Kef's Concept Blade speaker took over three years to develop and although the unit is a 'one off' demonstration speaker the research concepts and technologies that it embodies will surely trickle down to the rest of the KEF lineup. The speaker takes KEF's familiar Uni-Q array concept (where a tweeter is positioned coaxially within a midrange or mid-bass driver, with the drivers sharing the same "acoustic centers") to a much higher level. In essence, Concept Blade is designed to behave as if the entire loudspeaker has become a giant, full-range Uni-Q array. The Concept Blade is a 10th-generation forward-firing Uni-Q array. KEF then surrounds that array with four side-firing 10-inch bass drivers positioned symmetrically around the Uni-Q array. Together, the four bass drivers share the same combined acoustic center as the front-firing Uni-Q array, essentially become part of it. The cabinet itself features a curved-wall enclosure made of a carbon fiber/balsa wood composite. The compound curves of the Concept Blade enclosure are said to give the cabinet much greater rigidity and resistance to resonance than conventional flat-wall enclosures. A video demonstration of the tecnology can be found at Kef's website.
Hulu Labs has released Hulu Desktop , a "lean-back viewing experience for your personal computer," as the developers explain. The software features a sleek interface that has been optimized for use with Apple or Windows Media Center remote controls, "allowing you to navigate Hulu's entire library with just six buttons." Windows users must have at least an Intel Pentium Core Duo, with a 1.8GHz processor and 2GB of RAM running Windows XP. Mac users need an Intel Pentium Core Duo, with a 2.0GHz and 2GB of RAM running OS X 10.4 (Tiger). Hulu Desktop runs directly on your computer and does not require a web browser, making thing easier to navigate on a HTPC.
The HDMI Digital Connection Standard formally unveiled the new HDMI version 1.4 specifications. Features include an HDMI Ethernet Channel (HEC) enabling data transfers of up to 100Mbps between supported connected devices, an Audio Return Channel to enable upstream audio connections via the HDMI cable, 4K x 2K resolution support, support for 3d and expanded support for color spaces designed specifically for digital still cameras, including YCC601, Adobe RGB and AdobeYCC601. Read the Business Wire release for the full details.
Sony's XBR9 and Z-series televisions have a built-in Ethernet jack for accessing internet media and informational widgets based on the Yahoo platform. The Youtube channel SonyConvergineer have put together a few introductory videos showing-off Sony's new connected capabilities on a production television set using Sony's Xross Media Bar UI and Bravia remote control. The interface is similar to Sony's PS3 and PSP gaming interface so anyone familiar with those machine should know what to expect. Video one , two , and three .
The Motorlight Wall is wall mounted light that features an adjustable beam that can be angled between 10 and 120 degrees, creating a wide or narrow shaft depending on your illumination needs. The Motorlight Wall is operated via a remote control, which can interface with up to 30 lights simultaneously. The remote allows you to control the shaft of light and brightness of each luminaire, individually or as a group. The Motorlight Wall will be available in five different colours Red Glow, Blue Glow, Black Gloss, White Gloss and Clear Glow. No official word on pricing or availability but Design Boom has a few pictures of the lights in action.
Okoro Media Systems' OMS-AX100 is a new low profile digital media system designed with a built-in 5-channel amplifier delivering 100 watts per channel. This will allow customers to connect passive speakers directly to the OMS-AX100 for playing music, video games, and movies. OMS-AX100 is a Digital Entertainment System based on AMD's low powered 45 Watt platform with Intersil D2Audio DAE-3 5-channel amplifier. This allows the OMS-AX100 to deliver 100 watts per channel while generating very little noise in your home theater environment. The box features a 45 watt Dual Core AMD Processor, a 5.1-channel Intersil D2Audio Audio Amplifier, 4GB 800Mhz RAM, ATI Radeon HD 3200 w/ HDMI 5.1 audio, and NTSC/ATSC/QAM tuner.
Microsoft has added Netflix accessibility directly into the Windows Media Center application , providing a Netflix section under the TV+Movies tab. This means that users are able to not only stream movies and TVs instantly through the application, but also manage both their instant and DVD queues, and search/filter searches through the entire Netflix library without having to open up a browser to access the site first. Available for Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate Vista but unfortunately not XP.
It looks like both HP's MediaSmart Connect line and Linksys' Media Center Extenders have been discontinued. It seems the stand alone media streaming units didn't perform as well as the manufacturers had expected with consumers for the most part choosing other ways to stream their content from their PC to their televisions. Both the PS3 and Xbox 360 allow you to stream video and audio content from your PC as well as offering online services the stand alone units didn't. Newer Blu-ray player like the LG BD390 also include media streaming as well. I guess with just about every unit in your television cabinet capable of streaming content a $300 stand alone unit just wasn't needed.
GefenTV's Wireless for HDMI Extender extends HDMI AV content from satellite boxes, Blu-Ray players, and other AV sources to remote HDMI-compliant display(s). The Wireless for HDMI Extender transmits through walls and does not require line-of-sight placement of transceivers for good reception. HDMI-complaint displays can be placed up to 100 feet (30 meters) away from HDMI sources. Video resolutions of up to 1080p@30 Hz or 1080i@60 Hz are supported along with 5.1-channel digital audio and 2-channel analog audio. Broadcast mode allows extension of HDMI without HDCP encoding to up to 5 remote displays. Unicast mode extends HDMI with HDCP encoding to a single remote display. Available at Gefen's website for $899.00.
Home built HTPCs have always had the disadvantage of not being able to record or playback digital HD cable because only certain OEM manufacturers where able to use CableCARDs tuners. Recently a member of The Green Button forum figured out how to make any computer work with ATI's CableCARD tuner. Engadget has a tutorial on using the bios utility and CanonPC sells CableCARD tuners for $279.00.
The fake grass in a box allows you to charge your cell phone or other small electronics while hiding your unsightly charging cords. Charge cords come through from the bottom and are fed into the grass allowing you to rest multiple units. $29.98 at Taylor Gifts.
Researchers at the University of Tokyo have developed a new kind of OLED display that can stretch and deform like rubber. The team demonstrated a face-shaped display showing changing expressions, and a spherical screen to show weather information. The inventor hopes that in the future they will be able to apply this technology to completely spherical or moving displays. They were produced by spraying a layer of carbon nanotubes with a fluoro-rubber compound to produce a stretchy, conductive material. The displays are thinner than plasma and LCD equivalents, and consume very little power.
"This innovative 'green' home , featuring solar panels and numerous other energy-saving products, is truly a home of the future," Warren Buffett wrote his shareholders. "Estimated costs for electricity and heating total only about $1 per day when the home is sited in an area like Omaha." The "i-house's" metal v-shaped roof — inspired by a gas-station awning — combines design with function. The roof provides a rain water catchment system for recycling, supports flush-mounted solar panels and vaults interior ceilings at each end to 10 1/2 feet for an added feeling of openness. The Energy Star-rated design features heavy insulation, six-inch thick exterior walls, cement board and corrugated metal siding, energy efficient appliances, a tankless water heater, dual-flush toilets and lots of "low-e" glazed windows.
AMD/ATI has announced that its video graphics driver for Windows 7 have received Windows Hardware Quality Lab (WHQL) certification. This means that user who own ATI Radeon HD 2000, HD 3000, and HD 4000 series products using the ATI Catalyst software suite can be 100 percent Windows 7 ready. The Microsoft WHQL certified graphics drivers for Windows 7 are found here and a fully unified WHQL-certified driver supporting Windows Vista and Windows 7 is planned for the release of ATI Catalyst 9.5 later in May.
For $93,050 or $111,805 (with stand) you can now purchase Bang & Olufsen's BeoVision 4 103-inch plasma. Available in a number of colors just in case you want more than one. Original Engadget story with video of the unit plus a gallery of images of a television none of us will probably ever see in real life.
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