Sep 05 2014

News - Hauppauge Getting Into Home Automation

I must confess to doing a double-take when reading a headline indicating that Hauppauge (yes, the TV tuner OEM) announced a Z-Wave enabled hub at IFA.

Over at IFA in Berlin, Hauppauge has revealed two new smart home kits compatible with Z-Wave wireless technology, which allow you to control lights and electrical appliances in your house, among other things. The kits are offered in two flavours – a Control Starter Kit and a Security Starter Kit, the former being aimed at home automation, and the latter has an emphasis on monitoring and security with a camera unit included. Both are built around the mySmarthome Main Controller hub (pictured), which is hooked up to the user's router, and comes pre-configured to control up to 5 Z-Wave devices out of the box (though that number can be expanded). Android and iOS apps can then be used to control the various smart devices in your house.


Sep 05 2014

News - 4K Will Come On Plastic Too

Unfortunately, there's still no substitute for plastic based delivery if you want the best HD home theater movie experience, so it is great news that the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has announced that the Blu-ray spec will be expanded for 4K content.

The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) has taken the opportunity at the IFA 2014 trade show that’s taking place in Berlin this week to confirm the launch of its long-awaited 4K Blu-ray discs. Videophiles who value picture quality have been clamouring for this next-generation format to go with the many 4K UHD (ultra high-definition) TVs available to buy on the market.


Sep 02 2014

News - NETGEAR Announces Nighthawk X4 AC2350 "Wave 2" 802.11AC Gigabit Router

NETGEAR Nighthawk X4 AC2350 "Wave 2" 802.11AC Gigabit Router 

Fresh on the heels of their flagship Nighthawk X6 R8000, NETGEAR is bringing out the Nigthhawk X4 R7500 router. The main differentiator with this four-stream “AC2350” (1733+600Mbps) device is the inclusion of Mutli-user MIMO (MU-MIMO) making it an 802.11AC “Wave 2” device. With four AC streams available the peak theoretical bandwidth on 5GHz rises to 1733Mbps (from 1300Mbps in “Wave 1” devices), but also drops back towards the traditional one-radio-per-frequency design so the total bandwidth available to all devices is lower than with the X6’s two 5GHz radios, which explains the difference in branding monikers (AC2350 v. AC3200) and price ($279 v. $299). Like the previous models, NETGEAR is making an effort to differentiate their products against the competition with significant firmware and software value-adds, but in this case there are pretty dramatic deltas at the hardware level as well.

Aug 29 2014

Review - Linksys WRT1900AC Review

Visiting the Linksys booth at CES we saw a very large Wireless AC Gigabit Router they were showing off called the WRT1900AC. They designed it to look like the old WRT54G router that was very popular when released back in 2002 due to its open architecture which sparked the modified router software evolution such as DD-WRT, Tomato, and others which allowed users to tweak their router on their own rather than being limited to just the software from the vendor. Similar retro look but designed with two extra antennas for a total of four. Those four antennas (three main antennas and one backup) help with maximum coverage and reliability. This router also has a dual core ARM Processor keep multiple simultaneous data transfers at top speeds so everyone in the house can maintain the highest speeds necessary to do any task thrown at the router. Linksys, a Belkin company, is coming out of the gate swinging at the other top AC routers on the market. At $249.99 MSRP, the Linksys WRT1900AC is quite a bit more than other 1900AC routers.

Aug 19 2014

News - Roku TV Smart TV Platform Shipping Soon

There are a lot of reasons to like Roku for its collection of content (aka Channels), simplicity, or [my favorite feature] the unified search, but would rather have the experience built into your Smart TV it looks like Hisense and TCL will be shipping models very soon that solve this problem for you.

Just like our Roku players, Roku TV offers an exceptional streaming experience filled with endless entertainment choices. But we didn’t just stick a Roku player inside the TV. We enhanced the Roku operating system to power the entire TV experience. That means we’ve applied our philosophy of simple and powerful across the entire TV – from the home screen to the remote control to picture settings. Combining the Roku OS with our partners expertise in TV hardware design, manufacturing and scale, we’re thrilled to deliver  the best Smart TV in the market.


TCL and Hisense continue to climb in popularity among consumers, as the world’s third and fourth best selling TV brands, respectively. They are quickly establishing themselves as leaders in the U.S.

Hisense Roku TVs will be available in 40-inch, 48-inch, 50-inch and 55-inch models from major national retailers beginning in late September.

TCL Roku TVs are available for pre-order now from in 32-inch, 40-inch, 48-inch and 55-inch models. TCL Roku TVs will be available through major national retailers in the coming weeks.


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