About Robert E Kraus

Robert E Kraus has a background in Computers, Internet Technology and Home Electronics. Currently working in the Information Technology field and also consulting for Home Electronics users. He is also the owner of The Conch Tech and My Conch Life and a contributing author on both sites.

Sony’s new 4K Ultra HD Video Download Service

Sony XBR-X900A 4K Ultra HD Video Service

credit – Sony

Sony made several announcements at IFA 2013 this year.  One of them was the news of a new Video Download Service for Ultra HD content.  Video Unlimited 4K Service is the first 4K Ultra HD only video download service.  Those of you who ran out and bought a 4K or Ultra HD TV will now have something to watch in native 4K mode. Read more!

HDMI 2.0

The HDMI Forum just released version 2.0 of the  HDMI Specifications. This latest version, the first to be developed by the HDMI Forum, seems to be targeted at the new Ultra HDTV technology which is now making it way in Consumer Electronics stores around the world.

“The introduction of the HDMI 2.0 Specification represents a major milestone for the HDMI Forum. Our members collaborated closely to take the highly successful HDMI Specification to the next level by expanding audio and video features for consumer electronics applications.” —Robert Blanchard of Sony Corporation, president of the HDMI Forum

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Sony’s new $1,299 HT-ST7 Soundbar

Sony HT-ST7

  • Sony HTST7
  • 7.1 Surround Sound
  • Wireless Subwoofer
  • Bluetooth connection
  • Price: $1,299

Sony has announced its first high-end sound bar, the HT-ST7.  With seven speakers on the bar and two speakers in the sub-woofer, it looks impressive.

“Consumers are demanding great sound quality without compromising simplicity for their home entertainment” – Neal Manowitz, director of Sony Electronics’ Home Audio group

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Most Popular Articles Published in July

3D Viewer

3D Television- What’s The Point?

So how does a 3D television work? And is there any real benefit to owning a 3D television?

Understanding Home Automation

If you ever dreamed of having a house where everything was automatic, then that Home Automation dream can be fulfilled today.

automation items
Xbox One

Your Guide To The Next Generation Of Video Game Consoles

The new generation of game consoles is almost here, and it looks to promise big changes.

Picture Perfect – Cool Ideas For Installing Your Flat Screen Television

When it comes to installing your flat screen television, why not think of an unusual and creative placement?

TV Lift in Colsole

Chromecast – Make Any HDTV into a SmartTV for $35


For awhile now I’ve looked into what it takes to send video and pictures to my ancient 4-year-old Samsung HDTV. It had built-in DLNA software, but that was way outdated and didn’t playback most of my video collection. I was lucky and picked up a WD TV Live box on closeout for $20 and was able to play just about all my videos, but I sill wanted to be able to show the contents of my tablet on my TV or maybe show an actual web page to the family as we planned our vacation.

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10 Steps to a Basic HDTV Setup

If you are a first time owner of a HDTV, upgrading your old HDTV or replacing that old tube TV here are 10 tips to a basic HDTV setup.   These should help you get the most out of your new HDTV and give you the best possible picture quality.

This How To article is written to give guidance for connecting your HDTV to a cable/satellite box and a Blu-ray DVD player.  Future articles will explain how to connect Surround Sound Systems, Sound Bars,  Wi-Fi (for Wi-Fi enabled HDTVs & Blu-ray players) and Game Consoles.

Take the TV out the box

Yes this is obvious, but a word of caution. Manufacturers like to pack the parts needed to assemble your TV in very odd places. They use tape to hold the parts securely and sometimes the parts are light and don’t make any noise as you unbox your TV.  Carefully look for parts on each piece of Styrofoam in the box. Finally, don’t throw away the box until the TV is completely assembled and working, just in case. Read more!

How to improve any TV with a Smart DVD

Wikipedia defines a Smart TV as any TV capable of using the Internet to provide interactive media content to the viewer. But, did you know they were also Smart DVD players? That’s right, many new Blu-ray DVD players and Home Theaters can use the Internet to provide the same content streaming video, music, pictures, news, weather, sports and downloadable apps as you find on a Smart TV and show it on any TV.Smart LG Home Theater

What should you look for?

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HDMI Cable; why do I need one?

If you own a High Definition Television and use a Blu-ray DVD Player or Hi-Def Cable/Satellite box then a HDMI cable is exactly what you need to get the best picture.

What is HDMI?

HDMI High Speed Cable

HDMI or High-Definition Multimedia Interface is an audio/video cable for transferring digital audio/video signals to a compatible computer monitor, audio device or television. Sources for HDMI could be a HD cable/satellite box, HD DVD player, tablet, game console or digital camera. There are 5 types of HDMI cables but only two are used in home entertainment, HDMI High Speed and HDMI High Speed with Ethernet. Read more!

Samsung 3D Smart TVs have a security flaw.

Samsung Smart TVCould your Smart TV be watching and listening to you in your own home? It might, a Malta-based researcher ReVuln has uploaded a video showing how it has been able to hack into a Samsung 3D Smart TV. With this hack someone would have full control of your Smart TV allowing them to look at any device connected to the TV as well as look at user IDs and passwords stored in memory. If you have a webcam attached to the TV for Skype then the hackers could actually watch and listen to you while you are sitting in your living room.

New Smart TV’s have a full computer built into them for web browsing, apps and streaming Read more!

Sharp, trying to restructure to stay afloat.

sharp quatron

Credit – Sharp, Inc.

Sharp is struggling to stay a “going concern”, which means in corporate speak they may not survive as a company.  Sharp reported a 4.8 Billion dollar loss for the first 6 months of the year.  As bad as that sounds, Panasonic lost more 5 billion actually.  There are many reasons suspected for the sales decline but the slowdown of the American Economy is the primary reason given.  However, Japan and some others in Asia have some blame in this too. The strength of the Yen vs the Dollar has added to profit difficulties.  In addition, while sales have declined almost 30% companies have increased the workforce by almost 6%. One hedge fund manager wrote that there were too many redundant quasi-state employees in the companies contributing to this increase in the workforce.

This slow down is not limited just to Sharp.  Sony, NEC and Panasonic have also made announcements of their own regarding sales and profit woes.  Samsung, with its near 60% market share of flat screens sales is having problem too, but nowhere near as bad as the three above.

2013 may turn out to be a very different year for HDTV’s. For example, there could be a decrease in quality screens and an increase in low-cost (cheap) TVs.  Plasma’s offerings may start to decline, as they are not as profitable as once thought.  To bad, I rather like the pictures on plasma TVs.  Still, I would not expect to see manufacturers tossing all the plasma’s out the back door, they do offer an affordable price point.  As for the future, the big guys; Sony, LG and Samsung will turn their attention to OLED technology.  Although it may take years (if ever) for that technology to develop to the point everyone can afford to buy one.

Stay tuned.


Cloud Storage what is it and how can I use it?

Cloud Computer

Cloud Computer

Data backup, one of the most disliked and often ignored job.  Very few actually backup the data on their Home Computers or Laptops. According to a survey by ComputerStatistics.org, 91% of PC users agree that backing up your home computer data is important.  However, 41% do no backups at all and only 2% backup at once a week or less!

Why should you backup your data?  Think of all the irreplaceable pictures and videos you have stored on your computer, tablet or phone.  It’s sad to recall the number of people I’ve dealt with who have suffered a malfunction on their tablet or laptop that resulted in the loss of very important pictures.
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