General Home Theater News

Sep 09 2011

News - Kaleidescape Adds iPad Control, Ultrawidescreen Support to its Media Servers

Kaleidescape, synonymous with super high end DVD distribution systems that every Home Theater enthusiast dreams about owning, has recently added iPad control and ultra-widescreen (2.35 wide screen) to its line of media servers. While the Kaleidescape system might be out of reach for most, it is cool to see new technologies be added to these systems as it eventually trickles down to other products. I for one regularly use My Movies for media center and fully take advantage of the iPad integration.



Two years after launching its iPhone remote, Kaleidescape has brought a new iPad app to CEDIA 2011 that gives owners of its media servers full control of their media from anywhere in the house. Users can browse their collections based on various metadata, jump directly to favorite scenes of stored movies, or control displays and audio in other rooms of the house. Also new for 2011 is support for 2.35 widescreen viewing with its CinemaScape feature, a software upgrade that can automatically process the video internally and reformats the UI as well. Check after the break for a quick demo of the iPad app which will launch later this year as a free add-on -- assuming you can afford the hardware of course.


Sep 09 2011

News - 3D for Under $2000? Vivitek H1086-3D Projector Does Just That

Being a projector owner myself, I am excited to see that a 1080p project that does 3D out of the box can be had for under $2000.00. I've been in need a a new projector for a few years now (still running 720p) and listening to the Engadet HD podcast I've been more and more interested in 3D in the home. Maybe a review of this projector is in order?



Not too long ago there were few 3D projectors on the market and those that were on the market didn’t usually offer 1080p resolution. The market is quickly changing though and now there are a bunch of new projectors coming that will do both 1080p resolution and 3D content at a nice price point. One of those projects is the new Vivitek H1086-3D. The projector has a bunch of nice features and can change 2D content into 3D content on the fly.The projector supports 720p and 1080i resolution video at 50/60Hz and 1080p 24Hz content from 3D Blu-ray players and other 3D sources. The specs on the projector include 2,000 lumens of brightness and a 5,000:1 contrast ratio. Connectivity includes HDMI, VGA-In, S-video, composite, RS-232, and a 12V trigger.


Sep 09 2011

News - Yamaha Android and IOS A/V Controller App

Yamaha has just released a new update to their RX-V Receiver app. The new app re-named AV Controller, now supports both Android and Apple iOS devices. You can now control your AV receivers inputs, volume, mute, you name it. I for one am extremely excited that AV manufactures are moving this route. The thought of having every single piece of Home Theater equipment being IP controlled and no longer relying upon IR or in some peoples case RS-232 control. IP is where it is at in terms of Home Automation and Home Theater control.


This AV Controller application will turn your Android device into a Wi-Fi enabled remote control for your YAMAHA network products(*). This Android application provides you the flexibility to control the available inputs, volume, mute and power commands. It lets users change a song from Internet Radio, USB and command FM/AM tuners or any other internally available source. Using this application you can even control all AV receiver zones that are available such as powering on and changing input for each zone. This application not only controls AV receiver but also Yamaha blu-ray players. It supports various functions including Play, Stop, Forward. Available in English, French, German, Spanish and Russian. It’s great to have all this control at your fingertips - and best of all it’s FREE!

Yamaha Electronics

May 20 2011

News - CNET Reviews Denon's 1912

I'm happy see Ethernet appearing on mid-level AVR, mostly for control but also because of the IP features it provides.  Hopefully it also means that firmware updates won't require a trip back to the manufacturer.

It's unclear from the review whether AirPlay support is an optional (and additional cost) feature with this year's Denons, so Apple users will need to double check that one - last year it was $50. 

The Denon AVR-1912 is the most complete midrange AV receiver we've seen in 2011 so far. It's one of the only two receivers in its class (the other being the Pioneer VSX-1021-K) with built-in support for Apple's AirPlay, a feature that lets you use any iPhone, iPod Touch, or iPad as a wireless music source. While the Pioneer has a nicer interface, the Denon outdoes it with slightly better sound quality, a sixth HDMI input, a two-year warranty, and onboard support for Pandora, Rhapsody, and Napster. The Denon AVR-1912 is our go-to pick if someone asks, "Which AV receiver should I buy?" and that's why we've given it our Editors' Choice Award

Apr 17 2011

News - Kinect for Windows SDK Beta

Last week during the second day of Mix11 Microsoft announced the opening of the Kinect for Windows SDK. While this might not mean much right now, the possibilities are endless. Adding Netflix Kinect like support for Media Center or integrating Kinect home automation like features posses some really interesting features.

If you are a developer and would like to join the beta head over the Microsoft research and sign up for the beta and "take control".

Coming later this spring, the Kinect for Windows SDK is a programming toolkit that will enable researchers and enthusiasts easy access to the capabilities offered by the Microsoft Kinect device connected to computers running Microsoft Windows 7.

Microsoft Research

Mar 31 2011

News - HDMI Cables Tested and Compared

HDMI CableThink HDMI cables are all functionally equivalent? Surprise, they're not! If you've ever bought any of those fire sale HDMI cables, you've probably already learned this if you're running them at 1080p/60. Poorly made cables often fail at higher bitrates.

HD Guru takes a look at several cables mated to several different Blu-ray players to see which cables pass muster. It should also be noted that cables are only part of the equation. Hardware designers must also take care when handling high video bitrates and this may help to explain some of the more interesting results found by HD Guru.

A few months ago we ran a story where I said that there was no reason to spend a lot of money on HDMI cables. I still stand by that. Most cable companies are so incredibly misleading in their marketing/advertising it borders on outright lying.

Others just lie.

So we decided to put a test together to see if there really was any difference in cables. The results were… interesting.

HD Guru 

Mar 29 2011

News - Is a "Black Hole" an Ideal Home Theater?

Everyone seems to have different preferences for lighting in their home theater, but there are a lot of people who like having a "black hole." I'm not one of them as I prefer an extremely small amount of light in my viewing environment.

An interesting article over at CE Pro explains that viewing in total darkness causes the eye to perceive less color than it should.

How do you handle lighting in your viewing environment?

In an attempt to create a dark theater-like viewing experience, most homeowners want to completely shut off their lights to watch a movie.

But is that the best thing to do?

Not necessarily, according to several sources. The light level of a home theater - both too bright or too dark - affects the amount of color your eyes absorb from the display image. 

According to Jim Sullivan, president and co-founder of Entertainment Experience, a room that is too dark will force your pupils to open wider to allow more light in. But that also means the screen will "lose color" 

"In a movie theater, the film is processed to increase the color three times to compensate for a dark theater," he says. But in the home, no such compensation is taking place when a consumer sits down to watch TV or a Blu-ray movie.

CE Pro

Mar 21 2011

News - Samsung Reveals 2011 3D Bluetooth Glasses

Samsung 2011 Bluetooth 3D GlassesIf you have read our XPAND Universal 3D Glasses review, you know why we're not too fond of infrared as a physical communication layer for active shutter glasses. Samsung has now finally uncovered their new Bluetooth 3D active shutter glasses that will be used with 2011 models.

Samsung appears to have also enhanced the feature set of their new glasses by making them extremely light at less than an ounce and providing an induction charger that can recharge up to 4 glasses simultaneously without plugging them in.

Those features sound great, but the glasses also have no sides to help shield peripheral vision from picking up distractions. Of course, it may be that the glasses fit in such a way as to not require this. Also, what about us 2010 Samsung display owners? Will we see an IR to Bluetooth adapter so we can use the new glasses? Of course, this may not be possible or desirable if Samsung has changed other charecteristics of their 2011 displays.

Samsung has unveiled a new type of active shutter 3D glasses that improve on almost all issues found in conventional pairs.

Mar 09 2011

News - Pioneers Home Theater Receiver now coming with Airplay with more on the way

Pioneer is coming out with the first of eight Airplay compatible devices for this year. It will work with any iPad, iPhone, or iPod touch. It will work with PC or Mac with iTunes. It doesn't have to be turned on to be discovered, it will turn on and switch to the Airplay source when selected.

With AirPlay, Pioneer’s VSX-1021 7.1-channel home theater receiver becomes the hub for social entertainment, giving music lovers complete access, control, and playback of their entire iTunes music library with incredible sound quality. Once the VSX-1021 is connected to a home network through Ethernet or Wi-Fi using Pioneer’s optional AS-WL300 wireless LAN adapter (sold separately), AirPlay lets consumers stream their favorite songs to the receiver from iTunes on Mac and PC, or their iPhone, iPad or iPod touch. AirPlay requires iTunes 10.1 or later and iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch with iOS 4.2

Business Wire

Dec 16 2010

News - Weekly Podcast Roundup, December 16, 2010

Lots of great content as always this week, enjoy!

After several weeks of covering the news, we finally move on (mostly) from the WHS Drive Extender debacle and straight into metadata and getting your Recorded TV sorted the way you want.  There’s no one good way to handle this situation if you want to use a different system.  Most are complicated and will take time to setup, but hopefully you find some useful info in the show and through the links below.

Entertainment 2.0-#106: Metadata and Recorded TV Moving

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