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Home Theater

Niles MS220 – The Best IR Sensor!

DIY, Electronics, Home Automation, Home Theater
January 29, 2010 No Comments

It’s freaking 2010 and we’re still using IR, WTF?  Oh well… if you are looking to find the most reliable IR Sensor to connect to your IR connection block (used in applications where you want to put AV components in a remote area but still have control), I highly recommend the new Niles MS220.   I have used different units by Xantech, Russound, even Niles and the MS220 is the most reliable.   How do I know?  For starters, all the others I have used you needed to choose between CFL/Plasma friendly and not.  You’d get weird noise (the LED on the sensor would flash) from stray “IR” signals.   The MS220 utilizes a “smart” electronic circuit to filter out noise and works with all IR formats.   Check out Niles Audio for more information.

Product Page
Product Specification Sheet [PDF]

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Myro:Home Automation Controller Running In Apple iPad Simulator

Announcements, DIY, Home Automation, Home Theater
January 27, 2010 5 Comments

Just downloaded the newest iPhone SDK (3.2) and ran the Myro:Home iPhone app in the iPad Simulator. It works (you can press the 2x to zoom it, seen in the second image) Once I release the iPhone app, I will be focusing on making a native version for the iPad. This should be fun! A $499 home automation controller is perfect — the iPad is Myro Control’s wireless home controller!

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The Energy Detective (TED) 5000 Whole House Power/Energy Usage Monitor — Mavromatic’s 2009 Holiday Gift Guide

DIY, Electronics, Home Appliances, Home Automation, Home Improvement, Home Theater
November 25, 2009 No Comments


TED 5000 WHOLE HOUSE POWER MONITOR ($239) — Give the gift that keeps on giving money back and can also help make the world a cleaner, better place! The TED 5000 is the latest in home energy monitoring from Energy Inc. that can measure electricity usage in real-time. Just recently, Google and Energy Inc. announced that anyone in the U.S. can purchase and install the TED 5000 and see personal home energy data online using the free Google PowerMeter web application. This device not only lets you manage energy usage but predicts your monthly energy costs and carbon footprint instantly, thus helping you reduce power waste and save you money.

For the complete 2009 Holiday Gift Guide, click here.

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ZeeVee ZvBox 100 & ZvBox 150: Distribute/Modulate HD Content Over Digital Cable (QAM)

Home Automation, Home Theater
June 23, 2009 No Comments


There are two products that have come to my attention that can come in handy for people trying to distribute HD content over the coax as a Digital cable (QAM) channel inserted onto any empty channel.  The products are by a company called Zeevee.  The first product is called the ZvBox 100 bundle which includes:

  • One ZvBox™ – build your own HDTV channel and localcast your computer to all your HDTVs
  • One ZvRemote™ – Control your computer from anywhere in the home
  • One ZvReceiver™ – Connects the ZvRemote to your computer
  • One VGA cable – Video connection from your computer to the ZvBox
  • One USB cable – Digital Audio from your computer to the ZvBox
  • Four 2 meter COAX cables – Helps you connect ZvBox and your TVs to your cable
  • Two cable splitters – Helps you tap into the cable wiring of your home

This allows you to take any video from a VGA source (say a computer monitor output) and broadcast it via coax to any empty digital cable channel.  The remote allows you to control your computer so even if the source is in a remote part of your home, you can still control the mouse as if you were locally.   The ZeeVee ZvBox 100 Bundle
sells for $399.


The ZvBox 150 has the same capabilities as the ZvBox 100 but it also adds the ability to plug in any component HD video source as well.  You can combine many ZvBoxes to distribute many HD channels in your location, on the same simple coax cabling.  Once configured, the ZvBox 150, no computer or Internet connection required.  A quick google search reveals that the ZvBox 150 is priced higher than the ZvBox 100, at around $1000.

Depending on your situation these two products can be the answer all your HD cable distribution/modulation needs — definitely check these products out!

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More People Still Own More HD DVD Players Than Blu-ray?

Home Theater
June 19, 2009 9 Comments

bluray vs hd-dvd

Here’s one that will throw you off a bit… There are more HD DVD players than Blu-ray players in American homes.   Below is an excerpt taken from the Harris Poll report which can be read in full here.

While Blu-ray was declared the big “winner” in the high definition format war last year, consumers may be slow to be part of the winning team. In fact, Americans are not jumping on board with any of the high definition DVD players. Just one in ten Americans (11%) own a HD DVD player while 7% own a Blu-ray player. Looking at the other devices for playing HD DVDs, 9% own a Sony PLAYSTATION®3 (which plays Blu-ray ) and 3% have the external HD DVD drive for the Xbox® 360 (which plays HD DVDs). 

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll of 2,401 U.S. adults surveyed online between April 13 and 21, 2009 by Harris Interactive. While slow to catch on, ownership of all these high definition disc players is up from May 2008. Interestingly, while Blu-ray was the clear “format war” winner over HD DVD, sales of HD DVD players (11% in 2009 vs. 6% in 2008) are up over 2008 by about the same margin as Blu-ray players (7% in 2009 vs. 4% in 2008). Both were rivaled by the Sony PLAYSTATION®3 (9% vs. 5%). However, only 3% purchased the external HD DVD drive for the Xbox® 360, up from 1% in 2008. There is no expected surge of interest pending — only 7% of non-Blu-ray player owners report a likely purchase of a Blu-ray disc player within the next year, down from 9% in May 2008 

As we are seeing more HD content delivered via IP who really cares anymore?

[via Andy Pennell’s Blog]

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Meridian Sooloos Control 10

Home Automation, Home Theater
June 10, 2009 No Comments


If you are sitting pretty well financially in these times then why not stimulate the economy by purchasing a Meridian Sooloos Control 10 ($5000)?   Meridian is known for their audiophile speakers and processors and now have gotten into the digital media space thanks to the purchase of Sooloos.  The Sooloos System is made up of a storage unit, a playback unit and an interface device which together give you greater quality and control over your digital media.  The Control 10 is one of the many ways to control the system and offers a 17″ LCD touchscreen that displays your media in an intuitive way.  You can also access the system via a web browser, iPhone/Touch and Crestron system.

For more information about the Control 10 and Meridian’s Sooloos Media System click here.

Meridian Sooloos – Get In Touch With Your Music

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