Mar 23 2016

News - The Wirecutter chooses best universal remote

In what can only be called a Harmony lovefest, The Wirecutter has picked out a few universal remotes at different price points. Naturally they are all Harmony branded, and while I would normally take issue with that kind of ah... focus, in this case it's really hard to argue. I've used Harmonly remotes for years, and frankly, it would take something really special to displace it.

Mar 18 2016

Review - NETGEAR Nighthawk X4S R7800 AC2600 Wireless Router

The quad stream NETGEAR AC2600 Nighthawk X4S R7800 802.11AC wireless router is the successor to last year’s AC2350 Nighthawk X4 R7500 (and R7500v2). Besides a bump in “S”, for Smart, the Nighthawk X4S also jumps to the dual-core 1.7GHz Qualcomm IPQ8065, adds 200MHz of theoretical bandwidth to the 2.4GHz radio (800Mbps + 1733Mbps = AC2600) by increasing to 4x4 in both bands, and enables 160MHz channel width for 5GHz. Priced at $270/£230 SRP ($260/£213 street) the Nighthawk X4S R7800 looks to be a solid contender for the mid-range performance 802.11AC router market, and with Wave 2 features like MU-MIMO enabled out-of-the-box (OOTB) a fair degree of future proofing.

Mar 18 2016

News - axiim nears BETA end point

You should have read Missing Remote's first look at the axiim Q Wireless Home Theater System (if you haven't, seriously!!!). So you'll all know that it's currently in BETA, and therefore offers a pretty steep discount off the eventual SRP. If you have been pondering potentially purchasing this WiSA based home audio system, there won't be much more time to pick it up without paying full price.

Mar 18 2016

News - FLUANCE announces XL5F floor standing speaker

I have to admint that I really like the looks of these speakers, and the spec's are enticing at the $400/pair price point.

Mar 17 2016

News - Sling TV & Sony Playstation Vue compared @ Cord Cutter News

I was planning to do this, but looks like I won't have to Smile. Thanks to Cord Cutter News.

Mar 16 2016

News - Panasonic DMP-UB900 Ultra HD Blu-ray player reviewed @ WHAT HI-FI

It doesn't look like you can actually buy this £600 Ultra HD Blu-ray player, which is disappointing because it certainly was loved by the reviewer at WHAT HI-FI. Naturally you will need a 4K TV to make it useful, and there aren't many titles out yet, so I guess there's plenty of time for it to become available.

Mar 15 2016

News - ASUSTOR AS3104T 4-bay NAS reviewed @ Mad Shrimps

Having recently reviewed an ASUSTOR NAS, I know it's very capable machine. This ATOM based NAS, should have plenty of go and many of of the features, like HWA transcoding, to make it a good home solution.

Mar 14 2016

News - Observer makes copy pissing on Smart Home tech

While I can see the author's point ("Smart Home" technology doesn't play nice together), I'm not convinced his approach is valid. Yes, the market is fragmented. Yes, there is a serious lack of agreement on standards. Yes, it can be very, very frustrating. But, it's a new thing. We are very much still in the early adopter phase. I'd rather have this Darwinian experiement where the strong and agile survive than something handed to me by Comcast, Verizon, or ADT.

More importantly. If you just want something that works. Stop whinging and do your homework before buying. Pick a holistic solution. Sure there might be compromises, and you won't get the best-of-breed flavor of the month, but it will work. Or, if you don't want to revise - get a Z-Wave + IP system (like the Vera). Been around for ages, works great.

Mar 14 2016

News - Sony Vue OTT Live TV streaming released nationwide

I'm not sure you can really call a $30/month (baseline) TV package "cord cutting". Since you've just switched your cable provider from a QAM to IP service. C-NET has a lot of detail, including that locals aren't included in many markets (really?). Looks interesting, but I'm not convinced unless the "Cloud DVR" really offers full DVR features, and the pricing - while good, isn't really ground breaking.

Mar 12 2016

News - Rockjaw Audio Kickstarting Sentio; first open & closed headphones

I've been on the prowl for a good set of overear headphones for a few months, and wouldn't you know it... Right as I was about to hit "buy" on a pair, I ran across the Rockjaw Audio Sentio Kickstarter page. There are a couple things that make this pair quite unique; most notably that they are the first to be able to function as both an open and a closed headphone, but it's also a dual driver (per ear) design with an optional aptX supporting Bluetooth module availble. Meaning that it ticks all the right boxes, and then some.

I haven't decide quite yet if I'm willing to wait until September, but the £95 (headphones) + £25(BT module) backer price is well inside my budget. Very tempted.

Mar 11 2016

News - AVSForum compiles list of HDR 4K displays

HDR is arguablly the best thing about 4K, and probably the best thing to happen to consumer displays in a long time. Figuring out what a TV's capabilities are, and therefore which ones should be elminated from consideration, can be daunting. AVSForum to the resue Smile.

Mar 10 2016

News - Insignia 4K RokuTVs available, maybe just Canada

There's an odd disconnect between what's in the PR email and on Roku's site. One says Canada, the other seems targeted to the US. I don't know if they're [poorly] geo-targeting my UK IP or just got their PR wires crossed. Either way, it's nice to see more options available for the best OTT platform out there.

Mar 10 2016

News - Kodi will get touch friendly "Estuary" skin

As much as I like to look at Confluence, I have to agree that it's kind of a pain to use on my phone. Now it works, which is why I keep Kodi on my mobile, but it would be great to have something a bit more touch friendly for it, and the slate that has become our "2nd TV". That's why it's great to see the upcoming Estuary skin. It retains much of the visual pop, but uses real estate better and has much larger targets. Looking forward to having a play.

Mar 09 2016

News - C-NET explains "What is UHD Alliance Premium Certified?"

I suck at naming things. So I am sympathetic to those whose job it is to do exactly that. Sometimes names matter, sometimes they don't. This one does seem to matter... most of the time... except when the display OEM... bleh! Let's just let Geoffrey handle it.

Mar 08 2016

News - 2nd Gen Amazon FireTV reviewed @ HTR

I was tempted by the new 4K FireTV, but seems a bit too focused on Amazon's services to find a place in my stack. That said, the price is right ($99) and Amazon is making great strides in the content space... Maybe next year Smile.

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