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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Nov 28, 2012 2 comments
What I’m about to say borders on heresy. But before I risk being virtually burned at the digital stake, let me tell you that, although I am older than most of the writers in this industry, I am not old-fashioned. I don’t pine for the days of spending hours at the record store flipping through bins of vinyl albums, nor do I miss fiddling with my Nakamichi BX-300 (I couldn’t afford a Dragon...) in order to make cassette tapes of those albums for my car. I like - no, I love - most modern technology and crave more of it. (Bring on the domestic robots, I say! Just don’t make them with any of those scary-ass faces some Japanese researchers have designed. If they’re going to be our overlords, I want them to at least look good.)

Now for the heresy.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Feb 05, 2014 0 comments
The so-called smart home is built on a foundation of three pillars. As with the architecture of a real home, each pillar must be equally as strong, or you run the risk of the entire structure collapsing. Fortunately, the virtual-world failure of a smart home system is nowhere near as likely to result in physical injury as is the falling ceiling and walls of a real-world building. Obviously, though, having a smart home that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do is a waste of money. Having a system that only works some of the time is even worse because there’s a period of intense frustration before the homeowner finally gives up and quits using the system entirely.

The three pillars of the smart home are...

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Dec 16, 2013 1 comments
On the 12 Days of Christmas, please don’t get these gifts for me…
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: May 07, 2014 2 comments
For three short days in April, I had one pair each of new flagship speakers from two of the hottest companies in the audio business today: Definitive Technology and GoldenEar Technology. Both models are so new that, in the case of Def Tech, the Mythos ST-L SuperTower is on very tight allocation to dealers. The new Triton One Tower speakers aren’t even listed yet on GoldenEar Technology’s website. (As of right now, anyway.) Both models are $5,000/pair, which means that, if you’re interested in high-performance audio and can afford to indulge your passion for music (and home theater), chances are only one pair of these two speakers will find its way into your home. So the inevitable question is going to be: Which one is the better speaker?
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Dec 10, 2012 0 comments
Looking for a stocking stuffer that's extremely useful, extraordinarily convenient, stupidly simple to use... and shockingly cheap?
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Feb 18, 2014 0 comments
I’m on a quest to find the best of the affordable smart home automation systems that are available (or will be shortly). The first couple of review samples have come in, and one of the primary aspects these two systems have in common is the impressive amount of engineering and design effort put into making installation and set up as easy as possible. That’s vitally important because for home automation to really get its foot in the door (so to speak) and appeal to more than just gadget-freaks like me, the system controllers need to be smart enough that the end user doesn’t have to commit an overwhelming amount of brainpower to the process of setting them up and getting them running. If the initial installation of a smart home automation controller is anything close to the pain involved in creating a bunch of macros in a programmable universal remote control, there’s going to be a lot of product returns from unhappy customers.

The first system to arrive was...

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Apr 07, 2014 0 comments
I spent a tense 30 minutes the other night huddled on the floor in the hallway outside my father’s hospital room. The National Weather Service had issued a tornado warning for the area, and the hospital had gone into “Weather Plan 2” mode. Everyone in the building—even the patients who couldn’t get out of bed—had to gather in the hallways. My father was one of those temporarily bed-ridden patients, and I’m sure that the mind-twisting aftereffects of anesthesia coupled with post-op morphine made the hurried, bumpy rush from his room to a hall full of two dozen other patients seem even more surreal than it was for me. It became even more surreal after all the patients were returned to their rooms following an “all clear” announcement when, within minutes, the whole process was repeated (albeit with significantly more grumbling from the patients and staff.)

As I was busily texting and tweeting about the collective predicament we were in (it’s actually not true that I caused a small riot when I ran through the hallway yelling “Morphine for all!”), the flickering of the hallway lights during the height of the storm started me thinking about how incredibly dependent we are on technology - technology that most of us take totally for granted until it doesn’t work anymore...

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 22, 2015 0 comments
I heard what seemed like hundreds of vendor pitches and saw thousands of new products at CEDIA EXPO 2015 before it closed on Saturday, October 17th. Here are some of the coolest things we didn't cover previously in our (should have been) award-winning CEDIA blog...
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Mar 17, 2015 0 comments
Remote controls suck. Even the best remote controls, such as the Harmony Ultimate Home, suffer from issues that are inextricable parts of what make a remote control a remote control. For instance, there are buttons to press. They’ll either be too small for some people, or the layout won’t be ideal for others. Then there’s the fact that it’s easy to misplace a remote control. Some wind up in between the cushions on the couch. Others—and this happens more often than you would think—have been known to mysteriously make their way inside the kitchen refrigerator. Those are just two of the many problems associated with remote controls for the average person. Now think about that remote control from the standpoint of someone who is up in years and is perhaps suffering from arthritis and/or poor eyesight. For the elderly, remote controls don’t just suck, they’re often impossible to use...
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 04, 2007 0 comments
Wireless transmission of data may look like the wave of the future, but it's a lot further along in the computer world than in the traditional AV environment. Yes, manufacturers are undoubtedly burning the midnight oil in hopes of becoming the first to develop a wireless standard for high quality transmission of audio and video programming inside the home. But for now, good old hard wiring is the only way to go.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 08, 2013 0 comments
Shortly before CEDIA 2013 kicked off in Denver last month, I wrote a post about some of the things I was looking forward to seeing at this year’s EXPO. There certainly wasn’t anything earth-shattering or paradigm-shredding introduced within the confines of the Denver Convention Center. But that doesn’t mean there weren’t a few standout products and super-slick demos hidden amongst the hundreds of crowded EXPO booths. We covered a lot of them.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 09, 2014 Published: Sep 08, 2014 0 comments
2014 CEDIA Expo Coverage Begins Wednesday

In the grand scheme of all things electronic, it’s not as big a deal as the annual CES in Las Vegas. In many respects, though, CEDIA Expo 2014 is an even more important event for people interested in customizing home technologies to make them seamless, integral parts of their customers’ lives. Oh, hell, what am I saying? “Customizing home technologies…” The guys—and most of them are guys, although that’s changing—who go to the CEDIA Expo every year are fascinated by gear that can be hidden, be controlled at a distance, is motorized or otherwise moveable, and can be tweaked and tinkered with. Sure, we talk about "lifestyles", but the reality is we go to CEDIA to geek out on the gear.

It’s a completely safe bet that when the show floor at CEDIA Expo 2014 officially opens at 9:00 AM on Thursday, September 11, the place will be packed‐and a number of us from Sound & Vision will be fighting our way through the throngs of installers, designers, specifiers, representatives, and booth demonstrators...

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 07, 2014 0 comments
CEDiA 2014 is over and done, but its effects will linger on in the form of first impressions, developing trends, and new technologies. By the numbers, it was a great convention with more than 480 exhibitors and well over 18,000 attendees who made the trek to Denver from 82 countries around the world. But those are the dry statistics. What’s much more exciting was the stuff we saw and heard, as well as the trends we noticed and how they’re going to affect the industry. (By the way, CEDIA didn’t officially change the organization’s name. I did, but I’ll get to that later.)

Dolby Atmos was still too new to have been everywhere on the Expo floor. In those booths where it was being demonstrated, though, it was...

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 13, 2015 0 comments
Our Coverage Begins Wednesday, October 14

Better late than never. CEDIA EXPO 2015—“the global showcase of the future home experience”—officially begins this week on Wednesday, October 14, with the Tradeshow portion of EXPO opening at 9:00 AM on Thursday. Normally, EXPO takes place in September; but due to scheduling conflicts, the custom install event of the year takes place a month later. Another change this year is that rather than happening in the smaller, cozier confines of Indianapolis or Denver, EXPO is returning to a city that saw some of the earliest CEDIA conventions—Dallas, Texas. We’re sending a bevy (yes, a bevy) of editors and contributors to Big D to cover the newest, the best, the most interesting, and even the most ridiculous things that’ll be announced or on display at this year’s EXPO. Starting Wednesday, make sure you check out our CEDIA EXPO 2015 blog.

If you’re not familiar with CEDIA EXPO, it’s a fascinating custom installapalooza chockablock with all sorts of vendors involved in one way or another with custom installation (CI) tools, products, devices, and systems. Although this is ostensibly a show aimed at professional installers and designers, there are usually a number of DIY systems on display, as well. Here’s a sampling of some of the more interesting things we’ll be on the lookout for...

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 22, 2014 0 comments
CES is just too big for any one human being - or, in our case, nine human beings - to cover completely. And, unless you’re a word-factory like my compatriot, John “The Sciacca” (who, I believe, outsources his blogs and reviews to a small company in Sri Lanka), it’s damn near impossible to write about everything you see at CES while you’re in Las Vegas. And then, of course, there are all the things you didn’t see but wished you had...


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