Press Coverage

01 Jun 2017

Source: Mail on Sunday 28 May 2017
There was a time when a remote control was only used for flicking through TV channels. But these days—often via a mobile phone—it can control your entire home and help shave hundreds of pounds a year off the household bills.

Here, The Mail on Sunday picks through the high-tech maze to explore some of the ways you can make savings, looking at everything from entertainment to energy—and even feeding the cat.

Ion Smith, co-founder of home cinema installation firm Cyberhomes in Thame, Oxfordshire, believes systems can transform the home.

He says: ‘Only your imagination needs hold you back. The best time to install a music system for the entire home is often when you are doing renovations as this enables any unsightly wires to be hidden away out of view.

‘Consider hiring a consultant to discuss what you want because at the same time you can also look at home cinema, heating, lighting controls and security systems.’ He suggests using a member of the trade body Custom Electronic Design & Installation Association, whose members sign up to a high standard of service and care for its customers.

How to stay switched on to the TV revolution: Get a greater choice of free TV

Anyone wanting to watch TV in several rooms and perhaps include a surround sound system to give the feeling of being in a cinema, should consider using a professional installer to ensure that no unsightly cables are left lying around the home.

Ion Smith, of Cyberhomes, says: ‘Be future ready. For example, the latest technology is 4K—ultra-high definition TV. Make sure any wiring is ready for this as in a few years it could be the norm.

To read the full article, visit: http://bit.ly/2rPKc9a

10 Apr 2017

Source: House Beautiful magazine April 2017

The latest in clever home technology and the most stylish gadgets around

INTELLIGENT DOORBELLS

Find out what’s new in home security technology with this insight from Andy Mack, director of Cyberhomes.

Consider the options

Simple battery-powered smart doorbells can be screwed onto your door or gatepost and connected to your Wi-Fi. More complex video intercoms have to be inset into the wall, programmed and integrated into the rest of your home system by a specialist such as a CEDIA (cedia.org) member. Standalone doorbells start about £100, while a fully integrated video intercom can cost up to £1,000.

Sound and vision

Camera-based doorbells allow you to check ID before you open the door, while those with the option to record video footage let you see who rang the bell while you were out. As they can’t see you, callers won’t know your house is unoccupied. Internet-based designs link to an app on your smartphone or tablet to alert you when someone is at your door—you can then speak to the caller even if you aren’t at home.

Special features

A smart doorbell linked to a home network can include:

  • Motion detectors that turn on the lights at the front of the house as someone approaches.
  • An intercom that can call multiple touch screens and mobile devices within the home.
  • The option to open the gate or unlock the front door remotely.
  • The ability to briefly pause music or TV you are listening to/watching when a doorbell ‘chime’ (or any chosen audio track) alerts you.
  • PIN codes or fingerprint access for family members and trusted guests.
  • Notifications on your phone for different events—every time the bell rings or the front gate is opened/closed, for example.

Stay secure

If you have a doorbell connected only via Wi-Fi and your connection is unreliable, you may miss calls. Make sure you change a default password to a secure one to minimise the risk of it being a target for hackers. If the doorbell also has the ability to unlock the door, ensure it’s well installed—it could reduce your security if someone could pull it off the wall and ‘short together’ wires to unlock the door. High-end products will have an encrypted relay module to prevent this.

23 Nov 2016

Source: Art of Design online magazine November 2016

Technology Integrated into Design

Luxury Homes Demand Integrated Automation and AV Home technology always evolves at a fast pace; and the last few years have been no exception. For luxury homes it is no longer acceptable to have separate systems for lighting, heating, security and entertainment/AV. Homeowners are demanding the ease of use that comes from having all the different technology controlled through a single easy-to-use interface; and this integration also opens the door to home automation. Cyberhomes has been integrating home technology for over ten years and designed and installed a number of award winning solutions.

Fully integrated home automation is growing in popularity and it is important for designers and specifiers to understand the opportunities, as well as how to accommodate it within building design. Andy Mack, Director of smart homes technology specialists Cyberhomes, explains. Homeowners seek a flexible, user-friendly approach to control provided by the latest intuitive software, operated by touch-screen controllers and occupiers’ smart phones.

Maximising Choice

Discreet ceiling speakers in any rooms and external speakers can be organised into audio zones, each providing music and sound selected from the central AV system.

Multi-room audio can be delivered by discreet in-wall or in-ceiling speakers

Multi-room audio can be delivered by discreet in-wall or in-ceiling speakers

Similarly, video content from multiple, centralised sources—such as Sky, Virgin TiVo and Apple TV boxes, Blu-ray discs and movie servers—can be distributed to TVs located anywhere in the house. Systems can include a music player for each individual member of the family to enjoy their specific music collection and streaming services in any room.

Home Cinemas and Media Rooms

While dedicated cinema rooms are still called for in larger homes, very often a single room has to work both as a living space and a high-specification home cinema with immersive sound.

Cyberhomes won the 2016 CEDIA ‘Best Home Cinema over £100,000’ for this Wimbledon cinema room

Cyberhomes won the 2016 CEDIA ‘Best Home Cinema over £100,000’ for this Wimbledon cinema room

Here, at the touch of a button, a projector can descend from the ceiling, a screen lowers in front of the TV, the lights dim and blinds close, creating the ultimate home cinema experience with stunning picture quality and surround sound. Speakers can be in-wall or hidden behind ‘acoustically-transparent’ fabric panels and most of the equipment located in a plant room away from the living spaces, to minimise the impact on interior design.

Lighting Control

Every light in and around a house can be dimmed or switched on and off with these devices, and using discreet wall panels replacing conventional switches. Unlike traditional wiring, each circuit is wired back to the dimmer pack, with a separate cable for controls. Pre-set scenes can be created, perhaps involving automated blinds or curtains, and the latest LED lighting enables a greater use of colour whilst making significant energy savings. Additionally, all the lights in a house can be turned off with a single button or holiday mode selected, creating the impression that the house is occupied.

Integrated Security

Lighting control allows different moods and scenes to be quickly selected

Lighting control allows different moods and scenes to be quickly selected

Smart technology allows discreet CCTV cameras and door or gate entry systems to display on any of the control panels throughout the house or on smart phones including when away from home. Owners can also check and adjust heating, lighting and other functions remotely. Intruder alarm systems can be integrated with home automation, allowing additional actions to be triggered automatically. For example, by arming the intruder alarm, lights can automatically turn off, vacation mode occupancy simulation started and heating reduced. When the alarm is disarmed, an entry lighting scene automatically activates and the heating returns to comfort levels. Whilst the system is unarmed, security sensors can be used as occupancy detectors, for example turning lights off and reducing heating levels if rooms are unoccupied for a length of time.

Today’s clients are keen to maximise the opportunities presented by new smart homes technology but often with as little on show as possible, minimising ‘wall clutter’. Close liaison with interior designers and architects is therefore key to optimising best performance and visual design. And smart homes specialists should be involved in building projects from the start, working alongside architects, developers, interior designers and M&E consultants to integrate the system with the overall building design and performance. This will also ensure that accommodation of the extensive cabling needed, provision of a suitable plant room and minimisation of visual impact from equipment are all effectively catered for.

Reliability and Long-term Performance

CCTV cameras can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet wherever you have in internet connection

CCTV cameras can be viewed on a smartphone or tablet wherever you have in internet connection

Wireless networks for fixed equipment are generally not reliable or fast enough, and suffer from ’dead spots’ as well as interference from other electrical items and the foil backing now common on plasterboard. Wireless is recommended only for devices that need to be handheld or portable such as remote controls, smart phones and tablets. A structured cabling infrastructure based on ‘star wiring’ layouts—as opposed to ‘daisy chaining’—is key to consistent quality, flexibility and future-proofing of home automation systems. For reliability and long-term performance the necessary racks of AV equipment should be built and tested, and all the wiring looms created in a controlled environment off-site.

Home Automation

As well as providing a consistent user interface across all systems, integrating technology also allows new automation features to be offered. For example, the windows sensors for the intruder alarm can also be used to detect if a window is opened by the homeowner, and automatically turn down the heating in that room. With the range of sensors and actuators now available, the automation that can be programmed into a system is often limited only by imagination!

Want to learn more about integrating home technology?

A BIID and RIBA accredited CPD ‘Designing Integrated Future-Ready Homes’ is available that covers the concepts of smart home technologies and highlights some of the potential pitfalls, which Cyberhomes presents on behalf of the trade body CEDIA. If you’re looking to install integrated technology into your latest luxury home project call Jim at Cyberhomes on 0333 344 3718 and take a look at some of our other projects at www.cyberhomes.co.uk/our-projects/.

10 Nov 2016

Source: Hidden Wires November 2016

Cyberhomes Builds an Evocative Home Cinema

CEDIA 2016 'Best Home Cinema over £100,000' winnerOne homeowner’s dream became a reality when Oxfordshire-based CEDIA member, Cyberhomes created a luxurious home theatre that mirrors his childhood trips to the cinema. Having exceeded the client’s expectations, Cyberhomes was rewarded for its work at the CEDIA Awards 2016, where it scooped first place in the Best Home Cinema Over £100,000 category.

The owner wanted a movie room that closely resembled the vintage cinemas he frequented as a child. This classic home cinema would also double as a bar area for entertaining, as well as a play-house-style theatre for his young children to use as a stage when performing plays for their parents.

Whilst this fun room needed to be both aesthetically in tune with the homeowner’s reveries and would function suitably for his children’s shows, it was also essential that this cinema had the most up to date audio and visual technology. This included the integration of a Dolby Atmos set up and 4K Ultra HD capabilities.

To kick start this major project, Cyberhomes set about composing a selection of mood boards and concept visuals to establish the overall look and feel of the cinema room. These boards were then transformed into 3D rendered animations to provide an insight into what the completed area would look like, allowing the client to visualise the finished product.

Bespoke faux lime lights have been positioned in front of the small stage to uphold a theatrical ambience. This lighting set up is part of a wider scheme throughout the cinema, controlled by a Lutron lighting control system. Multiple lighting circuits are integrated within the room for a succession of lighting scenes to be quickly and easily selected. These scenes can be selected depending on the activity within the room at the time, be it for entertaining, live theatre action or in movie mode, where the lights automatically brighten if the movie is paused or stopped.

Adding to the dramatic design of this home cinema, automated front curtains open when the movie begins; the weighted material ensures these curtains sway as they open and close for a realistic and classic theatre prop.

These initial design steps were integral to the overall success of this project, as only when the interior design had been established could the construction and specification of technologies ensue.

The client was specific with his requests for only the best technologies to be chosen. One of the main features included in the brief was to enlist the largest screen possible. However, viewing distance calculations indicated a slightly smaller screen would be optimal.

As a solution, a 130in. Screen Innovations 2.35:1 acoustically transparent screen was selected, which also allowed the LCR speakers to sit in the ideal position behind the screen. To satisfy any doubt of a fully optimised screen, a Lumagen scaler was ISF calibrated by a certified professional to ensure the premium image quality and colour accuracy for all video sources projected onto the screen.

Motorised masking allows the correct screen ratio to be selected whether the homeowner is watching 4K streaming of Netflix and Amazon Prime video content—made possible by a Roku media player, or the very latest movies available on Kaleidescape’s Strato 4K movie player. This system also allows the selected Sony 4K projector to play movies at UHD resolution.

The Sony projector is housed in a custom-built bulkhead with an anamorphic lens and projector glass mounted at THX specified angles. Leaving no room for error, Cyberhomes ensured the IR sync signal for 3D glasses was clear at all times, regardless of the seating positions. To achieve this, an additional IR sender was mounted behind the projector glass.

Next, Cyberhomes focussed on the sound quality for this luxury home cinema. Specifying Procella Audio amplifiers and Triad speakers, a 7.2.4 Dolby Atmos set up was established within the acoustically-treated room. For this homeowner, a thorough and robust acoustic treatment was paramount, not only in the cinema room, but also in the plant room which was also located within the home cinema space.

Stud walls were isolated using isolation rubbers to prevent vibrations and Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV), ROCKWOOL and acoustic plasterboard were used where necessary to control sound reflections and stop sound transference to and from other rooms in the home. For the plant room, additional silencers are fitted to venting inlets and outlets to further reduce ambient noise. Acoustically-transparent fabrics were used to camouflage the speakers and acoustic panels.

Bringing together all of the carefully considered design and technology elements within the room, the entire cinema has been programmed to be controlled via a Savant Pro control system. This smart system controls the AV, lighting, security and heating in the home cinema and throughout the rest of the home. There is a wall-mounted iPad on the exterior of the cinema before the entrance, which enables pre-selection of the use of the room. Once in the room, the whole system can be controlled from iPads or from the homeowner’s own smartphones.

As a result, Cyberhomes has achieved the classic and luxurious look of a vintage home cinema whilst integrating market-leading technologies for this stunning set up. A multi-functional space which is practical and intuitive for all family members to enjoy has been successfully achieved.

Hidden Wires feature tech spec

24 Oct 2016

Source: CEDIA UK October 2016

How They Did It: British Vintage

One homeowner’s dream became a reality when Oxfordshire-based CEDIA® member Cyberhomes created a luxurious home cinema that mirrored his childhood trips to the movies. Having exceeded the client’s expectations, Cyberhomes was rewarded for its outstanding work at the 2016 CEDIA EMEA Awards, where it scooped first place in the Best Home Cinema Over £100,000 category.


The owner wanted a movie room which closely resembled the vintage cinemas he frequented as a child. This classic home cinema would also double as a bar area for entertaining, as well as a play-house-style theatre for his young children to use as a stage when performing plays for their parents.

Whilst this fun room needed to be both aesthetically in tune with the homeowner’s reveries and would function suitably for his children’s shows, it was also essential that this cinema had the most up to date audio and visual technology. This included the integration of Dolby Atmos sound and 4K Ultra HD capabilities.

First Cyberhomes set about composing a selection of mood boards and concept visuals to establish the overall look and feel of the cinema room. These boards were then transformed into 3D rendered animations that allowed the client to visualise the finished product.

Bespoke faux lime lights have been positioned in front of the small stage to uphold a theatrical ambience. A Lutron lighting control system drives multiple lighting circuits for a succession of scenes to be quickly and easily selected. including live theatre action or movie mode, where the lights automatically brighten if a film is paused or stopped.

Adding to the dramatic design of this home cinema, automated front curtains open when the movie begins; the weighted material ensures these curtains sway as they open and close for a realistic and classic theater prop.

The client was specific with his requests for only the best technologies to be chosen. One of the main features included in the brief was to enlist the largest screen possible, but viewing distance calculations indicated a slightly smaller screen would be optimal.

As a solution, a 130” Screen Innovations 2.35:1 acoustically transparent screen was selected, which also allowed the LCR speakers to sit in the ideal position behind the screen. A Lumagen scaler was ISF calibrated by a certified professional to ensure the premium image quality and colour accuracy for all video sources projected onto the screen.

Motorized masking allows the correct screen ratio to be selected whether the homeowner is watching 4K streaming of Netflix and Amazon Prime video content, made possible by a Roku media player, or the very latest movies available on Kaleidescape’s Strato 4K movie player. This system also allows the selected Sony 4K projector to play movies at UHD resolution.

The Sony projector is housed in a custom-built bulkhead with an anamorphic lens and projector glass mounted at THX specified angles. Leaving no room for error, Cyberhomes ensured the IR sync signal for 3D glasses was clear at all times, regardless of the seating positions. To achieve this, an additional IR sender was mounted behind the projector glass.

Next, Cyberhomes focused on the sound quality for this luxury home cinema. Specifying Procella Audio amplifiers and Triad speakers, a Dolby Atmos set up was established within the acoustically-treated room. For this homeowner, a thorough and robust acoustic treatment was paramount, not only in the cinema room, but also in the plant room which was also located within the home cinema space.

Stud walls were isolated using isolation rubbers to prevent vibrations and Mass Loaded Vinyl (MLV), ROCKWOOL and acoustic plasterboard were used where necessary to control sound reflections and stop sound transference to and from other rooms in the home. For the plant room, additional silencers are fitted to venting inlets and outlets to further reduce ambient noise. Acoustically-transparent fabrics were used to camouflage the speakers and acoustic panels.

The entire cinema has been programmed to be controlled via a Savant Pro control system, which also controls the AV, lighting, security and heating throughout the rest of the home. There is a wall-mounted iPad on the exterior of the cinema before the entrance, which enables pre-selection of the use of the room. Once in the room, the whole system can be intuitively controlled from iPads or from the homeowner’s own smartphones.

06 Sep 2016

Source: Building and Construction Review UK September 2016

Building and Construction Review September 2016It’s been an award-winning year for UK smart home experts Cyberhomes. Back in February they won the international ITSA “Best Whole House Integration” award and then just last month they took away the prestigious CEDIA “Best Home Cinema over £100,000” European award.

Cyberhomes use leading home technology control systems such as Savant Pro, Control4 and Crestron to integrate lighting, heating, security and audio-visual systems into a single, easy-to-use control interface. This integration also allows the various technologies in the home to ‘talk to each other’ and in so doing introduces the capability of home automation.

The home cinema in London which impressed the CEDIA judges had the very latest in AV technology such as 4K Ultra HD projection and Dolby Atmos immersive surround sound; yet was themed to look like a vintage cinema from the homeowner’s youth. Lutron lighting control and motorised curtains are integrated with the AV control system to create an involving home cinema experience.

Today’s clients are keen to maximise the opportunities presented by new smart homes technology but often with as little on show as possible, minimising ‘wall clutter’. Close liaison with interior designers and architects is therefore key to optimising best performance and visual design. And smart homes specialists like Cyberhomes should be involved in building projects from the start, working alongside architects, developers, interior designers and M&E consultants to integrate the system with the overall building design and performance.

17 Aug 2016

Source: Inside CI 17 August 2016

Savant and Cyberhomes automate this luxury family home

When a project manager and builder called upon Architect David Rosenberg and custom installers Cyberhomes, both recognised the opportunity to create a cutting edge smart home. Cyberhomes had previously worked with the developer on several residential properties, so he knew he could rely on their expertise and skills for this personal project.

The original objective for the installation was to build a multiroom entertainment system for the homeowner’s luxury five-storey home. When he was introduced to Savant and learnt about its potential, he was inspired to go further by creating a single point of control for all smart technology in the property. Cyberhomes’ lighting designer, Richard Voller, then designed and integrated sensational smart lighting for the home, inside and out.

Working closely with RGB and Savant Europe, Cyberhomes integrated all audio-visual equipent, heating, lighting and security controls into a Savant control system. Even the flow of the poolside waterfalls can be controlled through the Savant app on an iPad or smartphone.

Cyberhomes has worked with RGB/Savant Europe for many years and has implemented multiple Savant PRO projects in the knowledge that the support from RGB and Savant Europe is available if and when required,” commented Andy Mack, Director at Cyberhomes

Throughout the house, Cyberhomes specified Lutron lighting. As an elite partner, Savant was naturally the control system of choice for this project. As well as smoothly integrating with other products, Savant’s easy-to-use interface and personalised profiles give every family member their very own control experience. With all their favourite channels and scenes just a tap away.

However, it isn’t just the end user that favours Savant. The company empowers dealers to offer a high quality product, and tailored services that meet the expectations of today’s savvy consumer.

The great thing about Savant Pro is that the interface sells itself with a demo of the app to the client. This gives us the ability to concentrate on the details that enable us to deliver award-winning projects,” said Mack.

The whole home boasts seven TVs, plus a waterproof TV that’s set into the marble walls of the master en-suite bathroom. All are connected to two Sky HD and two Apple TV boxes via a Savant video matrix. Cyberhomes also installed a Savant modular card frame system, so that new video sources can be easily incorporated in the future.

I like being able to take my iPhone out of my pocket to turn on the TV without looking for a series of remote controls. I also enjoy being able to turn the en-suite TV on as I’m heading upstairs. I can even be lazy when my kids want to see something in the cinema room and set it up without having to move. With Savant, this has all become very easy,” shares the Hampstead Homeowner.

This entire project was designed for luxury and convenience and was thoroughly planned. Atmospheric lighting is triggered as people pass through certain areas of the house. Lights turn on automatically whenever somebody enters a bathroom. When it’s time for bed, a tap on the Savant app creates soft, gentle lighting in the corridors and stairwells to guide the family to their rooms.

The final element for this installation was security. Cyberhomes installed eight IC Realtime CCTV cameras to cover every part of the property’s exterior so the family feel safe at all times. With the ability to use the Savant app to remotely check home security footage, the family can put their mind at ease whilst away.

Jo Booth, Account Manager & Field Sales Executive at Savant Europe adds “Cyberhomes has been fantastic to work with over the years. The way in which it conducts its work and the results they achieve are a credit to themselves and their abilities as custom installers.

The client was impressed by the control and automation of his entire home, including the impressive basement home cinema—popular for every day TV watching, as well as big movie nights. Through the Savant app, anyone in the family can control the projector, speakers and video sources, removing the need for multiple remote controls. To make life even easier, Cyberhomes installed wall-mounted iPad minis on each floor to ensure the control system is always readily to hand. The magnetic docks serve as wireless chargers and have easy access to remove iPads if required.