CG Review: Logitech / Harmony 885 remote control

The most common reaction I get when I tell people I’ve invested in a programmable remote control is laughter. “Why?” they ask. Then again, most people don’t have a stack of electronic components 4 feet high to control.

Even so, the problem is more common than you might imagine. Think about this: You have a CD player, a DVD player, a TV, a cable box, a stereo and a recording device (DVD recorder, PVR, video, whatever). Sometimes you’ve got all of these things and more. You could even have remote controlled blinds and lights if you’re really into home cinema. That makes for a lot of remote controls!

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Securhome integrates home security and digital hub

2006 is definitely going to be the year of convergence – we’ve seen Microsoft release a new version of XP Media center edition this year and companies are now starting to get behind it in a big way. With the xbox 360 supporting media center extender functionality, the idea of having a “digital hub” controlling your home entertainment is slowly starting to percolate the public consciousness.

A nice twist on the conventional media center PC comes from SecurGen in the form of their IDVR. Not only is it a media center PC, but it can also integrate a home control system and the monitoring of up to 8 security cameras.

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Cool Transparent Speakers

One of the first unique gadgets we saw at the Stuff Show were some very unique looking speakers by the UK company ferguson hill. The speakers stood 1.65 metres tall (or 5′ – 5″ in `real` money). They were made from some sort of transparent plastic so would blend into the surroundings of any futuristic home.

They also had some desktop versions which would look perfect connected to any PC and would especially compliment an iMac G5.

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New squeezebox from SlimDevices

I’ve long been a fan of SlimDevices and their Squeezebox line of networked audio streamers. I’ve been using them for years and although they are more expensive than the competition the quality of the package (hardware, software and community/support) can’t be beaten.

What do they do? They … err… stream audio over a network! Basically the squeezebox is a bridge between your PC hard drive full of downloaded legally bought music and your normal stereo.

I’ve always seen Slim Devices as a technology driven company – that is, they put the effort into getting the inside of the box right first and foremost rather than concentrating on looks. Their early designs were perhaps a little “industrial” for some people but I’m pleased to see the new version 3 squeezebox has matured to the point where they can spend some time and money on the look and finish.

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