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System Integration for the Connected Home

Home Theater

Slinging Cable TV with Slingbox M2 STB

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EchoStar subsidiary Sling Media launches a sequel on to the Slingbox M1 video streaming STB-- the Slingbox M2, a means to push video signals from any number of video sources to PCs, tablets and smartphones.

Slingbox M2The STB connects to most sources with a video output, including cable or satellite receivers, DVRs and Blu-ray or DVD players. It requires no monthly fees, and once setup is complete it sends video to mobile devices anywhere in the world through a free app.

Video input is component only (meaning HDMI output requires a separate converter) while internet connectivity comes through ethernet and wifi.

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Free Pattern Generator Solution From SpectraCal

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SpectraCal offers a free solution for home theatre enthusiasts wanting automated test patterns for flat panel or projector calibration with the MobileForge mobile application.

SpectraCal appCalMAN home theatre calibration software users can use the app to generate patterns for TVs or projectors straight from their mobile devices-- replacing the pattern discs of days past.

Android users require an HDMI adapter according to the device in question. As the company puts it, “some devices, like Samsung, use an eleven or five pin active MHL micro-USB to HDMI adapter, while other devices will require different connections.”

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Yamaha Intros RX-V79 AV Receivers

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Yamaha announces the RX-V79 entry-level wireless AV receiver lineup, comprised of the 5.1-capable RX-V379 and RX-V479 together with the 7.2-capable RX-V579, RX-V679 and RX-V779.

Yamaha RX-V79All the receivers feature HDMI 2.0, 4k60p support and HDCP 2.2.

The RX-V379 is wireless via Bluetooth, while the RX-V479 also includes wifi connectivity. All support Airplay, Spotify Connect, DLNA and playback of WAV, FLAC, AIFF, ALAC and DSD audio files.

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UHD Blu-ray Finds Specification, Logo

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The Blu-ray Disk Association (BDA) completes the UHD Blu-ray specification, the culmination of work by global CE, IT and content creation industry leaders, together with a new logo delineating UHD Blu-ray products.

UHD Blu-ray“For years, Blu-ray disc has set the standard for high definition picture and audio quality in the home. Ultra HD Blu-ray will do the same for UHD home entertainment," the association says. “The technical capabilities of Blu-ray disc, in particular its significant storage capacity and high data transfer rates, will enable the delivery of an unparalleled, consistent and repeatable UHD experience."

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IHS: OTT STBs to Beat IPTV STBs

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Global shipments of over-the-top (OTT) STBs sold at retail (including the Apple TV, Chromecast and Roku boxes) will beat those of IPTV STBs offered by telcos for pay TV services in 2015, IHS reports.

According to the analyst 2015 OTT STB shipments will reach 31 million units, while the IPTV STB forests clocks at 30m.

IHS STBs

“It was assumed that smart TVs, Blu-ray disc players and gaming consoles would eventually take the place of STB devices," IHS says. "However, while consumer adoption of smart devices has grown considerably, OTT STBs have still managed to flourish.”

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Pioneer Intros Atmos-Capable AVRs

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Pioneer launches a pair of entry-level 7.2-channel Dolby Atmos-capable AVRs, the VSX-930 and VSX-1130-- the first from the company's home entertainment division following its becoming an Onkyo subsidiary.

Pioner VSX-930The two models are more or less identical, with the only feature distinguishing the VSX-1130 being a brushed aluminium front panel (the VSX-930 sticks with plastic). Specifications-wise both AVRs carry HDMI 2.0 connectivity, HDCP 2.2 support, 4K @ 60p support and 24-bit 4:4:4 chroma subsampling.

A 192kHz/24bit SABRE ES9006 DAC handles audio together with MCACC PRO auto-calibration promising to compensate for differences in speaker size and distance according to room size and layout. It also includes dual-subwoofer output and 4-band subwoofer EQ for better performance in the low frequency range.

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Roku Upgrades Streaming Players

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Roku launches upgrades of its Roku 2 and 3 streaming STBs, together with software updates providing customers with enhanced means to get entertainment and a "Movies Coming Soon" feature.

Roku MoviesOn the hardware front, the Roku 2 now has the same internals as its bigger sibling, while the Roku 3 gets voice search capability via remote control with built-in microphone.

Voice search is activated with a press of a dedicate button. The remote also includes a headphone jack and motion control for the playing of casual games.

Users of older Roku STBs can get voice search via updated mobile (Android and iOS) app.

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