Links of the Week #9


LG Home Chat 

Summer is upon us. This is the time when families get out of the house to have BBQs, pool parties, and enjoy the great outdoors. So, why not make the best of your time outside with family and friends?

While out shopping for your next function, you can’t remember what you have back home in the fridge. Instead of making several trips back and forth to the store, try chatting with your fridge. It will be able to inform you of what’s inside, allowing you the peace of mind you deserve.

You can even request that your vacuum tidies up a bit, and that your washing machine starts a load of wash for you to easily toss in to the dryer once you get back.

Visit LG's blog for a little more information.



iGrill, You Grill, We all Grill 

Once you’ve got plenty of food in hand, it’ll be time to light up your grill.

With a product named iGrill, the pit master can insert probes in to their choices of meat, set the app, and walk away. The iGrill remains on the side of your grill, tracking the internal temperature of the food, and will alert you when it’s ready.

With less time strapped to your grill, you’ll be able to enjoy family time that much more.

For more information on this device, go to iDevice's website.

Z-Tip #10

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Getting Started

You’ve finally decided to make a leap in to the perpetual technology pool; let ZIO toss you a raft so that your experience is pleasurable.

When looking to automate your home or business, it’s important to have a base line idea of what exactly you want to do. You can fill in the blanks from there.

You can potentially control any of the following:
  • Security System
  • HVAC System
  • Indoor/Outdoor Lighting
  • Shades
  • Network
  • Video Entertainment
  • Audio Systems
Any of these options can be integrated to work together, or you can start slowly by picking a few options and expand from there.

Remember, it’s best to choose a company that will work with your needs and budget in order to tailor a system that works best for you. The company should also be able to inform and educate you of other options that you may have not even considered.

Don’t be afraid to ask for:
  • References
  • Pictures of finished installations
  • Drawings of the installation plans
  • Plenty of questions
An informed consumer is not a bad thing.

TV - 4K On the Way: Part 2 of 3

Last week ZIO introduced you to 4K Television. Now we’ll give you a little information about the future of content for your new 4K set.

What content is currently available?

At the moment there is no 4K content broadcasting through cable and satellite providers, but the content is coming. They will hopefully begin broadcasting 4K content in 2015, but it may take them a little longer. Until then, there will be plenty of other options.

Currently 4K content is available via the internet:
  • Netflix has their original show “House of Cards” available, will be offering “Breaking Bad” later in the year, and will hopefully have movies coming out in 4K soon after.
  • YouTube and Vimeo have both designated 4K channel.
  • Sony has an HD media player, released in 2013, which downloads content overnight to a hard drive. You can also rent or buy new content via their online service.
  • Samsung currently has a USB hard drive with two nature documentaries. Later this year they will release a UHD video pack on a 1TB hard drive device that will feature documentaries, and five films.
  • Panasonic currently has no media player available, but launched an online 4K channel for their smart TVs which only carry short nature documentaries and other short-film content.
  • Digital camera maker Red offers a digital player which will play files from their professional 4K, 5K, and 6K cameras via a download service called Odemax.
  • NanoTech Entertainment has released a 4K streaming player which includes Netflix and Amazon Instant; however the player only upscales 1080p content for 4K televisions.
Upcoming content will consist of:
  • Comcast will deliver an Xfinity 4K online app through Samsung’s UHD TVs that will stream content from a variety of UHD movies and On Demand TV shows later this year.
  • Amazon will begin filming original content in 4K, but hasn’t yet released when the content will be available online. More than likely, they will try to release it this year to compete with Netflix.
  • M-Go will also be releasing, via an app, 4K content soon.
  • DirecTV plans on releasing an app, just like Comcast, to stream content via the internet.
  • 4K Blu-Ray players may not be available until 2015. Currently Blu-Ray player’s content will only be upscaled from 1080p to 4K with the new TVs.
In order to stream any of the online content in 4K, you will need internet speeds of 15 mbps or greater, and HMDI 1.4 or greater. HDMI 2.0 will be emerging allowing for process speeds of 50/60 fps, improving on the current 30 fps that HDMI 1.4 offers.

Why should I buy 4K?
  • It’s the future – There may not be content readily available now for normal broadcasting, but providers all over are already planning out how to make it a reality. It’s not like the 3D option, which was just a fad and is mainly used as a 2D option.
  • It makes current TV better – Whether or not the content is 4K, the 4K televisions enhance current content. They deliver smoother looking images because their pixel densities are four times greater, and they increase the data coming through.
  • Four times the resolution - Faster frame rates, greater contrast dynamics, and deeper colors will create more natural and detailed looking pictures. Also great for your photography!
  • Home movies – Camcorders, smart phones, and other cameras will soon be rolling out with 4K ability, so anything you document will be taken to the next level.
  • Gaming – Although there may not be any 4K games at the moment, the technology will surely open a new era in gaming.
Now that we got the content out of the way, next week we’ll talk about sound quality in today’s TVs. Great picture… where’s the sound? Be sure to read all about it next Friday in Part 3.

Links of the Week #8


Canary - Home Security System 

What about me, the renter?

Most companies concentrate on home owners and businesses most of the time, but what about renters? We haven’t forgotten about you. Here’s a device that should be able to take care of most of your security concerns.

This device, available to start shipping in May 2014, can sense changes in your apartment or rental home, such as excessive noise, motion, or rapid temperature changes. It is connected to a user-friendly app interface which will then alert you, via smart phone, and give you options to call your backup contact, the police, or ignore the alert. Canary is able to learn from your habits, and becomes smarter, allowing it to send you smarter alerts.

The Canary can also record videos of the events and store them in the cloud for you to view later. With the ability to connect up to 4 Canary devices to the app, you can cover just about every room.

To learn more about the full capacity of this product, visit Indiegogo’s website.



Ignite Your Next Party 

We’re all looking to impress our friends or liven up that next event, so why not bring a little fire to the party?

Pyro Boards use sound waves in order to create alternating high and low-pressure zones within tubes called Ruben’s tubes; this then produces intricate flame patterns that vary depending on the tones playing.

By integrating this feature, you can provide warmth while delivering a visually stunning display.

You can watch the video on NPR's Blog .

Z-Tip #9

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The Cloud

With technology ever expanding on a daily basis and our lives becoming more integrated than ever before, it’s easy to rely on cloud storage for files, names, addresses, phone numbers, and pictures.

When choosing cloud storage, you really need to choose one based on your needs. If you’re looking to just temporarily store files or are only storing unimportant documents without sensitive data, any cloud service may work; just remember that you may have less protection.

If you’re looking to store more personal, sensitive or important data, then you’ll want to check in to each provider carefully.

We recommend looking for a company that has:
  • An excellent network and physical security reputation.
  • Encrypted file transfer to and from their cloud service.
  • Redundancy on multiple levels which will prevent loss via server failure or single disk failure.
  • Redundancy across multiple geographical locations in case a natural disaster destroys one or more locations.
  • How long it really takes them to delete a file across their redundant servers in the cloud, or if they ever delete them from their storage banks.

  • Be informed and know your options. Call it life insurance for your tech side.

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