Hot Stories

This Trick To Improving Home Audio Involves Zero Electronics

Submitted on 04/22/14, 03:09 PM | Click Here for the full article: evolver.fm

This Trick To Improving Home Audio Involves Zero ElectronicsThis Trick To Improving Home Audio Involves Zero Electronics

Our ongoing investigation into how home audio is changing in 2014 has unearthed a surprising nugget of sonic wisdom, for those of us who are trying to take home audio just a little more seriously. Now that legitimate digital music services sound so good, fans no longer have to put up with dodgily-encoded MP3s from Napster and the like — and so it’s worth it, for many of us, to give our music the sonic respect it deserves, whether we want to spring for new player hardware or not.

The single most important thing you can do to improve your sound is to improve the physical mechanics of its reproduction — mainly, your headphones or speakers. It’s always worth paying more for either of these than you think you really should, because nothing else can make your tunes sound better (i.e. stirring, soul-restoring, inspirational, mind-blowing, empathetic, mournful, joyful, and everything else it can make us feel) than making the conversion of ones and zeros into vibrating air as clean as possible.

We asked renowned audiophile and author of The Audio Expert Ethan Winer for some advice to share with our readers on the best thing they can do to improve their audio quality in the home. According to him, the answer has nothing to do with electronics:

“The single best way to improve audio clarity is to add some acoustic treatment to the room,” said Winer. “Even one 2×4 foot acoustic absorber panel placed at the key place on each side wall will improve the clarity of music enormously. Most ‘average’ people have no idea about this, and most probably wouldn’t consider adding panels in their living room or bedroom anyway. But it’s the correct answer. Serious audiophiles and home theater owners do understand the importance of room acoustics, and some have extensive treatment.” Full Article:

View Comments | Leave Comment

Lightpad: The intelligent light switch that wants to control your home

Submitted on 04/21/14, 05:53 AM | Click Here for the full article: Pocket-Lint

Lightpad: The intelligent light switch that wants to control your homeLightpad: The intelligent light switch that wants to control your home

There are lots of companies trying to crack intelligent lighting in the home. Philips has its Hue lighting system with intelligent bulbs, while others like Belkin's WeMo system let you control everything via smart plugs.

Plum, a relatively new and unheard of company based in Austin, Texas, is tackling the problem from a different perspective.

It has designed an intelligent light switch that will not only control the current lights in the house, but also have the potential to control internet-connected devices like Sonos in the future.

"The long term goal is an app that will control everything in your home, from your lights to your sonos," explains Utz Baldwin, CEO at Plum, to Pocket-lint over a coffee at Capital Factory, a startup hub in Austin, Texas.

Called the Lightpad, the light switch promises to fit into a standard American light switch fitting (a UK version is due in 2015), and then allow you to control your lights either via the switch or an accompanying iPhone or Android app.

Created by Baldwin, who in a previous life was the Chairman of CEDIA, a global home technology trade association that offers home automation, audio video, home network training and certification, Baldwin has used his numerous years in the field to invent something he believes will be the answer to controlling your home without always having to reach for your phone.

View Comments | Leave Comment

Top 10 Ways to Turn Your Retired Gadgetry into the Technology of the Future

Submitted on 04/17/14, 12:32 PM | Click Here for the full article: LifeHacker

Top 10 Ways to Turn Your Retired Gadgetry into the Technology of the FutureTop 10 Ways to Turn Your Retired Gadgetry into the Technology of the Future

With the rapid progression of technology each year, it's easy to accumulate a pile of obsolete gadgets that you just can't bear to get rid of. So don't! Here are our top 10 ways you can take the retired gadgets you've already got and turn them into something that has a solid place in the future.

Full Artice with Instructions and video on LifeHacker:

1. Turn an Old Computer Into an Internet PVR, Downloader, and NAS
2. Automate Your Home with an Old Router
3. Turn an Old Computer into an XBMC Home Theater PC
4. Build a Cellphone-Powered Robot
5. Make a Touchscreen Tablet Out of an Old Netbook
6. Turn an Old Projector into a Book Scanner
7. Use an Old PC Fan to Create a Battery-Charging Wind Turbine
8. Create a Home Security System with a Webcam
9. Create a Wireless Internet Radio from an Old Router
10. Turn an Old Mobile Device into a Dedicated VOIP Handset

View Comments | Leave Comment

Google Glass targeted as symbol by anti-tech crowd

Submitted on 04/15/14, 03:11 PM | Click Here for the full article: WFMX News

Google Glass targeted as symbol by anti-tech crowdGoogle Glass targeted as symbol by anti-tech crowd

(CNN) - Glass, Google's high-profile entry into the world of wearable tech, may help launch a revolution if it's released later this year as expected. But test models already on the street have begun playing a more unlikely role -- as symbols in a simmering fight over Silicon Valley's impact on the city of San Francisco.

It's a local story, but one with ramifications everywhere. While our smartphones drop easily into pockets and tablets get zipped up in cases or backpacks, wearables such as Glass are, quite literally, in your face all the time.

The $1,500 device, which displays Web content on a tiny screen, signals its wearer as a likely member of an affluent tech elite. And Glass also can discreetly shoot photos or video, which some people view as invasive.

That's caused unease for some folks and, in some cases has led to arguments, altercations and even attacks against people wearing the technology. (cont'd)

View Comments | Leave Comment

Piper packs security cam, home automation hub into one slick package

Submitted on 04/14/14, 07:48 AM | Click Here for the full article: TUAW

Piper packs security cam, home automation hub into one slick packagePiper packs security cam, home automation hub into one slick package

Webcams were one of the forerunners of the current Internet of Things boom, allowing smartphone-toting geeks to keep an eye on the office or homestead while out and about. Piper (starting at US$239), powered by iControl Networks, is targeted at the homeowner who wants a solution that provides both visually- and physically-based security by combining a security camera, Z-Wave home automation hub, and an iOS app into one nice-looking package. Let's take a look.

Design Highlights

My first thought when I pulled the Piper out of the box was that it should come in yellow so it could look like one of the minions in Despicable Me. There's a big "eye" on the upper front of the unit, which has a curvaceous eye-shaped cross section as well. The unit is about 6.25 inches (15.88 cm) tall, about 2 inches (5.08 cm) thick and about 3.5 inches (8.89 cm) wide. It comes in either white or black, with a perforated gray plastic piece on top.

Full Review:

View Comments | Leave Comment

ISC West Largest Security Trade Show of the Year

Submitted on 04/10/14, 03:12 PM | Click Here for the full article: HomeToys Newspage

ISC West Largest Security Trade Show of the YearISC West Largest Security Trade Show of the Year

SC West 2014, produced by ISC Events and sponsored by the Security Industry Association (SIA), attracted record attendance this year with more than 26,000 industry professionals attending the three-day exposition, which was held at the Sands Expo Convention Center in Las Vegas April 2-4. 

Attendees enjoyed direct access to tens of thousands of products from more than 1,000 exhibiting companies and brands while maintaining its intimate, friendly approach with small industry and association gatherings, receptions and a show floor designed to group products and technologies together. A strong sense of community prevailed within the 2014 edition of ISC West, which was the largest since 2007 and the second largest in the history of the show. 

"Exhibitors and attendees alike told us that ISC West 2014 was the best show they have seen in many years," said Ed Several, senior vice president at ISC Events. "ISC Events witnessed record attendance, even more show floor area and, most importantly, a valuable view of all that the industry offers. Our exhibitors indicated their appreciation with higher renewals for next year. This year's event was a great balance between seeing all the latest technologies and products in one place while being able to network at all of the many industry and association events. As always, we thank the security industry for showing such confidence in ISC West, and we thank the Security Industry Association for their hard work and support." 

View Comments | Leave Comment

Prodea Systems Enters Home-Automation Fray

Submitted on 04/08/14, 01:38 PM | Click Here for the full article: Twice

Prodea Systems Enters Home-Automation FrayProdea Systems Enters Home-Automation Fray

 Family-owned Prodea Systems has developed a white-label mass-market home-automation system that, unlike competing systems, integrates control of home systems, networked A/V content, and third-party streaming and download services in one hub.

The systems, content and services are controlled from a single app running on iOS and Android devices or from a computer.

The company’s Residential Operating System (ROS) “protocol-agnostic” platform also connects to home health-care devices and telemedicine services, and it offers low-cost home VoIP phone service.

In the U.S., the Richardson, Texas-based company is targeting what it called “emerging” service providers and retailers, which could market their own private-label systems with recurring subscription revenues shared with Prodea. “Recurring services are an extremely high-margin business,” said Andrew Tauhert, marketing and business development executive VP.

View Comments | Leave Comment

CEA Reports Continued Growth in Wireless, Multi-Room Audio System Sales

Submitted on 04/03/14, 01:52 PM | Click Here for the full article: HomeToys Newspage

CEA Reports Continued Growth in Wireless, Multi-Room Audio System SalesCEA Reports Continued Growth in Wireless, Multi-Room Audio System Sales

Nearly one in five (16 percent) consumers owns a portable wireless speaker, according to research released today by the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA)®. The study, Consumer Perspectives on Wireless Multi-Room and Portable Audio Solutions, explores the satisfaction levels among current owners of wireless multi-room audio (MRA) and portable audio solutions; which features are most important to consumers; and the future purchase intent for non-owners. 

Currently, one in ten consumers own a wireless MRA product, but nearly half of non-owners (44 percent) indicate interest in owning one. Portable wireless speakers, such as Bluetooth speakers, are also poised for growth, as 28 percent of consumers plan to purchase a related product in the next two years. 

Overall, nearly all owners of both wireless MRA products and portable wireless speakers report that they are happy with their products. Additionally, 91 percent of wireless MRA product owners and 85 percent of portable wireless speaker owners would recommend their products to someone else. 

View Comments | Leave Comment

NEXT PAGE

Featured Hot Product

Somfy's TaHomA®

Somfy's TaHomA®

TaHomA® is an innovative, affordable and easy-to-use Z-Wave® home automation solution that allows consumers to control, schedule and supervise their Somfy-powered window coverings, lighting, and thermostats. Accessible from a computer, iPad® or iPhone® within or outside the home, TaHomA's user-friendly Web-based interface guides consumers with intuitive graphics and step-by-step prompts as they personalize their home energy functions.

More AV and Automation Industry Resources

 

 

More Technical eMagazine from LJB