We Got Served http://www.wegotserved.com Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:56:44 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.1.1 SONOS Ramps Up HD Audio Streaming With TIDAL and Deezer Elite http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/30/sonos-ramps-up-hd-audio-streaming-with-tidal-and-deezer-elite/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/30/sonos-ramps-up-hd-audio-streaming-with-tidal-and-deezer-elite/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 17:44:36 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71615 The selection of high-quality streaming services for SONOS owners is expanding, with the announcement of two new subscription services for the popular audio brand.

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Sonos Play:1 Featured

The selection of high-quality streaming services for SONOS owners is expanding, with the announcement of two new subscription services for the popular audio brand.

Following a successful beta trial, today sees the full launch of TIDAL on the SONOS platform – billed as the first high-fidelity lossless music streaming service with HD music videos and curated editorial, the service offers a selection of over 25 million songs from popular artists available in Hi-Fi quality (FLAC/ALAC 44.1kHz / 16 bit – 1411 kbps).

Since launching in October, one in five songs from TIDAL have been played on home audio products – with Sonos representing the majority. The ad-free subscription service is available within the “Add Music Services” menu of the Sonos app, priced at $19.99 US/CDN and £19.99 in the UK.

Alongside support for SONOS, dedicated TIDAL streaming apps are available for iOS and Android phones and tablets and there’s a web player for Mac and PCs.

Competing with TIDAL’s lossless streaming service on SONOS is Deezer Elite, which is now available around the world, after a successful launch in the USA last summer. Deezer’s library of 35 million tracks are available to stream exclusively on the SONOS platform in FLAC lossless format (16-bit, 44.1kHz). To take advantage of the service, you’ll need to be an existing Deezer Premium+ subscriber – you will be able to upgrade to Deezer Elite at no additional cost when subscribing for a full year.

More: Sonos

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Thecus to Offer Enhanced Versions of Windows NAS Servers http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/30/thecus-to-offer-enhanced-versions-of-windows-nas-servers/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/30/thecus-to-offer-enhanced-versions-of-windows-nas-servers/#comments Mon, 30 Mar 2015 14:50:23 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71610 Thecus set to offer upgraded versions of Windows NAS Servers with 4 GB RAM on board.

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A few weeks ago, I reviewed the Thecus W4000 Windows NAS Server – an exciting proposition, but let down by underpowered hardware.

As I mentioned in the review, the concept of a budget NAS server running a tailored version of Windows Server is exactly what many of our readers would love to check out. Unfortunately, to meet a low price point, the four-bay W4000 Storage Server shipped with just 2 GB RAM – perilously close to minimum specifications and rendering the server slow and unresponsive out of the box.

From my review:

But whatever decision was made between Microsoft and Thecus to go with 2 GB RAM over 4 GB was the wrong choice, as it’s hobbled the W4000 terribly. Low cost is good, usable is better. At the very least, I’d like to see Thecus create a 4 GB variant which would be a more usable option for all but the most patient. An aftermarket RAM upgrade will be essential for everyone else.

The good news is that following publication of the review, Thecus has indeed decided to offer an enhanced version of their Windows NAS Server range. I don’t know too much about this variant, but Thecus has confirmed to WGS directly that it will include 4 GB RAM, which will make the W4000 and it’s siblings a far more attractive option. Bravo Thecus for responding to constructive feedback.

Keep an eye on the Thecus website for more details.

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QNAP Releases Entry Level TS-451U 4-Bay Rackmount NAS for Small and Home Offices http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/29/qnap-releases-entry-level-ts-451u-4-bay-rackmount-nas-for-small-and-home-offices/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/29/qnap-releases-entry-level-ts-451u-4-bay-rackmount-nas-for-small-and-home-offices/#comments Sun, 29 Mar 2015 13:01:59 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71601 New TS-451U Turbo NAS supports virtualization, 1080p video transcoding and a wealth of everyday storage features for budget-conscious users.

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If you’re seeking a small, compact network attached storage server for your office, then the new QNAP TS-451U Turbo NAS should be on your list to check out. It’s a 4-bay 1U rackmount model, powered by a dual-core Intel Celeron 2.41GHz processor and 1 GB RAM.

Designed to support everyday tasks such as file storage, backup, sharing, and synchronization, the TS-451U is targeted at budget-conscious users but, according to QNAP, is sufficiently powerful to handle desktop virtualization and 1080p video transcoding. Those tasks will benefit from expanding the on-board RAM – up to 8 GB is supported.

The new model is equipped with dual Gigabit LAN ports, supporting network file transfer speeds up to 220 MB/s.  The TS-451U also includes four USB 3.0 sockets, two USB 2.0 sockets and an HDMI port.

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Once you’ve filled up the 24 TB storage capacity available across the four drive bays, you can connect an optional 12-bay QNAP UX-1200U-RP RAID expansion enclosure which boosts space to 128 TB, ensuring you’ll have more than enough storage available for the future.

As with many other models available across the QNAP range, the TS-451U Turbo NAS supports a wealth of business and consumer-oriented features. Notable is QNAP’s new QvPC feature, which enables the the TS-451U to be directly operated by plugging in a keyboard, mouse and HDMI monitor. The aforementioned Virtualization Station feature allows Windows, Linux, UNIX and Android-based VMs to be stored and run directly on the NAS hardware and there’s support for managing up to 24 IP cameras.

ts-451u-3

Add 1080p high-resolution streaming support with XBMC, an onboard media server, web browser and a host of local and cloud-based backup options and the TS-451U looks fully loaded.

The QNAP TS-451U Turbo NAS is shipping now, priced around $900/£529.

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Review: Google Nexus Player http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/26/review-google-nexus-player/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/26/review-google-nexus-player/#comments Thu, 26 Mar 2015 22:33:16 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71576 With the Google Nexus Player set for an imminent UK release, we take a look at the device which has been wooing North American users for the last six months.

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Asus Nexus Player

Google doesn’t have a great record when it comes to bringing Android to your TV, with previous efforts being complex, expensive, lacking content and quick to disappear. Rivals such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV, and Apple TV have made great headway in this market.

However, the popular Chromecast USB streamer started to change improve things for the company, featuring a cheap, tiny device that offers an easy way to watch content on your TV.

The Google Nexus Player, built by ASUS, is the next step on Google’s media streaming roadmap. It’s the first consumer device to offer the latest version of Android TV, and has just been launched in the UK. I have been using a US imported device for the past few months in the UK and there are some key content omissions that are important to know about before you spend your £79.99. Read on to find out if this is the streamer for you.

What’s in the Box?

The Nexus line has always offered a simple unboxing experience, and the Nexus Player keeps to this tradition. Inside the attractively presented box you will find three items: The Nexus Player, a small power adapter, and a simple remote. You will need your own HDMI cable available.

The Nexus Player itself is an unassuming black circle of a unit that looks smart enough to be placed on your TV cabinet, or is small enough to be hidden out of sight. There is no IR receiver on the unit – all communication is over HDMI or wireless, so it will happily sit hidden away.

The Asus Nexus Player

The Asus Nexus Player and remote

The remote is a small black unit that is comfortable to use, if a little plasticky. The buttons are laid out simply with good ergonomics, but the standout feature of this remote is voice control. This allows you to search across all of your services quickly and easily courtesy of Google’s wizardry. Indeed, you can search for content by simply saying “Batman”, “Comedy” or even “Oscar winning movies from 2014”. As you’d expect from a Search company, Google deals with these queries well, offering results that include media from YouTube and other apps that support the voice search feature, such as Plex. 

Ultimately, I haven’t used the remote much. That’s because, despite the wonders of voice control, there are more convenient ways of controlling the Nexus Player. For day-to-day use I rely on my TV remote, which controls all the features I need through HDMI CEC commands. This means that I only need one remote to do everything. I supplement this with an app on my Android phone, that offers the addition of voice search. This provides me with all the functionality I need, and the original remote can be packed away. I also use one other input device, the Asus Gaming controller, which connects to the Nexus Player over Bluetooth and provides a modern, console-like experience for compatible games.

Android TV Remote App

Android TV Remote App offers voice input and easy control

 

Getting Up and Running

Setup is simple – connect power and HDMI cables, then configure the device with your Wi-Fi and Google Account details. The Nexus Player supports 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz wireless connections, but there is no Ethernet socket on the device. Hard-wired junkies can connect the Nexus Player to a wired network via a suitable USB OTG to Ethernet adaptor. Following setup you are presented with the attractive interface.

Nexus Player Underbelly, showing the power, HDMI and micro USB ports

Nexus Player Underbelly, revealing the power, HDMI and micro USB ports

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Logitech Unveils Hand-Sculpted MX Master Wireless Mouse http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/24/logitech-unveils-hand-sculpted-mx-master-wireless-mouse/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/24/logitech-unveils-hand-sculpted-mx-master-wireless-mouse/#comments Tue, 24 Mar 2015 12:57:24 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71565 Logitech adds premium MX Master Wireless Mouse to peripheral line-up.

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logitech-mx-master-mouse

While we’re growing increasingly less reliant on the computer mouse, it remains the dominant method for interacting with computers and will do for years to come. For many, it’s the object that we hold the most on a daily basis, so if you’re still working with that $5 device that shipped with your PC, maybe it’s time for a change.

Logitech today took the wraps off their brand new MX Master Wireless Mouse – the most advanced mouse they’ve ever created, according to the company. The £79.99 Bluetooth-connected device joins the Logitech MX Revolution and Logitech Performance MX in the line-up, boasting a hand-sculpted design and a speed-adaptive scroll wheel which allows an easy shift from clicking to hyper-fast scrolling.

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Once charged, the MX Master Wireless Mouse lasts up to 40 days of use and a single minute of charge gives up to two hours usage. Up to three devices can be connected to the mouse, which can track on almost any surface courtesy of its integrated Darkfield Laser sensor.

Expect to see the Logitech MX Master Wireless Mouse hit stores in April.

More: Logitech

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How to: Bridge and Replace Your Cable Operator’s Router/Modem http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/22/how-to-bridge-and-replace-your-cable-operators-routermodem/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/22/how-to-bridge-and-replace-your-cable-operators-routermodem/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 18:19:34 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71547 If you want to free yourself from the shackles of a combined router/modem and reach the highest network speeds at home, here's how.

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rogers-bridging-mode

So, we’ve finally made the move across the Atlantic, from the United Kingdom over to Canada. Emigrating is an unsettling experience – you exist for weeks without the majority of your possessions, praying for calm seas as they’re transported across the ocean. Then there’s a brand new country, culture and social norms to get acquainted with – round upon round of research, queuing and registration for basic living essentials such as bank accounts, social insurance numbers, schools, driving licenses and so on.

On top of that, there’s the fun stuff! Also known as TV and Internet. In my case, that meant leaving behind satellite and a slow ADSL connection and moving into the crazy world of the Cable operator – a company called Rogers, which I know will be familiar to many of our Canadian cohorts.

Now, I won’t bore you with the ins and outs of actually getting our cable service connected – suffice to say, the experience was less than perfect. But when the engineer came to connect us up, I noticed that he installed a combined router/modem which was supplied by Rogers. They call it the Rogers Advanced Wi-Fi Modem and their customers call it many other names, most of which cannot be printed here.

advanced-wifimodemIn truth, it’s a basic, dual-brand router modem – a rebadged Hitron CGN3. Rather than supporting the fastest 802.11ac connections, the CGN3 is a humble 802.11n router with four Gigabit Ethernet ports, twin USB ports and sufficient horsepower to support high-speed cable internet connections of 350 Mbps and over.

User reviews on Rogers’ own online forums and beyond have been less than complimentary, with reports of frequent wireless disconnections, poor range and other crimes against first-world societies. While it’ll most likely do a valiant job for families around the country (and my first few days of life with the router have been reasonably good), with networking review hardware coming through these doors on a regular basis, I really need the flexibility of separate modem and router hardware rather than a combined device.

The answer? Bridging. Or, in plan English, disabling the router features of the combined router/modem so the device acts purely as a cable modem. I can then connect a standalone router to handle the internal wired and wireless network around the home and the cable company’s equipment takes care of the connection to the outside world.

Before attempting this yourself, bear in mind that setting your cable operator’s equipment to bridge mode will most likely disable your ability to access its web user interface. So, if you go wrong, you’ll need to reset the router to factory settings to restore this ability.

So, let’s get started. Here’s today’s patient – presenting the Rogers Advanced Wi-Fi Modem! Sitting on the floor, as we currently have very little furniture in our new house (prays again for calm seas).

rogers-hitron-cgn3

 

We’ll need to access the device’s web interface, which we do in a browser with the address http://192.168.0.1 (your device’s IP address may be different). We log-in with the username: cusadmin and the highly-secure default password: password and we’re ready to set up bridge mode.

CGN3ROG-Router

Once you’re logged in, you’ll need to find your router/modem’s Gateway Function – on the Rogers Advanced Wi-Fi Modem, it’s located in the Basic menu, in a tab handily named Gateway Function. This controls the device’s Router features.

CGN3ROG-Router-gatewaySwitch the Residential Gateway Function setting from Enabled to Disabled. You’ll be advised that all of your device’s router features are about to be switched off. Click OK to continue, and the device will reboot into Bridge Mode, serving purely as a modem.

CGN3ROG-Router-warning

 

Obviously, at this point, you will no longer be able to check the web page to see whether the modem has finished rebooting, so keep an eye on the LED indicators on the front of the device. Once they’re correctly illuminated, you can proceed to connect and set-up your router.

linksys-ea9200

 

In our new Canadian home, I’m pairing the Rogers modem with the new Linksys AC3200 Tri-band Smart Wi-Fi Router, upgrading network from 802.11n wireless speeds up to a (theoretical) maximum of 1300 Mbps. With three bands available (one 2.4 GHz and two separate 5 GHz bands) there should be plenty of bandwidth available for the ever-growing number of wireless devices around the home. I’m hopeful that wireless range is strong too, but just in case, I’ll be adding two Linksys RE6500 AC1200 MAX dual-band range extenders in the attic and basement to ensure there’s decent coverage.

A quick speed test to ensure that all is working well and we’re done.

speedtest

Look out for reviews of the Linksys kit mentioned above in the coming weeks.

 

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Networking a New Build Home (Part 1) http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/22/networking-new-build-home-opportunity-good-miss/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/22/networking-new-build-home-opportunity-good-miss/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 15:21:36 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71517 With a once in a lifetime opportunity to network a newly built home, join Wesley Rickward in this three-part series as he plans and installs a high-speed wired home network.

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Introduction

First of all, let me begin by introducing myself. My name is Wesley Rickward and I’m a 30-something technology enthusiast who also loves spending time with my family. I have been working in the IT industry for over 17 years now and currently work as a Senior IT Support Analyst for an international travel company. I am married with a 2 ½ year old son, who is already showing an interest in technology!

Recently I had the opportunity to do something not many of us get to do – we’re moving to a new-build home very soon as a result I was given the chance to fully network the property before completion.

The opportunity came about one day while chatting with the Site Manager (I’m a friendly kind of guy!) who agreed to give me access to the property and provided me with full PPE (Personal Protection Equipment) clearance and a site health and safety induction. It is unusual for a buyer to be granted access to a property at this stage of build prior to completion. Builders generally like you to purchase all extras, including networking, from themselves which is understandable but also costly to the buyer!

As an enthusiast, the opportunity to research, plan, design and wire up my home from scratch was too good to miss – it would be a big job, but one from which the whole family would benefit on a daily basis.

This article is the first of a three-part write-up of the stages I went through networking my home – from conception to completion. I’ll look back at what was achieved on the project and tell you honestly what I would change if I ever get the chance to do it again in the future. I hope you enjoy the read and if you learn something along the way even better!

Requirements

I reached a decision a long while back that when we were going to purchase our next home, I wanted to take the opportunity to network it throughout. I wanted to be able to stream media and move data around the home using structured cabling at decent speeds – using Wi-Fi only for portable devices. As our new property has the added benefit of Fibre Internet it made sense to maximise network speeds throughout the home.

An additional, but important requirement for us, was to be able to utilise our existing Sky TV set-top box with two additional TVs located around the house, allowing us to watch recorded programmes in the Kitchen or the Master bedroom – or as usual in the living room. 

Planning

With these requirements in mind, it was decided that two hardwired Ethernet points per room (apart from my study) would meet our needs for data usage. If additional connections are required in these locations, I would use Gigabit switches. The reason I chose two points was simply to save on costs – one would be utilised while the other acts as a redundant spare. It would be practically impossible to replace any faulty wiring later on, without incurring major expense and inconvenience.

In addition to the data ports, I would also run two direct Ethernet feeds from the living room – one to the Kitchen and the other to the Master bedroom. These would be used as direct feeds from the Sky set-top box in the living room. My plan is to use a HDMI splitter from the Sky box, with one feed going directly to the lounge TV and the other two feeds connecting to HDMI over Ethernet adapters, feeding to their respective locations. OK, there is the fact that only one channel can be viewed at any given time, but with all the other available media sources in the house, this would not be an issue for us.

I knew from the plans provided by the builder that I would be using a large storage cupboard located on the top floor of the home as the heart of the network. All structured cabling would be terminated here – as this is a family home, I wanted all networking to be located away from the ground floor utility room and little fingers. Unfortunately, I couldn’t convince the builders or BT Openreach (our Internet wholesale provider) to relocate the Fibre entry point upstairs. I would have preferred this to have been located in the top floor cupboard, but it remains, as per the plan, in the downstairs utility room. 

Property Layout

The property is a detached three-storey town house which is laid out as follows:

 

Ground floorGround Floor - Ready for Spots

  • Living room
  • Kitchen with utility – BT Fibre enters the property in the utility room
  • Dining room

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1st Floor - Ready for Spots

First Floor

  • Master bedroom with dressing room and en-suite
  • Double bedroom

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Second Floor

  • Double bedroom
  • Single bedroom – this is to become my study
  • Large cupboard which will become the heart of the network

 

2nd Floor - Ready for Spots

I will shortly be able to access the house and carry out the cable installation, which I am sure will present its own challenges and I look forward to updating you all at each stage along with a final write up as to how things turn out.

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Review: TP-Link AV500 Powerline Adapter Kit (TL-PA4020PKIT) http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/22/review-tp-link-av500-powerline-adapter-kit-tl-pa4020pkit/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/22/review-tp-link-av500-powerline-adapter-kit-tl-pa4020pkit/#comments Sun, 22 Mar 2015 12:41:49 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71460 Priced at just £46.99, the TP-Link AV500 Powerline Adapter Kit offers reliable, speedy networking speeds with the convenience of plug and play.

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TP-LINK-AV500-TL-PA4020PKIT

How do you solve the problem of network cabling, when you decide to move your furniture around at home?

After deciding we wanted to decorate our own home we realised that the needed to change the layout of the lounge. We had a number of good ideas for how we could better use the space. However, we wanted to be sure that our new layout would work, before we invested any serious money in the scheme.

We have a large combination unit, with many shelves and a cupboard, which we wanted to try out on the opposite wall. The unit contains lots of books, kids’ toys and various electronic devices, including a TV, games consoles and a Blu-ray/Hard disk recorder.

The problem was, what to do with all those wires?

I had power cables, the TV aerial cable and Ethernet/Wi-Fi connections to deal with. Power was easy, as there would be a double socket within easy reach. On the other hand, the aerial socket and telephone point for the modem/router would now be on the opposite side of the room.

I could route the Freeview aerial cable around the edge of the room and with a little bit of wiggling, feed it underneath the carpet. However, the Blu-ray recorder and games consoles rely on an internet connection to keep their operating systems up to date. I knew I could go with Wi-Fi for the consoles, but large download sizes meant that my preferred option would be a wired connection. The issue was that Ethernet cables wouldn’t fit alongside the aerial cable, and the cable run would be very long.

I decided to try the best of both worlds: Ethernet cables using Powerline adaptors to make up for the distance. Powerline devices connect to your equipment and piggyback your copper electrical circuit to send the network signal around your home. The TP-Link AV500 Powerline Adapter Kit (TL-PA4020PKIT) looked like an ideal choice. Rated at up to 500 Mbps, the adaptors offer a high-speed network connection without the need to drill holes and hide cables in walls and includes a pass through socket, so you don’t lose an electrical outlet when using the kit.

What’s in the Box?

The TP-Link AV500 Powerline Adapter Kit includes everything you need to set-up your network connection. The box includes:

  • Two Powerline adaptors (each with twin Ethernet ports)
  • Two 2m Ethernet cables
  • Quick install guide
  • Resource CD

 

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TP-Link’s packaging explains everything you need to know about the various adaptors available across its Powerline range, so you can be sure to select the right device for your needs at home.

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The adaptors themselves are reasonably compact, if a little chunky (3.7 x 2.3 x 1.7 in. (95 x 58 x 42 mm)). The build quality is good, with strong, durable plastics in use. On the front face, a Pair button initiates a connection between the adaptors, with three LED indicators denoting network activity, a successful powerline connection and power.

 

TP-LINK TL-PA4020PKIT

Setting Up the TP-Link AV500 Powerline Adapter Kit

I must confess that setting up the TP-Link AV500 Powerline Adapter Kit was so simple, I didn’t even look at the quick start guide or manual included on the resource CD. The outside of the box says “plug and play” and from my experience, that is absolutely true. Since this set is a “starter kit”, the two adaptors are already paired, so even the hard work of pressing a button is done for you.

IMG_1108

All that’s needed is to plug one adaptor into an electrical socket near your router and connect the Ethernet cable from the router into the adaptor. Three small green lights come on to show the unit has power and a network connection. Once they have stopped blinking and turn solid green, you know everything is working at that end.

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Review: Nest Learning Thermostat http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/19/review-nest-learning-thermostat/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/19/review-nest-learning-thermostat/#comments Thu, 19 Mar 2015 13:11:51 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71428 While installation may require some professional support, once you're up and running the Nest Learning Thermostat is a beautiful and easy to use device that delivers a significant boost to your home heating system.

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nest learning thermostat

It’s fair to say I am a tech geek – the ability to control anything over the Internet in a clever way is something I’m always interested in.

When the Nest Learning Thermostat was originally announced back in 2011 I was both impressed and excited about a gadget that would allow me to control my heating remotely and look pretty damn sexy at the same time. I wanted one. Plain and simple.

Most domestic thermostats here in the UK, even the newer digital types, aren’t the prettiest and most of them still look as if they were designed during the Stone Age. So, I was understandably eager to grab my payment card and get a few of these beauties ordered up for installation. My enthusiasm diminished when I learned that the Nest Learning Thermostat was only initially available in North America. While I could find a UK importer, the product simply wasn’t geared up for use in the UK due to location-specific software and wiring requirements. So fast-forward three years and when the Nest Learning Thermostat hit these stores I was first in line to pre-order.

For those of you yet to meet them, Nest Learning Thermostats are a direct replacement for the existing wall-mounted thermostats that control your home heating. They use the same electrical wiring that already exists in your home to control your heating and do the same job, but with a host of additional benefits. As well as controlling your heating directly from the device like a normal thermostat, they also take over the control of the heating programmer. This is a role traditionally performed by a dedicated control unit connected to your boiler, but with Nest, you can also access your heating controls remotely, allowing you to manage your home heating on the run.

What’s in the Box?

With Apple iPod designer, Tony Fadell at the helm, it’s no surprise to see a high standard of design running through both the Nest Learning Thermostat packaging alongside the device itself. The user experience too, whether setting up the device or managing heating controls on a day to day basis is also a pleasure, making the older, dial-type thermostats I had on my wall look archaic.

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Inside the box, the first thing you see is the thermostat itself – it is a thing of beauty. It’s accompanied by a control box which connects to your boiler (again all via existing wiring) and replaces the programmer in your heating system. In addition to the above, you’ll also find a USB cable and power charger. The latter will only be used if you decide to opt for a table-top stand for your thermostat, and forego mounting the device to a wall.

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While some users may well be able to install something like the Nest Learning Thermostat themselves, not everyone will be happy hacking around their home heating installation. Fortunately, Nest has partnered with fully-trained installers around the country with the knowhow to do it for you. Once booked, a few days later a very friendly chap turned up to perform the installation and after a few hours, we were ready to rock and roll. Two heating zones were installed at my property so if you were to have a single zone installed, installation time would be quicker.

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Sony SBH70 Bluetooth Headphones Now Available For Pre-Order http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/15/sony-sbh70-bluetooth-headphones-now-available-pre-order/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/15/sony-sbh70-bluetooth-headphones-now-available-pre-order/#comments Mon, 16 Mar 2015 00:33:12 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71473 Sony's latest addition to their headphones portfolio, the SBH70, is now available to pre-order in the UK and Germany.

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Sony SBH70 Feature

Sony’s latest addition to their headset portfolio, the SBH70, is now available to pre-order in the UK and Germany.

The bluetooth headphones come out following their announcement at Mobile World Congress last week. Although Sony suggest using the headphones when it’s raining or dropping them in the sink, with their IP57 rating the headphones should be usable in 1m-deep water for up to 30min.

Sony SBH70

Available in black, pink, blue, white and lime, the SBH70 are powered by a 125mAh battery which allows up to 6 hours of music streaming or 650 hours in standby. Charging is conducted via a micro USB port.

Listed as “Due in soon” you can pre-order them now on Handtec for £45.59 in black or in any colour on Amazon.de €80.98.

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Review: SONOS PLAY:1 http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/07/review-sonos-play-1/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/07/review-sonos-play-1/#comments Sat, 07 Mar 2015 08:26:50 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71367 Although pricey, the PLAY:1 offers fantastic sound quality with unrivalled features and abilities in a beautiful package.

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Sonos Play:1 Featured

SONOS network-connected speakers have been available for a number of years now, with a few hardware refreshes and many improvements delivered via firmware updates, enhanced and new services. SONOS now has a speaker for almost every occasion, whether it’s listening to music in the bathroom with the humidity-resistant PLAY:1, filling a home theatre with high quality wireless surround sound, or placing a dozen speakers around a house for a party.

The range comprises:

The PLAY:5 (£349/$399), aptly named for its five drivers – two tweeters, two mid-range drivers and a hefty woofer – is the only speaker with an audio line-in which offers the ability to play from a physical source. When looking for a way to beef up my TV audio I wanted something that made movies and gaming more immersive, allowed me to play music wirelessly from any connected device and didn’t leave the sound – or my wallet – hollow. This was before the days of the PLAYBAR, which would be a better solution for home theatres, but I digress.

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The PLAY:3 (£259/$299) – when compared to its bigger brother, the PLAY:3 does sound a little smaller which can be attributed to the lack of a woofer and the second tweeter. However, the PLAY:3 offers two additional features of its own: orientation and stereo pairing. Two PLAY:3s can be paired to create left and right audio, and be stood on their side to save space. The same stereo pairing feature is available with the PLAY:1 speaker. Both the PLAY:3 and the PLAY:1 offer quarter inch screw mounting which open them up to third party accessories – like those made by Flexson as reviewed previously.

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vThe PLAY:1 (£169/$199) is the smallest member of the SONOS family with only one tweeter and one mid-range driver. For such a small package I was very impressed with the balanced sound and punchy lows. Although audio quality from speakers is subjective from audiophile to non-audiophile, I believe these speakers sound fantastic, especially in a stereo pair.

The PLAYBAR (£599/$699) is the main event for home theatre systems. Along with all of the features that the PLAY series offers, the PLAYBAR has an optical input, which lets you connect the speaker to a TV, AV receiver or other source.

The SUB (£599/$699) – The SUB brings in the rumble to the Sonos family. With a frequency response down to 25 Hz the SUB offers clear lows in a slightly unusual shape. Unlike most subwoofers the SUB is a donut shape as it contains two speakers that face each other, neutralizing the forces generated.

 

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Today’s review focuses on the SONOS PLAY:1, the entry-level model ,which serves as a fantastic introduction to the SONOS range.

Sonos Play:1 Black Top

What’s in the Box?

When you open up the box the first thing you’ll see is a little envelope containing a set-up guide and brochure with photos of other products in the SONOS range.

Sonos-PLAY-1-box

Delve deeper insider and you’ll find the speaker on top of the power cable and a classy, flat Ethernet cable. The figure-8 power socket is situated on the underside of the speaker and the cable feeds under the speaker seamlessly. For those that bought a speaker in another country, say the USA, extra power cables can be bought from the SONOS store for a fiver.

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Considering the PLAY:1 is the cheapest model in the SONOS range, the speaker feels and looks fantastic. Admirers of industrial designers like Dieter Rams will appreciate the simple, symmetrical beauty of the PLAY:1’s design. It has a decent weight without being heavy, it’s nicely balanced and is finished with a pleasing combiniation of matte and shine. The speaker grille wraps neatly around all four sides of the speaker bar with a thin seam running up the back. Within that seam is the Ethernet port and mounting socket.

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On the top of the speaker are three buttons and one indicator light. The buttons control volume and play/pause – they’re also needed for setting it up. The indicator light shows when the speaker is unmuted but can also be disabled within the controller app.

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Sony Focuses On High-Quality Wireless Headphones, Announces Four New Models http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/06/sony-focuses-high-quality-wireless-headphones-announces-four-new-models/ http://www.wegotserved.com/2015/03/06/sony-focuses-high-quality-wireless-headphones-announces-four-new-models/#comments Fri, 06 Mar 2015 15:23:49 +0000 http://www.wegotserved.com/?p=71267 Sony announces four pairs of Bluetooth & NFC headphones, due for release in April/May 2015.

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Sony Bluetooth Headphones Spring 2015

Spring is just about upon us, which can only mean that new products are on the way, and Sony has not disappointed, announcing four new models of Bluetooth headphones which are due for release in the coming months (March for the US, April/May for the UK).

Sony isn’t new to the world of Bluetooth headphones; their UK website currently lists eight pairs which are available to buy, not to mention the various discontinued product lines and Bluetooth mobile phone headsets. However, recent models have included top-end features (such as NFC) across the whole range, which suggests they’re trying defragment their offering (if not their catchy product naming approach).

Brand-new headphone models for spring offer the freedom and convenience of Bluetooth® wireless listening. Just touch your NFC-enabled Walkman®, MP3 player or smartphone against the headphone to make an instant wireless connection. Then settle back and enjoy music as you’ve always hoped it would sound – with rich, controlled bass and detailed, crystalline highs.

The big selling point of the MDR-1ABT is LDAC. This is Sony’s new, proprietary wireless audio codec, which promises three times the amount of data per second than standard audio over Bluetooth.

Transmitting three times the data of ordinary Bluetooth links, this efficient new codec lets you stream pristine, lag-free high-quality audio wirelessly from compatible devices like the premium High-Resolution Audio music player NW-ZX2 Walkman.

As you’ve probably guessed, you need a device that is capable of transmitting LDAC to take advantage of the new technology (such as the aforementioned NW-ZX2), however, the MDR-1ABT also includes the Sony DSEE (Digital Sound Enhancement Engine) to enhance standard MP3 files.

The other key feature of the MDR-1ABT is the abandonment of physical controls in favour of a touch sensor on the side of the headphones, enabling simple gestures for all common controls.

Battery life is promised at 30 hours, although a 3.5mm cable can be connected in the unlikely event that your phone/Walkman somehow managed to outlast this.

MDR-1ABT Bluetooth Headphones

The MDR-1ABT is due out in the UK in April and will be priced at £300

If new codecs and touch controls aren’t your thing, the MDR-ZX770BN instead offers noise-cancellation in a slightly subtler package.

Travel in style – and blissful silence – with Sony’s latest Digital Noise Cancelling Bluetooth headphones. With a comfortable around-the-ear design for extra comfort on long journeys, the MDR-ZX770BN cuts cabin noise and other background sounds using Sony’s powerful DNC software engine.

With noise-cancellation on, the MDR-ZX770BN should last 13 hours (although this can be extended to 24 hours of cancelled noise if the included 3.5mm cable is used instead of the Bluetooth connection).

MDR-ZX770BN Bluetooth Headphones

Priced at £130, the MDR-ZX770BN is due for UK release in May

For a smaller, lighter pair of headphones, Sony is offering the more general-purpose MDR-ZX330BT.

You’re assured powerful, well-balanced sound by 30mm driver units, while 30-hour battery life for wireless listening means you won’t run out of juice during the daily commute or overnight trip.

With 30 hours of battery life and a quick charge feature (giving 10 hours life after only one hour of charging), the MDR-ZX330BT comes in at the lower end of the price range, making the step to Bluetooth headphones easier for those not interested in the previously mentioned, bleeding-edge features.

MDR-ZX330BT Bluetooth Headphones

Due for UK release in May, the MDR-ZX330BT will be priced at £70

Last, but not least, is the sporty offering. The MDR-AS600BT is aimed at those who are fed up with cables during workouts/runs, but don’t want to sacrifice battery life or sound quality (as some entry level Bluetooth headphones are wont to do).

With battery life of 8 1/2 hours, you’d have to be very active to need to charge them more than once a week, and the splash-proof design will mean that rain is no longer an excuse for an extra hour in bed.

 

MDR-AS600BT Bluetooth Headphones

The MDR-AS600BT is due for an earlier UK release than the others (April) and will be priced at £70

The MDR-1ABT, MDR-ZX770BN andMDR-ZX330BT headphones are due out in the UK in May and will be priced at £300, £130 and £70 respectively. The MDR-AS600BT will be released in April, and priced at £70.

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