I know structured wiring and home automation aren’t exactly at the tip of your tongue. All I can say is that it will be. If you want to be able to integrate all of your high tech audio and video toys with your home entertainment systems, and build them into multi room designs, you will need both home automation and structured wiring. The reason I mention this is that Leviton has announced that it is releasing the LE&AP, a multimedia hard drive distribution unit for its structured wiring enclosures. With a Linux based operating system, the LE&AP allows you to distribute your digital music and videos across multiple platforms. Send your MP3’s to your stereo and your digital videos and digital camera images to the televisions. The distribution unit will also share out your broadband connection. I’m an MCSE and I’m going to be looking at this way before I look at mounting a computer with windows media system loaded on it.
This is an 8-zone commercial grade gateway and firewall, with 4 USB expansion ports, and a 120 GB internal drive. It can be upgraded to larger storage capacity as well as software upgrades. From the looks of the system eventually it will integrate with your security and home control devices as well.
With basic audio and video connections as well as advanced digital connections, the unit connects to your TV or stereo and uses your home network for communications. With the remote and some easy to use menus on the TV homeowners can browse and select all of their audio, video and photo storage.
Read More | Leviton
Imagine if you will be able to send audio signal from one location in your house to six other locations in your house. Now keep imagining, imagine you could control each room individually. Now, imagine if each room could choose what it wanted to listen to. With a tuner, CD, Sonos unit that streams your PC audio or Television Audio you have an endless selection. I know it sounds like a nice dream, but it’s a dream Russound has made come true. They have this wonderful 6 inputs, 6-room audio distribution system using A-Bus technology. As one of the best selling multi-room audio systems, how could it get any better? Well the old CAV system has been replaced with the new CAM series. It features LCD keypads in every room, a built in tuner and your choice of AM/FM or AM/FM/XM. How easy is it to setup? Simple, cat5 runs from the distribution point to the keypads and speaker wire from the keypads to the speakers. What about noise from amplified signal being dragged across every light and electrical line in the house? Not to worry, there is none. Russound uses cat5 to get signal to the amplified keypads at 50watts per channel. I hope you are adding these things to my birthday gift list.
Read More | Russound
It took them long enough, but TiVo has finally released an SDK which will allow developers to program web services and other applications for TiVo DVR’s over a network. The basic JavaHMO is an example of a program that is written to give the TiVo more functionality, but was a labor intensive project since there was no SDK at the time of its development. The first kit available to developers includes three applications - a weather module, an RSS reader, and some sort of game. Time will tell if this will be another one of those “too little, too late” deals, as Microsoft’s Windows Media Center 2005, Comcast, and others have been gaining on TiVo with much success.
Read More | The Motley Fool
Sony’s newest and highly-anticipated microprocessor code-named Cell will run at a blazing 4.6 gigahertz. Next month, IBM, Sony and Toshiba will present four technical papers at the International Solid State Circuits Conference. This chip is a multicore 64-bit processor capable of massive floating point processing. What this translates into is massive operating power from a single chip. Sony plans to use this processor to power its next generation Playstation as well as home servers for broadband content and high-definition televisions. It probably will not be long until we see this kind of processing power on our home desktops as we see processing speed increase at almost a weekly basis.
Read More | Team Xbox
The only way to have the biggest and best Super Bowl party on the block is to collaborate the food and fun with high definition. If you haven’t purchased an HDTV yet, you may need some help with choosing what is best. As the HDTV market grew tremendously in 2004, the choices grew by a large margin. CNN Money has an article that aims to provide some insight on the myriad of options that are out there, as well as how retailers are likely rake in the profits this week.
Read More |CNN Money
They have 700 of these new activity based remote controls to give away, and you can score one simply by filling out a very short survey on their site. We recently reviewed the Harmony 688, and walked away impressed. Logitech has a good thing going with the Harmony remote line. If you have multiple components and use a bunch of remotes to control them, this contest is for you - that is, if you are at least 18 and live in the United States.
Read More | 100 Remotes a Day Giveaway
Their tagline says it all,“All your music. All over your house. All from the palm of your hand.” Starting with the basics, the Sonos unit is a wifi distribution system plus more. The zone players are also amplifiers, with speaker and line outs on the back of the unit. Bring it with you where you want it. On the back of the unit is a 4 port ethernet switch, but have no fear, it’s also wifi-enabled so the rj45’s aren’t mandatory. It will connect to up to 16 computers to be sure it has all your music. They also speak to other units wirelessly. You can listen to a song in multiple rooms with no echo or delay, or you can listen to multiple songs in multiple rooms. It will also stream internet radio station and allow for a line in connection from another audio device. 50watts per channel and it weighs 10lbs. It’s made of alluminum to keep it light and mobile. Add the Sonos desktop software and it links all your music together in the hot looking hand held controller. With an iPod styled control section and a 3.5” backlit LCD so you can browse your collection by Artist, Album, Genre, Track Name, Composer, or Playlist. You can build and edit playlists and setup multiple playlists for each zone. The Li-ION polymer battery will last for a week and only takes two hours to charge. As for the price, you can grab the Introductory Bundle which includes two zone player and the controller for a cool $1200 USD.
Read More | Sonos
Most of us love Digital Video Recorders for their ability to record television shows to a hard drive and see them at a more convenient time. Not to mention the ability to fast forward, rewind, and pause live T.V. What do you do when you want to take that T.V. show you recorded and see it on another T.V. or give it to a friend that missed the show? Well now there’s a way to do it. Humax introduces the DRT800. Equipped with a hard drive able to record 80 hours of television and a DVD Recorder, you are able to record television entertainment to DVDs. No longer do you have to delete old shows and never watch them again, at least until a re-run, now you are able to record DVDs to free up space and take them with you so you may watch them anywhere you want. This DVR requires a subscription to TiVo which costs $12.99 a month or $299 for a lifetime service.
Read More | Humax
USA Today has a brief interview with the main man at Microsoft. It’s really amazing how much we depend on our PC for all our gear. Anyway, no new information regarding the XBox2, but he does offer some interesting scenarios on the future of video playback, along with why he supports the subscription-based model for digital music. Oh, and there’s no portable XBox in the works, but I guess that’s what our Pocket PC’s are for.
Read More | USA Today
How would you like to be able to buy a flat panel TV that costs less than a Plasma or LCD, and has a better picture? Various companies are trying to perfect the technology that will rely on diamonds or carbon nanotubes to produce images. This type of display would also consume less energy than today’s TV’s. As quoted from the article:
“The concept of a nanotube TV will give you image quality similar to CRTs (cathode ray tubes), and the best image quality is still found on CRT TVs,” said Tom Pitstick, vice president of marketing at Houston’s Carbon Nanotechnologies. “All the major display manufacturers are looking at nanotube TVs.”
The article goes into depth on how the technology works. A recommended read for all you TV buffs.
Read More | ZDNet