Immersed in Music & Movies
We live in a wonderful era. We can listen to any kind of music at any time. We can watch any movie at any time. For LifeEdited Maui, we wanted to embrace the technology that allows this, without being frustrated by the complexities. This is specifically what we wanted:
- Play any music from Spotify in any room (yes, all rooms have speakers)
- Play any music from Spotify in multiple rooms simultaneously (synchronized)
- Start music playing & control volume with only voice commands e.g. “Hey Google, play Pink Martini”
- Play movies from Netflix for a large group of friends
- No room dominated by a giant LCD television
- Simple enough to be usable by a guest within one minute
- Very green e.g. auto power off
As designers, we like to start with the hardest parts of the problem:
- Whole house synchronized music a.k.a. party mode. Most systems don’t do this well or at all. At the time we designed the house, a Google Home/Chromecast system and a Sonos system could do this well. The Google Home/Chromecast system was less expensive, so that’s what we used.
- Great sound with great intelligence. We want the speakers shared between the music (Google Chromecast) and movies (Apple TV). And we want speakers intelligent enough to automatically switch between the Chromecast and the Apple TV. There’s only one choice for that – the awesome Vanatoo Transparent Zero speakers. More on their great sound below.
- Movies with friends without a giant LCD television. So naturally we put a projector and a 100-inch pull down screen on the lanai. This is Maui after all.
With the hard parts solved, the rest of the system fell into place fairly easily.
There is a smart speaker in every room:
To play music, you don’t have to press any buttons – just talk:
Hey Google, play Pink Martini
Hey Google, play Pink Martini on Whole House
Hey Google, louder
Hey Google, quieter
Hey Google, pause
Hey Google, stop
Of course, if you really want to press buttons, you can use your phone.
Vanatoo – Transparent Zero Speakers
The Vanatoo Transparent Zero speakers are one of those rare pieces of smart technology that bring joy without any frustration. Joy from the music. It’s the kind of sound where you can *really* listen – on a comfortable couch, eyes closed, not thinking about anything else. Smart too. On the lanai, there’s an Apple TV (movies) and a Google Chromecast (music) connected to the speakers. The speakers always automatically choose the correct input. I don’t know of any other speaker that does this i.e. can correctly choose between multiple digital and analog inputs.
Movie Setup on the Lanai
To watch movies on the lanai at night, just pull down the screen, turn on the projector, and use the Apple TV remote:
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Please click on a thumbnail to see a slideshow. Bloggers and journalists are free to download the web resolution photos or the high resolution photos. It isn’t mandatory but it is much appreciated if you can credit Shawn Hannah for the photography.
This post is one in a series that describes LifeEdited Maui. LifeEdited Maui embodies our green, space efficient, and minimalist principles. We view it as a lab for experiencing things that are consistent with these principles. The Vanatoo product described in this post was given to us, which we appreciate, but we would not have accepted if we didn’t believe in it.