When Netflix decided to get into the streaming business, the company needed a device in your home theater to stream movies to. Just weeks before the box, codenamed Griffin, was to hit store shelves, the project was canceled. But it didn’t die, it came to market under the Brand name Roku and started its own little revolution. Roku continues to innovate and recently announced the launch of the Roku 3.
We’ve watched streaming media go from incredibly choppy and blocky to smooth and nearly HD. As bandwidth increases so does the quality of streaming media. You can easily listen to CD quality audio but streaming Blu-ray quality video is a ways off... or is it? We have an interview with Mark Henninger, an AVS Forum “Newsbreaker”, and we discuss a series of articles he wrote where he compares movies on iTunes, Vudu, and Blu-ray.
Most of us have wireless networks in our homes these days, there’s nothing like the convenience of instant Internet without wires. But we’ve also come to the painful realization that our wireless networks just can’t live up the the rigors of HD streaming, especially if we want to stream multiple videos to different TVs. But as they say with technology, if you don’t like it, just wait a while and someone will fix it. Supposedly the new wireless spec, 802.11ac, can do just that.
A few weeks ago we received an email from a good friend of the show, Jack, telling us about an article he read about HDMI cables. He pointed us to a comment to the article where a reader said that with better HDMI cables changing channels resulted in the tuner locking onto it about a ½ second faster than with cheap cables. (Note: in the accompanying video we credit Michael with sending us the email and actually seeing a difference in lock speeds. Michael helped us with the setting up the test cases).
We have reviewed a handful of wireless HDMI systems in the past, and have been impressed each time at how much better they’re getting and how quickly the prices have fallen. An unfortunate incident in the Russell home recently required a replacement wireless HDMI setup, kicking off a new round of research into what is available on the market now.
There are a few reasons you would want to automate your home. Very close to the top of the list is saving money. And the one item that uses the most energy is your heating and air conditioning system. Today we’ll take a look at four thermostats that let you monitor and control your HVAC system from anywhere in the world. When you decide to build out a complete automation system these thermostats can be integrated right in.