“My Kids are Laughing at Me.??? My kids are fully grown, but I had a client tell me this just the other day. I can sympathize. Many of us who grew up with CDs or even vinyl have struggled to adapt to the new ways in which music and video content are distributed and consumed. I still have a library of records and CDs that I listen to sometimes when no one’s looking, but I also realize that more music than I could ever have imagined is available online, and that’s mostly what I enjoy these days. The same, of course, is true for movies.

If you’re still putting shiny discs into black boxes to get your AV entertainment and trying to explain it to your kids, here are a few ways we can help.

Making sense of the possibilities

  • Music services
    Today’s music services, from Pandora®, Spotify®, Apple Music®, Amazon Music Unlimited® and many others offer more music from more different artists and styles than the biggest music store you’ve ever seen. You can now also get SiriusXM® as a streaming service, without the satellite antennas. And you don’t have to buy whole CDs to get one or two songs you like. Most music services have free options (with ads) and can be enjoyed ad-free for only a few dollars a month.
  •  Internet Radio
    There are literally thousands of internet radio stations from all over the world, and typically all you need is a computer, smartphone or tablet to access them all. Most are free. If you just want music you’ll like with someone else playing DJ (like at work or for all-day background listening) you should definitely explore what’s out there.
  • Streaming Video
    Movies and TV are moving online as well. Some of the best programming is available through services like Netflix® or Showtime®, without the need for cable. Services like Hulu® do the same for TV, and allow you to watch what you want, when you want, without having to record it or pay per view.

Hardware options

  • Smart Components
    You don’t need a computer or mobile device to enjoy all the great programming available online. Smart (Internet connected) TVs and receivers let you play online content as easily, and in the same way, as you currently enjoy physical media or cable TV.
  • Whole house access
    You’re not limited to your entertainment center anymore. Even if you don’t want to install speakers in your walls or ceiling, systems like Sonos® and Heos® let you stream music from almost any source to anywhere in your house, often by adding just a single, inexpensive component per room. And of course, you can now stream online video to anywhere you have a TV.

Network Backbone

  • High-Speed Internet Service
    There is one catch. You need high-speed internet service and a high-performance home network to get the most from streamed entertainment, especially HD video and online gaming. If you’re still using the basic Internet service package you signed up for when you bought your house, it may not be up to the task. All cable companies now offer high-speed Internet options, and while they’re more expensive than their basic services, they’re really not optional anymore.
  • Decent Wi-Fi
    Many people are frustrated with their home Wi-Fi performance. We always recommend hardwiring Internet-connected entertainment components (via Ethernet cable) to your home network wherever possible, but sometimes it’s not. If you’re streaming music, and especially video content, to your devices wirelessly, it’s probably time to replace that router you’ve been using for years and consider adding additional access points to ensure uniform coverage throughout the house.

Making it all work

  • Optimizing performance
    There are many different ways to connect both wired and wireless devices to the Internet and to other components, and we know the ins and outs of how to do this to maximize both performance and ease-of-use.
  • Simplifying control
    We also know how to make it easy to control your various systems and devices. This can be as simple as a single universal remote to replace the individual remotes that now clutter your table(s). It can be as sophisticated as a whole-house control system that integrates entertainment, lighting, HVAC and security systems and controls everything from an app on your phone.

Many of our clients are into technology, and they trust us to keep their entertainment and other home systems state-of-the-art and working together seamlessly. If this isn’t you, no worries. We can still help you discover the whole universe of music and video entertainment options available today and enjoy them in ways that are simple, easy-to-use and optimized for however you live. Contact us at david@audiovideocharlotte.com or give us a call at 704-287-3334 to learn more.