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Paul Siu

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About Paul Siu

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  1. The cheapest way seems to be to add a roku stick, I see a few on sale for $30. Check if there is a port on the side where you can plug in the roku. I can verified that it definitely works on Roku. I did encountered an issue where audio started stuttering. I get rid of it by changing the HDMI setting in the roku to non-auto. You may not have the same issue. Paul
  2. One issue I have found is that Sonos Beam much to my surprise did not support Dolby Digital Plus, This is a big issue since I do most of my streaming through netflix, which uses DD+ 5.1. You would think that DD+ would be downconverted to DD. * A TV may downconvert DD+ to DD, but usually only for broadcast TV. Most won't downconvert HDMI streams. * A roku Streaming Stick+ has been tested to no be able to downconvert. If I select Dolby Digital, on the HDMI port, Netflix stop offering an option for 5.1 stereo. * Most audio extractors will not downconvert either, mostly because there is additional licensing fee. As a result, Netflix streaming and hulu will come in as stereo on the beam, which is not cool. Paul
  3. Most consumer are not tech savvy. My mom for example can't even figure out how to switch input on the TV. The segment that wants to upgrade component are the techy who are small in number. The trend is towards appearance over functionality, so equipment becomes sleeker, thinner, and less repairable/upgradable. Manufacturer rather that you throw out the old component and buy an entirely new component. The path to upgrade would be to use the existing system. For example, if your tuner is terrible, you could buy a new tuner and output it over hdmi. If your reception is terrible, replace the tv's internal app with a roku or firestick, or chromecast. Paul
  4. I google CapXon and apparently there are lot of links to failure due to cutting corners. However, I notice in the teardown of Sonos Play 1 that they also use CapXon caps and Sono Play 1 have been around for a while. At the very least, there's no reason to not use the Ikea speakers due to the cap since Sono Play 1 and probably the Sonos One use the same caps. Paul
  5. The teardown is at this youtube video: Discussion of capacitor at 5:25. The picture shows the brand as CapXon (what does regular sonos one use, I wonder?)
  6. I was watching a tear down on the Ikea sono compatible speaker and the person doing the tear down notice that Ikea cut corners on capacitors and that they may need replacing in a couple of years. I was wondering if this is true or not. Do we have to worry about caps failing on our electronic products? Paul
  7. I have a raspberry pi that I setup for a print server. It worked, but it was a pain to setup. The wifi for example had a bad habit of cutting out after a update. Frankly, unless you like to tinker, I would not try a Raspberry pi. Could one of the roku or fire stick serve your needs. The roku for example can be had for $30. Is the issue that those product probably don't work with uTorrent? Paul
  8. I have been recently been thinking about setting up one of the multi-room system. I looked into some of the various eco-system out there including Sonos, Heos, Yamaha's multicast, Bose, and Bluesound. I notice Amazon and Google has some product in this space. It appears that most of the system are expensive, though Bluesound is really expensive. After reviewing the system, it appears that Sonos appears to be ahead of the other and have been around a long time. Bluesound appears to be the best sounding (or at least more audiophile), but my family are not audiophiles. Heos, Yamaha, and Bose are comparable to Sonos in price and performance, but Sonos eco-system appears to be more refined. I am not sure I trust google products, if they are anything like their phone products (hangout, etc), they feel more like a giant beta testing site than a product. Are there speaker product better? How does Amazon's multiroom or google multiroom compare to Sonos? One attraction to Sonos actually they seemed a bit platform neutral. They have compatibility with many services. If I get Amazon and google products, they tend to favor their own services. Here's what I am shooting for: A nice sounding set of speaker that sounds pretty good, but does not have to be audiophile quality. I am pretty sure I would be OK with a Heos, Bose or Sonos quality speakers (haven't heard Alexa Echo or Google). Personally, I favor natural sounding speaker and dislike what i term booming artificial bass. A way of streaming music from a streaming service like amazon music and local drive with ripped music. I tend not to buy digital music and prefer physical media because of the fear that the vendor would suddenly close down my account. A fear that started when Amazon froze my account several times for several months due to accounting errors. Should support multiple platform. I use Android and Windows. My wife uses iOS. I do not need Alexa or SIRI or voice assistance. A way of setting up speaker group and stream to them through an app. I like a company that will stuck around and have speakers that won't sunset one day. May be ability to do some home automation one day, but I haven't seen a need for this feature. For example, a light switch is a pretty simple product, I don't see much value of increasing the complexity so I can control it through my phone for example. A more useful feature would be to turn off the lights when no one is around because I can't get the family to turn off the lights after they leave the room. Opinions? Paul
  9. Yes ago, I wanted to create a HTPC. One of the possible candidate was Windows. There are several reasons: * Windows has a awesomely long support. With windows 10, you can run it nearly forever as long as there is device driver support. * Netlfix is supported on Windows, but not on OS like Linux or BSD (at least that was the case a few years ago). Over the years, a number of trends have made HTPC, especially on the PC less appealing. Media device like Chromecast, Roku, and fire stick started appearing. Most are fairly inexpensive and serve the need of most users and have interface more appropriate to TV. Support on the PC side has decline. Microsoft remove Microsoft Media Center, and then Home server. Plex recently remove their PC client. In addition, 4k UHD is a real challenge, all of this points to a future where PC on tv will remain a minority. Paul
  10. This is not a criticism of the usage of the device, but what is the appeal of a device like Alexa Echo or google home. I often hear people talking about ordering toilet paper, but that is hardly a use case that justify the device. Couldn't I use alexa or google through my smartphone? Is the device use mostly for streaming music, controlling smart appliances, etc? I am curious to know how everyone uses these smart devices (I don't even know what to call them)? Paul
  11. I was thinking in terms of more than warranty, which usually last about a year any way. Most people keep their device way longer than their warranty. I was thinking in terms of expectation of life of the product. Examples; Smart TV * The TV aspect, such as displaying video from a connected device should work pretty much forever. * The build-in App feature will probably sunset after 5 years or so. You can replace it using a Roku or similar device and extend the streaming, but unlike the built-in app, you will probably not have a lossless passthrough. Roku or Firestick or similar product * Roku indicates that player made in 2011 will stop updating in 2015. * Netflix ends support this year in 2019 for original player (2011) Blu-ray * Similar situation in TV where the Blu-ray part will work forever, but the internal app may stop working after a time. Smart Speaker? * Not sure about these. I don't have any and a lot of them haven't been around that long.
  12. With the increase popularity of smart tv, smart speaker, smart device, etc, I am wondering about evaluating a product by its lifespan. For example, a dumb speaker is essentially eternal. You can keep using it for decades. A smart device however appear to be subjected to update life. On my Blu-ray player, the amazon prime has stopped working because Amazon no longer support it. At best, the device will get dumber as it age. The Blu-ray may no longer play Netflix, but could still pay Blu-ray, etc. At worse, it get sunset. For example, my mom's eye-fi stopped working one day because the vendor decided to obsolete it by purposely updating it so that it stops working. How do you evaluate smart product? If I get smart speaker for example, how long can I expect it to work? Ideally, the product will continue to work even after updates are done. Which vendor have a long support life? I feel that Nvidia Shield for example seems to get really long updates. Sonos stuff also appear to have a long life. I am less confident on Google stuff which seems to treat everything as an experiment. Paul
  13. Security and usability doesn't always go hand in hand. For example, some of the sites will have a 2 factor authentication where it sends a text to the phone, but my mom isn't technical enough to use text and so can't read the text message. This mean in order for her to use stuff, some security and privacy may be traded off. From what I can determine, pictures uploaded in google and amazon are not made public (a problem with the old Flickr), so if she upload her photo, it won't show up in google searches. As for the automatic delete, it's sort of needed. My mom is not technical enough to copy stuff to the computer. Back when she used a digital camera, she would take tons of picture and fill up the storage and be unable to use the camera. What I did was replace her card with Eyefi which can connect to the pc and upload pictures and auto delete uploaded pictures from the card if it runs out of space. Unfortunately, the vendor sunset the card one day and it had to be tossed. Right now, I think there is an option in google photo to make room by deleting uploaded pictures, so I may have her use google photo since it seems to work OK and have some reasonable degree of privacy. Paul
  14. Hi, I have similar problems with my wife and my mom. * My wife has a tendency to use up all of her storage taking photo with her phone. She would like to move photo off the phone to some place where she can still access it through the phone (in the cloud, etc). She uses an iphone. * My mom does not know how to get photo off her phone period, so eventually her phone runs out of space. Because she's using an Android phone, I upgraded her with a large SDcard, but that only delays the inevitable. What I would like is to have some way to automatically upload the photo over the network to a repository, plus have some way to automatically .delete old photo that have been uploaded when the phone starts running out of space. What do you suggest for Ios and android. As for cloud storage, what do you think of services like Google photo or Amazon photo? I am also wondering about photo uploaded and how much privacy is given up. Do I retain ownership of the photo? Who has access to the photo if I mark it as private? paul
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