News / Media

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 Part 3

2011 Holiday Gift Guide brought to you by Electronic House!

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Xbox 360 with Kinect

Gaming isn’t just for the kids, and it’s not just about games. Microsoft’s Xbox360 with Kinect is much more than a gaming console. It supports video downloads, streaming services, plus online gaming with XboxLive. This bundle, which comes with Kinect, adds more interaction than what a mere handheld controller can do. If there’s one high-definition product to add to your home theater system this year, this is probably the one.

Kaleidecape Cinema One HC

A movie server makes your movie collection come alive by putting every movie you love instantly at your fingertips. The Cinema One HC promises an easy installation, similar to a DVD player, but it can hold about 450 DVDs. The Cinema One boasts instant viewing, simple search features, and a second controller, the kid-friendly Child Remote. The server can also do two independent music zones, which means you can watch a movie in one room, while music is playing in another part of the house.

Tivo Premiere Elite

Just because you can get a DVR from the cable company doesn’t mean that’s the best device for recording or watching all your favorite TV programs. True TV aficionados know the TiVo experience can’t be beat. Now TiVo combines 4 tuner HD DVR recording with online services including Hulu Plus, Netflix, Amazon, Pandora and more. It’s also the only THX certified DVR. And now there’s an iOS app to make controlling and navigating even easier.

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Posted by chantal Wed, 30 Nov 2011 17:23:00 GMT

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 Part 2

2011 Holiday Gift Guide brought to you by Electronic House!

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Panasonic Plasma VT30

Videophiles know that the best picture comes from a plasma TV, and some of the best plasma TVs come from Panasonic. The 65-inch VT30 TV combines Panasonic’s VIERA Connect online features (with games, video and social apps) with active-shutter 3D technology and the company’s top picture enhancement technologies. To make connecting easy Wi-Fi is built in to the television. This model is THX certified which pretty much guarantees that you’ll get an excellent picture no matter what you put on it.

Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30

Full surround sound systems are great, but they aren’t fit for every room. Just because you want to use a soundbar doesn’t mean you have to sacrifice sound quality. The Boston Acoustics TVee Model 30 is a 3.1 system that includes a wireless subwoofer, Bluetooth for playing music from your smart phone or tablet and built-in Dolby Digital decoding for your favorite movies.

Roomie Remote

For home theater enthusiast who can’t put down their iPads, there’s Roomie, a new remote control app that operates over IP to directly control IP-supported devices. It lets you integrate the control of all your home entertainment gear into one iPad or iPhone app. If you don’t have IP home theater gear, adaptors will also make all your standard infrared, RF or RS-232 work together. Roomie says its library of device codes is more than 60,000 strong covering thousands of products. One of the best aspects of Roomie is that it doesn’t require line-of-sight for controlling your gear, so you can even leave the room and still adjust the volume.

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Posted by chantal Tue, 29 Nov 2011 17:22:00 GMT

Holiday Gift Guide 2011 Part 1

2011 Holiday Gift Guide brought to you by Electronic House!

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RTI T2-CS+ Remote

A show-off media room is a great place to spend holiday time with friends and family, but those times will quickly go downhill if you can’t find the 7 remotes you need to get a Blu-ray disc to play over your audio/video system. The RTI T2-Cs remote operates both by infrared and radio frequency and provides two-way feedback from supported devices. The easy button layout and rocker switch makes operation a one-handed snap.

Old Fashioned Movie Time Popcorn Cart

Maybe we stay home so we don’t have to pay the criminal rates theaters change for popcorn, but that doesn’t mean we don’t want the fresh-popped stuff. This old-fashioned stand-up popper may look like a 1900s-era antique, but it’s all modern and available only through JC Penny. It features a stainless steel kettle with a built-in stirring system and kernel catcher to keep out the unpopped kernels.

Sim2 Nero 3D Home Theater Projector

There are plenty of reasons to want a 3D home theater projector, and several of the involve Disney Blu-rays. This is the perfect time of year to treat someone (or yourself) to a home 3D system because it’s also the time of year when studios release most of their 3D Blu-ray movies.

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Posted by chantal Mon, 28 Nov 2011 17:18:00 GMT

Netflix reveals new user interface experience for Android tablets, iPad counterpart coming soon

By Darren Murph posted Nov 15th 2011 8:25AM

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Netflix Press Release

New Tablet Interface Improves Discovery of TV Shows and Movies

LOS GATOS, Calif., Nov. 15, 2011 /PRNewswire/ – Coinciding with the first shipments of the Amazon Kindle Fire and Barnes & Noble NOOK Tablet™, Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) today unveiled a new interface for Android-powered tablets that makes browsing and instantly watching unlimited TV shows and movies streaming from Netflix better than ever.

The redesigned Netflix experience is much more immersive and provides more focus on the growing Netflix catalog by displaying twice as many titles than the previous interface. In addition, through optimization for touch-enabled tablets, Netflix members can swipe through multiple rows of titles with larger artwork. As a result, it is now much easier to discover and instantly watch movies and TV shows on Android tablets.

“In the last 12 months we have seen a threefold increase in how long Netflix members are watching on their tablets,” said Neil Hunt, chief product officer at Netflix. “We’re happy to debut a new user experience coinciding with the release of the next generation of devices from industry leaders. The new Netflix interface offers a significant improvement in browsing and searching for TV shows and movies to instantly watch.”

Netflix members can enjoy Netflix on their tablets by installing the latest version of the Netflix app, available as a free download in the Android Market™ and respective application download stores for other Android-powered tablets such as the Kindle Fire and NOOK Tablet. The new tablet experience should be available for members with iPads in a few weeks.

Netflix offers convenience and value with a broad selection of Hollywood, international and local movies and TV series. Netflix has revolutionized entertainment by giving people a choice to enjoy what they want to watch, when they want to watch it, and for a low monthly price over a wide-range of Internet-connected devices.

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Posted by chantal Wed, 23 Nov 2011 17:09:00 GMT

Product Profile: Paradigm Monitor Subwoofer 12

Putting Paradigm to the boom test.

November 10, 2011 by

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Paradigm, one of the most loved names in home theater, has introduced three new subwoofers to their line-up. The Monitor SUB 8, SUB 10, and SUB 12. The number, of course, corresponds with the size of the driver. The specs and all the specifics (including the amps) are nearly identical, excepting low frequency extension, so we are going to focus on the largest of the group, the SUB 12 in this preview. You can find information on the others on the Paradigm website listed below.

The Monitor line of subs have been designed with two things in mind: compact footprint and uncompromising bass output and extension. This means that they are trying to get the most performance they can out of their driver in the smallest box possible. We think these are fairly admirable goals and should garner them a lot of buyers if they succeed. Given their track record, we expect them to.

Sub12_cutThe SUB 12 inhabits a small 15-1/8” by 13” by 14-1/2” box. While not the tiniest enclosure we’ve seen, it certainly is small based on the size of the driver. The 12” woofer features a carbon-loaded polypropylene cone, a non-limiting corrugated “Santoprene” surround, a 2”, 4-layer copper-clad aluminum voice coil, 2 Nomex spiders, a 6.5 lb ferrite magnet, and an AVS die-cast heatsink chassis. As the picture above clearly demonstrates, the driver takes up nearly all of the front baffle and the Santoprene surround has a unique ribbed (for your listening pleasure) texture which allows for a full 1.5 inches of excursion on the SUB 12 (slightly less on the others).

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Posted by chantal Tue, 22 Nov 2011 17:09:00 GMT

Is Apple Looking to Conquer the HDTV Market?

The company’s TV plans could be years away – and led by the guy who worked on the iPod.

October 25, 2011 by Rachel Cericola

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In the past, we’ve heard rumblings about Apple making an HDTV product. We’re not talking about the Apple TV set-top, but an actual HDTV. Now, if rumors are correct, the company may actually be putting those plans into motion.

Now, we must say that we’ve heard Apple rumors before—a lot of them, in fact. However, Bloomberg is citing internal sources who claim that Jeff Robbin is being put on the TV project. The engineer isn’t exactly a household name, but he should be. He’s the vice president of consumer applications at Apple, Inc. and lead software designer for iTunes. He’s also one of the people responsible for the iPod.

Of course, none of this is official. All of it, however, is pretty interesting.

The idea that Apple could make a TV is certainly nothing new. However, Steve Jobs apparently thought about it quite a bit. According Walter Isaacson’s newly released biography, the late Apple co-founder said, “It will have the simplest user interface you could imagine.”

Even Jobs’ vision doesn’t guarantee that we will ever see an Apple-branded TV make it to market. It certainly seems to be heading in that direction, though. And even though current manufacturers are stuffing as many features into new sets (3D! Web access! Games!) to make that tough sell, they also don’t have legions of fans lining up for the company’s latest and greatest.

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Posted by chantal Mon, 21 Nov 2011 17:23:00 GMT

An iPod Thermostat to Change the World?

Attractive and easy-to-use Nest thermostat is getting some advance buzz.

October 27, 2011 | by Steven Castle

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Can cool looks and ease of use help us save energy in our homes?

If the web buzz generated this week by the Nest thermostat—which isn’t even available yet—is any indication, the answer is yes.

Nest has a lot going for it. First off, it’s very cool looking, with a pleasing round shape to replace those bulky thermostat boxes, an easy-to-read digital readout and even a little leaf symbol that appears when you’re being good about your energy use.

But perhaps the biggest things Nest has going for it is its Apple pedigree and ease of use. Nest Labs cofounder and CEO Tony Fadell is an ex-Apple executive dedicated to making a thermostat that’s simple to use and program.

Like an iPod, Nest basically has one button, or ring. You rotate the outer ring to adjust the temperature. The display turns blue when cooling and red when heating. Push down to open the menu.

Many people have programmable thermostats that allow programming temperature set points at various times of the day, but few actually program them. Nest says its thermostat can learn your heating and cooling patterns and suggest ways for you to be more energy-efficient. Oh, and if you want, it can be manually programmed for seven days with 20 set points per day.

Nest says the thermostat learns your personal schedule in a week and starts automatically turning down heating or cooling when you’re away to save energy.

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Posted by chantal Fri, 18 Nov 2011 17:21:00 GMT

Monitor Audio Adds Style to i-deck Docks

Monitor Audio’s two new iPod-compatible sound systems are now available.

November 01, 2011 | by Rachel Cericola

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There are an unbelievable number of iPod docks out there. One can truly get lost in the sea of sound options currently available. Monitor Audio has created a pair of standouts, known as the i-deck line.

Two i-deck models are currently available: the i-deck 100 and i-deck 200. Priced at $499, the i-deck 100 features two 3-inch C-CAM bass drivers, two 0.75-inch C-CAM Gold metal dome tweeters, a 28/56-bit dual precision DAC, and twin 30-watt class-D amplifiers. With an MSRP of $599, the i-deck 200 has two 4-inch C-CAM bass drivers, two 1-inch C-CAM Gold metal dome tweeters, the same 28/56-bit dual precision DAC, and 50-watt amplifiers.

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Posted by chantal Thu, 17 Nov 2011 17:12:00 GMT

Readers' Choice Awards 2011: Gaming Consoles, Blu-ray Players, DVRs and Streaming Media Devices

By Ben Gottesman October 31, 2011

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Apple doesn’t make Blu-ray players, but if it did, we have a feeling that OPPO Digital would still beat it in customer satisfaction. The small Silicon Valley-based manufacturer of Blu-ray disc players earns a Readers’ Choice award, having received the highest satisfaction scores of any company in all of our satisfaction surveys this year. Respondents rated overall satisfaction at 9.5 on a scale of 0 (worst) to 10 (best). That was actually the lowest of its major ratings: Overall reliability was a 9.7 and likelihood to recommend was 9.6. For comparison, the highest rated products in 2011 to date were Apple’s desktops and notebooks which rated 9.2 for overall satisfaction.

OPPO currently only has two products on the market, the $499 BDP-93 and the $999 BDP-95. In addition to being designed to meet the demands of audiophiles and videophiles, both provide access to a diverse selection of content including Blu-ray discs and Blu-ray 3D, as well as a variety of streaming sources, including Netflix, Blockbuster, VUDU, YouTube, Pandora, and more.

Not everyone is prepared to spend that much on a Blu-ray player. That’s why we also award a Readers’ Choice to Sony for its Blu-ray players. Sony, the company that first developed Blu-ray technology, makes an extensive line of players. Some are available for under $100 and many more list under $200. Respondents rated Sony’s overall satisfaction at 8.4 and reliability was an 8.8—both strong scores, but paltry compared to OPPO. In addition, Sony’s technical support was rated best among the Blu-ray manufacturers who had enough units needing support to be included in our evaluation, though at only a 6.6 on a scale of 0 to 10, there’s still plenty of room for improvement.

Fortunately, consumers have a lot of good choices when it comes to Blu-ray players. Four other brands also received overall satisfaction ratings over 8.0: LG, Panasonic, Samsung, and Pioneer. LG’s overall satisfaction rating of 8.3 helps it earn an Honorable Mention designation. In addition, LG, along with Vizio, had the highest rating for satisfaction of the Blu-ray players as a streaming media device at 8.0. In general, the streaming ratings for all of the manufacturers were very tightly grouped together. Respondents don’t seem to perceive large difference among brands, but they’re generally happy with their ability to stream content to their television through their Blu-ray player.

Of course, when it comes to Blu-ray players, the elephant in the room is Sony’s PlayStation 3 (PS3). Starting at $250, not only do you get the highest-rated gaming console, you also get an excellent Blu-ray player. Even though we asked respondents to only tell us about their standalone player, many went ahead and rated their PlayStation as a Blu-ray player and actually gave it higher marks for satisfaction and reliability than Sony’s standalone players or anyone else’s players except OPPO. Based on its satisfaction ratings, we recommend you take a close look at the PlayStation before you purchase a standalone Blu-ray player.

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Posted by chantal Wed, 16 Nov 2011 17:15:00 GMT

A Peek at Goldie Hawn’s Media Room

The home that the actress shares with Kurt Russell is up for sale.

October 10, 2011 by Rachel Cericola

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What’s the key to Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell’s lengthy relationship? The Hollywood couple sure knows how to live.

The duo just listed their Malibu beach house for a cool $14.7 million, and it includes quite a few high-tech amenities.

The duo doesn’t have a full-blown home theater here, but the media room below should suffice. Besides a projector and the big screen you see here, HomeSeekers says that the room also includes Crestron control.

If you take a peek around the rest of the property, you’ll see that this home also has its share of flat screens. There’s one in the bathroom, one above the stove in the kitchen, and one for catching a quick glimpse of the news while on your way out to the tranquil courtyard.

Built in 1978, the 4,300-square-foot house was renovated in 2005. It has a total of four bedrooms and 4.5 bathrooms, as well as a guesthouse with an exercise room. Just in case those ocean views aren’t enough to calm your soul, one of those bedrooms doubles as a meditation room.

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Posted by chantal Mon, 14 Nov 2011 17:45:00 GMT