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Thursday
Nov242016

Podcast #767: What we're thankful for '16

Each year at this time of year we do a show where we discuss what we are thankful for. There are the obvious things to be thankful for like our families, especially our wives who put up with our home theater obsessions. And of course we are thankful for you, the listener/reader of our show. So as is tradition over the last many Thanksgivings, on today's show we give you our list of consumer electronics things we are thankful for.

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What we're thankful for '16

Each year at this time of year we do a show where we discuss what we are thankful for. There are the obvious things to be thankful for like our families, especially our wives who put up with our home theater obsessions. And of course we are thankful for you, the listener/reader of our show. So as is tradition over the last many Thanksgivings, on today's show we give you our list of consumer electronics things we are thankful for.

For 2016:

Ara’s List:

1. Cord Cutters - It's is because of cord cutters that new TV services like Sling, Playstation Vue, and the upcoming DirecTV streaming services are hitting the streets. These providers know that there are a lot of people that are tired of paying through the nose for channels they barely watch. With devices like the Roku, FireTV, and AppleTV these services have a platform to easily get into your living room. It's because of cord cutters that these services even exists. If we get a few more look for cable and satellite fees to get even lower.

2. Internet of Things - So what is the Internet of things (IoT)? It's the concept that anything with power is connected to the network. Some may find this creepy but I like getting into my car and having it tell me how long ith will take to get to work or  home. If your calendar is connected it would know you are going to the Airport for a flight and tell you that you need to leave the office early because there is traffic on the freeway. Or if you are driving home from a vacation it would automatically turn your air conditioner on. And that’s just the beginning. There are so many things being developed now that we can’t even fathom the possibilities. The whole purpose is to make our lives easier which should give us more time to do things we love.  

3. 4K/HDR/Wide Color Gamut - As if I need a reason to buy a new TV??? But the TVs of today are so much better than just a few years ago. Not so much the 4K part but the HDR and wider color gamut makes watching TV almost like looking out a very clean window. The studios are still learning how to create content that makes use of this technology but once they get it figured out it will incredible.

4. Plex - This is the year I dove deep into the Plex swimming pool. Available on just about any device you carry or can connect to a TV, Plex allows you to watch your movie library on your local network or anywhere that has decent Internet connectivity. It's much more than movies too! Plex supports music and there is a DVR function if you have and HD Homerun. They keep improving the software so what’s not to be thankful for?? We’ll be watching our movies while we are visiting family for Thanksgiving.

5. HomeKit - HomeKit is Apple’s proprietary software and hardware smart-home platform, letting you control many of the most popular smart-home devices, including lights, switches, door locks, and thermostats. It started out being a concept with little support but now there are dozens of devices from different companies that all play well together. The Apple Home app is a solid piece of software that ties it all together. It decent now and will only get better. If you have an iPhone and an AppleTV I would highly recommend that Apple Homekit is a great way to get into home automation.


Braden’s List:

1. Tivo - In years past I’ve been thankful for the Hopper from Dish. and yes, it is still an awesome DVR and whole house video system.  Still love it. But I have a new love that I love even more, and that’s my Tivo system with a Bolt and multiple Minis. Not only does Tivo have the most feature rich DVR  on the market, it also cut my monthly cable bill by almost two thirds. Save money and get a better DVR? That’s a sweet deal.

2. Power over Ethernet - Sure, this seems kinda old school, but PoE is pretty awesome. For whole house entertainment, especially video, Wifi is great, but wired Ethernet is better.  And since some devices (we’re looking at you Tivo Mini) don’t support Wifi, you either need a cable connection or a wired Ethernet connection where you want to install a Mini.  Don’t have either?  No problem, Power over Ethernet to the rescue. Early versions may not have cut it, but today’s PoE devices more than fit the bill.

3. Amazon Prime Now - Ok, this is a repeat from last year. But before you judge me on the lack of creativity, Prime Now has come thru for me repeatedly this year and I couldn’t be more thankful. Certainly first world problems, but I needed (ok, need may be the wrong word, definite first world problems) needed to get a TV installed quickly for the kids. Got the TV, Tivo Mini and PoE adapters delivered to the house in two hours. Amazon smiles all around.

4. UHD / 4K - This applies both to the television screens and the content you can get from Netflix, Amazon Prime, etc.  Not that the 1080p TVs and content we had before, actually still mostly have now, were bad by any stretch, but I’m just thankful we’ve moved past the 3D obsession. This could have been anything, from smell-o-vision to a new trend of just watching static on the screen to try to see patterns emerge. Doesn’t matter. As long as the whole 3D nonsense is behind us.

5. Automation devices - This is completely me being thankful for devices that enable my laziness. For example, this year I added an automated sprinkler controller.  It took about an hour to get it installed and configured, but after that I haven’t touched it. I log in periodically to check on things, but it automatically adjust watering days, times and amounts based on weather conditions. Set it and forget it. Just like many of us have done with automating our lights to come on at dusk, etc. Ultimate laziness realized.

 

 

 

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