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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Mar 08, 2005 0 comments
Unless you're a full-fledged (or even a budding) audio/videophile for whom performance is everything (and I'm not implying there's anything wrong with that), at one time or another you've faced the tough choice of sound and picture quality versus aesthetics, decor, and ergonomics (sometimes referred to as SAF or Spousal Acceptance Factor). Three introductions from Onkyo are intended to provide performance without ruining potential romance.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 28, 2013 0 comments
The folks at DoorBot call DoorBot “the doorbell for smartphones” or, in a more wordy way, “DoorBot is a Wi-Fi enabled, video doorbell that allows you to see and talk with visitors through your smartphone from anywhere in the world.”
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Feb 20, 2005 0 comments
Everyone wants a piece of Apple's pie - or at least a piece of the iPod. With over ten million units sold (and more to come), the little digital music wonder is a clear favorite among music lovers. Manufacturers other than Apple have taken note of the iPod's popularity and are stumbling over each other in a rush to score big on the iPod craze by bringing out some sharp iPod accessories.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Oct 24, 2005 0 comments
Once a marvel of technology, the portable DVD player is now on its way to becoming a "been there, spun that" kind of product category. (Oh, how quickly we take electronic things for granted nowadays…) So manufacturers - and there are many - of this kind of portable device have to focus their design attention on enhanced features or reduced weight/size/cost in order to attract the attention of the much loved, cash-carrying consumer. (Yeah, don't go looking around the room. I'm talking about you.)
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 06, 2012 0 comments
Arthur C. Clarke famously said, “Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.” Some of the automation systems on display at CEDIA are so technologically advanced that they certainly do seem like magic. But not far from the convention center, I found a clue to what’s really going on. If there’s an entire area just for elves to park their cars, what other fantastical creatures might be working behind the scenes? Leprechauns? Fairies? Now I understand why so many of the presenters talk about using wizards to program their systems.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Aug 02, 2004 0 comments
Preamp/processors of the world: be scared...be very scared. Anthem Electronics is unleashing their newest preamp/processor/tuner - the AVM30 - on the audio/video world, and this baby is determined to kick plenty of posterior and take plenty of names. "What," asks you, the entertainment-hungry homeowner the AVM30 was designed for, "is so special about this three thousand dollar (actually, $2,999, but who's counting?) pre/pro/tuner (aside from the obviously gorgeous cosmetics which include a brushed-metal front-panel with a blue vacuum fluorescent front-panel display swimming with blue and red LEDs)?" Of course, I'd like to know why you ask such long questions, but we need to get back to the main story...
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Mar 25, 2014 0 comments
Even the best smart homes today aren’t much more than a cool collection of dumb gadgets managed by a controller with a good memory. Few, if any, of them aren’t intelligent enough yet to figure out when to do tasks on their own. Programming what actions should happen when and under what varying conditions or triggers is a large part of why home automation has been confined to the posh multi-thousand square foot homes of the rich and powerful or the often not-so-posh and much smaller homes of the electronic tinkerers and makers. (Of course, the cost of controllers, sensors, devices, and installation doesn’t help put home automation in the “mass market” category yet, either.)

Despite its relatively high price ($250 - or $3.2 billion, if you’re Google), the Nest thermostat is very popular (I saw one on the wall in a local Subway restaurant a couple of days ago) because - in addition to its Applish-elegance design - it “programs itself so you don’t have to.” Yes, ladies and gentlemen, it turns out that there are a lot of people out there who absolutely hate programming a thermostat; and hate it enough, apparently, that they’re willing to spend four-to-five times more $ on a “learning thermostat” than they would on an average 5-2 day programmable thermostat. So any smart home automation company looking to break into the big time needs to take note of this fact. Does anyone really believe that these same folks want to spend the time and effort to program an entire home of automated gadgets? “It programs itself so you don’t have to” needs to be the smart home mantra.

Recently a couple of smart home systems caught my attention because of their learning capabilities...

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 07, 2016 1 comments
There’s certainly no lack of interesting DIY home monitoring cameras at CES2016. The original Oco is here, still featuring self-learning sound and motion-detection algorithms, night vision capability, and two-way audio communication. But the diminutive 1280 x 720 (25 fps) camera isn’t alone at the company’s booth.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jul 20, 2006 0 comments
Late last week, CustomFlix Labs, Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amazon.com, announced that CBS News had selected CustomFlix and Amazon.com to distribute thousands of hours of prime-time and classic news content. The treasure trove of past CBS News content includes broadcasts from "60 Minutes", "CBS Evening News", and a variety of long-form documentaries produced by CBS News Productions over the past 10 years.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 11, 2008 0 comments
For one of my last demos of CES2008, I stopped by the Definitive Technology room in the Venetian. There, in addition to showing off the newest Mythos ST speakers, they were putting on demos of the company’s new Solo Surround Array speakers. The SSAs join the growing number of single speaker simul-surround thingees that reduce the multiple speakers of the traditional surround system to one slim one. Of all the slender systems I’ve heard, the Definitive SSA-50 is by far the most impressive, the most surrounding, and the most amazing. Regardless of whether I was standing in the back of the room or in the middle of the room’s “sweet spot”, the effect was stunningly immersive. It certainly won’t replace a full-blown 5.1-channel system, but for the rear-speaker challenged, wire-averse, or stubbornly dcor-driven, this is a single-speaker solution that will make you sit up and listen.

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