Video Accessories Misc
When I finished my initial review of Control4 I had it controlling my AV system but nothing else. As complete home integration is one of the reasons to use Control4 I needed to test something out. Control4 was nice enough to send over a few light dimmers to install so that I can see how they integrate.
When I finally took the plunge into a projection setup in my home theater, the hardest decision I had to make was what aspect ratio to get for my screen. Everything that came after that, from the screen material to the projector, was dependent on that decision.
Ever since I built my first AV system, I have wanted a slick touch-screen remote to control it all. Let's face it; once you have more than just a TV in your media room, you need a way to integrate that pile of remotes into an...
New models of Smartphones seem to be arriving on phone store shelves almost daily, and the Apple iPhone is feeling the snapping at their heels by the latest models from numerous companies. Samsung's Galaxy S-III is definitely strong competition. . . . .
A recent search on DTV stations in the San Francisco Bay Area listed all the channels within 100 miles of San Francisco. The list was long. Many transmitter locations were far away, so I was not going to receive all the channels. But still, the count was healthy. The site even listed several stations that are not broadcasting yet, but had either applied for or had received approval by the FCC. The ClearStream Micron Over-the-Air Indoor Antenna is designed to pull in those distant stations. Does it work?
JVC's GZ-HM1 follows on the HM550, but adds a few more features, such as external microphone inputs. JVC's latest series of consumer high definition video cameras continue to set standards in resolution and image quality.
JVC's new GZ-HM550 has full 1920 x 1080 resolution, records up to 2 hours, 57 minutes in its highest quality mode, has a built-in 32 GB SD card, and is the smallest high definition video camera we have ever tested. At $799.95 MSRP, it will not only fit in your shirt pocket, but won't strain the wallet in your hip pocket.
Emotiva, which started out marketing amplifiers, expanded to include preamplifiers, SSPs, speakers, and now, to complete the line, a complete series of cables. These include coaxial analog RCA, coaxial digital RCA, digital Toslink, balanced XLR, HDMI, and speaker cables. They come in two models, one being the X-Series that we review here, and the Ultra-Series, which is the entry level. I found the cables to be extremely well constructed, with gold-plated contacts, and rugged enough to be man-handled through the typical maze of wires that we all have behind our equipment racks. The sound in my reference system using the Emotiva cables was excellent. The prices are very reasonable, and are a better value than what I see in blister packs at various mass market electronic stores.
Up until the past year, the sensors in HD video cameras were just barely enough in pixel count (2,073,600) to get 1920 x 1080 video. That has changed now, and camera manufacturers are putting sensors in their HD video cameras that have a much higher pixel count. The main reason is so that consumers can take high resolution snapshots with their video cameras, similar to the high resolution photos they can get from dedicated digital snapshot cameras. The serendipity is that the high resolution image can be downsampled to 1920 x 1080 rather than there being only just over 2 megapixels to start with, and this gives a sharper video image. The JVC GZ-HM400U is just such a camera, with its 10.3 megapixel sensor. Have a look at our review to see how it performed.
Panasonic's AG-HSC1UP High Definition Camcorder has 3 CCDs, records at 1080p in the AVCHD format, and comes with a portable hard drive to transfer your videos when you fill up the included SD memory card that holds about 1.5 hours of video recorded at the highest quality (13 Mbps). It has a 12x optical zoom, and is very compact.
I love products that solve irritating problems simply and inexpensively. The Next Generation Home Products Remote Extender is one such product. With a five-minute installation you can eliminate the need to point your remote control at your gear. You can also control components in closets or even in other rooms. The best part is any remote that accepts AA or AAA batteries can be converted in seconds.
Sigma's new DP1 compact digital camera has the same large Foveon sensor as in the SD14 DSLR, yet it can fit in your pocket. Read Secrets exclusive, detailed bench test report to see how it compares with its larger SLR cousins.
Harmony has been building universal remotes for a number of years now. Honestly a couple of years ago, with the release of the 880, Harmony converted me from years of using Phillips Pronto remotes. The Harmony remotes were simply easier to program and faster to change when a new component was introduced or swapped.
The Sony PMW-EX1 is a Prosumer HD video camera that is quite affordable ($7,499) when you take into account that it will record 1080p30. That's right. Remember how we have all been talking about the day when HDTV programs might begin broadcasting in 1080p instead of 1080i? Well, if it isn't actually part of program broadcasting yet, you can have it for all your home videos. Those birthday parties, daughter's wedding, trip to Europe . . . . you can record them in 1080p30 with a camera that is reasonably portable (it comes with its own small suitcase).
No, it's not one of the pocket sized HD cameras, but you can carry it around without too much difficulty. And, as you will see, the image quality is vastly superior to any consumer HD camera of the past. It's studio quality, affordable to the aficionado.