CES and ISE 2013 News Coverage and Product Reports

It's 2013 and two of the most important tradeshows are already upon us. CES and ISE start the year for us by bringing the industry to the forefront of the news all over the world.

Dream kitchens of the Future

Is the next step in our kitchen of the future replication of food, similar to Star Trek? Just maybe. We have 3-D printing for solid objects; can food be far behind?

Review - IAV LightSpeakers - Wireless Multi Room Audio System

Since HomeToys.com began over 15 years ago we have always had a passion for products we feel are innovative, creative and are helping move this AV industry forward. When I saw the press release for the launch of the IAV LightSpeaker come across my email a few months back I was intrigued. Basically this is a self-contained wireless speaker and lighting system where each speaker fits into your standard 5" & 6" pot lights with standard Edison sockets, no speaker wiring needed.

Smart Home Needs a Master Plan to Succeed

The Home of the Future, the totally connected home, can/will become a model of efficiency. Technology isn't holding us back. We're holding ourselves back.

Outdoor Power Over Ethernet (PoE) A Fair Weather Friend

We all have a fair weather friend that only participates when conditions are just right. Delivering Power over Ethernet (PoE) is a technology that, like a fair weather friend, may not be well suited for all outdoor weather conditions.

The Real World of Spatial Operating Environment

From clicking to touching, and now pointing and grabbing, the future of computer interaction is going through a major overhaul. A gesture-based operating environment or Spatial Operating Environment (SOE) is now realized and will transform the way we work and design, making the most of our hands. Now we can use spatial interface to control applications and data across many displays. Anyone on a network can share content and applications with any coworker anywhere in the world on an interactive basis.

Consumers Drive Storage Everywhere!

The growth of digital content is accelerating as the needs of modern consumers include more ways to create, share and experience digital content.

Is your house flood proof?

The only time you will see a difference between a floating house and the traditional one is during floods - when your house rises above the water and your neighbor's stays put and slowly sinks under the water.

Content Insider # 257 - Odd Choices

If we want to catch up on work or catch up on the last segments of Cybergeddon, our options are at hand and we agree with Felix that it "Doesn't make any difference."

Mobile Devices and Tablets as Home Controllers

A single tablet can be the remote control for your TV, the CCTV monitor for your video surveillance equipment, and the hub of all your other sub-systems like access control, wireless security sensors, thermostats, lights, irrigation, audio/video, etc.

Smartphone Purchasing … It's for More than Just Coffee

Everyone is so sure that you're going to abandon your billfold/purse and eliminate the need for dirty, evil money that they're standing in line waiting for you.

A Shower TV? Hey, Why Not...It's What the Cool People Do

At first a shower TV seems like a needless luxury...but then the more you think about it, it starts to makes sense, doesn't it? We all lead busy lives and spare time is at a premium. Unless you are like my father who brags about taking 3-minute showers, you probably like to linger in the shower as the hot water relaxes you.

The Quest for a Better Remote

I've used Logitech Harmony remotes on my Home Theater and in the Master Bedroom for a few years and for the most part, they worked OK. The "Help" button painlessly solved many hiccups. With a move to a new house, all AV gear was hidden away (most of it in the basement). A second Blu-ray player and Apple TV complicated things, so it was time to look for a new solution that would dispense with the hiccups. My quest has ended (for now) with URC.

Blowing Hot and Cold with Z-wave and Wi-Fi Thermostats

Last winter I installed a Z-wave thermostat. Integration was good, but usability was dreadful. The Wife Acceptance Factor plummeted; my own with it. Waking up to a chilly house about a month ago reminded me that it was time to turn on the heating, and replace the thermostat. I was torn between a better Z-wave model and a Wi-Fi unit. Whatever I chose had to integrate with my Home Automation system, and that was the challenge.

Laser Phosphor Display Screens

LPD walls are larger than the largest LCD screens, far brighter than projection screens, and far more detailed than LED displays. LPD displays have no bezels, allowing the image to extend to the edge of the glass, resulting in displays that can be lined up in stacks or rows to form a single image, as large as desired.

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

This is Control4 Home Automation with Amazon Alexa.

This is Control4 Home Automation with Amazon Alexa.

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.