Vizio Announces 31 New TV Models

Vizio, the top seller of LCD TVs in North America, today announced its 2009 LCD HDTV lineup which includes a whopping 31 new models across three different series. Six Vizio XVT-series models with USB video inputs and Mega Dynamic Contrast Ratios of up to 2,000,000:1. The series is highlighted by the 55-inch VF551XVT model (shipping in September at a $2,200 suggested retail) with TruLED LED back-lighting and what the company calls "Smart Dimming technology" to control LED light output for enhanced color saturation, contrast and black-level performance. 17 'M' series of 1080p panels which feature distinctive designs such as the 'VL' models color treatment, and 'VT' models which resemble wood picture frames. Select models feature a 120Hz refresh rates and a USB multi-media feature that can display MPEG-2, H.264 and WMV9 video, JPEG photos, and MP3 music from a thumb drive or FAT32 hard drive. Finally eight 'E' series models which feature lower energy consumption technology which reduces power consumption by as much as 20% below Energy Star 3.0 standards.

Portable Clean Computer Room

The Carcoon Server Shield is a portable, blow up computer clean room which you wrap around valubale hardware to prevent dust and moisture from ruining your hard disks and other electronics. The air ventilation system keeps the machine at a proper temperature as well as clean and dry, and you've got little access holes to get at the computer when you need. Perfect for when you are doing renovation but dont want to move or disconnect your hardware.

RedEye Reciever Turns Iphone Into IR Remote

ThinkFlood has introduced its new RedEye Universal Remote Control peripheral for the iPhone and iPod touch. The RedEye is a small IR transmitter box featuring Wi-Fi and a built-in dock for charging an iPhone, iPhone 3G, or iPod touch. Users download the RedEye software application -currently in public beta -to their device and connect to the RedEye transmitter box via Wi-Fi. The application then allows the user to control nearly any IR-sensing home entertainment equipment directly from the application. Each person in your house can use their own iPhone or iPod touch as a controller and you can add a transmitter to any room you that has a device you want to control. Currently available from their website for $119.

HTPC In A Vase Shown At Computex2009

Nvidia's tiny 1080p capable ION platform made its big debut in dozens of products at this years Computex2009. Showing just what this small, low powered platform is capable of ECS, a Taiwainese computer manufacturer, crammed an Intel Atom 230 system using Nvidia's Ion for graphics, a 2.5-inch HDD of unspecified capacity, a Blu-ray drive, 1GB of RAM and HDMI out inside a small chinsese vase. The ports are all located on bottom and the drive pops out from the middle of the vase. No idea yet if this is just a concept or actual product.

Kef's 5' Tall Concept Blade Speakers

Kef's Concept Blade speaker took over three years to develop and although the unit is a 'one off' demonstration speaker the research concepts and technologies that it embodies will surely trickle down to the rest of the KEF lineup. The speaker takes KEF's familiar Uni-Q array concept (where a tweeter is positioned coaxially within a midrange or mid-bass driver, with the drivers sharing the same "acoustic centers") to a much higher level. In essence, Concept Blade is designed to behave as if the entire loudspeaker has become a giant, full-range Uni-Q array. The Concept Blade is a 10th-generation forward-firing Uni-Q array. KEF then surrounds that array with four side-firing 10-inch bass drivers positioned symmetrically around the Uni-Q array. Together, the four bass drivers share the same combined acoustic center as the front-firing Uni-Q array, essentially become part of it.  The cabinet itself features a curved-wall enclosure made of a carbon fiber/balsa wood composite. The compound curves of the Concept Blade enclosure are said to give the cabinet much greater rigidity and resistance to resonance than conventional flat-wall enclosures. A video demonstration of the tecnology can be found at Kef's website.

Hulu Desktop

Hulu Labs has released Hulu Desktop, a "lean-back viewing experience for your personal computer," as the developers explain. The software features a sleek interface that has been optimized for use with Apple or Windows Media Center remote controls, "allowing you to navigate Hulu's entire library with just six buttons." Windows users must have at least an Intel Pentium Core Duo, with a 1.8GHz processor and 2GB of RAM running Windows XP. Mac users need an Intel Pentium Core Duo, with a 2.0GHz and 2GB of RAM running OS X 10.4 (Tiger). Hulu Desktop runs directly on your computer and does not require a web browser, making thing easier to navigate on a HTPC.

HDMI 1.4 Specs Unveiled

The HDMI Digital Connection Standard formally unveiled the new HDMI version 1.4 specifications. Features include an HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC) enabling data transfers of up to 100Mbps between supported connected devices, an Audio Return Channel to enable upstream audio connections via the HDMI cable, 4K x 2K resolution support, support for 3d and expanded support for color spaces designed specifically for digital still cameras, including YCC601, Adobe RGB and AdobeYCC601. Read the Business Wire release for the full details.

Demo Videos Of Sony's New TV Interface

Sony's XBR9 and Z-series televisions have a built-in Ethernet jack for accessing internet media and informational widgets based on the Yahoo platform. The Youtube channel SonyConvergineer have put together a few introductory videos showing-off Sony's new connected capabilities on a production television set using Sony's Xross Media Bar UI and Bravia remote control. The interface is similar to Sony's PS3 and PSP gaming interface so anyone familiar with those machine should know what to expect. Video one, two, and three.

Motorlight Adjustable Beam Light

The Motorlight Wall is wall mounted light that features an adjustable beam that can be angled between 10 and 120 degrees, creating a wide or narrow shaft depending on your illumination needs. The Motorlight Wall is operated via a remote control, which can interface with up to 30 lights simultaneously. The remote allows you to control the shaft of light and brightness of each luminaire, individually or as a group. The Motorlight Wall will be available in five different colours Red Glow, Blue Glow, Black Gloss, White Gloss and Clear Glow. No official word on pricing or availability but Design Boom has a few pictures of the lights in action.

Okoro's HTPC With Built-in Amp

Okoro Media Systems' OMS-AX100 is a new low profile digital media system designed with a built-in 5-channel amplifier delivering 100 watts per channel. This will allow customers to connect passive speakers directly to the OMS-AX100 for playing music, video games, and movies. OMS-AX100 is a Digital Entertainment System based on AMD's low powered 45 Watt platform with Intersil D2Audio DAE-3 5-channel amplifier. This allows the OMS-AX100 to deliver 100 watts per channel while generating very little noise in your home theater environment. The box features a 45 watt Dual Core AMD Processor, a 5.1-channel Intersil D2Audio Audio Amplifier, 4GB 800Mhz RAM, ATI Radeon HD 3200 w/ HDMI 5.1 audio, and NTSC/ATSC/QAM tuner.

Netflix Added Into Windows Media Center

Microsoft has added Netflix accessibility directly into the Windows Media Center application, providing a Netflix section under the TV+Movies tab. This means that users are able to not only stream movies and TVs instantly through the application, but also manage both their instant and DVD queues, and search/filter searches through the entire Netflix library without having to open up a browser to access the site first. Available for Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate Vista but unfortunately not XP.

Linksys & HP Kill Off Their Media Extenders

It looks like both HP's MediaSmart Connect line and Linksys' Media Center Extenders have been discontinued. It seems the stand alone media streaming units didn't perform as well as the manufacturers had expected with consumers for the most part choosing other ways to stream their content from their PC to their televisions. Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 allow you to stream video and audio content from your PC as well as offering online services the stand alone units didn't. Newer Blu-ray player like the LG BD390 also include media streaming as well. I guess with just about every unit in your television cabinet capable of streaming content a $300 stand alone unit just wasn't needed.

GefenTV Wireless HDMI Extender

GefenTV's Wireless for HDMI Extender extends HDMI AV content from satellite boxes, Blu-Ray players, and other AV sources to remote HDMI-compliant display(s). The Wireless for HDMI Extender transmits through walls and does not require line-of-sight placement of transceivers for good reception. HDMI-complaint displays can be placed up to 100 feet (30 meters) away from HDMI sources. Video resolutions of up to 1080p@30 Hz or 1080i@60 Hz are supported along with 5.1-channel digital audio and 2-channel analog audio. Broadcast mode allows extension of HDMI without HDCP encoding to up to 5 remote displays. Unicast mode extends HDMI with HDCP encoding to a single remote display. Available at Gefen's website for $899.00.

CableCARD Workaround For DIY Builds

Home built HTPCs have always had the disadvantage of not being able to record or playback digital HD cable because only certain OEM manufacturers where able to use CableCARDs tuners. Recently a member of The Green Button forum figured out how to make any computer work with ATI's CableCARD tuner. Engadget has a tutorial on using the bios utility and CanonPC sells CableCARD tuners for $279.00.

Hide Your Chargers In Fake Grass

The fake grass in a box allows you to charge your cell phone or other small electronics while hiding your unsightly charging cords. Charge cords come through from the bottom and are fed into the grass allowing you to rest multiple units. $29.98 at Taylor Gifts.

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

This is Control4 Home Automation with Amazon Alexa.

This is Control4 Home Automation with Amazon Alexa.

INTRODUCING THE SIMPLEST WAY TO CONTROL YOUR ENTIRE HOUSE YOUR VOICE. Imagine this... We've all been there-walking through the door into a dark house, arms full. Wouldn't it be nice to tell your house to offer a helping hand? Now you can. A simple voice command-such as "Alexa, turn on Welcome"-lights up the hallway and kitchen, fires up your favorite Pandora station, while the door locks itself behind you. This is Control4 Home Automation with Amazon Alexa.