Misc – Other

Wireless HDMI

wireless hdmi Many people aren’t aware of a recent technology that’s available to help with connecting that new and huge TV in the living room. They get that monster Plasma, LCD or Projector set up and realize they have a problem with needing to get a hdmi cable from the component rack and around the room to the display. Not only can this be a huge inconvenience, but unsightly wiring or major cable runs are often simply not an option.

Enter Wireless HDMI. This tech is basically a wireless send and receive pair of boxes. One box plugs in to the source, usually a receiver or switching unit. The HDMI signal is then transmitted over the air to the receive box when then decodes the signal and puts it on the hdmi output at the display. Easy peesy.

These aren’t cheap units though, especially if you get the higher end ones. There is a wireless hdmi site available to help you pick the right stuff for your set up, so check it out for more info.

Logitech Harmony 520 Remote Control Review

The HTGuys deliver a quick review of the Logitech’s new Harmony 520 Remote Control. This is a feature-slimmed version of their popular 880, but costs considerably less.


* One button control of your home theater activities
* Easy to read interactive display
* Learning port for updating IR codes
* backlit keypad

What we liked:

* Low price
* Easy setup
* Help button
* Great customer support

What we disliked:

* Cheap contruction
* Some buttons hard to press

Overall we liked the 520. Although the construction seemed cheaper and the device seem more fragile than the 880 or 688. The 520 still performed its functions as advertised. The buttons on this remote are a bit bigger than previous Harmony remotes but they were difficult to press at times. The activity button required are very hard push to activate. Programming the 520. like all Harmony remotes, is a snap. But with all that said the only reason to buy this remote is the price.If you can afford another $100US get the 688 and the 880 is even better because its bright color screen and charging station. But that will set you back $250US.

I’ve seen this remote for under 100 clams:

Home Theater Guys

HDMI Switcher with Remote – Cheap!

hdmi switchbox
Here is an HDMI switchbox with remote for under 100 clams.

You generally get what you pay for, but switches can sometimes be solid even at discount prices.

I’m a bit leery of the no-name brand of this box, but it might be worth a look if you need an HDMI switch on a budget.

HDMI switch with remote

Via HD Beat

Shopping for a New HDTV

Home Theater Mag has a new article about shopping for your new HDTV set. Jed basically skips the tech featuresets of various units, and tells you how to examine the image quality of different HDTVs.

He suggests to take your own reference DVDs (your own movies that you are very familiar with) to check them out on the sets you’re interested in.

“Make sure that some of the material has scenes of fast motion, as well as scenes with large areas of flat color, such as a blue sky or mostly dark scenes. This will let you observe the processor’s noise-reduction capabilities.”

He covers watching SD and HD material, and what to look out for. Great article.

Home Theater: Going Shopping for HDTV

LG LRM-519 Digital Media Recorder First Look

lg LRM-519

Designtechnica take a first look at the new LF LRM-519 Digital Media Recorder, a DVR and DVD recorder in one unit.

The main job of this piece is to record TV shows on it’s 160 GB hard drive from the listings of Microsoft’s Program Service.

“Like a Tivo, the LRM-519 can pause and rewind up to 90 minutes of live television as well as fast forwarding and rewinding recorded programs. This programming can be burned onto a DVD via the LRM-519’s load tray and supports DVD+R, DVD-R, DVD+RW, DVD-RW and DVD+R Double Layer. LG’s device can also playback DVD movies as it is a progressive scan player.”

The LRM-519 can also serve as a digital media hub by allowing devices which have USB connections, such as digital cameras and MP3 players, to connect so their content can be accessed through the DVR. Media file formats supported through this method include WMA, JPEG and MP3. External USB hard drives can also be attached to expand storage memory options for recorded television programming. Through the LRM-519’s Ethernet port, the DVR can connect to a home network, wired or wirelessly, to access and share TV shows, photos and music with a Windows XP-based PC.

Interesting entry by Microsoft and LG, I will enjoy seeing how this thing pans out.

LG LRM-519 Digital Media Recorder Page 1 – First Looks – Designtechnica

New ZoomBox from Hasbro

hasbro zoombox dvd entertainment projector
Ok, first let me say this is not exactly a high-end piece of kit, but with Christmas just around the corner, this could be just what little Johnny needs.

If your kid has his own projector, maybe it will help you keep his dirty little hands off of yours.

Before we get into the details, let’s get right to the price – less than 300 bucks. Ok, now that your expectations will be more in line with what this thing is…

The unit has RCA video and audio inputs, enabling your crumb-snatcher to easily play video games or (gasp) VHS tapes.

Built in DVD player

Built in speaker

Resolution – 557 x 234

Lamp is weak, the room needs to be dark. Rated at 1000 hours.

“Just plug it in to a power outlet, pop in a DVD, aim at a white wall and start the unit. You’ll get a 5-foot diagonal image from 8 feet away.”

Ok, you know Junior doesn’t need HD quality while watching Nemo for 174th time. The size of the image should keep him occupied, and pretty soon, he’ll grow up to be just like Daddy.

Check this thing out, it is online for less than $285:


Is High Definition Necessary for Home Theater?

I came across an interesting post at HD Beat today, asking if HD is a requirement for Home Theater.

It is not.

Just as 4 wheels and a combustible engine are not a requirement of transportation, a VHS VCR and 20″ crt TV can be a viable home theater.

It’s all in the perspective. 😉 (nobody said HT requires BLING, just don’t brag about your coax inputs…)

While HDTV, HD, and high definition are the buzzword rage, we need to know if we actually need HD for our home theater experience. It boils down to this – what will you be watching?

If you primarily watch DVDs and Standard Defition broadcasts (I like to call it ‘fuzzy tv’, but whatever) such as regular cable, HD is not for you. That is, unless you want to be future-proof. (Buy HD now for the content you may watch in the next year or two +.)

If you have digital cable or satellite, have HD channels available OTA (local broadcasts), want to get that extra 10-15% of pop from an upconverting DVD player, and/or play hi-res computer or console games, you need to seriously consider HD for your display.

It mainly boils down to this – whatever you feed it determines what you need. If you’re not sure, find out what is available from your cable or satellite provider. Chances are, if it’s available and you’re willing to try it, you’ll probably want it.

If you’re not sure what you’ll be watching, or you’re middle of the road for usage, consider the size of your set. The larger the set, the better quality image you’ll want to have. In other words, fuzzy TV is not quite so fuzzy when you’re at 23″.

HD is good stuff, but it’s not required for you to have a good home theater.

HDTV Calibration

test patternAll HDTVs should be calibrated. Here is the quick lowdown.

What is calibration?

Calibration is the finding and using the optimum settings for all of your HDTV’s display controls. These settings include (but aren’t limited to):

Black (or White) Level
Color Correction (tint and color levels)
Geometry Correction
Audio Settings

Why should I calibrate my HDTV?

Well, just like any other fine piece of technology, why have it if you aren’t getting the most out of it? You wouldn’t own and regularly drive a high end sports car without it being properly tuned and maintained, so why not do the same for your high end HDTV?

Some HDTVs look very good out of the box, but oftentimes, we can make them look even better. Sometimes, considerably better. With the chance to get more vibrant colors, better shadow detail, and more immersion in your home theater, you should want to calibrate your set.

How do I get my HDTV calibrated? Read “HDTV Calibration”

Home Theater Bling

home theater photos I came across the finished product photos on the home theater project with the most Bling! I have ever seen. Incredible.

Even the ceiling reminds me of Vegas casinos and shopping malls.

If I only had the time…

Steve’s Home Theater – Completed Project Photos

Why Is the Film Industry Floundering?

I found an interesting article over on Film Gecko today, titled “Why Is the Film Industry Floundering?”

Erin cites Cost, Atmostphere, Movie Release Timing and Competition. I found it an interesting read, but would add a couple of points:

1) Convenience. I get to push play when I want, pause to go umm, stretch my legs when I want, and rewind to make sure I caught what that actor just said. I get to chill on my big comfy couch and stretch out. I can wait until my wife-unit comes home, and we may get to watch an odd dvd when we get that unexpected available 2 hours.

Shoot, I don’t even have to go get rentals. I let Netflix mail me DVDs and I watch them at my leisure.

2) The social aspect. I often view movies with friends. If we go to the theater, we go, enter theater to watch, and then leave. We have maybe a few minutes of social time before the flick starts. If I host the movie, we can cookout, hang out together before and after, maybe even watch another film. Friends are a good thing – righteous HTdudes build those relationships.

I’ve been harping on this for a while. Increasing prices, crappy ad-ridden theaters vs. a great experience in my home? A no brainer.

Film Gecko Post