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Celebrate Earth Day: Recycle Your Old Home Theater Gear

 Earth Day 2014 is on Tuesday, April 22nd - Get into the spirit by re-purposing or recycling all that old home theater gear that is cluttering up your garage.

How To Plan Your Home Theater Shopping
Home Theater Spotlight10

Contrast Ratio - Home Theater Term of the Week

Wednesday April 23, 2014
Contrast ratio is the difference between the brightest whites and the blackest blacks that a TV or video projector can display. High contrast ratios deliver whiter whites and blacker blacks and a greater degree of gray values in between. If the contrast ratio is low, even if the image is bright, your image will look washed out. However, beware of outrageous contrast ratio numbers...Read more

For additional terms and definitions, check out my Home Theater Glossary

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Aereo Gets Its Day Before The U.S. Supreme Court

Tuesday April 22, 2014
After a year of arguments and conflicting lower court rulings, the American Broadcast Companies, Inc vs Aereo case was argued in front the U.S. Supreme Court on April 22nd, 2014 as part of its Spring session.

At the core of the case is whether Aereo, a service that provides users with access (via paid subscription) to an individual, but centrally-located TV antenna via the internet, that allows living viewing and DVR-like recording of over-the-TV broadcasts using laptops, PCs, and mobile divices, constitutes a public or private performance. A decision by the Court has the potential of redefining portions of U.S. Copyright Law.

If the U.S. Supreme Court rules that such as service a public performance (like a cable or satellite service), Aereo may be in violation of U.S. Copyryight Law. If considered a private performance (like putting up your own individual TV antenna), then the TV broadcasters may have to rethink their business model in relation to the advancement of the Internet and Cloud Services. However, regardless of the Court's decision, the future of how consumers can legally access and store copyrighted home entertainment will definitely be impacted.

For more details on the arguments of the case, listen to an Argument Summary Report and read the Full Written Transcript of the Hearing as well as a comprehensive Argument Analysis.

It is expected that U.S. Supreme Court will announce its decision later this Spring (2014).

Disclaimer: Aereo is backed, in part, by IAC, which is the Parent Company of About.com. However, IAC had no editorial input into the content contained in this article.

Past coverage of Aereo on About.com

5/13/13: ABC Challenges Aereo with New Online Streaming Strategy.

6/27/13: Aereo Announces Expansion into Chicago Market Beginning September 13, 2013 (Broadcasting and Cable)

10/12/13: TV Broadcasters Want Supreme Court to Stop Aereo

2/11/14: U.S. Supreme Court to Officially Hear Case Against Aereo

2/19/14: Ahead of Supreme Court Hearing, Aereo's Expansion Into Salt Lake City and Denver Halted by Federal District Court Injunction (Report by CNET)

2/25/14: Despite Being Shut Out of Denver and Salt Lake City By Court Injunction, Aereo Proceeds with Move Into Austin, Texas (Aereo).

3/5/14: Case Mounts Against Aereo Ahead of Supreme Court Hearing

3/29/14: Aereo Submits 100-Page Brief in Advance of Supreme Court Hearing

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Watch Out Google and Roku, AWOX Announces The StriimSTICK

Tuesday April 22, 2014

The Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick Streaming Stick have both created quite stir as alternatives to typical external streaming media players that can turn most TVs into a Smart TV, opening up a whole new world of accessible audio and video content.

Now, AWOX, makers wireless-connectable devices for the home, have decided to join in the fun with the announcent of their latest product, StriimSTICK.

The StriimSTICK is similar in concept to both the Google Chromecast and Roku Streaming Stick in that it is flash-drive sized device that connects to the HDMI input of a TV, with power supplied either via USB or AC adapter power source (power cable and adapter for either option is included). Once plugged in all of these devices connect, via Wifi, to your home network.

The StriimSTICK provides access to content stored on DLNA compatible network-connected devices, such a PC or laptop (including MACs), and also enables you to stream audio, video, and still image content (including internet streaming apps) that you normally access on a compatible iOS or Android smartphone/tablet to your TV.

The StriimSTICK runs on the Android 4.0 operating system, provides 4GB of on board memory, and a MicroSD expansion slot for additional memory capacity. Also, even though you can control the StriimSTICK via a compatible smartphone, tablet, or PC/MAC, an innovative thumb-sized "Gyro fly-mouse" Remote Control is provided.

For more details, including ordering/purchase information, check out the Official Product Page, Quick Start Guide, and Compare Prices.

It will be interesting to see if the AWOX StriimSTICK can hold its own against Google's Chromecast and Roku's Streaming Stick. Image provided by AWOX

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Home Theater Gifts For Mom

Monday April 21, 2014
Mother's Day will be here before you know it. This year (2014) Mom's special day is on Sunday, May 11th. Give Mom a gift that she will enjoy all year. Check out some great home theater gift ideas for Mom in several categories, including TVs, audio systems, Blu-ray and streaming media players, and more, across all price ranges. Home Theater isn't just for the guys!

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