24-Tech: Ideas On How To Get Your Home Theater Working Like It's Installed At CTU

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24-Tech: Ideas On How To Get Your Home Theater Working Like It's Installed At CTU


24-Tech.jpgObesity is a bitch and I am fighting it with every ounce of my fat ass. I've hired a nutritionist, have a trainer come by and work me out three times per week and I take enough high-tech supplements to get a ban by Major League Baseball for 50 games. The simple solution is to a) eat less and b) work out more. Regarding the second part of this overly simplistic outlook at fitness requires motivation, which I have found via the long-running Kiefer Sutherland TV show 24. I have been downloading 24 onto my iPad and watching it for 44-plus minutes of cardio.

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Somehow I missed out on the phenomenon of 24 until a TV producer friend of mine suggested that I start watching. The basic premise of the show is that a Los Angeles-based counter-terrorism unit, known as CTU, fights the bad guys, who are far more complex in their plan to make some form of global statement. The show is designed to highlight the action of one calendar day. The pace is quick, the settings are familiar and the show is perfect fodder for those of us pounding it out on a treadmill.

Where 24 has inspired me is in its use of technology. The show ran from 2001 to 2010 and reportedly gets even more high-tech as the seasons progress, but in an age of Apple G4 tower computers and CRT monitors, the feats that this non-reality-based TV show supposedly pulls off are amazing. Flip phones on analog systems can scan fingerprints and upload them to national databases that can process them against millions of other prints in mere minutes. Managers demand that their tech-savvy employees get impossible tasks done in minutes when they should take weeks to process, and somehow the data crunches always work out, even if a terrorist actually blows up the office of CTU. Nothing stops 24 Tech.

I've decided that 24 has set the standard for technology in my home theater. I now demand 24 Tech. This new standard is defined as the merger of new, high-tech audio/video with nearly 100 percent up time, few glitches, the ability to withstand a terrorist bomb attack and still keep playing your favorite movie. The right installer, dealer or even a DIY enthusiast needs to embrace the concept of 24 Tech to ultimately see the technological light.

You might think that I am crazy (and you are likely right), but the idea of building a better, more stable, higher-performance home theater is doable today. HDMI has become more reliable in recent years, but it has a long way to go be truly trustworthy and, to be honest, 24 Tech looks more towards HD wireless, which is coming sooner than you might think. Current products like Classe Audio's CT-M600 monoblock amps not only provide 600 watts of power for your most needy speakers, but the amps are also specifically fan-cooled to run ice cold, even when under duress. They also connect to the Internet via Ethernet to report back to your dealer/installer about the performance of the amps in the event that the performance or reliability of your system requires examination/repair. Once again, many of today's best home automation programmers can log in via encrypted codes to access, repair and upgrade your touchscreen, system routing and more. Apple iPads now can be used as meaningful AV system controllers. On a more simplistic level, your iPhone or Android can be used not just to make phone calls, but also to dim the lights, program your DVR and/or cook your dinner. Jack Bauer likes that.

Philosophically, what 24 Tech protects against is specialty home theater ever forgetting the "special" part of the category's name. Home theater in the mid-2000s became more and more commoditized during the housing boom. Every "alarm guy" was a "Crestron guy" overnight after attending a CEDIA tradeshow. Home theaters were thought to improve a home's value, which has proven not to really be the case long-term. Home theater and high tech is designed for the WOW factor. This requires a lot of work, money and effort, but the results are always worth it when a system is designed well from top to bottom. 24 Tech isn't a concept reserved for people with $500,000 budgets and teams of programmers. 24 Tech is an idea that is for anyone who wants to build in the latest and greatest tricks into their system with top performance and near-perfect reliability. I know 24 is a fictional show, but the idea of making your home theater work like it's in the conference room of CTU isn't as farfetched as it seems.

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• See more content like this in our Feature News Stories section.
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