New Zappiti “4K” Player – is $311 and isn’t really a 4K player, since it just upsamples sources to 4K, like other players that are already available. It reproduces at 24, 25 and 30Hz, and plays uncompressed hi-res audio up to 192/24. It includes a USB 3.0 port and SD memory card slot, has Wi-Fi with two antennas and Ethernet networking capability. Zappiti’s players linke TVs with apps and programs on computers, smartphones, tablets and other devices with an easy-to-navigate user interface that aggregates the users’ movies, TV shows and music libraries. It can add movie poster and cover art to listings of Blu-rays, DVDs, movie and music file downloads, and streaming media. It is now available for pre-order.
New Insteon Home Automation Hub Only $39 – The lowest-priced hub on the market hopes to grab a market share with the introductory price on their new hub. With home-automation kits such as light switches and smart plugs it is even free. Its wireless range has been increased by 50%, it has field upgradability, easier setup and a status screen displaying live updates of connected-device status. There are over 200 Insteon-brand devices to which it connects, using dual-band wireless RF and powerline technology for redundancy. Products are momitored and controlled from iOS, Android and Windows smartphone and tablet apps and from computers.
Technics Starts Music Download Service – Unfortunately the service will be only in the UK and Germany, not in the U.S. It is called Technics Tracks and encodes tens of thousands of tracks in 24-bit FLAC files for improved fidelity. They will also open a new hi-res download store site in January, and Technics recently announced that they will revive their turntable brand, which has had many adherents.
TVs On One-Third of Shopping Lists – A recent poll says that 34% of consumers plan to buy at least one TV this holiday season. 68% plan to buy consumer electronics, spending an average of $769 on them. The market research firm IHS found very high consumer confidence levels driving CE demand. Consumers said they are willing to pay more for UHD resolution, and 34% said smart TV features were worth the extra cost. As for brand preference, the leaders were LG, Samsung, Sony and Vizio. 23% intend to purchase a 50 to 59-inch display, while 22% expect to buy a TV of 40 to 45 inches. 67% plan to buy their electronics both online and in stores. Amazon lead the retail pack online, with 76% of the respondents citing them; Walmart got 73%, Best Buy 66% and Target 63%.