Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi

Larry Dent is the owner of Chesapeake Home Theatre & Hi-Fi.

These articles were written for the Islander Weekly.

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Larry's Tech Talk

Oh Lucy, you have some ‘splainin’ to do!

This past Saturday would have been Lucille Ball’s 100th birthday. The news made me think of those funny episodes on her hit show, “I Love Lucy”. She was one of the first successful comediennes and just hilarious. And just like technology, entertainment culture evolves too. I don’t know if it was an FCC regulation or not, but remember the separate beds in the apartment? Compared to some of today’s sitcoms that was pretty uptight, but normal for the times. And if you’ve ever watched an old classic movie or show, at some point you had to think WOW, that was corny! Did we evolve on our own, or did technology have a role in changing our culture? Look at the difference between an episode of “Friends” and “I Love Lucy” and what we now consider the norm.

I am guessing that most homes purchased their first black and white television maybe back in the 1940’s? No kid, that was after the “dark ages”! Television was a great source of not only entertainment, but information. Now we have big, flat panel color 3D TVs, hundreds of channels, and an internet! My old laptop with a built-in dial up modem was really amazing. What could be better than that? Now we not only have high speed internet, we have wireless internet. You can drive down the road and if you have a 3G signal, play Pandora on your car’s sound system. Or surf the internet, and check your e-mail while you’re sitting at a local dock bar.

Wireless technology is not only convenient, it’s relatively inexpensive. Sure, wired connections are the best, but not always practical. You can purchase a wireless router for your home for less than $100 and probably connect to the internet from almost any room. If you don’t turn on security, your neighbors can probably connect also. We have wireless cell phones, wireless internet, and all of the associated services available without cables. OK Larry, how about wireless speakers?

I am asked that question at least weekly. And the answer is probably not. Wireless is not for all devices. But dude, we can connect to the world wirelessly, why can’t we have audio without wires? There is an exception or 2 to this which I will explain, but this is why. Humans don’t hear digital. We sense analog sound waves. All of our digital music and movies must be converted to analog for us to sense sound. Sure, you can get a signal from point A to point B, but sound requires amplification for humans to hear. And we know that amplifiers require power. There are subwoofers that are wireless, but a subwoofer is a large box with space for a built-in amp. And it also needs to be plugged into an electric outlet. How are you going to get an amp into that small cube speaker and get electricity to it?

There is at least one company that makes an outdoor speaker that is completely wireless. But, the batteries need to be re-charged every ten hours. And the cost is around $1000. So for the most part, speakers still need wires. If you’re building or renovating your home, don’t forget to have speaker wire installed before the drywall goes up.

Wireless technology is really nice and convenient and will continue to get better. But don’t expect wireless speakers to hit the scene anytime soon.

Lucy, you were
GREAT! Happy Birthday!