Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Are You Ready To Buy A Home Theater Audio System?

Are you ready to buy a home theater audio system? Here are several tips to help you find the right audio system for you.

1. Spend some quality time with the room you are going to put your new home theater audio system. Believe it or not but the room is as much a component in your home theater system as any of the electronics you will ever buy. Ask yourself which room you will be putting your new system in. Consider whether or not this room is going to be used solely for you system or will it be used for other activities. Will there be any size considerations for the components and speakers you plan on using with the dimensions of the room?

Consider drawing a map of your room and sketch the possible placements of your furniture, components and speakers. Measure the room’s dimensions and write them down. Make a list of all the inputs you currently have and will continue to use. Make a list of the inputs you intend to add to your new audio system. You should write down which components are going to need cables and wires. Also, write down the approximate lengths of those cables and wires. Once all of this is worked out carry this information and map with you when you go out to buy your new audio system.

It is important to arrange your room for optimal picture and sound by reducing screen and hard surface reflections. Do not forget the TV picture is not very pretty when light is reflecting off the screen. Also, audio is not so wonderful when sound waves are reflecting off hard surfaces like bare walls and windows.

2. Decide on what you want to experience when you settle down on your couch with your partner and a big bowl of popcorn. Ruminate on the experience you want before you ruminate on your budget. Is it stereo, surround sound, or primarily movies?

3. Spend a few hours looking around on key sites and forums and you will know more than most. Friends, family, trade and consumer magazines and inquiring jaunts to your favorite electronic store will help you gain customer leverage. Do not buy anything at this point. Get as much information stuffed into your brain that will help you when the time comes for you to buy your system.

4. Revisit the drawing of your room and your research. You will ultimately end up with two, possibly three choices. By now you should be a confident consumer. Decide what you absolutely want.

5. There are values out there the trick is to be an expert on home theater audio systems. Keep your eyes open for great deals. Big electronic stores offer promotions, online manufacturers can offer radically lower markup than retailers and online auctions offer access to deals all over the world.

6. Don’t get stuck with a mismatched TV size for your room. The key here is balance. If the TV is too big then you tend to see the details of the screen, not the image. If the TV is too small you might feel like you’re sitting in the nosebleed section. Here is an equation to help you decide the best screen size for your room.

2.5 x The size of you TV screen = Suggested viewing distance

For example: If your TV is 36” then according to the equation you should sit about 90” from your TV (36 x 2.5 = 90). Note that this chart in only a reference.

Good luck finding the home theater audio system to fit your needs. Enjoy shopping and make the experience fun.

Monday, June 13, 2011

A look at DVI cables

We all have many times heard about DVI, but what does it really means and what it does? What is the main function of this tiny white port on a video card? How it can benefit you and your personal computer? Do you know which DVI is suitable to meet your requirements?

Digital Video Interface is created by Digital Display Working Group to solve the problem of accommodation analog and digital interfaces just by using single connector. It was developed because of insufficiency of standardization in digital interfacing.

Three types of standards can be seen in DVI cables. It is very important to know how each type looks like before buying to upgrade your DVI. So it is very important to know how DVI cable works and which one will be most beneficial for you.

However, DVI cables are still in the phase of development. Hence there is no specific standard for the DVI cable. DVI has mostly given way to the HDMI cable which has the added benefit of carrying audio, as well as digital video. HDMI technology does have standards that are evolving with the industry. In ideal circumstances, DVI home theater cable is capable to create ' digital to digital' connection between the data or video sources and home theater projectors.

The standard rule for DVI cables is that it should have maximum length of 5 m for trouble free operation. It is very typical to decide a DVI cable first time.

There are two types of DVI connector and each has its own characteristics. The flat pin denotes whether the cable is analog or digital. A flat pin with four surrounding pins denotes either DVI-A or DVI-1. A single flat pin denotes DVI-D. The pin sets depends upon whether the cable is single link or dual link or analog.

To choose a perfect Digital video interface cable you should remember these tips:

1.Check both female DVI plugs to make sure what type of signals they compatible with.
2.One or both connections should be DVI-D if you are choosing a DVI-D cable.
3.One or both connections should be DVI-A if you are choosing a DVI-a cable.
4.If one of the connections is DVI and other is VGA, and if the DVI is analog compatible, then you must buy a DVI/VGA adaptor or a DVI to VGA cable.
5.when both connections are DVI-1, you are advised to use any of DVI cable, but better if you use DVI-1 cable.
6. If one connection is digital and the other is analog then there is no possibility of connection between them.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Cabling your home for computer network - still a requirement?

Cabling your home for computer network - still a requirement?

With proliferation of wireless networking and communication equipment it is oh-so-tempting to cut the cord and save a significant sum of money in the process. But is everything that a regular computer networking user needs can be done using just wireless network? Let’s take a look at some pros and contras:

1. One important advantage of having a cabled network is the available bandwidth or simply speed. At the present point in time the speed of connection via a simple and inexpensive CAT5E cable can be 1000Mbit/sec, whereas the best that IEEE802.11g (one of the many flavors of Wi-Fi) can offer is only 54Mbit/sec. It may not seem so significant if you think you are only browsing Internet, and the DSL speed available to you is 1.5Mbit/sec. However, if you need to print via your network connection on a remote printer, you should realize that the print jobs, depending on the amount of graphic data in them, can easily reach dozens and even hundreds megabytes. Since 1Byte=8bit one 100MByte print job will take 15 seconds (and in reality this time can be much longer) to transmit via a Wi-Fi wireless connection, and this time shrinks to mere 1 sec or less on wired 1000MBit/s Ethernet connection. Same principal applies to transferring files, backing up files on other computers in the network etc.
2. It is not possible today and with all probability will not be possible in the future to transmit power needed for your networking device via the wireless link. Unless, of course, you would be willing to be subjected to very high levels of microwave radiation. Thus a device that was marketed to you as “un-tethered” will in fact be very much tethered via the power cord or will have to be re-charged every so often. The power requirements are increasingly important for devices that are expected to be always online, such as phone sets. Therefore it is best to have it connected via a cable that can deliver both power and the communication signal at the same time.
3. Wireless communications are very much proprietary and require whole gamut of conversion equipment to transmit multi-media signals. The same CAT5E cable can without any modification support phone, computer network, balanced line level audio signal, baseband video signal as well as host of other, more specialized, control applications’ signals. With inexpensive adapters called “baluns” the same cable can carry significant number of channels of broadband television or carry a baseband video, such as security camera output, through great distances. All of those applications, except the computer network of course, will require specialized expensive conversion equipment if they needed to be transmitted via a Wi-Fi link.
4. The cost benefit of not running wires around the house is not as simple as issue as it seems. Having installed a wireless network at home you have only eliminated the need to wire for a single application – computer network. A modern home, however, requires all kinds of wiring to run even without regard to computers. The power and phones are obvious examples, as well as thermostats and security systems. Pre-wired speakers are common and most homes today have intercom systems as a desirable option, and those also require extensive wiring. It is very likely that the same contractor running the intercom or security cables is qualified to run computer cables – CAT5E or better. If you are building a home, you should definitely check if computer cabling option is available in your new home, and our advice is to go ahead and purchase it before the walls close. It is going to be a pretty involved and expensive procedure to install the cables later. As an added cost benefit of a wired computer network you will find that all modern computers ship with wired Ethernet network interface card included, and the latest models ship with 1000MBit/sec cards that are essentially free for the computer’s owner.

There are multiple sources of information available on proper planning and design of a residential cabling for voice, data, audio, video and other applications. One of the best sources is the TIA/EIA-570B standard, most resent release of which has been published in 2004. The standard outlines recommended types of the cables, principals of cable distribution in a single- and multi-dwelling units as well as recommended amount of cables to be installed based on the size of the house.

In conclusion, cutting the wire seems like a step forward, some sort of liberation of computer from the bonds of the infrastructure. I would caution the reader, however, to take a more balanced and informed approach before joining the wireless revolution. There are still (and will remain in foreseen future) sound reasons to include properly designed cabling system into the list of your dream home options.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Boxee Box now available

The highly anticipated Boxee box is now available at Tiger Direct.
The Boxee box is a multimedia streaming device that was expected to be released this past summer.

The elegant user interface and seamless connectivity to the internet are what make the Boxee box so popular among the home theater enthusiasts. It seems the Boxee hardware will be manufactured by Dlink. If the experience is anything like the Boxee software released for Windows, Mac, and Linux, this should be an exceptional standalone media streaming device.

Boxee for $179.99

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Anchor Bay Scaler Performance in Yamaha RXV-765

I finally had a chance to hook up my Nintendo Wii system to the Yamaha 765. The Yamaha RXV-765 is equipped with the Anchor Bay ABT-2010 scaler. This scaler is the same one used in the 2009 Denon line of receivers, and is highly regarded. Although I am only using a composite cable for now, and my tv is only capable of 720P, there is a noticeable improvement in the picture quality. There is less artifacting and mosquito noise in the general scene, and text is rendered with more blending and less jaggies (what I call jagged lines that don't appear smooth). Both problems are typical of composite video connections, and are handled nicely by the scaler.

Most of the games I like to play on the Nintendo Wii are high frame rate, very busy scenes with a lot of fast motion graphics, games like Super smash brothers brawl, and Mario Kart racing. So, as a result, the picture quality during game play is not as easy to see the improvements in as when viewing a static screen, or any of the RPG games that there are not so many objects rendered.

Overall, I am pleased with the picture quality produced by the Anchor Bay scaler. Especially on a composite connection using only the stock average quality cables provided by Nintendo. I could only imagine that feeding the scaler in the Yamaha RXV-765 a cleaner signal would result in an even bigger improvement in upscaling picture quality that would really show the quality of the Anchor Bay scaler solution.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Another great Blu Ray deal Toshiba for $99

I just received notice of this Toshiba blu ray player for $99.

This is a pretty decent player that supports bd-live and is one of the later faster loading players. Also supports media from sd cards including AVCHD. If you have a High Definition camcorder that uses sd cards then you can play the videos using this player.

Click for deal

Friday, March 19, 2010

Panasonic DMP-BD605K Blu Ray Player Deal $112.89

I was helping a friend research inexpensive blu ray players when we came across this really great bargain from Amazon. The player is a Panasonic DMP-BD605K and is comparable in features identically with the more known DMP-BD60. The 605 is a model that was made just for Costco and also comes with a HDMI cable from what I understand, and the 60 does not.

This is a great player with excellent picture quality and analog and digital (optical/hdmi) audio outputs. This player also performs admirably in upconverting dvd sources up to 1080p and is BD2.0 certified.

If you have been thinking about getting a cheap blu ray player from Wal Mart or Target, then you should jump on this deal, because panasonic is top rated in blu ray players, and much better in performance and build quality than anything that you will find at any chain department store at the same price.

Panasonic DMP-BD605K (Brand New)