As you might imagine we get called to a great deal of existing homes that already have some form of system installed. This can often be an eye opener as you get to see what others have proposed, installed recommended and what the client themselves ultimately decided was right for them. We get to see systems that are 10-15 years old pretty regularly as that is a common age for local homes that have some form of technology installed. What was adequate, or even cutting edge, at that time can often be very dated when compared to what is available today.
While trying not to focus on the high-end audio/video and automation systems they are the obvious choice for this discussion. Seeing some of the amazing homes and the systems that were installed in them while being built (again typically 10-15 years ago) they were indeed state of the art, yet just a decade or so later most do not even have the ability to share HDTV signals among the TVs in the home or provide Blu-Ray or 3DTV to a dedicated home theater room. I am going to focus on video for the purposes of this blog as amplifier and speaker technologies have not changed as rapidly. The primary issue with this is typically planning on the part of the integrator during the build. HDTV wasn’t always a digital medium, video signals had been run in a similar fashion that a VCR would have almost 30 years ago. The invention and subsequent adoption by the TV manufacturers, of HDMI has created a bottleneck in the upgradability of some very high-end homes and the existing systems.
We are also seeing the same kind of issue popping up in smaller homes and one room surround systems, the same kinds of technology that were installed in larger homes for multi-room video distribution were also being installed everywhere else, just on a smaller scale. There are remedies for this but they can often be pricy when these types of technologies go past their date of consumption, so be prepared! Typically one or two major components must be replaced or reconfigured, one source device (often a Satellite, Cable Box or DVD player) and whatever product is handling the video switching. In smaller systems the switching is usually handled by the A/V receiver while larger systems can have very complex matrix switchers that allow for all source devices to be shared among many TVs throughout the home.
It would be nice if that were all there was to it, but usually it is not, more often than not there is some type of control system for these homes and that will need to be re-programmed to accommodate the new hardware and technology, this can be a stumbling point as many integrators (not us!) will not allow homeowners to have copies of the program for their system or in some cases the original company is no longer in business or no longer welcome in the home. This can lead to needing a new program written from scratch which is certainly less than ideal but better than not having HDTV!
To inquire about upgrading outdated technology in your home contact us today!