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Articles

The Quest for a Better Remote
11/15/12, Mark Anderson, Mark Anderson
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
11/15/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com

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
11/15/12, Len Calderone for, HomeToys
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.

Device Design – The Art of Compromise
11/15/12, Roy Schofield, Phaedrus Ltd
It is important to know the requirements of your target customer base. For a general purpose product this can be quite difficult. Some users will only be interested in monitoring inputs, be they digital or analogue. Others may be interested only in controlling outputs. Others again may have requirements for both input monitoring and output control.

Eldercare Robots
11/15/12, Frank Tobe, Editor and Publisher -, The Robot Report
Games, sensors and robots are among the tools beginning to come to market to help aging people live in their homes as long as possible.

Petabytes are the New Terabytes
11/15/12, Tom Coughlin, Organizer and Chairman of the 2013 Storage Visions Conference
The growth in content complexity will drive higher storage demand for rich media projects including direct attached storage but increasingly network attached storage and even Internet-accessed cloud-based storage as the speed of these solutions increases and the costs go down. A project that used to require terabytes of storage may now require petabytes at a higher resolution and frame rate.

Improving Video Quality with ClearView
10/31/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com
Streaming of videos is growing at a dramatic rate. While the quality is typically acceptable on a mobile device, when displayed on a large screen with technologies such as AirPlay, Miracast, MHL, etc. Compression artifacts and inadequate resolution result in a poor picture. Silicon Image is aiming to lend a hand in the quality department with ClearView

Home Theater in a Box Redefined with WiSA
10/31/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com
Home Theater in a Box systems are either dedicated, limited feature systems, or often the lowest-end receiver and speaker combination a manufacturer has to offer. These are attractive to many, as an “easy” route to sound that exceeds those tinny speakers in the ever-slimming TV. WiSA technology promises a more practical, scalable, wireless- yet-audiophile-quality solution.

CABA Digital Home Forum
10/31/12, Bob Hetherington, HomeToys
CABA has always done a great service to the industy by organizing and hosting these forums and conferences where players in the industry can get together on neutral turf to share their experiences, concerns and expertise. As a great believer in sharing technical expertise, in fact it's what this publication is based on, I am always keen to hear what others are working on and where the industry is going.

Audio Visual Technology in Medicine
10/31/12, Len Calderone for, HomeToys
AV technology is used throughout modern medical facilities, providing everything from wayfinding, to scheduling, conferencing, remote to specialist equipment and subject matter experts.

The Cloud Success, Residue is All Your Fault
10/31/12, Andy Markham, Marken Communications 
OMG someone suddenly discovered that cloud storage isn't you know… up there! And they aren't soft, fluffy, light. In fact they aren't really terribly efficient. But as long as their energy-sucking tilt-up buildings aren't in your backyard it's okay. In defense of the folks running them they're trying to make them more environmentally friendly. But still if you're going to put your most precious, most sensitive, most irreplaceable documents, data, images there you've also got that "little" problem of hackers, whackers, cybertheives going where they can have a better ROI (return on investment) for their labor. We all have to use the cloud – heck we're using it even when we don't realize it – but it's a lot like eating…use a little common sense.

UltraViolet Update

10/12/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com
It’s been a few months since we covered UltraViolet, so it’s time to try out the disc-to-digital service and see how things have progressed.

Miracast – A Challenger to the AirPlay throne?
10/12/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com
Apple has dominated the wireless streaming video playing field for quite a while, but the Wi-Fi Alliance plans to change all that with an open solution called Miracast.

Mobile Devices Wired for Sound and Video with MHL

10/12/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com
Apple users have enjoyed streaming of audio and video to big screen TV’s for quite some time. Miracast holds some promise for non-Apple users, but sometimes a wired connection is just better.

Taking the Guesswork out of HDMI switching with InstaPrevue
09/28/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com
InstaPrevue technology provides the first-ever, live picture-in-picture preview of HDMI® and MHL inputs connected to an AVR or HDMI/MHL switch. Instead of having to remember, or guess, which device is connected to which input of a TV or AVR, a thumbnail of the content makes it easy to identify the source.

Setting the Soundstage: How to treat your home theater like a real theater
09/28/12, James DeGrandis, Acoustics First Corporation
Modern AVR’s include all kinds of wizardry for speaker setup, positioning and room equalization. Anyone in the know will tell you that room EQ hardware and software should be a last resort. Correct acoustical treatments will pay much bigger dividends.

Crestron’s airConnect won’t leave iOS users out in the cold
09/28/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com
Creston’s airConnect is a revolutionary location system that currently utilizes Near-Field Communication (NFC) and a user’s NFC-equipped SmartPhone. The launch of the iPhone 5 without NFC looked (to many) like it would be a no-go ofr iOS users. Turns out the iPhone 5, and new iPods incorporate a key piece of technology and Crestron have had a contingency plan all along.

Two-Piece Projection Systems in Residential Environments
09/28/12, Blake Vackar, Screen Innovations
Projectors have long been beanished to the dedicated home theater, but with such rooms disappearing from floorplans more and more and improved technology, Screen Innovations makes a compelling case for replacing the TV with a two-piece projection system.

4K TV is Here For Your Home Theater! But Should You Care?
09/28/12, Eric Thies, DSI Entertainment Systems
We've seen and heard about 4K TV and Projectors for some time now. Our friends at DSI Entertainment Systems share their perspective.

Using a Wireless Bridge and Megapixel IP Camera for Remote Security
09/28/12, Martin Boulter, Luxul
Megapixel IP Cameras deliver significant enhancements over traditional analog cameras, but they require considerable network bandwidth and power. These cameras can now be installed in remote locations using wirelss bridging.

Interviews

IAV Light Speaker 
11/15/12, Krista Bergman, IAV Light Speaker 
Put it conveniently into 5” and 6” ceiling cans or neatly into larger lamps, pendant lights or carriage light fixtures; anywhere there is a standard Edison light socket. Once installed you have not only a high quality speaker system but you gain a super efficient lighting system that will last decades and because it saves energy and therefore your money,

High Frame Rate Technology: Coming Soon to a Theater Near You

10/31/12, Dr. Don Shaw, Christie Digital

The move to HFR really is the future of movies, for everyone from the visionary directors to the audiences making entertainment decisions on a Friday night. HFR will raise visuals to a quality never seen on the biggest screens, and likely muzzle many of the naysayers who highlight the performance flaws – like strobing and judder – in current 3D cinema, and generally dismiss 3D cinema as a passing fancy.

HDBaseT Technology – Why You Should Be Impressed

10/31/12, Dean Vaughan, Leaf Audio Pty Ltd
HDBaseT allows the reliable transmission of uncompressed pure HD video and 8 channels of uncompressed audio along with Ethernet and control signals over a single Cat5e/6 cable up to 100m (228 ft).

Growing Popularity Of Digital Signage

10/12/12, Richard Heslett, Christie
Christie MicroTiles are the next frontier of display technology. Built on proven DLP technology and specifically designed for maximum image quality in high-ambient light environments, Christie MicroTiles are ideal for a wide range of demanding applications, including architectural elements, out-of-home advertising, command and control video walls, and event production.

Plug Level Energy Monitoring
10/12/12, Tanya Flores, Electronic Systems Protection, Inc
The eCommandCenter is the first all-in-one energy management solution of its kind that empowers businesses to monitor and manage actual energy consumption, protect equipment, and implement sustainability programs, down to the plug level. Engineered with wireless energy monitoring technology, industrial grade power protection, diagnostic software, and reporting analytics, the eCommandCenter features a sophisticated package of hardware and software that enables businesses to manage energy costs proactively.

Automotive Ethernet Conformance and Interoperability Testing
09/28/12, David Estes, UNH-IOL
Automotive Ethernet promises to both reduce the cable weight used in cars today and offer increase bandwidth compared with existing MOST-based designs. At the forefront of the interoperability testing is UNH’s InterOperability Lab (IOL).

CommandFusion Interview
09/28/12, Jarrod Bell, CommandFusion
CommandFusion (CF) began as GuiLink in 2005 specialising in custom touchpanel design. The product direction shifted with the release of the iPhone in 2007, and the company name officially changed to CommandFusion in 2011. Today, the company now offers both software and hardware in the form of a scalable communication network that connects any automation hardware in any topology.

DTV Green Dishtenna
09/28/12, Dan Rivera , DTV Green Dish 
The DTV Green Dish is a patented hybrid Dishtenna® designed for those individuals who want to enjoy great network television programming without the high costs of satellite or cable TV.

Reviews

Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft Pixel Sense

10/31/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com

Touchscreens and interactive control have been around for a few decades. These are being deployed in digital signage, retails and hospitality applications more and more. The Samsung SUR40 with Microsoft Pixel Sense represents a significant leap in the technology. I had a chance to get some hands on and certification training.

Sanus CFR2136 AVRack

10/31/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com
I’ve used Sanus flat screen mounts for quite some time. At CEDIA 2012, I saw their new Component Series AV racks for the first time and was pretty impressed. The build quality is good and the price is very attractive. As such, they’ll suit the pocket book of many DIY installers and offer an opportunity for improved margins for the ever-squeezed custom installer.

Ebode Bluetooth Speaker and Universal Receiver
10/31/12, Contributed by, Peter van Dam 
Looking for improved sound from your mobile device? Peter van Dam reviews a wireless Bluetooth speaker and a universal Bluetooth receiver

Introducing: The Erudite Audio Verbositor mkIV
10/31/12, Charles Hinton, McInstosh
I can assure you, dear reader, that the Erudite Audio Verbositor mkIV sports the most impressive display of buttons, knobs and blinky lights this Audiophile poser has ever had the privilege to drool over 😉

Mozaex Media Server Review
09/28/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com
Mozaex offers a range of 3D-ready media servers and media players that can be used to distribute audio and video throughout the house. Priced at a fraction of the cost of Kaleidescape, the products do not breach any of the DVD Copy Control Association’s (DVD CCA) contracts. We took a few of their products for a spin and were impressed.

CEDIA EXPO 2012

HomeToys eMagazine – Special Coverage of CEDIA 2012
09/13/12, Contributed by, HomeToys.com
Here is a synopsis of the many CEDIA 2012 news and product reports that we have prepared this year. Use these links to browse the coverage from your easy chair.

CEDIA EXPO 2012 – Tradeshow Report
09/13/12, Mark Anderson, HomeToys.com
As expected, CEDIA was full to the gills with cool and interesting products. In the article below, you can read about our take on industry trends and see what products we considered noteworthy.

Hometoys – CEDIA 2012 News Report
09/13/12, Contributed by, HomeToys.com
Tons of news from CEDIA 2012 – Almost 200 news announcements at last count and still growing. Be sure to add your own company news to this report – just click the link that says "Click here to Submit Your Free Show News Release"

More Articles

Maximize your Video Image
09/28/12, Len Calderone, HomeToys.com
Whether you are buying a LCD or plasma television or maybe a projector for your home theater, you will want to get the most out of the video image. Most consumers run their plastic through the store’s machine, pick up their new display at the dock, take it home, unpack it and turn it on. The viewer then plops down on the sofa with a bag of popcorn, and accepts whatever video image that is displayed on the screen. If you truly want the best video image, you need to take a few minutes and make some adjustments to the set. The basic calibration procedure for your television can also be used for a projector.

Capitalizing on Mobile Device Support
09/28/12, Jordan Socran, Radialpoint

In the connected home the lines have blurred between services, devices, and experiences, resulting in high-operational costs for technical support helpdesks. Telling a customer “we can’t help you” will ultimately hurt the customer relationship. Maintaining a high-level of customer satisfaction and fostering greater business loyalty among users means that changes must be made to the way telecom service providers, retailers and manufacturers approach the technical support role.

HDMI = High Performance

09/28/12, Len Calderone, HomeToys.com
The High-Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) was invented in 2002 by several major electronics manufacturers. HDMI is the first uncompressed all-digital interface that carries audio and video signals.

SSD … More Stuff than You Can Afford to Carry 
09/28/12, The Insider 
SSD is ideal when response time (low latency) and performance (IOPs – input/output operations per second) are more important than raw capacity.

For more articles from past issues
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