, a motorized lift activates and the screen ascends from its waterproof hiding spot beneath the stage. Meanwhile, the super-bright projector fires up from its custom-built enclosure 28 feet away from the screen, and exterior lighting, except for a few step lights, fades to black.

The owners can choose content from an Apple TV located inside the house or a Samsung Blu-ray disc player that shares space with the Optoma projector. The video signals, as well as audio signals, travel to the projector and speakers over avenues of high-speed cabling that was trenched into the yard by AM House during the excavation.

An Extension of A/V Love

This elaborate outdoor entertainment space may be the most tricked-out area on the property, but it’s not the only A/V locale. The extensive backyard makeover took place more than two years after the homeowners had hired AM House to install a whole-house audio and video system into their 2,300-square-foot home.

This system is still fully utilized, and provided AM House with a solid foundation on which to expand its reach to the outdoors. It also gives the homeowners access to all the features they have grown to love about their initial Elan system, like the ability to view real-time images from surveillance cameras on any display and hear the doorbell ring through every speaker. Their familiarity with the Elan g! system bred a comfort level that gave them the confidence to set the bar high for their newly redesigned backyard.

“They knew they loved the system, so extending its reach and adding new features seemed only natural,” Brees says.

Systems & Equipment

  • Home Control: Elan
  • Lighting Control: Elan
  • Speakers: Niles, Yamaha
  • Video Projector: Optoma
  • Projection Screen: Vutec
  • Systems Design & Installation: AM House, Los Angeles, Calif.,
Posted by HouseWide Support on August 10, 2016

Historic yet Up to date: The Best of Both Worlds

Posted by HouseWide Support on August 1, 2016

Ecovent utilizes HouseWide philosopy: Calm, Cool, Connected

Ecovent is a whole home, intelligent zoning system that delivers room-by-room temperature control. The system is made up of self configuring room sensors, vents and a Smart Hub. The sensors plug into a standard wall outlet, detect the climate of the room and send the information to the Smart Hub. The Smart Hub then opens and closes vents in your home and communicates with the Wi-Fi thermostat to achieve your temperature preferences. All you have to do is set the temperature you want in our mobile app, and Ecovent does the rest.

In other systems, if too many vents are closed off in your home, pressure builds up in your ducts. This can have costly and potentially dangerous consequences. Ecovent doesn’t blindly close off vents. Ecovent system monitors the static pressure and airflow conditions at each vent and in each room. We optimize your comfort, but will never put your home in a position where your heating or cooling equipment will be damaged

In order for Ecovent to work effectively to solve the comfort and control issues so many homeowners face, it’s important to replace as close to 100% of the vents in your home as possible. This is because our system strategically closes vents across the home in order to achieve the desired temperature in each room. You can usually skip replacing vents in bathrooms and closets (because they tend to be smaller and have less airflow).


Even if you have a multi-zone home, Ecovent can still help. Chances are, you have rooms that are hotter or colder than you’d like them to be. The Ecovent system enables you to break your pre-existing zones down further, and set your temperature preferences on a room-by-room basis.

They use sensors that read temperature, humidity, pressure and Bluetooth low energy (BTLE), which offers iBeacon compatibility. Each sensor helps us tailor the temperature of each room to your preferences.

The opening and closing of vents is completely inaudible from about 5 feet away. Our vents are designed for optimal airflow, which means they usually make significantly less noise than a standard vent.


Ecovent is controlled from your smartphone or tablet. We currently have iOS and Android apps. The mobile app allows you to control the temperature in every room, turn your thermostat on and off, and see the status of every room in your home – whether you’re on the couch or away from the house.

It’s important that Ecovent works with or without internet – it’s why it is designed to communicate using a custom, low-powered radio frequency. Very shortly after setup – where you do need a wired ethernet connection – you won’t need to worry. And even if your internet signal drops out, you can still control your HVAC system directly from your thermostat. Firmware is updated remotely, so you are connected to up to date upgrades.

HouseWide Design Systems can help with your Heat/Cooling monitoring needs, to keep you calm, cool, and connected.