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Today’s Show:

Automated Door Locks with Z-Wave Technology

We have a friend who rents out a condo in the Mammoth lakes area and he was looking for an easy solution for providing access to his renters. He was looking at the Kwikset locks with Z-Wave support. We then thought how cool it would be to have the same technology in our own homes.

If you have been listening to our show for a while you know that we are setup with Insteon technology for our control. However, we found a system that will work with both technologies simultaneously.

The brains behind the system is the Mi Casa Verde VeraLite Controller ($180 Buy Now). The VeraLite controller is OS agnostic and is setup via a browser. Mi Casa Verde also provides access to your home via web access so anything you can do on your home network is available to you over the Internet.

The lock we chose is the Kwikset 99100-005 ($185 Buy Now).  It has a battery driven deadbolt that will physically lock and unlock the door. We looked at a Schlage lock but it only made it possible for someone to turn the deadbolt. So you couldn’t remotely lock the door if someone accidentally left the door unlocked.

One of the coolest things about the system is that you can assign multiple combinations to various people and even provide windows where those codes are active. If you have a housekeeper that comes to your home you can make the code valid on a specific day of the week say between 8:00 and 10:00. You can setup to get text message and email alerts when the code is activated or if a failed attempt is made. Very powerful!

For those of you who have an investment in Insteon products you have something to be happy about. There is a plugin for the Vera controller that lets you control Insteon devices. Ara uses Indigo to run his home automation on his Mac and he was happy to find out that there is a plugin that works with the controller. The plugin creates a device that looks and acts like an Insteon device. It works flawlessly! Now a whole new world of automation has been opened up to us and we can’t wait to play with Z-Wave devices!

 

Review: Pioneer VSX-1122-K

We love getting new toys to play with so when the Pioneer VSX-1122-K ($599.99 Buy Now) showed up at the HT Guys HQ we couldn’t wait to put it through its paces. The 1122 is a 7.2 receiver that packs 90 watts per channel. It measures 17.13 x 6.63 x 14.29 in inches (43.5 x 16.8 x 36.3 in centimeters) and weighs 22 pounds (~10 kilos) and looks pretty much like all other receivers from the outside.

Features:

  • Network- Ready with AirPlay®, Pandora®, vTuner® and SiriusXM
  • Made for iPod®/iPhone®/iPad® Certified – Cable Included
  • Pioneer iControlAV2012
  • Zone 2 Audio Output

Setup

Like other receivers we reviewed, we connected the speakers, sources, TV and power and were good to go! There is support for a second zone or front height speakers depending on how you configure it. The unit has a staggering 7 HDMI inputs, one of which is on the front of the receiver. Another trend we are seeing with receivers is the reduction of analog connectivity. The 1122 is no exception. It has one component input and output and three composite inputs. There is also an optional Bluetooth adapter port and for those who don’t have a wired connection there is an optional wifi adapter.

Calibration was easy using the simple to navigate onscreen GUI. We really like the Pioneer calibration system. It’s very thorough and produces a great sounding setup. We typically will go in and hand tweak auto calibration results but with the 1122 we found it unnecessary to do so.

Performance

Audio – Over the test period we listened to Movies, TV Shows, and Music. The 1122 performed quite well. Dolby True HD content sounded fabulous! We went back and watched segments from Ghost Protocol, Super 8, and Real Steel. All sounded fantastic. Dialog was clear and textured and the surrounds came alive. Listening to music was a treat! Whether it was Classical or Rock the receiver did a great job. In all we were pleased with the sound that this $600 receiver produced.

Video – The 1122 has a video processor based on Qdeo™ technology. The processing takes your analog signals and converts them to digital while upconverting to 1080p. We did test this with an SD analog source. The picture was definitely improved but we wouldn’t say it was on par with what we are used to watching today. The HT Guys eliminated all analog sources quite some time ago, but if you still have some analog gear the 1122 is a great hub that allows you the ability to have one digital source going out to your TV.

Odds and Ends

  • Bluetooth - Pioneer has an adapter (AS-BT200 $90) that lets you send your music wirelessly to the 1122. If you don’t have an iOS device this is a nice add on.
  • Built in iOS Support - The 1122 does not require a dock to playback content from your iOS devices. Just plug in your iPad or iPhone and enjoy your content. Before you say, “Who cares, the 1122 supports Airplay”. Yes that is true, but you can’t send video through Airplay on the 1122. Connecting through the dock allows you to do this. Now if you said, “Who Cares, I have an AppleTV”. Well then we’d say you are right. This feature is not a big deal.
  • Airplay Integration - Sending your audio to the 1122 is as simple as selecting it from a drop down menu on your iOS device. Music sounded great and it required nothing more than connecting the unit to your network. Again, if you have an AppleTV connected to your system the Airplay feature is not a big deal.
  • Network Connectivity - The 1122’s network port opens up to a world of possibilities from Internet Radio to Windows 7 DLNA support. We streamed music from local stations and stations on the other side of the country. Of course quality depends on the stream you are listening to. We were able to play files that were resident on computers on our network via DLNA support. In all, the receiver can be used as a hub for all your digital content.
  • iOS Remote App - When we first saw this we were thinking it was a throw away feature. After all, we have a great universal remote. But this app is so much more than remote for changing the volume.  You can easily change your EQ by dragging your finger across the screen. The app also makes it easy to select Internet radio stations and just about anything else on the receiver. So much better than using the front panel!

Conclusion

About the only thing this player doesn’t have is Dolby Volume or Audyssey Dynamic Volume, but for $600 you can over look not having these features. Pioneer does have something called Loudness Management but it only works with Dolby True HD tracks. If you are looking for a highly capable mid-range priced receiver that delivers top range performance the Pioneer VSX-1122-K should be at the top of your list!

 

Download Episode #538


Posted by The HT Guys, July 6, 2012 12:03 AM

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.