News / Media

Essential iOS apps for the home theatre enthusiast

HUGH THOMPSON Published Wednesday, Jun. 01, 2011

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Analysts estimate that by the end of 2011, the number of Apple iPads sold worldwide could be as high as 50 million units. Stimulating this demand is a community of software developers that has now released more than 500,000 apps for Apple’s iOS devices.

For home theatre enthusiasts, the exciting news is that within the last year a multitude of apps have been released that can control most elements of your home theatre, including your high definition television, A/V Receiver, Blu-ray Player, home theatre personal computer (HTPC) and various media extenders such as the Apple TV, Squeezebox and Boxee.

Due to the overwhelming number of new iOS apps being released every day, it is difficult to keep up with all of the new releases, so the following is an overview of my favourite home theatre-related apps, along with some other recently released equipment-specific apps that may be useful in many home theatres.

Audio Video Receiver Control

If you have bought a networked home theatre receiver in 2011 then there is an excellent chance that an app for controlling your device exists. Since the start of the year, Denon, Onkyo, Pioneer and Yamaha have released apps that let you take control of your receiver from anywhere on your home network. Excellent for home theatres with a multi-zone setup.

Boxee Remote Boxee Remote is a popular and free cross-platform home theatre PC media centre application that lets users play video files on their HDTV. The Boxee software also gives users access to various Internet streaming services, including Netflix. The Boxee remote app turns your iOS device into a Boxee Remote Control.

CineXPlayer This is a $3 app that’s essential for downloaders who wish to watch native Xvid movies on their iPad, iPhone or iPod touch.

Find My iPhone I’m always looking for the lost remote and now I often find myself searching for the iPad. Solve the problem by installing the Find My iPhone app. If you can’t find your iPad, just go to and send a signal to your iPad. For the next two minutes, your iPad will play a sound at full volume so you can quickly find it in your house.

Good Reader If you are having a problem with your A/V receiver or HDTV, then maybe it’s time to review the manual. The Good reader is a robust PDF reader that lets you search, annotate and read digital versions of all your manuals right on your iOS device.

HDTV and Blu-ray Remotes

Within the last six months, most major consumer electronics companies such as LG, Panasonic, Samsung and Sony have released free iOS apps to control their network enabled High definition televisions and Blu-ray players. The apps generally only work with models released in the last six months so be sure to check the iTunes store for suitability with your HDTV or Blu-ray player.

Logitech Squeezebox Controller The Squeezebox is a popular networked music player that plays Internet radio or digital audio across a home network. This app lets puts a fully featured Squeezebox remote on your iOS device.

Movie Information

If you trying to decide what movie to pick up at the local video store of if you can’t figure out who played in a particular movie then download the free Movies by Flixster and IMDb Movies and TV apps. Flixster uses the popular movie aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes to give you the critics viewpoint on virtually any North American movie from the last 20 years, while the IMDB app lets you find out more information about your favourite actor, director and movie. No movie lover should be without these apps.

RedEye The Red Eye infrared remote is a great way to turn your iOS device into an infrared remote extender remote controller for all of your home theatre devices. Using hardware sold separately, the RedEye app lets you send remote control signals to your home theatre using your home network.

Remote Developed by Apple, Remote gives Mac and PC users the ability to control iTunes and Apple TV over you WiFI Network. If you want to stream video or audio from an iTunes server to your TV or stereo then get this app.

Remote HD This $5 app lets you view a live display of your Mac, PC or Apple TV screen from your iOS device. Great when you want to keep your computer or Apple TV out of sight but still want to control them remotely. If you are looking for just a remote track pad app for your Home Theatre PC, be sure to check out Mobile Mouse, which also works with Apple TV

Sonos Controller When I am asked to recommend a multi-room music, I often point readers towards the Sonos multi-room music system. The Sonos system is expensive but thanks to the gorgeous and well-designed Sonos music app, it’s a joy to use.

Video Streaming

Air Video Air Video is one of my favourite apps. After installing the free Air Video server on your computer, this $2.99 app will let you stream your entire video library over your local network. Ideal when you want to watch a video on you iPad while lying in bed, working out or sitting in the backyard. The free server software also lets you convert your AVI, DivX and MKV files into a iPad or iPhone friendly video library so you can watch videos when you’re away from home. Another popular streaming app to consider is StreamToMe which delivers much of the same functionality as Air Video.

VLC Remote VLC is a free cross platform media player that belongs on every Mac, Windows and Linux computer. VLC is a lightweight application that comes without bloatware and is legendary for its ability to play virtually any media file you can throw at it. The $4.99 VLC Remote app allows you to control search folders and play media files from your computer while sitting at your couch.

Wake To save electricity, most of my computers are programmed to switch to a low power or “sleep” mode when left unattended. If you stream video or music from a centralized computer, you sometimes need the ability to remotely wake up your computer from standby. This 99 cent app is compatible with all “Wake on Lan” capable devices.

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Posted by chantal Fri, 24 Jun 2011 16:08:00 GMT

Universal Android remote beats Google to punch

MAY 16, 2011 by Eric Mack

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Last week, Google unleashed Android@Home, inviting developers to have at the code and get going on creating a whole new generation of home automation and interaction. But if you just can’t wait for the garage tinkerers of the world to build the gadgets that will finally usher in the Jetsons age, one Korean company is already ahead of the game.

South Korea’s Conspin is already offering the Smart Touch URC Andi-One (PDF), which is basically the world’s ultimate universal remote, but it also runs on Android 2.1, fulfills much of the promise of Android@Home, and is available now.

You’ve never seen a gadget quite like the Andi-One before–think of a hybrid of a traditional remote control and a tablet computer. Besides being able to control just about any device in your house that communicates via IR and RF, it’s also Wi-Fi equipped and can run Android apps.

So, basically, this is the first device that allows you to play Angry Birds, receive an e-mail from your buddy telling you that the Angry Birds opera is finally out, and change the channel to PBS where you can listen to an angry soprano bird belting it out in the background while you continue with your game.

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Posted by chantal Tue, 07 Jun 2011 16:08:00 GMT

Marvell chip designed to improve LED light quality

MAY 16, 2011 by Martin LaMonica

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Semiconductor company Marvell today is set to introduce a chip geared at improving the light from LED bulbs and connecting them to a network. The 8801 chip is small–about the size of a penny–and will be about the same price as existing LED lighting electronics.

If Marvell signs on light manufacturer customers, it could bring the very good light quality of some commercial LEDs to more affordable consumer products, said Kishore Manghnani, vice president of Marvell’s Communications and Consumer business. He said the chip, which integrates multiple functions on this single controller chip, is being tested by commercial or consumer light fixture makers now and it takes them about six months to introduce products with new chips.

Light quality for consumer LED bulbs has improved over the past few years but the color rending index (CRI), a measure of quality, is still not as high as incandescent bulbs. With the chip, Manghnani said a CRI of 95, higher than most of the consumer LED bulbs available now, is possible. The chip can control the current and temperature of two types of LED light sources. So a fixture or bulb maker could use the chip and driver to use LEDs with two different colors, such as white and red, to improve color rendering. Until now, the electronics to control different colored LEDs would be too large or expensive for consumer products, Manghnani said.

The Marvell component will also make LED dimming more precise and allow a lighting company to embed a wireless chip in the bulb. With a wireless ZigBee or Wi-Fi radio, lights can be controlled from a central point or set on a schedule. Last week, Google demonstrated a networked LED bulb controlled by its Android@Home software due for release by the end of the year.

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Posted by chantal Wed, 01 Jun 2011 16:10:00 GMT

MOG available on select LG products

by Rachel Cericola/Electronic House

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LG just added one more reason to get one of their web-enabled products. The company just announced that they now have MOG available on select LG devices.

The streaming music service can be accessed through LG’s Smart TV platform on select Blu-ray players and home theater systems. Once you select the MOG app, you can browse and play millions of songs, all from your remote control.

“MOG remains focused on ensuring our users have the best listening experience wherever they are, and thanks to LG’s Smart TV platform, consumers can now enjoy high-quality, on-demand streaming of music in the living room,” said David Hyman, CEO of MOG. “We designed this app specifically for the living room and can’t wait for people to experience the gorgeous graphics, simplicity of the app, and high quality audio.”

A few key MOG features include unlimited, ad-free listening; charts, editors’ picks and new releases; MOG radio; and music streams at 320kbps.

Another key feature: the price. That’s right; MOG isn’t free. The MOG Basic service delivers MOG access on LG’s Blu-ray players and home theater systems, as well as on for $4.99 per month. To add in iPhone and Android access, expect to pay $9.99 per month. If you want to try before you buy, MOG does offer a free 14-day trial.

For now, MOG is only available on LG’s BD650, BD670, BD690 Blu-ray players, and LG’s LHB336, LHB536, LHB976 home theater systems. It’s also available through LG’s new Smart TV Upgrader set-top box. LG expects to add the service to Smart TV Enabled HDTVs soon.

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Posted by chantal Tue, 24 May 2011 16:10:00 GMT

Google TV revamp wont show for months: Samsung, Vizio due

Google TV to miss Google IO but get Samsung, Vizio

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Google’s revamped Google TV won’t show until much later in the year but will have some partners in tow, insiders said Wednesday. The new platform would skip next week’s Google I/O conference entirely and would only be unveiled in “coming months.” AllThingsD was, however, told that Samsung and Vizio were signing on to join Logitech and Sony.

Stories that it would hinge on faster processors weren’t ruled out, but the source pointed to the Revue and Sony’s Internet TV hardware being upgradeable.

Google is known to be considering the new, as yet unseen version of Google TV a practical reboot of the platform following a tepid launch late last year. Despite marketing from itself and its early partners, the Android-based TV platform quickly fell out of favor. Logitech reached less than a third of its projected revenue in early 2011. Promised support for third-party apps early in 2011 also never materialized and now won’t arrive until the new revision later this year.

The platform is widely considered Google’s attempt at countering Apple TV but has been criticized for being too web-centric and presumptive about TV providers’ plans. It was designed to show web video and TV results side-by-side but was rendered near-useless for mainstream content after most major providers blocked it. Without a dedicated media store like the Apple TV or support for third-party apps, Google TV devices provided relatively little advantage and were also docked for higher prices and sluggish performance.

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Posted by chantal Mon, 23 May 2011 16:08:00 GMT

PowerDVD 11 Coming Soon, Includes Smartphone Remote

by Jeff Kleist on Apr 19, 2011

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In several videos, since made private on the official Cyberlink Youtube channel, Cyberlink has demonstrated some of the new capabilities of PowerDVD 11. A new remote control application, confirmed for Android and presumably coming to iOS as well, will let you control every aspect of playback right from your tablet or smartphone, or even use a touchpad area to control your cursor like a standard mouse. Other features coming to PowerDVD 11 include 3D simulation on 2D movies, improvements in Blu-ray playback and compatibility, and supposedly tighter integration with Windows Media Center.

PC Blu-ray playback has improved by leaps and bounds over the last few years. At the beginning, HTPC enthusiasts had to keep a copy of all the major software playback packages on their machines because usually any compatibility problems with a disc wouldn’t affect all three. As the format has become more stable and standardized, including Blu-ray in your HTPC has become more practical and affordable, with BD-ROM drives coming in as low as $50 on sale. Future laptops may include glasses-free 3D features, made practical by the fact they are mostly used head-on with a very limited viewing angle, so computer playback may be on the verge of getting very popular as the price of screens like the one used in the Nintendo 3DS come down.

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Posted by chantal Wed, 11 May 2011 16:19:00 GMT

HBO Debuts HBO GO App for Apple TV, iOS, and Android

by Jeff Kleist on Apr 19, 2011

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After giving Netflix a very public cold shoulder, HBO has debuted its new HBO GO app, which works with movile devices and set top boxes like Apple TV and GoogleTV. While still requiring an active HBO subscription (which must be obtained as part of a cable package, no streaming only kids), HBO GO claims to provide every episode of every season of every show they’ve got, as well as a selection of current movies available on the channel. While availability is at the whim of your cable provider/ISP, much like ESPN service on Xbox Live, it’s expected to be up and running on all the majors by the end of next month, including the lagging Time Warner Cable.

The real question is how long this honeymoon period is going to last, where the cable companies can continue to demand fealty from the heavy hitters like HBO, and with young people cutting the cord, how long will it really be before they want to collect that $14 a month direct? I know I’d consider picking up HBO a few months a year if I didn’t have the albatross of a cable subscription hanging onto it when a show or miniseries I want to see is on. It’s just a question of how many subscriptions they have to lose before that happens

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Posted by chantal Wed, 04 May 2011 16:18:00 GMT

Panasonic rolls out new apps for its 2011 Viera Connect TVs

By Dana Wollman

We knew Panasonic was going to unleash a slew of new apps for its Viera Connect televisions, and now it looks like they’re finally ready to hit the ground running – for its 2011 models, anyway. Back in January the company released its Viera SDK to developers, and now it has a smattering of games and sports apps to show for it, including the long-promised NBA Game Time, which includes standings and highlights from recent games. In case you’re curious, there’s no sign yet of Asphalt 5 HD, also announced at CES, though Panasonic says the title should be launching in the near future. Also on tap are MLS and NHL applications, each of which let you watch live games – provided you subscribe to these leagues’ live game packages. Panasonic says the NHL app is slated for the middle of this month, and you can expect MLS in early May. What we’re most excited about, though, is an app that syncs with select NordicTrack treadmills (due out “later this year”), pairing your run with a first-person view in Google Earth. We can’t wait to embark on a simulated run through the streets of Paris (versus, you know, actually going there), but alas, Panasonic wasn’t ready to demo the app quite yet.

As always, Viera’s apps are arranged in a grid of large squares, right down to the standings and recorded matches in MLS, all of which makes these sets easy to navigate using a remote control. (We’ll be curious to see what it’s like playing Asphalt 5 with the remote, which you’ll have to do if you don’t want to spring for an optional wireless gaming controller.) The interface adds the occasional visual flourish, too, including a carousel of NHL standings and fly-in news categories in the AP’s news app. The software is generally responsive, although you might find yourself waiting a few extra seconds for news blurbs and other information-heavy tidbits to load.

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Posted by chantal Tue, 19 Apr 2011 16:21:00 GMT

Electronic House Names Product of Year Awards: Part 14

Best products in 35 categories unveiled at CES 2011 in Las Vegas.
January 06, 2011 by Steve Crowe

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Electronic House has announced the winners of its 2011 Product of the Year Awards during an awards presentation at CES 2011 in Las Vegas.
Covering 35 different categories, the winning entries were chosen by a panel of industry experts, integrators and the editors of Electronic House. Judging criteria included creativity, innovation, incorporated equipment, obstacles overcome, aesthetics, and lifestyle benefits.

A/V Racks & Rack Accessories

Salamander Designs Professional Audio Rack Mounts

Now, for the first time, it is possible to own Pro Audio Rack Mounts that look like furniture. Salamander has added rack mounting capability to its Synergy System line and to all nine decorator styles in its Chameleon Collection of A/V cabinets. The Synergy rack mounts are available for single, twin, and triple-width cabinets in open and full-door configurations in many heights, supporting up to 42 rack space units. Twenty-inch high cabinets, for example, support 10-rack units, 30-inch cabinets support 15 rack units, and 40-inch cabinets support 21-unit racks. The Chameleon Collection rack mounts are available in all nine Chameleon styles (Berlin, Hampton, Sonoma, Geneva, Barcelona, Corsica, Elba, Oslo, and Venice) and in each of four different configurations. Additional features include a strong, extruded aluminum frameworks soft-closing door dampers and lacing bars for managing cables.Using the mounts, it is possible to isolate hot running gear in cabinet segments, which are thermally managed by an automatic active cooling system. All the rack mounts are constructed of premium components with exceptional attention to detail, reliability and durability. And whether someone selects the Ready-to-Assemble Synergy System or fully assembled Chameleon Collection units, he or she can be assured the racks will be rock solid for supporting electronic gear.

Remote Home Monitoring and Management

ADT Security Services, Inc. Pulse Interactive Solutions

ADT Pulse Interactive Solutions is a new smart home solution that goes beyond traditional home security to provide a new level of control, accessibility and connection with the home. As connectivity and interactivity are driving the way people live and manage their homes, ADT Pulse gives you a way to manage your home from wherever life takes you and takes into consideration the needs of today’s always-connected consumer. It includes a flexible, full-featured security system for intrusion and fire detection to meet the needs of virtually any residential security application. But it’s also more than just remote security—it is controlling lights, thermostats and seeing video. ADT Pulse provides you with anywhere, anytime access to your home via smartphones or personal computers. Via secure access from web-enabled devices, you can easily get a quick status of your home, remotely arm and disarm your security system, adjust lighting or thermostat levels, or view real-time video or stored video clips from security cameras covering different areas of your home. Customized schedules for turning the lights on or off can be programmed, event-based text messages can be sent to mobile devices, and so much more.

Whole Home Control

Savant Systems Savant TrueControl iPad App

Savant’s latest TrueContol Automation App transforms the iPad into the ultimate remote for your Savant Automation, Control and Entertainment System. Savant’s TrueControl App provides a truly comfortable and lead-edge way for controlling your audio and video systems, lighting, security, climate and any other subsystem or technology. Savant’s TrueControl incorporates a number of innovative core features including: Category and Services Docks, Navigation Bar and Active Content, User Customization including backgrounds, categories & channel favorites, Supports TrueImage Control™, Multi-Room Control, Push-to-Talk (PTT) Intercom Communication, Guest Access and Remote Access, Internet Music and Subscription Services (Rhapsody, Pandora,, etc.) and Screensaver mode including slideshows.

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Posted by chantal Tue, 08 Mar 2011 17:58:00 GMT

Crestron Mobile PRO G for iPad

Promo and demo video for the Mobile PRO G.

Posted by chantal Mon, 24 Jan 2011 17:41:00 GMT