Each year in Germany consumer electronics manufacturers come together to display their wares at IFA. The IFA or Internationale Funkausstellung Berlin (International radio exhibition Berlin, aka 'Berlin Radio Show') is one of the oldest industrial exhibitions in Germany. Kind of like CES, manufacturers announce new products and services. This year was no exception. We’ll try to run down announcements as they pertain to Home Theater.
When it comes to movie sequels, 2.0 is rarely better than 1.0. In fact, we struggled to think of a single instance where a 2.0 movie was better than the 1.0. But in technology, we crave the latest and greatest, and the next version of anything gets our heart rates up. When the HDMI licensing group announced HDMI 2.0, we could hardly contain our enthusiasm.
It's hard to believe that only about 5 years ago most of us had to watch TV when the Networks wanted us to. Our first DVRs were so liberating because it allowed us to watch television on our own terms. No more missing programs because they conflicted with another show or were on late at night. The only real issue was that when DVRs first came out you had to watch in one room, typically the family room.
There was a lot of buzz a couple weeks back when Google announced the release of a new HDMI device called the Chromecast ($35). We weren’t immune to the curiosity, so we ordered one. The popularity made them tough to get, but when ours finally arrived, we couldn’t wait to see if it would live up to expectations. We’ll admit, we set our own expectations. Google didn’t do much to hype it up. They simply said, here it is, at a very reasonable price, have at it.
Just about everything we add to our home theaters need an Internet connection. Sure you can use WiFi but nothing beats a hardwired connection. If you have an older home it may be difficult to string wire yourself or costly to hire someone to do it for you. One option that is dead simple and as easy as plugging a device into a socket is Ethernet over Powerlines. We have reviewed many over the years but as technology improves we like to test newer products to see if data rates are getting faster. On this episode we take a look at the ZyXEL 500 Mb/s Fast Ethernet Powerline Wall-Plug Adapter.
Last week we gave you our opinion on which TV to buy for under $1000. This week we’ll do the same for AV Receivers, but for less than $600. As with TVs, there are many factors to consider when buying a receiver. And there’s also personal preference, past experience and brand loyalty. We’ve used all of those factors to compile the list, and we assume you'll apply your bias to it and find the one that fits your home theater just right.