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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Feb 18, 2015 0 comments
I can’t claim that I haven’t been guilty of the same practice in the past, but sometimes I get very, very tired of reading article after article in the tech press about the latest thingamabob that promises to revolutionize the way we do something—even to the point of changing our lives forever. Of course, as journalists and writers, we need readers; and, unfortunately in most cases, sensationalism gets the eyeballs we crave. Kickstarter and Indiegogo have been a boon for us. We get to report on lots of crazy ideas that’ll never make it to market but sound awesome. “New HDMI cable promises to cure cancer and is Dolby Atmos-ready!”

So I’m a bit jaded. As a result, it’s probably unfair to a company whose people have worked very diligently to come up with a new slant on a device category that’s been problematic from the early days of the consumer electronics industry, but I’m a bit underwhelmed by

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 07, 2012 0 comments
Remote control and home automation company URC introduced two brand new remote controls to CEDIA. Yawn…I know. The world needs another remote control as much as it needs another set of $20 earbuds. But the URC TRG-100 and TRG-200 have built-in gyroscopes and use motion-based technology so all you have top do is move and point the handheld remote to control the cursor directly on the TV screen. The basic TRG-100 has a minimalist design with very few buttons. The TRG-200 has direct numeric keys along with other direct function buttons. The new remotes are designed to work with URC’s Total Control whole-house systems with the company’s new MRX-20 Advanced Onscreen Network System Controller.

The MRX-20 offers a simple as well as a more elaborate on-screen user interface that is very cleanly overlayed on top of the HD picture on the TV so the user can summon direct TV controls – or, more interestingly because it’s done so unobtrusively, access controllable features provided by other URC control devices throughout the house. Pricing and availability for the new TRG remotes and the MRX-20 have not been announced.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Mar 07, 2007 0 comments
NHT says it's shipping the company's new speakers that are designed to hang on the wall, or sit on a table/shelf, next to a high-definition flat-panel display. NHT makes note that the speakers are "visually elegant, simple to use and affordable." (Wow! Speakers designed to go with plasma TVs? What a concept...)
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 10, 2015 4 comments
I’ve seen plenty of cool product concepts in my time. A lot of them, perhaps the majority, have imploded along the way as the fragile dreamscape of the theoretical world is thoroughly trashed by the much harsher, take-no-prisoners landscape of the real world. Since nothing other than beta units have shipped yet, it’s not possible to tell whether or not Ecovent’s intelligent HVAC vents and environmental sensor network will manage to be more than a brief blast of hot air. But I truly hope so, because it’s one the most exciting products I can every remember coming across.

Put simply, Ecovent makes...

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 07, 2008 0 comments
Last month I risked all and took my Canon Rebel XTi camera on a wild sled ride down the winding gravel road in front of my house. It was the same sort of stupid thinking that got Sonny Bono where he is today, but fortunately the sled, my body, and – most importantly – my Canon camera made it through the slippery downhill adventure unscathed and dry.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 07, 2010 Published: Jan 08, 2010 0 comments
The TV Hat people say it's "the next revolution in video viewing". That's quite a statement for a modified baseball hat that includes a pouch for most sizes of portable video players and a built-in magnifying glass to make the picture seem larger. Some important warnings:
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Mar 13, 2007 0 comments
If you have $349 and the need to switch between standard definition or high definition sources (component video) and scale them to resolutions up to 1080p, Gefen has the box for you.
Darryl Wilkinson Posted: May 15, 2006 0 comments
Where there's a will, there's a way.

Say your Great-Aunt Edna died and left you $10,000 or so in her will with the stipulation that you had to spend it on a home theater system (that's why she always was your favorite great-aunt). You and I could while away the better part of an evening arguing the particulars of what gear to buy—and especially how the money should be divided between the audio and video parts of the system.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 08, 2012 3 comments
Of all the cool stuff at CEDIA 2012, by far – for me, at least – the most impressive and most cool thing I saw/heard/experienced was the voice-controlled home automation add-in for a Control4 system from Houselogix, called voicepod, that will be available later this year. Any number of voicepod “pods” can be used to allow you to control a virtually unlimited number of functions that may be available in your particular Control4 system. A voicepod is a small, flat device that looks somewhat like an electric hot plate for a coffee cup. Built into each voicepod is a microphone and speaker that allows the system to talk back to you in order to confirm commands or ask for additional commands. In order to keep the voicepod from responding to random conversation in the room, communication with the system has to be woken up by saying, “Hello, voicepod,” after which a female voice asks you what you would like to do.

During the demonstration, Theodore Rosenberger, the President and Founder of Houselogix, turned lights on/off, raised/lowered Lutron wireless shades, selected preset angles and panned a security camera, and even programmed the system on-the-fly to respond with specific phrases. I’ve seen quite a number of voice-controlled devices and systems over the years, and this one from Houselogix is by far the most exciting I’ve come across. Even though it’s only in beta testing now, I’ve already begun begging Houselogix to let me get my hands on a voicepod or two to integrate into my Control4 system.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Jan 24, 2005 0 comments
Cablevision's recent announcement of the pending sale of the VOOM satellite (along with other assets related to VOOM) to Echostar Communications Corp. (DISH Network) should cause a twinge of sadness in the hearts of all HDTV lovers. Whether you admired VOOM's pluck in attempting to go against the two established satellite services (DISH Network and DIRECTV) or thought that Cablevison Chairman Charles Dolan must have been smoking something beyond cigars when he came up with the idea for an HD-centric satellite service, the virtually certain discontinuation of VOOM (Echostar will most likely use the satellite to expand its own channel offerings) is no happy event. During its brief existence, VOOM brought more high-definition content into the homes of its approximately 26,000 subscribers than all other providers put together (cable, satellite, and over-the-air terrestrial broadcast). As many a pair of eyeballs with HDTVs sitting in front of them know, HD content is an addiction that continually demands to be satisfied. Where, oh where, will we now go to get our daily HD fix?


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