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.

OLED Displays That Can Stretch Like Rubber

Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a new kind of OLED display that can stretch and deform like rubber. The team demonstrated a face-shaped display showing changing expressions, and a spherical screen to show weather information. The inventor hopes that in the future they will be able to apply this technology to completely spherical or moving displays. They were produced by spraying a layer of carbon nanotubes with a fluoro-rubber compound to produce a stretchy, conductive material. The displays are thinner than plasma and LCD equivalents, and consume very little power.

Clayton i-House - $93,300

"This innovative 'green' home, featuring solar panels and numerous other energy-saving products, is truly a home of the future," Warren Buffett wrote his shareholders. "Estimated costs for electricity and heating total only about $1 per day when the home is sited in an area like Omaha." The "i-house's" metal v-shaped roof — inspired by a gas-station awning — combines design with function. The roof provides a rain water catchment system for recycling, supports flush-mounted solar panels and vaults interior ceilings at each end to 10 1/2 feet for an added feeling of openness. The Energy Star-rated design features heavy insulation, six-inch thick exterior walls, cement board and corrugated metal siding, energy efficient appliances, a tankless water heater, dual-flush toilets and lots of "low-e" glazed windows.

ATI Drivers Now Available For Windows 7

AMD/ATI has announced that its video graphics driver for Windows 7 have received Windows Hardware Quality Lab (WHQL) certification. This means that user who own ATI Radeon HD 2000, HD 3000, and HD 4000 series products using the ATI Catalyst software suite can be 100 percent Windows 7 ready. The Microsoft WHQL certified graphics drivers for Windows 7 are found here and a fully unified WHQL-certified driver supporting Windows Vista and Windows 7 is planned for the release of ATI Catalyst 9.5 later in May.

$100,000+ 103-Inch Plasma

For $93,050 or $111,805 (with stand) you can now purchase Bang & Olufsen's BeoVision 4 103-inch plasma. Available in a number of colors just in case you want more than one. Original Engadget story with video of the unit plus a gallery of images of a television none of us will probably ever see in real life.

Table Tennis Door

The Ping Pong Door functions just like any ordinary door except there's an inner panel that flips down to make a ping pong table. You just need two adjacent rooms with enough free space and your ready to play. Design by Tobias Fraenzel, a working version was show recently at the Milano Salone fair but no release date has been set as of yet.

ABC Programs Coming To Hulu

Three of the four big broadcast networks now own stakes in Hulu, the popular video web site. ABC Enterprises, a unit of the Walt Disney Company, announced Thursday that it would join NBC Universal, which is owned by General Electric and Vivendi, and the News Corporation, owner of Fox, as a partner in the joint venture. Hulu, which in the last 18 months has become the third most popular video site on the Web, behind YouTube and Fox Interactive Media, displays free, high-quality versions of television shows and movies, supported by advertising. It said it would add ABC shows like "Lost," "Desperate Housewives" and "Jimmy Kimmel Live" to its online library by late summer, pending regulatory approval. Read the full New York Times article here.

Windows 7 RC Available For All May 5

Microsoft plans to make a "Release Candidate" build of its latest operating system, Windows 7, available for anyone to download May 5. Once installed the preview won't expire until June 2010 so anyone wanting to try it out has more than a year to decide before they need to make a decision. Both 32-bit and 64-bit versions will be available in English, German, Japanese, French, and Spanish. Arstechnica has an in depth look at one of the earlier betas if you want to see whats improved since Vista and whats completely new.

Sony Bravia Z5500 - 200Hz Motionflow TV

Sony has just unveiled their Bravia Z5500 line. Top of the feature list is Motionflow 200Hz, which outputs 200fps and comes teamed up with Image Blur Reduction, which Sony claims "cleans" up the newly created extra frames to stamp out motion blur. Also on board is an Ethernet socket which opens the Bravia Z5500 up to DLNA media streaming (from a PC or DLNA-enabled media server) and AppliCast, Sony's selection of online services. This lets you access RSS feeds and view widgets on-screen while you're watching TV. The Sony Bravia Z5500 comes in 40, 46 and 50-inch sizes, all with full HD 1920 x 1080 resolutions.

Second-gen WHDI Does Uncompressed 1080

AMIMON, the company behind the wireless HD technology WHDI, has just introduced its second-generation chipset. The system, which utilizes video modem technology operating in the 5GHz unlicensed band, consists of the new AMN 2120 transmitter and AMN 2220 receiver.. AMIMON asserts that this chipset is the first capable of "delivering full uncompressed 1080p/60Hz HD content throughout the entire home," with a range of beyond 100 feet through walls, under one millisecond of latency and support for HDCP 2.0. The new chipset is available now. Official press release.

Paper Flexpeaker

Taiwanese researchers at ITRI have produced a flexible paper speaker and aim to have them ready for next year, with the price down to around $20 per 8.5-inch by 11-inch sheet. The speaker is made by layering thin electrodes and a prepolarized diaphragm between two thin sheets of paper. Their first application, they hope, is to use the Flexpeaker in cars as soon as next year. Then, movie posters, with the soundtrack or movie trailer highlights playing as folks walk by. The frequency response is only 500Hz to 200kHz so these speakers are mainly meant for commercial applications.

Warner Bros Offers HD-DVD Exchange

Warner Home Video through their website has announced that they will now allow HD DVD owners to exchange their old Warner HD DVDs for the Blu-ray version. This service isn’t free, as it costs $4.95 per disc with $6.95 shipping and handling per order. The cost must not be worth it for if you are only exchanging a few disks but if you have a large HD DVD libarary it might make more sense to make the switch to Blu-Ray now.

LED Based Rear Projection Display

Christie Projectors' new Entero line is being called the world's first LED based rear projection display systems. The Entero line is designed for control room displays and video wall applications and features DLP display technology, 600 ANSI lumens, and a 1700:1 contrast ratio. By using new LED technology, the Entero line has a life span of more than 50000 hours, which estimates to over five years of dependable 24/7 performance. The two models that are currently in the Entero series are the RPMWU-LED01 and the RPMSP-LED01. The RPMWU features WUXGA (1920 x 1200) resolution, while the RPMSP features SXGA+ (1400 x 1050) resolution. Original press release from AboutProjectors.

Kenwood's SP0001 Glass Speakers

Kenwood encased its new 2 way speakers, the SP0001, in optical grade glass. Combined with the optional LED light stand the speakers create a haunting futuristic night listening experience. The system features two 2-way speakers supporting a maximum input of 10W and featuring an 8-ohm impedance. The playback frequency range is of 80Hz – 25kHz and is attained with the help of 6-cm cone and 2.5-cm soft dome-type drivers. The whole thing is not particularly big, measuring somewhere around 140 x 170 x 195 and weighing about 2.3 kilos. Available now in Japan for $1,050 plus $210 for each stand.

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

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!