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Darryl Wilkinson

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 05, 2008 0 comments
So lighting won’t make your home theater sound better, or will it? No, it really won’t, but it might make you think your home theater sounds better – and even if it doesn’t, it’ll definitely make your room look better. Traxon Technologies is a company that offers just about any kind of colorful – and changeable – lighting products, from strip lights to panels to, well, you name it. The lighting system I saw had a simple, programmable controller that let you change the colors of the lighting as well as program a schedule of color changes. You could even do a disco floor if you wanted to, but I think that definitely would make your home theater sound bad.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 27, 2004 0 comments
Wireless audio/video senders are nothing new, but until now such accessory devices were limited to the composite video outputs of your DVD player, cable box, VCR, or discretely positioned X10 camera. Belkin Corporation's new PureAV RemoteTV not only lets you send analog audio and video from composite or S-video sources wirelessly, Belkin claims it's the first to incorporate component-video connectivity.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 27, 2006 0 comments
The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) is warning that a proposed bill in the Senate will be bad for U.S. consumers.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: May 25, 2007 0 comments
It's not that your AVR doesn't love you. It's just misunderstood.

So you just bought your first AV receiver (AVR), and now you're staring in fright at the back panel and what looks to be several thousand connectors jammed together tighter than the squares on a New York Times sukodu puzzle – and just about as incomprehensible. Don't feel bad. Rocket scientists have been known to suffer heart palpitations in the same situation.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2011 0 comments
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 09, 2006 0 comments
Remote Technologies, Inc, a residential and commercial control products manufacturer more known to custom installers than the average retail consumer, is introducing three new keypads that will help the company's name appear in a broader range of homes with multi-room entertainment systems. RTI says the keypads are completely customizable, programmable, and upgradeable.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Mar 30, 2011 0 comments
Building an automation nation—one house at a time.

I reviewed Control4’s first offering in February of 2006 (oh, those were the days, weren’t they?). The system—based around the company’s $599 Home Theater Controller (HTC)—could easily have been described as a universal remote control with grand aspirations. As the name implies, the HTC was designed to control the components in a home theater (including access to a stored digital music library) with a simple, highly intuitive onscreen graphic user interface. That by itself was pretty sweet. But behind the HTC’s deceptively blank faceplate was hidden a formidable engine capable of powering a sophisticated wholehouse automation and multiroom music system using a combination of Ethernet, Wi-Fi, and ZigBee communication to control things like lights and thermostats as well as distribute music around the house. All you had to do was pony up the extra bucks for the wireless ZigBee thermostats and light switches (up to 125 of them—but at $100-plus a pop, it was unlikely that you’d ever max out the system). You also needed some Control4 Speaker Points, plus the labor to install and program everything, and you were ready to command and conquer the homeland. I liked—no, I lusted after—that original system and was extremely reluctant to box it up and send it back. It couldn’t necessarily do all the amazingly complex things that a Crestron or AMX system could do at the time, but it was a fraction of the price.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Apr 19, 2011 0 comments
[Part one of this article can be found here.]

The wholehouse story.

Home automation is just too cool. There’s no doubt about it. Sure, it’s great to turn on your home theater system and go to the correct input or channel with the press of one button. But there are a number of good universal remotes that’ll do that. I want to be able to use that same remote to turn the lights on and off, lock and unlock doors, raise and lower shades, and, well, anything else I can think of. (I’d like it to cook and clean, but I’m afraid domestic robots are still a bit further in the future.) In last month’s issue, I highlighted parts of the latest incarnation of Control4’s expandable home automation system, specifically how the company’s three controllers and new 2.0 software update give you the ability to control your entire home theater, the lights in your house, and even door locks. Control4’s 4Store marketplace will ideally let third-party apps expand the system in ways that Control4 hasn’t thought of—such as managing the energy usage in your home. But there’s plenty more to talk about that we couldn’t fit in that issue. This time, in addition to the seduction of motorized shades, I’ll cover some of the nuts and bolts of putting a Control4 system together, as well as what it takes to program and control it.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Feb 21, 2006 0 comments
A controlling interest in your home theater can turn into a wholehouse-friendly takeover.

Silly girl. My wife thinks our home theater system ought to sound great and be easy to operate. She also wants one remote control to work the gear, the lights, and whatever else she desires dominion over.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jul 11, 2013 0 comments
Thank goodness for WebEx and GoToMeeting. Online services such as those two have made it incredibly easy to attend seminars, meetings, and press conferences without really being there – both physically and mentally. I’m not saying that such was specifically the case earlier this year when I sat through a special online session Control4 set up for press people during which the company introduced, among other things, a little box they called the Wireless Music Bridge. Honestly, I was paying attention; it’s just that, at the time, I had trouble getting excited about what seemed to me to be not much more than another streaming music device destined to come up short in the inevitable comparison to SONOS, the master and commander of all things having to do with multi-room music streaming. Fortunately, I didn’t have to feign enthusiasm since my face remained hidden by the magic of the Internet.

A couple of weeks ago, however, Control4 did succeed in piquing my interest when a new Wireless Music Bridge arrived at my door. Since I thought it would be rude not to hook it up and try it out...

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