Darryl Wilkinson

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 26, 2013 0 comments
Automation controller company BitWise Controls came to CEDIA to celebrate the company’s fourth birthday and announce the upcoming availability of the BitWise Access Anywhere subscription service. BitWise’s AccessAnywhere will enable homeowners to access and control their BitWise home automation system from anywhere the homeowner has internet access, anywhere in the world, via a smartphone or tablet.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 26, 2013 0 comments
I can’t help it. I’m a sucker for a good star ceiling, so it’s not surprising that I had to stop at the Epic Sky Technology booth for a quick chat. Epic Sky Technology specializes in lighting control systems with proprietary controllers that can integrate lights – and especially the company’s pre-built and DIY star ceiling panels – with music or soundtracks. On demo was a star ceiling panel programmed to turn various LEDs in the panel on and off in conjunction with an audio recording of a thunderstorm. An LED strip behind the panel also flashed in time with the sound of thunder. Pricing varies by panel size and number of LEDs installed.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 26, 2013 0 comments
DISH announced today that the company plans to integrate Control4 home automation technology with the Hopper Whole-Home HD DVR system. This means that Control4 systems will soon be able to fully take advantage of all the capabilities of the Hopper and DISH’s satellite/streaming services.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 26, 2013 0 comments
How would you like to have an instant home theater/home automation system just by downloading an app? That’s essentially the situation with Roomie Remote, an iOS app (with an iOS7 update coming in the next couple of days) that, according to the company is “the last remote you’ll ever need.”

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 25, 2013 0 comments
No, they’re not stylized Daleks from Dr. Who or PVC termite mounds. The objects pictured above are actually a couple of pretty impressive all-weather speakers from NEAR. There are a couple of things that are newsworthy about these speakers, not the least of which is that they are the first environmental speakers designed by NEAR specifically for the consumer/custom installation market in about a decade and a half. In fact, it’s been exactly 14 years since NEAR last had a booth or display at a CEDIA EXPO.
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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 23, 2013 1 comments
Coverage Begins Wednesday, September 25

This year’s Custom Installapalooza, officially known as CEDIA EXPO 2013, starts Wednesday, September 25th and runs through Saturday, September 28th at the Colorado Convention Center in Denver, Colorado. (Thankfully for the Expo, the nearest of the devastating flooding that parts of Colorado have endured recently was more than 20 miles from Denver. While that’s good news for the CEDIA Expo and attendees, a lot of Coloradoans were affected. CEDIA suggests that if you’d like to help support those folks, please visit HelpColoradoNow.com.) Wednesday should be a rather leisurely day with a few scattered press conferences, a CEDIA Media Preview Event (kind of like speed dating for PR people and journalists), and quite a few continuing education courses for dealers and installers. The real fun begins on Thursday when the Expo floor opens up and thousands of technical questions start being asked…and answered.

Almost all of the Sound & Vision crew will be on hand, blogging like madmen (and a madwoman) from amidst the Expo floor—and, who knows, probably during a dinner or two if John Sciacca stays true to form. I’ll be there, too, just in case John needs someone to bail him out of jail...

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 20, 2013 0 comments

Performance
Build Quality
Value
Price $7,750

At a Glance

Plus
Planar magnetic thin-film drivers
Solid Uni-grip mounting clamps
Thin magnetically attached grilles available in custom lengths
Truly outstanding sound quality

Minus
Horizontal center channel use requires stud modifications
Definitely not the cheapest in-wall system you can buy

The Verdict
It might bust your budget on the front end, but the Wisdom Insight delivers a near-electrostatic, audiophile listening experience in a disappearing, in-wall package.

If you’re intimately familiar with Wisdom Audio, then you’re more dialed into this industry than I am. Sure, I’ve breezed by the company’s booth at past CEDIA Expos, but when I hear that name it always brings to mind the image of a of an old guy in a flowing robe with a long, white beard (and maybe a Harry Potter–esque wizard’s hat) sitting in an overstuffed chair in front of an audio system, his beard and hat being blown back à la the old Memorex advertising campaign.

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Sep 12, 2013 0 comments
They could have done it. The folks in the Forum could have chosen, as Brutus did with his one-time friend, Julius, to dig the knife in deep after we’d already been stabbed 1.2, 1.3, even or 1.4 times. That’s why, when the HDMI Forum announced last week that they’d come up with Version 2.0 of the HDMI Specification, I prepared myself for the pain of deciphering new nomenclature and figuring out which HDMI cables were good for what features and which gear. And, despite the fact that I know better, I couldn’t help but feel that the IOGEAR Wireless 5x2 HDMI Matrix Switcher I’ve been playing with for the last month or two was already out of date.

Such is the heartache that always comes with the announcement of any new specification or technology...

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Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Aug 22, 2013 0 comments
When my kids were born, the obstetrician let me cut each one’s umbilical cord. Those cords were surprisingly tough to sever, even with a pair of super-sharp surgical scissors. Still, it’s no where near as easy as that was to cut through the clutter of cables we use to connect our AV gear together. (You didn’t see that segue coming, did you?) HDMI (High-Definition Multimedia Interface) simplified things quite a bit from the multiple-cable analog way of making connections; but, at the end of the day, an HDMI cable (regardless of its version number, speed rating, or whatever confusing denomination it happens to be a member of) is still a flippin’ cable. IOGEAR says its new $399 Wireless 5x2 HD Matrix (GWHDMS52) offers a way to get rid of one of those HDMI cables in your system – specifically one of those long suckers that are both costly and annoyingly difficult to run from component A to display B. To prove it, IOGEAR recently shipped a Wireless 5x2 HD Matrix for me to give a brief tryout. Considering the fact that I needed to rejigger the cable configuration running from the main system in my theater room to the 46” outdoor SunBriteTV still battling the elements on my back deck, I figured I had the perfect scenario to put the new wireless switcher to the test.

Darryl Wilkinson Posted: Aug 09, 2013 0 comments
Performance
Build Quality
Value
Price: $4,747 as reviewed ($2,499/pair) At A Glance: Transmits digital audio and power over 18-gauge wire • 24-volt DC low-voltage wiring • Can be used vertically or horizontally

I worked at an A/V shop back in the Middle Ages when customers actually drove to a local store and spoke with a salesperson face to face about the gear they were interested in. Every now and then during that golden era, a speaker manufacturer would come along with the “revolutionary” idea of building an amplifier(s) into a speaker. With all the benefits that came with such a design, it seemed like such a no-brainer.

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