March 20, 2012
| by Lisa Montgomery
I’ve become accustomed to battling my way through booths at trade shows like the Consumer Electronics Show to catch a glimpse of new technologies. Believe me, it’s no fun fighting for a few minutes of a manufacturer’s time to hear and see the big news. To cruise through a smaller show, like EHX, held recently in Orlando, Fla., is a rare treat. I was able to really get into the meat of the new products showcased there, and talk more in depth with manufacturers about their development and marketing plans. Networking was painless … and so was finding a few bright and shining gems worth considering for your next electronics investment.
1. The TV Shield. A couple of years ago two brothers from Orlando conceived a beautiful plan: Develop an inexpensive weather proof housing a TV of any make and model up to 42 inches. Compared to specialty outdoor TVs, this $449 plastic enclosure (comprised of the same material as outdoor slides) is a steal … and as demonstrated by a video in at the TV Shield booth, the ¼-inch cover on the front can withstand a blow from a baseball, golf ball, basically, and anything you can hurl at it. It’s also water-resistant, which means you can leave your Samsung, Panasonic, LG or whatever kind TV out in the rain. The King brothers didn’t forget about ventilation for keeping the set inside cool during warmer months. Small fans can be added to the bottom. http://www.thetvshields.com
2. ChannelVision IP Cameras. There’s not much a manufacturer can do to make a surveillance camera look pretty. But ChannelVision has come close with its new line of recessed interior cameras. Available in single-gang and double-gang models, they look more like a newfangled light switch than anything else. http://www.channelvision.com
3. WaterCop. There are many sensors available that will alert you by email or text if they sense water on the floor. Few, though, allow you to actually do something about the problem remotely. DynaQuip Controls offers a variety of products in its WaterCop line that can detect a leak by the washing machine, the toilet or anywhere else, send an alert to your phone, and turn off the water valve automatically to prevent any more damage from occurring. http://www.dynapquip.com
4. LaCrosse Technology. Following a completely different train of thought, LaCrosse offers a system that monitors the temperature of sensitive areas of your house and allows you to view those temperatures on the screen of a mobile device—with no ability to respond and adjust thermostats remotely. The system consists of 10 battery operated sensors and a gateway device that plugs into the back of your home network’s router. A private website allows you to set parameters for each sensor. Logging into the website pulls up the current reading of each sensor. At $99 for a complete system (plus a little extra per month for monitoring fee), it’s a small price to pay for a little peace of mind. http://www.lacrossetechnology.com
Lisa Montgomery has been writing about home technology for 15 years, with a focus on the impact of electronics on a modern lifestyle.