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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 0 comments
Looming just outside the PRO Audio Technology booth are speakers that literally dwarf my 6-foot 4-inch self. These speakers weigh upwards of 300 pounds, feature massive horns and woofers and are driven by 10,000 watts of amplification to deliver organ pulverizing SPLs in even the largest rooms. So when I went into the PRO Audio demo, I certainly expected to be blown away by big sound. What I didn’t expect was what I saw when the demo was over and the company revealed what was actually playing!

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 0 comments
One of the big announcements from Sony’s CEDIA keynote address was that the company’s FMP-X10 4K media player would be updated later in the year to work with other companies TVs, meaning Sony is going to partially unlock its proprietary connection. This is great news for Ultra HD content starved viewers, however it will likely still require a separate HDMI cable for audio from the media player to the processor and for video to the TV. Lame. Fortunately, Krell figured out a way around this.

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 0 comments
Controlling an automation system with an iPhone/Android device is great, but can become a little more tricky as you move about in a large home. The way systems are typically programmed, a home/project is divided into rooms or areas, and then you need to select which room you are in to control it. As you walk around, however, you might find yourself needing to scroll through lists of rooms trying to find the right one to control. This can become a real issue in large homes with many room. Crestron’s new PinPoint proximity detection beacon will simply solve this problem, making sure that your device opens up ready to control the room you’re in!

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 0 comments
Just when we mastered sending 1080p HDMI signals around the house over Cat5 cabling, much larger and more bandwidth intensive 4K video looms darkly on the horizon. And according to some cable tests I’ve seen, the current cable distribution scheme might not work for your 3840x2160 video streams, especially as distances increase. Instead of black screens of “No Signal” or drop-outs and sparklies, Celerity offers a fiber solution that will support 4K runs up to 1000 feet!

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 15, 2014 1 comments
Soundbars are one of the hottest growing market segments, letting people add significantly better sound to the mediocre garbage that spews out of the “speakers” included with most flat panel TVs. While most sound bars talk about sound quality and surround immersion – both important traits, of course – the new Yamaha YSP-2500 has a “Target” feature that addresses a completely different issue!

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 13, 2014 0 comments
Reach Out and See Someone Video calling is certainly nothing new, in fact with iPhone and Android devices most of us carry the ability to video chat with someone around in our pocket. But the home intercom is still a popular request, especially in larger homes where you want a more elegant way to find everyone than, “HELLO?!? WHERE ARE YOU?!? HELLO!!!!” New company, Nucleus, has one of the coolest intercom systems I’ve seen in a while and at a price that is pretty startling.

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 11, 2014 0 comments
People like the idea of having a full motion, articulating arm flat panel TV wall mount but they generally avoid buying them for two big reasons: 1) They stick off the wall too far and look ugly when the TV is pushed back “flat” against the wall and 2) They are too stiff and hard to move. OmniMount’s new OE120IW recessed in-wall mount system solves both of these issues.

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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 10, 2014 0 comments
Origin Acoustics is made up of the team that literally invented the architectural speaker in 1976 and they have re-teamed to revitalize and re-revolutionize the in-wall and in-ceiling category. Company president, Jeremy Burkhardt, said they reunited because of the shared passion and love for this business and industry and the desire to continue making innovative products. The team’s first step was to get together and examine the leading architectural speakers currently on the market and brainstorm ways to make these speakers smaller so larger woofers can fit in smaller spaces and easier to install.
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John Sciacca Posted: Sep 04, 2014 0 comments
PRICE $568 and up ($967 as tested)

Fast and simple setup
Long transmission range
Zero detectable latency
Optical input doesn’t support Dolby or DTS bitstreams

XStream works exactly as promised, beaming audio around the home with little effort. Easily integrates with existing audio distribution systems or functions standalone.

Thanks to companies like Sonos and Bluesound, wireless audio distribution systems are gaining real traction in the marketplace. And if you’re starting from ground zero, these can be terrific options for sending music around an existing home.

But what if you have an existing audio system you want to expand on? Say an older Elan, Niles, or Russound housewide system that’s feeding multiple rooms that you want to add to? Or if you purchased a multi-zone A/V receiver and want to add music to a far bedroom or porch? Or maybe you just want to add some surround channels to the back of a room or new Dolby Atmos speakers that wouldn’t be possible or cost effective to do with traditional wiring? If any of those sounds like you, Russound’s new XStream X1 wireless audio system might be the perfect solution.

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John Sciacca Posted: Aug 27, 2014 3 comments
Your home is likely filled with all manner of smart devices, but your most precious electronics—your rack of AV gear and video display—are likely all connected to one of the dumbest devices in your house: your surge protector.

When most people go shopping for a surge protector they focus on figures like clamping rate, response time, single pulse energy dissipation, voltage protection rating, number of outlets, and the warranty. And these are all important things – especially if that sad, sad day ever comes when your house is visited by The Big One; that dreaded bolt of lightning that picks out your home like the angry finger of God. But there are some real advantages that come from giving your surge protector an Ethernet connection and a big o'le steroid shot full of IQ points.