Apple TV review: Big steps forward, but not a revolution

Susie Ochs for MacWorld:  Apple finally updated its Apple TV set-top box, which had remained virtually unchanged for years, since going 1080p in 2012. The new version is faster, easier to use, and less frustrating, at least most of the time. What it isn’t is a revolution—everything Apple added already existed in its competitors. An App Store and a microphone-equipped remote for voice search are both excellent features to have, and they bring the Apple TV closer to the Amazon Fire TV and Roku. But Apple still has a ways to go. The Remote app for iOS doesn’t work with this new model, for example, so we’re back to entering passwords one letter at a time by clicking with the remote—that’s actually a step backward from where we were. You still can’t enter your cable-provider credentials in one place and see a list of all the network apps you could log into. Without categories in the App Store, you can’t even find a list of all the games.   Cont'd...

Dolby Atmos and DTS:X explained

Theo Nicolakis for TechHive:  Have you ever seen a presentation explaining the difference between the second and third dimensions? If you were to step into a 2D world, it would be like living inside a piece of paper—an entire universe completely flat in its existence. Objects could exist only on a single plane, left, right, straight ahead, or behind. In mathematical terms, you would have only an X axis and a Y axis. In a 2D world, the concepts of “up” or “down” do not exist. There is no Z axis. Jump back over to the third dimension and you’ll encounter an entire world of sights and sounds above and below in addition to all around. Step into a 3D world and you’ll immediately feel as though things are more realistic, more natural, more true-to-life. Imagine how difficult it would be to explain to a person living in a 2D world what the 3D world looks like, feels like, and sounds like.   Cont'd...

New Flight: Despite Hurdles, Drones Are Taking Off

The MPAA (Motion Picture Association of America) spent more than $4M over the past two years lobbying to make it easier for filmmakers to use small drones for film-making.

Sonos To Open Up API To Simplify Integration With Smart Home Systems

Wireless multiroom-audio pioneer Sonos will open up its API to make it easier for home-automation suppliers to integrate with Sonos speakers and soundbars without having to reverse-engineer Sonos software.  But Sonos isn’t saying when. The “next big thing for us” will be “opening aspects of our platform so other companies [home-automation suppliers] can work with it,” Michael Papish, platform strategies director, told TWICE during the CEDIA Expo. Sonos wants to provide home-automation users with “the right amount of control without compromising sound quality and ease of use,” he said, without saying when the API would be available. For years, home-automation suppliers have reverse-engineered Sonos technology to create applications enabling their home-automation systems to control Sonos systems, and Sonos “won’t cut them off,” Papish said. But when Sonos makes software updates, the reverse-engineered solutions “might not work,” he said. Creating a “standardized protocol” will prevent that problem, he said.   Cont'd...

Kickstarter Projects October 2015

BRiK DIY Wireless Speaker System / Thinking Cleaner, Wifi for iRobot Roomba / Angee. The First Truly Autonomous Home Security System

The LEOPARD Project

An ideal loudspeaker would reproduce sound which a listener would find indistinguishable from that coming directly from a sound source.

CEDIA Announces 2015 Best New Product Award Winners

CEDIA has announced the winners of the 2015 Best New Product awards. The winning products were selected by a panel of home technology professional judges and were selected for the innovation they represent and the value they provide to both the integrator's business and the end user.  This year's honorees are: Digital Projection -  INSIGHT 4K Dual-LED D-Tools, Inc. -  System Integrator 2015 (SI 2015) featuring Mobile Install DynaQuip Controls -  WaterCopPRO Integrated Future Automation -  HSE - Large Motorised Wall Mount IC Realtime -  C720 360-degree x 360-degree 4K Virtual PTZ Camera ihiji, Inc. -  ServiceManager Kaleidescape, Inc. -  Strato Movie Player Savant -  Savant App Séura -  Storm Outdoor TV Sonance -  DSP Amplifiers with SonARC

HomeToys.com - Tradeshow Report for CEDIA EXPO 2015

CEDA EXPO 2015 is held from October 14th - 17th in Dallas, Texas . This HomeToys.com Tradeshow report aims to bring you some of the new products introduced at this years event.

Installer Tips: Understanding Wireless AP Placement

Educate yourself on how Wi-Fi works, make sure your site surveys are thorough, use tools and testing to help you design, and ask your vendor for help. Do all of these things, and you'll be much more likely to install great Wi-Fi networks for satisfied, happy customers.

Pre CEDIA Report

If you are looking to learn about the latest efficiencies in installation or the newest and up-coming products, CEDIA is the show for you.

Are Dedicated AV Networks Going to Disappear?

Historically IP networks dominate over dedicated proprietary networks, and the technology behind the 4K over IP concept looks fundamentally sound.

HomeToys.com - Special Tradeshow Coverage of CEDIA EXPO 2015.

CEDIA EXPO 2015 will be held from October 14th - 17th in Dallas, Texas . This HomeToys.com Special Tradeshow report aims to bring you news, articles and products from this years event. Updated 10/15/15

How To Future Proof Your Home Audio Receiver Purchase

If you haven't looked at AV receivers in the past five years, you might be surprised at some of the new features. The best part is that many of the features described in this article were only offered on high end models just a few short years ago, and are now coming in at affordable price points.

CHROMECAST AUDIO COULD ARRIVE SEPT. 29, WILL WI-FI ENABLE YOUR HOME SPEAKERS

By Chris Leo Palermino for Digital Trends:   While we reported about the Chromecast 2 earlier today, it sounds like that’s not the only Chromecast that Google will be debuting on Sept. 29. The tech giant is also working on Chromecast Audio, a separate device focused on “Wi-Fi-enabling the speakers in your home,” according to 9to5Google. Allegedly called “Hendrix” internally, the music-focused Chromecast will attach to speakers via a standard 3.5mm headphone cable. The new device will allow users to listen to music and other audio like podcasts (and maybe even online radio?) via wi-fi from Android devices or the Chrome browser. Chromecast currently supports Google Play Music, Pandora, Rdio, and — as of recently — Spotify. It will have ‘multi-room support,’ which means that it may have the ability to play the same audio through multiple speakers.   Cont'd...

Home Control Software Update

Here is a list of software that can be used to control home automation and or A/V systems. It's a growing resource so check back often for new content. Updated 9/15/15 - Details added for HAL and CastleOS

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Home Tech - Featured Product

IntraSonic Technology - I600 In-Wall Digital Stereo Music System

IntraSonic Technology - I600 In-Wall Digital Stereo Music System

You asked, we listened! Music lovers that want to enjoy their tunes everywhere - yes, everywhere! - now have a high-tech, easy-to-use option that upgrades the look and functionality of any home or office. The I600 In-Wall Digital Stereo Music System is a music distribution system that provides enhanced usability and delivers mind-blowing stereo quality sound. With touch screen controls, Bluetooth connectivity, and several music source options, the I600 turns your surroundings into an amazing music entertainment experience.