Tag Archives: Home Theater

Logitech Harmony unveils 2 new universal remotes



The Harmony line of universal remotes is a favorite in many living rooms, but the lineup has stagnated in recent times, with only the Harmony Touch being added and that came with mixed reviews. Rumors of Logitech refreshing the line have been around for several months, but today the company did just that.

Logitech’s Chad Thompson announced “the expansion of its Harmony universal remote control lineup with Logitech Harmony Ultimate and Logitech Harmony Smart Control“. Thompson goes on to elaborate “both products feature Logitech’s new Harmony Hub and Harmony Smartphone App to enable closed-cabinet and game console control. And, for the first time ever, Harmony can even help you set the mood in your living room: the Harmony Hub takes personalizing your activities a step further with the ability to control your Philips Hue lights with a tap of the Logitech Harmony Ultimate”.

I currently use a bottom of the line Harmony 300 and have been waiting for the new line to finally debut. The day has arrived and I suppose I must now spend some money, but I still will not be paying for that Philips Hue light bulb, no matter how cool it looks.


Control your home theater with Zmart Remote for iOS, Android



There have been several hardware solutions over the past couple of years that turn your smartphone into a universal remote. I have previously looked at RedEye, which seems to no longer be available, but a new solution was announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas this week — the Zmart Remote from Viatek.

This one involves a small device that you will need to plug into the micro-USB port on your phone. It works with both iPhone and Android. The company claims that “The setup takes less than a minute. Whether you are trying to choose which tv show to watch, need to pause the movie to pop some popcorn or even skip to your favorite song on a CD, now you can do all of this with just your smart phone.”

Setup of the RedEye was clunky and almost felt as if it required a computer science degree. Hopefully the newer technology will improve this process. The company claims it is capable of controlling 200,000 devices and 95 percent of those on the market. The ones it can’t control it can learn.

The package, including the app, will retail for $19.99 and can be purchased now.


Epson PowerLite Home Cinema 750HD projector unveiled



While NVIDIA has dominated the news for the past 12 hours or so, it doesn’t mean it is the only company who has announced anything cool. Epson, known mostly for its printers, also has been making projectors for some time. Largely its lineup has been business-level, designed for presentations. Now the company want to jump from your office to your living room with the PowerLite Home Cinema 750HD.

The projector will handle both 2D and 3D and has 3000 lumens. It is designed for use from either an entertainment center or a ceiling mount, making it more versatile than many others on the market. It also includes component video, S-video, HDMI, and USB connectivity.

epson PowerLite Home Cinema 750HD projector

“Epson America, Inc. today expanded its award winning line of 3LCD home theater projectors with the highly versatile and affordable 3LCD PowerLite® Home Cinema 750HD – offering families and first-time home theater enthusiasts an affordable and versatile 2D and true 3D big screen entertainment solution. Offering full HD, active shutter 3D with 720p resolution, the Home Cinema 750HD makes it easier than ever to enjoy movies, video games, sporting events and more in high-quality 2D and eye-popping 3D at up to 120-inches or larger.”

The projector is slated to become available in late March and will retail for $899, which is undercutting much of the competition in the market right now.


Video of Home Automation System in a $55 Million Mansion



Tech news web site BGR introduced their new BGR Show today and episode one is a big one for tech, home theater, and home automation fans.  The show is slated to run weekly and, in addition to a little cool technology like this week, they also promise interviews with celebrities and some behind-the-scenes segments with manufacturers.

The home featured in episode one may be beautiful, but the statistics surrounding it’s internal electronics are nothing short of breath-taking.  Try to grasp these numbers – over 2,000 lights, 48 TVs, 50 miles of wiring, 35 security cameras and hundreds of speakers.  All of this can be controlled from touchscreens, tablets, computers, and smartphones.

The home is located in New Jersey and the show features the man behind implementing all of the electronics – Gabriel Karlis from JD AV Design.  I would try to describe the level of sophistication seen in the video, but it’s really worth just watching to get a real idea of what exactly is possible if you have the money to do what you want, including controlling virtually every aspect of your home from lights to security to HVAC with the click of a button.


Sony Announces New DA5700ES AV Receiver



Yesterday Sony released word of their new DA5700ES audio-video receiver.  The ES is the flagship line from Sony and the latest addition to it doesn’t disappoint.  The new receiver comes with pretty much every feature a user could possibly think of from great sound quality to enough connectors to power an over-the-top home theater, and it can even be controlled from your smartphone or tablet.

So, what does the premium price (last year’s model, the STR-DA5700ES, sells for around $2,200 U.S.) buy you?  The ability to expand the  7.2 surround sound to 9.2 channels, automatic sound calibration, a network connection that allows access to “the Sony Entertainment Network so you can stream thousands of on-demand movies and TV shows and enjoy them with premium quality sound”, a USB DAC connection so you can hook the receiver to your computer and stream audio files, wireless streaming of internet radio, remote control apps for iOS and Android devices, 3D video processing, and 6 HDMI inputs.  There’s more, such as these highlights that Sony pointed out in their press release:

· True-to-original sound reproduction
· 7.2ch surround sound, expandable to 9.2ch
· Superb build quality and stylish design
· Network connectivity for wireless entertainment
· 6x HDMI inputs and 2x HDMI outputs
· 3D capability
· Full HD upscaling for analogue input devices

There was no MSRP or availability date in the information, but it will apparently be shipping soon and the price will likely be comparable to last year’s model.


Vivitek Qumi Q5 Projectors



Vivitek hit the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas last month with a full new line of projectors known as the Qumi Q5 line.  The Qumi is Vivitek’s line of home-theater-quality projectors.  These are, obviously, front-end projectors, which bring the absolute best picture to your living room or dedicated home theater room.  TPN’s Jon Wurm got a first-hand look at the new lineup.

Vivitek brings the following specs to to their new projectors:

  • Up to 500L brightness
  • HD resolution
  • Projection on up to a 90 inch screen
  • HDMI, USB, and VGA
  • 3D Ready
  • 30,000 hours

Vivitek showcased several of their projectors in different light situations to show what they can do.  The picture is incredibly bright and the 1080P video comes through loud and clear.  In addition to a full array of computer hook-ups the Qumi has traditional home theater ports like HDMI, as well as the ability connect to smartphones and tablets.

The Vivitek Qumi projectors can be used in-home or by a business professionals for presentations. You can get a demonstration in the video, posted below, as well as checking out the Vivitek website.

Interview by Jon Wurm of F5 Live: Refreshing Technology.

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The Casio Green Slim Projector



Casio makes a wide range of products from calculators to watches, and this year at the Consumer Electronics Show they unveiled a new line of projectors.  This slim and light, 3000 lumens mobile projector is known at the Green Slim line.  The projector uses a hybrid laser-LED light source that has a 20,000 hour life expectancy and no mercury, for those who want a green solution.  The Green Slim Projector, as Casio is calling it, is also suitable for ceiling mounting in an office meeting room and a home theater.

The projector will accept inputs from HDMI, VGA, composite video, and even a USB port.  The new line from Casio also features an app called Mobi Show which users can download an install on their mobile phone or tablet and then use to control presentations from the device. The new line starts at $999.  You can find out more by visiting Casio Projectors.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast.

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