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System Integration for the Connected Home

Control and Home Media Systems

A Bond IR Blaster for Home Control

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Customers wanting to add connected smarts to older device might be interested in the Bond, an accessory able provide smart home integration for IR- and RF-controlled appliances.

BondThe Bond is compatible with various appliances, including ceiling fans, window AC units, garage doors and power shades. It consists of a small plug-in tool able to connect to the internet via wifi, before pushing commands to appliances from a companion smartphone app. One can even pair the Bond unit with a smart home control device, such as the Amazon Alexa, to add voice controls.

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The Brilliant Control Light Switch Replacement

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Brilliant proposes customers replace all their light switches with the Control-- a small touchscreen tablet designed to control lighting, as well as any number of connected devices.

Brilliant ControlThe Control has a 5-inch touchscreen and provides swip-based control for lighting, music and climate. It pairs with a number of smart home devices, including the Nest thermostat, Sonos speakers, Philips Hue bulbs, Ring doorbells and the Honewbell Lyric automation hub via wifi and Bluetooth, and is compatible with IFTT as well as SmartThings and Wink hubs. On the lighting side it is 120V, 5Amp control and dimming compatible through a single switch gang box.

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Plex Buys News With Watchup

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Plex looks to provide users with even more media with the acquisition of Watchup, a service offering a personalised selection of streaming news stations from 150 credible sources.

Watchup Founded in 2012 by former journalist Adriano Farano, Watchup was first born as an iPad app before growing into iOS, Android, Amazon Fire, TV, games console and Apple TV versions. The service allows users to queue up news videos for uninterrupted viewing from a wide variety of local, national and international sources, including the likes of CBS, CNN, Vox, Euronews and Hearst Television.

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RTI Integrates With BluOS

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RTI announces a 2-way driver for the full portfolio of BluOS-enabled devices from Bluesound and NAD Electronics, integrating BluOS in the RTI automation and control ecosystem.

RTI BluOSBluOS is the operating system powering select NAD devices and all Bluesound players. It allows any BluOS-enabled device to connect to a home wifi network and access many popular music streaming services or a networked music library. Users can "send" music to one or many BluOS devices, even devices located in different rooms of a home.

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Nvidia Updates Shield TV at CES

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The Nvidia CES 2017 keynote has the company reveal a refresh of the Shield TV streaming box-- an update complete with 4K HDR streaming capability for both games and movies.

Nvidia Shield TVDescribed by the company as "the streamer for gamers," the latest Shield TV comes with both a game controller and a regular remote. Customers can also control it through voice via Google Assistant, with an optional microphone accessory (named the Nvidia Spot) acting as an equivalent to the Amazon Echo speaker. Integration with the SmartThings smart home hub adds control of devices compatible with the Samsung automation platform.

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Plex Starts Playing Nice With Kodi

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A new plug-in allows customers to enjoy the best of two worlds-- the Plex media server gets an official add-on for the Kodi media player, bringing the two XBMC off-shoots together.

Plex media playerBack in 2002, there was Xbox Media Player, a self explanatory piece of software for the original Xbox. Eventually it was dubbed XBMC, before the developers settled for the Kodi name. Plex is also the result of XBMC, but while Kodi remains a media player Plex grew into a powerful and user-friendly media server solution able to access media from anywhere in the world.

Plex is available for just about any device out there, be it Android, Apple TV, Chromecast, iOS, Roku, Xbox and a range of smart TVs. Now it is also available for Kodi via aforementioned add-on, combining the Plex server UI with the customisable Kodi media player. It offers a range of major features, including server discovery, user switching and library browsing, with more to be added in the future.

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Control the Home Using the Force (Band)

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The Force Band is a wearable motion-based controller for the Sphero toy based on the BB-8 robot from the latest Star Wars movie-- but the addition of IFTTT support turns it into a motion controller for all kinds of connected devices.

Force BandControlling the home using the power of the Force (Band) requires the latest version of the companion app. An applet maker allows the easy creation of If This Then That (IFTTT) recipes, combining gensture controls with a variety of enabled devices and services. Thus, one can control a WEMO switch through a "force pull" gesture, "force push" to change the colour of Philips Hue lights or "force stop" to play the Imperial March. As one does.

Users can also pair such gesture controls with social media, pulling to "post Jedi Wisdom to Twitter."

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