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Howie Foreman

Outdoor Autumn Oasis

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September is no time to abandon your backyard! It’s been a brutal Summer here in Texas, so Take it Outside now that temperatures are beginning to drop.

We’ve got the perfect Sunbrite television for your Outdoor Autumn Oasis. Call Howie Foreman at Connections Plus on 972-524-6225. He’ll hook you up… literally. 

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Bose Home Speaker 500

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Bose has long made its name as the go-to brand for those who want great looks, solid sound, and ease of use when playing their favorite tunes at home or on the go. Recently, the company stepped even further into the forefront of home audio, offering a first for the brand in a new smart speaker to add to the ever-expanding genre. In addition, the company has two new smart soundbars, aiming to turn some heads and take some attention away from multiroom wireless company Sonos and its new Beam soundbar.

Each new option from the company is fully voice-controllable, featuring Amazon Alexa integration from the get-go, and according to Bose, other voice assistants to follow with software updates down the line (read Google Assistant). In addition, Bose says that Airplay 2 integration will be added in early 2019 to go along with both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth built-in.

Bose is calling its new smart speaker the Home Speaker 500. A small device that looks strikingly similar to the litany of oval pods in the market from Sonos and others, the Home Speaker 500 differs from many competitors in that it offers a screen on the front that displays what’s currently playing. We can expect that in the future the display will do more than just that, but Bose is keeping that to itself for now.

Wall-to-wall stereo sound from a single speaker

The speaker is also a stereo device, which should make music playback more lifelike than the mono sound of most competitors. Inside the Bose Home Speaker 500, two custom drivers point in opposite directions to bounce sound off the walls. The result? A sound-stage wider than any other smart speaker, powerful enough to fill any room with an astonishing stereo performance.

“Voice-controlled speakers aren’t new, and there are plenty of great options to choose from. But we had a different vision for ours, inspired by what we could uniquely do to make the experience better,” said Bose consumer electronics division manager Doug Cunningham in a press release. “All of our new smart speakers double up on functionality. It takes just one Home Speaker 500 to deliver true stereo separation — there’s no need to pair two.”

►  WALL-TO-WALL STEREO FROM A SINGLE SPEAKER

►  AMAZON ALEXA BUILT IN

►  SUPERIOR VOICE PICKUP

►  CONTROL WITH VOICE, TOUCH, OR APP

►  SIX PRESET BUTTONS

►  WI-FI® AND BLUETOOTH® CONNECTIVITY

►  PERSONALIZED BOSE MUSIC APP

►  MULTI-ROOM MUSIC

If you want to stream online content, Howie at ConnectionsPlus can easily set that up for you. Call Howie on 972-524-6225. 

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The Best OLED TV for 2018 LG C8

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You don’t have to take my word for it because the Wirecutter declared the LG C8 the best OLED TV for 2018 in July after testing Sony & LG models.

Chris Heinonen says “After spending 30 hours testing OLED TVs, we think the LG C8 is the best TV for people who want top video performance, especially with new HDR content. Although pricey compared with a good LCD TV, the LG C8 delivers a better picture than any LCD we’ve tested, and it performs as well as more expensive OLED TVs. It’s a great option for the videophile who values image quality above all else”.

LG C8 OLED
The best OLED TV
He goes on to say “The LG C8 produces the best HDR image quality we’ve seen, performs as well as higher-end OLED TVs for a significantly lower price, and is easy to set up and use.

The LG C8 offers superb image quality, supports the leading HDR standards, and has an extremely thin and attractive design. Its WebOS smart TV platform is easy to use and supports all the major video and audio streaming services. Videophiles will like that the C8 gives them more control over the image than competing Sony OLED TVs. Paying more for one of LG’s higher-end OLED models doesn’t get you better image quality at all, which makes the C8 an excellent value”.

So if you are ready to see the best OLED TV of 2018, give Howie Foreman a call on 972-524-6225 – he will help you make your best choice.

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ONKYO SHIPS NEW ‘TX-NR787 9.2-CHANNEL NETWORK A/V RECEIVER’

Connections Plus Texas - Howie Foreman - Onkyo TX-NR787 9.2-Channel Network A/V Receiver

When you first see this you might think you are dreaming! A THX certified select 9.2 receiver with all the latest 4K video technology, Dolby Atmos, and DTS:X for under $1,000. Pinch yourself the new TX-NR787 is on sale for under $700?

A 100 W/Ch (8 ohms, 20 Hz–20 kHz, 0.08% THD, 2 channels driven, FTC) or 220 W/ch (6 ohms, 1 kHz, THD 10%, 1-channel driven) A/V receiver, the TX-NR787 is engineered for enthusiasts seeking seamless top-to-bottom, front-to-back, and side-to-side coverage through 5.2.4 or 7.2.2-channel speaker layouts for Dolby Atmos and DTS:X soundtrack immersion, or for music fans wanting a 5.2 or 7.2-channel home theater with app-controllable powered digital*1 and analog audio distribution to stereo speakers located in up to two additional zones.

Dynamic Audio Amplification featuring discrete non-phase-shift amps is proven by THX Certified Select for theater-reference volume within strict THX sound-quality parameters. Certification comes after thousands of independent bench-tests covering every aspect of product design.

As well as decoding DTS:X® and Dolby Atmos® formats, the receiver features Dolby Surround and DTS® Neural:X™ up-mixing technologies. Both cross-compatible solutions work with legacy Dolby® and DTS® soundtracks, enabling 3D reproduction through any speaker layout, including those with height channels, from sources such as DVD, Blu-ray Disc™, and selected video streaming services.

The TX-NR787 has universal pass-through support for 4K HDR video formats, including HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma), HDR10, and Dolby Vision™, as well as BT.2020 color space, 4:4:4 color sub-sampling, 24-bit video, 4K/60p video, and HDCP 2.2 via six rear HDMI® inputs, Main Out, and Sub Out. A front HDMI terminal*2 is intended for temporary device connections, and the Sub Out*3 for a projector. Enjoy state-of-the-art movie formats on Ultra HD Blu-ray™ and selected video streaming services from external media players with truly spectacular sound and vision.

With the unit, Onkyo’s introduces AccuEQ Advance, a new premium multi-point room-acoustic calibration system that eliminates standing waves (dead areas where sound-wave peaks don’t move spatially, and compromise reproduction quality when sounds of the same frequency interact). Users can place the setup mic in three positions to assure optimal imaging across an expansive soundstage following an easy automated calibration process. AccuEQ Advance is enhanced by AccuReflex™ technology, which aligns the phase of directional and non-directional sounds for cohesive, comfortable, and well-organized object-based audio reproduction through Dolby Atmos-enabled speaker systems.

As well as analog audio distribution, powered ZONE 2 and powered ZONE 3 speaker outputs are serviced by dedicated DACs to share all digital input sources*1 for simultaneous playback of single or unique sources in any or all rooms. Zone 2 line-output can share the multitude of content*1 available to the receiver to a hi-fi system featuring a line-level input.

With 5 GHz/2.4 GHz Wi-Fi® connectivity and support for a variety of network audio distribution platforms, the TX-NR787 can fit in with compatible network speakers and audio systems of almost any brand, allowing users to structure an intuitive multi-room music ecosystem to suit their needs.

These platforms include DTS Play-Fi® technology, which distributes audio to grouped speakers via Onkyo Music Control App*4; FlareConnect™*5 for analog/digital source distribution, including phono; and Chromecast built-in, an easy-to-use casting technology for supported unique or grouped audio systems from Chromecast-enabled apps for iPhone®, iPad®, Android™ phones and tablets, Mac®, Windows PC, and Chromebook™. Chromecast built-in works with the Google Assistant, and users can cue and control streaming audio by voice.

AirPlay® is included, while Bluetooth® wireless technology expands easy steaming capabilities from a broad range of phones, tablets, and personal computers. Amazon Music, TIDAL, TuneIn, Deezer, Pandora®, and Spotify are built into the receiver*6 for easy selection via the Onkyo Controller*4 or Onkyo Music Control*4 App.

Wow, Call Howie on 972-524-6225 while the introductory special is still available.

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The Best Outdoor TV You Can Buy

Connections Plus - Sunbrite TV - Howie Foreman - Outdoor TV

Summer is almost here and our thoughts are filled with living around the pool or leisurely dinners in the cool evening air on the patio. Why not bring along an outdoor TV and make a movie night of it, or for the Dad’s, keep up with the game or PGA golf while keeping an eye on the kids?

If you want to install a TV on a covered patio or in a similar outdoor setting, you have two options. First, you can try using a regular TV, only to have the set damaged by temperature fluctuations, moisture from rain and condensation, and exposure to bugs and the elements. The better option is to get a TV built for outdoor use. The SunBriteTV Veranda is a 55-inch 4K TV that offers protection against the elements and 4K picture in one set. You’ll pay extra for the weatherproofing and optimizations for outdoor viewing, but it’s a better deal than burning through a standard 4K TV in a matter of weeks.

Design and Durability
The SunBriteTV Veranda is built for a very specific set of circumstances. The outdoor television is designed to bring 4K display quality to full-shade outdoor environments. Think covered patios, uninsulated garages, poolside cabanas and screened gazebos. As such, the construction of the set is heavy-duty, with a sealed aluminum shell serving as weather-sealed armor against rain, snow and extreme temperatures. The Veranda can operate in temperatures ranging from minus 24 degrees Fahrenheit to 104 degrees and can be safely stored in temperatures of up to 140 degrees.

The metal exterior looks sharp, thanks to a black powder-coat paint job, but the real impressive stuff is the weatherproofing. The chassis is sealed against moisture, including a protective closure around the AV inputs in back.

The locking door cinches shut with two thumbscrews and is ringed with a thick foam-rubber gasket that allows cables to snake in and out of the compartment, but seals around the cables to protect the actual ports from moisture. Built into the bottom bezel is a sealed IR sensor for the remote control.

The TV measures 50 x 29 x 3.86 inches and weighs 51 pounds, which is heavy for a TV of this size, but not surprising when you take the metal exterior into account. The TV is compatible with 400-millimeter VESA wall-mounting hardware, or you can opt for SunBrite’s own all-weather stand. The optional stand is also made of heavy-gauge, powder-coated aluminum and provides a rock-solid base for the 55-inch Veranda TV.

For improved visibility in indirect sunlight – the TV is meant to be used in shaded outdoor installations – the brightness has been ramped up considerably.

Open up the weather-sealed compartment in back and you’ll find four HDMI connections, two USB ports, an RF connector for over-the-air broadcasts and both component and composite video inputs. A digital optical port gives you output for surround sound.

The SunBriteTV Veranda has no internet connectivity built in, and doesn’t include any smart TV functions. If you want to stream online content, Howie at ConnectionsPlus can easily set that up for you. Call Howie on 972-524-6225. 

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Top Home Theater Trends for 2018

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Online Streaming
New technological advancements are changing the way that people consume media and creating a shift in the entertainment industry. With a reported 49 million plus Wi-Fi-connected homes in the U.S. streaming content from a subscriber service such as Netflix, consumers’ love for binge-watching will only continue to increase in the foreseeable future.

Streaming services continue to generate millions of new subscribers annually, and this will continue the rising trend of home-theaters. In fact adoption of premium home-theater equipment is expected to rise astronomically. Everyone expects an uptick in consumer demand as well as the need for manufacturers to further differentiate themselves to maintain a competitive advantage.

Voice Control Integration
Tech giants continue to unveil new technologies across the wide spectrum of products and services that define the home entertainment space. One innovation gaining widespread acceptance is the integration of voice-control systems. Voice control will continue to be embraced as 50 percent of all searches are expected to be via voice by 2020, allowing home theater to play an integral role in the adoption of more smart-home technology.

Wireless Surround-Sound Home Theater
The home-theater industry has been witnessing a steady rise in technological advancements, which is transforming how music and movies are enjoyed. This massive growth in innovation will continue to increase the demand for home-theater audio systems in North America and revolutionize the marketplace — especially due to the growth in wireless audio solutions.

Many key factors are contributing to the quickly growing needs of consumers who are demandinmg more convenient, high-performance home theater without the wires. Because the existing manufacturers will naturally move to meet the increased demand and additional manufacturers and brands will capitalize on this trend by introducing more new wireless audio products into the marketplace.

Wearable Home Theater & Virtual Reality
Until recently, the ability to enter into a virtual reality only occurred in science fiction. Today, experiencing virtual reality through wearable technology is finding its way into our homes and transforming our movie-watching experiences. As the integration of home audio systems with wearable devices continues, manufacturers will feel compelled to develop smart and networked home-theater speakers that support VR, especially since the industry is projected to be worth $215 billion by 2021.

Social Networking
Today many, many people consider seamless connectivity to be necessary, sports fans and TV junkies alike desire the opportunity to join real-time conversations across various media platforms.

For instance, people want to chat alongside others when a new episode of Game of Thrones is airing, which is one of the most tweeted-about shows in the entertainment industry. In fact, 72 percent of TV “superfans” reported that social media plays an integral role in their regular TV viewing.

Home theater viewers will soon have the privilege to tweet, comment, and share reviews while watching favorite programs on home-theater screens as TV manufacturers continue to unleash new social media features in their Smart TVs.

Product Value
No one can argue that the price of high-quality premium home-theater products has dropped significantly at the same time that features and performance continue to grow dramatically. With a wide range of product offerings in the marketplace at various price points, home theater owners can maximize their entertainment experiences at a fraction of the recent costs. Products that also rank high in simplicity and ease-of-use — such as wireless home-theater audio systems — eliminate the need for expensive installation costs encouraging the adoption of a wider variety of home-theater products.

 

Connections Plus founder, Howie Foreman has been a driving force in the AV industry for over twenty years, so his experience and knowledge is outstanding. A conversation with Howie can save you loads of time and avoid potentially costly mistakes if you are in the market to upgrade or purchase your Home-theater syatems. Call Howie on 972-524-6225. 

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The Twelve Audio Video Gifts of Christmas – gift #9

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Howie Foreman’s 9th AV Gift of Christmas is the Conklin Electric 7 String Bass guitar.

Although not a guitar dealer himself, Howie says, “If there’s no great music, what’s the point of great stereo?”

Of the twenty plus guitars that Howie Foreman plays, his very favorite is the Conklin Electric 7 String Bass guitar. He likes his, so we’re pretty sure the bass player in your life will enjoy getting one on the Ninth Day of Christmas.

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The Twelve Audio Video Gifts of Christmas – gift #4

Connections Plus Custom Audio Video - Howie Foreman's 12 AV Gifts of Christmas 2017

Howie Foreman’s 12 AV Gifts of Christmas wouldn’t be complete without some great music, so for the 4th Day of Christmas how about giving 4 great CDs.

There were lots of good Christmas albums released in 2017. Here is a selection of four great new Christmas albums Howie thinks everyone would enjoy.

Connections Plus Custom Audio Video - You Make It Feel Like Christmas - Gwen Stefani-2017 Christmas Album

Gwen Stephani first performed her new Christmas song, You Make It Feel Like Christmas, on The Voice as a duet with fiancee, Blake Shelton. The release of her album and NBC Christmas special under the same name soon followed.

Connections Plus Custom Audio Video - 12 AV Gifts of Christmas - 4 CDs -American Christmas by Alabama

Alabama’s new American Christmas album is the first Christmas album the group has released since 1996. Filled with great Christmas classics, the album is a gift to their loyal fans who have supported them all these years.

Connections Plus Custom Audio Video - 12 AV Gifts of Christmas - Warmer in the Winter by violinist Lindsey Stirling

Coming off her stint on Dancing with the Stars, violinist, Lindsey Stirling released her first Christmas album, Warmer in the Winter and then set off on her holiday tour. Pledgemusic says, “Prepare yourself for a potpourri of different styles, sounds from all different sides of Christmas music. All of which is sprinkled with a good dose of Lindsey pixie dust.”

Connections Plus Custom Audio Video - Howie Foreman's 12 AV Gifts of Christmas - The Piano Boys' Christmas Together album

With over a billion YouTube views for their 50 plus music videos in their back pocket, The Piano Guys released their new holiday album, Christmas Together. Christmas Together features collaborations with major music greats and is the seventh studio album by The Piano Guys.

Christmas isn’t over quite yet, so keep the celebration going with great Christmas music all the way through January 5th, the Twelfth Day of Christmas!Connections Plus - Custom Audio Video -Audio Video flourish

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