Interview - Water and Freeze Damage Prevention System

Stella Szasz is a majority owner of FortrezZ LLC and President of C&S Electronics Inc. both companies located in South East Michigan. Ms. Szasz handles all day to day operations of both FortrezZ and C&S Electronics Inc. including production, operations, customer relations and business management. She attributes her personal and professional success to exceptional customer service skills, as she believes the key to a successful business comes from treating customers with respect and understanding.

Interview - What is ZigBee RF4CE?

Removing the clutter of multiple remote controls scattered around the coffee table is a silent desire of many consumers. But the real driving factor for acceptance of RF4CE is cable TV companies and service providers who want to expand their service into the home. Specifically, the remote control has become the key point of contact with the consumer, so what more can be done with it?

Interview - Wireless Home Automation Devices

As many of your readers probably know, the idea behind technologies like Zigbee and ZWave is to simplify the installation process for users and installers. For our Zigbee systems, devices are automatically recognized by the CUBE controller and can be added or removed in a matter of a few seconds. The Z-Wave products are similarly easy, but can be integrated into ecosystems of products under certified Z-Wave Alliance controllers.

Powering - Protecting and Connecting Today's Converged* Home Networks

Our commitment to Total System Performance and Reliability, coupled with the realization that today's AV systems are no longer "Isolated Islands" but rather constantly connected and sharing the converged* Network with other equipment and systems, has fueled our entry in the Communications Network Surge Protection and Connectivity.

Projectors: Bigger, Smaller, Brighter, and Cooler Than Ever

Just because televisions are getting larger and cheaper doesn't mean projectors are going the way of the 8-track player. On the contrary, there are more reasons than ever why projectors are growing in popularity: Maybe Bob Dylan foresaw all these developments when he wrote the lyrics, "The times they are a-changin."

Review - Boxee Box Media Streamer

Out of the box, this is one of the simpler setup processes I've had --- bearing in mind that often what I get to test is not really ready for prime time. I'm running it on a wireless network for the test so all I had to do was plug it into a power strip and connect it to my home theater receiver using one of the many hdmi inputs available.

Schlage LiNK and Z-Wave

The Schlage LiNK System was created based on the Z-Wave platform from which a user could control a variety of home automation tools by various manufactures from their computer or smart phone. In fact, users can add over 200 different Z-Wave devices to their Schlage LiNK System to customize the system to their lifestyle- from locks to lighting and temperature control.

Superior Digital Video Images through Multi‐Dimensional Color Tables

The recent color improvements in televisions and video projectors, the desire to enjoy entertainment media on smaller, lower quality devices and the static digital color standards have created a unique need for new video color processing technology.

Take Control - Make Your Audio/Video System Easy To Use

Each of your components probably came with its own remote, so they can add up pretty quickly.  However, a well-programmed universal remote provides some very useful advantages.  One of the more common requests I get is to eliminate the clutter and confusion caused by having multiple remotes.  My clients want to be able to pick up the remote and not think about how the system works or which input they must switch their TV to, in order to watch cable or a blu-ray movie.  They want it fairly self-explanatory when they pick it up.

Understanding Audio and Video Wire and Cable

The area where Coaxial cables spank twisted pairs, and therefore are so worthwhile for so many applications is in maintaining a constant impedance which becomes very important at higher frequencies.

Roku Boxes To Hit Best Buy Shelves

After selling its streaming media players primarily online for the last three years, Roku will now start selling its set-top boxes in Best Buy stores. This is Roku's largest retail partnership; it also sells its models through smaller chains BJ's Wholesale Club, Fry's Electronics and RadioShack. The deal demonstrates the growing interest among consumers in bridging online video and TV, and perhaps down the road, cutting their cable cords. Roku XD player will start appearing in Best Buy stores nationwide and on the retailer's website. The player has a list price of $79.99. In a statement, Anthony Wood, Roku's founder and CEO, claims that the company has already sold one million boxes via online retailers.

Amazon Cloud Player puts your music on the Web

The so-called celestial jukebox that digital-music dreamers talked about in the 1990s looks a little closer. Early Tuesday morning, Amazon launched a Web-based music service that lets you listen to your songs from Internet-connected computers and Android smartphones. Called Cloud Player, it lets Amazon's "Cloud Drive" servers take the place of a computer's hard drive or a phone's flash storage--provided either device has a sufficiently fast connection to the Internet and a user whose Amazon account includes a valid U.S. billing address. The Seattle retailer provides 5 gigabytes of storage for free; buying an MP3 album from its store upgrades that quota to 20 GB. You can sync new Amazon purchases to your Cloud Drive automatically. But you can also upload other songs from a Mac or Windows computer using Amazon's MP3 Uploader. Contrary to what that name suggests, it will also upload AAC files bought from iTunes, provided they're not older purchases locked with the "digital-rights-management" system Apple retired in April of 2009.

XpanD 3D, Panasonic Team For New 3D Standard

XpanD 3D began licensing today a new active-shutter 3D standard developed with Panasonic, called M-3DI, that is intended to bring about compatibility among 3DTVs, computers, home projectors and cinema projection. XpanD chief strategy officer Ami Dror told TWICE the first licensor of the M-3DI standard is founding partner Panasonic, soon to be joined by other founding partners including Changhong, Funai, Hisense, Hitachi, Mitsubishi, Philips, Sanyo, Seiko Epson, Sim2 and Viewsonic. "The idea is to allow you as a user to buy a pair of glasses for a Philips TV, for example, and take them to an XpanD cinema, or use them to watch 3D on a friend's Panasonic TV, etc." said Dror. The standard uses two-way technology to allow communication between glasses and components. Once a user puts the glasses on, the glasses will recognize which brand and model component the user is viewing and will allow the user to adjust certain parameters, such as rate of transition time and dark time, to address user issues such as ghosting and brightness. The parameters can be adjusted using a PC or through an XpanD app on a handheld device.

Starz to Delay Release of Shows on Netflix

Starz, the pay cable channel, is about to be more restrictive about what it allows Netflix to stream to customers’ computers and television sets. The channel has been one of Netflix’s closest partners, but it backed off a bit from that partnership on Thursday, when it announced a three-month delay between the time Starz plays new TV episodes and when those episodes will be available on Netflix. Starz also said that it would impose a similar delay for movies sometime in the future, though Netflix said any such delay of movies would violate the contract between the two companies. The policy shift by Starz, a unit of Liberty Media, reflects an attitude change toward Netflix by many in Hollywood. Though Netflix, which has more than 20 million subscribers, has been embraced by media companies as a new buyer of library content, it is perceived by some of those companies as a competitive threat. Starz, after all, relies on subscriber revenue just as Netflix does. Showtime, a unit of the CBS Corporation, is also expected to place new restrictions on the shows it streams through Netflix later this year. Last week, Netflix said it would enter the original programming business by buying the rights to two seasons of “House of Cards,” a new political thriller. The show will have its premiere exclusively on Netflix late next year.

Restructuring, poor sales hurt Best Buy profits

Best Buy Co.'s shares were fluctuating in heavy trading Thursday after the giant electronics retailer reported a dip in fourth-quarter sales and profits, even while it beat earnings estimates. The Richfield-based company said its profits fell to $651 million, or $1.62 per share, for the three-month period ended Feb. 26 - that included a $222 million charge related to a restructuring of its international business, with store closings in China. Earnings for the fourth quarter last year were $779 million, or $1.82 per share. Without the charge, earnings in the most recent quarter would have been $1.98 per share. Analysts polled by Thomson Reuters expected earnings of $1.85 per share on sales of $16.3 billion. Such estimates typically exclude one-time charges. Best Buy reported fourth-quarter sales of $16.26 billion, down less than 2 percent from $16.55 billion a year earlier. Same-store sales, a key retail metric, dropped 4.6percent.

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Automation & Control - Featured Product

GreenPeak’s GP565 – ZigBee for smart Remote Controls

GreenPeak's GP565 - ZigBee for smart Remote Controls

The GP565 Smart Home RF chip for remote controls supports voice control, motion sensing and the new ZRC 2.0 protocol. The GP565 is optimized for advanced & low cost ZigBee RF4CE remote controls. • 120k or 248k Flash (8k or 16k RAM) memory • 40-pin footprint to support a keyboard scanner interface or other IO interfaces required for remote controls. • Reduced current consumption and improved receiver sensitivity and output power • Patented Antenna Diversity technology enables superior range and WiFi/Bluetooth interference rejection