Sep 07 2014

Review - D-Link Dual Band 750Mbps 802.11AC (DAP-1520) Wireless Extender

D-Link DAP-1520 AC750

Even with a fancy new 802.11AC Wi-Fi router, it is almost impossible to avoid having a few dead spots in a house. Unfortunately, those corners where the wireless does not quite reach reliably also makes a great place to put a bean bag chair for some casual web browsing or over-the-top (OTT) media consumption. Now that this market has matured with a myriad of AC1750 and AC1900 devices, we are also starting to see more devices like the $60 single stream D-Link Wireless AC750 Range Extender (DAP-1520) which promises to fix this problem without a significant cash outlay.

Sep 05 2014

News - Yamaha Announces SRT-1000 Under TV Sound Bar


I used to have one of Yamaha's "sound processors", and it was a pretty decent substitute for a discrete setup in the right room because of the effort they put into analyzing the room and adjusting the output accordingly. The problem of course was the price, not everyone wants an expensive "sound bar" so the introduction if the SRT-1000 is good news because it addresses that - well partially. The SRT-1000 looks to have the same intelligent sound processing, ten speakers and a built-in subwoofer so it should deliver reasonable sound for TV and movies, but for $500 I'd expect HDMI input and HBR audio support to be included in the mix.

Step Up Your TV to True Surround Sound

Finally, a TV speaker base that brings your shows and movies to life with real surround sound. Employing 10 speakers plus dual built-in subwoofers in a single MDF wood cabinet, the SRT-1000 delivers true 5.1-channel surround sound with exceptional detail and clarity. Set up is a breeze with a single-cable connection to your TV while Bluetooth® lets you wirelessly stream music from your iPhone®, iPad® and Android™ devices.

Yamaha SRT-1000

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.

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