Showing posts from November, 2014

AV receiver apps for smartphones and tablets will make you look like a home theater wizard

Today’s A/V receivers are more network-connected than ever before, and one of the advantages of that connectivity is the ability to use a smartphone or tablet as a replacement for a standard remote control. Sure, they’ll do things like power the system on and off, switch inputs, and adjust volume, but that doesn’t even remotely (pun totally intended) begin to describe the full extent of their capabilities. The most exciting features of the latest network A/V receiver apps pertain to their ability to control music in multiple zones of your home, and to manage tunes streaming from an Internet music service. In some cases, they let you perform some pretty kick-ass tweaks to your audio and video systems as well. At the most basic level, that includes adjusting balance, EQ, and sound mode. But the latest models go way beyond that. Read more:

Review of Samsung HT-H7730WM/ZA Home Theater

It’s always hard choosing the right home theater system to go perfectly with your TV, but I have always found going for one the same make as your TV to be a better marriage, although this is just a personal opinion. However, this also comes down to what it is you need, and so if you are looking for a 3D Blu-ray player that offers a good amount of sound to work in perfect unison with your latest Samsung TV, then the HT-H7730WM/ZA Smart Home Theater System could be the ideal choice. Read more:

NUZii Smart Life Is A Self-learning Home Automation And Cloud Storage System

Anyone looking to increase their online privacy and keep their files, documents and media safer but also accessible through a cloud storage solution, may be interested in the new system called NUZii. NUZii has been designed by a company of the same name and has taken to Kickstarter to raise the necessary $65,000 to help the cloud storage and home automation system make the jump into the manufacturing stage. Read more:

Home security device ditches video for audio surveillance

For Airbnb hosts who want to keep tabs on their homes, a full home security system might be overkill. They’re expensive, and live cameras and motion detectors invade guests’ privacy. So how do they make sure guests keep the volume down, aren’t smoking inside and don’t ransack their home? A new device called Point combines microphones with environmental sensors to detect anything out of the ordinary in your home while you are away. A broken window while you’re at work, the sound of your teenagers throwing a raging party, Grandad sneaking an unauthorized after-dinner cigar. Read more:

Port Orange house combines country living, smart technology

The 56-foot-long covered front porch provides the initial country charm. But the house also offers lighting and air-conditioning systems that can be run from a smart device using the Savant Smart House technology to enhance the energy efficiency. The house is equipped with a sound system and a video/security system as well. Read more:

In The Smart Home, The 'Smart Kitchen' May Be Biggest Opportunity Of All

Over the past year, much of the new product innovation in smart home has been around some well understood areas: security, comfort, and convenience. While this focus on straightforward use-cases from smart home entrepreneurs makes sense since all can be vastly improved through the application of smart technology, what doesn’t make as much sense is the comparatively little focus from smart home innovators on the kitchen. I don’t know about you, but the kitchen has always been the central gathering place in any home in which I’ve lived, and while some may think it’s a fad, I think we’re all fairly invested in this thing we call eating. But it’s more than how central the kitchen is to all of our lives. There are a number of trends that support the fusion of technology and the kitchen, including growing interest in cooking by consumers, the emergence of automated food delivery, and the simple fact that mobile technology has already become indispensable to many of us in the kitchen.

Is Bluetooth key to smart home?

If you’ve ever considered trying to turn your house into a smart home, you’ve likely found the prospect expensive or technologically intimidating. That could soon change, thanks in part to an old technology learning some new tricks. Although we’ve been talking about home automation since The Jetsons aired more than 50 years ago, previous technologies haven’t made that vision a reality for most Americans, noted Jonathan Gaw, an analyst who focuses on connected consumer technologies for tech research firm IDC. Read more:

Smart home technology next desired feature for buyers

Homeowners are showing a bigger appetite for smart home technology. Nearly half of consumers -- 46 percent -- say it's important their current home or the next home they purchase have smart home technology, according to a survey conducted of nearly 2,500 consumers who recently participated in an HGTV national focus group on smart home technology. Homeowners and buyers say they see the value in smart home technology for comfort, safety and cost savings, and 51 percent surveyed say they would consider installing smart home technology in their home to make their home more marketable to future home buyers. The younger segment of the millennial generation is the most likely age group to spend money on smart home technology -- 10 times more likely than the percentage of Generation X members who say they'd consider adding smart home technology to their homes, the survey reported. Seventy percent of millennials say it's important that smart home technology integrate with their

A smart home is where the heart is for Best Buy

More and more Americans want to be able to dim their outside Christmas lights without having to leave the comfort of a warm bed. Or control their home’s air conditioning from the office. Or maybe just set up a puppy cam to keep a eye on Fido and to entertain friends online. Read more:

Can smart home put your mind to peace?

The future looks promising for the smart industry. A NextMarket report sees the U.S. market growing sixfold from $1.28 billion in 2014 to nearly $7.8 billion in 2019. Smart locks sales alone will grow from $66 million to nearly $1 billion in just five years, the report suggests. Tech giants are jumping on board with their offering. Apple has announced its HomeKit service, which will allow home owners to control all connected devices in their homes. Google bought Nest, the company behind smart termostats that track users habits to heat or cool the house before they even realize they'd like the temperature to change. Home automation company Belkin is foreseeing a world where people control everything with one app in their phones. "Most people already use their smartphones as alarm clocks, so now they can start making their coffee before leaving the bed," says Kieran Hannon from Belkin. The company makes smart light switches, plugs and light bulbs, and has also partner

Quirky and GE unveil new suite of affordable smart home devices, sensor 'micro-factory'

Smart home technology startup Quirky, in partnership with GE, on Tuesday introduced a new line of economical smart home products that works together with its Wink hub and app ecosystem to control everything from HVAC to garage doors. Read more:

Projector review: Is bigger really better when it comes to watching films this Christmas?

There's something about watching a film on the big screen that immerses you in the drama like no other. You almost want to dodge every gunshot, lean in for every kiss and hold on to your seat during the climax of car chase scenes. So when I was offered the chance to get a glimpse of two high-end projectors in action by ebuyer, I took up the offer before you can say Orange Wednesday. Read more:

Target Testing Home Automation

The nation’s No. 2 discount chain is currently trialing home-automation products in about 500 of its approximately 1,800 stores. Items being tested include lighting, thermostats, smoke alarms and door locks, a Target spokesperson told TWICE. Online, the retailer has organized its home automation assortment under a dedicated “Smart Home” landing page that breaks out the category into thermostat, security, lighting, fitness, home control, entertainment and networking products. Read more:

5 Reasons You Should Give Home Automation Some Thought

Whether you have just recently moved into a new home or if you have been considering upgrades for safety and for property value purposes, consider the option of home automation. There are a few reasons to consider home automation regardless of the size of your home, how much you travel as well as where you are located. Read more:

Home Automation Goes Wide As Discounters Join In

Connectivity and home-automation are taking another giant step toward mass-market adoption this holiday season as Walmart, Sears and Target take aim at the nascent category. Following big-box pioneers Lowe’s, Home Depot and Staples, the latest chain-store triumvirate is entering the category to varying degrees, with Target testing the waters, Sears rebuilding its CE business around it, and Walmart going whole-hog with a 1,700-store rollout this month. Read more:

Somfy shades are the last piece of the home automation puzzle

As we move further and further into a connected home and connected world, I regularly explore how we can integrate every device possible into one main system and network. For now, my favorite hub is SmartThings. It’s not perfect, but it’s a great home automation platform with a great community and support for a wide array of devices. Window shades have been a bit of a white whale, though. This is an area I have always wanted to explore and I have heard that Somfy is without a doubt the leader in the space. In the past, not only have automated shades been a less-than-ideal solution with power having to be supplied to each noisy shade motor, but it’s also been prohibitively expensive for many people. All of that has now changed, however. Read more:

The new affordability of home automation

How would you like to control your garage door with your cell phone? How about your lights? Your home's temperature? This type of home automation used to cost thousands, but within the last year, the price has dropped dramatically. Read more:

Lenovo tablet projects home theater experience

For all the times you schlep a tablet somewhere, you probably use it as much, if not more often, at home. Lenovo says that 80% of consumers primarily use their tablets in the house, with more than half of home tablets shared by at least two people. You frequently watch TV on your slate as well. Read more:

Kickstart your home theater with one of these 7 amazing A/V receivers

You can get a lot of A/V receiver for under $500, but if you’re looking for distortion-free sound that will light up larger rooms, you’ll want the extra power afforded by the next tier up, and spending a little more opens up the brand options a bit, too. As a bonus, these step-up receivers also tend to come with some fun extras, but those same extras can also make the decision process just that much harder. And what about overall sound quality and ease-of-use? Read more:

Surveillance systems easier to get your hands on, keep robbers' hands off

Home surveillance systems, which were once reserved for the wealthy, are becoming more affordable options for protecting your home. Stowe said there are a variety to choose from on any budget. "Two hundred dollars up to $2,700 of different surveillance equipment you can get," Stowe said. With high-definition picture quality and smart phone-integrated options, homeowners can now get a close-up of a criminal's mug with the flick of a finger. Read more:

Exploding usage and outlets for connecting technology with consumers has the 2014 video surveillance market booming

In 1929, Hungarian author Frigyes Karinthy proposed the theory that the modern world was “shrinking” due to ever-increasing connectedness of human beings. He believed that any two individuals could be connected through at most five acquaintances, which is the original version of six degrees of separation. That was before the Internet, social media, and technological advancements that make the big world seem so much smaller today. Flash forward to 2014 and video has its own six degrees of separation — or rather, connection — within the industry. More and more conversations, projects, needs, and interactions with security are linking back to video. Read more:

Why Samsung Should Dominate Home Automation

The coming explosion in home automation, which is the consumer dimension of the Internet of Things revolution, is going to be dominated by some company, or some small number of companies. I think the most obvious leader in this burgeoning category is none other than Samsung Electronics. Read more:

Security Concerns Spur Rise of the Smart Home

Following advances in computer and networking technologies, the long-vaunted concept of the “smart home” is on the verge of becoming a widespread reality. Pivotal to the imminent spread of the digital home has been the expansion of network infrastructure through residential areas in the wake of the smart phone’s rise and popular demand for near-ubiqtuious internet coverage. Just about every home in the major urban centres of developed economies enjoys access to a digital network connection. Read more:

Netgear Preps Smart Home Push with Arlo IP Cameras

Home automation is emerging as one of the primary drivers in the rising popularity of the IoT (Internet of Things) concept. Popular home automation / smart home technologies include programmable thermostats (such as Nest and Honeywell Lyric) and remote controlled lights (such as the Philips Hue). IP cameras have been around as a security solution for quite some time, but they have not traditionally been included in the IoT discussions. As the smart home concept gains popularity, these three product categories are set to experience rapid growth. Netgear is building upon their VueZone purchase by introducing the next generation wire-free cameras under the Arlo brand name. Simplicity and ease of use are primary drivers for the adoption of the VueZone family of cameras. Important updates (compared to the previous generation VueZone cameras) include high definition (720p) video clips and better configurability (such as schedules for turning off the camera completely). Read more: http://

Bluetooth may be the key to your future smart home

If you've ever considered trying to turn your house into a smart home, you've likely found the prospect expensive or technologically intimidating. That situation could soon change, thanks in part to an old technology learning some new tricks. A growing number of companies are rolling out home automation products that tap into new capabilities for Bluetooth, the same wireless technology that you use to link your phone with your headset or other hands-free devices. Because those new smart home products -- such as automated lights and remotely controlled door locks -- are based on a widely used technology, they have the potential to be cheaper and easier to set up and use than previous home automation gadgets. Read more:

Designer's apartment is all about the lighting

Conklin is a lighting designer who works with residential and commercial clients to help make sure their spaces are illuminated to their best advantage. He owns Luce — pronounced loo-chay — and has a showroom at 54th and Vliet streets that showcases his work. With chandeliers, sconces and more, his apartment also reflects the special things lighting can do for a living space. In fact, he designed and made some of the fixtures himself. "I change up the lighting every couple of years," he says, and proceeds to show off the dining room sconces that are controlled with his smart phone. Read more:

Home Automation Market to Surge to US$16.4 Billion by 2019

Transparency Market Research published a new report titled “Home Automation Market (Lighting, Safety and Security, Entertainment, HVAC, Energy Management) – Global Industry Analysis, Size, Share, Growth, Trends, and Forecast, 2013 – 2019″, which is an extensive research study on the home automation and controls market. The report specifically analyzes the security control, access control, lighting control, HVAC control, outdoor control, entertainment control, and standards, data distribution, and other communication protocols. According to this report, the market was valued at US$3.6 billion in 2012 and is expected to reach US$16.4 billion by 2019, growing at a CAGR of 24.6% from 2013 to 2019. Read more:


The smart home market is seeing vibrant activity. Read more:


Will you trade your home for a smart home that knows when you have arrived, or have been built with energy-efficient materials? How about one with the capability to adjust automatically based on weather conditions or brews your coffee the moment you wake up? Or one that reminds you to cross a chore off your list? Most of you probably would happily oblige. Smart homes are the so-called homes of the future and more Americans are sold on living in one, according to Time magazine’s July 14 edition. Thanks to SmartThings, a smart home creation and management platform recently acquired by Samsung, the future is now—and it won’t be far too long since majority of the population are using a smart home service. Read more:

Home automation more common in new homes

Walk into a new model home and you may be surprised by how much modern technology has changed the look and feel of even the most basic home features. From light dimmers, and thermostat control to locking the doors as you drive away from your house, many tasks can now be managed through your cell phone or mobile device. Local real estate developers are embracing this home-automation trend and many new tract homes come pre-wired for the services, allowing a seamless transition between homebuyers and the safety features hosted by third-party companies. Read more:

Home automation companies go hub-hunting

In the race to conquer the connected home market, companies want hubs that let people avoid having to futz around with multiple apps to turn on the lights and air conditioning. In homes of the future, you can use your smartphone to unlock your door, turn on the lights and turn up the heat. But it isn’t so convenient if you have to fumble around with different apps to control everything. Read more:

Home-control wearable technology coming soon

Someday soon, turning on the lights in your house may involvea simple wrist-and-hand gesture as you walk in the door. Another gesture would fire up the HDTV and Xbox One while dimming the den lights to play "Call of Duty." And, when you're all set to turn in, yet another gesture would switch off all your home's lights and lock all the doors. A high-tech wristband called the Reemo, being developed by a Twin Cities startup called Playtabase, would make all of this possible. Read more:

An app for motorized window shades

If you have a cellphone, then you are halfway to adding a new tech feature to your life if you should so choose. So what is it? It’s an app for your Apple phone that allows you to control the motorized window treatments in your house. Yes, you still have to get the treatments installed, but, nevertheless, it’s a great idea. Motorized shades have been popular for a very long time, so that part isn’t new. But being able to control them from your phone is. Read more:

Sunlight Powers Motorized Window Shades

An international manufacturer with headquarters in New Jersey is up to something shady — but in a good way. The company, Somfy Systems, specializes in motorized window coverings. And they've come up with a solar solution kit for powering those coverings. Read more:

Controlling Your Home With The Touch Of An iPad

When you step off the elevator into the 8,000-square foot Savant Experience Center, it feels less like a showroom and more like a swanky Manhattan abode. “We wanted to develop a space where technology blended in with the environment,” says Robert Madonna, chief executive of Savant Systems, a Hyannis, Mass.-based home automation company. ”We built a high-end New York City ‘apartment’ and…everything is automated.” Read more: