From Boob Tube to YouTube

For about 70 years, the television has established a firm role as the "entertainment hearth." Although the distribution and consumption of TV has changed - first with the addition of more broadcast and then cable and satellite channels, and then with the introduction of features such as video-on-demand - the TV was reserved for … well, TV! Television shows were television shows, and movies were movies, and that was about all the TV had to worry about. However, TV will not be the only type of media for which the television will be expected to play a more direct role in accessing. The television's role as the centerpiece for entertainment is changing significantly, thanks to at least two major catalysts: Growing collections of all types of digital media content - including linear and on-demand television programming, optical and digital movies, user-generated content, and music - that consumers will want to access from multiple sources; and the desire by both television service providers and consumer electronics manufacturers to create value out of their services and products by building in connectivity and the ability by devices to easily find and display content.

HomePlug AV solution Frederic Onado - SPiDCOM

Frederic Onado is Chief Operating Officer of SPiDCOM Technologies, and he is also in charge of Business Development. Frederic holds leadership roles in the PLC industry. He is Vice President EMEA of HomePlug Powerline Alliance, and chairs the HomePlug European Working Group. He has also been Chairman of the PLC Forum. SPiDCOM Technologies is a fabless semiconductor company. It specializes in integrated circuits and Linux-based software bundles for Multimedia Home Networking, EoC (Ethernet over Coax), BPL Access, Smart Grid and other any wire based applications (powerline, coax, phoneline). SPiDCOM provides both proprietary & HomePlug AV standard based open solutions to its partners for "no-limits" product developments.

Honeywell Prestige Comfort System Thermostat

I recently received the Honeywell Prestige™ Comfort Systems thermostat, with the Portable Comfort Control and Outdoor Sensor from Honeywell for review. Prestige™ is the world's first high definition, full-color, touch screen, programmable thermostat. The Portable Comfort Control is a hand-held device that not only senses and allows homeowners to adjust for the room temperature they are in, but the Outdoor Sensor provides information on outdoor conditions to help you make informed decisions that could positively impact overall energy use. Honeywell indicates that proper use leading to more efficient home heating and cooling could lead to a significant energy savings-up to 33 percent or $200 a year depending on your geographic location.

Job Site TIPS

I've seen so many installation crews waste so much time on the job over the years, that I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of time and frustration elimination suggestions for this month's TIP. Since I'm so disorganized, I've made most of these mistakes myself, even the safety related ones, so I speak from some experience. Hopefully you can pick up a few tips and save yourself some grief. The most important tips I can pass along about the job site concerns safety. The job site is definitely dangerous and almost everyone I know, me included, has had some injury while working on the job, especially during the prewire construction phase. I have had a co-worker seriously injured and many of my friends in the industry have related stories of serious accidents, including deaths. It's a common problem and I hate to say I don't see much being done about it. So my number one TIP: BE PREPARED.

Marketing vs Tech…Consumers Need Voice

On any given day you will find a group of engineers or programmers huddling in the back room, sitting in the corner of the coffee shop, or gathering around the most recently divorced individual's kitchen table to plan the next major new company built on breathtaking technology. The hard fact is…we really don't need more technology. What we do need is better application of the technology we have. In fact, it would be fair to say that we probably have enough sound technology available to last us for the next five to ten years. What we need are people to make the technology usable for the rest of us. Technology is important, but what is needed even more is sound marketing/market understanding, ability and practice. We rush insanely great technology/products to market, we get them reviewed/talked about by bleeding edge media techno-writers and the din of noise fills the media. Print, web, blog, radio, TV all cover the insanely great solution and we forecast fantastic hockey stick sales and insane profits.

Palme Middle East Set For Product Premieres

PALME 2009 will be the most comprehensive to date, with more stunning features, industry innovations showcased by hundreds of exhibitors from more than 25 countries worldwide. PALME 2009 is covering 15,000 sqm of the Halls 5,6,7 & 8 at the Dubai World Trade Centre. This year again, the event provides a unique business environment as well as an education platform for the industry specialists with 20 seminars and conferences scheduled. On display will be some the most cutting edge AV, lighting and audio technologies yet to be seen in the Middle East, with a host of regional premieres and several exciting world unveilings from key exhibitors.

Playstation 3 Remote Solution Round-up

The Sony Playstation 3 is not only one of the top gaming systems available, it is also widely used as a high-definition Blu-ray Disc player in home theater systems. Unfortunately, one problem with the PS3 is that the unit may not be controlled with the same universal remote you use for the rest of your AV components. The Sony Playstation 3 does not have an InfraRed (IR) receiver which means it cannot understand the commands sent from most universal remote controls. Instead, Sony chose the new Bluetooth protocol exclusively for wireless control. That raises the question… How do you control movie playback on your Sony Playstation 3? This complete guide has all the answers:

Software Defined Radio

This article presents a new approach called Software Defined Radio (SDR) for implementing communication systems. Various issues and challenges faced by the present communication systems design and how the Software defined Radio approach addresses these issues and how it benefits the communication industry and users are discussed in detail. The Technologies, Market, Industry support factors that are driving the SDR approach are narrated. The architecture and the components that make up the SDR are explained and illustrated for the purpose of understanding the technology. And also, the hardware and software components required to build a practical SDR are investigated. The recent availability of multi processors, FPGA, software reference models, and developmental tools that are accelerating the penetration of SDR into the cellular market are explained and reviewed. Currently available SDR reference systems and their modular and extensible architecture are also presented for sake of designers. The market trends and predictions for the SDR are discussed. The paper concludes by defining the future SDR capabilities and identifying the opportunities that exist for IP, Design services business

Sweep-Away Cabinet Vac by Galaxie

The Sweep-Away is a self-contained vacuum cleaner that functions both as an automatic dustpan and powerful central vacuum. It stows away neatly inside a standard kitchen or bathroom cabinet and plugs into a standard wall outlet. The home I installed this in was built in the 1960's and is 1600 square feet; all flooring in the home is hardwood or tile. The house was built prior to central vacuum systems so this cabinet vacuum is an affordable and effective alternative.

The First Watt B1 Buffer Preamp

So here we are in the New Millennium, and thanks to Tom Holman and THX we've got lots of gain in our electronics. More gain than some of us need or want. At least 10 db more. Think of it this way: If you are running your volume control down around 9 o'clock, you are actually throwing away signal level so that a subsequent gain stage can make it back up. Routinely DIYers opt to make themselves a "passive preamp" - just an input selector and a volume control. What could be better? Hardly any noise or distortion added by these simple passive parts. No feedback, no worrying about what type of capacitors - just musical perfection. And yet there are guys out there who don't care for the result. "It sucks the life out of the music", is a commonly heard refrain (really - I'm being serious here!). Maybe they are reacting psychologically to the need to turn the volume control up compared to an active preamp. I suppose if I had to floor the accelerator to drive 55 mph, maybe I'd think the life was being sucked out of my driving. Then again, maybe I like 55. Nice and safe, good gas mileage…

The Freedom of Wireless USB Technology

With the overwhelming success of USB technology as the preferred interface, comes the challenge of organizing all of the cabling from desktop peripherals. Users with multiple USB peripherals find the clutter of cables unsightly and inconvenient to their workspace. With many different USB connections for mobile devices, such as cellphones, cameras, MP3 players and PDAs, it becomes increasingly difficult to use them on the go. To overcome these challenges a new method for connecting peripherals has come to fruition. A method, which offers the same benefits of a physical USB connection without the need for unsightly cables, a technology known as certified wireless USB. Using an ultra-wideband radio frequency ranging from 3.1 - 10.6 GHz, 127 devices can connect to a single computer up to 10 meters away without a hub. Connections made less than 3 meters away from the host can benefit from speeds typically USB 2.0, while connections from 3 to 10 meters will operate at 110 Mbps. Devices that support dual role or direct connections with each other can also operate with wireless USB technology.

The Rebirth of 3-D - Part I: 3-D Is Born

There has probably been no cinematic special effect that has the longevity that the process of three-dimensional filmmaking has. From the B-movies of the 1950's right up to the state of the art big-budget blockbusters being presented in 3-D on cinema screens today, the effect of 3-D has held a tremendous grip on moviegoers since its very inception and the allure of this tantalizing effect has on the eyes and the mind have kept moviegoers enraptured and hungry for more. In order to fully understand how movies in three-dimension became popular in the first place we must go back to America circa the 1950's. With the advent of television after the Second World War, many moviegoers opted to stay home and watch their television sets instead of going out to the cinema. Filmmakers needed a gimmick… something that would make the movie going experience unique and the gimmick would have to be something that could not be replicated on television sets. Thus, the concept of three-dimensional entertainment was born. When the 3-D format was first introduced on the American cinematic scene, the format could only be replicated in movie theaters and in order to view the film in the three-dimensional format, a movie goer would need a special pair of glasses and keep the glasses on while the movie was shown.

TV - Q&A

What is the difference between 1080p and 1080i displays? The difference is how the source conveys the information to the display. Interlaced: 1080i sources get transferred on the screen sequentially. The odd-numbered lines of resolution appear on your screen first, followed by the even-numbered lines all within 1/30 of a second. Progressive: 1080p sources get transferred with all lines of resolution simultaneously, which makes for a smoother, cleaner image, especially with sports and other motion-intensive content. The right technology for you is dependant on the content you watch. The majority of HD content via satellite and cable will be available in 720p & 1080i. Your Blu-ray or HD DVDs will be available in 1080p with the appropriate player.

Wall Of Sound

We at McIntosh Labs were pretty impressed with ourselves when we realized the McIntosh 2K reference system weighed in at close to one full ton. It never even occurred to us to imagine what kind of McIntosh system might weigh 75 tons. As it turns out, our imagination was not required. Nearly 32 years earlier, Owsley 'Bear' Stanley, Dan Healy and Mark Raizene of the Grateful Dead sound crew and Ron Wickersham and Rick Turner of Alembic Sound dared to dream of such a system.

What the heck is a Smart Grid?

Nowadays we have several issues to face that are causing concern to humanity in general and the western world specifically. I don't think I need to repeat them here but basically they are environmental as well as geopolitical in nature. Hence, the old coal or oil burning power plant needs to be phased out and we must become much more efficient at generating and delivering electricity to end users or the costs become extraordinary over time.

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Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Light sockets; Not just for lights anymore

Smart Bulbs are out there and they can do far more then just provide light. Speakers, projectors, wi-fi extenders and more. The standard light socket that is wired up and ready to go in nearly every home in North America is now providing an easy and affordable option for home owners and renters alike to enter into the world of the "Smart Home". Here is a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options out there, and this list is just the beginning. In this ongoing article we hope to continue to add to and grow this list, so stay tuned!