by Chris Witherspoon
Diahann Carroll is back on TV, guest-starring on USA’s hit drama White Collar.
The legendary actress/singer appears in a recurring role on the series as June Ellington, an elderly woman with a flair for elegant fashion and a love for music. She stars alongside Matt Bomber and Neal Caffrey on the show about a white collar criminal turned hero, which is now in it’s fourth season.
Carroll has had a successful TV and film career spanning nearly six decades, yet she revealed during an interview with theGrio’s Chris Witherspoon that she still gets nervous before delivering her lines on the set of White Collar.
“Absolutely I get nervous,” Carroll said. “And when you don’t get nervous, you’re in trouble.”
In 1968 Carroll became first African-American woman to star in a weekly television series on a major TV network. She won an Emmy and Golden Globe Award for Julia, which lasted three seasons on NBC.
Carroll undeniably blazed a trail for other black women to appear in major TV and film roles. However she says she never imagined that in her lifetime a black woman, like Oprah Winfrey, would be able to start her own television network.
“I didn’t think anyone was going to come along and own their own network that wasn’t a white male,” Carroll confessed. “As I watched Oprah in the beginning to see where she was going with this enormous talent that she had, I thought ‘she’s very aggressive and she just might do it.’ Oprah is a genius at what she does.”
Carroll returned to television in 1984 on ABC’s prime-time soap opera Dynasty, as the villainous millionaire Dominique Deveraux.
Last year rumors surfaced that there could possibly be a Dynasty reunion in the works, inspired from the success of TNT’s Dallas reboot.
The Claudine star says she would love to reprise her role on Dynasty if the series were to be rebooted.
“Yes. If it’s still Dominique Deveroux,” she said. “I love that character, she was wonderful.”
She also believes that today an all-black cast of Dynasty would be a big hit.
“Sure it would be possible. Do you know how many rich black people there are? Why not? I think it would be great fun.”
Fans of Carroll can catch her episode of White Collar at 10/9c on USA.
— On INDEPENDENT LENS, follow “The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights,” watch an AMERICAN MASTERS profile of “Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll” and take a behind-the-scenes look at “Roots” on PIONEERS OF TELEVISION “Miniseries” –
— New Black Culture Connection Website Connects PBS Programming to Digital Resources on PBS.org –
Arlington, VA (BlackNews.com) — In celebration of Black History Month and as part of its year-round commitment to diverse programming, PBS today announced an on-air lineup commemorating the contributions of African Americans in music, dance, television and civil rights, providing an in-depth look at key figures and events that shaped black – and American – history. In addition to these programs, PBS announced it will launch the PBS Black Culture Connection, a digital storybook of black films, history, trends and discussion that’s available throughout the year on PBS.org, on February 1, 2013. A video showcasing the PBS Black History Month programming schedule and PBS Black Culture Connection is available to view or embed here.
“PBS’ mission is clear – to provide accessible, educational, informative programs of every genre and culture all year long. Since February is Black History Month, our schedule is heavily focused on the contributions of African Americans,” said Donald Thoms, Vice President, Programming. “During the month, we are also continuing our commitment to feature stories and films from diverse and independent producers, which remains a staple of our content offerings year round.”
The PBS Black Culture Connection, featuring video from films, award-winning documentaries and popular series like AMERICAN EXPERIENCE and FRONTLINE, will link the diverse national content found on PBS with local programs, interviews and discussions from PBS member stations and from around the web. In addition to aggregating more than 100 digital resources about black history and culture in one place within PBS.org, the PBS Black Culture Connection will feature thematic film collections, biographies and profiles, original productions made just for the web and local station spotlights. After exploring the site, users are encouraged to connect with others through online discussion and to challenge themselves with a suite of quizzes.
“The PBS Black Culture Connection is a digital resource that unites a diverse collection of films and other content across PBS. It’s a screening room for award-winning documentaries and films, a forum to engage in meaningful discussions, and a library to explore hundreds of videos, articles, quizzes and resources like historical maps and timelines,” said Jason Seiken, PBS SVP and General Manager, Digital.
The PBS Black Culture Connection is made available through partnerships with member stations including WNET and WGBH and public media partners like the National Black Programming Consortium. It will also feature the works of producers like Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Stanley Nelson and Tavis Smiley.
The full Black History Month programming lineup is included below. Most films listed will also be available via streaming video on the PBS Black Culture Connection.
The third season of the Emmy-nominated PIONEERS OF TELEVISION reveals intriguing behind-the-scenes stories and fascinating facts about television shows and programming genres that continue to influence the medium today. Miniseries, which still rank among the top-rated programs in television history, were major events that captured the nation’s imagination. The groundbreaking “Roots” was the biggest. In the episode “Miniseries,” premiering Tuesday, February 5, 2013, 8:00-9:00 p.m. ET, hear “Roots” stars LeVar Burton, Louis Gossett, Jr., Leslie Uggams, Ben Vereen, John Amos, Georg Stanford Brown and Ed Asner talk about the epic broadcast.
LIFECASTERS, premiering Thursday, February 7, 2013, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET (check local listings), unites fiction and documentary filmmakers to tell stories of Americans who use their strength, creativity and determination to reach their goals – a bit later in life. In one segment, Oscar-nominees Steven Bognar and Julia Reichert observe African-American dancer Sheri “Sparkle” Williams, one of the oldest female professional dancers still practicing in the U.S.
Whitney M. Young, Jr. was one of the most celebrated – and controversial – leaders of the civil rights era. In INDEPENDENT LENS “The Powerbroker: Whitney Young’s Fight for Civil Rights,” premiering Monday, February 18, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET, follow his journey from segregated Kentucky to head of the National Urban League. Unique among black leaders, Young took the fight directly to the powerful white elite, gaining allies in business and government, including three presidents. He had the difficult tasks of calming the fears of white allies, relieving the doubts of fellow civil rights leaders and responding to attacks from the militant Black Power movement.
In AMERICAN MASTERS “Sister Rosetta Tharpe: The Godmother of Rock & Roll,” premiering Friday, February 22, 2013, 9:00-10:00 p.m. ET, discover the life, music and influence of African-American gospel singer and guitar virtuoso Sister Rosetta Tharpe (1915-1973). Southern-born, Chicago-raised and New York-made, “She could play the guitar like nobody else … nobody.” During the 1940s-60s, Sister Rosetta introduced the spiritual passion of her gospel music into the secular world of rock ‘n’ roll, inspiring the male icons of the genre. One of the most influential musicians of the 20th century, Tharpe may not be a household name today, but the flamboyant superstar, with her spectacular playing on the newly electrified guitar, had a major influence on black musicians, including Chuck Berry, Little Richard, Isaac Hayes and Etta James, and also on white stars such as Elvis Presley, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and Carl Perkins.
In MAKERS: WOMEN WHO MAKE AMERICA, a PBS film about the modern American Women’s Movement, premiering Tuesday, February 26, 2013, 8:00-11:00 p.m. ET, one segment explores stories of how 1960s Civil Rights leaders helped inspire the pioneers of the modern American Women’s Movement. MAKERS details how the parallel movements steadily made gains after initially being cast together with the passage of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. In addition, the film tells the stories of many groundbreaking African-American women, such as Barbara Smith, who started Kitchen Table: Women of Color Press to give women inroads into publishing, civil rights activist Diane Nash, and Yale-educated lawyer Eleanor Holmes Norton, a civil rights veteran who now serves in the House of Representatives. The documentary builds on an unprecedented multi-platform video experience from PBS and AOL: MAKERS.com
Gwen Ifill interviews Berry Gordy, founder in 1959 of Motown Records, which became the most successful African-American-owned enterprise in the United States, in AN EVENING WITH BERRY GORDY, airing in February 2013 (check local listings). Gordy’s celebrated life as entrepreneur, songwriter, record producer, movie director and producer has left an indelible influence on music and films nationally and internationally. Performing one tribute song from Gordy’s musical career, representing the old and new school Motown, are Valerie Simpson (Ashford & Simpson) and R&B musician KEM. Gordy’s son, Stefan Gordy – known to the music world as Redfoo – one-half of the hip-hop musical group, LMFAO, will be in attendance.
THE ABOLITIONISTS: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
Sundays, January 13-27, 2013, 10:00-11:00 p.m. ET
Witness the struggles of Frederick Douglass, William Lloyd Garrison, Angelina Grimké, Harriet Beecher Stowe and John Brown to end slavery.
AMERICAN MASTERS “Cab Calloway: Sketches” February 2013 (check local listings) Explore the life of this pioneering jazz legend who charmed audiences with his bravado and showmanship.
BLACK IN LATIN AMERICA
February 2013 (check local listings) Travel with Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. as he uncovers Latin America’s African roots.
FREEDOM RIDERS: AMERICAN EXPERIENCE
February 2013 (check local listings) Find inspiration in the story of the young civil-rights activists who journeyed through the Deep South in 1961.
INDEPENDENT LENS “The Black Power Mixtape 1967-1975” February 2013 (check local listings) Take a cinematic and musical journey into the black communities of America, 1967-1975.
INDEPENDENT LENS “Daisy Bates: First Lady of Little Rock” February 2013 (check local listings)
Learn why this unconventional revolutionary paid dearly for her instant fame.
INDEPENDENT LENS “More Than a Month”
February 2013 (check local listings) Find out why an African-American filmmaker wants to end Black History Month.
UNDERGROUND RAILROAD: THE WILLIAM STILL STORY
Friday, February 15, 2013, 10:30-11:30 p.m. ET
Hear the story of William Still, a free black man who accepted delivery of “human cargo” on the Underground Railroad.
SLAVERY BY ANOTHER NAME
Friday, February 22, 2013, 10:00-11:30 p.m. ET
Explore the story of labor practices and laws that effectively created a new form of slavery in the South. Laurence Fishburne narrates.
Other series that routinely cover topics and profile guests and performers of particular interest to African Americans include FRONTLINE, GREAT PERFORMANCES, PBS NEWSHOUR, NEED TO KNOW, POV, TAVIS SMILEY and WASHINGTON WEEK WITH GWEN IFILL.
Find more information and high-resolution images from these programs on PBS PressRoom.
PBS, with its nearly 360 member stations, offers all Americans the opportunity to explore new ideas and new worlds through television and online content. Each month, PBS reaches 124 million people through television and 20 million people online, inviting them to experience the worlds of science, history, nature and public affairs; to hear diverse viewpoints; and to take front-row seats to world-class drama and performances. PBS’ broad array of programs has been consistently honored by the industry’s most coveted award competitions. Teachers of children from pre-K through 12th grade turn to PBS for digital content and services that help bring classroom lessons to life. PBS’ premier children’s TV programming and its website, pbskids.org, are parents’ and teachers’ most trusted partners in inspiring and nurturing curiosity and love of learning in children. More information about PBS is available at pbs.org, one of the leading dot-org websites on the Internet, or by following PBS on Twitter, Facebook or through our apps for mobile devices. Specific program information and updates for press are available at pbs.org/pressroom or by following PBS Pressroom on Twitter.
Actress Alfre Woodard attends the 2012 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Oscar Night Celebration at the 21 Club on February 26, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Cindy Ord/Getty Images)
by Marquise Francis
The Screen Actors Guild Award is an accolade given annually by the Screen Actors Guild, or SAG, to recognize outstanding performances by its members.
This year actors Alfre Woodard and Denzel Washington received nominations for their acclaimed performances on film and television.
Woodard received a nomination for her role in the TV movie Steel Magnolias, in which she played Ouiser, a grouchy, two-time widow who shares a bond with five other women in the parish of Natchitoches, Louisiana.
Washington received a nomination for his role as Whip Whitaker in the hit film Flight, in which he plays a gifted pilot with a substance-abuse problem who has the challenge of landing a crippled plane.
On January 27, 2013 the 19th Annual SAG Awards will take place in the Los Angeles Shrine Exposition Center and will be aired on TNT and TBS at 8 pm (ET).
by Sharon Rechter
The issue of children and television viewing has been debated for many years, including whether they should be allowed to watch at all. As the mother of two young girls myself, I understand the challenge of determining at what age they can be first exposed to TV, as well as what types of programming can provide the most benefit to them.
While some may regard television simply as an electronic babysitter, I think it’s important to understand that as with many other activities, television can actually be used as an important tool to enhance the development of our kids. It starts with parents doing research on what is available, and seeking out the kinds of shows that are designed by developmental experts.
According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, 95% of American babies watch television, so from my practical perspective, the question isn’t “should children watch TV,” but rather, “what are they watching, how much and under what conditions?” Content is absolutely key. If it’s appropriate, educational and non-violent, children can learn and have a very positive experience.
It’s also important to vary the types of programs your kids watch. The younger the child (especially babies), the greater will be their natural tendency to gravitate toward their favorites. Be sure to continually refresh the content you select, offering your child exposure to new and exciting things. In the long-term, this will help keep their interest, while nurturing their development.
Of course, just because a TV show is educational, it is essential that limits be set on the amount of time that children are allowed to watch. As with all aspects of parenting, a healthy balance should be maintained, with plenty of time allocated for reading, creative play and spending time outdoors.
Ideally, parents should watch television together with their children. Not only does this foster bonding, it also allows you to become an interactive part of the viewing experience. Concepts that are introduced during viewing can be reinforced and built upon by moms and dads. An easy way to do this is by exercising their memory skills after a program has concluded. Ask your child about what they saw and heard, such as the names of favorite characters, noises the animals made and songs they enjoyed the most.
Moreover, watching together provides an excellent opportunity for emotional bonding. Providing immediate positive reinforcement to a child, especially when they may be too young to communicate verbally, can be critically important to their emotional growth.
Ultimately, each child and family’s experience with television will be different. In my own experience, I’ve found that my daughters have learned a great deal from age-appropriate educational TV. They even learned sign language!
The company I co-founded, BabyFirst, decided to produce a television series called, I Can Sign, that helps parents communicate with their very young children before they’re able to speak. I found it to be an amazing way to interact and connect with my girls, and it really fostered a bond with them long before they had learned to talk. That was a few years ago, but we still use it as a “secret language” between us.
There is constant debate as to the “right way” to raise a child, and most parents ask a lot of questions and experiment quite a bit before they find what works best. Because television viewing is a reality in today’s homes, parents can take advantage of it as very versatile tool that can introduce their children to a wide variety of new ideas, while helping to reinforce early education.
About Sharon Rechter
Sharon Rechter, along with business partner, Guy Oranim, conceptualized and co-founded BabyFirst (www.babyfirsttv.com), which is a global TV channel for tots. In her role as executive vice president, she leads the business development and marketing activities for the company – with a clear passion to bring quality, new educational programming to families of babies and toddlers.
Rechter has a broad background in television programming and recently served as the vice president and head of operations for The Israeli Network (the Israeli television channel in the U.S.). She was responsible for the general management of the network, and focused on areas including business development, advertising and subscriptions. Before entering the television broadcast industry, Rechter headed the strategic planning department at GNS Advertising in Israel where she was responsible for developing strategic plans for a variety of lifestyle brands.
A contemporary take on the holiday themes explored in It’s A Wonderful Life and A Christmas Carol, the film stars gospel music legend Deitrick Haddon as R&B superstar Andre Stephens.
“A Beautiful Soul” explores the spiritual journey Andre takes when he and a friend are brutally attacked and left clinging to life. Guided by a mysterious presence, on a journey somewhere between life and death, Andre is given the opportunity to reflect on his past and reevaluate his faith. A Beautiful Soul will encore on Christmas Day, Tuesday, December 25, 8PM/ET.
The film, shot entirely on location Los Angeles, also features Lesley-Ann Brandt (CSI:NY), Robert Ri’chard (The Vampire Diaries), Golden Brooks (Hart of Dixie), Vanessa Bell Calloway (Go On) and cameos by John Salley and Bishop Noel Jones. A Beautiful Soul is a TV One co-production with Feather Films. Directed by Jeffrey W. Byrd and produced by Holly Carter, Kim Ogletree and Dominique Telson. Executive in charge of production for TV One is Craig Henry.
Additional holiday programming on TV One includes a marathon of holiday themed episodes featuring acquired series A Different World, Amen, Eve, The Jeffersons, Living Single and Martin on Tuesday, December 25 from 6:00-8:00 PM/ET.
Former NFL Cheerleader and Milwaukeean Paige Annette can be seen in the on-line and national television commercial with Nicki Minaj. Minaj is marketing her new fragrance, Pink Friday, now available at department stores nationwide. “I’m excited about my first national commercial and more thrilled to have worked with Nicki Minaj,” said Paige Annette. Paige Annette is one of the featured dancers in the fragrance commercial.
Paige Annette is a former Philadelphia Eagles cheerleader and 2006 alum of the University of the Arts in Philadelphia. She toured this summer as one of two back up dancers with Tyrese, danced with Beyonce’ at the Billboard Music Awards and has performed internationally. Visit Paige Annette at www.paigeannette.com.
Atlanta/PRNewswire/ — Bounce TV (www.bouncetv.com) — The nation’s first-ever broadcast television network designed for African-American audiences — will turn one on Sept. 26 and its first year on-the-air has been overwhelmingly successful, with accelerated growth and expansion among station groups and distribution, advertisers and viewers alike.
In just 12 months on the air, Bounce TV:
•Is already seen in 80% of African American homes, 17 of the top 20 African American markets and over 60% of U.S. television households.
•Can be seen in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Atlanta, Washington, D.C., Dallas, Philadelphia, Houston, Cleveland/Akron, Baltimore, Milwaukee, Charlotte, Cincinnati, Indianapolis, New Orleans, Kansas City, Hartford/New Haven, Norfolk, Dayton, West Palm Beach, Birmingham, Memphis, Louisville, among other markets. Bounce TV will arrive in Detroit, Phoenix, Minneapolis and Orlando within the next 10 days (See below).
•Acquired hundreds of motion picture rights from most major studios, including: The Walt Disney Studios; Paramount Pictures; Miramax; MGM Domestic Television Distribution; NBCUniversal Domestic Television Distribution; Sony Pictures Television; Warner Bros. and Lionsgate.
•Produced three original series; carried live sporting events; celebrated Black History Month with a line-up of powerful documentaries; aired special memorial tributes to African American entertainment figures Whitney Houston, Donna Summer and Don Cornelius and more.
•Has agreements with most major television station groups and advertisers have embraced the network.
“I am very proud of our network and the amazing growth it has enjoyed. Bounce TV’s rapid expansion validates the need for free programming for our under-served community,” said Martin Luther King III, a member of Bounce TV’s Board of Directors.
In celebrating its flourishing first year on the air, Bounce TV today announced:
•Its first motion picture licensing agreement with Lionsgate®, a leading diversified global entertainment company, that will bring a package of African American-skewing Lionsgate movies to the network. Among the titles: Halle Berry’s Academy Award ®-winning performance in the highly-acclaimed Monster’s Ball; Cuba Gooding, Jr. in Boat Trip and Murder of Crows; the inspirational story Pride starring Terrence Howard and Bernie Mac and more.
•A sports rights renewal agreement to televise both football and basketball games from the nation’s largest African American athletic conference, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA.)
•WXYZ-TV, one of the leading ABC affiliates in the country and Detroit’s #1 rated television station, will launch Bounce TV on Weds. Sept. 26, the network’s official first birthday.
•Bounce TV will be launched on FOX-owned MyNetworkTV sub channels in Phoenix, Minneapolis and Orlando by October 2012.
•The network is in the final stages of discussions with Nielsen and anticipates having national Nielsen ratings in the fourth quarter of this year.
•Toyota and Nissan have renewed sponsorship agreements while General Motors and Chrysler will become sponsors for year two.
Bounce TV targets African Americans primarily between the ages of 25-54 with a programming mix of theatrical motion pictures, live sports, documentaries, specials, inspirational faith-based programs, off-net series and now original series. Bounce TV airs twenty four hours a day, seven days a week on the digital signals of local television stations. Martin Luther King III and Ambassador Andrew Young are among the Founding Group and Board of Directors of Bounce TV. Bounce TV is majority African American-owned. Toyota USA is the signature sponsor of the network.
Bounce TV targets African Americans primarily between the ages of 25-54 with a programming mix of theatrical motion pictures, live sports, documentaries, specials, inspirational faith-based programs, off-net series and now original series. Live sports and events are part of the Bounce TV schedule, including both football and basketball games from the nation’s largest African American athletic conference, the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association (CIAA.)
ATLANTA/PRNewswire/ — In a major personnel addition, Bounce TV (www.bouncetv.com), the fastest growing African American network in television, has named veteran television programmer Billy Hall to the newly-created position of Executive Vice President, Programming & Production. In this role, Hall will oversee all scheduling, program planning, acquisitions, operations and original production for the network. Hall reports to Jonathan Katz, Bounce TV’s Chief Operating Officer.
“Billy is a tremendous creative talent with a proven and successful track record as one of the top programmers in our business. Bounce TV’s meteoric growth is driven by the team of smart and seasoned industry veterans we’ve been fortunate to assemble, so we are thrilled to have someone of Billy’s experience and caliber join our extraordinary group of executives,” commented Katz in making the announcement.
Hall comes to Bounce TV from Turner Entertainment Networks, Inc. where he initially served as Vice President of Programming for TNT and then added scheduling oversight of TBS, becoming Vice President of Programming and Digital Scheduling for both networks. He oversaw TNT and TBS Original scheduling and the TV Everywhere strategy for the TNT & TBS digital platforms. Hall developed the scheduling strategies of the hit shows The Closer, Conan, Rizzoli & Isles for TNT as well as for the successful Tyler Perry shows House of Payne, Meet the Browns and For Better or Worse on TBS. He was also instrumental in the creation and development of the Black Movie Awards on TNT.
Prior to joining Turner, Hall was Vice President of Programming and Production for Fox Movie Channel, where he also served as Director of Programming for FX. He helped launch FXM: Movies from Fox as well as the re-brand of the network as Fox Movie Channel. While with Fox Movie Channel, Hall developed and executive-produced the 2000 Aurora Best of Show Platinum Award-winning Building the Perfect Beast, as well as Altman On His Own Terms, Making the Connection, Hollywood Remembers Walter Matthau, Hour of Stars, Fox Movie Channel News and Cult Culture: The Poseidon Adventure. Hall also executive-produced the cast and crew reunion for Young Frankenstein at the American Cinematheque in Hollywood, the M*A*S*H cast and crew reunion at the Los Angeles County Museum and the 20th Century Fox Hour at the Museum of Television and Radio in Beverly Hills and New York.
Prior to joining the Fox Cable Group, Hall coordinated programming for the Health and Sciences Network. He has also had successful stints at Lifetime Television, Walt Disney Studios, Disney Channel and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences.
Hall holds a Bachelor’s Degree (Cum Laude) in Communications, Cinema and Photography from Ithaca College in Ithaca, N.Y. He is a member of NAMIC and in 2005 was accepted into the NAMIC Executive Leadership Development Program through the John E. Anderson Graduate School of Management at UCLA.
Bounce TV launched September 26, 2011 and is already available in over 75% of African American households and 65 million homes nationally. Bounce TV airs twenty four hours a day, seven days a week on the digital signals of local television stations. Martin Luther King III and Ambassador Andrew Young are among the Founding Group and Board of Directors of Bounce TV. Bounce TV is majority African American-owned. Toyota USA is the signature sponsor of the network.
Bounce TV targets African Americans primarily between the ages of 25-54 with a programming mix of theatrical motion pictures, original series, live sports, documentaries, specials, inspirational faith-based programs and off-network series.
Many people remember watching movies and television shows, such as “The Jetsons,” where the characters lived in ultramodern, fully automated homes. Home automation is no longer a thing of the future. It is now a technology within reach of homeowners, which increases the value, safety, and efficiency of a home. Members of Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council, Inc., the area’s leading home improvement and remodeling industry resource for 51 years, explain the possibilities that whole house automation offer.
What is it?
Whole house automation is a central system that connects all devices in a home, facilitating communication between appliances and systems and offering homeowners instant control of these objects.
“Home automation makes life easier and can be tailored to a family’s lifestyle. It should be used in the places you live the most, including the kitchen, master bedroom, or home theater,” said Ron Lemke of Flanner’s Home Entertainment in West Allis.
What are some possibilities?
Lighting – There are many ways homeowners can control lighting, whether they decide to have the lights automatically turn on at a certain point in the day or they want the lights to dim when the DVD player is turned on. “Homeowners have the ability to control lighting while they’re at home or remotely. For instance, we have clients who like to be able to control the lights while they’re out-of-town so the home looks lived in,” explained Lemke.
Thermostat – With whole house automation, individuals can have complete control over the home’s temperature, being able to adjust the thermostat from anywhere in or out of the home. Homeowners can change the temperature from the comfort of their beds or in the car before they arrive home. They can also program custom schedules, so the thermostat adjusts the temperature according to the time of day, home’s occupancy, or activities going on at that point.
Shades or Blinds – Shades also can be automated to help control the temperature. In winter, they can be programmed to open on a south-facing wall to allow sunlight in or close during the summer months to keep a room cool. “Homeowners can also program drapery in a home theater to automatically shut when a movie is turned on,” said Ray Hoffman of America In-Home in Brookfield.
Home Theater and Entertainment – There are many components that make up a home theater. Home automation makes the process easier by selecting the proper inputs and outputs and powering the right parts. “Instead of dealing with three remotes, one touch screen remote can be programmed. Homeowners can simply press the ‘movie’ icon and everything necessary for movie watching, such as the Blu-ray player, screen, and speakers, will turn on. People no longer have to perform several steps to achieve a single outcome. It’s as easy as a push of a button,” said Hoffman.
Irrigation – Whole house automation isn’t limited to the indoors. Homeowners can automate their home irrigation system. They can set their preferences, choose the time of day they’d like the lawn to be watered, and even use moisture sensors to turn off the system when watering isn’t necessary.
Security System – Home automated security systems can alert homeowners of security-related events that occur – trespassers, water leaks, and more. “There are many possibilities when it comes to home security. Perhaps, homeowners choose to integrate their security system, so when they’re in the basement watching a movie, they’ll be alerted if someone is there. Maybe a message pops up or they can view the camera shot on the same screen as the movie,” explained Hoffman.
What are the benefits?
Safety – There are many ways that whole house automation contributes to safety. First, individuals have complete control of the security system. They can be alerted if there are any issues, monitor what’s happening in the home remotely, set the system at the touch of a button, and more. Automated lighting is also an important factor. Homeowners can have the outside lights turn on before arriving home at night, lighting their path and offering extra security. If individuals are out-of-town, the lighting also can be programmed to turn on and off randomly to make it look like they’re home.
Energy Savings – Home automation can cut energy costs and use. “With whole house automation, homeowners can track energy use at certain times of day and of particular appliances to adjust their use of those items,” said Lemke. Temperatures can be adjusted depending on the time of day and occupancy to cut down on heat and air conditioning use. Lights can be programmed to turn off if the room isn’t occupied for a certain amount of time. Unused electric devices can be automated to shut down. There are many options to keep costs lower.
Convenience – Whole house automation makes life easier. “It combines many functions into one system to cut down the amount of steps people have to take,” explained Lemke. Homeowners can control different aspects of the home from any room in the house. They don’t have to worry about whether or not they remembered to turn down the temperature or set the security system when they’re away because they can do it remotely.
Comfort – There are many ways to create a comfortable environment. “Homeowners can do things like stream music throughout the home. Or they can control the lighting intensity and color to evoke a mood and create scenes,” said Lemke.
How does it work?
Main Controller – The main controller is a computer. “We prefer to call it a central processor,” said Lemke. “It takes in all the information from the user interface and sensors, then processes it to complete a task.”
Interface – An interface is how you interact with the main controller. There are many interface options available – touch panels, keypads, remote controls, mobile devices, and the Internet.
Sensors – Sensors tell the controller what’s occurring in the home. There are contact sensors to tell if a door has been opened, motion sensors to detect movement, moisture sensors, temperature sensors, and more.
Control Methods – There are interfaces to interact with the controller and sensors that communicate with it, but how does the controller turn on the light or open the shades? Controllers can manage different parts of a home automation system with a variety of methods. Some examples include WiFi, which can be unreliable at times but is gaining popularity, radio frequency, a wireless option that allows homeowners to control aspects of the system in various rooms and outdoors, and relays, which send electricity to start motorized devices, including shades or projection screens.
Programming – Fortunately, homeowners don’t have to worry about how home automation systems work. There are companies that specialize in the installation and programming of whole house automation systems. “Before working with a company, do your research. Make sure you’re working with a business that has an established reputation and backs up its products, such as a Milwaukee/NARI member,” advised Lemke. “This is a good indication that they adhere to certain standards that have been established.”
The Milwaukee/NARI Home Improvement Council was chartered in July 1961, as a Chapter of the National Home Improvement Council. In May of 1982, the National Home Improvement Council merged with the National Remodelers Association to form NARI – the National Association of the Remodeling Industry.
The Council’s goals of encouraging ethical conduct, professionalism, and sound business practices in the remodeling industry have led to the remodeling industry’s growth and made NARI a recognized authority in that industry. With over 800 members, the Milwaukee Chapter is the nation’s largest.
For more information or to receive a free copy of an annual membership roster listing all members alphabetically and by category, and the booklet, “Milwaukee/NARI’s Remodeling Guide,” call 414- 771-4071 or visit the Council’s website at www.milwaukeenari.org.