I remember seeing an iPhone control a home entertainment system for the first time at the CEDIA tradeshow in 2008. It was mind-blowing to watch this small, handheld device being used as a full-blown system controller to operate all manner of equipment. Noting that A/V control wasn’t even its primary function, and that it cost hundreds (or even thousands in some cases) of dollars less than the dedicated touchscreen controllers home automation system manufacturers were selling at the time, it became clear to me that this was a game-changing technology that manufacturers needed to embrace.
Now that tablets, smartphones, and even smartwatches have become ubiquitous, app-based control is growing exponentially, and so is the number of smart devices that can be controlled. And since most smart devices offer networked communication, you’ll get the same access and information whether you’re at home, outside your home, or traveling around the globe.
Here are some key categories where app-based control has made an impact.
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The Wireless Meta-verse
WE LIVE now in the wireless world, and the major loudspeaker makers have been quick to embrace it with serious-performance, near-full-range designs. But each seems to have a different idea of what a “wireless speaker” should entail. Some simply connect to an existing component stack via a supplied small wireless transmitter. Others incorporate the whole smart-speaker thang, with full multiroom audio system and Alexa-Google-Siri voice control integration.
The Rock ’n’ Roll Fantasy Camp changed its tune during the pandemic from offering in-person seminars with stars to streaming Masterclass sessions. In many ways, the shift broadened the scope of what the Camp has to offer.
Sonos Roam Portable Wireless Speaker
Roam on the Range
A Garden Oasis in The Heart of Pittsburgh
This custom-installed outdoor A/V system sets the mood for parties, sports, or just chilling out and enjoying a City of Bridges sunset
Faceoff - 10 Wire-Free Bud Options That Block Noise So You Can Hear Music
Noise-canceling true wireless earbuds
TV TRENDS OF CES 2021
THE ANNUAL CES trade show put on by the Consumer Technology Association was an “all-digital” event for 2021. On the plus side, that allowed us to report on the show from the comfort of our homes dressed in hoodies and sweatpants instead of suits.
Mini-LED Made Affordable
IN LATE 2019, TCL flew me to the company’s U.S. offices in California to spend an afternoon with its new flagship, the 75Q825 8-Series Roku LCD Ultra HDTV, a 75-inch 4K model.
Monolith by Monoprice M-TWE True Wireless Earbuds
Noise Cancellation Customized Monoprice is an affordable direct-to-consumer brand, and its Monolith product line features sophisticated A/V gear including speakers, amps, surround sound processors, and now the new Monolith M-TWE earbuds.
The End of Analog
Q Over the years, I’ve discovered that sound and vision are two distinct camps in the home theater realm, and it’s best to keep them separated due to constantly changing video formats.
HEADPHONES AT CES 2021
Once upon a time, CES was a huge show for audio but those days are long gone and showed no signs of returning in the virtual world that was CES 2021, with one possible exception: wireless headphones, a category that has made incredible strides in just the past year or so.