Celerity TechnologiesCelerity Technologies DFO-40P Fiber Optic HDMI Cable, 40 Foot
If you want to get the most out of your home theater equipment and your HDTV, you need to use the right cables to connect your components - and when it comes to quality, nothing is better than…read moreBuy at Amazon.com
Performance Features Ergonomics Value PRICE $3,499 ($4,477 as reviewed) AT A GLANCE Plus Fast setup/programming Supports modern and legacy sources Integrates with many third-party systems AirPlay gives virtually unlimited access Minus NAS streaming has quirks Native app support is fairly limited THE VERDICT Russound delivers whole-home audio entertainment in a single, massively expandable chassis, allowing you to enjoy legacy analog/digital sources or modern streaming. Streaming and app-based control may be all the rage for music listening, but they ignore the fact that many people still have older, legacy gear they want to enjoy around their homes. Sometimes, whether it&rsquo;s a CD player, turntable, or cable/satellite set-top box, &ldquo;stream it from the cloud&rdquo; isn&rsquo;t a workable solution. Also, most modern wireless streaming music systems, such as Sonos and Play-Fi, eschew any type of wall-based control, relying solely on a smartphone or tablet interface.
Performance Features Ergonomics Value PRICE $600 AT A GLANCE Plus 50 context-sensitive programmable buttons on remote IR, serial, and IP-based control Amazon Alexa voice-control integration Minus Controller generates a lot of heat Low-resolution screen on remote THE VERDICT Control4&rsquo;s EA-1 bundle sets a new standard for affordability and opportunity when it comes to professionally installed A/V control and home automation. One of the great inventions of the 20th century, the humble Lego brick, doesn&rsquo;t inspire much admiration on its own. Take more than 32 million of them and throw in a little imagination, though, and you can create awe-inspiring 1:20scale replicas of famous American landmarks, including the Golden Gate Bridge, the Capitol Building, and (of course) the Las Vegas Strip. Then set them up together. Call it Miniland USA. Build a theme park around it. Suddenly you&rsquo;ve got Legoland California. If I were called upon to write a review of a single Lego, there&rsquo;d be no bricking way I could come up with the concept of Legoland on my own if it didn&rsquo;t already exist.
Performance Features Ergonomics Value PRICE Nexia Bridge, $87; Trane XL824, $334 AT A GLANCE Plus Nexia Diagnostics monitors real-time HVAC performance Z-Wave-supported Nexia Bridge built into thermostat Minus $9.99/month subscription fee Cloud-based automation works slower than local systems THE VERDICT The Nexia system is unique in that it appeals to both do-it-yourselfers and those who want it done for them. Its combination of a simple programming structure with an assortment of welcoming and intuitive user interfaces makes it a system you&rsquo;ll actually enjoy using. I was beginning to worry that we&rsquo;d run out of acronyms. After all, what would we do if we had to speak or write actual words instead of just using three- or four-letter shorthand? Saying &ldquo;do-it-yourself&rdquo; is so much more time-consuming than &ldquo;DIY.&rdquo; Thank goodness there&rsquo;s a new acronym making the rounds: DIFM, which stands for do-it-forme. Although people have always wanted to have things done for them, the appearance of the acronym DIFM is the result of the wicked hangover that the DIY smart-home industry is suffering, after a couple of years when rapacious startup enthusiasm sucked all of the rational oxygen out of the air. The fact is that there are plenty of rooms in the smart home to accommodate the yourselfers, the for-me-ers, and the dedicated custom installers.