InfoComm 2010 - Exhibit Hall set to open Wednesday in Las Vegas!

Truly the “Information Communications Marketplace,” InfoComm is where everyone in the industry convenes each year — buyers, sellers, systems integrators, distributors, technical professionals, engineers and designers — to conduct business, share ideas, learn and have fun as part of a growing community. More than 32,000 professionals from 80+ countries are expected at InfoComm 2010. News from the show is pouring in to HomeToys.com’s special InfoComm newspage. Click here to check out all the latest headlines.

ZigBee Alliance & SunSpec Alliance Collaborate on Renewable Energy Management

Today ZigBee Alliance, a global ecosystem of companies creating wireless solutions for use in energy management, residential, commercial and consumer electronics applications announced an agreement to collaborate with SunSpec Alliance to define standards for renewable energy and microgrid management using ZigBee Smart Energy Version 2.0. The collaboration between the two Alliances will address the existing gap between the growing use of distributed generation via renewable energy resources and the Smart Grid, in order to take advantage of the energy management efficiencies of the Smart Grid.

ASRock Vision 3D HTPC with Intel Core & USB 3

The ASRock Vision 3D HTPC will get unveiled at this year's Computex. It's got an aluminum casing and inside there's an Intel Core mobile processor, and a NVIDIA GeForce GPU for 3D Vision graphics. On the outside you will find 4 USB 3.0 ports, dual-link DVI, 7.1 audio, a Blu-ray drive, and an HDMI 1.4 port. ASRock is aiming to have this released sometime in July, but if you really want to experience the 3D, you'll have to pick up NIVIDIA's 3D Vision kit, which has its own software along with the glasses. No pricing yet for this unit. Source: Slashgear.

Glasses-free 3D LCD TVs likely by 2015

IDG News Service - Consumers will likely see 3D LCD TVs that don't require people to wear polarized glasses out on global markets by 2015, according to a Taiwanese research group that showed off an early version of such a device this week. The technology is considered vital to getting 3D into more people's living rooms. Analysts say most people don't want to wear polarized glasses to watch 3D TV, and many balk at the price, up to $200 per pair for some of the glasses. The high price might make a person think twice about hosting a World Cup or Super Bowl party with friends.

Eos Debuts ItsWireless Speaker System

Eos Wireless has announced a new wireless speaker system that the company says is "plug-and-play." The system can stream music from a computer (Mac or PC), iPod, or other music source to several rooms in the home, or even outside. The transmitter communicates with the receivers/speakers right out of the box using Eos' own GigiWave digital wireless technology. This means the consumer doesn't need to set up a WiFi connection or install software. According to Eos, the signal can be streamed up to 150 feet through walls, floors, and ceilings. Tunes can be played in up to five rooms in the home simultaneously.

XpanD to roll out Universal 3-D glasses

Wall Street Journal: "If you've zeroed in on the perfect 3-D television for your living room, what about the glasses? Currently, the choice of which 3-D specs to wear is dictated by the manufacturer, as the glasses are tied to a single brand of TV and can't be used on others. But as early as this month, next-generation 3-D glasses will be hitting stores. The new specs are designed to work with any TV or computer monitor capable of playing movies or shows in 3-D. This month, XpanD eyewear will go on sale at U.S. retailers. For $129, customers can purchase glasses that will work on any television or PC with 3-D."

Apple Working On $99 New Version Of AppleTV

Engadget: "If you thought that Apple's foray into the world of home entertainment died with the last iteration of the Apple TV, you're quite wrong. A tip we've received -- which has been confirmed by a source very close to Apple -- details the outlook for the next version of the Apple TV, and it's a doozy. According to our sources, this project has been in the works long before Google announced its TV solution, and it ties much more closely into Apple's mobile offerings. The new architecture of the device will be based directly on the iPhone 4 though it will be capable of full 1080p HD. The device is said to be quite small with a scarce amount of ports (only the power socket and video out), and has been described to some as "an iPhone without a screen." Are you ready for the real shocker? According to our sources, the price-point for the device will be $99. One more time -- a hundred bucks"

3DTV Sales Forecast To Triple In 2011

Consumer-electronics manufacturers are on track to sell 4.2 million 3DTV sets worldwide in 2010, with the market projected to triple to 12.9 million units next year, according to research firm iSuppli. By 2012, 27.4 million 3DTVs will ship worldwide and by 2015 shipments will reach 78.1 million units, representing a compound annual growth rate of 80.2% between 2010 and 2015, iSuppli projected. Three issues need to be resolved before there is "mass consumer acceptance" of 3DTVs, iSuppli analyst Riddhi Patel said: standardized video formats, content available and 3D glasses interoperability.

Sony OLED Screen Thin Enough to Wind Up Around a Pencil

The technology hinges on a new kind of organic thin-film transistor (OTFT) based on a new semiconducting material that has eight times the current modulation rate of existing OTFTs. This makes the display powerful, but there's at least one more clever trick--instead of relying on driving electronics based on conventional solid chips in their familiar little black plastic packages, Sony's built all the display driver tech out of OTFTs themselves, and integrated them into the actual panel the display itself is made on. This is crafted from a super-thin (20 micron-thick) substrate, making it flexible enough to be repeatedly rolled around a tube of diameter of just 4mm, as well as being stretched.

Google Releases Full Open Source Video Codec

At Google’s annual developers conference today most analysts were predicting Google to announce their partnerships with manufactures for new television set-top boxes built with Google's Android OS. They didn't but they did announce that they plan to make their WebM codec completely open source and license free. The video codec was acquired earlier this year for $124.6 million from On2 Technologies and is competing with h264 which is owned by the MPEG LA a patent pool which both Apple and Microsoft are part of. Beginning today, all videos that are 720p or larger uploaded to YouTube will be be encoded in WebM. Google has also released a WebM software developer kit and source code .

Lenovo's New Nettop Is A Dirt Cheap HTPC

The Lenovo IdeaCentre Q150 will be available at the end of June and start at just $249. The nettop features Nvidia ION graphics, a choice of a single core Intel Atom D410 or dual core Atom D510 processor, 2GB of RAM, 802.11b/g/n, your choice of 5400rpm hard drive and Windows 7 Home Premium or Windows 7 Home Basic installed. It measures in at just 6.8″ x 6″ x 0.8″ with an HDMI output, 4 USB ports (2 front and 2 back), mic and headphone jacks, S/PDIF audio, VGA output, and Ethernet port. Available separately is Lenovo's cool wireless multimedia remote with keyboard and trackball.

EH's 2010 Home of the Year Award Winners

More than 250 projects were submitted for Electronic House magazine’s 5th Annual Home of the Year Awards contest and the winning entries are up now on their website. Categories included: Best Home Theater $25k-$50k, Best Home Theater $50k-$100k, Best Home Theater $100k-$250k, Best Home Theater $250k+, Best Master Suite, Best Kitchen, Best Family Room, Best Outdoor Space and several more with 43 winning installation in all. Tons of pictures and equipment rundowns available here .

Intel Demos Low-cost Home Energy Monitor

Intel showed off a pocket-sized device that monitors power usage by gadgets and appliances across a house. A sensor in the box could detect which appliances were being turned on or off by watching for their unique electricity usage patterns. That allows the creation of logs that can show, for instance, at what hours each day an Xbox or certain lights have been turned on. The sensor works by simply recognizing voltage drop patterns when devices are turned on and off, and doesn't require anything special from the appliances themselves. No official word on when a real product will be available but Intel says they will be using an Intel Atom processor and the MeeGo Linux operating system so developers can build additional applications for the device.

Popbox SDK Released

Syabas Technology's upcoming $130 Internet-based A/V streaming set-top box Popbox , the successor to the Popcorn Hour, will feature a complete UI redesign. The new interface includes "infopops" which show off the weather, Twitter feeds, and other data. The interface also includes a cover-flow-esque visual thumbnails selection for videos, music and other data, as well as universal search. The interface can handle Flash, Java and QT meaning Netflix is now available. Also available is Hulu, CBS and ABC content, which can now include the in-video ads required for playback. Facebook, Twitter, Shoutcast MP3, Revision3 and other Popcorn Hour content will rollover to the new box. Released today, the Popbox SDK enables developers to take an existing Adobe Flash application and easily transform it into a new applications for popbox. The popbox SDK hooks into the popbox UI to handle remote commands, execute widgets, and load application-specific data. Developers will be able to create popapps that play videos, music, and photos, read and write content metadata, and access files on mounted drives and UPnP servers from the home network or media from the cloud. Applications developed with the popbox SDK will be available to popbox consumers at launch through the platform’s popapp Center and can be made available to the existing installed base of over 50,000 Popcorn Hour A-200 and C-200 NMTs already in market.

Three Things Someone Somewhere Wants

I think everyone can agree that the high-school football team should be allowed to tackle both the guy walking downtown with his pet boa constrictor and the guy reading his iPad outside a bakery. That being said there might be legitimate sound reasoning for new internet devices--as long as owning one doesn't turn you into snake or iPad guy. The Mintpad is a 2.86-inch Wi-fi enabled device with a proprietary pen based UI built on top of Windows CE. Techlore has a demo of the device in action and its way more polished than you expect. The ASUS EeeKeyboard is said to be finally shipping at the end of April and the Chumby / Sony Dash sit nicely on tables displaying whatever RSS feeds your life requires. Also indoor scrolling LED sign have never been more popular.

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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!