CasaTunes Streaming Servers
Does every member in your family share the same taste in music? Probably not. That’s why the CT-3 line of media servers from CasaTunes is so appealing. Each of the CT-3 servers delivers three simultaneous streams of audio, and they provide access to local music on Windows, iTunes, and networked Universal Plug and Play/Digital Living Network Alliance (uPnP/DLNA) compatible media servers.
CasaTunes powers its multi-room audio systems using CasaTunes Air, a switch for Apple AirPlay that combines wired and wireless into one audio solution. CasaTunes Air enables access to an unlimited number of music services and music apps, including iTunes Radio, iHeartRadio, NPR Music, Rhapsody, Rdio, Songza, and more. Users can also incorporate radio stations from around the world and premium options, such as Grooveshark, last.fm, MOG, SiriusXM, Slacker, Spotify, and Pandora.
The CT-3 provides three streams of music to three wired rooms and five wireless rooms through any AirPlay speaker or device. The CT-2i has one external input, two wired outputs and five wireless outputs. And finally, the CT-3S music streamer is designed to work with Russound, Audio Authority, Channel Vision, NuVo, and SpeakerCraft distributed audio systems.
Each CasaTunes server can be controlled using one of the company’s apps, which are available for iOS, Android, and Blackberry smartphones and tablets. Web browser and keypad controls are also an option.
OPPO Portable HA-2 Headphone Amp and DAC
Need to take your discerning audio tastes on the go? The HA-2 portable headphone amp and DAC is the latest in Oppo Digital’s lineup for on-the-go users. It can deliver all of the high-resolution audio goodness you want, but from portables like smartphones and other small music players. It seems impossible, but Oppo has packed this portable with the ESS Sabre32 ES9018-K2M DAC, which can support PCM audio up to 384kHz/32-bit and DSD audio up to 12MHz (DSD256 or DSD4x).
In addition to the USB DAC, the HA-2 has hybrid-class AB amplification for use with iOS and Android devices, as well as PC and Mac computers. It’s perfect for pairing with your favorite digital music device. Other features include a Bass Boost function, two USB DAC input ports, a 3.5mm input, and a built-in rechargeable battery. This tiny device has two gain settings: High Gain, which can deliver up to 300mW into 16-ohm headphones, and Low Gain mode, which is made for in-ear headphones.
Oppo is making this something that you’ll want to show off, since it’s portable and has both leather casing and beveled aluminum edges. And when it’s stacked against most smartphones, it’s still pretty thin, so you don’t have to worry about stretching out your pants pocket. The HA-2 sells for $299.
SunBriteTV SB-HDWT Streams HD Content
With warmer months ahead, it’s time to take your A/V outside, and for some homeowners that means investing in an outdoor TV. Thanks to the SunBriteTV HD Wireless Transceiver, also known as the SB-HDWT, that new outdoor television can tap into all of the A/V components that reside in your house. The SB-HDWT is wireless and weatherproof, and can transmit 1080p content to the TV from up to 100 feet away from the A/V source. (Just know that, according to SunBriteTV, it does need line-of-sight between the sending and receiving antennas to make the magic happen.) The device also has an HDMI-in and HDMI-out transceiver so it’s compatible with all of your favorite HDMI-enabled devices. SunBriteTV is selling the SB-HDWT for $595.
Garageio Smartens up Your Garage Door
Out of all the doors in your house, the garage door deserves a little automated love the most.
A company called Alottazs Labs is making this insanely easy with the Garageio.
The Garageio is a DIY home automation device that can turn any garage door into a smart garage door. Just add the square Garageio box to your door, connect it to your home’s Wi-Fi network, and download the app for iOS and Android devices.
Once everything is connected, Garageio lets you check the door from your smartphone as you pull out of the driveway, while you’re at the office, on the beach, or anywhere else. You can also close or open your garage door remotely. And Garageio will tell you when the door has been left open as well as who left it open. The app has an activity log and provides access to up to three garage doors from one device. It even works with IFTTT (If This Then That), so you can set the door to open or close based on the weather, your location, and more. The single-door Garageio retails for $149, a two-door version is $169 and three-door unit goes for $189.
BenQ M7 Projector Lineup Under $1,500
If you want to have the best home theater system possible, you’re going to need a projector. A projector can deliver the closest experience to an actual Cineplex. However, the best home theater projectors can cost thousands of dollars. BenQ is aiming to make affordable projectors a real possibility with the introduction of its M7 Series. This new lineup has three home theater projector options, which include perks such as easy installation, bright imagery, and Colorific picture quality.
Perfect for any home theater, the M7 Series includes the MX723, the MX726, and the MW727. These projectors feature 3,700, 4,000, and 4,200 ANSI lumens, respectively, as well as XGA (MX723 and MX726) and WXGA (MW727) resolutions, 3D support, and up to a 13,000:1 contrast ratio.
All three projectors have a Smart Eco mode that can automatically adjust lamp power by up to 70 percent in order to use just the right amount of brightness. And the No Source Detected mode will lower brightness to 30 percent when no display has been detected for more than 3 minutes. (After 20 minutes, it shuts down, so it won’t be wasting any power.)
Other features include 1.6x zoom, 2D keystone correction, corner fit capabilities, and an RC hot key to walk users through the set-up process. The MX726 and MW727 also come packing MHL support and two HDMI inputs. The MX723 has an MSRP of $1,199, with the MX726 priced at $1,299, and the MW727 going for $1,499.
Kichler Lighting Z-Wave Dimmer Switch
Kichler Lighting has added something special to this fairly typical looking switch: the power of Z-Wave. This means that the Kichler Lighting Z-Wave Dimmer Switch can replace any of the switches in your home and communicate with other Z-Wave-compatible devices.
Measuring 3.5 x 5.5 inches, the Kichler Lighting Z-Wave Dimmer Switch can be installed into any single-gang junction box. It features a standard paddle-style dimmer with a full range of dimming functions, as well as the option to turn the lights on and off.
Kichler Lighting has actually put Z-Wave into two of its control products. The model known as the 12388 is available in white for $98; you can add an almond cover and trim plate for an extra $11. If you need options, the 12387 model is a full-range in-line dimmer that sells for $115. Available in black or white, this version can deliver dimming from 0 to 100 percent, consumes only 1 watt of energy, and installs cleanly in-line along your under-cabinet system.
Digi XBee Smart Meter Reader
In the electronic house, there’s the potential for plenty of energy hogs. You may be diligent about shutting down devices when they’re not in use, but what about when something’s in standby? And what about devices that need to be on all the time?
This is where some type of smart meter, such as the Digi XBee Smart Meter, may come in handy. The product piggybacks on an electrical outlet, monitoring and measuring the energy draw of a connected device.
If you’re looking to monitor multiple devices, add one of the company’s ConnectPort X gateways. This addition allows you to have multiple Digi XBee Smart Meters scattered throughout the house, creating one whole-house energy management solution.
Each Digi XBee Smart Meter has a built-in mounting tab, so it can be securely attached to any wall socket. It can be used with the aforementioned ConnectPort X gateways (starts at $108), XBee embedded modules, XBee adapters, or XBee sensors, all without the need for a wired infrastructure.
Once the products are attached, users can monitor load consumption information, including on/off status, operating range, and even erratic behavior. As a bonus, each plug-in acts as a network extender, strengthening the signal of your home’s ZigBee network.
Promising a range of up to 400 feet, the Digi XBee Smart Meter sells for $84.
Compro Multi-Functional Home Security Camera
The Compro TN900RW is a cloud-based IP camera that not only lets you visually monitor your home, but can also control other appliances and even monitor the indoor temperature. The TN900RW security camera comes complete with pan/tilt/zoom features and 720p HD resolution. It even has infrared and Wi-Fi support, so you can view images and control additional devices using a smartphone from anywhere in the world.
The TN900RW has a built-in IR remote learning mechanism, which allows it to control additional appliances. For instance, you can set the TN900RW to control a pet feeder, activate a room air conditioner, turn on lights, or even rev up a home theater system. A built-in temperature sensor, meanwhile, lets you keep tabs on the climate conditions in a particular room. The camera can even send out alerts if there is any sort of abnormal temperature change. Other features include 11 built-in IR LEDs, an ambient light sensor, a dual-band lens, two-way audio, an audio alarm, and a built-in microSD/SDHC card slot. As long as your device has a remote control, it should be compatible with the TN900RW.
Set-up is quick and easy: Just connect the TN900RW to power and a wireless router, and download the free iOS/Android app. When prompted, use your phone to scan the QR code on the back of the camera, and you’re all set. The TN900RW priced at $319.
Control4 High-Res Video Intercom
Control4’s new video intercom feature allows you check the front and back door, peek in on the baby, or call the family to dinner, all from any new Control4 touchscreen. That’s because each of the new models have an HD camera, speakers, a microphone, and the power to deliver full-rate HD video. Other features include do not disturb, audio-only, and auto-answer, as well as the option to select an alternate camera as the video source for exterior video door stations. And it’s important to note that this functionality will even work with third-party SIP products, including door stations, home phones, and mobile apps for iOS and Android, when they are connected on the same network.
Beale Street In-Ceiling Home Subwoofer
A new home subwoofer from Beale Street Audio installs in your ceiling, but won’t shake the light fixtures loose as it plays. That’s because this new in-ceiling home subwoofer uses Beale Street Audio’s Sonic Vortex Technology to reduce motion while still producing a room full of tight, powerful bass. Sonic Vortex isn’t something the company borrowed from Doctor Who. The technology moves air more efficiently through multiple cabinet ports in the subwoofer’s Sonic Vortex enclosure, all without the need for a backbox.
This technology is now available on two Beale Street subwoofers: the ICS6 and ICS8 with new 6.5 and 8-inch drivers, respectively. The subwoofers each use rigid Kevlar woofer material and a butyl rubber surround that delivers balanced performance, even when listeners are off-axis.
Why is more efficient motion important in an in-ceiling subwoofer? Subwoofers are pretty energetic speakers, and in-ceiling ones can, in theory, be a little hard on the drywall or plaster. Creating a more efficient port design, which reduces the motion and vibration created by the low frequency signals, should overall be better for the integrity of your ceiling. Retail pricing unavailable.