UNIVERSAL REMOTE & ACCESSORY REVIEWS

Sort By: Post Date | Title | Publish Date
Chris Chiarella Posted: Dec 28, 2005 0 comments
Have my buns finally met their match?

Back in the days when I was a Quentin Tarantino wannabe, when I manned the counter at my local video store, I made frequent use of a rickety old metal stool as I pounded the computer keys. This prompted my boss to observe, "You like to sit more than anyone I know." Whether he ran with an especially prone crowd—or perhaps the rigors of retail work simply made my knees weak—I did set a precedent, and I appreciate finer seating to this very day. But, now that my fondness for home theater consumes my every waking moment—and some of my dreams—I welcomed the chance to test-drive something different, something bold: 5Binc.'s RX2 5.1 Media Chair.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 26, 2009 0 comments
Price: $400 At A Glance: Access to news, sports, weather, and Amazon Top 10 lists • Many components are not available in the built-in database • Electronic Program Guide updates via home Wi-Fi network

High Wi-Fi (Not Wifey)

Acceptance Factor
From the waist down, Acoustic Research’s ARRU449 looks like the stereotypical universal remote control with a symmetrically arranged layout of small, backlit buttons. From the waist up, though, there’s a bright and colorful LCD screen that quickly catches your attention. Invisible to the eye is the remote’s other distinguishing feature: Wi-Fi connectivity. This allows the remote to access the Internet through your wireless network in order to download Electronic Program Guide (EPG) information along with news and weather highlights. In addition, the ARRU449 can periodically download software updates as they become available. Even though the ARRU449 can access the Internet, it doesn’t include a Web browser. That means you can’t go online directly. Instead, the remote uses something called click365 technology to download the EPG and other data—including news, weather, and sports stories—in the background.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 02, 2014 2 comments
It’s disappointing to note that, already well into the second decade of the 21st century, the smartest component of most people’s homes is a programmable thermostat—and chances are, it hasn’t been programmed since it was installed (if at all). But you can’t really blame homeowners for not rushing in droves to embrace home automation or, as it’s more often called, the “smart home.” Neither the high cost of reliable systems nor the low reliability of cheap systems has been all that enticing.
David Vaughn Posted: Jul 05, 2012 0 comments
Do wireless HDMI kits really work? We test three to find out.

In late 2003, HDMI-equipped consumer-electronic devices started to appear on the market. Unfortunately, the transition to digital has been anything but smooth. Although HDMI was a vast improvement over DVI (Digital Visual Interface) in its ability to carry both audio and video in one cable, it came with its own set of issues.

Rob Sabin Posted: Jan 14, 2014 0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
PRICE $70

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Small, concealable form factor
Easy installation with good documentation
Excellent performance

Minus
May cost as much as a new router

THE VERDICT
There may be other options for improving your Wi-Fi, but the REC10 represents an exceptionally simple and effective path to robust video streaming on SmartTVs and tablets.

With Internet-connected smart TVs flying off the shelves during the holiday season and into Super Bowl Sunday, many consumers may find themselves trying to stream music and video to their new sets from Pandora, Netflix, Amazon VOD, et. al. But relatively few will have a wired ethernet connection near their televisions, and nothing can dumb down a smart TV faster than a weak Wi-Fi signal. Weak Wi-Fi can have immediate and noticeable effects on your audio and video quality. To compound the problem, you may not even know what’s causing them. An inability to connect promptly to your desired services may indicate that your router is too far away. But a laptop in the same room might have no trouble at all loading web pages, and a reasonable person might think the stuttering, buffering, or lack of resolution on your TV screen is a function of heavy Web traffic during peak periods, bad infrastructure at your Internet provider, or a technical failing of the playback device.

Thomas J. Norton Posted: Oct 02, 2005 0 comments

Power conditioning has long been an assumed requirement for the best audio-video systems. And there's no shortage of manufacturers lining up to supply the perceived need. Need line filtering, surge and spike protection, and multiple outlets? Ding! There are dozens of choices, some more effective than others. Need a device that will not only clean up your power line, but also maintain 120 volts when your power company is straining to keep up with demand? Ding! The field narrows, but there are products out there that will do that, too. Need battery backup in case of a partial or complete power failure? Bzzzt! Wrong question. Until recently, you'd have to look for that in the computer department of you're nearby electronics supermarket.

John Sciacca Posted: Jun 06, 2012 0 comments

Summer’s arrival means it’s time to peel your pasty self off of the couch and head outside for a little sunshine and fresh air. But just because you’re stepping outside the indoor A/V sanctuary doesn’t mean you have to go all Trappist monk with your entertainment. And I’m not talking about dragging an iPod and headphones or (heaven forbid) some relic of a boombox outside.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Apr 17, 2005 0 comments
What if you could put your home theater (virtually) anywhere?

Simply put, Belkin's PureAV RemoteTV accepts the output of any NTSC video source, converts that analog audio/video signal to MPEG-2, and sends it wirelessly to a display device in another location, in better quality than is possible from similar devices. It essentially eliminates the need for a second source component—not just the hardware, but any related service, as well. Already have a single TV/DVD setup but want to enjoy programming in another room? Want to keep an eye on what someone else is watching or be sure to get your money's worth by displaying your pay-per-view movie on two different TVs? This is the way.

Bob Ankosko Posted: May 29, 2012 0 comments
Performance
Features
Ergonomics
Value
Price: $129 At a Glance: Turns any HDTV into a videophone • Easy-to-use onscreen interface • Simple set-up—usually

Don’t be fooled by the name and calligraphic logo. You won’t find this Biscotti at Starbucks or the local pastry shop, but it does pop up on Amazon.com when you search “Biscotti TV Phone” (“Biscotti” alone leads you to an excellent selection of the scrumptious Italian biscuits). Although video chatting on computers has been around for years, business-style video conferencing on a big screen is still rare among everyday consumers—something Biscotti Inc. hopes to change with its tiny Biscotti-shaped TV phone.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: May 02, 2001 Published: May 03, 2001 0 comments
The fifth sense.

From the time movies first emerged as a pastime, filmmakers and theater owners have tried to come up with ways to make the movie experience more and more realistic. The picture (other than size) couldn't change, so they tried other ways. Some, like the Smellorama, didn't work. Others, like multichannel sound, did. Moving from one channel to six or eight channels, most people would think, "I'm surrounded by sound. What else is there?" What all, or at least most, systems lack is the ability to touch you—to literally touch you. Clark Synthesis' line of transducers aims to change that with tactile sound.

John Sciacca Posted: Jan 14, 2011 0 comments

There are so many Pow! Bang! Ka-chow! buzzwords thrown out by the consumer electronics industry's marketing war chariots that smaller, more important things often get lost or completely overwhelmed in the ground clutter.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Sep 18, 2004 Published: Sep 01, 2004 0 comments
What's shaking in the world of convergence?

One of the reasons I sleep well each night, secure in my job at HT, is the fact that seemingly every unusual product that comes down the pike is deemed "convergence" and falls into my lap. The Crowson Technology Tactile Effects System (TES) 100 wasn't exactly what I thought it would be: I anticipated a little added shaking of the sofa at appropriate moments, and the TES 100 certainly delivered, but the Couch Kit's two magnetic transducers turned out to be actual loudspeakers that also happen to channel enough physical vibration to move whatever is pressed down upon them, ideally the two hind legs of a big piece of furniture. Two rubber feet help to isolate the front legs. The less-expensive Chair Kit comes with one transducer and three rubber feet.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Oct 15, 2004 Published: Oct 01, 2004 0 comments
Why I can never watch Super Speedway in my home theater again.

Even I can't believe how far I'll travel for a great home theater demo. Hidden up in the cold, cold reaches of Montreal, Quebec, Canada, is the headquarters of D-BOX Technologies, which features the coolest faux living room in North America. I aimed to try their Odyssee motion simulator firsthand. My brother told me that home theater gear depends upon the demo perhaps more than any other product, and this was never truer than with the Odyssee.

Bob Ankosko Posted: Mar 04, 2015 0 comments
Rejuvenate Your Wi-Fi Network

Performance
Build Quality
Value

PRICE $70

AT A GLANCE
Plus
Cheap and easy to set up
Boosts Wi-Fi signal in far-flung areas
Minus
Approaches the cost of a new 802.11ac router

THE VERDICT
The DAP-1520 provides a simple and inexpensive way to improve spotty Wi-Fi coverage and set the stage for improved streaming.

Tell me you haven’t had to deal with Wi-Fi drop-outs when you move to the outermost regions of your humble abode with a laptop or tablet in tow? You know, the old 4-3-2-1-0 bar shuffle… I got so fed up with fighting to hold onto the signal from the sofa in my family room that I planned to move my router to a more central location. It sits in my basement office at one end of the house, admittedly, about as far away from central as you can get. But when I thought about having to snake wires across joists and up through the floor, I decided to find another solution—a quick fix, if one existed.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jul 02, 2007 Published: Jun 02, 2007 0 comments
Wash, rinse, condition, repeat.

I don't personally believe in fairies, nymphs, leprechauns, or even the boogeyman. In a rational, engineering-driven world, there's little room for such simpleminded fantasies. Reason, and reason alone, can explain the universe at large. Logic isn't only for Vulcans (now there's something I can believe in); it makes our part of the galaxy go around, too. That being said, I'm beginning to grudgingly accept the existence of gremlins—gear gremlins—as I don't have any other explanation for the last two months of nothing but misfortune and malfunction when it's come to anything electronic in my home.

Pages

X
Enter your Sound & Vision username.
Enter the password that accompanies your username.
Loading