Google Working On A Set-Top Box?

According to Gizmodo Google is continuing it's business approach of throwing their hat into everything, everywhere. Google hopes that the new platform will succeed where dozens of lesser efforts have failed—to truly and seamlessly integrate web content onto TVs, bringing services like Twitter and sites like YouTube, in addition to games, webapps, and, of course, Google's search, to the big screen. The Google TV software reportedly includes a version of Google's Chrome browser for doing some light surfing, as well. The New York Times says Google TV will be delivered on set-top boxes that use Intel Atom chips and run an Android-based platform, though the technology will also reportedly be built directly into Blu-ray players and TVs from Sony. Additionally, Google is working with Logitech to built a keyboard-equipped remote control for the platform.

Ceton Quad-tuner Card Available For Pre-Order

The $399 PCI Express Low Profile card allows Media Center PCs to play or record up to four live channels of HDTV at once, and stream live HD channels or recordings to multiple HDTVs throughout the home, all from a single cable connection and a single CableCARD. It can stream HD broadcasts to other HDTVs around your home via Media Center Extenders such as the Xbox 360. The Ceton InfiniTV 4 quad-tuner card is now available for pre-order and is expected to ship on May 31, 2010.

New Tivo Series 4

The DVR market has become a lot like the cell phone market. You have the phone that is a tiny portable computer and you have the phone that comes cheap with your service provider, makes calls and you don't care if it falls into the lake. The middle appeals to less and less people. The DVR market also seems to fall into those two extremes. You're either a person looking for a living room platform where you can get all the latest services and software (Pandora, Netflix, Social Networking photos, Hulu etc) or you just care about skipping commercials when you watch Modern Marvels or Pawn Stars. The new Tivo Series 4 is neither. There are two Series 4 models : the Premiere with a 320-GB hard drive for $300, and the $500 Premiere XL with 1 TB, THX-certification and a backlit remote. The big feature is a new interface and the additional services available through it: Blockbuster, Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and streaming music from Rhapsody or Live 365. That's all well and good but the interface and services aren't available as upgrades for existing Tivo owners and they really fall short compared to a full HTPC. I'm not sure why a person who rents their DVR from Comcast would buy this or why a person who knows better wouldn't buy a computer and HDMI cable. Click here for a closer look at the interface and features.

Shuttle 3.3cm Thick XS35 PC With ION 2

Shuttle new XS35 is just 3.3cm thin but includes some great features for your mini HTPC needs. This including a dual-core Intel Atom D510 at 1.6GHz , Nvidias new Ion 2 graphics processor, HDMI out, five USB ports, VGA out, LAN port, memory card reader, 2.5″ HDD, and an optical drive. The unit is passively cooled so the only noise will be from the hard drive or optical and the unit has standard VESA mounts so you can mount this behind your LCD. The Shuttle XS35 nettop is said to be on its way in Q2 2010, but pricing and hard ship dates have yet to be revealed.

MSI's HTPC Keyboard And Mouse Controller

The upcoming MSI Air Keyboard is an HTPC keyboard and mouse combo that fits right in your hands much like a game controller. The unit features a full QWERTY keypad with an accelerometer within that is able to turn the mini keyboard into an air mouse. The device interprets tilting the keyboard up and down, left and right as mouse movements with the mouse left and right buttons mounted on the shoulders of the keyboard. Through a USB dongle, the MSI Air can connect to PCs and Macs up to 160 feet away. Available here for $89.99.

Make The Most Of Your Windows Media Center

The web site Hacking Windows 7 Media Center is a great resource for how tos on making Windows Media Center for Windows 7 do everything Microsoft doesn't support out of the box. The site includes information on setting up automatic commercial removal, getting MKV's to work perfectly, using media scrapers to organize and collect covers, movie posters and other data for your media collection.

 

Can A $99 Personal Server Stop Google?

No it can't. It doesn't want to either and that's good for all of us. Several small companies are using Marvell's SheevaPlug, a computer the size of a wall plug, to build personal servers that give you the benefits of remote file and information access without the creepiness, perceived or valid, of hosted cloud services. The TonidoPlug sells for $99 dollars and plugs in beside your home router. It runs a custom suite of applications on top of a embedded Ubuntu Linux OS that allow you to host photo albums, music jukeboxes, personal blogs, money management, calendars or file sharing all available online through your browser or locally with complete control over who has access to what and nothing is ever stored in the clouds. Google Docs, Facebook and Flcker are free services but the aren't charities and the information you give them never goes away. Everyone has their own line of what they are comfortable with and products like the TonidoPlug give you an alternative.

Major TiVo Announcement Coming March 2

It's been almost three years since TiVo last introduced a new, stand-alone DVR but today the company announced that it will hold a press conference on March 2 to debut what they have in store for the future. Tivo sent out the announcement with the words “Inventing the DVR was just a warmup”, so clearly they think this going to be a big deal. Whether the world agrees is yet to be seen but images of a TiVo Premiere have surfaced and a newly revamped menu system are expected but with such a big claim they certainly have got a lot of people speculating.

Samsung's $399 3D Blu-ray Coming Soon

Without any actual 3d content or a 3D television to view them on, rushing out to buy a HDMI 1.4 3D compatible Blu-ray player might not make much sense, but if you still don't own a Blu-ray player then maybe Samsung's BD-C6900 Blu-ray player is worth checking out.  The unit will be the first Blu-ray players on the market to support the new 3D Blu-ray standard and was available for pre-order on Amazon for $399 before they took down the link. Besides 3d the Samsung BD-C6900 comes with the Internet@TV suite which includes applications such as Netflix, Blockbuster, Picasa, Pandora, VUDU, Twitter like the rest of Samsung's 2010 line up.

Philip's Living Colors Wallpaper Replacement

Philip's is releasing its second generation Living Colors color changing LED lamp. The latest LivingColors lamp produces 16 million colors through a combination of 7 LEDs—an overall quality of light that's 50% brighter than version one. By using the touch-sensitive color wheel and intuitive remote control, you can increase and decrease the color saturation, brighten or dim the light, and turn on and off the lamp and color loop feature. Also, the remote control will remember the last setting used and automatically returns to that setting when the lamp is turned back on. Because the LivingColors remote is controlled by radio frequency, you can change the color effect from anywhere in the room without pointing the remote directly at the lamp. You can also connect up to six LivingColors lamps to the same remote control. The second generation Living Colors lamp isn't available yet but the first generation lamp and its mini counterpart are available now on Amazon here and here.

Technology & Home Decor Integration Galleries

Each week Unplggd showcase a home or apartment focussing on how the owner integrated the latest home technology creatively with the homes existing decor principles. We have all seen plenty of home theatre tours from inside a 4000 square foot east coast McMansion where the owner has space for a dedicated theatre room but rarely do you find example of how to incorporate a projector inside your 700 foot early modern loft or your newly purchased American Craftsman home. Each Unplggd tour has around a dozen photos mainly focusing on the living and bedroom or wherever else modern technology mixes with home decor.

Simple Wireless Audio Solution From Aperion

The Aperion HAL Send unit transmits high quality uncompressed audio up to 100 feet  – this means you can stream music from your computer, your home theater, your MP3 player or any other audio source to almost any speaker system in your home. The unit has both a USB digital and stereo mini analog input. The basic kit comes with one receiver but you can purchase two additional HAL Receivers so you can stream a single audio source to up to three listening zones. Available at the end of the month for $149.00 with additional recievers costing $70.00.

Intel WiDi HD Wireless Display Technology

At CES last week Intel announced that future Intel Core i5 and i3 laptops will be capable of streaming your desktop to any HDTV wirelessly using Intel's built-in technology WiDi technology. The television requires a small adapter that will either come bundle with the laptop or sold separately. Toshiba new Satellite E205 laptop with be the first to have WiDi and Netgear is currently the only company with an actual retail receiver but according to AnandTech the demo they saw at CES was easy to use and worked surprising well.

Bulogic's Z-Wave to Zigbee Power Meter Bridge

BuLogics has developed the world's first Smart Grid compatible Z-Wave wireless controller. The device, named the Smart Grid Home Controller(TM), allows connectivity to future Smart Grid meters by bridging the wireless technology of Z-Wave Home Area Networks (HANs) to Advanced Metering Infrastructures (AMIs) that utilize the ZigBee Smart Energy (SE) Profile. The controller can receive information from the utility company via a power meter using the ZigBee wireless protocol, and then communicate with all your existing Z-Wave products allowing you to program them based on the energy load information the meter is receiving.

Boxee's HTPC Remote Revealed

The newest beta version of the Boxee software was revealed last month along with new compatible hardware, simply called the Boxee Box. At CES early this week the new remote was revealed and it, at least in theory, looks like a perfect fit for what is required of a modern media center remote. On the front of the remote is a navigation ring similar to the Apple Tv remote but on the reverse side of the remote you have access to a full qwerty keyboard. Why didn't every Windows Media Center remote have this years ago?

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

GreenPeak’s GP565 – ZigBee for smart Remote Controls

GreenPeak's GP565 - ZigBee for smart Remote Controls

The GP565 Smart Home RF chip for remote controls supports voice control, motion sensing and the new ZRC 2.0 protocol. The GP565 is optimized for advanced & low cost ZigBee RF4CE remote controls. • 120k or 248k Flash (8k or 16k RAM) memory • 40-pin footprint to support a keyboard scanner interface or other IO interfaces required for remote controls. • Reduced current consumption and improved receiver sensitivity and output power • Patented Antenna Diversity technology enables superior range and WiFi/Bluetooth interference rejection