Smart Home FAQs

(Frequently Asked Questions)

Use our FAQs to understand your smart home needs.

System Integration

What is a smart home?

A smart home is the improvement and automation of day-to-day tasks such as lighting, heating, shading, audio video systems, intruder alarms, and CCTV.

Technology has advanced so much in recent years and the capabilities of home automation technology enables homeowners to really benefit and improve their home lifestyles.

Given the advances in technology it enables the technology to fit in with the interior design of the home and not take over the room. There are many solutions where technology can match the décor, or even be hidden away out of sight.

How to set up a smart home on a budget?

If you know what your budget is and are interested in setting up a smart home, then the first port of call is to sit down with a professional and discuss the desired objectives for your smart home and get the design process underway.

How to design a smart home?

Designing a smart home takes a lot of careful planning and consultation. It is not just a case of connecting everything to the Wi-Fi.

The key to successfully designing a smart home is starting the process as early as possible and ensuring that the structured cabling is suitable for potential future technological advancements and expansion of the system.

How much does a smart home system cost?

A smart home system can cost as little or as much as the user desires. Some users may be happy to have a smart hub with some smart light bulbs and sockets, alternatively, users may prefer a fully comprehensive system which requires a central rack.

A smart home is not just for the affluent customer, the internet of things allows all homeowners some level of smart home system.

What is smart home security?

Smart home security is a popular solution for many homeowners, and the advances in technology make this more accessible and gives greater peace of mind.

Advances in security technology allow you to access live feeds from the installed CCTV, lock doors, enable alarms, and even speak to visitors that have pressed the video door entry whilst you are out.

Data and Connectivity

What cable do I need for my home network?

As a minimum we would recommend wiring a home network in Cat6 cable, there are arguments for Cat6A, however we would select the cable depending on the requirements of your network.

Also be aware that with the needs for faster connection speeds and more bandwidth due to the emergence of streaming 4K video into the home, Fibre Optic cable infrastructure could be an option in some instances.

How do I hardwire my home network?

To hardwire a home network, you would be required to wire Category cable from a “central” location to all the areas that you would like an ethernet port. Here you would need a network switch to connect these ports to a modem and a router to provide connectivity throughout the home.

What is a cable network connection?

A cable network connection is a physical wired connection to the network. Which provides a more stable connection than wireless.

Is Ethernet better than Wi-Fi?

Our advice would be to always favour a wired connection over wireless, as it offers a direct communication protocol with the internet, as opposed to the traffic on a wireless one via the Wi-Fi.

As standard, all static equipment that requires a network connection, we try to hard wire into the network. A robust Wi-Fi connection is also necessary to allow solid connectivity for mobile devices such as laptop computers, tablets, phones, and the growing variety of Internet of Things products readily available.

What is the fastest ethernet cable?

Not all Category cables are equal, Cat-5e is suitable for speeds up to 1 Gb/s over 100 metres, Cat-6 equally so but can carry up to 10Gb/s up to 55 metres, whereas Cat-6a can carry 1Gb/s and 10Gb/s network speeds up to a distance of 100 metres.

Where a network requires 10Gb/s speeds but over a longer distance, we would recommend the use of fibre optic cabling for the network.

Audio Visual

What is surround sound?

Surround sound is a technique for enriching the fidelity and depth of sound reproduction by using multiple audio channels from speakers that surround the listener. First used in cinemas, surround sound is now a realistic and achievable experience for homeowners.

How many channels are in a Dolby 7.1 Surround Sound System?

There are 8 audio channels in a 7.1 surround sound system. You have front left, centre, and right channels, side left and right channels, rear left and right channels, and a Subwoofer channel.

How to set up a home cinema surround sound system?

When considering a home cinema, it is important that it is designed correctly. The speaker placement is vital to the overall experience of a home cinema, it can really make a difference between a good sounding system and an outstanding sound experience in your home cinema.

Does HDMI carry surround sound?

Yes, HDMI was designed to carry 8 channels of audio which means it is capable of 7.1 surround sound.

The introduction or Audio Return Channel (ARC) has changed the way audio is sent and received by TVs and made it possible to distribute audio channels via HDMI, replacing the need for the previous phono stereo cables.

Should I get a sound bar or surround sound?

There are arguments for both cases, but ultimately it comes down to what the user desires and any space constraints.

Some users may not have the space for free standing or mounted front left, centre, and right speakers, therefore a sound bar may be the better option for them. The quality of sound bars is extremely high and can be used to give the viewer a truly great audio experience.

Home Cinema

How to make a cinema at home?

To make a cinema at home requires a great depth of planning. Things to consider range from lighting, heating, ventilation and air conditions to room acoustics, seating, and projectors.

It is extremely important to have a properly designed cinema room to create an enjoyable and comfortable experience that you want to visit time and again.

Which home cinema projector?

Choosing a home cinema projector can be a daunting task considering the mass of options available to you. We can offer advice based on our knowledge, experience, resources and relationships with manufacturers and distributors to find the best product for you.

Which home cinema system is best?

When considering a home cinema, it is important that it is designed correctly. The speaker placement is vital to the overall experience of a home cinema, it can really make a difference between a good sounding system and an outstanding sound experience in your home cinema.

Do I need to calibrate home cinema audio?

Yes. When having a home cinema installed you should have the audio, and video display, calibrated by a professional to achieve the maximum immersive experience.

Not having a professional calibrate your audio for the home cinema can impact on the overall experience.

Are home cinema speakers compatible with any AVR?

When purchasing an Audio-Visual Receiver (AVR) you must consider the audio outputs available. If the user is hoping to achieve a Dolby Atmos 7.2.2 immersive sound, then an AVR that only has a 5.1 output would not work and you will end up with more speakers than you can output on.

Ensure that the AVR you purchase matches what you are hoping to achieve with your speakers.

Lighting and Shading

Which lighting is best for my home?

The best lighting in a home is lighting that serves the right purpose, task lighting, ambient lighting, accent lighting, are all things to consider before installation.

Also be conscious of the efficiency of your lighting and always go for well-made LED lamps wherever possible. Choosing the right lighting can save you money and improve your home’s ambiance.

How to automate your home lights?

There are many ways in which to automate your home lights, for example from a home hub and Phillips Hue lighting, to a comprehensive Rako or Lutron system.

All these methods give varying degrees of control and automation to create the perfect atmosphere in the home.

How to make remote control light switch at home?

There are products available that can be installed to allow remote control of lights within the home.

These products can use an app accessed via a smart phone or tablet, or alternatively they can come with remotes dedicated to the lighting product that has been installed.

How to control home lighting remotely?

Systems are available that allow you to control your lighting at home remotely via an app on your smart phone. For example, you can access the system whilst you are out of the house to turn the lights on, ready for when you return home.

There is also the opportunity to use geo fencing, this will turn the outside lights on when you are within a certain radius of your home and can be programmed to work only at a certain time of the day.

Can Google Home control Hue lights?

Yes. Google Home is capable of controlling Phillips Hue lighting. However, it will require proper set up and a robust network to work efficiently and effectively.


How do I secure my home?

There are many ways to secure your home, from smart locks, CCTV, and intruder alarm systems.

Smart Locks no longer requires the use of keys, this can take away the worry of losing keys or having multiple keys given to friends and family, potentially leaving your home exposed.

CCTV has advanced a great deal in recent years. Homeowners can now have high resolution live feeds directly to their smart phone or tablet. They can also have pre-set alerts, which can give the homeowner a greater deal of confidence when they are away from home. For example, if someone were to cross a line on the drive of your home, the camera will log this as an event and send a notification to your smart device and keep a recording of the event for ease of viewing at a later date.

Intruder alarms now include systems that operate on the network and wirelessly, however we would always recommend a wired system. If a wireless system is desired, to avoid upheaval and re decorating, then this can also be achieved.

Can home security cameras be hacked?

Unfortunately, there is the technology available and there are some people who may attempt to hack into your CCTV. Therefore, we would always recommend that if your cameras are going to sit on your network, that you have them installed by a professional and that all the precautionary measures are taken to prevent any possibility of hacking.

What is the best security camera for my home?

The best security camera for your home is a camera that makes anyone with untoward intentions think twice before committing an offence. However, there are varying levels of quality and sophistication when it comes to cameras.

We provide cameras that are suitable for all applications, fixed or mobile, with various features such as 24-hour colour vision, motion tracking, light attachments, and much more. When choosing a camera, be sure that it matches your needs.

How many cameras for effective home security?

The main thing to look for in a home security camera system is image quality, with the latest cameras capturing video in 4k resolution.

You should also consider what its main application is. Will it be to watch over the inside of the garage where a valuable car or motorcycle is kept? Or will it be external to keep an eye on loitering people that may not have the best intentions?

We recommend that you contact a professional when deciding on which cameras are best for your home.

What to look for in a home security camera system?

Yes. Google Home is capable of controlling Phillips Hue lighting. However, it will require proper set up and a robust network to work efficiently and effectively.

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Frequently Asked Questions