The DarbeeVision DVP-5000S is the second generation of Darbee’s cost effective standalone image enhancement box. As an original owner of the Darbee Darblet, I can say that Darbee has done a nice job addressing many of my chief complaints of that unit. Gone is the chintzy, see-through plastic box and throw-away remote; the DVP-5000S is now a unit that more closely emulates the impressiveness of the Darbee technology. While I have difficulty detecting differences in the next generation 2.0 software when compared to what is present the 1.0 version in my Oppo Digital 103D Blu-ray player, at $199, the DarbeeVision DVP-5000S remains one of the more cost-effective, easy and impressive additions one can add to their video chain. (more…)
Review Types Archives: Accessories
If you have a projector, you probably want it mounted out of the way. Placed up on the ceiling, it’s less likely that someone will walk in front of your projector while watching a movie. For years now I’ve been using an OmniMount PJT40 for my projectors and it has worked perfectly. To test two projectors at once, I needed to install another projector mount so I again looked to OmniMount. The OmniMount 3N1-PJT projector mount is able to hold up to 40 pounds, just like the PJT40, but is more affordable at only $55. For those that won’t be routinely swapping out their projector, the 3N1-PJT does a very good job. (more…)
Despite what you would think, I rarely watch movies in my main home theater. I use it daily for testing gear and writing reviews but at night I’m more likely to turn on my VT60 in the living room. The main reason is just that the theater is big, and complex, and a pain to control. The past few weeks I’ve been watching far more movies in there than usual. That’s because I had a Control4 EA-5 system installed in there. Now despite the complexity, even my 4-year-old can operate it.
The EA-5 is the new top-of-the-line controller from Control4. It has a huge number of outputs, allowing you to control even the most advanced home theater. But it goes beyond that, with outputs for 4 more zones of HiRes audio beyond your home theater. It also integrates all the smart home control you want, from lights to locks and more. The Control4 EA-5 serves as the brain for your smart home and does the job well but with some important caveats. (more…)
Cable talk is often a hot topic consisting of three main groups: on one end, those who just want the cheapest solution that works, on the other end are those willing to spend hundreds or even thousands of dollars for premium cables. In between are the value conscious buyers who still want high quality, but don’t believe in the perceivable benefits of expensive cabling. Reference Home Theater falls in the latter category and the new SoundPath cables from SVS feel right at home. (more…)
Earlier this year I reviewed the Harmony Companion (former Harmony Home Control) universal remote. For $130 it offers an easy way to control your AV system and some smart home features that doesn’t need direct line-of-sight. The new $350 Harmony Elite builds on this using the same hub but an improved remote with an LCD touch screen and recharging base. While it offers a better experience, for most people the $130 option probably works well enough. (more…)
I’ve been a fan of my Control4 system since I got it. It controls everything, works even with all my gear in cabinets, and is simple enough for my kids to operate once they turned 2. It isn’t something anyone can run out and buy. It takes a week long course for professional installers to learn, and if you change gear you need to have someone come out to program it again. Since I keep it in my home theater, I needed something simple to control the living room AV system.
The Harmony Home Control manages to control this system without issue. It controls almost all AV components, including ones that need IP or Bluetooth control. It uses a controller and IR emitters to operate over WiFi and not need line-of-sight to your components. It could be a little bit easier on initial setup, and the remote could use a backlight and perhaps a small screen, but it works well. Well enough that I’m going to add a second one for the bedroom system as well. (more…)
The OE120IW, part of the OmniElite Series, is a brand new style from OmniMount featuring Ultra Low Profile in-wall installation. How do they obtain such a low profile? All the mounting hardware is situated inside the wall, between 2 studs. This allows the extension arm to retract into the gap between the studs and the TV to fit snuggly against the wall. The OE120IW will properly show off the sexy slim look of the latest flat screen TVs, while keeping the flexibility of an adjustable mount.
BDI is one of a handful of furniture companies that have built a solid reputation for constructing high quality units specifically targeted towards storage of audio and video gear. The Mirage line represents one of BDI’s more understated collections. I took a look at the BDI Mirage 8224 Double Component Cabinet. This small rack proved quite capable. With a bevy of features specifically designed to effectively house AV gear, a sophisticated look and solid build quality, the 8224 rack is a stellar option for those with a small to medium system.
Search on Amazon.com and you can find a flat TV wall mount for $17. So what makes a wall mount cost $160? Many things go into a higher end mount: They’re more flexible to install, have a wider range of motion, and are an easier experience. Needing to install a TV and a sound bar in my home, I installed the OmniMount ULPC-M with the OCSBA sound bar accessory.
We spend a lot of time thinking about what gear we are going to buy: what TV will work best for our living room, which receiver or sound bar has the features we want, even if we want to go with a Roku or an Apple TV. We spend little time considering how we are going to organize these things. Perhaps we throw a TV on the wall, and then put the components in the same AV cabinet we’ve had since our 27” TV.