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 :-(
As far back as 1940, with Walt Disney's production of "Fantasia", surround sound has been a concept that nearly everyone finds exciting. Consumer electronics tried to take advantage of surround for music in the early 1970s with various forms of quadraphonic sound. It never really became a mainstream success, however, due to limited recorded software and much more expensive phono cartridges or tape decks needed to play it back.
Conventions/conferences are events that challenge a man's (and woman's) stamina. They push you to the limits of creativity and performance. Companies spend hundreds of thousands, no millions to attend them annually just to reach, educate, inform, persuade other companies and the media. Two recent events are typical - Black Hat Technical Security Conference and NAB (National Association of Broadcasters). Both in Las Vegas. Both at the same time. "We don't need no badges. I don't have to show you any stinking badges." - Gold Hat ( Alfonso Bedoya ), The Treasure of the Sierra Madre (Warner Bros - 1948)
As an ISF calibrator for many years I find myself in a lot of homes to make their systems perform better. I am constantly amazed at how many systems have everything they need to watch HD video and listen to HD audio but have never seen or heard either. I find that about 5 out of 10 consumers fall into this category. Why is this happening you ask?Â
PR/publicity folks are just like every trend follower..always ready to jump to the next "new/hot" thing.Â In their case to prove they are like way in front of the communications curve. Blogging? Fading. Facebook Like page (Fan page is out), Tweety? Oh yeah! Writing clean/concise/meaty releases, checking the Press Web Site? That is so yesterday!!! So what if the site is where media folks go to find/get news/data and where they go to get contact info? Just because the lowly company press room is pivotal for everyone, everywhere why should the person leading the charge stoop to make certain the company's press site had just the right information and that the information is easily available, fresh. We wrapped our many years of experience and feedback from media people into the attached article.
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.
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.
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 .
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.
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 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.
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.
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.
Pegatron , an off shoot of ASUS, recently showed off a prototype tiny low power HTPC built using an ARM processor and Nvidia's new Tegra 2 . The unit itself includes HDMI, Ethernet, microphone and speaker plugs on the back and the Tegra 2 chip can decode 1080p and Flash video. This particular model is designed to run Windows CE or Google Android but it's possible other manufactures will incorporate full Linux Distros like Ubuntu For Arm and include either Boxee or XBMC software for a full Linux HTPC experience. Although no price has been set yet you can expect these units to be quite a bit cheaper than their Intel Atom based counterparts like the Acer Revo($350 US with Windows 7 Home Premium) .
This rack was an absolute breeze to install --- even for me --- so professional installers will have no problem whatsoever.
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Automation & Control - Featured Product
INTRODUCING THE SIMPLEST WAY TO CONTROL YOUR ENTIRE HOUSE YOUR VOICE. Imagine this... We've all been there-walking through the door into a dark house, arms full. Wouldn't it be nice to tell your house to offer a helping hand? Now you can. A simple voice command-such as "Alexa, turn on Welcome"-lights up the hallway and kitchen, fires up your favorite Pandora station, while the door locks itself behind you. This is Control4 Home Automation with Amazon Alexa.