Mar 03 2016

News - AVForums' guide to UltraHD Blu-ray

TIL: UltraHD Blu-ray disc will not be region coded. There's quite a few other interesting tidbits in the guide. Will probably learn a thing or two even if you've been following developments closely.

Mar 01 2016

News - Linksys EA7500 reviewed at SmallNetBuilder

I think this is the only MU-MIMO AC1900 router I've seen so far. It's certainly a unique product there, and at $200 it is consistent with other AC1900 802.11AC routers. So it might be worth having a look at the Linksys EA7500.

Mar 01 2016

News - CEPro addresses SlySoft demise

It shouldn't suprise anyone that the recent demise of SlySoft was covered here. The HTPC wouldn't be quite what it is without AnyDVD HD and similar products. It was interesting to see it covered by the CE industry focused CEPro though. Head on over to get their take...

Feb 27 2016

News - Streacom F12C reviewed at Nikk Tech

I haven't seen fit to build a Full ATX HTPC in ages, but if you game and need a beast in the A/V stack it is definitely the way to go. Streacom makes great cases, and the F12C looks like it also has excellent build quality and plenty of venting for that dual dGPU rig.

Feb 26 2016

News - MantelMount

Mounting your TV over the fireplace is a horrid place to put it, but unfortunately many times it’s about the only place in the room where you really can – especially in a lot of modern houses. In the past, I’ve always offered simple guidance on it: DON’T. Besides the obvious problem with viewing angles, you also end up looking up at the TV. Which, unless you have a dentist’s chair in the main room means you’re putting a lot of strain on your neck.

Feb 25 2016

Review - First Look axiim Q Wireless Home Theater System

First Look axiim Q Wireless Home Theater System

Not everyone will agree, but I think there is a compelling argument to be made that audio is the most important aspect of creating an immersive home theater experience. Yes, video matters, a lot, but what really draws you into the experience? Better contrast, or when you can hear the shell casings hit the ground behind you to the right? Which raises the obvious question around why more households opt to have a large HDTV and a soundbar than a real muti-speaker audio system? There probably are many reasons, but if I had to speculate [lack of] installation convenience for a wired system would be pretty near the top. Getting a traditional wired audio video receiver (AVR) up-and-running with five speakers and a subwoofer can be very complicated; after all, if you do not already have wires in the wall that will need to get sorted, which can be costly, time consuming, and certainly involves a lot more planning than slapping a “good enough” soundbar under the TV. Wireless audio provides another approach to getting around the installation complexity problem, but until recently wireless audio was either proprietary, substandard, or both. Which is exactly why we have been covering WiSA over the past few years as it evolved from ether to product. The axiim Q Wireless Home Theater System is the first holistic example of an AVR + 5.1 (or 7.1) speaker setup using the 5GHz wireless audio technology available for purchase. It is still in BETA however, with an introductory price of $1,500 for the 5.1 ($3,143 post BETA), and $2,000 for the 7.1 ($3,741 post BETA) systems, placing it currently on the higher end of the home theater in a box (HTIB) pricing scale. But, if it can deliver the same result as a wired system, without the hassle of wires then that is certainly worth a “convenience fee”, and with the Q’s streamlined user experience, including HDMI CEC, it could end up a bargain compared to a standard HTIB. Because it is an unfinished product, this should not be viewed as a comprehensive review; that will come later. Instead, let’s have a first look at the system.

Feb 25 2016

News - Noctua NH-C14S reviewed @ TechnologyX

 

Noctua makes some really innovative HSF. They aren't cheap, but always quiet and effective. I especially like this model because the fan can go either side of the fins Smile.

Feb 25 2016

News - HDMI CEC 2.0 magic

HDMI CEC is great, when it works. Some of this comes down to HDMI 1.x's lack of clear definition around how it should work, and most of the rest belongs to OEM's just making it work for their kit. It looks like the version of CEC for HDMI 2.x devices should address this - certainly goes a long way, when the MD of Pulse-Eight chaired the HDMI CEC 2.0 group. Check out the writeup and video of everything working. Magic!

Feb 24 2016

News - R.I.P. Slysoft

I guess deep down, we all knew it was too good to last forever, but it still came as a shock. Slysoft is done. No more AnyDvd HD. So, so sad Sad.

Feb 24 2016

News - LG 65EF9500 4K OLED TV reviewed @ HTR

LG 65EF9500 4K OLED TV reviewed @ HTR

Unless you get a killer deal, or just absolutely cannot wait a few months, now's probably the wrong time to buy a high-end 2015 4K display. Much better to wait until the 2016s are well established, and pick up one of those or swoop in and pick up one of these from the bargin bin (if you can). That said, there is A LOT to like about the 2015 LG OLEDs, so the review is quite enlightening (great picture & color accuracy, not great VPP) and worth a read.

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.

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