Crestron has announced the release of their entry level automation solution aimed at competing with Control4's pricing. Prodigy requires no system design, no wiring and no expensive installation. The Prodigy Composer software guides the integrator through a few simple steps using basic drop-down menus and check boxes. The software provides all the logic and creates touchscreen interfaces automatically in the background. The wizard is intuitive so anyone can get a system up and running in minutes without any training. The system starts with the ZigBee-compatible (802.15.4) PMC2 controller and PLX2 two-way ZigBee remote sold as a package for $700. For a whole house solution Creston is offering a $5,500 sample system which included four zones of audio, one thermostat, 15 wireless light dimmers/switches and an in-wall touchscreen.
Trusted HDGuru Gary Merson says the Panasonic TC-P54V10, a 54-inch plasma 1080p set, is "the new king of HDTVs." The next level up from Panasonic's well received G10 plasma line, the series uses the same NEO PDP panel but adds significant features including three color modes (up from two), user-controlled gray scale setting, 96Hz refresh rate for 24Hz sources and a thinner profile. The set is available now in 50," and 54″ diagonal screen sizes, with the 58″ and 65″ versions due sometime in August. HDGuru has a full in-depth review of why this is the new go to replacement for Pioneer's discontinued Kuro plasma HDTVs line.
Vivitek announced that they will be releasing in their new H1080FD projector for only $999. The H1080FD features full HD (1920 x 1080) resolution, 1800 ANSI lumens, 5000:1 contrast ratio and it'll will based on the Texas Instruments' S450 chip / light-engine design with Dark Chip II technology. Other features include two HDMI ports, composite / S-Video / component inputs, an RS-232c control connector and a 12v trigger. The company plans to have the projector ready for purchase sometime in August.
The new Plek 66 is a folding compact barbecue grill with side shelves, designed for the space conscious homeowner and can be attached to the wall or take small footprint in a garden, porch or balcony. Once folded the barbecue looks like a rather thin rectangular box. Rocal made the most out of this compact design, incorporating a double grill and a large charcoal container. The integrated side shelves provide all the space you need and accommodate anything related to grilling. The bottom drawer holds charcoal and is combined with a storage compartment where you can keep various utensils including meat tongs and shovel for charcoal.
Neuhaus Laboratorie's T-2 Amplifier has to be one of the first vacuum tube amplifiers with digital inputs. The amplifier has a built in digital-to-analog converter so audio is sent to the amp in pure unaltered digital form from your computer. The DAC is Windows and Mac compatible. The amp outputs 20W x 2 with a frequency response of 10-30KHZ, output impedance of 4ohm-8ohm and harmonic distortion of 1.5%(1KHZ). MSRP is $795.00 and Neuhaus Laboratorie's website has more pictures and video of the unit here.
LaCie's new LaCinema Rugged HD is a 500GB, USB-powered external hard drive that can also output 1080p video to a TV over HDMI. The LaCie LaCinema Rugged HD hard drive will be available for $349.99 from LaCie's website soon. Additional features include composite and optical A/V connectivity options with supported for MPEG-1, MPEG-2 (AVI, VOB, IFO, ISO), MPEG-4 (AVI, XviD), H.264, WMV9, and VC-1 video codecs.
The AUX Level speaker by Italian brand Outline is a simple minimalist amplified 2.1 speaker designed for mounting below your wall mounted flat screen. 100cm wide but only 16cm tall and 20cm deep and features a 400-watt amp with the subwoofer section covered by two specially designed 5" drivers set in a shared side slat bass reflex design. Available in simple black or for an additional fee you can have artist Roberto Muscinelli give it a one of a kind paint job using fireworks and paint.
The well-regarded open-source VLC media player has finally reached version 1.0.0 - over eight years after its original release. Overall it is the same solid application capable of playing just about anything you throw at it, but also includes improvements in playback control and support for AES3, Dolby Digital Plus, True HD/MLP and Blue-ray Linear PCM. VLC 1.0.0 is available as a compiled program for various Linux distributions, Windows (2000 or later), and Mac OS X (10.5 or later).
Eurotech announced today its new Panel Computers the Vx-120F-N270 and Vx-150F-N270, based on the Intel® Atom™ N270 processor series. The fanless, high performance Panel PC has no moving parts for a completely silent operation. The new Vx-120F-N270 12" and Vx-150F-N270 15" models are equipped with a high brightness TFT display and with a 8 wire resistive touch screen. The front panel has an IP65 protection, a USB port and is equipped with power on and HD LEDs. A monitor, mouse and keyboard can be connected externally, allowing fast set-up operations.
Philip's 56" Cinema 21:9 2560 x 1080p LCD now has an official price. While release dates are still unknown, the TV will cost the equivalent of about $7,400 when it comes out in Europe. Philips announced earlier this year that they plan to exit the US market so a US release is doubtful but if you want to find out more check out Philip's official Cinema 21:9 page.
If you're looking for a do-it-yourself tech project then G&P Optoelectronic's HD Project kit might be of interest. For under €499 ($704) you can build yourself a complete projector capable of 1280x768 with DVI and HDMI in. All the pieces come in four separate bundles -- HD optic, light, housing, and electronics with options for S-video and VGA as well. The lamp used costs €20 ($28) which makes replacement cost relatively cheap. Unfortunately the manual is only available in German at the moment but hopefully a English translation isn't too far off.
Sony's all-in-one NAS-Z200iO features an integrated CD player, iPod docking station, USB port, and AM/FM radio. The unit can also stream music from a PC with its DLNA and WiFi module and is controlled by the remote control's large color 3.5-inch LCD display. Selecting by artist, album or song in your iPod is also easily done from the remote control without having to get up for your player to find what you're looking for. Two independent speaker enclosures are incorporated (20W x 2), unlike some systems which use a common or single enclosure. For higher fidelity stereo sound, the enclosures are carefully constructed within the confines of space, to keep vibration between the speakers and the main unit to a minimum. For powerful and natural bass performance, strong magnets are required. In order to achieve this in such a compact unit, double neodymium magnets are utilised for the bass drivers. The CMT-Z100iR is similar in design but lacks the WiFi and color remote. For added convenience, both the NAS-Z200iR and CMT-Z100iR can be wall mounted with a VESA wall bracket. The CMT-Z100iR will be available in Europe in July and the NAS-Z200iR will be available in Europe in September. No US release announced.
At this stage, the system centers on an electroencephalograph (EEG) scanner cap that the wheelchair user wears so their brain waves can be scanned and analyzed by a computer. The result is the ability to make movements almost in real time. Stopping is reportedly a little harder, with the user having to puff up a cheek to trigger a detector worn on the face. The breakthrough comes from scientists at the BSI-Toyota Collaboration Center, which teams various groups including Toyota Motor and the mostly-Japanese-government-funded RIKEN (research unit). Read more at Gizmodo.
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