News / Media

Netflix Button Coming to Remotes in Spring

The new feature will provide streaming services to subscribers with one click.

By Rachel Cericola January 06, 2011

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Still not sold on Netflix? Your remote control might think differently. Netflix announced they will soon become a part of every day remote control use, by getting their own button.

Starting this spring, a few manufacturers will include a Netflix button right on the remote. Haier, Memorex, Panasonic, Samsung, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba, and Best Buy’s Dynex brand are all planning to put the button on new (and applicable) Blu-ray players. Sony, Sharp and Toshiba will feature the button on remotes for web-enabled TVs.

Set-tops are not immune to the Netflix button. Boxee, Iomega and Roku are all planning to add the button to remotes that are included with their web-enabled set-top boxes….

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Posted by chantal Thu, 27 Jan 2011 00:54:00 GMT

Product Feature: Sony VPL-VW90ES

Sony’s major home theatre focus at the 2010 CES was 3D. Likewise, at the 2010 CEDIA Expo, 3D was the focus. Sony debuted the new VPL-VW90ES, the company’s first 3D projector. Designed to appeal to the custom and specialty enthusiast market, the VPL-VW90ES is the first projector to be branded as an “Elevated Standard” (ES) product. This sub-$10,000 home theatre projector features Silicon X-tal Reflective Display (SXRD) full HD (1920 x 1080) and Sony’s proprietary 240 Hz high frame rate technology. The Advance Iris 3 technology is said to enable a 150,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio. Brightness is specified at 1,000 ANSI lumens. The price includes two pairs of Sony’s Active 3D glasses and a 3D transmitter. The projector will also be capable of simulating 3D from 2D sources. As an ES product, the projector will be supported with a five-year warranty.

From Widescreen Review Magazine, Nov 2010

Posted by chantal Tue, 25 Jan 2011 17:18:00 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

Product Feature: Samsung UN65C8000 3D HDTV

The new Samsung UN65C8000 is on of the largest Full HD 3D LED back-lit HDTVs available for the home today. It features Samsung’s built-in 3D processor, Real 240 Hz refresh rate technology, dynamic 8,000,000:1 contrast ration, Samsung Apps, and proprietary Precision Dimming technology. It also supports Skype via Samsung Apps. This means that users can make calls right from their HDTV, turning it into a huge video screen and bringing an almost life-like quality to video calls.

From Widescreen Review Magazine, Nov 2010

Posted by chantal Mon, 17 Jan 2011 17:18:00 GMT

DM 8G - Go Digital with Crestron

Learn about the 2nd generation DigitalMedia (DM 8G) distribution solution. Understand the future of analog, specifically what the AACS says and means.

Posted by chantal Fri, 14 Jan 2011 17:13:00 GMT

Review: Integra DTR-80.2 A/V Receiver

You’ll reap the latest high-tech rewards by setting up the DTR-80.2 A/V receiver to fuel your home theater.

November 30, 2010 by Arlen Schweiger

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Here’s a novel thought: Setting up your home theater can be fun!

With a component such as the DTR-80.2 9.2-channel THX Ultra2 Plus A/V receiver from Integra, you can spend a day tweaking your system’s sound and still not discover all of this beast’s capabilities. It may take a day just to sift through the 120-page manual.

Integra components are typically obtained through custom electronics (CE) professionals, who should be versed the DTR-80.2’s ins and outs, as its setup and operation can be daunting. But if you do install this receiver yourself, chances are you’re a techie—and you are about to have a blast.

The rear panel is very busy, but also well marked, so making all of the A/V connections is more tedious than difficult (go wild with eight 3D-ready HDMI 1.4a inputs). Integra is considerate with its speaker connections: terminals for a surround-sound setup are color-coded, and included in the instruction manual are corresponding stickers for your wires.

There are front-panel niceties, too, like USB, HDMI, analog audio, video and digital optical ports.

The first thing I did was update the firmware. I connected an Ethernet cable from the rear port to my Linksys router, and followed the menu steps. The manual noted that the process could take up to 30 minutes, but it didn’t take half that before the onscreen display told me it was “complete.”

Fortunately, my PC is in my theater room and I had it on while updating the receiver’s firmware. Almost instantaneously, the notification popped up on my desktop saying that a DLNA-compatible device had been found on the network (good sign). By going through the NET/USB button on the receiver’s remote, I verified that the DTR-80.2 quickly discovered my PC’s Nero Media Home network software (better sign).

Using the onscreen display, I played some of my high-quality 256 and 320 kbps (kilobits per second) MP3 files. They sounded superb, and changing tracks was simple via the RETURN button; you can also use traditional FAST FORWARD buttons to go to other tracks or move within a song, as well as PAUSE it.

Next I tested Pandora. It took a few tries, as inputting the email address and password is rather clunky. It’s worth it, though, because having a networked, multizone receiver with Pandora access will make you golden for hosting parties. Options include creating a new station, playing a “quickmix,” playing one of the customized stations I’d already created, or signing out. I picked a station I’d made for jam-band music.

After brief buffering, Pandora delivered, and the sound quality was impressive for streaming, much better than through my computer and its speakers. You can drill into Pandora functions to give songs a thumb’s up or down, delete selections, bookmark and more. One thing I couldn’t find, though, was artist and song title info.

Network access is only part of the DTR-80.2’s charms. Other highlights include Audyssey MultEQ XT32 room correction and speaker setup, as well as a wealth of listening modes to suit your sources (I found “all channel stereo” quite enveloping). Surround sound from Blu-rays and DVDs was expansive and detailed through the DTR-80.2, whether it was Dolby TrueHD, DTS-HD Master Audio or regular Dolby Digital and DTS 5.1—I did not try out the Dolby Pro Logic IIz “height channels” application, but you can wire your system for that extra front-channel configuration too.

Plus don’t forget about the strong video processing, which comes via HQV Reon-VX for processing and upscaling, so all of your sources can get the HD treatment, like the much-improved standard-def channels I watched through the DTR-80.2 that I’m still waiting on my cable provider to add to our HD lineup…

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Posted by chantal Thu, 13 Jan 2011 19:20:00 GMT

VIZIO Unveils 65” Theater 3D Razor LED HDTV with Superior 3D Performance and Battery-Free, Comfortable Eyewear

Press Release Thursday, December 16, 2010

Irvine, CA—December 16, 2010 — VIZIO, America’s #1 LCD HDTV Company, announced today the introduction of their new Theater 3D technology with the launch of the 65” Theater 3D™ Edge Lit Razor LED™ LCD HDTV with VIZIO Internet Apps. VIZIO’s Theater 3D technology provides a superior alternative to conventional 3D by utilizing battery-free, affordable and lightweight 3D glasses causing less eyestrain than the current “Active Shutter” technology. The 65” XVT3D650SV is VIZIO’s largest HDTV ever and is available just in time for the holidays.

VIZIO’s Theater 3D technology delivers on the brand promise of “Entertainment Freedom For All” by eliminating the complications and shortcomings of 3D based on Active Shutter technology. Theater 3D technology produces clear, flicker-free 3D images that are noticeably brighter than conventional 3D and eliminates costly and bulky 3D eyewear that requires batteries or charging. This 65” XVT series Theater 3D HDTV brings that cinema-style 3D experience home and with four sets of 3D glasses included, this immersive experience can be shared immediately among family and friends. The Theater 3D glasses will come in multiple styles, require no charging, and are compatible with most movie theaters.

“Our Theater 3D technology is a significant step forward in bringing a high-quality, immersive experience home to consumers,” stated Matthew McRae, VIZIO CTO. “The bright and flicker-free images, extremely low crosstalk, and comfortable glasses allow extended viewing of content without the side-effects associated with the first generation of 3D technology. This is increasingly important as more content is released and 3D gaming goes mainstream.”

The Best 3D Experience
VIZIO Theater 3D™ incorporates circular polarized 3D technology in the TV to deliver a superior 3D experience to Active Shutter and other 3D technologies. Utilizing the same 3D movie standards being used by a majority of local theaters, VIZIO Theater 3D has several performance advantages over conventional active 3D systems. Theater 3D is up to 50% brighter, has one half of the visual crosstalk distortion, handles fast action motion without blurring images, has a wider horizontal viewing angle and has none of the annoying flickering of Active Shutter 3D that may cause eye strain.

By including four pairs of lightweight and comfortable Theater 3D glasses with the TV, VIZIO has eliminated two of the most common objections to 3DTV purchases – the need to wear bulky 3D glasses that require batteries or recharging, and the need to invest in expensive additional 3D glasses after the TV purchase so the entire family can enjoy it together. Two of the four pairs are specially designed to accommodate prescription eyeglass wearers. By incorporating all of the 3D processing into the TV instead of burdening the eyewear as is the case with Active 3D, VIZIO Theater 3D enables users to wear comfortable, eco-friendly battery-free lenses in place of Active Shutter glasses that are not only heavy and awkward to wear, but require recharging and other maintenance.

Support for the Widest Array of 3D Formats
The XVT3D650SV supports the widest selection of 3D formats to ensure compatibility across Blu-ray, broadcast, cable, satellite, and gaming. In addition to the standard formats, VIZIO also supports SENSIO® Hi-Fi 3D, the high quality, visually lossless 3D format that enables 3D content to be delivered over 2D infrastructure as well as RealD’s patented side-by-side format.

VIZIO’s Leading LED Picture Quality
VIZIO’s Smart Dimming™ technology in this Edge-Lit Razor LED intelligently controls its array of LEDs, which are organized in 32 zones. Working frame by frame, based on the content being displayed, Smart Dimming adjusts brightness in precise steps down to pure black (where the LED is completely off). This cutting edge technology minimizes light leakage, and enables a Dynamic Contrast Ratio of 1 Million to 1, for blacker blacks and whiter whites on the same screen.

VIZIO Internet Apps™ (VIA)
The XVT3D650SV features the latest VIZIO Internet Apps (VIA) Connected HDTV platform. VIA delivers unprecedented choice and control of web-based content directly to the television without the need for a PC or set-top box. Current Apps from top online content and service brands include: Amazon Video On Demand, Facebook, Flickr, Netflix, Rhapsody, Pandora, Twitter, VUDU and Yahoo! TV Widgets. Additional Apps recently released include Fandango, Yahoo Fantasy Football, NBA Game Time, Wiki TV, My-Cast, MediaBox, TuneIn Radio, Web Videos and iMemories.

Navigating VIA is simple, using a Bluetooth Universal Remote that includes a slide-out QWERTY keypad. State of the art wireless Internet access is available through built-in Dual-Band 802.11n Wi-Fi, allowing viewers to enjoy the convenience of on demand movies, TV shows, social networking, music, photos and more with just the push of a button on the Bluetooth Remote.

Advanced Audio
To enhance the advanced video technologies of this 65-inch 3D display, the latest high performance audio technologies are provided, thanks to SRS Labs. The XVT3D650SV delivers an immersive, virtual high definition surround sound through SRS TruSurround HD™ that creates an immersive feature-rich surround sound experience from two speakers, complete with rich bass, high frequency detail and clearer dialog. In addition, SRS TruVolume™ is included - a revolutionary solution that provides a consistent and comfortable volume level while watching TV programming for a more enjoyable multimedia experience.

Posted by chantal Wed, 12 Jan 2011 17:22:00 GMT

LG bringing world's largest LED-backlit 3D LCD HDTV to CES: 72-inch LZ9700

By Darren Murph Dec 27th on

LG swore up and down that it would be bumping its smart TV investment to kick-start 2011, and lo and behold, it looks as if this is one New Year’s resolution that’ll be kept. The aforesaid company has just revealed that it’ll be bringing the planet’s largest LED-backlit 3D LCD HDTV to CES 2011 next week, with the LZ9700 handling both 2D and 3D content and offering TruMotion 400Hz to smooth out Cam Newton’s faster-than-fast evasion techniques. As you’d expect, this set is also outfitted with the company’s Smart TV functions, giving owners access to TV apps, games, language classes, etc. The company’s also talking up its Magic Motion Remote Control – a diddy we’ll definitely be anxious to put to the test once we land in Vegas. There’s no mention of an expected price, but it’ll be available starting in “early 2011” for those who passed on HDI’s 100-incher.

Posted by chantal Tue, 11 Jan 2011 17:36:00 GMT

Bird Rock Surf Cam

Web cam installation and service by Audio Impact.

“Bird Rock Surf Cam is a local run grass roots organization committed to keeping our waters clean, community safe and beach preserved. ”

Posted by chantal Mon, 10 Jan 2011 17:35:00 GMT

5 Decades of CES Hits and Epic Flops

by Julianne Pepitone, Tuesday, January 4, 2011

The Consumer Electronics Show is the tech industry’s annual gadget lovefest. It’s launched some history-making devices – and some major disasters.

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1970: VCR

The Consumer Electronics Show spans five decades: It launched in New York City way back in 1967, mainly as a spinoff of the Chicago Music Show. The show experimented with different cities and twice-a-year schedules until 1998, when it moved permanently to Las Vegas and became an annual extravaganza.

In the 1970s, CES was still largely a trade show, with little mainstream media coverage. The first CES of the decade brought the commercial debut of the Videocassette Recorder, which was first marketed as an easy way to record TV shows for later viewing.

VCRs had been around since the mid-1950s, but they cost around $50,000 and were used mainly by TV networks.

An awestruck audience at the 1970 CES loved the VCR’s convenience – but Hollywood battled back, warning that piracy would run rampant and kill network television.

The VHS remained on top until the late 1990s, when the DVD (unveiled at the 1996 CES) began to take over. By the early 2000s, the DVD was king of pre-recorded releases. But even today, blank VHS tapes are a major medium for recording content – and VCRs are still big sellers, though they’re now most often found in DVD player combo units.

1976: Cheap Digital Watches

Texas Instruments was slogging through a tough decade. The company invented the single-chip microprocessor, which revolutionized small devices like calculators. Then it got caught in a price war that decimated its sales in the very market it created.

But TI turned itself around with a product that seems almost silly in retrospect: an electronic digital watch that sold for just $19.95. The trend took off overnight and became a bona fide craze – much to the chagrin of classic watch manufacturers, who saw their market share decrease rapidly.

TI was so successful, in fact, that it dropped the price of its digital watch to $9.95 less than a year later. But ever-cheaper knockoffs from Asia arrived in 1978, and TI’s digital watch sales plummeted in 1979. The company left the digital watch business in 1981, though the devices live on as a throwback symbol of nerdery everywhere.

1996: Apple Pippin

Apple’s a hotshot tech company now, but the mid-’90s saw the company fighting for relevance after several failed products. The Pippin launched at CES 1996 as a network computer that could also be used to play games. Apple licensed the technology to Japanese toymaker Bandai, and the pair launched the multimedia device as a team.

The San Jose Mercury News called the Pippin the “future of cyberspace,” but consumers were confused by the half-computer, half-console branding. The Pippin’s 14.4 kpbs modem made the device super-slow, and few games were available for the Mac operating system.

The Pippin cost $600 – almost double the price tag of consoles from rivals Nintendo and Sega. It’s estimated that only about 10,000 Pippins were purchased in the U.S. The device is now considered one of the Apple’s biggest flops.

PC World named the Pippin No. 22 on its list of the 25 worst tech products of all time. In their words: “Underpowered, overpriced, and underutilized – that pretty much describes everything that came out of Apple in the mid-90s.”

2001: Microsoft Xbox

Bill Gates unveiled the highly anticipated Xbox, Microsoft’s first video game console, in a keynote speech at the 2001 CES. The sleek black box included an Ethernet port, a built-in 8GB hard drive and the capability to play movie DVDs.

Professional wrestling star The Rock joined Gates on stage for the announcement of WWF’s “Raw is War” Xbox game. The unlikely pair bantered for a few minutes in front of the audience.

“To the untrained eye, it just might appear that The Rock and Bill Gates don’t have a heck of a lot in common,” The Rock quipped. “That can’t be further from the truth. Both The Rock and Bill Gates stand on top of their industry. And both The Rock and Bill Gates are bestselling authors.”

The Xbox was released a few months later to long lines and waiting lists. Some of the platform’s games that have become legendary, including the “Halo” series, various NFL titles and “Dead or Alive.” In 2002, Microsoft launched its Xbox Live online gaming service.

The next generation of the console came in 2005 with the launch of Xbox 360. But the original Xbox is still beloved, and video game sites including IGN have named it one of the top consoles ever launched.

2003: Blu-Ray Disc

The Blu-ray Disc, unveiled at CES 2003, was supposed to be the David to HD DVD’s Goliath.

Both formats offered improved picture and sound quality over the regular ol’ DVD. But HD DVD, developed by Toshiba and NEC, had already attracted the big players. Its supporters included Microsoft, Intel (Nasdaq: INTC - News) and Warner Bros – and the format was backed by the influential DVD Forum industry group.

USA Today dismissed Blu-ray as an also-ran in an article touting HD DVD’s quality: “Sony has developed the competing Blu-ray DVD, but hasn’t signed up any studios beyond its own.”

Despite HD’s major leg up, the Blu-ray Disc Association soldiered on as a joint venture between Sony and Philips – and slowly slowly garnered support from content manufacturers and major retailers.

A mere day before CES 2008, Warner Bros. announced it would drop HD DVD for Blu-ray. That signaled the end for HD. Less than one month later, Toshiba conceded defeat and discontinued its HD DVD business. Once again, a tortoise triumphed over the hare.

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Posted by chantal Fri, 07 Jan 2011 17:11:00 GMT