Groundhog Day Delights: 5 New Systems for the Spring

Spring comes early this year, so get ready to make a made dash for these soon-to-be-released products.


The top portion of the country might still be in a deep freeze, but there’s nothing wrong with thinking ahead to the big thaw, especially when it coincides with some great new product introductions. Plus, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow today, so that means an early spring.

Several manufacturers announced at the Consumer Electronics Show in January plans for their impending rollouts of high-tech products and systems for the home. They won’t be available for another couple of months, so mark your calendars so you can be the first in your neighborhood to have them.

1. Sharp’s 70-inch Aquos Quattron LED LCD TV will set the bar as the company’s biggest LCD TV to date. The set will feature built-in Wi-Fi to facilitate video streaming from the Internet and access to apps including Facebook, Pandora, Twitter and Flickr. A 1080p resolution and 120Hz refresh rate tops off the LC-70LE732U, as well as four HDMI inputs to enable connections to multiple HD components. Because it’s IP-enabled, the TV can be easily integrated into a complete home control system.


2. Somfy Systems, a manufacturer of motorized window treatments, will debut as a provider of complete home control systems this spring, with the release of its TaHomA system. Based on Z-Wave technology, the wireless system will allow homeowners to schedule and supervise the operation of window coverings, lights and thermostats by using a computer, iPhone or iPad. By controlling these three components, homeowners will be able to better manage their household energy consumption.


3. Iogear’s Wireless 3D Media Kit
will be one of the first devices on the market to wirelessly stream HD audio/video and offer 3D support. The system will be able to stream content from a 3D transmitter to a total of four wireless 3D receivers. For example, a user will be able to connect a Blu-ray player, set-top box, DVD player and media server and stream the content 100 feet.

4. Yale’s new line of electronic deadbolt and lever locks feature a built in touchpanel. You just press in your secret code, and presto, the door unlocks. Or, you can integrate it into a home control system, like one from Control4, to sync the locking and unlocking with other events in your house – like when you arm and disarm the security sensors. The tie-in with a home control system also enables the lock to communicate with other devices. For example, when Mom’s code is entered, the lock can signal the home control system to set the lights, music and thermostats to her liking. For Dad, something completely different can happen.


5. Think Eco’s modlet device is easy, affordable ($50) and just might help you shave a few bucks off your electricity bill. The starter kit comes with two plug-in modlets and a USB receiver. Using a web-based interface, you set up schedules for devices that are plugged into the modlets (things like lamps and cable boxes). Or, you can let the modlets themselves make usage recommendations, which are presented on the web interface. You can accept those recommendations or stick with your own on/off schedules.


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