Bigger, Better Pixels Make Video a Whole New Game

This week's Nvidia GPU Technology Conference gave us yet another peek into why the GPU (Graphic Processor Unit) still matters. Jen-Hsun Huang runs a high tempo aggressive team that is always pushing the envelope and his latest announcement was no exception bringing tears to our son's eyes because he so wanted one of the $1K units but no way! It may be all about gaming power but the pixel processing power took us right back to NAB and how their latest offerings and technology announcements is keeping pace with movie and broadcast producers demands for better quality video content and faster/more comprehensive encoding. And yes you still have to store it all somewhere!!

Content Insider # 217 - Protect Your Own

While it's impossible to avoid the cloud with all the web services that are out there, it's not a place we want to store anything we feel is important or private. Our new home cloud is a 16TB RAID that we hope will be enough storage and backup for a year or so.

2012 will be the year of Home Automation

I know what you're thinking: another "year of X" prediction that has as much chance of coming to fruition as I have of winning the lottery. (I'm still waiting for smell-o-vision.) So, why am I so keen to stake my reputation on this? One reason: the number of entry level systems appearing on the market. We'll be reviewing some of these over coming months, but for now we'll just list some of the major contenders. Mark Anderson is a long-time home theater enthusiast and lives on the bleeding edge of Home Automation. He will be covering everything related to Home Automation and AV. He is also a regular contributor to avystemsmag.com, where he covers commercial AV and automation.Please welcome Mark to the HomeToys team.

Is Windows Media Center Alive?

Windows Media Center is one of the best and most underrated products produced by Microsoft. As a cord-cutter, I use it as my TV guide, DVR and a whole lot more. In the last few months, I've attempted to find three key plug-ins. Not one exists. It seems developers interests lie elsewhere these days. So is this a nail in WMC's coffin. I hope not.

On Energy Management, Manufacturing and Factory Automation

It's not enough to monitor our energy use. We don't really care about that unless it does something to change our lives or save us money. So, let's put a solar system on the roof. Now that can do both of these things and should attract our attention. But let's take it a step further. With that solar system there is a new variable in the mix --- FREE CLEAN ENERGY. What can and should we do with it.

Outdoor Entertainment Systems

A key aspect of outdoor entertainment systems is the wiring that is required for both power and audio distribution.  Outdoor wiring requires a better quality of wire coating and insulation than indoor wiring.  Typically, outdoor wiring is run through conduit, either rigid PVC or metal conduit.  Connections between distribution boxes and conduit that is run on the exterior of the home must be sealed with heavy gaskets to prevent the penetration of dust and moisture into the power distribution box.  Ground fault circuit interrupters should be used in the event that moisture does enter the box and shorts out a connection.

What the heck happened?

Please designers and marketers, don't focus on mobile devices and therefore limit our future to having fairly good products that do everything. We still want really good products that do specific tasks perfectly. Broadcasters (soon to be renamed Streamers) need to stay with the program too.

How to handle a defective product

SO, you got some new do-dad for your stereo, once you hook it up, you find you have: Hum, buzz, distortion, no power, or some other issue. Here are the best ways to handle the situation and the order in which you should do them:

Streaming Content - Why and How?

Supposedly now --- life is better. I should be able to stream content including TV, movies, news, music and everything else --- from the internet directly to my entertainment system. I should also be able to do all the old stuff too including listen and watch the movies and music which I purchased and stored on my hard drive. So, since I are an engineer, I'm going to break everything down into point form and see if I can make sense of all of these options --- oh and by the way --- I know you can do all this internet stuff with a phone too but I'm not even going to go there at this point in time :-(

How to handle a defective product

SO, you got some new do-dad for your stereo, once you hook it up, you find you have: Hum, buzz, distortion, no power, or some other issue. Here are the best ways to handle the situation and the order in which you should do them

Is System Design Necessary?

Many of us in the AV Integration business have been doing this for a long time, 24 years for me. We are seasoned professionals who have done our fair share of home theaters, distributed audio and video, lighting and sub-system control integration. We know what works for us and what doesn't. We can walk a house while it's being framed and just point out the speaker, keypad and TV locations. We don't need a design; we can assemble a distributed audio system in our sleep while planning the control system over breakfast, right? Wrong!

Many Years In The Ad Agency Trenches

Getting good marketing counsel and work product from an ad agency or consultant has a profound effect on the future of your business.

Social Media…The Hunted Can Become the Hunter

The world of new media - widgets and social applications - looks like a beautiful marketing communications hunting ground.

Job Site TIPS

I've seen so many installation crews waste so much time on the job over the years, that I thought it would be helpful to compile a list of time and frustration elimination suggestions for this month's TIP. Since I'm so disorganized, I've made most of these mistakes myself, even the safety related ones, so I speak from some experience. Hopefully you can pick up a few tips and save yourself some grief. The most important tips I can pass along about the job site concerns safety. The job site is definitely dangerous and almost everyone I know, me included, has had some injury while working on the job, especially during the prewire construction phase. I have had a co-worker seriously injured and many of my friends in the industry have related stories of serious accidents, including deaths. It's a common problem and I hate to say I don't see much being done about it. So my number one TIP: BE PREPARED.

Marketing vs Tech…Consumers Need Voice

On any given day you will find a group of engineers or programmers huddling in the back room, sitting in the corner of the coffee shop, or gathering around the most recently divorced individual's kitchen table to plan the next major new company built on breathtaking technology. The hard fact is…we really don't need more technology. What we do need is better application of the technology we have. In fact, it would be fair to say that we probably have enough sound technology available to last us for the next five to ten years. What we need are people to make the technology usable for the rest of us. Technology is important, but what is needed even more is sound marketing/market understanding, ability and practice. We rush insanely great technology/products to market, we get them reviewed/talked about by bleeding edge media techno-writers and the din of noise fills the media. Print, web, blog, radio, TV all cover the insanely great solution and we forecast fantastic hockey stick sales and insane profits.

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