Archive for February, 2008

ReQuest to Offer Finetune Digital Streaming Music Service for iQ Music Systems

Friday, February 29th, 2008

Ballston Spa, New York—February 29, 2008—ReQuest, Inc., originator and leader in the field of digital music servers, is now offering Finetune – a premium digital music service that lets anyone create their own playlists and discover new music through one of the largest online catalogs of licensed major and indie labels – to iQ Music System customers running version 4.6 software. A one year subscription is available for $150 in the USA only. (more…)

Daily Blog – John E. Johnson, Jr. – February 29, 2008: THE FUTURE OF HD DVD PLAYERS.

Friday, February 29th, 2008

After Steve’s blog the other day, suggesting that we go to and buy what we want in the HD DVD movie closeout, I did so, picking up some movies that are in both formats. The HD DVD versions were half price. Interestingly, it appears that the studios who released their movies in both HD DVD and Blu-ray, encoded them at the more restricted bit rate of HD DVD for both disc types. So, the Blu-ray versions are no better than the HD DVD versions even though they theoretically could be (if the Blu-ray versions had been encoded at the higher bit rate capability of Blu-ray).

I have one HD DVD player, a Toshiba. I also have an LG HD DVD/Blu-ray drive (about $340) in my media server. At some point, the HD DVD players will break down. And when that happens, there won’t be a replacement available.  Even if you go to today and buy an extra HD DVD player at the very reduced prices, and store it away for when your current HD DVD player breaks, it will eventually stop working as well. So, what happens to your collection of HD DVDs then?

What I am doing is transferring my HD DVDs to my media server, using AnyDVD. This is software that some people use to copy DVDs, HD DVDs, and Blu-ray discs to their hard drives. It is not a legal software program in the sense that it is available in the USA. The movie manufacturers would sue them up one side and down the other if they were based here. The problem is that the program is used by some to steal movies, that is, copy borrowed or rented discs. I agree that is wrong. However, I don’t see a problem in just copying the discs that I own, to my media server, for backup protection. The discs do get scratched, and as I said, eventually, there will not be any working HD DVD players to play them. I really don’t think Hollywood has a disagreement with this approach. It is the copying of movies that consumers have not purchased that is the issue. The movie studios have a right to protect their investments. But we, as consumers, also have the right to protect our investments. Right? Right.

So, what I am saying here is that I hope manufacturers and consumers can come to some sort of official agreement as to how we can store our movies on transferrable media such that we can protect them with backup hard drives, and be able to continue to enjoy them for many years. Right now, that is in danger. I know there are many other consumers out there who are copying their movies to hard drives, or who want to do that. They are afraid to talk about it. As an A/V editor, I have to talk about it.

Eliminate Warts with Tributaries® New Power Strip!

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

New Model Features Eight Rotating Outlets, Solving Ugly ‘Wall-Wart’ Problem

Orlando, Florida, February 28, 2008—Tributaries® Cable, the leader in high-value, high-performance cable, wire, and accessory solutions, brings its newest problem-solver to market. The T12 Power Strip easily solves the problem of what to do with all those unsightly bulky AC plugs, also known as wall-warts!

Offering the ultimate in flexibility, the Tributaries® T12 features twelve outlets of which eight can be rotated up to 90 degrees. In a compact, convenient package, the T12 offers a highly effective 4320 joules of surge suppression and noise filtering for AC power, and signal-line protection for telecomm (RJ-11), network (RJ-45), and cable, antenna, and satellite (F-connector) signals. (more…)

Jobsite’s Expanded Cat-5 Balun Transformers Assortment Now Shipping

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Custom installation professionals can mix-and-match component and wall mount balun transformers to reduce cabling costs and deliver polished, professional trimouts

Miami, Florida – February 28, 2008 – JobSite Systems, the premier custom manufacturer for the security and satellite industries, announced today that the company’s nine new wall mount CAT-5 Balun Transformer models are now shipping. Each wall mount balun transformer is designed to complement a component counterpart in the popular JobSite balun transformer lineup. (more…)

Daily Blog – Ross Jones – February 28, 2008: DEALING WITH AN S.A.F. OUTBREAK.

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

Anyone who spends time on the SECRETS site is familiar with the bane of many home theater dreams: the dreaded S.A.F. For the uninitiated, that’s Spousal Approval Factor (or for those who insist on being politically correct, Significant Other Approval Factor). You have been afflicted by the S.A.F. if you have heard any of the following: “You’re going to put WHAT in my living room?”; “That is the ugliest thing I have ever seen!” “No, you cannot paint all the walls and ceiling black!”; “Do they make that in a smaller version?”, and the one often heard in my home, “Why do you need another subwoofer?”

Because for every one of us who has the ability to create their own room in the image of a spaceship, there are twenty of us who share their primary theater space with a life partner who does not share our passion for home theater (Note: 20-to-1 statistic pulled out of thin air). And therein lies the rub, because those life partners view the room as something other than a shrine dedicated to reproduction of the perfect audio-video experience.

The phenomenon reaches far beyond the homes of A/V enthusiasts. Those who would underestimate the power of the S.A.F. need only look at the proliferation of on-wall, in-wall, in-floor and in-ceiling speakers; drop-down projection screens, and flat panel displays that hide behind artwork. Indeed, major portions of the industry have re-aligned themselves towards creating products with a high S.A.F. quotient.

So how does one deal with an outbreak of S.A.F.? There is no single “right” answer. Capitulation may seem like the easiest way out, but the reminder of what-might-have-been tugs at you every time you fire up the HTIB. It is the wound that never heals. Bribery is generally a better course of action, but can result in an ugly conversation about value systems within a relationship. If spending $5,000 on a set of speakers makes perfect sense, but a $5,000 piece of jewelry seems like a terrible waste of money, then bribery (or “horse trading” if you prefer) is probably not going to work. Good old-fashioned imperialism is always an option (“it’s MY house and MY money!”) but only if you’re prepared to deal with the consequences. That leaves compromise, settling for the proverbial half-a-loaf. Actually, my wife is very generous about allowing big tower speakers, multiple subwoofers and acoustic panels in “our” family room, so I’m very grateful for her patience. (She made me say that).

Perhaps somewhere out there is a magical, mystical cure for S.A.F. If you discover it, let me know!

AVAD Inks Distribution Agreement with ATON

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

America’s Leading Distributor of Custom Home Electronics Adds
Multi-Room Audio/Video Signal Routing Manufacturer to Roster of Best Brands

Van Nuys, Calif. – February 27, 2008 – AVAD LLC, America’s leading distributor of custom home electronics, announced today that the company has entered into a distribution agreement with ATON, a Lexington, Ky. based premier provider of home audio and video signal routing and distribution products. (more…)

Omnimount Launches Improved Dealer Resource Center To Support Customers

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

New Online Database Grants Customers Access to Comprehensive Product Information

PHOENIX, ARIZ. – February 27, 2008 – OmniMount, the global leader in consumer and commercial A/V mounting and furniture solutions, announced today the launch of its Dealer Resource Center—an online database that provides comprehensive, up-to-date, easily-downloadable product information. (more…)

Daily Blog – Steve Smallcombe – February 27, 2008: BUY HD DVDs NOW?

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008

As predicted, the price of HD DVDs has fallen dramatically in the last week. As I am sure everyone has read by now, even Microsoft has thrown in the towel concerning HD DVD drives for their X Box 360. The optional HD DVD drives are now available for $50.

A few days ago, I checked HD DVD pricing on Amazon and was pleased to find a number of HD DVDs that I wanted at $14.95; and so I bought a few and they arrived in my mail box yesterday. When I checked the Amazon site last night and today, some of these same movies, as well as other titles were now $11.95. So I bought a few more.

Note however, that some of the new releases on HD DVD, such as Beowulf and American Gangster still command a respectable price, $27.95.

Does buying HD DVDs on the cheap make sense, since we now know for sure that HD DVD it to be an obsolete format? I think if you have a HD DVD player already, as I do, it probably does, especially if it is a movie you think you may want to watch more than once.

ReQuest Updates Serious Play™ Software

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Ballston Spa, New York—February 26, 2008—ReQuest, the preeminent manufacturer of hard disk music servers and server-based whole-house media systems, has released a version 4.6 update to its Serious Play™ Media Manager software for the company’s full range of music servers, the N.Series, F.Series, and S.Series models, as well as the iQ Intelligent Media Server whole-house system. Serious Play 4.6 delivers significantly improved Media Manager performance, and incorporates several important new capabilities. Most prominently, it delivers an exclusive new Classical Mode and makes ReQuest’s unparalleled Freedom handheld wireless touchscreen controller available to every ReQuest system owner. (more…)

ZR-4 MultiZone Receiver Kit Now Shipping—The First of Three New MultiZone Systems fro

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

ZR-4 offers competitive features and pricing in an all-in-one solution targeted to the light commercial, MDU and starter home markets (more…)

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