Cut the Cord for Independence – Observe our nation’s independence day and become independent of the huge monthly bill for your cable or satellite TV service by “cutting the cord.” Unless you live in a hole, far distant from any city, and/or are a sports nut, there is little reason to continue your monthly payments to TV services, which are only going to go up outrageously—never mind government decisions. Get a good rooftop or attic antenna (unless you live very close to your local station towers) and Channel Master’s DVR+ to record programming and skip commercials in later viewing. And see HD broadcast programming in full hi-def rather than data-reduced to cram many channels together.
PonoPlayer Coming October – Neil Young’s Kickstarter campaign has been the third-highest-funded Kickstarter project ever, with over $6.2 million in pledges. The triangular-shaped PonoPlayer (larger than an iPod Touch) will be $399 when it comes out in October and will accept most any music files up to 192K/24-bit. It will come with 128 BG of memory and accept removable SD cards. Ayre Acoustics will make the player, which will have a high-quality DAC and headphone output as well as an output for a higher-quality separate DAC in your home system. The associated Pono Music store won’t offer any MP3 files—just 44.1K/16 up to 192K/24, at quality-tiered pricing. The main source for the files will be the original analog master tapes of the top recording artists. Yes, it looks like Young has done it right for hi-res; but wait, Apple is also going hi-res about the same time, so let’s see what they come up with.
Samsung Launches Free Streaming Service – Samsung is using its first commercial movie theater ad to roll out its Milk Music streaming service, which is free and ad-free for a limited time. It works only with Samsung Galaxy smartphones and tablets, and over two million of the apps have been downloaded since the launch of the service. The service features more than 200 stations and 13 million songs.
Quantum Carries Line of Wi-Fi Boosters – Online Quantum Networks has added the BearExtender line of Wi-Fi boosters and range extenders for Macs and PCs. A spokesman said they make some of the fastest and longest-range Wi-Fi upgrades; BearExtender began in 2009 helping students at UC Berkeley to better connect to their on-campus Wi-Fi network.
Home Depot Adds Home Automation – The Wink home-automation hub, which 2000 Home Depot stores will begin to carry July 7, controls a variety of home-automation products from a single iOS or Android app. The company is a subsidiary of GE and the hub is $50. There are no monthly charges and it will monitor and control things such as door locks, lights, motorized shades, AV systems, smart bulbs, thermostats and security cameras.