CE Week 2015: Home Theater and Home Automation

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At CES Week 2015, we saw a variety of new products and technologies from a number of established and up-and-coming brands. Manufacturer reps were available to field our onslaught of questions and demonstrate their products in person. Here are a few items that caught our attention.

New Onkyo Receiver Lineup    

Onkyo displayed three new receiver models at CE 2015, the TX-8160 stereo receiver and its new TX-RZ800 and TX-RZ900 home theater receivers. The TX-8016 is not your dad’s stereo receiver—not only does it include wireless Bluetooth and AirPlay connectivity, Wi-Fi and Ethernet are also onboard, allowing you to access popular Internet music-streaming services. Audiophiles will appreciate this model's 384 kHz/32-bit digital-to-analog converter, high-current amplifier design, and dedicated phono input.

The TX-RZ800 and TX-RZ900 are home theater powerhouses, delivering up to 135W and 140W at 8 ohms, respectively. Both models feature THX Select2 Plus certification and incorporate immersive Dolby Atmos technology when paired with height-channel speakers. The TX-RZ900 offers three independent power supplies and is also equipped with a massive toroidal power transformer. Both receivers will support the new DTS:X surround format via a future firmware update.

Day 1 at CE 2015

TiVo Roamio and Mini Digital Video Recorders

TiVo doesn't rest on its laurels; the company continues to release new models that are designed to improve its subscriber's DVR experience, in and out of their homes. The new Roamio OTA works with digital antennas and allows you to record four high-definition, over-the-air shows at once, and up 75 hours of high-definition content on its 500GB hard drive. It doesn't stop there, however—built-in support for streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu Plus, and Spotify allows you to expand your entertainment options. There is even a smartphone and tablet app for simplified control.

The TiVo Roamio PRO is compatible with most cable providers and allows you to record six shows simultaneously. Its whopping 3TB storage capacity translates to nearly 450 hours of recorded HD video. If you like to watch video on the go, the Roamio PRO allows iPad and iPhone users to stream live TV or recorded shows over a Wi-Fi connection. iPad and iPhone users can also download recorded shows and enjoy them wherever Wi-Fi and 4G LTE are available.

Sharing your recorded content in other areas of your home is easy with the TiVo Mini. This compact companion device connects to any four- or six-tuner TiVo DVR in your system and allows you to watch live or recorded media in another room. It requires a wired network connection and a TiVo Mini subscription service. All three models feature analog and digital outputs for connecting to external TVs and support up to Full HD 1080p resolution.

Day 3 at CE 2015

Sony HT-ST9 Soundbar Speaker

If you walked by the Sony booth at CE Week 2015, it was hard to ignore the HT-ST9 soundbar speaker. At 44.5" wide and including an external wireless subwoofer, this dynamic speaker system produces an impressive 800W of total power and features an array of connectivity options. With Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, and Google Cast support, you are well equipped to connect your wireless music sources, such as smartphones and tablets. Wired audio devices need not feel left out, as the HT-ST9 also includes three HDMI, two digital optical, and a USB input. Sony's free SongPal app allows you to control the soundbar from iOS and Android smart devices and intuitively manage music playback. The SongPal app also enables you to connect to compatible Sony music systems to create a wireless multi-room listening audio eco-system.

tado Smart AC Control on Display

We told you here how tado could quickly turn your humdrum air conditioner into a smart AC; at CE Week 2015, they were available to show you just how easy the transformation can be. As the summer months begin to remind us just how unforgiving they can be, take control of your home's cooling conditions with the tado Smart AC Control. Simply place the tado near your IR-equipped air conditioner, download the free installation and control app, connect the tado to your Wi-Fi network, and you're ready to go. You're just a few simple steps from controlling your air conditioner from remote locations. Beyond simply powering the air conditioner on and off, you can create custom schedules and have the air conditioner automatically power on or off, based on your proximity, thanks to integrated geo-location technology.

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