Mar 04 2017

News - Reference Home Theater "hands-on" LG OLED, calls it best display ever

If you were waiting for OLED to get perfect, it might finally be time to grab one. Interestingly, all the 2017 LG OLEDs have the same panel and SoC, so the excellent performance should be consistent across all models. No reason to pay extra for the fancy looks.

Mar 03 2017

News - Yamaha YSP-5600 soundbar reviewed at HTR

Anyone who knows me, also knows that the Yamaha YSPs are really the only soundbars that I wholeheartedly recommend. That's not to say that there aren't other models that are just fine, only that they are best if you want a real surround sound HT experience. Unfortunately, they don't come cheap though, this one is $1600, but considering what you'd spend on an AVR + speakers, maybe not so crazy.

Mar 03 2017

News - ASUS launches AMD AM4 motherboards

AMD IS BACK! With so much positive buzz about Ryzen, it's worth covering the company again (sorry AMD...). With that it's great to see boards from ASUS supporting the platform; even if they are more "performace" oriented than I'd use in a HTPC. Hopefully we'll see some of those soon as well.

Mar 03 2017

News - Yale Z-Wave locks Alexa accessible, if you have SmartThings or Wink! hub

You should be able to use Alexa to mess with any Z-Wave device via a scene (worst case) on most HAC, but it's great that SmartThings and Wink! users now have native support.

Let us know in the comments if you've had a chance to play with this.

Mar 01 2017

News - Kodi v17.1 RC out with nice list of fixes

If you're a Kodi house, go grab the 17.1 RC. Good list of fixes there.

Mar 01 2017

News - YouTube launches Live TV service

Network coverage is a bit light, but given sports coverage, support for six users, and unlimited DVR storage it might just work for $35/mon. Even if it's not quite up to your standard, I think we can all agree that the level of competition developing in this space is FANTASTIC. What I'd really like to see though, is a just sports pack. That's really the only thing that I want from "cable" anymore. Anyone else in the same boat?

Naturally it is just US, but ROW probably wasn't expecting anything here Smile.

Feb 28 2017

News - Z-Wave diagnostic tool now available

I like Z-Wave. Compared to "smart" IOT IP devices, it usually just works - as long as you have a good home automation controller (HAC). In the past, when you did have a little trouble it was very difficult to figure out what was going on (usually range problem IME). Fortunately, there's now a tool for installers or curious DIYers that will help you map and troubleshoot any issues with the network. At $250, it's a little pricey, but could be well worth it in the long run.

Feb 18 2017

News - Caavo selling expensive HDMI switcher + universal search

I have to give Caavo credit for a sleek industrial design, but any positive feeling ends there. I just don't see what problem this $400 box solves for me. OK, it will switch inputs, but so does my AVR (while providing audio too). There might be some CEC magic at play here, but that requires that everything plays along, and again does nothing that I can't do with a TV remote.

What am I missing?

Feb 17 2017

News - AMD Ryzen benchmarks looking good

Leaked benchmarks of AMD's upcoming Ryzen CPU look very promising.

Feb 14 2017

News - ASUS Announces DSL-AC88U

If you have DSL at home the new ASUS DSL-AC88U provides an integrated approach to providing internet connectivity from a single device. What makes this guy particularly interesting is that it also has a WAN port, so if you decide to drop the DSL when cable comes to down you won't have to eBay it. Also, while it's not mentioned in the PR, I'd be surprised if it didn't support dual WAN connections from the DSL & WAN ports. If it does, and you need that level of backup this could be just the thing.

Even more interesting is that this looks to be quite a bargin even if you don't need a DSL modem. Its SRP of £220 is less than the £250 DSL-modem-less RT-AC88U that it appears to clone.

Feb 07 2017

News - Valens and Lattice Semiconductor deliver HDBaseT 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 reference design

Reference designs aren't intrinsically news, but since they are an essential tool to enable product flexibilty (i.e. smaller OEMs can play too). I think it's worth highlighting this announcement. Afterall, who doesn't want to see a plethera of 4K 60Hz 4:4:4 devices; creating a more competative market Smile.

Feb 07 2017

News - HDBaseT over IP announced at ISE

It's not a huge drawback if you only use your Ethernet network for A/V, but if you have other goals HDBaseT's exclusive use of the HW is a limitation. Or, was a limitation. Because the technology will now work over IP networks. Now it will probably take a while for product to hit the market, so we'll be sure to keep an eye on it here.

Feb 03 2017

News - HDHomeRun DVR now supports protected (DRM) channels on XBox One and some Windows 10 machines

SilconDust promised it, and it's certainly taken longer than expected, but if you've been waiting for protected CableCARD content support from the HDHomeRun DVR you can finally dive in. If you have an XBox One, or are one of the lucky Windows 10 users where it works.

Details are a bit light on what separates the have/have nots on W10, but if you are one of the unlucky - you will need to get back into wait mode. 

Jan 25 2017

News - CyberLink Ships World’s First Ultra HD Blu-ray Playback Software to the PC Market

It looks like those UltraHD Blu-ray drives from Pioneer will come with a copy of CyberLinks UHD support PowerDVD (huzzah!), with retail copies available for purchase sometime later. CyberLink didn't mention how much said retail copy would be, but they did note that only the latest (and greatest) Intel Kaby Lakes would be able to handle it - more details in the PR. I made a point of asking about AMD's new Ryzen CPU (answer was "there are only plans to support Intel Platforms"), so... hmm...

Jan 25 2017

News - Ultra HD Blu-ray drives coming from Pioneer via BDR-S11J-BK / BDR-S11J-X models

It should come as no surprise that the first OEM with UltraHD Blu-ray drives will be Pioneer. It is news that there will be two models ranging from ~$200-$300, and only Windows 10 will be supported. Should go nicely with that copy of PowerDVD.

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