Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home Entertainment & Automation Services in Matthews, NC.
Home audio and Video Services in Matthews, NC.  TV installation, Surround Sound, Home Entertainment Systems
Bose SoundTouch throws down multiroom audio gauntlet to Sonos

New SoundTouch Wi-Fi line includes three speaker models at launch: the SoundTouch 30, SoundTouch 20, and SoundTouch Portable

All the speakers have six 'presets' on top of the unit. This speaker is the SoundTouch Portable, which has a built-in rechargeable battery

Over the years, Sonos, once a fledgling startup, has grown up to dominate the DIY multiroom wireless audio space. Now it has some serious competition.

Bose has officially unveiled a new line of Wi-Fi speakers under its new SoundTouch brand, which features simple setup and operation, and it’s definitely aimed at the same audience that Sonos has targeted.

The three new speakers that are available at launch — you can order them today — are the SoundTouch 30 ($699), a larger speaker designed for larger living spaces, and the SoundTouch 20 ($399) and SoundTouch Portable ($399), which are designed for somewhat smaller rooms. Bose will also introduce a Wave SoundTouch music system ($599) in December and other SoundTouch speakers and audio products in early 2014, signaling that it’s going all in on wireless audio.

It shares many of the same traits as the Sonos system, but one of the differences is that it’s designed to work with your existing Wi-Fi network and doesn’t require a special “bridge” like Sonos does. However, that Sonos Bridge, which connects to the Ethernet port on your router, sets up a separate “mesh” wireless network that’s dedicated to streaming your audio and helps remove the hiccups typically associated with a Wi-Fi network, which aren’t incredibly reliable.

But Bose is pushing the simplicity of its system and how easy it is to set up “using your existing home Wi-Fi network” and nothing else. The other simplicity theme revolves around Bose’s use of “presets”; both the new speakers and new apps –  Android and iOS devices are supported at launch along with Macs and Windows PCs — are equipped with buttons numbered 1-6. Each number corresponds to a preset in the app.

Using the apps, you can drag and drop specific Pandora radio stations onto a number to set it as a preset. You can also link one of the presets to the music library on your PC or a specific playlist.

To get your music up and running, you simply press one of the preset buttons that’s on the speaker or the included remote, or within one of the apps. Thus, the SoundTouch name.

Sonos comparisons
Like Sonos, the speakers and apps will get software updates that add new features and services. At launch, I was underwhelmed with Bose’s line up of services. Beyond Pandora there’s nothing: no Spotifiy, no Rdio, no Deezer, no nothing. Sonos has a huge roster of service tie-ins, so Bose has a big hole to fill there.

The other thing you can’t do with the Bose SoundTouch speakers is combine two speakers to get stereo sound. That starts to get a little expensive when you’re combining $399 speakers to make a pair, but these types of speakers that have their drivers very close together typically feature little to no stereo separation, so it’s a nice option to be able to go stereo like you can with Sonos.

The SoundTouch 30 and SoundTouch 20 both offer Ethernet connectivity, so you can use a wired network connection if you want, and there’s an auxiliary input, so you can hook up an audio device to a speaker using a cable.

The Bose speakers aren’t equipped with Bluetooth (neither are the Sonos speakers), but they do support AirPlay streaming from iOS devices and PCs running  iTunes. And like Sonos, you can stream music to a single room or have the same music play on all your speakers at the same time. You should be able to play different music sources in different rooms, but I didn’t test that feature yet.

Sound demo
Bose did a sound demo in a controlled environment with hand-picked music tracks, and like most of Bose’s demos, the speakers came across in their best light and seemed to sound quite decent for their size. I suspect the SoundTouch 20 will match up just fine against the Sonos Play:5, which is about the same size and also retails for $399. Currently, Bose isn’t offering any SoundTouch speakers for less than $399, but you’d think that may change in the future with Sonos offering more-affordable speakers.

However, the next batch of SoundTouch products will be more expensive except for the SoundTouch Controller, a swankier remote that will come out early in 2014 for $99.

As I said, a Wave SoundTouch music system is coming in December for $599. And a SoundTouch Stereo JC (Jewel Cube) system ($1,199), a SoundTouch SA-4 amplifier ($499) for select Bose products (including outdoor speakers), and a SoundTouch wireless adapter for Lifestyle systems and VideoWave entertainment system will ship in “early 2014.” (Bose did demo that new stereo Jewel Cube system, which also includes a subwoofer, and, needless to say, it sounded better than the single-speaker systems.)

I’ll let you know how the launch speaker systems sound — and how smoothly they operate — as soon as we get our hands on some review samples. Naturally, it will be interesting to see how the market responds to having a second major competitor in the DYI multiroom wireless audio space. But one thing is clear from Bose’s announcement: it’s going all in on wireless audio; it’s not messing around and will surely put big bucks toward marketing the new SoundTouch line and telling everybody how easy it is to use.

by David Carnoy

http://reviews.cnet.com/8301-33199_7-57606930-221/bose-soundtouch-throws-down-multiroom-audio-gauntlet-to-sonos/

Custom Installation Services, LLC – Authorized Bose Dealer in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

Posted in Audio Demos, Audio Systems, Home Theater, Home Theater Setup, Multi Room A/V, Music and Movies, News, Outdoor Speakers, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Netflix 1080p Timeline: When Will it Come to CE Devices?

The existing universe of 1080P Netflix devices includes the Sony Playstation3, Roku 2 XS and XD, WD TV Live and now LG 2011 Smart TVs and Samsung Smart Hub enabled devices, according to Tech of the Hub.

Netflix launched 1080p streaming in 2010, but we’ve barely seen it in smart TVs, networked Blu-ray players and other common CE devices from top brands such as Samsung, LG and Tivo.

Netflix 1080p was supported exclusively by the Playstation 3 when it launched last year, and since then has trickled out to media players from Roku and Western Digital. Netflix only this summer released a software developers kit for everyone else, and those everyone elses are finally incorporating the technology into their new and legacy devices (via firmware upgrade).

That’s good news for Netflix Watch Instantly lovers, but might be confusing as well.

As Tech of the Hub suggests:

The toughest part for the consumer is distinguishing the differences between all of the Netflix enabled TVs, Blu-ray players and streaming boxes at retail stores. All of them have the same Netflix logo on them. So, you can’t tell which Netflix boxes support 1080P, surround sound and subtitles.

The blog site has reached out to several major brands to determine when they will enable 1080p Netflix streaming for their CE devices.

Here is an overview, but check out Tech of the Hub for more details.

Samsung updated its Netflix app two weeks ago for Smart Hub-enabled Blu-ray players, TVs and home theater systems.

LG displays with Smart TV have been updated as well, with other LG devices following this month.

Netgear’s new NeoTV NTV-200 will support Netflix 1080p next year.

Pioneer’s Blu-ray players will not support 1080p for Netflix.

TiVo is working on 1080p Netflix streaming, but won’t say when it will be commercially available.

The big question is: Will Netflix raise its rates again when 1080p becomes universally available?!

By Julie Jacobson

http://www.cepro.com/article/netflix_1080p_timeline_when_will_it_come_to_ce_devices/?utm_source=CEPWeekly&utm_medium=email

Custom Installation Services, LLC – First choice for low voltage wiring in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

Posted in 3d movies, 3D TV, Blu-ray, Flat Panel TV's, Gaming Systems, HDMI Specs, LED, Low Voltage Contractors, Media Rooms, Music and Movies, News, technology | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


LED vs LCD TVs

How are LED TVs different from LCD TVs?

Simply stated, an LED TV is an LCD TV that is lit with an LED (light emitting diode) light source instead of CCFLs (cold cathode fluorescent lamp). Manufacturers such as Samsung began the trend of marketing the LED-lit LCD TV as an “LED TV” likely in an attempt to easily differentiate the product from typical CCFL lit LCD products.While an LED TV is still technically an LCD TV, just get used to seeing this type of designation. We don’t really have a problem with it and it does, among other things, seem to make it easier to say it out loud.

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An LCD TV is comprised of several layers. The front layer is a piece of glass filled with liquid crystals that move and change to produce the images we see on the screen. But images can only be viewed when the screen is illuminated. This requires a light source. The light source is the difference between LED TV and conventional LCD TV.

Here’s a simple explanation of how it works: Conventional LCD TVs use fluorescent tubes (CCFL) to provide light to illuminate the LCD panel and make the images viewable. In an LED TV, the LCD panel is lit from behind with an LED-based backlight. LED lights can be more precisely controlled and can produce richer blacks and a better contrast ratio for a more vivid viewing experience.

Edge Lit vs. Rear Lit

With LED TVs, edge-lit technology is what allows some sets to be less than 1-inch thick. The LEDs are actually arranged around the very edge of the screen, allowing the display to be very thin, since the lighting technology isn’t positioned behind the screen. While this does indeed grant a thinner display, it typically (this is changing now) precludes te manufacturer from setting up a system that optimizes contrast across various areas of the screen.

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Smart Dimming and Zones

Several manufacturers are optimizing their LED backlit displays to produce different amounts of backlighting on different areas of the screen. In this way, you can see content that contains bright areas on the screen along with very black areas. Think of a candle lit in a dark room. With your typical edge lit display you have one level for the overall backlight. With Smart Dimming, you can brightly light the part of the screen with teh candle, and then all but turn off the LEDs behind the black areas of the screen.

Should you expect to pay more for LED TV? What are the benefits of LED vs. LCD?

LED TVs like those form Westinghouse Digital are often edge-lit, which means they are generally more energy efficient, weigh less and cost less than full array LED TVs. Some LED TVs are engineered and produced so efficiently that they may even cost less than conventional CCFL lit LCD TVs. The bottom line is that LEDs are getting cheaper and cheaper and soon we estimate they will actually be easier and cheaper to produe than CCFL backlit displays.

LED TVs in general use less energy (and are therefore more efficient and economical to operate) than conventional LCD TVs. LED TVs are also thinner and weigh less than LCD TVs and generally create a brighter picture. For those who are environmentally concerned, LED TVs also contain no Mercury or Lead.

Presented by Westinghouse Digital and edited by Clint DeBoer

http://www.audioholics.com/education/display-formats-technology/led-vs-lcd-tvs

Custom Installation Services, LLC – First choice for low voltage wiring in Charlotte, NC and surrounding areas

Posted in 3D TV, Blu-ray, Flat Panel TV's, Gaming Systems, HDMI Specs, Home Theater, LED, Low Voltage Contractors, Media Rooms, Multi Room A/V, Music and Movies, News, recycling, Structured Wiring | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment


Custom Installation Services, LLC | P.O. Box 132 Matthews, NC 28106 | 704-400-8701 | dmiller@cis-nc.com
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