Sep 05 2016

News - NETATMO announces smart radiator valves

People may poke fun at IoT and Smart Home, but these smart radiator valves are exactly the kind of thing that I think sell the home automation (HA) story. They increase efficiency, reduce the need to intervene, and provide useful feedback on what's goin on in my home while potentially saving me money. Perfect.

The valves are £59.99 and you need their £149 Smart theromostat, so not crazy expensive especially compared to some of the other players in the UK Smart heat control market (and they look a bit nicer IMO). There was no mention of how the valves are powered though, which would be something I'd want to know before splashing out.

Update: the valves are powered by two AA batteries which should last about two years.

Sep 05 2016

News - OmarKnows Circle

I found out about Circle a few days ago and was very curious about how it works, because frankly it sounded awesome and scary at the same time. Fortunately, Omar was able to help me out there (Arp Spoofing) as well as provide a nice testimonial around how it works for his family. As my kids approach their teenage years, I'm starting to think that simple parental controls and parenting might not be enough - so I've been looking for something like this. That said, I'd much rather it was built into the router instead of using a technique that can be circumvented by a reasonably sophisticated user once they know it's there. But, I guess that's where Circle's MDM (shudder) product comes in.

Sep 01 2016

News - Plex adds DVR feature

If you're rocking a Plex Pass you can have a play with their new DVR feature. It also requires a supported Silicon Dust HDHR tuner, so if you have one of those you're ready to roll. Awesome!

Well, that is, unless you're Plex server is sitting on an NVIDIA Shield Android TV. That's unsupported at this time Sad.

As a BETA, there are a few other caveats (e.g. Copy-Once no-go). So make sure to check out the full release and forum post.

Aug 30 2016

Review - NVIDIA SHIELD Android TV

Let me start by saying, I am not much of a gamer. So while the NVIDIA Shield Android TV box has been out for a while, offering 4K UHD support for native playback and over-the-top (OTT) services like Netflix, the value proposition really did not speak to me given its $200/£150 (16GB) $300/£220 (500GB “PRO”) price tag. The landscape for the device changed recently with major feature additions in the form of Plex media server and SiliconDust HDHR DVR recording engine support; turning this gaming-streamer into a legitimate home theater PC (HTPC) alternative.

Aug 29 2016

News - Eero v. Luma - Mesh Wi-Fi comparison

Mesh Wi-Fi systems promising whole house Wi-Fi coverage via multiple APs is rapidly moving from enterprise only into the home. I haven't had a chance to play with either of the two main players in this market, Eero & Luma, so it was interesting to see Omar's comparison.

Aug 28 2016

News - HDR Roku on the horizon

As is typical for this sort of news, Zatz Not Funny! has the skinny on a new crop of Rokus queuing for release. While I've lost most of my love for our Roku 2 since testing started on the NIVIDA Shield, I think it remains the best general purpose media streamer for most people - and the price should be just right. The new models look like nice/worthy upgrades from the current offerings, but I do have to say that it's abominable that Roku is only supporting HDR on the top-end "Ultra" model, even though 4K will flow down to some of the lessor devices. Shameful.

Aug 24 2016

News - OTT killed the Kaleidescape star (if there ever was one)

It didn't come as a shock when I saw Engadget's report that Kaleidescape is closing down its high end movie player business. Frankly, I'm surprised they've held out this long against the onslaught of "good enough" content from the myriad over-the-top (OTT) content players out there that don't cost $25K. I've seen this in my own consumption as well. My need for a huge NAS, filled to the brim with content has diminished greatly; directly proportional to the improvements in quality and content available from Netflix, Amazon, VUDU, Google Play, etc. Has your experience been the same?

Aug 16 2016

News - HDHR DVR comes to XBoxOne

I've never had a reason to regret opting for a PS4 over an Xbox One, but there is now one thing that I really wish that it could do - that the Xbox can now do. Work with the HDHR DVR.

Hopefully, PS4 is next Smile. If you have an Xbox, head over to the Microsoft store and let us know how it works.

Jul 31 2016

Review - dbrand OnePlus 3 back wrap

Mobile cases are a strange thing. Yeah, it’s clear that they provide a valuable service by protecting your device should it meet the ground in an unscheduled way, but they’re ugly. Or at least, if not ugly, they obfuscate the industrial design of the device making your thin, metallic device into a clunky plastic one.

Jul 30 2016

Review - Amazon Fire TV Stick

This is going to be a very short review. Don't buy the Amazon Fire TV Stick, at any price, period.

Jul 27 2016

News - Samsung seems to be killing RUI feature in firmware update

It looks like Samsung might have killed off the RUI feature in its firmware that lets you use the HDHR DVR without installing an app on the display. You can check out their video which demonstrates this yourself. If this is intentionally, and not a bug introduced in the firmware update, I have to say that it's pretty customer hostile. Samsung shouldn’t be selling features then remote killing them when they feel like it.

I've been thinking about grabbing another TV, and Samsung was high on my list because of this feature. Now, not so much...

Jul 02 2016

News - More details on HDHR + 2016 Samsung RUI support

If you're fortunate enough to have a 2016 Samsung TV that supports RUI, I'm sure you were quite interested in the news that you can now use the full HDHR View app without installing anything. The forum post that mentioned it was a bit light on the details, so SD has provided a full release (attached) which outlines the feature.

 

Jun 30 2016

News - Plex server for NVIDIA Shield is live

Plex announced that the NVIDIA Shield would support their server a few weeks ago, and it looks like the wait is over. Adding HWA transcode + Plex to what is shaping up to be one of the most compelling content consumption devices (e.g. HDHR DVR support), makes me wondering if maybe I ought to have one of these in my AV stack.

Jun 29 2016

News - Emby Android TV app now supports refresh rate switching

Playing your content at its native refresh rate is generally key to getting the best experience from your viewing time, so I think it's great that Emby has added this feature to the Android TV app.

Jun 29 2016

News - Epson Announces two LCD projectors with 4K UHD signal input & HDR

You would be forgiven for thinking that this pair of ~$3k LCD projectors support 4K, and they do, sort of... It's not spelled out explicitly in the PR (aside from the "signal input" bit), but these are really just 1080p, that accept a 4K input and downscale it. HDR compatiblity is a plus, but I didn't see which formats will work on a quick scan through the specs. If you know, please spill in the comments.

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