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Introduction to Multi-Room Audio/Video

A multi-room audio/video solution will transform the way you experience your digital music at home.

With satellite radio, MP3s, cable music channels and streaming Internet music, you have more options than ever for listening to music at home. The problem is, most audio systems are designed for listening in only one room, which just isn't ideal for most homes and lifestyles. Let's say you're entertaining or doing weekend chores and you want to play your favorite playlist upstairs, in the kitchen and on the patio all at once. What are your options? An MP3 boom box or iPod speaker system isn't going to fill your home with music. Even if you have audio systems in several rooms, you still have no easy way of playing the same playlist or album on all of them in sync. But today's multi-room audio/video systems can, and that's what makes them the ultimate digital music accessory.

Multi-room audio/video delivers just what its name suggests—the ability to play your music in multiple rooms. But multi-room has so much more to offer. Think: independent zones. A typical setup creates multiple listening "zones" based around your lifestyle. Your master bedroom, your family room, your kitchen and your patio, for example, would be your zones. Each would have a pair of speakers and a keypad or touch screen for controlling power, volume, music playback and source (iPod, satellite radio, CD, etc.), among other things. You can operate just one zone at a time or all of them at once. And even though the zones are independent, with the touch of a button they can operate in concert to play the same music throughout your home. "Party mode" is great not only for entertaining, as its name suggests, but also working and relaxing around the house.

Operating a multi-room system is easy and intuitive. You use keypads or touch screen controllers in each room to turn on the music, adjust the volume and browse songs and playlists. Unlike typical remotes, these controllers can operate the music and in any room, from any room. More sophisticated keypads and touch screens not only provide full system control, but can also display song title, artist and cover art just like your portable player does. Thanks to intuitive menus and customizable screens, even technophobes can operate the system with ease.

Multi-room solutions offer big performance with a small footprint. Gone are the stacks and racks of electronics that make up the traditional home entertainment system; multi-room systems are nearly invisible. Professionally installed systems centralize all of your audio and home theater gear, often out of sight in a dedicated equipment rack. In addition to freeing up space, this eliminates the added costs of multiple subscriptions and redundant components for each of your living spaces. You'll enjoy high-performance sound from in-wall and in-ceiling speakers, which mount virtually out of sight. Likewise, keypads and touch screens can be mounted flush into walls or countertops for an ultra-sleek, custom look.

Most multi-room A/V systems require professional planning and installation. Working with a professional installer, like a TechHome Integrator, will yield the best results and give you the option of incorporating video and home control functionality into the system as well. Since multi-room systems are scalable and can be fully retrofitted to existing homes, you can design a system to fit nearly any residence and budget. This is great if you need to build a system over time or expand your system down the road to meet your needs. It's time to sync your home and your music with a multi-room audio/video solution.

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