Jan 16 2018

News - CES 2018 - Axiim & WiSA

It would be impossible to tell the WiSA and Axiim stories separately for CES 2018, so we are going to have to combine the two here. From a straight technology perspective, not much seems to have changed with the WiSA standard. Aside from Axiim there have only been some minor changes to the available consumer hardware. Although some major brands have recently joined the alliance so we could see additional speaker options before the end of the year. They had an interesting demo available however, where an LG TV output stereo PCM audio to a WiSA USB dongle. Removing the need for a separate AVR.

Jan 16 2018

News - CES 2018 - SVS

I wasn’t surprised at all that SVS puts on a good audio demo. Naturally both the SB-4000 and Ultra 5 speaker system I got to listen to briefly sounded great. But, I was not prepared to as impressed as I was by their “coming soon” Prime Wireless DTS Play-Fi enabled speaker.

Jan 15 2018

News - CES 2018 - LifeDoor

In every conversation I’ve had since returning from CES ’18, LifeDoor has come up near the top of my list of interesting products that we saw at the show. And, the response has been universally positive as well. After all, what’s not to like about a simple, easy to install, device that listens for a smoke alarm, illuminates the room, and collaboratively closes the all the doors they are installed on - potentially protecting your family from smoke and oxygen depletion. LifeDoor costs $100, the battery (2x 9V) lasts 2-3 years, and for the Z-Wave home automation crowd you can use it to close the door even if it’s not a life-or-death situation.

Jan 15 2018

News - CES 2018 - Skyworth

This isn’t the first time I’ve run across Skyworth at CES, but it is the first time I’ve noticed an OLED display in their booth. Like everyone else, the panels are sourced from LG, so that’s not particularly interesting. What is quite engaging however is the expected price point of the displays when they come to the US later this year. Three models are planned with 55”/$1500, 65”/$2000, and 75”/$3500-$4000 the expected sizes and prices. The models at the show were prototypes and as such way too early to judge harshly, but I do hope they take the time and effort to get the video processing nailed. There were a few issues quite apparent.

Jan 15 2018

News - CES 2018 - Fraunhofer & Sennheiser

One of the great things about actually going to CES, is that you get a chance to explore a little; and sometimes experience new and interesting things before they make it to market. The MPEG-H demo at the Fraunhofer booth was a perfect example of this.

Jan 15 2018

News - CES 2018 - SilconDust

Even when they don’t have a lot to show off, it’s always nice to stop by and visit with SilconDust. Fortunately that wasn’t the case this CES, with several new and interesting things on offer.

 

 

Jan 09 2018

News - Insteon Now works with the Google Assistant

Insteon Now works with the Google Assistant

No need to create IFTTT applets to call Stringify flows anylonger. Insteon is now available in the Google Assistant Home Control Device list.

 

Jan 07 2018

News - CES 2018

Back at CES after a couple year break. I will be posting here as much as I can, but for the posts on Twitter will probably get put up first. Follow the @missingremote<\a> feed to get the updates.

Jan 03 2018

News - ASUS announces AiMesh mesh Wi-Fi solution

 

 

Mesh Wi-Fi is the “it” home networking product right now – for good reason. With the increase in streaming media content, and device proliferation a single wireless access point (AP) off wherever the cable comes into the house is not good enough. Mesh networking solves this problem in a more elegant way than the repeaters of yesterday. With this in mind, it’s not surprising that ASUS has entered the game. What is unique, and very interesting, is how – essentially turning any supported ASUS Wi-Fi router into a mesh AP. By leveraging the kit you already have, or can pick up cheaply off of eBay, ASUS has done the unthinkable (for most consumer networking OEMs); added value to old products, even to the point where you might not need to spend any money to get this feature. Well done!

Make sure to check out the details after the break.

Dec 12 2017

News - Axiim announces Link HD - 7.1 WiSA USB dongle for Xbox One and Windows 10 PC

It isn't very often when a new product leaves me speechless, but the Axiim Link HD did exactly that when I discovered its existance. It is fantastic in its simplicity (as a product) because it essentially turns your Windows 10 HTPC or Xbox One into a multi-channel wireless audio (via WiSA) "AVR". Based on the PR it looks like audio CODECs will be decoded on the PC/Xbox and output over PCM, but I will ask about this and whether power is supplied via the USB 2.0 connection to the PC/Xbox (awesome) or if a separate power supply is required (slightly less awesome).

UPDATE:

1) Link HD is USB powered!

2) Source device does need to handle decoding chores and provide PCM to the Link HD.

Dec 04 2017

Review - Fingbox Network Security System

 

If you use an ISP provided, low-end, or older Wi-Fi router, the options for network management are often quite limited. There is simply no way to find out who is connected to your network or control which devices have access when. Devices which add this capability have recently started popping up on the market; each with a different set of capabilities, and approach to getting more control over network. From this mix, the $129/£125 Fingbox focuses primarily on device awareness and network control, with little-to-no functionality around specific types of content which places it in a slightly different market than other consumer network monitoring devices.

Nov 29 2017

News - SVS launches 4000 Series subwoofers

SVS is known for making amazing subwoofers, both from a performance and value perspective. So it is great to see them launching a new line that look fantastic and promise specs to shake the floor/room/house. The three models in the 4000 Series lineup offer different form factors and range price from $1500-$2000 (check the release below for more details). Like all SVS audio products these subs come with the 45 day risk free in home trial, but if you'd like to have a listen first - or just win some SVS products - they are holding demo events in quite a few locations around the US (also below).

Nov 17 2017

Guide - Who's Home

I love home automation (HA) because it allows me to make mundane tasks happen without any sustained intervention. Just setup a scene, and let the magic happen. Generally, this works great whether it is a scheduled event or something that is trigger driven. But, every so often I have a scene that requires more intelligence than is available out of the box.

Nov 13 2017

Review - GoControl/Linear GD00Z-4 Z-Wave PLUS Garage Door Controller

The first time I went crazy with Z-Wave at my house, I had to build my own garage door controller. It was not hard, involving a Z-Wave switch, some components from Radio Shack and a door sensor – all tied together with a couple scenes. As I am sure you all know, time has been very kind to the home automation (HA) enthusiast. So this go around it was possible to buy an off-the-shelf controller that includes everything I needed in a convenient package. There are even a few different options, although most seem to be rebrands of the $83 ($90 SRP) Z-Wave PLUS GoControl/Linear GD00Z-4 I selected.

Nov 05 2017

Review - Insteon Home Solutions

I have an older home. One thing about older houses is pull chain lights, many, many pull chains. Anyone who has walked around a basement in the dark or near dark fishing for a light pull chain can attest that it is a massive pain. After one stubbed toe too many, I turned to home automation as a lower cost solution versus rewiring. With so many options to choose from, ranging from protocol+controller level solutions like Insteon, Z-Wave and Zigbee, to device specific options like Hue, Cree, LIFX, etc., I ended up with Insteon because it provides a richer ecosystem with opportunities to control more than just lightbulbs. Insteon has a range of light management options, RF and hardwire, depending on your needs and automation requirements. Aside from lighting Insteon can automate and monitor appliances and integrates with compatible home automation products including Amazon Echo and Nest Thermostats, providing opportunities to grow the system as my requirements change. Adopting Insteon products does not require using their Home Automation Controller (HAC), the Insteon Hub. When I started automating my home’s lighting in 2013 Insteon’s Hub reviews were spotty at best. I chose to skip it at first, not as many features for my configuration but their wall switches, keypads, RF lights and RF wall keypads were fit for the purpose at hand.

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