Feb 22 2016

Review - SVS Prime Tower Surround Package

SVS Prime Tower Surround Package

SVS is best known for subwoofers that provide outstanding value for money, but today we are going to look at, er… listen to their $1550/£1300 Prime Tower Surround home theater speaker package. Two Prime Towers ($1000/£819), two Prime Satellites ($270/£219), and one Prime Center ($350/£289) are included in the kit. This shaves around $120/£27 off the à la carte price. A few steps closer to a bargain and puts it off to a good start. But, none of that will matter if the kit does not sound and look, the way a mid-range speaker kit should. Let’s dig in.

Feb 22 2016

News - Kodi 16.0 out of beta

Kodi 16 has been in beta for a while, and working great,  but not everyone is comfortable living on the bleeding edge when it comes to the HTPC Smile. So now's the time to go grab the update. FYI - the Kodi site has been experiencing some issues lately (seems to be back now), so don't be surprised if you need to wait a bit to get the bits.

Feb 19 2016

News - HDR technical guide

I know I keep banging on about HDR, and I'm sorry (not sorry). If you want a more detailed primer on why it matters, and how it works, this is a great guide from VMI.

Feb 18 2016

News - Visual Apex Pro Grey 5D screen reviewed @ HTR

Ambient light is your enemy. Well, when it comes to projectors anyway. If you can't have total light control then a grey, high-gain, screen might be just the thing makes that 100" movie cave a reality Smile. Reading through the review of the Visual Apex 5D, it looks like it does a decent job with that and at $566 is quite reasonably priced.

Feb 17 2016

Review - ASUS Chromebit CS10 ChromeOS HDMI Dongle

 

The ASUS Chromebit CS10 is unique from other devices based on Google’s ChromeOS because unlike these Chrombooks (aka laptops) it does it from a HDMI dongle. Besides the flexibility to BYOD[isplay], the form factor’s inherent price advantage ($85/£90) also makes it a relatively cheap way to  play with ChromeOS, and test its unique approach to delivering a secure, low maintenance platform. I must admit that the browser-only apps available means that it is unlikely to replace any PCs in my stable, but as a very portable web browsing and media player it could be the perfect casual consumption device, or with its support for Google Play, Netflix, YouTube, and DIY streaming apps potentially earn a place in the travel bag.

Feb 16 2016

News - LG Signature OLED first impression - impressive

LG announced their "Signature" OLED 4K displays at CES, and they are just starting to trickle out into a limited number of high-end showrooms. Until I get a chance to go have a look myself, I'll be relying on others to tell us what they think. HDTVtest is very reliable when it comes to this sort of thing so, if you're following developments in OLED closely it's a must read.

Feb 15 2016

News - HTR guide to reselling A/V kit

I would love to upgrade my A/V kit more often, but it's difficult to know what it's worth or where to start, and the thought of ending up with a bunch of surplus, depreciating equipment has put me off. Ran across the HTR guide today, and I'm curious if anyone has used these services (besides Ebay Smile). If so, let use know in the comments.

Feb 11 2016

News - madVR adds to its awesome with HDMI 1.4 3D support

I don't care what you think. 3D creates a more immersive viewing experience. OK, the glasses aren't awesome, but frankly the modern ones are light enough that it doesn't bother me at all. Needing to use a standalone player, or commercial software with all the cruft it brings along for the ride has made it less enticing for me personally. So the news that 3D has been added to madVR is fantastic. Now, it's not quite ready for primetime, but if you're feeling adventurous go ahead and give it a go Smile.

Feb 11 2016

News - Fractal Design Core 500 SFF chassis reviewed @Mad Shrimps

I think we can all agree that Fractal Design makes a fantastic chassis. Whether its a full ATX or SFF, the design is always elegant and well thought out. At $60 this looks like a really nice value as well.

Feb 11 2016

News - Want to DIY a NAS?

Ars Techinca has a basic walkthrough of the "why not DIY" when it comes to NAS. I would be curious to see how Window Storage Spaces' performance stacks up to what an off-the-shelf NAS can provide, but aside from that there's little fault to find with the thought process and component selection (although the price is reasonably high-end for a consumer NAS). The motherboard certainly checks the boxes with 2x Intel GbE and 6x SATA, although it has quite a few extras I'd probably skip if it were me.

Feb 09 2016

Review - ASUSTOR AS5002T 2-Bay Intel Bay Trail Network Attached Storage (NAS)

ASUSTOR AS5002T two-bay Intel Bay Trail NAS

The ASUSTOR AS5002T is the first Intel based network attached storage (NAS) device tested at Missing Remote. So, I was very curious to see how its dual-core 2.4GHz Celeron J1800 would stack up against the strong showing we’ve seen from ARM Cortex-A15 based systems recently. With two Gigabit network interface cards (NIC), two bays, 1GB RAM, and USB 3.0/eSATA support, on the surface the $315/£185 AS5002T aligns nicely into the same category. But, it also offers a few features that are not found on similarly priced ARM devices: most notably, virtualization, hardware assisted transcoding, and Kodi integration. Offering the potential for this SOHO NAS to also be a well featured home theater PC (HTPC).

Feb 07 2016

News - UHD (4K) is easy. What's UHD Premium?

As much as having yet another standard can cause overload, adding a "Premium" lable to UHD does add some value; potentially making it easier to select a display. The downside is that if you just bought a 2015 UHD display it's quite likely that some, if not all, of the things that make a UHD Premium display better than [plain-ol'] UHD aren't supported on your shiny new TV. So maybe, if you just jumped on a "Big Game" 4K TV deal you shouldn't follow the link to RHT Smile.

Feb 04 2016

News - IoT gets a lot of crap

The Internet of Things (IoT) is coming. It just makes sense to put the devices around us on a network. To make them "smarter". To make the data they possess available to us, and other devices also on that network to use, consume, and react to.

This is scary, but it's also really, really cool. Of course some OEMs have let the cool get ahead of the planning, and the implementations aren't always well thought out from a security, updating, or longevity perspective - which might cause all sorts of problems down the road. But, it's still going to happen and it still has an amazing potential to make our lives easier, better, smarter.

I've been meaning to write something about this, but unfortunately time has been really lacking lately. Fortunately I ran across a high-level paper by Cee Links (CEO of GreenPeak, a company working with Zigbee silicon) that addresses some of the things I wanted to write about. So I thought it might be easier to use that as a conversation starter. Go have a read...

Feb 02 2016

News - Denon AVR-S710W reviewed at RHT

I have a Denon AVR, and I've found it to be quite solid so RHT's conclusion on this HDMI 2.0/HDCP 2.2 $480 Denon AVR-S710W doesn't surprise me in the least.

Jan 30 2016

News - ASUS PG348Q 34" QHD curved 21:9 monitor announced

Would it be OK to use an ASUS Republic of Gamers monitor for things besides gaming? I ask, because I think this QHD 34" curved PC monitor seems like it would be pretty awesome for quite a few applications - some fun (21:9 is perfect for movies), and others a bit less so (work).

There's a lot of details in the PR, most notably that it will be available in February. Pricing is distressingly absent however...

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