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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Dec 01, 2003 0 comments
The best thing to happen to home theater since the DVD.

Quick, what do your home theater system's remote control and your underwear have in common? (If your answer is that they both require batteries, I don't want to hear about it.) The correct answer is that they both need to be a comfortable fit (physically in the case of the underwear and ergonomically/functionally in the case of the remote) or else they'll annoy the hell out of you all evening long. Unfortunately, while the standard remote controls that come with most home theater components may be able to control multiple devices, when it comes to using them on a daily basis to operate an entire home theater system, they're usually about as cozy as a tight pair of burlap boxers.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 13, 2012 0 comments
British speaker maker, VIBE (Vented Innovative Bass Enclosures), showed off some interesting hybrid in/on-wall speakers. The PICS (Picture Integrated Cinema Speakers) speaker cabinets are designed to extend into the wall in much the same way that a traditional in-wall speaker would, except the remainder of the speaker extends another inch or two out from the wall. In order to stealthify the speakers, they come with a basic picture frame bezel and a black, acoustically transparent grille cloth. The frame can be painted, or you can go to your local frame dealer and have a frame of your own made. VIBE says customers can choose from a number of images or submit their own image for printing on the grille cloth. Unlike other manufacturers who make art/photo grille clothes, VIBE fuses the image into the cloth. The process is supposed to maintain the acoustically transparent properties of the cloth. According to VIBE, traditional screen printing on grille cloth significantly changes the acoustic properties of the cloth.

Currently, PICS are not available in the U.S. due to a lack of distribution, but the company does intend to bring them to America. While pricing on the entire line was unavailable, the large grille-less speaker in the middle of the photo above sells for around $4,000/ea.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 18, 2006 0 comments
Is it possible to improve the greatest invention since the wheel?

If I needed any additional proof of the iPod's ubiquitous nature, I found it the other day when my son pointed out a state trooper with an iPod stuffed into his uniform shirt pocket and telltale white earbuds popped in his ears. I'm sure the trooper was perfectly capable of doing his law-enforcing job whilst enjoying a tune or two, but the thought of state troopers packing iPods gave me pause. What's next? Carthusian monks contemplating God's gift of the click wheel while rocking out to some Gregorian chant?

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 08, 2014 0 comments
One of the most exciting products I’ve seen so far at CES2014 bills itself as “the first home security and automation device that combines panoramic video, Z-Wave home automation and environmental sensors into a single elegant product that you interact with on your smartphone or tablet.” Or, as the company says, “Piper is the new way to monitor and interact with your home.” Piper has an extremely impressive array of features, including three customizable security modes with a motion detector, two-way audio, and 105 dB built-in siren; full Z-Wave compatibility allowing use of a huge variety of Z-Wave home automation-oriented accessories; an HD Panoramic camera with a 180-degree fisheye lens that offers pan, tilt, and zoom in 1080p; built-in environmental sensors for temperature, humidity, ambient light, and sound; 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi connectivity; as well as Android and iOS smartphone and tablet apps for controlling the system. The user interface is clean and intuitive. Piper is available for pre-order now and is expected to begin shipping by the end of January 2014 for $239. There are no monthly or other recurring service fees.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Aug 13, 2005 0 comments
After releasing a study pounding the misperception that plasma TVs aren't perfect - at least the notion that they're not as good as other non-CRT based TVs - Pioneer announced two new high-def plasmas in addition to a couple of newfangled Pioneer Elite plasma HDTVs.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2013 0 comments
Plex is a media server and suite of apps for your computer, mobile devices, a variety of connected devices that helps you access and control your local and online media from just about anywhere and easily share it with friends and family. There are specific versions of Plex apps for Roku boxes, LG TVs, Samsung TVs, and Google TV. If it really is the “bacon of media apps”, though, digital-media-savvy vegetarians are going to be left out.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 07, 2010 Published: Jan 08, 2010 0 comments
The Eos Converge Wireless Multi-room Audio System is a CES Innovations 2010 Design and Engineering Awards Honoree and a "Best of Innovations" winner in the Computer Accessories category. The three new models include a standalone transmitter ($99) that accepts standard analog audio or an audio signal from your computer via a USB connection, a standalone pre-amp out only receiver ($99), and a receiver with a built-in 15 watts x 2 amplifier ($149). The system uses 2.4GHz frequency transmission, has a range of approximately 150 ft, and requires virtually no setup other than plugging in the power cords (and the speaker wire, and USB cable, and audio cable).
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Aug 09, 2004 0 comments
A proud Polk Audio recently announced the birth of quintuptlets: four new RM Series six-piece, five-channel home theater speaker systems wrapped in swaddling plastic bags, protective styrofoam packing, and beautifully overprinted cardboard cartons. The new arrivals feature slim satellites and powered subwoofers. The cute and cuddly satellites in the new RM6800, RM6900,and RM7300 were selectively bred to be wall-, shelf-, or stand-mounted; and, for the very first time, this new RM Series includes a system (RM7400) with a pair of floorstanding front speakers.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Dec 11, 2006 0 comments
The biggest bang for the box.

I was smitten with Polk's I-Sonic tabletop system when I first laid eyes (but no hands-this was a prototype) on it at a Polk press conference. The strong fixation, no doubt, grew out of my need to replace an aging Bose Wave radio that had served me well but was clearly at its watts' end. I was also enticed by the unusually swanky set of features (a built-in DVD player, XM capability, and HD Radio). And then, of course, there was the fact that I couldn't get my hands on one; exclusivity is often enticing.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2006 0 comments
Home Theater in a (Very Narrow) Box.

Thanks to plasma TVs, everyone is convinced that skinny and flat are where it's at when it comes to home theater—and those now-out-of-work robotic assembly lines that used to crank out CRTs by the boatload haven't been the only ones affected by the slender-is-better trend. You can't throw a crumbled-up extended-warranty brochure in an electronics store nowadays without hitting some sort of sleek, on-wall, "plasma-friendly" home theater speaker. Some manufacturers, fully embracing the slim trend, have created three-in-one (left front, center, and right front) single-cabinet on-wall speakers designed to be mounted above or below your flat-panel TV—or set on top of a rear-projection TV. Boston Acoustics, Definitive Technology, Atlantic Technology, and Mirage, for example, have all come up with their own variations of three channels coexisting in one narrow box.


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