The well-regarded open-source VLC media player has finally reached version 1.0.0 - over eight years after its original release. Overall it is the same solid application capable of playing just about anything you throw at it, but also includes improvements in playback control and support for AES3, Dolby Digital Plus, True HD/MLP and Blue-ray Linear PCM. VLC 1.0.0 is available as a compiled program for various Linux distributions, Windows (2000 or later), and Mac OS X (10.5 or later).
Eurotech announced today its new Panel Computers the Vx-120F-N270 and Vx-150F-N270, based on the Intel® Atom™ N270 processor series. The fanless, high performance Panel PC has no moving parts for a completely silent operation. The new Vx-120F-N270 12" and Vx-150F-N270 15" models are equipped with a high brightness TFT display and with a 8 wire resistive touch screen. The front panel has an IP65 protection, a USB port and is equipped with power on and HD LEDs. A monitor, mouse and keyboard can be connected externally, allowing fast set-up operations.
Philip's 56" Cinema 21:9 2560 x 1080p LCD now has an official price. While release dates are still unknown, the TV will cost the equivalent of about $7,400 when it comes out in Europe. Philips announced earlier this year that they plan to exit the US market so a US release is doubtful but if you want to find out more check out Philip's official Cinema 21:9 page.
If you're looking for a do-it-yourself tech project then G&P Optoelectronic's HD Project kit might be of interest. For under €499 ($704) you can build yourself a complete projector capable of 1280x768 with DVI and HDMI in. All the pieces come in four separate bundles -- HD optic, light, housing, and electronics with options for S-video and VGA as well. The lamp used costs €20 ($28) which makes replacement cost relatively cheap. Unfortunately the manual is only available in German at the moment but hopefully a English translation isn't too far off.
Sony's all-in-one NAS-Z200iO features an integrated CD player, iPod docking station, USB port, and AM/FM radio. The unit can also stream music from a PC with its DLNA and WiFi module and is controlled by the remote control's large color 3.5-inch LCD display. Selecting by artist, album or song in your iPod is also easily done from the remote control without having to get up for your player to find what you're looking for. Two independent speaker enclosures are incorporated (20W x 2), unlike some systems which use a common or single enclosure. For higher fidelity stereo sound, the enclosures are carefully constructed within the confines of space, to keep vibration between the speakers and the main unit to a minimum. For powerful and natural bass performance, strong magnets are required. In order to achieve this in such a compact unit, double neodymium magnets are utilised for the bass drivers. The CMT-Z100iR is similar in design but lacks the WiFi and color remote. For added convenience, both the NAS-Z200iR and CMT-Z100iR can be wall mounted with a VESA wall bracket. The CMT-Z100iR will be available in Europe in July and the NAS-Z200iR will be available in Europe in September. No US release announced.
At this stage, the system centers on an electroencephalograph (EEG) scanner cap that the wheelchair user wears so their brain waves can be scanned and analyzed by a computer. The result is the ability to make movements almost in real time. Stopping is reportedly a little harder, with the user having to puff up a cheek to trigger a detector worn on the face. The breakthrough comes from scientists at the BSI-Toyota Collaboration Center, which teams various groups including Toyota Motor and the mostly-Japanese-government-funded RIKEN (research unit). Read more at Gizmodo .
GeckoSystems Intl. Corp. announced that their cost studies have determined that mobile service robots, equipped with multiple vital sign sensors, verbal interaction, medication delivery capability, automatic care receiver following, and video monitoring for eldercare in homes, is more cost effective and flexible than dedicated, immobile sensory, verbal interactive and viewing systems in either hardwired or RF enabled "smart homes." The CareBot's ability to verbally remind a designated care receiver at predetermined dates and times using GeckoChat(TM) and GeckoScheduler(TM) that their blood pressure/pulse rate needs to be checked by this onboard, integrated personal robot subsystem will enable a higher level of safety, security and cost savings. Full story at EarthTimes.
Belkin has launched its Gigabit Powerline HD adapter, a new addition to the existing Powerline Networking lineup. With a speed of 1000Mbps, this adapter is able to create an ultra fast HD entertainment network almost anywhere using the existing electrical wiring. Powered by Gigle Semiconductor's mediaxtream chip , this adapter promises to provide a secure and stable networking signal virtually anywhere. The Gigabit Powerline HD adapter is now available in North America and is expected to launch in Europe by the start of August. No real world data speed/loss tests yet as the product was just released but they should be available soon. The adapter is currently priced at $149.
Beginning in 2010, Blu-ray players must be configured to allow one full-resolution copy. Dubbed "managed copy," the requirement has long been planned for the Blu-ray format, but has only just been finalized by the Advanced Access Content System License Administrator, a consortium of studios, hardware manufacturers and technology companies that licenses the AACS copy protection used on Blu-ray Discs. Managed copies can be made to recordable Blu-ray or DVD discs, as a download to a Windows Media DRM-compatible portable player or hard drive. Unfortunately none of the current batch of Blu-ray players or recorders have the required electronics to allow this. Manufacturers aren't expected to have this feature added to players until mid-2010.
Yamaha have announced a new version of their home audio streaming system, the MusicCAST2 . MusicCAST2 currently consists of a touchscreen LCD controller, the MCX-RC100 Network Music Commander, and two types of Network Music Players, the MCX-A300, which has an integrated amplifier, or the MCX-P200, which is non-amplified for integration with an existing AV setup. The whole system uses WiFi b/g to communicate and stream, and can access both music stored locally - on a NAS, PC or MAC, USB stick, Bluetooth device or shared network folder - or streaming from Rhapsody and other internet radio services. As well as the 3.5-inch touchscreen LCD, the Commander remote control has a trackpad and offers independent or joined control over up to 32 different zones. In addition to controlling distributed audio, the MusicCAST2 system can be used as a universal remote control; the Commander has an IR port, and Yamaha offer IR blasters to fit to your existing AV rack. Suggested pricing is $500 for the Commander remote, and $400 for the zone players. Slashgear source article.
LG has finally announced that its first 3D LCD, the 47-inch 47LH50 , will be up for purchase next month in Korea. The 47" television has a wide direction of viewing so everyone watching throughout the living room can enjoy the 3D aspect through polarized glasses without having to sit directly in front. No official price yet, but the traditional model this 3D version is based on was around $2000.
Cideko's "Air Keyboard" is a two handed remote with a full QWERTY keypad and a 3d motion sensor for mouse control. The mouse buttons are situated on top of the device like the shoulder buttons on a game controller which should make moving around and typing at the same time fairly easy. The company promise a range of 50 meters and a battery life of 50 hours. No word yet on availability but Aving.net has some more picture of the device.
Akai's 'All-In-One' Entertainment Unit is a stand for your flat panel display but its also an iPod dock, an AM/FM radio, and DVD player. The stand itself houses a built-in amplifier and a speaker sub-woofer configuration capable of output at 80 Watts. $999.95 suggested price.
At Computex 2009 Asus showed off how it hopes desks of the future function. Asus' 'Seamless Experience' includes a Microsoft Surface like desk that can interact with objects placed upon it. In the video demonstration recorded at Computex 2009 they showed how a concept portable hard drive or phone could be simply placed on top of the surface and then all of its contents would accessible on the large multi touch surface. The table can also display information about everyday object placed on to it including the current temperature of your coffee mug. NewGadgets.de has posted a video of the surface in action.
The Sparkle Cuti n30 is a modular system that comes in several parts. One component houses just the core system with the processor and basic components. There's also a unit that adds I/O ports like audio jacks, a memory card reader, and a few USB ports, and another module that adds a hot-swap bay for 2.5 inch hard drives. The system can support up to 4GB of RAM, and 500GB of hard drive space. The Cuti n30 is based on the NVIDIA ION platform which bundles a dual core Intel Atom 330 CPU with an NVIDIA GeForce 9400M. It also includes 802.11b/g/n WiFi, a mini PCI-e slot, 7.1 channel audio and has both HDMI and DVI outputs. The website IONBased has more pictures of the unit from last weeks Computex show .
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Automation & Control - Featured Product
Smart Bulbs are out there and they can do far more then just provide light. Speakers, projectors, wi-fi extenders and more. The standard light socket that is wired up and ready to go in nearly every home in North America is now providing an easy and affordable option for home owners and renters alike to enter into the world of the "Smart Home". Here is a look at some of the Smart Bulbs and Smart Lighting options out there, and this list is just the beginning. In this ongoing article we hope to continue to add to and grow this list, so stay tuned!