Transform your Apple device into a universal remote control with the L5 Remote

Now that football season is here, do you find your friends, family members, and neighbors flocking to your house at kickoff time on Sunday afternoons? Check out the L5 Remote, a new device that can enhance the experience of watching the game (and clear that cluttered coffee table). This intuitive app and hardware combo for your iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch turns your Apple device into a touch-screen remote in a matter of minutes. Use it to channel surf on your Cable or Satellite box, operate your DVD player, control your DVR, and activate most other home entertainment devices. The L5 Remote offers a drag and drop design, which allows you to customize your dream remote by adding the buttons you want and deleting the ones you don’t. Upload your favorite designs, and download those that interest you. Who doesn’t want options? That’s why you can also transfer, share, and backup remote designs through the L5 Remote app. The product boasts a large capacity so your options for personalization are virtually endless; make as many 1,000 remotes, and name up to 100,000 buttons. The benefits of the L5 Remote go beyond custom remote designs and buttons. The device’s capacity for macro controls allows the user to create and activate a sequence of events with just one touch. Dim the lights, power on the surround sound, and click on the TV to your favorite team’s game, all with one simple click. Let the L5 remote consolidate your complex remote collection, leaving more time for tailgating and touchdowns. Aavailable now from www.L5Remote.com for $49.95.

Apple TV now shipping

Apple might still insist its TV box is just a hobby, but it's not messing around when it comes to shipping. Sticking to its original schedule, the MacBook maker has started sending out shipping notifications to the great and the good in the USA and Canada, with the earliest promised delivery being September 28. Those who've lightened their wallets by $99 can now look forward to a whole load of media streaming from the likes of Netflix, YouTube, and Flickr, though we might have paid the full price just for the sake of the integrated Rotten Tomatoes reviews. Do make sure to come back and tell us how awesome it is when you gets yours, won't ya?

CEDIA Expo Attendance Rises

This year's CEDIA Expo in Atlanta drew more than 20,700 attendees, which represented "modest growth" from last year's total. In addition, CEDIA said, 20 percent of the attendees were at CEDIA Expo for the first time. The Expo also saw a six percent increase in exhibitors from 2009, to 453. “The steady booth traffic, the increase in exhibiting companies, and the number of new attendees are all early indicators that our industry is poised for a resurgence,” CEDIA CEO Utz Baldwin said in a statement. “The product knowledge and education that attendees take away from CEDIA EXPO 2010 will help them take advantage of emerging opportunities and will position their businesses for continued success.”

Roku Takes on Apple TV

This week, Roku, a company based in Saratoga, California, launched a new lineup of video players designed to stream high-definition content from Internet destinations such as Netflix, Amazon, and Pandora. The cost will be $60 for a basic player and $100 for one that offers a variety of ways to connect to other devices. Both are equipped for high-definition playback. Roku was one of the first companies to stream Internet content to televisions; it released its first video player in May 2008. Since then, the market for Internet-connected set-top boxes for televisions has become much more crowded. Competition is intense because, along with free shows and clips, the Internet can be used to deliver premium, cable-like content. An Internet-connected set-top box can also be used to deliver ads that are closely tailored to viewing habits. "People are zeroing in on the same answer from multiple directions," says David Krall, Roku's president. Roku has about 700,000 users--far fewer than the number of Apple iTunes users out there--but the company hopes to attract users by offering lower-cost hardware and high performance. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 This week, Roku, a company based in Saratoga, California, launched a new lineup of video players designed to stream high-definition content from Internet destinations such as Netflix, Amazon, and Pandora. The cost will be $60 for a basic player and $100 for one that offers a variety of ways to connect to other devices. Both are equipped for high-definition playback. Roku was one of the first companies to stream Internet content to televisions; it released its first video player in May 2008. Since then, the market for Internet-connected set-top boxes for televisions has become much more crowded. Competition is intense because, along with free shows and clips, the Internet can be used to deliver premium, cable-like content. An Internet-connected set-top box can also be used to deliver ads that are closely tailored to viewing habits. "People are zeroing in on the same answer from multiple directions," says David Krall, Roku's president. Roku has about 700,000 users--far fewer than the number of Apple iTunes users out there--but the company hopes to attract users by offering lower-cost hardware and high performance. /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";}

Blockbuster finally files for Chapter 11

Blockbuster has had a rough few years, but this one has been especially painful. First, its shares were delisted from the New York Stock Exchange. And now, as expected, it has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization as it struggles to compete with online video-rental service Netflix and the rental-kiosk phenomena. Calling it "pre-arranged recapitalization," Blockbuster announced today that it has filed Chapter 11 petitions in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court. The reorganization encompasses only the company's U.S.-based operations and stores that it wholly owns. International operations and franchises are not included in the filing, Blockbuster said. However, the reorganization does encompass quite a bit. According to the company, all of its stores, by-mail service, and streaming operation are included in the proceedings. Blockbuster is also planning to take a harder look at its operations. Although its 3,000 stores are still operating normally, Blockbuster said, it plans to "evaluate its U.S. portfolio." If and when it emerges from Chapter 11, Blockbuster expects to be in a better position to compete against Netflix and its other rivals.

Android App Coming for Home Automation

Blake Krikorian, creator of the Slingbox set-top, at the Sept. 22-26 CEDIA Expo 2010 in Atlanta will bow Google-based Android apps that allow users to control myriad home devices, including Blu-ray Disc players, televisions, media players and DVRs, from a growing array of enabled portable touchscreen devices. Home automation has quietly flourished due to the advent of the Apple iOS operating system that allows iPhone and iPad users to remotely manage a variety of third-party devices, including household lights, security systems, thermostat, oven, microwave, window shades and doorbells. Krikorian, who sold Sling Media to EchoStar in 2008, developed the apps, dubbed “R2,” for the Crestron home control platform. At CEDIA, Krikorian will showcase the apps on Samsung’s new Galaxy Tab, which sports a seven-inch screen, in addition to the five-inch screen Dell Streak. Unique to the Android app, which will be available on Google Marketplace this fall, is that users do not have to switch screens to manage separate devices. For example, if the user is watching a Blu-ray movie, has a home security system with video functionality, and the doorbell rings, a separate screen pops up identifying the visitor. TV volume can be controlled while reading an electronic book, among other functions. Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 Blake Krikorian, creator of the Slingbox set-top, at the Sept. 22-26 CEDIA Expo 2010 in Atlanta will bow Google-based Android apps that allow users to control myriad home devices, including Blu-ray Disc players, televisions, media players and DVRs, from a growing array of enabled portable touchscreen devices. Home automation has quietly flourished due to the advent of the Apple iOS operating system that allows iPhone and iPad users to remotely manage a variety of third-party devices, including household lights, security systems, thermostat, oven, microwave, window shades and doorbells. Krikorian, who sold Sling Media to EchoStar in 2008, developed the apps, dubbed "R2," for the Crestron home control platform. At CEDIA, Krikorian will showcase the apps on Samsung's new Galaxy Tab, which sports a seven-inch screen, in addition to the five-inch screen Dell Streak. Unique to the Android app, which will be available on Google Marketplace this fall, is that users do not have to switch screens to manage separate devices. For example, if the user is watching a Blu-ray movie, has a home security system with video functionality, and the doorbell rings, a separate screen pops up identifying the visitor. TV volume can be controlled while reading an electronic book, among other functions. /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";}

CEDIA 2010 in Atlanta - The Exhibit floor is now open!

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} Here at HomeToys.com we are going to do our best to get you all the news and information from CEDIA that we can. View all the news releases from the show on our special newspage -  at https://www.hometoys.com/show_news.php?show=cedia10 Check out some of the products and booth information for our supporters - https://www.hometoys.com/products.php?show_category=cedia10 Follow us on Twitter - www.twitter.com/HomeToys - We will be Tweeting and ReTweeting all week to keep you up to date. Special thanks to our CEDIA sponsors: Cables To Go, Stewart Film Screen & Mitsubishi

Netflix launches in Canada today: streaming only service for C$7.99 per month

As expected , Netflix has kicked off its first offering outside the United States by opening up a Watch Instantly portal for Canadians this morning at Netflix.ca . With no discs available at all, the only option is a $7.99 Canadian ($7.80 US) plan for streaming that works on PCs, PS3, Wii, iOS family and many other devices -- interestingly the Xbox 360, Samsung TVs, and Blu-ray players from VIZIO or Insignia are off the compatible list until later this fall. Content availability also seems to be different for our neighbors to the north (English only for now, French is on the way Quebec), with the Netflix blog specifically calling out Superbad and Mad Men as up for streaming, which aren't currently available on Watch Instantly in the US. Unlike our recent Caribana experience we weren't able to cross the border and check it out for ourselves, but owners of Maple Leaf-certified IPs are invited to check out the selection (one month free trials are available) and let us know exactly what we're missing.

TiVo Adds Pandora Radio Service

Digital video recorder (DVR) resource TiVo revealed Monday that it is now offering Pandora Internet radio service on all broadband-connected TiVo Premiere boxes. Pandora joins TiVo's current musical lineup of Rhapsody, Live365, Music Choice and songs connected from a PC or Mac music library. "Just as TiVo revolutionized your television and personalized your viewing content, the Pandora application brings additional music customization to the all-in-one TiVo box," Jim Denney, TiVo product marketing VP and GM said in launching the capability. "With Pandora now available on TiVo Premiere, we offer customers even more options when it comes to music including personalized on-demand radio, audio podcasts, music videos, music from your PC, and more through the TV and with just one remote." Pandora offers users personalized radio stations, making intelligent song selections based on a sample song or artist selected by the listener. TiVo applies its signature "Thumbs Up" and "Thumbs Down" to help the service identify the songs and styles that most appeal to users. The Music Genome Project, a detailed, hand-built musical taxonomy, powers Pandora's personalization - using musicological "DNA" and constant listener feedback to craft personalized stations from a growing collection of hundreds of thousands of recordings. On the TiVo platform, users create a new free Pandora account, or sign-in with existing Pandora accounts. Users can also access Pandora stations created on TiVo on any other platform where they listen to Pandora, including PCs and smartphones and other connected devices. "Pandora and TiVo share the goal of serving up relevant and engaging content for our listeners and viewers," stated Jessica Steel, business development senior VP. "We're excited to add TiVo to the many platforms through which users can access and enjoy Pandora."

CEDIA Expo to feature a 35 seat 3D theater on the exhibit floor

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} A handful of companies are collaborating on an enclosed 3D demo booth (#2658) on the showfloor that will seat 35 people. The collaborators are SmX Cinema Solutions, Cinepro Music & Cinema Systems, and Cineramax Special Venues in association with RealD Professional and Barco Media & Entertainment. The equipment for the 35-seat 3D “mini-stadium” includes: RealD Professional CE4 eyewear, 6-million pixel Series 2 DCI Barco Superkontrast projector with 4,000 watts of illumination producing four-times the light intensity for 3D, with light output that will exceed SMPTE spec for 2D commercial movie theaters (16 foot lamberts). A 195- by 90-inch Pro-Mask Quad (4-way masking) screen from SMK that required erecting a custom stadium seating structure. The SMX 4K acoustically transparent projection material is designed for the next-generation high-pixel-density projectors.

VIDABOX EXPANDS COMPETITIVE DISCOUNT PROGRAM TO NOW INCLUDE FORMER NIVEUS MEDIA CENTER DEALERS

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} VidaBox, LLC has expanded its discount program to now include former resellers of Niveus Media, which ceased providing media center hardware as of mid-September 2010. Effective immediately, former Niveus dealers can now receive an additional 10% discount off any new VidaBox system order.  “Once again, VidaBox stands proud in providing the CEDIA marketspace with integrator-friendly media server solutions,” exclaims Steven Cheung, President of VidaBox, LLC. “Former Niveus dealers can choose from our comprehensive line-up of 11 different media centers, servers, and extender products, all of which combine into a complete, seamless AV distribution ecosystem that installers can take advantage of. With our vast selection of products, it’s easy to transition any Niveus-based media center project into using VidaBox systems, without sacrificing features or ease-of-installation.”

SIM2 ANNOUNCES SPECIAL CEDIA OFFER FOR IPHONE-IPAD APP

Normal 0 false false false EN-US X-NONE X-NONE MicrosoftInternetExplorer4 /* Style Definitions */ table.MsoNormalTable {mso-style-name:"Table Normal"; mso-tstyle-rowband-size:0; mso-tstyle-colband-size:0; mso-style-noshow:yes; mso-style-priority:99; mso-style-parent:""; mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt; mso-para-margin:0in; mso-para-margin-bottom:.0001pt; mso-pagination:widow-orphan; font-size:10.0pt; font-family:"Times New Roman","serif";} SIM2 continues to dedicate efforts to cost-saving measures for its dealers and now extends a courtesy show bonus for an incredibly helpful tool for the entire industry. The wildly popular iPhone/iPad app called SIM2Calc, always free of charge for authorized SIM2 dealers, will be available on ITunes for the discounted rate of $4.99 during expo. What happened to “free”? All CEDIA attendees that talk to a SIM2 representative while downloading the app* will receive the $4.99 back on the spot! This to celebrate SIM2Calc as an entrant for CEDIA’s new Attendee Choice Award and it is another way for SIM2 to put money back into the dealer’s pocket.    SIM2Calc is a comprehensive collection of calculation tools covering the vital aspects of home theater video design including: Screen Type and Size, Projector Model, Aspect Ratio, Throw Ratio Calculator, Geometry Settings, Viewing Angle Map and Luminance levels. Additionally, the tools are organized by tabs in a logical progression, guiding the user through the process of designing a SIM2 projection system that adheres closely to industry standards and best practices to achieve reference video quality."

Steve Jobs: Amateur Ninja?

Steve Jobs is a visionary and a billionaire. But is he also a ninja on the side?  According to an extremely unreliable rumor that's been sweeping the Web this week, the Apple CEO was caught packing ninja throwing stars at a Japanese airport (you know, just in case he gets into a tussle while traveling abroad). The story, sparked by SPA! , a Japanese tabloid, is just about the most absurd thing one could imagine, and has been refuted by Apple. And yet... because of said absurdity, the story will not go gently into that good night. The original story — which, again, Apple has refuted   — claimed that Mr. Jobs was caught trying to sneak shurikens (metal throwing stars) onto a plane. After being nabbed by authorities, Jobs supposedly became upset and vowed never to visit the country again. Web searches on "steve jobs" are up 99% over the past 24 hours, and related lookups on " steve jobs ninja " and " steve jobs ninja stars " are both comically high.

Crestron iPanel controller for iPad does twice as much for half the price

Crestron is a name synonymous with two things in the world of home automation: cost and quality. So it's always good to the see the company shed its proprietary nature and embrace an off-the-shelf consumer product. Take its new iPanel for example. Instead of dropping a few thousand dollars on a Crestron touch-panel that does just one thing, you can purchase this $500ish snap-on case with thirteen dedicated buttons for home, lights, guide, and info functions. In other words, for the half the price of a typical touchscreen Crestron touchscreen controller you also get a WiFi-connected iPad. Sounds like a winning combination to us. Look for the iPanel to get official at CEDIA next week.

Calrad Electronics gets in the Media streaming game with the new xLobby Cube

The xLobby Cube, which is available by Pre-Order now allows you to manage your complete DVD movie collection from a simple to use menu driven interface. Load movies using 3rd party DVD storage software. Playback all of your standard DVD movies and have it scaled up to 1080P with Dolby Digital 5.1 surround sound. You are also able manage your music collection including CD's, downloaded MP3 files and access your iTunes libraries. The xLobby Cube offers iTunes & Hulu online content support. MSRP is $799 but a Pre-order sale through Sept 30, 2010 is offering the system for $699.

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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.