Category Archives: TV

Samsung responds to allegations of its TVs cheating on tests

Samsung LogoIt’s been a week of accusations, starting with car maker VW and moving on to Samsung, who was accused by The Guardian of fudging results for its televisions. The report suggests that one of the modes built into the TVs was simply for testing as opposed to actual use by customers.

The feature in question is ‘motion lighting’ which lowers the screen brightness to save power usage. Samsung explains that this is a standard feature and is on by default when a customer gets the TV.

According to Samsung, “Motion lighting is not a setting that only activates during compliance testing. On the contrary, it is a default setting which works both in the lab and at home; delivering energy savings and helping us to reduce our environmental impact”,

The TV maker says this feature was introduced back in 2011 and designed to help consumers save power. Users can switch to a different mode if they choose to.

“The setting is explained in all of our instruction manuals, and also features on our website”. It’s up to you, do believe Samsung?

Terk Announces New Indoor HDTV Antennas

Terk logoCutting the cord is getting easier every day. And even tho you can get a great deal of TV programming online, gaps persist. One of the easiest ways to close those gaps is to turn to local, over-the-air free TV broadcasts. Many viewers don’t even realize this is an option, as cable and satellite TV companies have led us to believe that they’re the only options when it comes to television distribution.

Mention TV antennas and most people imagine either large aerials rusting atop old houses or the dreaded “rabbit-ear” style receivers most commonly associated with home TV sets. Fortunately, TV antennas are much improved in the modern day. And leading that field is Terk with the release of its new Horizon and Trinity amplified indoor antennas.

Horizon is a bar-style antenna, similar in design to a sound bar. Horizon offers superior reception in both UHF and VHF frequencies by utilizing Terk’s trademarked SmartBoost system that improves weak signals while preventing outside RF noise interference which means a more reliable and consistent HD picture. Horizon can be powered via USB or a standard electrical outlet.

The Trinity amplified indoor TV antenna uses patent pending Trimodal RF technology to provide superior signal reception without the troublesome adjustments required by traditional “rabbit-ear” style antennas. Trinity outperforms other indoor antenna solutions by offering a wider field of coverage from up to 60 miles away from broadcast towers to deliver the best quality reception across both VHF and UHF bands. And like the Horizon antenna, Trinity also uses Terk’s SmartBoost technology to ensure the best possible HD picture.

These Terk antennas are available now for purchase at most major electronics retailers.

Major Apple TV Revamp Could Be Coming

Apple LogoApple’s set-top box, the Apple TV, has always been a bit of a curiosity. The so-called “hobby” device has been around for years. Originally, the Apple TV was envisioned as a home theater hub, shipping with built-in apps for media streaming as well as an internal hard drive for local file storage. But Apple stripped the device down in later iterations, removing the hard drive and slimming the Apple TV down to the familiar hockey-puck shape we see today. Speculation has run rampant over the last year that the Apple TV would see a major update, and it looks like Apple will be delivering the refreshed device next month.

Highlights of the new Apple TV:

  • It’ll run iOS 9 on an iOS Core
  • Siri Support
  • App Store
  • New remote control

The items on this list that are most interesting are the switch from the current Apple TV OS to iOS and the inclusion of the App Store. Independent media producers have been clambering for a long time for Apple to truly open up the Apple TV to third-party developers. Current Apple TVs host a limited number of apps, all of which are curated by Apple. The new Apple TV will truly be open to anyone who wants to get onto the platform. And now that the device will rely on iOS hardware and software to operate, it’ll be even easier for developers to bring things like games to the Apple TV.

While these are great developments, it looks like the new Apple TV won’t be shipping with quite everything consumers have been hoping for. One of the biggest rumors that’s been swirling around the Apple TV is Apple’s supposed Internet TV service that would truly unbundle cable TV once and for all. Apple is allegedly still negotiating with content providers for this new TV service. Regardless, the new Apple TV looks like an exciting revamp of a product line that looked like it had almost been abandoned not too long ago.

Logitech Harmony takes control of your Sony PlayStation 4

Logitech LogoThe Harmony line of universal remotes, now owned by Logitech, has been seeing a lot of activity lately in terms of updates and improvements. The remote can control more and more devices all the time, including Amazon Fire TV and even home automation products like Philips Hue light bulbs.

One thing lacking was your Sony game console, a feature cutomers were apparently asking for. That lacks no longer as today Logitech announces that Harmony can now be used with the PS4.

This will allow customers to navigate the menus, as well as control blu-ray discs and apps like Netflix, YouTube, Amazon Instant and more.

There is one thing missing, as Logitech points out — “One thing we do need to mention is, unfortunately, this update does not allow you to power your PlayStation on directly—Sony does not permit any remote other than their game controller to power on the game console”. It’s a minor drawback, but the company promises that once your system is on then it’s in Harmony’s control.

This will all work over Bluetooth, so there are no worries if your console is behind a cabinet door or something like that. No official word is being given about the roll out of this update, but it would seem it’s immediate or at least imminent.

Designer Mirror TVs at Gadget Show Live

DMTV LogoWe all love our big flatscreen TVs but there are places where 64″ of technology doesn’t fit; think of a period room for example, and let’s be honest, the large expanse of black when the TV is off isn’t very attractive either. Mirror TVOne resolution to these problems is to disguise the flatscreen as an attractive framed mirror, which is where Designer Mirror TV comes in. The team at DMTV have the skills to convert a flat TV into a framed mirror. Whether an ornate Regency frame or a subtle modern trim, it can match the room’s decor. One minute it’s an stunning mirror, the next it’s a TV showing through the mirror.

Starting from 32″ and going all the way up to 85″, you can design your mirror TV on their website to your decor and taste. Prices start at a little under £1500 but a 4K 85″ mirror TV will set you back more than £14,000.

To hear more about converting a TV into a mirror, listen to my interview with Sunny from Designer Mirror TV at Gadget Show Live.

So long, Leonard Nimoy


Perhaps one of history’s most famous, and loved, aliens, Spock trained himself to let go of human emotion. But upon the passing of Leonard Nimoy, the Internet is full of “the feels.”

Countless posts have been made since it was released that Nimoy had passed, and never has anyone seen so many emotion-filled comments by fans around the world.

Nimoy had been battling end-stage chronic obstructive pulmonary disease for some time, when he died yesterday at the age of 83.

He was not only a talented actor but also a wonderful photographer, artist and writer.

Leonard Nimoy was preceded in death by other Trek-mates DeForest Kelley, James Doohan, Majel Barrett and of course, Gene Roddenberry.

Pocket-Sized Big Screen TV

Lumex_Picomax_SmartpodPocket-Wouldn’t it be cool if you could carry around a big screen smart TV in your pocket?

Actually, that is now possible.

I recently purchased a Lumex Picomax Smartpod pocket pico projector via Amazon.Com. A pico projector is a miniature pocket-sized projector that typically has a built-in battery that can also be operated off of AC household current. Pico projectors can produce surprisingly bright, crisp projected images and traditionally have been handy for people who are traveling and need to give presentations.

What sets apart a “smart” projector from a regular projector is the same things that set a smartphone apart from a feature phone, or a smart TV apart from a regular TV. Smart projectors include not only connectivity such as WiFi and Bluetooth but also come with a built-in operating system such as Android that includes access to the Google Play Store. With the Google Play Store comes video streaming apps such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime Videos, YouTube, etc., etc.


Projected_80_inch_imageThis is a picture of a streaming movie projected onto an 80 inch screen in a darkened room. The photo was taken from about 25 to 30 feet from the projection screen.

I drive a truck over-the-road, so with the Lumex Picomax Spartpod projector I can easily connect it to my MiFi hotspot and project a 45 to 50 inch screen onto a blank wall area of my truck’s sleeper. I connect the projector to a high-quality Bluetooth speaker for excellent stereo sound. Watching a 45 to 50 inch image is a much nicer experience than watching the same material on a much smaller iPad Air screen. It also has the added advantage of extreme portability so I can easily carry it with me and use it in a motel room.

The projector is about the size of a Roku or Apple TV box. It also has a variety of other built-in connectors, such as mini HDMI, VGA, Micro SD Card and standard 4 pin USB port. It uses Texas Instruments DLP chip and the light source is a 20,000 hour LED lamp. The projector comes with a small remote control, and also has a touchpad built-in to the top of the unit itself.

The unit will run about an hour and a half to two hours on the built-in battery. It outputs a 70 lumens when running on battery power and automatically jumps up to 100 lumens when connected to the included AC adapter.

It produces a bright, colorful image. The native resolution is 800 x 480, so it is not 720p, but 480p widescreen.

The WiFi and Bluetooth connect and stream the same time. While the integrated touchpad mouse works okay, I prefer to use a wireless three button mouse. I plug the mouse dongle into the standard USB port on the side of the unit and the mouse instantly connects. With this configuration along with a wireless keyboard it could easily be used as a computer. There is a small integrated fan that runs when the unit is running in order to keep things cool internally. The fan is actually very quiet and doesn’t produce much fan noise at all.

I do have a few criticisms of the unit. First, the manual focus seems a bit sloppy. It is easy to rotate the knob past the optimum focus. When rotating back the knob will rotate freely about half a turn before it starts moving the focus back in the opposite direction, making it difficult to zone in back and forth to obtain the maximum sharpness.

Also, the integrated touchpad does not include mouse buttons like an actual mouse does. It is possible to scroll vertically running your finger along the black vertical dotted line along the edge of the touchpad, but it takes a bit of getting used to. A wireless mouse makes for a much more fluid and satisfying experience.

The tiny integrated speaker doesn’t produce much sound, so it is close to being useless. I strongly suggest using a wired speaker or a Bluetooth speaker for an adequate sound experience. Stereo headphones or ear buds can also be used.

Despite my criticisms I am quite happy with my purchase. The Lumex Picomax Smartpod WiFi projector currently sells for $399.97 on Amazon. It really is like being able to carry around a big-screen smart TV in my pocket.

OmniMount Takes A Lifestyle View at CES

OmniMount LogoCES regulars OmniMount decided to approach the show a little differently this year, setting out their products in lifestyle vignettes, with visitors to seeing the products in real and relevant scenarios. Don chats with Bill Ennis, veteran of 31 shows, to hear about a few of OmniMounts latest products.

The first of OmniMount’s new products is the WorkSpace Wall Organiser, a stylish wall-mounted height-adjustable fold-away desk which conveniently creates a mini-office when folded down and hidden away when not needed. $399.95.

Also new and entered for a CES award is an in-wall TV mount that holds up to an 80″ screen almost flush with the wall surface. With the flush mount, the slim bezels of the stylish TVs are emphasised, enhancing the picture frame qualities of the TV. Snappily titled OE120IW, it’s $349.95.

Interview by Don Baine, the Gadget Professor.

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eyeSight Singlecue Gesture Control at CES

eyeSight logoWhen it comes to motion tracking and gesture control, gaming has shown the way especially with Microsoft Kinect and the Xbox. Outside of this arena, there’s been relatively little traction though eyeSight are hoping to change this state of affairs with Singlecue. The two Todds talk to Tal Kryzpow, VP of Product Management, to find out more.

The Singlecue is a tabletop device that’s roughly the same size as a Kinect, though unlike its sibling, the Singlecue has a small central display. Singlecue converts gestures, such as an upright finger to the lips, into an action, in this case “mute”, which it then passes onto the relevant devices in the room using infrared. As it uses IR, it’s compatible with almost every piece equipment in the home that uses a remote control. The Singlecue also uses WiFi to interact with technology such as Nest thermostats and Philips Hue lighting.

The Singlecue is currently on pre-order at $129 but will have MSRP of $199 when it goes on sale in Spring 2015.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Todd Aune of The Elder Divide for the TechPodcast Network.

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RCA Introduces the “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna at CES

RCA logoRCA is the original pioneer of color television and antenna technologies. They continue to challenge consumers to “cut the cord”. Their “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna can help you to do that.

The “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna is superior in UHF performance as well as optimized for VHF high use frequency. This allows consumers to receive free local news, sports, weather, and popular TV show broadcasts and to break from expensive cable subscription bills.

RCA AIR UltraThin AntennaThis antenna takes things to the next level. The “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna has adapted market leading reception technology for consumer amplification with a double sided/layered reception element to maximize and strengthen broadcast signals. The element is the portion of the antenna that is responsible for receiving the signal (much like “rabbit ears”).

However, in the “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna, the elements are not visible. This highly intricate antenna is double layered where signals broadcast on the same frequency allowing them to strengthen each other, rather than cancel each other out.

RCA AIR UltraThin Antenna in useLike other RCA models, the “AIR” Ultra-Thin Antenna uses SmartBoost amplification to strengthen week signals and deliver purer channel quality making it easier for the consumer to tune in. SmartBoost provides just the right amount of amplification to let consumer watch their favorite shows from NBC, CBS, ABC and other broadcast networks.

Visit RCA at Booth # 10406 in the Central Hall at CES 2015.