Archive for May, 2008

VizionWare Signs Distribution Agreement with Smarthome

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

Leading Active HDMI and DVI Manufacturer Partners with World-Wide Leader in Home Electronics Distribution

AUSTIN, Texas – May 2, 2008 – VizionWare, the leading manufacturer of high performance, active HDMI and DVI products, has announced a distribution agreement with Smarthome, Inc. to offer VizionWare’s entire line of digital interconnects and accessories. As part of the agreement, VizionWare’s complete product line, including its award-winning Hi-Wirez Series HDMI interconnects, will be available for purchase through Smarthome’s extensive sales catalog and online store. (more…)

Daily Blog – Sunit Chawla – May 2, 2008: BRIGHT LIGHTS AND CE DEVICES.

Friday, May 2nd, 2008

I purchased a Media Center Extender recently.  When I powered it up, I was reminded of a problem with many CE devices: a bright light to indicate its power-on status.  I can understand the need for a visual cue to indicate a device’s status, but it should not draw attention to itself.

The device mentioned here is not alone.  My RPTV has a red LED right underneath the screen which gets lit when its powered up.  Our telephones have an LED which gets lit when it sits in the charging cradle.  It is bright enough that you could use it as a night light in our bedroom, but we have chosen to cover it.

SSPs range all over the map too in this regard.  Many do offer options to control the brightness of the front panel display, some including a complete off option.  But in some cases, there are other lights, such as the standby indicator, which cannot be altered.  We added a section in our SSP benchmark to report on this.

Yes, masking tape offers a solution, but there is an aesthetic aspect to consider in non-dedicated spaces where this option may not fly with your significant other.  Manufacturers really need to start providing a sub-menu which offers the end user some configuration options.

At the very least, offer an “All Lights Off” option.

Practical Guide to Turntable Set-Up DVD With Analog Expert Michael Fremer

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

Wyckoff, NJ—May 1, 2008—Originally released in June, 2006, vinyl guru and analog expert Michael Fremer ‘s DVD entitled “21st Century vinyl: Michael Fremer’s Practical Guide to Turntable Set-up” has sold more than 7000 copies and continues to sell as it reaches a younger demographic now getting into vinyl for the first time. The disc has been translated into German and Italian with Japanese and Mandarin Chinese Language editions currently in production. (more…)

Daily Blog – Ross Jones – May 1, 2008: FEELING THE HD PROGRAMMING BANDWIDTH SQUEEZE.

Thursday, May 1st, 2008

My cable company giveth, my cable company taketh away. The good news is that I am getting more HD channels. The bad news is that putting more HD into the pipe means something’s got to give to make room for the new channels. The technical details (compression, reduced bit-rate, etc.) are less meaningful than the end result: loss of detail, video artifacts, and macro-blocking. The picture just doesn’t pop like it used to on certain channels.

I’ve gone back and forth between satellite and cable over the years, most recently based on the quality and quantity of HD programming, especially my local HD networks. I cannot get over-the-air, even though I live in a major metropolitan TV market, because of the long distance from the transmitter and several inconveniently located mountains.

So the question is whether to put up with the reduced quality, or put the dish back on the roof. The satellite providers have their own picture quality issues, so it’s not as though there is a clear answer for someone wanting the most channels of high-quality HD programming. The competition between cable and satellite (with fiber-based services playing catch-up) has accelerated the number of available HD channels, but the quality of HD programming seems to be headed in the opposite direction. As more consumers purchase HD sets, I expect (hope?) that the market will insist on higher video quality so we can get the most out of our new HDTV’s.

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