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Today’s Show:

XBMC 11.0 – Eden

XBMC 11.0 “Eden” has been released and is loaded with new features and improvements. For those of you who don’t know what XBMC is:

XBMC is an award-winning free and open source (GPL) software media player and entertainment hub for digital media. XBMC is available for Linux, OSX, and Windows. Created in 2003 by a group of like minded programmers, XBMC is a non-profit project run and developed by volunteers located around the world. More than 50 software developers have contributed to XBMC, and 100-plus translators have worked to expand its reach, making it available in more than 30 languages.

Updates:

  • Massive speed increases via features like Dirty-region rendering and the new JPEG decoder
  • Better movie scraping of your library
  • Additional protocol handling
  • Better networking support
  • Better handling of unencrypted BluRay content and structures
  • Adjustable display refresh rate in OSX (to match the already available feature in Windows and Linux)
  • AirPlay support
  • An upgraded weather service with geoip lookup
  • Much, much more.

Full list of updates can be found in the summarized changelog

 

Top Ten TVs at Amazon

  1. LG 32LK330 32-Inch 720p 60 Hz LCD HDTV $344 4.5 Stars
  2. LG 42LK450 42-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV $498 4.5 Stars
  3. Panasonic VIERA TC-L32C3 32-Inch 720p LCD HDTV $300 4.5 Stars
  4. LG 32LK450 32-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD VA Panel HDTV $380 4.5 Stars
  5. Philips 32PFL3506/F7 32-inch 720p LCD HDTV, Black $268 4.5 Stars
  6. LG 42LK520 42-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV $470 (Refurb) 4.5 Stars
  7. LG 37LK450 37-Inch 1080p 60 Hz LCD HDTV $432 4.5 Stars
  8. Samsung LN37D550 37-Inch 1080p 60Hz LCD HDTV (Black) $499 4.5 Stars
  9. LG 55LK520 55-Inch 1080p 120 Hz LCD HDTV $998 4.5 Stars
  10. Samsung UN46D8000 46-Inch 1080p 240Hz 3D LED HDTV $1590 4 Stars

 

The Ultimate AVR

This week we are going to design the AVR of the future. This is a group effort! We will provide you with initial specifications and we would like you to add features that would make our new AVR the Ultimate AVR. Now we just need someone to build it.

Our AVR needs to have the basics covered: Great Sound, Dolby and DTS processing, 7.1, 6 HDMI 1.4 ports, Network connectivity, and Automatic Room Calibration are table stakes. No our AVR needs to do much more than that! Let’s look at some features we want, some of which are available today and some that we want to see available soon.

Dolby Volume or Audyssey Dynamic Volume (or Both!)

We have all been there. We watching something late at night and we have to raise the volume so we can hear the dialog. All is well until an action sequence starts. Then its a mad dash to the find the remote and lower the volume before the children are woken or the neighbors complain. Both Dolby Volume and Audyssey Dynamic Volume level out the sound so you don’t need to do anything. We’ve heard both solutions and find they work the best at this task. This is a must have that’s available today in many but not all receivers.

Smart AVR

We have all heard of smart TVs well we’d like to see a smart AVR. Why not put Netflix, Hulu, and other apps right in the AVR? This eliminates at least one box in your system. Many receivers support DLNA so why not add a better user interface and stream content from your computer through the receiver. Better yet, add Airplay support for both video and audio! While we’re add it, we’d like to recommend that this mythical AVR actually spend money on a sexy new user interface. Many of these features are available on some receivers but the interface is so bland.

Digital Audio/Video Distribution

Let’s make this receiver an A/V distribution hub. Our AVR will be able to output multiple video sources to different zones. For this we suggest that smaller units be connected to the main unit via Ethernet or WiFi. Each of the remote units will have amplifiers so that you can add a surround system in your bedroom or den.

More Sophisticated Auto Calibration

The auto calibration in today’s receivers are good but we want a better system. One that uses multiple microphones to properly dial in a room. It should show you where you dead spots are and provide an analysis that you can use to add acoustic treatments to get the best experience from your system.

Odds and Ends

  • Dedicated Subwoofer level control – Sometimes you need more bass and sometimes you don’t!
  • On screen menus even for digital sources!
  • Support for 802.11ac – Gigabit WiFi!
  • Satellite and/or HD Radio

So there you have it. The beginnings of the HT Guys ultimate AVR. Please email us your feature requests or add them to this post for everyone to see. Then we need to have a pool to see when such a beast will finally come to market.

Download Episode #524

 


Posted by The HT Guys, March 29, 2012 8:54 PM

About The HT Guys

The HT Guys, Ara Derderian and Braden Russell, are Engineers who formerly worked for the Advanced Digital Systems Group (ADSG) of Sony Pictures Entertainment. ADSG was the R&D unit of the sound department producing products for movie theaters and movie studios.

Two of the products they worked on include the DCP-1000 and DADR-5000. The DCP is a digital cinema processor used in movie theaters around the world. The DADR-5000 is a disk-based audio dubber used on Hollywood sound stages.

ADSG was awarded a Technical Academy Award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2000 for the development of the DADR-5000. Ara holds three patents for his development work in Digital Cinema and Digital Audio Recording.

Every week they put together a podcast about High Definition TV and Home Theater. Each episode brings news from the A/V world, helpful product reviews and insights and help in demystifying and simplifying HDTV and home theater.