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.
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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?
End of the year roundup articles are a great sources of research for future purchases. Its allows you to quickly weed through the latest hype and view the products that clearly made a lasting impression on the reviewer. At Cnet.com Steve Guttenberg has compiled a what he deems the 10 best audiophile speakers under $3500 a pair. At $1,895 a pair Magnepan's MG 1.6/QR, pictured above, took the top spot. Jerry Del Colliano at hometheaterreview.com also compiled a list of the 10 best audiophile speakers but didn't restrict the price point and focused more on the speakers that he views will have the most money to value ratio for the future generation of audiophiles. His counter list can be found here.
Elan is set to launch a brand new range of automation products for 2010. The g! control system which they describe as their "biggest" in the companies history will launch in two phases, with the software available in April and the hardware coming in September. The software works with legacy Elan and HomeLogic systems. The announcement didn't really include too many details but the company says the system is a mix of Elan and HomeLogic, the IP-based control systems acquired by Elan, with a consistent interface across all platforms, which include an OLED display, iPhone, PC and TV. Integrators will be able to put together a decent multi-room system for less than $5,000, competing in price point with both Control4 and the Crestron Prodigy line. From the comments posted below the CEPro announcement however, it looks as though some system installers may need more convincing before this release is accepted as a real breakthrough.
At a press event Monday Boxee, the open source media center, unveiled it's new beta as well as a prototype dedicated set-top box they built with partner D-Link. The Boxee Box will cost around $200 with a RF remote, Wi-Fi, Ethernet and outputs for HDMI (the only video output), optical audio, analog stereo audio, as well as two USB slots the company envisions being used to add a webcam, external hard drive or antenna for receiving over-the-air programming. It comes with a simple multi-directional remote. The new beta version of the Boxee software, which launches to the general public over the next four weeks and goes fully public in January features a completely redone interface as well as several new social networking features. You can follow the development and view some of the beta's screen shots at the Boxee Blog.
Last week the FCC admitted that CableCARD, a system originally designed to open up the market for video content, is a failure. According to their own document, “The Commission’s CableCARD rules have resulted in limited success in developing a retail market for navigation devices. Certification for plug-and-play devices is costly and complex.” Ars Technica points out that in the FCC report, a grand total of fourteen non-leased set top boxes were available in the US at retail in 2008. That means that nearly every set-top box in the US is leased by a cable company, allowing them virtually unlimited pricing control and no incentive to innovate. Until very recently, you couldn't even get your Windows PC to be a DVR unless you bought it OEM from HP or Dell or someone, where they would install the CableCARD for you at the time of purchase. The FCC is currently taking suggestions on how to replace CableCARD with something that would actually make the network open.
HTPC remotes that work seamlessly with web browsing or other applications not specifically designed for couch computing are few and far between. The Logitech's diNovo Mini keyboard is $150 dollars and is still fairly large, the Air Mouse Pro iPhone / iTouch application is a great if you already own either device. Lastly an unknown company called EFO makes a BlackBerry sized device that has a trackpad and QWERTY keyboard and only cost $40 dollars. The kit comes with a USB receiver, rechargeable Li-ion batteries and doesn't require any software or drivers to work with Windows, Mac, Linux or any of the game systems that allow USB keyboards. ExtremeMHz has a review of the unit here.
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