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MECO command center does it all

Posted in Home by Conner Flynn on January 15th, 2009

Pearing Core Systems’ MEdiaCOre or MECO system is a digital command center/ convergence device that is basically a compact, hand-crafted cabinet for your living room. The unit runs off of a full-featured PC powered by Windows Media Center. It uses the Internet and your home’s audio, video and other automation to manage your digital life all from one place.

You can watch Internet movies and television, stream Internet radio, listen to MP3s and check out your digital photos and video. The device also helps to eliminate all of your media clutter, because MECO has two cable boxes, a wireless router, Blu-Ray and DVD-RW/CD-RW drives built right into the system, with room to integrate your own components, like iPods and game consoles.

Eee keyboard: A touchscreen Home Theater PC

Posted in Keyboards by Conner Flynn on January 6th, 2009

Eee keyboard: A touchscreen Home Theater PCMeet the new best keyboard ever. The official Eee Keyboard. It features wireless HDMI, and it’s a “fully functional PC” with full QWERTY and an awesome mini secondary touchscreen.

Asus is mum about if and when we’ll actually see the Eee Keyboard come to market (It looks like a very real product), but if it’s a concept for a home theater PC, it is an amazing one. With wireless HDMI you could probably make any television into your monitor without having a huge PC taking up space.

ZVOX Z-Base 550 puts surround sound under your TV

Posted in Home Theater by Shane McGlaun on December 18th, 2008

ZVOX Z-BaseI wanted a surround sound system for many years and for one reason or another, I was never able to get one set up. In the early years of being married, our apartments were too small for a surround sound setup. Then once we had a house the wife deemed wires and speakers too ugly.

At the time, there were no sound bars for me to use, but for those in similar situations today you have options. ZVOX has a new device called the Z-Base All-in-One Home Theater that sits under the TV. Inside the scratch resistant case resides five 2-inch full-range speakers and one 5.25-inch powered subwoofer.

Jamo A 804 wall-mounted speaker

Posted in Speakers by Conner Flynn on December 16th, 2008

Jamo A 804 wall-mounted speakerJamo has announced the A 804 wall-mounted speaker. The A 804 will help you out by not having to buy separate home theater audio components when one model will do it all for you, with good performance in a slim speaker.

The A 804 sports a contemporary design that will match most flat panel TV’s. It can be mounted horizontally and vertically, so it works well as a center channel or a front left or right, even rear surround speaker. Under the hood, the A 804 shows off Danish audio design. The .75-inch silk-dome tweeter featuring Jamo’s proprietary WaveGuide technology makes for clean, clear highs, while the 4.5-inch midrange and two 4.5-inch woofers provide stirring midrange and deep bass.

DLO ships HomeDock HD Pro upscaling iPod dock

Posted in Home Theater by Conner Flynn on November 24th, 2008

DLO ships HomeDock HD Pro upscaling iPod dockMy god, it’s full of stars ports! It also makes for one fancy-ass iPod dock. The HomeDock HD Pro was unveiled at CEDIA earlier this year and it has now made its way off the production line and began shipping. This upscaling iPod dock takes your stored media and sends it out via HDMI in 720p / 1080i. It even has an RS-232 control port. It remains to be seen if this dock can really make HD video out of your iPod movies, but at $399 it had better.

Prices for Blu-ray players to drop for Christmas

Posted in Home Theater by Shane McGlaun on November 10th, 2008

Batman BeginsBlu-ray was able to beat HD DVD early this year to become the HD format champion. After it won the format wars many hoped that the price for Blu-ray players would become more affordable. So far that price drop hasn’t really materialized.

According to ABI Research, the Blu-ray price drop may finally be here. ABI says that prices for Blu-ray players this holiday season could be as low as $150 to $200. Amazon has a Samsung Blu-ray player for $200 that includes four Blu-ray movies with it. According to ABI Blu-ray hardware makers need to reduce prices to gain the momentum needed to penetrate the market further.

Gefen adds new HDMI switchers to lineup

Posted in Gefen by Shane McGlaun on November 5th, 2008

GefenTV  SwitcherI have a problem with the amount of HDMI inputs offered on most of the HDTV sets available today. Typically, you only get three HDMI connections and some TVs offer even less. That means for users with multiple game consoles with HDMI, Satellite boxes, Blu-ray players or an Apple TV you end up manually changing cables frequently.

Gefen has added a pair of new HDMI switchers to its line at different ends of the price scale that will remedy this situation. The GefenTV Multi Format Switcher retails for $499 and offers the ability to send composite, component, and s-video devices to the TV with one HDMI port needed. The device supports full 1080p resolution.

Pinel Pinel Movie Trunk portable home theater

Posted in Home Theater by Conner Flynn on October 9th, 2008

Pinel Pinel Movie Trunk portable home theaterThis may not be the most portable home theater ever, but it conveniently keeps all of your devices in one spot so they can be stored away out of sight. The Pinel Pinel Movie Trunk boasts a Bang & Olufsen Beolab 6000 subwoofer, Two Beolab 3 speakers, BeoVision 6-26 TV and a DVD1 DVD/CD player.

You can choose from 51 flavors of different leathers, all with nickel plated brass hardware, and you even have three drawers for you to store your DVDs. Up to four dozen DVDs. No word on price yet, but I think most of us love the idea, but would want a larger TV at the expense of portability.

New Canton loudspeakers have ceramic dome tweeters

Posted in Speakers by Nino Marchetti on September 16th, 2008

Canton Reference 3.2 DC

Canton is now shipping it said its first flagship “Reference” line of high-end loudspeakers. This particular model is the Canton Reference 3.2 DC and you’ll find it retailing around $16,000 per pair.

The Canton Reference 3.2 DC, according to its maker, includes the first use of the company’s new ceramic dome tweeter and TCC (Triple Curve Cone) midrange and bass drivers. The loudspeaker is a large floor-standing three-way bass reflex system, with the enclosue housing a two-chamber “monocoque structure with curved side panels formed of five pressure-laminated layers of acoustically inert fiber-board.”

New Onkyo A/V receivers are THX Ultra2 Plus certified

Posted in Receivers by Nino Marchetti on September 16th, 2008

Onkyo TX-SR876

Onkyo has on its hands this week two new THX Ultra2 Plus certified 7.1-channel A/V receivers which are available now. These are the TX-SR876 and TX-NR906, pricing at around $1,800 and $2,300, respectively.

Features wise, the only main difference between these two new A/V receivers seems to be that on the TX-NR906 there are “advanced networked audio capabilities.” Key features otherwise include HDMI repeaters for four high definition video sources, THX Loudness Plus processing, Audyssey’s new Dynamic EQ and Dynamic Volume technologies, HQV Reon-VX video upscaling to 1080p, multi-room support and HD Radio.

Niveus Cargo grants you 16TB of media storage space

Posted in Media Servers by Nino Marchetti on September 10th, 2008

Niveus Storage Server – Cargo Edition

Niveus Media is rolling out a new storage device for custom home theater installers based upon the Microsoft Windows Home Server platform. It is called the Niveus Storage Server – Cargo Edition.

The Cargo is scalable to hold up to 16TB of data in one server, with the ability to add more to a home network as necessary. It is housed in a custom-designed, 3U rack-mountable chassis, measuring 18.5″ in depth, marking what Niveus says is “the most compact storage server in the custom electronics industry.”

Gyration Music Remote controlls PC and home theater gear

Posted in Accessories by Shane McGlaun on September 9th, 2008

Gyration Music RemoteIf there is one common truth with home theaters — other than lots of wires — it’s the multiple remotes that come along with them. You need one remote to change the TV channel, one to control the volume on your amp and one to control your HTPC or DVD player. It’s enough to blow the minds of many home theater users.

One of the items most home theater owners buy quickly is a universal remote control to eliminate the hoard of remotes sitting on the table. Gyration has introduced a new universal remote called the Air Music Remote with MotionSense that goes one-step further than the typical universal remote.

Epson Releases MovieMate 55 Projector

Posted in Home Theater by Conner Flynn on August 26th, 2008

Epson Releases MovieMate 55 ProjectorEpson announced their latest addition to the MovieMate line up, the MovieMate 55. The 55 model will have the same WVGA (854 x 480) resolution as the 50 model, but with a brighter 1200 ANSI lumens. The MovieMate 55 will also have a built-in DVD player inside the projector, which will play standard DVDs and CDs. If you want HD quality you can connect an external player.

It’s able to display an image up to 150 inches, diagonally, from a projection distance of less than 15 feet, making it an ideal portable to take movie night with you wherever you go. It also sports 8 watt stereo speakers with Dolby 5.1 Digital DTS technology for the best sound possible. The MovieMate 55 is already available for purchase on the Epson website and will retail for $699.

Samsung showcases Series 7 plasma HDTVs

Posted in HDTV by Nino Marchetti on July 29th, 2008

Samsung Series 7

Another Samsung flat panel line up riding the waves of the consumer electronics company’s big annoucements last week is the Series 7 Plasma HDTVs. They will be available in August in 50-inch, 58-inch and 63-inch screen sizes (model numbers: PN50A760, PN58A760 and PN63A760), pricing around $2,800, $4,500 and $5,500, respectively.

The main highlights of the Series 7 displays include the hint of red blended into the outer edges of the artsy panels, 1080p resolution and Internet-based content provided by USA Today. You can get the full details after the jump.

Samsung unwraps flagship Series 9 LED LCD HDTVs

Posted in HDTV by Nino Marchetti on July 28th, 2008

Samsung Series 9 LN46A950

Samsung last week, besides rolling out some Series 8 flat panels, also introduced  its new flagship Series 9 LED-backlit LCD HDTVs. These models are the 46-inch LN46A950 and 55-inch LN55A950, priced around $3,200 and $4,200, respectively.

These new Series 9 panels from Samsung make use the company’s “LED SmartLighting” technology, offers consumers a combination of LED and 120Hz technologies. This reportedly results in a “1,000,000:1 dynamic contrast ratio for a crisp, full HD 1080p picture.” This HDTVs also sport a bit of an art touch via the patterned bezel with charcoal gray accent.