Apple May Move Into Home Automation & TV – Speculation mounts that Apple will introduce a new suite of software for home automation and a special Apple TV. They are working on delivering of IP content direct from the Apple iTunes store. In mid-2012 Intel is expected to have a new processor specifically for TV to deliver content and web-based applications to TV screens. The content could also be delivered to iPhones and iPads and allow users to manage their devices, music, video, wireless audio and lighting. An analyst says Apple will train a Genius Squad to install their TVs and connected devices, because they are likely to be too complicated for the average consumer to install. Apple also has looked into distributed wireless audio in the home, and the integration of lighting and energy management systems. This would be part of the Apple ecosystem rather than a standalone system. Firms such as Push Controls are already delivering Apple-based home automation software controlling home entertainment systems and lighting while offering environmental control benefits. With the addition of IP cameras, users control their security with software information delivered to an iPad or iPhone from anywhere in the world.
Samsung vs. LG 3D Glasses Fight Gets Nasty – Samsung and Sony both have made statements claiming more consumers had purchased their active-shutter technology glasses than the Passive 3DTV technology of LG. LG responded that while the shutter glasses currently have the bigger market share, that is not the core issue, and their passive sets are quickly becoming top-selling models. In some countries the mud-slinging has carried over into the companies’ TV ads. An LG VP defended their passive glasses, saying they give consumers comfortable, affordable, no-batteries, theater-style glasses with similar technology to what they have experienced in movie theaters. Sony, meanwhile, has brought down the price of their active-shutter glasses to $70 and made them lighter by recharging via a USB port rather than stowing heavy batteries.
SACD Ultrasonic Noise – Neither Myth nor Problem – Noted audio engineer Tony Faulkner comments as follows on our recent news item: “In the regular band of audio frequencies SACD has very low background noise, but above 20kHz it increases significantly because of the noise-shape necessary in a 1-bit system to make it work for regular audio up to 20kHz. It is in my opinion very unlikely the noise will be oppressively audible except maybe to bats…It has been evidenced that some high-end audio amps – especially those with slew-rate issues – do not care for large amounts of extreme high frequency noise and can either run extra hot or even fry output devices terminally. …Early on we applied filtering in the mastering of SACDs to make sure we did not stress the system too far in that way.” [It was also added in players…Ed.]
More Wireless Speakers Appearing – For those wanting surround sound without the wiring, more wireless loudspeakers are becoming available for the surrounds. Aperion Audio has an entire 5.1 wireless home theater speaker system for $2500. The speakers of the Intimus 4T Summit System even calibrate themselves, saving the expenditure of having professional do it. There is even a sweet-spot repositioning feature so you don’t always have to sit in the same spot for the best listening. Of course, don’t forget you still have to plug each speaker into an AC socket somewhere. Even for two-channel you can improve on a tinny iPod dock with the Jawbone Jambox at about $200 – however it requires Bluetooth tech. Then there’s the Arcam rCube at about $800. Remember wireless speakers are only for the same room or perhaps the next room. For whole house sound, you need a multizone distributed audio system. If you don’t do it yourself, you’re probably looking at around $6500 for a professional installation in a typical home.