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.

2011…New Consumers, New Markets, New Economy Take Hold

Let's start by saying 2011 is going to be the year we wanted three years ago when the financial institutions "borrowed" our global wellbeing!  It was the first time we entered unfamiliar territory because the financial meltdown didn't affect just one country but all of us.

3 Technologies from CES

CES was a great experience for me this year, being the first opportunity I've had in over 3 years to go because of my deployment to Iraq. The energy of the show felt entirely upbeat and positive, full of optimism for this New Year and the new technologies that will literally dominate our lives. With such an abundance of amazing technological innovation happening all around us, I find it hard to believe that anyone can not be absolutely thrilled about the direction we are moving! So with that, I'd like to present a few of the technologies that I feel are going to be major influencers around our homes this year.

Audio Oddities: Solving Subwoofer Troubles

It's not uncommon for a new subwoofer owner to have problems getting the subwoofer to produce audible output. More often than not, it's usually a matter of choosing the right menu items in the AV receiver, but there are some simple tests you can make to ensure that the subwoofer itself is activating properly and producing output.

Blow in?? Push out?? Is it better to...

We're frequently (OK, sometimes) asked "Is it better to push cool air into a cabinet or pull the hot air out?" Other FAQ's ask whether all (there's usually more than one) fans should push or pull, or should you use half for each function. There are a few fundamentals to remember when you're planning to ventilate a cabinet, closet, video projector enclosure, etc.

Blu-ray DVD Part 6: The Future of Blu-ray

Although the Blu-ray disc specification has been  finalized,  engineers continue to work on advancing the technology.  Quad-layer or 100 GB discs have been demonstrated on a drive with modified optics. Hitachi Corporation has stated that such a disc could be used to store up to 7 hours of 32 MB's video (HDTV)  or 3 hours and 30 minutes of 64MB video  also referred to as 4K. In August of 2006,  TDK announced that they have created a working experimental Blu-ray Disc capable of holding 200 GB of data on a single side,  using six 33 GB data layers.

Content Insider #156 - Business Must Constantly Look to, Plan for Tomorrow

Even though a few companies have sold 10M +/- tablets and phones in the US and are slowly, painfully rolling them out in other wealthy consumer markets (Japan, North America, Europe), that's only a drop in the proverbial consumer population bucket.   There's are 300 million potential consumers in the US and a whopping six billion plus around the globe.   Today, the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth in the wealthy countries is modest (at best), and the outlook for the next 10 years isn't overly aggressive.                         The "buy low, sell high" approach - buying components, manufacturing "somewhere" at the lowest possible price and selling them for optimum profit to folks in the wealthy areas is becoming more challenging.   That's why businesses are becoming more serious about reaching, influencing emerging economy consumers. "There must be alternatives. You must have some technology that could solve our problem." - Professor Barnhardt, The Day the Earth Stood Still, 2008

Content Insider #157 - The Portable World

Think about it…Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda, you hittin' the road on rad bikes.  How freakin cool!  How free!! How far to the next electrical outlet because your notebook, tablet, smartphone, iPod batteries are in the red zone? Some say it was Jobs that put you on the road to adventure.  First, the iPhone that did everything but make a call.  Then, the iPad that does even more of everything, still doesn't make a call.  "Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare 'em." - George Hanson (Jack Nicholson) - Easy Rider (1969), Columbia Pictures

Content Insider #158 - The New Consumer

New Consumer, New Tools Equals New Normal You should really be excited. The government - no matter what country you live in - recently reported that the last few unsteady years are behind us and things are better and getting better. That's government speak. Actually, the downturn lasted so long it changed the consumer landscape, so the next few years deserve their own name..the new normal. Jason explained, "Then do something about it. Everything you need is in there." We're frugal in areas we never thought twice about before. "This is Jason Bourne. You are nine hours behind the toughest target you have ever tracked. Now I want everyone to sit down, strap in, and turn on all you've got. That would mean now." - Pamela Landy (Joan Allen), The Bourn Ultimatum (2007), United Pictures

Home Golf Simulators

A golf simulator typically includes tracking technology of some kind (machine vision, infrared, radar, etc). The tracking, along with the game software make up the foundation of the golf simulator. The other major elements include an enclosure, a projector, a screen, a touchscreen and computer.

Home Theater for the Holidays

Once you choose your room, decide between hanging a flat-screen HDTV or a video projection screen and corresponding video projector.  The most popular aspect ratio is 16:9 widescreen.  A projector/screen combo will help provide that authentic movie theater experience and is the recommended solution for a dedicated home theater.  If you plan on watching lots of television in addition to movies, then a HDTV may be the better option, as projector bulbs have limited lifespans and are expensive to replace. Images provided by Audio Impact, San Diego

How to Achieve Cinema Quality 7.3 HD Surround

There are 5.1 and 7.1 surround sound systems, then there's PROCISE 7.3 HD Digital Surround Sound. The disparity in cinematic sound quality - and the resulting home theater experience - is equivalent to the difference between driving a Corolla and a Corvette. By any measure, it's noticeable in a big way from beginning to end.

How to Setup Your Own Remote Online BitTorrent Client

One of the problems with using BitTorrent and P2P is that it consumes a considerable amount of your Internet connection's bandwidth. Most broadband users have limited upload speed that also affects their download speed since P2P is all about sharing equally. This means that you, in general, are not allowed to download more than you can upload to other peers. One way to get around this problem, and other problems associated with P2P, is to run the BitTorrent client on an online server hard drive. An online BitTorrent client works similar to a BitTorrent client installed on your own computer, but it is not limited by your broadband speed. You will therefore notice a huge increase in download speed when using an online server as a BitTorrent client.

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