Whole-home audio redux with Amazon and Google

Image courtesy of Monoprice

Hey, it was 2002, and it worked.

I’ve been experimenting with whole-home audio since college. I bought a 100′ stereo cable and ran it from my roommate’s bedroom all the way down to the front room so we could have music playing on both floors of our four-person townhome. I remember price-shopping multi-zone amplifiers when I didn’t have two nickels to rub together. It seemed the height of luxury to be able to listen to the same song no matter where you were in the house.

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One man’s search for the perfect streaming media player

I am neither an audiophile nor a videophile, but I like to have a functional home theater that takes advantage of the state of the art without investing a ton of time and money into it. About eight years ago I assembled some mid-range gear—including a 46″ Samsung LCD panel, Denon AVR, Sony Blu-ray player, and Polk Audio speakers—that enabled me to watch movies in judder-free 1080p24 with lossless, 5.1-channel surround sound. It doesn’t hold a candle to e.g. a modern 4K HDR and Dolby Atmos setup, but it’s still a fine setup for our viewing distance and family room needs (if anything, it’s probably overkill).

We also have an Apple TV (3rd gen) and a 2010 TiVo Premiere that are getting a little long in the tooth. (Incredibly, the TiVo plays Prime Video at 1080p24 with Dolby Digital Plus, but it’s slow as molasses and you have to pay for the TiVo service to use their OnePass feature.) A few weeks ago I decided that I wanted to cancel cable TV and the TiVo subscription and replace the Apple TV and the TiVo with a new, future-proof streaming media player that supports Plex, streaming TV services, 4K HDR, and Dolby Digital Plus. I tried out the latest offerings from Amazon, Roku, and Apple.

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Review: Monoprice HDMI with RedMere

If you aren’t already buying all your A/V and computer cables and adapters from Monoprice, you’re doing it wrong! Monoprice has the best selection and prices you’ll ever find. They also manufacture (or possibly rebrand) a lot of high-quality original products, such as DisplayPort adapters, battery packs, and Apple-compatible 30-pin dock connector cables. (And no, they’re not a sponsor.)

Earlier this year, Monoprice announced a partnership with an Irish firm called RedMere. RedMere has developed a new technology that several OEMs, including Monoprice, have integrated or plan to integrate into their HDMI cables. RedMere adds circuitry into the HDMI connector on one end of the cable that effectively steals a little voltage from the display/sink device (e.g. a TV or A/V receiver) to boost the signal. This allows them to use a much thinner, lighter, and more flexible strand than usual.

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