House of Marley Wireless Speakers
Apparently, House of Marley wants to be jammin’ with the audiophile crowd. The company recently released One Foundation wireless speakers. This high-end option is obviously designed for discerning listeners—at least the ones with $1,000 to burn on a wireless Bluetooth speaker.
However, this isn’t just some ordinary Bluetooth speaker. It’s designed to be a centerpiece, packing two 5.25-inch wood-fiber impregnated/pressed-fiber cones into a custom-tuned bass-reflex enclosure, along with two 1-inch Danish-designed silk-dome tweeters. All of that audio goodness allows this home audio system to crank out 220 watts of room-filling sound.
That’s impressive, considering the speaker looks like something that was hand-carved from a tree.
This appearance is intentional, but it doesn’t make what’s on the inside any less high-tech. In fact, these wireless speakers also feature the Qualcomm AllPlay smart media platform, which means you can combine them with any other compatible speakers. Yes, even ones not made by House of Marley. Then, you can stream music from your phone, tablet, local server, or the Cloud, and hear the same music throughout the house or crank different tunes in different rooms. Qualcomm AllPlay can stream across as many as 10 different audio zones simultaneously. It also supports several online music services, including Spotify, TuneIn, and others, with more coming soon (including Tidal).
If you plan to rock steady in just one room, the system has Bluetooth support, as well as an AUX jack and an optional output for subwoofer use. Other features include USB and RCA inputs and a solid oak front baffle with magnet breakaway speaker grilles. In addition to “responsibly harvested FSC-certified wood,” House of Marley uses recycled materials to reduce waste.
MSRP: $1,119.99 each (ditch the AllPlay support and snag the speaker for $999.99)
Feit Electric Bluetooth LED Light Bulbs
So many smart light bulbs, so few fixtures. How do you decide which bulbs are the best? Of course, it will depend on your needs. However, Feit Electric is the latest company looking to stuff its smart bulbs into the dark spaces around your home, by introducing several different options under the collection of HomeBrite LED light bulbs.
The hook of HomeBrite is that it uses Bluetooth Smart Mesh technology, so it’s incredibly easy to create a home lighting system. It’s also insanely affordable, depending on the option that you pick.
An entire system consists of HomeBrite LED light bulbs, the free HomeBrite app, and your favorite smartphone or tablet. No wires, hubs, remotes, or routers are needed. You don’t even need Wi-Fi. Of course, the lack of Wi-Fi means that the system can’t be controlled from your phone when you’re away from the house.
Users can tap into the HomeBrite app to dim lights, as well as turn them on and off from anywhere in the house. It also allows for grouping of lights and rooms, and the creation of timers and schedules.
Boasting a lifetime of up to 22.8 years, Feit Electric’s HomeBrite LED light bulbs are available in A19, BR30, PAR38, and B10 form-factors, as well as a 6-inch retrofit solution. Each bulb option promises to be compatible with most lamps, including general purpose ones, chandeliers, recessed-down lights, and outdoor lamps.
MSRP: Between $15 and $44 (the app will be available from iTunes and the Google Play Store)
Magnum Energy Android Smart Thermostat
We’ve seen a lot of smart thermostats that rely on Wi-Fi so you can connect to them when you’re away from home. However, Magnum Energy Solutions is packing something unique into their root Smart Thermostat. The root is an Android-based thermostat, which can be paired with all sorts of devices in your home, including other energy management devices, as well as products made by Sonos, Alarm.com, ADT, and Comcast. It can even be paired with the Nest Protect Smoke + Carbon Monoxide Detector.
However, the root works fine all on its own, too. Users can stream music directly to the thermostat and display photos and even audio books right on its 7-inch capacitive touchscreen. Need to place a quick order through Amazon? You can do that right on the touchscreen. The root can also connect to a user’s Fitbit, stream live video, and be used as an interface for smart door locks. And since it packs in the power of Android, the root includes the ability to control anything that has an app in the Google Play Store.
Other features include an Ethernet jack, delivery alerts, intercom functionality, and maintenance notifications, as well as support for communications protocols, including EnOcean, ZigBee, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, and Z-Wave. Also available is a version with Verizon 3G mobile capabilities.
MSRP: Starts at $299; Verizon model is $379
Chamberlain Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener
When it comes to what you should automate in the home, people often forget the garage. It’s the place where you keep trashcans, paint cans, and old Christmas decorations. And everything is packed tightly, so you can wedge that car into its appropriate space each night.
However, it’s also an entry point to your home—one that often gets left open. So why should you neglect adding something high-tech to this space when it’s so darn easy? Chamberlain has a great solution for the garage, the Wi-Fi Garage Door Opener with MyQ Smartphone Control.
That mouthful is actually a DIY home automation system that’s easy to control and install. It’s the first Chamberlain opener to include Wi-Fi, so all you need is your existing home network. Once connected, you can operate everything using the free Chamberlain MyQ Smartphone app.
The app can provide a real-time peek at whether or not the garage door is opened or closed. It can even send alerts about the garage door’s status and provide the option to open or close it from anywhere in the world, all from a smartphone.
If you’re looking to add onto that DIY home automation system sometime in the near future, know that this solution currently works with products from Nest and Wink. Chamberlain is planning to add support for SmartThings and Apple HomeKit to the device sometime this year. The latter means you’ll be able to control your garage by bossing around Siri.
According to Chamberlain, the MyQ Garage DIY home automation product can add Wi-Fi connectivity and smartphone control to nearly every brand of garage door opener built after 1993. Other features include built-in battery power for backup, a powerful DC motor, and the option to link it to your car’s HomeLink button.
MSRP: Starts at $248
Plex Media Server Streams Content to TiVo
Plex is looking to add more to your home theater experience. The company has plans underway to stream all sorts of extras to TiVo-based home theater systems. The Plex app compiles your entire movie and TV collection, your music library, and all of your photos and home videos into one place—and allows you to share all of this media across both home and mobile devices. This partnership will allow users to stream everything right to the TiVo box, were it can be enjoyed on the big-screen and surround-sound system of a home theater.
Other features include the option to save online videos for later viewing, as well as easy navigation with movie posters, plot summaries, cover art, and descriptions. It even allows you to share personal media collections with other TiVo boxes, so friends and distant family members can have access to media and memories. Users can also easily keep track of recently added content, since Plex keeps it all front and center.
The Plex Media Server can run on Windows, Mac, or Linux computers, as well as iOS, Android, Windows Phone 8, or Windows 8.1 devices. For other home theater options, the Plex also works on Chromecast, Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Android TV, Xbox, PlayStation, VIZIO, and many late-model smart TVs. Plex is even available on most network-attached storage devices.
All of the Plex features will be built into TiVo Roamio, the TiVo Mini, and TiVo Premiere devices. If you received a TiVo box from a cable provider, you should be able to use Plex on the TiVo T6, Quad, Preview, TiVo Mini, and XG1 devices.
Subscription: Monthly $4.99, Yearly $39.99, Lifetime $149.99
Klipsch On-Ear Headphones Joins Reference Lineup
Whenever an audio fan hears the word “reference,” there are certain expectations—good ones. Klipsch doesn’t wants to disappoint this crowd, so it has put together an entire lineup of products, which now includes on-ear headphones, designed to deliver the ultimate audio performance.
Announced last year, Klipsch’s Reference Series includes a variety of different speakers for different applications. However, there may be times when you want to keep that sound all to yourself, and for this, Klipsch offers its Reference On-Ear headphones. This model packs the reference sound into something you can strap onto your head and wear comfortably for hours on end. It features 40mm drivers, soft ear cushions, and articulating ear cups.
They don’t look flashy like some other headphone models, but they’re not supposed to. Instead, Klipsch has opted to hide those hinges and sliding mechanisms in favor of a cleaner, more minimalist look. This sleek design also protects the headphones from dust, debris, and other surrounding elements.
Made for travel, the Reference On-Ear headphones, available in black or white, are light enough for a marathon music session, but also fold up when not in use. It also features a tangle-resistant cable and a three-button remote and mic for control and calls on iOS devices. Other features include a frequency response of 20Hz-20kHz, 32 ohms impedance, and a sensitivity rating of 110dB.
MSRP: $199 (available on Amazon)
CL Launches 7 Roku Smart TVs
While we’re still waiting for Roku 4K TVs to make an appearance, TCL can keep us entertained with over 2,000 channels of Roku goodness with its seven new TCL Roku smart TVs. The new crop will include three 3800 Design Series models and four top-of-the-line 3850 Decorator Series smart TVs. Each one features the Roku TV interface, as well as access to over 2,000 different streaming channels. (Subscriptions and/or service fees may be required.)
Each TV is part of the Netflix Recommended TV program, which means that the streaming service tested these particular models to see how fast the TV turns on, how fast the app launches, and how fast they can resume video playback.
Other features include a personalized home screen with easy access to all of your connected A/V components, and the option to stream the Sling TV web-based TV service.
The TCL smart Roku TV 3800 Series features the 32-inch 32S3800 ($229), the 40-inch 40FS3800 ($339), and the 50-inch 50FS3800 ($479). Each one provides a 1080p HD image, a 120Hz refresh rate (on models 40 inches and up), and a quad pedestal stand. The Roku TV 3850 Series includes the 32-inch 32S3850 ($249), the 40-inch 40FS3850 ($359), the 50-inch 50FS3850 ($529), and the 55-inch 55FS3850 ($699). All four of these smart TVs include a metallic gunmetal finish and an all-aluminum quad pedestal stand.
Magnum Energy Android Smart Thermostat
The butterfleye is a smart, social, and connected camera that comes packing something called Active Eye Intelligence, which has a learning algorithm and video analytics. Basically, this means that it knows when people should and shouldn’t be home, so it knows the best times to snap pictures and videos throughout the day. It takes this content and uploads it to the Cloud, where users can access it via an iPhone—and even share it to Facebook, Instagram, and Vine.
It’s a neat way to capture candid moments you may otherwise miss. It also means that you won’t have to weed through hours of footage featuring your couch. The butterfleye is also triggered to record audio and provides a real-time peek at your home whenever you want it. Users can then opt to keep those recorded moments in local storage on the camera or in the Cloud.
The butterfleye has Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, so it can connect to other smart devices in the house. For instance, the butterfleye can alert the Nest Learning Thermostat that someone turned on the lights, thereby triggering heating or cooling functions.
Other features include a 3-megapixel lens, 1920 x 1080 video, a built-in speaker, and a microphone. It’s also completely wireless, so you can take it from room to room—and even on the go.
MSRP: $199 each or three cameras for $547