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How Much Storage Should I Have For My NVR?

A Network Video Recorder (or NVR) is a device that records video in a digital format to a disk drive, USB flash drive, SD memory card or other storage device. This NVR is connected to your security cameras installed in your home or business so you can store the footage and remote viewing on devices. This sends the recorded information from the camera directly to the NVR via ethernet cable.

The number of cameras an NVR can handle is defined by the number of channels (cameras) it has. This can range from 4 channels to 16 channels and up.

Things you need to know:
What the camera’s resolution is
Video quality
Frame rate per camera
Daily recording hours
Number of days you will be recording
Number of cameras you have

Once you have this information, you will know what size recorder you will be required to use to store the footage.

When you are looking to have an NVR installed in your home or business, give us a call! We do everything so you don’t have to! Gamma Tech sells top of the line electronics all across the board so you can be sure that you are getting the highest quality for the price!

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Cat5 vs Cat5e vs Cat6: Which Do I Run In My Home?

You may not even know what Cat wire is. Cat wire, or “category wire” is a twisted pair cable that carries signals. You use this in your own home to connect computer to a network for example. The difference between Cat5, Cat6, and Cat6e is the bandwidth they offer. Cat5 has become almost obsolete due to the other Cat wires being faster and more efficient.

Category 5 is the slowest out of the bunch, offering the slower speed of 10/100Mbps at 100MHz. Length of this cable cannot exceed 100m to reach this speed.

Category 5e (the e means enhanced) has basically replaced Cat5 wire in new installations. It is designed to reduce crosstalk and other signal interruptions, and can handle 1000Mbps at 100MHz. If you want to compromise on price yet still receive a great speed/signal, this may be the best option.

Category 6 has been commonly used in networks, while being able to handle 10 Gigabits of data, at 250 MHz. Cat6 wire is also more expensive to use, and can at times be difficult to install. If you are running cat wire through the walls, this may be the best option for you.
The “crosstalk” or interference has gone down due to the wiring updates. This reduces signal interruption and maximizes speed. You want to future proof your home and not go backwards with technology. When you are ready to install wire in your home, make sure to call Gamma Tech! Our AV wiring team knows everything there is to know about Cat wire. We are ready to serve you!

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Music Streaming Services Compared

Apple Music

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What We Like
If you have iPhone or iPad you don’t have to download another app, it’s already built in. You can access it through your Music app on Apple devices. When you sign up, you get the first 3 months free. There is a “For You” tab that learns about your taste in music and shows you music recommendations.

What We Don’t Like
The sound quality isn’t nearly as high as its competitors. There is no free mode with Apple Music, and is very cluttered; not easy to navigate. If you are an Android user or ever plan to in the future, the Apple Music platform is not the most friendly one to use.

Cost: $9.99/mo

Spotify

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What We Like
You can connect your Spotify account to Facebook and see what your friends are listening to. Spotify also has great high quality audio.

What We Don’t Like
This is actually our favorite streaming service to use at Gamma Tech. The sound quality is still not “high definition”, but it is still very good and better than most. Some big name artists have removed their music from Spotify due to their royalty rates.

Cost: $9.99/mo

Pandora

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What We Like
Pandora uses stations. You can create a station around an artist, song, or genre. It won’t play songs solely from a certain band, but play music that was in the same genre or similar artists.

What We Don’t Like
Has a very limited selection of music compared to its competitors. It is very basic. Also due to licensing restrictions, only 1 track per album can be played at a time. So listening to the Star Wars soundtrack all the way through won’t ever happen.

Cost: $4.99/mo or free with ads

Tidal

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What We Like
It offers a lot of exclusive content only available on Tidal such as concerts, videos, and playlists by big name artists. Gets a lot of attention because of its high sound quality.

What We Don’t Like
Not too many people use this service. Sure it has the best sound, but Spotify is just as great for half the cost.

Cost: $9.99/mo for Basic or $19.99 for hi-fidelity

iHeart Radio
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What We Like
If you want your favorite radio stations you listen to now mixed in with some stations you create yourself, this is the one for you. What we like is that ITS FREE! Free is good! Its very simple and easy to use.

What We Don’t Like
The variety isn’t as vast as its competitors. Being solely radio based and not being able to pick an artist to stick with may bother some users.

Cost: $9.99/mo or free with ads

Slacker Radio

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What We Like
Has a vast library of music, great stations, and playlists. The program itself is very sleek, and has great sound quality. If you love sports radio, you’ll love this service even more with live ESPN Radio. Also has news stations and even The Weather Channel.

What We Don’t Like
Very similar to the Pandora and Spotify, certain features are only available through the premium membership.

Cost: $3.99/mo or free with ads

Tune In Radio

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What We Like
There are endless possibilities with Tune In. You can listen to practically anything you wish. What we love about TuneIn is that it is accessible just about anywhere. Apple, Android, a Smart TV, you name it, you can probably stream Tune In. You can connect Tune In to your Facebook just like Spotify. There is a History tab that will show you a stations entire playlist before you even start listening.

What We Don’t Like
There is a buffer. Constantly waiting for music to load can be very annoying. Some stations won’t even load. Not all local stations will appear like iHeart Radio, and you need a very good internet connection. Lastly, there are ads that come up at the bottom of the screen as if they want you to click on their bait.

Cost: $9.99/mo or free with ads

 

It all comes down to what your preferences are and what you are comfortable with. Pick the best streaming service for you this summer!

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Building a Home? Your Technology is a Service

If you’ve ever built a home, you are well aware of the MANY decisions that need to be made in order for that home to be built. If it’s a custom home, it’s only exaggerated.

But, few items in your home are like the technology solution you choose. Let me explain.

The floor in your home, is ultimately a product. It’s easy to grasp and easy to recognize a poorly installed floor. There is skill to installing it, but choose the right builder and they’ll ensure the flooring is properly installed.

Same for the appliances, paint, concrete, landscaping, kitchen cabinets, countertops, lighting fixtures, garage door, and the list goes on…

But nothing in your home is so integral to everyday living as your home technology. And typically your builder is not as adept at recognizing a poorly installed system. Think about it. Especially if there is home automation in the home, who is going to ensure the automation works as designed? When the TV doesn’t turn on, who will be responsible for getting it working? Who will be responsible for ensuring the system is easy to use and operate? Who will ensure the system works as designed and isn’t constantly having issues?

All of these questions are who and not what. Sure it matters what system you buy, but the reality is if you buy the best system but have poor service, you really have nothing.

We see this all the time from customers. They purchase a Crestron system or a Savant system because one of their friends have it, or they have it in another home up north. But suddenly, they find the system is a complete nightmare to use and we are called to rip it out. The cause wasn’t because Savant and Crestron have a poorly made product, but instead the company that installed it offered a poor design and/or a poor level of service, rendering the system useless.

So the question ultimately becomes, are you buying a product or a service? And although your proposal may indicate you’re buying a list of products, it couldn’t be more misleading.

At Gamma Tech Services, we are a true service company. No other company offers such a high level of service and attention to detail. We won’t tell you that we never screw up, but when we do, we always make it right. Our staff are experts in their individual fields and put you, the customer, first. With 10 years of business under our belt, we have the reputation to prove the level of service we provide and as the owner I am in this for the long haul. At the end of the day, I personally stay current in all of the fields of services we offer to ensure I can personally take care of any concerns a customer may have.

It’s this winning formula that has allowed Gamma Tech Services to have staying power and year over year rapid growth without any conventional marketing.

So if you’re building a home, or really buying anything technology, ask yourself, “Am I buying a product, or a service.” And be sure to choose the right service company.

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The Reason for Blog Silence

If you’re a reader of our blog, let me apologize for the delay in updating it. It hasn’t been for naught though. As you most likely know, we are moving, and the move has been consuming all of our extra time and energy, normally spent on our blog. The list of improvements for the new office include:

1- all new wood flooring throughout
2 – painting of all interior
3 – security cameras covering entire inside and outside
4 – all new electrical outlets and switches
5 – several new doors and beautiful French doors in a couple areas
6 – new furniture and art throughout
7 – wiring throughout
…. And much more…

Needless to say, we are investing heavily in our space in both financial and time resources to make it a more productive and also more inviting environment for our customers to visit us. Although we are still a ways off from the finished product, the results have already been rather impressive. Thanks to our awesome employees and the contractors we employed we have a space that is truly everything we have wanted.

The reality is that we believe this space will continue to propel us forward as we grow the company in size and professional offerings. This year we added our VoIP services and phone systems and have installed far more than we anticipated. We continue to grow our managed services for our commercial clients at a steady 5% per month and the audio video side has continued to add new customers and strategic sources of referrals. And this month we added on a new service with automated window treatments and shades that we are very excited about.

We know all of this growth requires a new space and we believe that this space is exactly that. We are excited to have a location that allows us to better exhibit our service offerings and better present the level of service we provide.

2015 has been an exciting year and we know by the beginning of 2016 that we will have this new office fully ready to go. I hope you’ll drop by and see us, but for now, stay tuned!

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Your Dreams Need a Pro

You just got a new entertainment system and you hook it all up. It’s great but you suddenly realize you have to use 7 different remotes just to use the TV. No worries. You pick up a Logitech Harmony remote at Best Buy that promises to be user programmable and problem is solved…

Except when someone else tries to use it. Or when you don’t point it long enough. Or the devices get out of sync.

Suddenly the money you saved by doing the setup yourself is starting to feel more like money wasted.

Thankfully, this isn’t a true story (or so we hope) and you can avoid this situation before it ever happens! Call us first.

There are many things that we as professionals can do that you simply cannot. There are products, resources, and tools that no matter how much you buy off Amazon, you’ll never have. All of these elements allow us to present you with a truly professional, enjoyable entertainment experience.

One example of these products and tools is our custom programmed remote controls. Our remotes are different than what you can buy at Best Buy or Amazon, and unlike Logitech remotes, there is no need for a “help” button.

The secret has to do with what’s called discrete on/off. Discrete on/off as the name suggests allows us to specify and separate on from off. A “power” button on the other hand simply switches the device from one power state to another. If it’s on, it turns off and vice versa. This is how off the shelf remotes work and the result is frustrating. If you have 4 devices to turn on to watch TV and you hit the “Watch TV” activity you may find that one device didn’t respond and stayed off. No problem, just do it again, except this time they all turned off except the one that missed previously which is now on. You finally just end up getting up and manually getting everything to turn on.

Our remotes on the other hand are discrete. Meaning we tell each device to turn either on or off and not “power.” The result is that devices never get out of sync and if they do, simply press the activity button again and watch as everything syncs back together. It truly is dummy proof.

Our remotes offer other advantages like rechargeable batteries so you aren’t having to replace batteries frequently and radio frequency control so that you can control components in another room or behind a closed cabinet door. This allows for a much cleaner look as now you can hide that ugly box from Comcast in the cabinet below the TV.

If you are in need of a universal remote trust no one but Gamma Tech Services. We have installed hundreds, if not thousands, of remotes and each one is customizable for your needs/wants.

It’s time to start actually enjoying your system and the remote is the first step to doing so. It’s the main part you interact with and we argue one of the most important. Get a remote today from us and don’t look back.

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8 Sound Proofing Tips

If you are wanting to build a media or theater room, it’s important to consider how you’ll use the system. Will enjoying the system at louder volumes result in an inconvenience to others in your home or perhaps neighbors if you share walls? Then, you should consider sound proofing.

But before you do, there are a couple of considerations, and we address them below:

1. Sound proofing is a new construction/remodel only option. The methods used will highly modify the walls and floor. If you didn’t plan on a remodel, think again. That said, new construction is the most optimal environment and allows for maximum results per dollar.

2. Sound proof drywall exists, but it is not the best option. There are a couple of different sound proofing drywalls that can be installed in leu of traditional drywall. The reality is that two sheets of drywall is about just as effective and that’s not much to brag about. There are far better ways.

3. High mass vinyl is the single most effective way to sound proof a wall or floor. High mass vinyl is applied below the drywall directly to the studs and offers the best sound proofing properties. Acoustiblok is our preferred material and it is has some additional special properties. It works by actually taking the sound waves and turning them from sound energy to heat energy. It’s cool stuff for sure.

4. Both sides of an interior wall should be covered for max effectiveness. If you are covering an interior wall, it’s ideal to cover both sides of the wall with Acoustiblok. This helps to ensure that any sound that radiates through the first layer is stopped by the second.

5. Insulation in the walls like R13 insulation is a great addition to any sound proofing project. It can be inserted between the Acoustiblok layers and helps to dampen alternate frequencies and adds even more mass for the sound to penetrate. We can also install Acoustiblok insulation that has even more sound proofing properties, but it’s not a big difference over the regular stuff and depending on who’s installing, the R13 insulation can save you some money.

6. If you are sound proofing a second story room, don’t forget about the floor. The floor basically becomes another wall in this environment and should most definitely be sound proofed. Other advantages include reduced sound transfer of walking for those below. Some have put Acoustiblok on second floor floors just for this reason as it can help to ensure that those below aren’t annoyed or awakened by high heals walking above.

7. Low frequencies like those that come from subwoofers are a challenge regardless of the techniques used. The low frequencies can easily penetrate even the most effective sound proofing materials. That said, when it comes to these low frequencies, it’s all about relative sound reduction, which brings us to our last point.

8. Sound proofing is a misleading name. It should be called sound emission reduction. In the end, there is no way to truly “sound proof,” only methods to reduce the total amount of sound that will escape a room. If you blare the speakers, the sound will still escape but compared to a normal room, the volume level outside of the room will be far below an obtrusive level.

If you’re in need of any sound proofing services, trust no one but the pros at Gamma Tech Services. We are Naples’ go to technology pros including installation of sound proofing materials. Give us a call today!

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Pay to Play

At Gamma Tech Services we always try to be as upfront as possible. There’s no hiding we are here to make a sale, but at the end of the day, we are looking for happy customers—not quick profits. When buying a home technology system, it’s important to understand that with more features and ease of use, often comes more maintenance.

I compare this to buying a new car. You can purchase a basic Honda Civic which has no cruise or navigation, or you can buy a Mercedes with laser guided cruise, lane departure warning, leather seats, and a full navigation system. All of these systems are there to add luxury and to make the car safer to use. What’s important to note however is that all of these systems introduce additional points of failure and most of the time will increase your total maintenance required.

At Gamma Tech Services we are “Mercedes” dealers. Maybe Mercedes isn’t the best analogy, but fill in your favorite luxury brand and we’ll go with that. You may wonder, “Didn’t you just make a case for not buying a Mercedes and now are comparing Gamma Tech with that?” I did, and I am.

The difference is that we do two things to provide all the pros of having a “luxury” system without the cons I just discussed, and after all, let’s not forget why we buy these luxury brands in the first place and the conveniences they afford.

First, we only install systems and designs that are well tested and have a history of excellent quality control. This is important in the technology world. Sometimes the newest, coolest item on the market isn’t necessarily the most reliable. At Gamma Tech we spend quite a bit of time and money developing a perfect balance of features, reliability, and price. None of our competition does this to the same level. At times we have lost jobs due to a competitor willing to supply a feature that simply isn’t ready for prime time. With us, it’s something we will not do.

Secondly and most importantly, is our 1 year guarantee. No one offers anything like it. We will truly stand behind our design and products for an entire year. If we need to come out every day, we will, without sending you a single invoice. It is with this in mind that we design every job. We cannot sell systems that require constant maintenance or training. They will simply cease to be profitable and therefore put us out of business.

So what should you take away from this article?

  1. Buying an audio video system that is installed by a professional will require professional maintenance and repair.
  2. Gamma Tech Services only installs the most reliable and easy to use systems.
  3. Gamma Tech Services stands behind each and every design for an entire year after install. Every other company will bill you hourly and financially benefit from installing more complex, less reliable systems.

As I opened this blog, I said that we are here to be as upfront as possible with our customers. Sometimes that means exposing some industry secrets that no one wants to really address, but in the end we feel it would be a disservice to our customers. Buy from Gamma Tech Services and you can rest assured that you can buy once and cry once.

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Our Unique Perspective

 

So many of our potential customers ask us what makes us different from our competition. Although the list is long, one of our stronger reasons is our unique perspective from which we approach project designs.

Most audio video business owners come from a particular background in the technology world. For some, they come from an electrical background. Others it’s a security background, and for others it’s an “old school” audio video background.

But we believe our background is truly unique and something that none of our Naples competition shares. A background in Networking.

Some may wonder what networking has to do with audio video and why it gives us an advantage, but when you understand that networking is the foundation of all future technology, it starts to become more clear.

Networking is the framework and the glue that holds everything together. Without networking you have no internet. Without networking you have no streaming video or music. Without networking you have no way to control your equipment with your mobile devices. The list goes on and on.

Without networking all you have is a bunch of equipment instead of a unified, easy to use entertainment system.

So we can agree that networking is important, but you may not realize that networking doesn’t either work or not work, but instead provides a level of 3 elements: speed, reliability, and security. So often we find that our competition installs networks that offer a dismal level of each of 3 these elements and ultimately the customer is the one hurt. Worse is that some good products are blamed for poor performance or reliability due to networking inexperience from the installers and designers.

What makes networking such a challenge for so many audio video companies is that it is something that is very abstract and not nearly as “hands on” as the rest of audio video. In addition, so many installers believe that just spending more on the equipment will yield better reliability, speed, and security. This is true to a certain extent, but like a quality paint brush, networking equipment is only as good as the painter that holds it.

Reality is that there is nothing “sexy” about quality networking, but like a foundation to your home, networking is the foundation to your technology. Trust the pros at Gamma Tech Services and rest assured that the foundation to your system is solid.

 

Video Distribution

Video Distribution: a Luxury You Can’t Afford to Not Have

 

If you’re looking for the ultimate audio/video experience in your home, consider video distribution.

Video distribution can seem hard to understand because it is so foreign to many people, but the idea is actually pretty simple.

So what is video distribution you ask? Video distribution is an idea that lets multiple TVs share multiple sources. The advantage? You can watch any source on any TV. In addition, it can also save you money on sources as you only need as many devices as you want to watch at anyone time. In other words, if you have 8 TVs you no longer need 8 cable boxes but instead can get 3 that would be shared amongst the 8 TVs. This saves on your monthly bill from your cable provider but also has another consequence.

Now each member of the family can have their own cable box and DVR to view on any TV. This means you can not only view any recording on any TV, but you can segregate your recordings from your husband/wife. If you want a blu-ray player to watch movies, you now only need 1 for the entire home instead of 1 for every TV. Apple TV? Just 1 needed.

The other great thing about video distribution is that you can truly start something in one room and finish it in another… And this is true for every source whether it’s cable TV, a movie, or something on your Apple TV.

If you’re a sports fan, video distribution is basically made for you. You can subscribe to both Comcast and DirectTV to enjoy Comcast reliability while also enjoying NFL ticket and other DirectTV luxuries. Best of all you only need one DirectTV box and now all of your TV’s will have the option of either Comcast or DirectTV.

Video distribution also lets you easily sync TVs if you wanted to. This is great for parties and other environments where you might be moving throughout the house enjoying a show. Pickup the remote and change the channel in one room and watch as all of the other TVs tuned to that cable box also change channels. No more running around having to change channels on each TV.

Finally, video distribution allows for a truly wireless look to all of your TV’s. Instead of requiring each TV to have messy equipment underneath, all of the equipment lives in a nice and clean rack in a centralized location. Now you can have just a TV hanging on your wall but have access to seemingly unlined content.

If you’re building a new home, remodeling your current home, or just looking to revamp your audio video, consider video distribution and trust no one but the pros at Gamma Tech Services. With our unique 1 year guarantee on parts, labor, and training, you can rest assured you’re making a wise investment!