Remember George? The iPod-friendly tabletop radio from audio start-up Chestnut Hill Sound garnered mostly positive reviews when it debuted earlier this year, thanks largely to its unique wireless remote control, but the $550 sticker price limited its appeal. Well, as of today, it's a decidedly better deal. Chestnut Hill has lowered the price to $500 and will bundle in the outboard remote charging stand--pretty much a must-have accessory--at no extra cost for units sold through the end of the year. To date, the charging stand cost an extra $50 as well, so the net savings on the new deal … Read more
Instead of talking about the digital home today, I thought it might be fun to relive the days of old and help us all develop a greater appreciation for the 'digital' in digital home.
Some people have asked me what the digital home is and what makes it up. Sometimes I'll go with the obligatory, "Well, imagine a home that's full of the most advanced technology money can buy. And in the process, imagine your home making your life just a little better. That's the digital home." Other times, I'll try a more direct … Read more
Nearly a year after its first sightings, the $130,000 "Yalos Diamond" TV may finally have some competition--at least in the Department of Gaudy (otherwise known as DOG).
Speaking of abbreviations, we didn't know that LG stood for "Luxury Gold," as it does in the case of this 24-carat monstrosity. True to its moniker, the home theater system includes a 71-inch LCD in full 1080p high definition, as well as receivers, media players and a 500-watt sound all trimmed and plated in real gold, according to Aving. It's truly obscene.
The price of the … Read more
Add Sirius Satellite Radio to the roster of content choices available on the Sonos Digital Music System. The version 2.3 firmware, available today as an automatic upgrade, delivers access to more than 80 Sirius stations to Sonos' line of multi-room digital audio products. Because the stations are streamed via the Sonos' broadband Internet connection, there is no need for any additional hardware, such as a satellite receiver add-on. After a free 30-day trial, access to the Sirius channels costs $3 per month (for existing Sirius subscribers) or $13 a month (for new subscribers who just want the service on … Read more
Yesterday was the setup for an eye-opening smart home adventure for my new custom home. Here's the conclusion:
I found lots of solutions that weren't robust enough for my application. One of the best was by Control4, a venture-funded startup in Salt Lake City, Utah. Control4's products are wireless and perfect for retrofitting an existing home since they don't require structured cable. Still, I had the luxury of wiring the house, which in my perhaps overly-conservative way of thinking is more bulletproof than wireless, so I kept on searching.
The best solution I could find for new home construction was Lifeware by Exceptional Innovation. Lifeware integrates with Windows and now Vista Media Center, creating a single interface and relatively seamless integration between subsystems. I even found a contractor capable of designing, networking and installing all the subsystems.
I was more than a bit queasy about Microsoft having any part in controlling my home. What if it crashed? Would the whole house turn blue until I rebooted it? And how exactly do you reboot a house? What if a virus or a worm or spyware got in? But Lifeware was supposed to be bulletproof, so I temporarily set my fear aside while I awaited the all important price-tag.
I was really excited to get the contractor's proposal. I involuntarily held my breath as I opened the attachment and then scrolled down to the bottom of the six-page document. After the initial shock wore off, I was finally able to breath again. I called another vendor for a sanity check. Same thing.
I wondered if these people were smoking something or maybe I'm just cheap? I didn't believe the latter, since I was building a relatively expensive home. I'll let you decide. Here's the math:… Read more
I normally don't do this kind of writing and I try not to go off topic too often, but I couldn't resist this time around.
As I was making my daily rounds on different sites getting a feel for what's going on in the tech industry, I couldn't help but think of one staggering issue I have always found with writing: rarely do we thank you, the reader.
Take a look back and think of how many articles you have read from any number of writers and try to count how many times you were actually … Read more
About 25 years ago, a coworker and I brainstormed about designing home automation into new home construction. I think one of us did a paper on it for business school, or maybe we worked on it together; I can't remember. What I do remember is that I couldn't stand accounting and quit the MBA program. Maybe that explains why I only got to be a CEO for seven months.
At the time, computer and network technology was all big iron, so robust, cost-effective home automation was a long way off. Nevertheless, we had hopes and dreams, and one of mine was to someday build my dream home with lots of cool technology built-in.
Fast forward 25 years. My wife and I are near completion of a custom home. We put our hopes and dreams into this house, which my wife designed. Our architect and builder had a mastery of every aspect of the process, except for one: smart home technology. That kind of left me in charge of dealing with that aspect of the home.
Since I'm somewhat of a computer geek, I didn't have too much of a problem with that. After all, I knew what the technology was capable of, I knew the tradeoffs, and I knew what I wanted. I also knew when a contractor was blowing smoke up my butt, which came in handy.… Read more
Boston Acoustics today launched a new series of home audio products for the fall, along with a new logo and slogan ("Play Smart") designed to reinvigorate the storied brand. The trio of new product announcements are as follows:
TVee Model Two (September 2007, $400): Add Boston to the parade of brands offering a single-speaker audio solution. Instead of a virtual surround solution offered by the likes of more expensive models from Yamaha, Philips, Nirotek, and Polk Audio, the modestly priced TVee (Television Entertainment Enhancement System, pictured above) is more in line with that of earlier Zvox and SoundMatters … Read more
T-Mobile may be extending its Hotspot@Home service to offer voice over IP for fixed-line users.
The company is working with Linksys to make a router that integrates home phone lines into the service along with providing VoIP service over cell phones, according to recently filed documents with the Federal Communications Commission.
In June, T-Mobile launched its Hotspot@Home service, which allows T-Mobile cell phone subscribers to transfer calls seamlessly between the T-Mobile cellular network and a Wi-Fi hot spot in the home. The service is being offered for an introductory rate of $9.99 for a single cell phone. … Read more
A few weeks ago, we told you about Leaflets, an iPhone-friendly portal that presents a series of small Web applications on a single page. It turns out there are many more portals like this out there, and uPhoneHome is one such site. Instead of having to sign up to use the site like you do with Leaflets, uPhoneHome doesn't require a log-in at all. You can go ahead and add all kinds of iPhone-friendly Web apps to this page (everything from Facebook to Meebo), and arrange them by date added, categorically, or even alphabetically. The one downside is that … Read more