Review - Square Connect SQ Blaster with SQ Remote App

This is a WiFi remote control solution available for the Apple iPhone, iPad or iPod Touch. The SQ Blaster is unique from other solutions because it will also interact with Z-wave home control systems. The device itself is available in either a Cherry wood or Bamboo finish which look very nice with the decor of traditional wood furniture and is a refreshing change from the piano black and gloss-white finishes that have become obligatory for iPod accessories. After all, the SQ Blaster is an accessory for your home, not just your iPod.

The Energy Efficient Residence - Australia

To bring together a five-storey stand alone converted warehouse with such an advanced level of electronic integration a number of smart systems had to be used. Two major systems were chosen, AMX as the over-all control system because it brought the best customisation of graphics and flexible control capabilities to the home and Dynalite because it not only controlled all the different types of lighting throughout the home but allowed the connection of inputs and outputs to the environmental monitoring hardware; control of all motorised blinds, windows, roof, water and air pumps; complete customised and consolidation of switch plates capabilities and because it offered the most robust communications to master control systems (the AMX in this case).

The first Thai-developed digital embedded network is here

According to MISOLIMA administrative Director for Asia, Mrs. Phongsri FIKO, it took time to launch the next generation of the popular embedded network DOLLx8 due to the complexity in embedded software developments, but it's now tested and ready to be introduced in March of this year. New DOLLx8 devices will begin with sales in Asia and then in the United States and Canada later on this month and finally Europe expected by first week of April 2011 together with Australia and New Zealand. DOLLx8 version 3.18 is faster and better than ever before, running a faster processor than the previous DOLLx8 version. And as expected, it comes with more functions, which also includes a complete alarm system aimed for GSM or Internet. Although the new DOLLx8 is packed with new functions and user configurations compared with its predecessor, the cost of main module is still the same as before.

The HTPC is Dead -- Not!

If you ask me, the HTPC is perfectly positioned for the wave of public awareness coming towards the Connected Home.  Instead of removing an option for people, why not leave the HTPC in its current position as the high-end solution for integrating your Home Theater not only with the world's content, but also with the rest of the house as well!  As much as I believe that these embedded devices of various operating systems will appeal to the majority of home users because of their simplicity, I also believe that the amount of people who want the extra power and functionality that an HTPC brings to the table will continue grow as well.

The Sweet Spot

As an audiophile you want the best performance, and you probably aren't above spending money and trying tweaks of various sorts to help you get it. But there are real improvements that can be had without extra accessories or emptying your wallet. Amplifying circuitry can be made better without more complexity and without more feedback. The best part of this for do-it-yourselfers is that these are things that can be done on your own bench, costing mostly just the time it takes to tweak the circuit and evaluate the results. Moreover, this approach is not seen on the factory floor - for most manufacturers it's simply too time consuming to do, and the rest probably never heard of it.

What

For the foreseeable future, online data/backup services will complement local storage such as computers and attached hard drives because they provide redundancy and the flexibility of multiplatform access. Online solutions will not reduce the need for robust storage in the home over the next five years, but it could eventually bring forth the long-anticipated arrival of "thin client" computing, where devices don't have to rely on large amounts of storage and processing. But it's a long-term evolution, and it will be awhile before consumers start to see their local storage and computing needs diminish.

Parks Associates study predicts Connected TV market to hit 76% by 2015

While their presence was more subtle than 3DTV and not as in-your-face as non-iPad tablets, connected consumer electronics devices were more diverse and pervasive at the 2011 International Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas, with every major manufacturer showing off new electronics that have their own built-in apps and can access content from the Internet. With devices that incorporated complete Internet browsers, HDTVs that offered hundreds of applications, even set-tops that turned current HDTVs into a completely connected device, the theme of combining the home theater set-up with a PC experience was everywhere. Consider: In 2010 less than a quarter of all HDTVs were connected, according to research firm Parks Associates. By 2015, Parks believes that number will hit 76% (more than 150 million units). The firm projects that by 2015 there will be more than $8 billion worth of transactions on connected consumer electronics devices, from e-purchases to gaming to VOD and streaming.

Hulu Reworks Its Script as Digital Change Hits TV

Just as the digital wave transforms the television industry, Hulu, a pioneer of Internet TV, is in internal discussions to dramatically transform itself. The free online television service has become one of the most-watched online video properties in the U.S. and a top earner of web-video ad dollars since its 2008 launch. But its owners -industry powerhouses NBC Universal, News Corp. and Walt Disney Co. are increasingly at odds over Hulu's business model. Worried that free Web versions of their biggest TV shows are eating into their traditional business, the owners disagree among themselves, and with Hulu management, on how much of their content should be free. Fox Broadcasting owner News Corp. and ABC owner Disney are contemplating pulling some free content from Hulu, say people familiar with the matter. The media companies are also moving to sell more programs to Hulu competitors that deliver television over the Internet, including Netflix Inc., Microsoft Corp. and Apple Inc.

Connected Home Products Key to Success for Consumer Electronics in 2011

Global unit shipments of consumer electronics (CE) products will climb 2.6 percent in 2010, partly driven by rising sales of products that play a role in the connected home and that focus on usability -rather than technological wizardry -according to new IHS iSuppli research. CE product shipments in 2011 are projected to reach 1.60 billion units, up from 1.56 billion in 2010. The CE category encompasses a diverse array of familiar devices that consumers use on a daily basis, including televisions, stereos and audio components, portable media players, set-top boxes, gaming devices, DVD and Blu-ray players, digital still cameras, projectors and camcorders, digital picture frames, e-book readers and consumer appliances. While the 2.6 percent rise in overall shipments this year is modest compared to last year's 4 percent climb, the expansion is significant given current economic conditions. With the continued uncertainties in the global economy and the high unemployment rate in the United States -the world's largest market for CE devices -the uptick in sales provides reassurance for the industry and sets the stage for future growth.

Integrated Systems Europe 2011 is underway

The doors to ISE 2011 in Amsterdam are now open.  Over 700 exhibitors will be showing their wares at the Amsterdam RAI this week from a broad range of industries including building automation, unified communications, event production, digital signage, visualisation and lighting control. With those numbers you bet the news and information from the show will be flowing in.  As usual HomeToys.com will be a great place to post your company news and keep up to date.  Visit our Special ISE 2011 Newspage to view and post news. Also stay tuned for our special show report, which will go live Wednesday.

CEA announces TechCE.org launched

Interested in learning more about CEA standards? CEA just launched a public discussion forum for CEA standards called TechCE.org. The new website allows users of CEA standards, and other interested parties, to share information, ask questions and get community help. Interpretation and news on standards will be posted regularly.

Gizmodo, Why 3D Will Never Ever Work

So why will 3D content never take off? It's not the silly glasses or the lack of content. It's not even that we all kinda hate it. According to Academy Award-winning editor Walter Murch: it's evolution, baby. Murch, writing to renowned film critic (and prominent 3D antagonist) Roger Ebert, says that 3D's primary failure is our own eyeballs. Specifically, how millions of years of human development have taught them to focus: The biggest problem with 3D, though, is the "convergence/focus" issue. A couple of the other issues - darkness and "smallness" - are at least theoretically solvable. But the deeper problem is that the audience must focus their eyes at the plane of the screen - say it is 80 feet away. This is constant no matter what. But their eyes must converge at perhaps 10 feet away, then 60 feet, then 120 feet, and so on, depending on what the illusion is. So 3D films require us to focus at one distance and converge at another. And 600 million years of evolution has never presented this problem before. All living things with eyes have always focussed and converged at the same point.

TiVo refocusing on Web video and on-demand services

TiVo, the pioneering digital video recorder, is beloved by couch potatoes for offering a simple way to record television shows for watching later. But the company's hot-and-cold relationships with cable providers is complicating the fate of TiVo's digital recording and video-on-demand services. TiVo's subscriber base peaked in 2006 and has been declining since, according to TV by the Numbers, an industry news blog. TiVo's response to this slump has been two-pronged. For one, the company has scrambled to sign deals with TV service providers. TiVo announced one such milestone agreement with UK cable giant Virgin Media, in which TiVo will be the platform developer.

GE demonstrates home technologies at International Builders Show

Universal Remotes: Not Remotely Possible

THE universal remote control is one of the modern world's great ideas, right up there with the automatic dishwasher, Wi-Fi and flush toilets. The theory behind this gadget is simple and sublime: In an increasingly automated and connected world, wouldn't it be wonderful if we could manage all our blinking machines from a single super controller? I wish I could tell you that there is a better way. But after testing many different universal remotes - cheap remotes, expensive remotes, smartphone remotes, and a few about which the less said, the better - I don't have much good news to report. Sure, some universal remotes are more useful than others, and one of them is almost pretty good, but in general these devices remain more appealing in theory than in practice. That's because they all suffer from an inherent, usually fatal flaw: universal remotes cannot possibly offer enough buttons to mimic all functions of all devices, so they usually have to make compromises, cutting out buttons here and there. The trouble is, some of those buttons are important.

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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