Bring your Pumpkins to Life this Halloween with a Simple Projector Setup!

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Halloween is a time to bring your creativity alive and it’s simple to do now more than ever!  With a few supplies you can bring the spirit of Halloween to life, and we would like to share some great tips and ideas to make this Halloween a memorable one for you and anyone who may make their way to your house for some tricks or treats!

In this article, we will explain all the steps to bring your pumpkins to life with only a few supplies.

Step 1: Choose your projector

You may have read that line and thought “Projectors are expensive!” but they have come a long way in recent years and are very affordable these days.  In this tutorial, we are using an AAXA LED Pico Projector, which we were able to obtain for under $90.  You don’t need anything too fancy, just something capable of reading content and projecting a good image – something small that can be hidden is also a plus for this set-up!  Brightness should be at least 25 lumens or more, for best results.

w1AAXA LED Pico Pocket Projector – you can use any projector that works for you!

Step 2: Choose your content

There are many different pumpkin and jack-o’-lantern videos that can be used to bring your pumpkins to life.  Some of our favorite holiday content can be purchased through AtmosFX or can be obtained through torrent sites.  Our favorite is “Jack-O’-Lantern Jamboree” from AtmoxFX.

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Atmos FX Jack-O’-Lantern Jamboree projected on pumpkins

Step 3: Putting the content on your projector

Most projectors include inputs that allow you to easily connect to other devices.  We highly recommend finding a projector that has an HDMI port to connect to devices such as DVD players, and/or a USB Port or SD Card port as this usually means the projector is capable of reading files from the two devices.  For our LED Pico, we load content onto a USB thumb drive and set the video on a loop to play repeatedly.

w3AAXA LED Pico Projector with USB thumb drive containing content attached

Step 4: Setting up your Pumpkins and Projector

Depending on the media clip you will be projecting onto your pumpkins and the projector you will be using, you will need to set up your pumpkins and projector in the correct place and at the correct distance.  This means that you will be taking the projector’s throw distance into account.  A projector’s throw distance is essentially the calculation of the image size being projected based on how far or close the projector is to whatever it is being projected on.  There are several throw distance calculators online so you can quickly figure out how far you may need the projector to be from the surface you are projecting onto.  Once your projector is set up in the correct place, it should only take some fine-tuning to get your projection to line up with your pumpkins!

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4 ft. was the perfect distance for us to project from using the LED Pico

Step 5: Connect some External Speakers

In order to really bring your pumpkins to life, we highly recommend connecting some external speakers to your projector to make it loud and clear that your house has some good Halloween entertainment!  We use an Anker portable speaker and connect it to our LED Pico with an auxiliary cord.

w5We connected a portable Anker speaker to our LED Pico for some bigger sound!

Step 6: Enjoy your Halloween Entertainment!

Now that you have your projector set up to bring your pumpkins to life this Halloween, don’t be surprised if people flock over to your house to see what all the fuss is about!

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Check out this video to see a step by step tutorial and demo!

 

Bose SoundLink Micro – Is it the Small Bluetooth Speaker You’ve Been Waiting For?

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The Bose SoundLink Micro, measuring a mere 3.9 x 3.9 x 1.4 inches and weighing about 10 ounces, is definitely a small gadget with a lot of power.  The price tag, coming is $109.95 may be a bit high but it is true to Bose’s product pricing and what you get will certainly not disappoint.  You can choose from three different colors: black, blue or orange and rest assured that the silicone material the speaker comes incased is it durable, even waterproof!

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Any Bose-speaker enthusiast can vouch for the sound quality you will obtain from a Bose Speaker, and the SoundLink Micro, although quite small, is no exception!  Your bass-bumping tracks will sound great on the device and you should not run into any distortion while increasing the volume.  The fact that it is 1PX7 Certified, which means it is able to be work under a meter of water for up to 30 minutes, equates to the SoundLink Micro having the ability to be with you anywhere, anytime.  It includes a “tear resistant” rubber band that allows you to fasten the speaker onto a backpack, purse, handles bars, or similar object.

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The only two things we would have liked to see in this small powerhouse speaker is a better battery life, as the battery life is rated to last for about 6 hours and an option to hook up an auxiliary cord.  But these are in no way dealbreakers!  The battery life is easily known as the body of the speaker shows the readout through the LEDs housed inside the device and it is also just as easy to find out battery life through the Bose Connect mobile app (available for Android and iOS), which also includes many other features.

Bose knows a thing or two about creating good speakers and size did not compromise their ability in creating something great.  You can be confident in knowing your purchase is good if you go for the Bose SoundLink Micro.  We know we’d definitely enjoy it!

Two New Members Will Join the Amazon Fire TV Family Later This Year

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At the end of this year, you won’t have to give up Amazon Fire TV just because it doesn’t support 4K HDR videos! Amazon has two new Fire TVs coming out late 2017, according to a report on Sep. 11 by AFTVnews. Both models will be capable of handling 4K HDR video at 60 frames per second.

The first new model, positioned as mid-tier, will fill the gap between the existing Fire TV Stick and a new top-tier model. It uses a dongle form factor that hangs off a permanently attached HDMI cable, similar to the Google Chromecast.

The new top-tier Fire TV is said to be a cube shaped set-top box that will become Amazon’s new flagship model. AFTVnews said that this new model is equipped with far-field microphones, an integrated speaker, as well as an LED light bar. It has the same functionality as an Amazon Echo Dot for hands-free Alexa interaction and control. It also has an IR emitter to allow for controlling televisions and other A/V equipment.

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The new mid-tier Fire TV will most likely be announced this month and released next month with a pricing point between $60 and $80 while the new top-tier model will be announced soon after and probably cost consumers around $100.

AAXA Technologies Releases P300 Neo – a Revision of the Best Portable Mini Projector of 2015

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If you are recently considering purchasing a mini projector, you won’t want to miss this! Last month, AAXA Technologies announced its release of the P300 Neo Pico Projector – a revision of its most popular P300, which was rated as the Best Portable Mini Projector of 2015 by the Wirecutter. The new model comes in with more lumens and higher resolution while reducing size and weight by over 40%.

Like most models of AAXA Technologies, the P300 Neo is an ultra-compact projector – measuring just 5.5” x 3.5” x 1.2” which is about the size of two smartphones stacked together. In spite of its portable size, this model can deliver 420 LED Lumens of brightness at a native resolution of 720P HD (1280X720). Powered by a 30,000 hour LED light source, the P300 Neo can display up to 120” images in dark areas.

We will be excited to make a side-by-side comparison for P300 and P300 Neo once we receive the demo unit from AAXA. So FOLLOW OUR BLOGS!

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Here is a full breakdown of the specs:

  • Native Resolution: 1280×720 (720P)
  • Max Brightness: 420 Lumens
  • Contrast Ratio: 1000:1
  • Projection Lens: Manual Focus
  • Projection Image: 10” ~ 120” (only in dark room)
  • 150 Minute Lithium lon Built-in Battery (Eco Mode)
  • 30,000 Hour LED Light Source
  • Dimensions: 5.5” x 3.5” x 1.2”
  • Weight: 0.84 lbs
  • Supported Formats: MP3/WMA/OGG/WAV/JPG/AVI/BMP/GIF/TXT
  • Video In: HDMI, Composite A/V, Mini-VGA, Full-size USB 2.0

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This excellent upgrade model is only $294, which is $85 off the P300 Pico Projection. You can find more information on AAXA’s Website: http://www.aaxatech.com/products/P300neo_pico_projector.html

 

Loading Kodi on AAXA M5 Projector with Amazon Fire stick

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Projectors go hand-in-hand with entertainment.  With today’s advances in technology, it’s becoming more evident that projectors are decreasing in size and competing in brightness with full-sized projectors.  It is also becoming more evident that entertainment is only a click away on any streaming device.  But imagine putting these two objects together – a powerful and small projector coupled with a streaming device capable of playing whatever one’s heart desires – and you have opened up a whole new world of entertainment!

We took an Amazon Fire Stick, loaded it up with Kodi (which seems to be a phenomenon within itself and quite simple to do) and connected it to an AAXA M5.  The AAXA M5, which was rated the Silver Award under Top Ten Reviews Best Mini Projector article, caught our eye because of the sleek design, small form factor – it only measures 6” x 6” x 1.8” – and plethora of connectivity options.  Coming in at 900 lumens and a native WXGA resolution, the M5 was an easy choice, coming in at a price point below $500.

Within a dark room, the M5 will give you an immersive and awesome viewing experience for any media you wish to project.  Its ability to seamlessly hook up to any HDMI device just enhances what one can do with their handy, portable and powerful mini projector.  To further improve your in-home theater experience, simply hook the projector up to some good speakers and you have an incredible movie theater right in your room!

We highly suggest giving the M5 a try.  It even comes with a carrying case, which tell us this projector was meant to be taken out and about for entertainment (or presentations as well) on the go.  The only thing we would change about this M5 (if we could) would be to give it a longer battery life.  At 70 minutes, it’s not long enough to watch a feature-length film, but it’s still very handy that the option to watch anything on battery-power is there.

Sony PlayStation Laser Projector – Reviewed!

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Sony-Projector-MPCL1-555x250Just kidding – No one has seen the Sony Playstation Pico Projector yet – but here’s some videos of similar laser projectors.  The technology at hear is a beam-steered laser, perhaps with twin imagers to achieve double the resolution of the Microvision ShowWX laser projector.  What this means  is that while twin imagers improves the brightness without increasing eye-safety issues the maximum brightness is still limited in the ~30 lumen range before the product is rated beyond a Class 3 laser.  And the realty is beam-steered laser projectors like the Microvision model while exhibiting great contrast – simply don’t deliver the lumen performance for high ambient light play.

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We suggest using our setup – an AAXA P450 (or comparable) 1280×800 resolution LED projector delivering 450-500 Lumens which is a good balance of portable and performance.  Here are some pictures and videos below.

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AAXA P450 – Mario Kart Wii U
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AAXA P450 – Assassins Creed Unity – Xbox One
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AAXA P450 – Destiny – Xbox One

 

Gameplay footage taken while using the AAXA P450 Projector.

Nintendo’s Patent Has Been Spotted

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Last year Nintendo announced that they will be pushing a new market for consumers not based on gaming and entertainment, but for QOL (quality of life). This was an effort set forth by the late CEO of the company Satoru Iwata. The first product for this new market is a sleep monitor that tracks your sleeping habits through a microphone and camera and would project the analysis onto the ceiling. Recently this year the patent have been spotted by NeoGaf which may signal that Nintendo will follow through with Mr. Iwata’s re-imagining of the company.

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The move by Nintendo isn’t surprising as today’s tech market have moved aggressively into the health market with company’s such as Fitbit, Garmin, and JawBone producing bracelets that monitors your heart beat and distance a person walks a day. Tying all that information received into analysis through apps the user can track their everyday health and adjust to their needs. Nintendo’s move into the tracking of a person’s sleeping habit and patterns is a branch off of that idea and their is a variety of market that can build off of that as well; apps being one of them.

So when will we see a prototype of the sleeping monitor? That is not yet known but like everyone else we’ll be keeping an eye out for it.

TaoTaole UC40 LED Projector Reviewed Against AAXA ST200 LED Projector

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We’ve recently reviewed both the TaoTaole “800 Lumen” 854×480 projector and AAXA’s new ST200 1280×720 projector. We thought it would be interesting to compare the pint sized ST200 LED mini projector to the full size TaoTaole UC40/Abtech/Riener/Erisan/AomeTech. The findings is surprising.

Small projectors is a niche market but is growing in popularity as an entry level projector that is also portable. As with all tech gadgets progression projectors were once just for the use of business offices and school class rooms and auditorium. As the technology got smaller and more portable the uses for them arose and now we have small projectors in the market, but how do they compare to their full size bigger brothers? Let’s find out.

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SIZE MATTERS

Let’s start with size. While the AAXA ST200 borders on the “portable” projector size category (rather than “pico” projector) the TaoTaole LED projector dwarfs the AAXA ST200 by comparison. The size difference is obvious.sidebyside_angle_dimensions

The AAXA ST200 projector has a 60 minute lithium ion battery onboard, whereas the Taotaole projector is not batter powered and must remained plugged in to be used. The nice thing about the TaoTaole projector is that the power supply is contained within the unit itself – unlike the ST200 which requires a power adapter when operating off DC wall power.

WINNER: AAXA ST200

PICTURE QUALITY

The TaoTaole UC40 is promoted to have 800 lumen brightness but we noticed that it was nowhere near that claim. In fact we tested it to be only 120 lumens white. AAXA ST200 pico projector closely match the TaoTaole projector in terms of white brightness. When it came down to quality of color there were no contest – The AAXA ST200’s triple LED design produced better vibrant and bright colors while the TaoTaole projector was only able to produce washed out colors. Although this is expected from a white LED projector, the early generation LCOS white LED projectors exhibited much of the same limitation.

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From a resolution stand point the AAXA again beats the TaoTaole. The AAXA ST200 mini projector is a true high definition projector with a native resolution of 1280×720. The TaoTaole projector on the other hand wasn’t even able to produce the claimed 854×480 resolution much like the claim of the 800 lumens. It is probably due to the lens design.

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Another interesting fact that we didn’t like about the TaoTaole projector but where the AAXA ST200 pico projector excelled was the throw distance. The Taotaole projector had trouble focusing at less than 5ft whereas the ST200 being a short-throw projector could produce a vary large image at 5ft and a decent sized image at just 24” making it great for small rooms like kids rooms and small offices. The Taotaole projector would need a bigger room so it can be placed further away from the wall to perform at its peak which in turn might wash the color out and effect the resolution even further.

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WINNER: AAXA ST200

 

CONCLUSION

The AAXA ST200 pico projector performance towered over it’s full sized brother the TaoTaole UC40 LED projector in almost every aspect except pricing. At only around $100 on Amazon the TaoTaole is an absolute bargain for a projector especially for someone who is looking to get one minor use. Kids would love it for cartoons, movies, and perhaps even low resolution games. The AAXA ST200 is a step above and you get what you pay for but it is a little more than double the price at $279 on Amazon. So if you’re looking for a high resolution, portable, and great image quality projector the AAXA ST200 is your ticket. If you want simple bang for the buck entry level projector performance the TaoTaole projector is a good choice.

Find them on Amazon by click these links!

AXXA ST200 720P LED Projector

TaolTaole UC40 800 Lumen Projector

WINNER: DRAW!

 

www.aaxatech.com

[it appears taotaole does not have a website]

 

TaoTaole UC40 Projector Unboxing and Review

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We’ve just got the Taotaole UC40 projector in our hands and were very excited to see what it’s all about. We heard good things about this projector and wanted to see for ourselves what the fuss is all about. We’re about to find out.

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The UC40 is a very well priced projector that offers up to 120” of display with a resolution of 854×480. With a brightness of 800 lumens it should be bright enough for comfortable viewing even in a room with a little bit of light light.

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Out of the box you get

  • the UC40 projector unit
  • a remote control
  • power adapter
  • 3 in 1 AV cable
  • user manual

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A nice feature to have is the adjustable screw that allows you to angle the image upwards

 

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The first thing we notice is the big lens and the two dials that are used for focus (the main dial) and to correct tilt (small dial) when the projector is set at an angle which is a nice versatility to have. Looking at the unit there are ports on the left side that accepts HDMI, AV, full USB, and also an SD card slot making it compatible with a wide range of devices. On its right side is the port for the power adapter. Towards the front on the bottom is a nice knob that can be unscrewed to lengthen and angle the projector upwards if its placed on a low level platform. The remote control is nice to have and operations via the built in navigation buttons is straight forward.

When we turned the unit on we noticed how bright the projection was and the easily got the image into focus and leveled with the dials. Sound via the built in 2.0W dual speaker wasn’t horrible, but it does have an output so you can connect a speaker. The hum of the unit is a bit loud and the unit got hot very quickly like most projectors.

At the end of the day the Taotaole UC40 is a great entry level low budget projector for anyone who is interested in getting a projector but don’t want to shell out the big bucks for widely known brands.

Click here to check out the UC40 on Amazon.

 

Are Lasers The Future of Projectors?

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As awesomely futuristic as they sound, laser projectors aren’t that much different from traditional projectors. With all projectors, something creates light, and that light is then manipulated to create the image on the screen. The only thing changes with laser projectors is what is creating the light.

In the purest form, red, green and blue lasers are “defocused” to fill an entire DLP, LCOS, or LCD chip. The lasers don’t scan the chip (or the screen). So, in fairness, “laser projector” is about as much of a misnomer as “LED TV.” Both terms refer to the of name the technology that creates the light — lasers and light-emitting diodes, respectively — not the technology that creates the image as a whole. “DLP projector” and “LCD TV” would be more accurate.

Lasers replace the UHP, Xenon, and other lamps found in current projectors. So even though that makes “laser projectors” a little less futuristic (more evolution than revolution), they’re still way cool, and offer lots of benefits.

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There are several benefits of lasers, and they’re all tied together. The first is efficiency. If you read myUltra HD Color, Part I article, you’ll remember that TVs and projector use red, green and blue light to create every color you see on the screen.

One of the most awarded benefits of laser projection technology are the focus. No need to manually set the image into focus by yourself and deal with weird walls or angles. The lasers do it all for you and it is already being applied into small projectors like AAXA’s L1 Laser Pico Projector.

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A normal projector lamp creates white light. This may seem like a good thing, but the fact is, projectors have to throw away (absorb or otherwise block) most of this light, leaving only the red, green, and blue parts. It then projects those on the screen so you can see — wait for it — white light. Mildly inefficient, that.

Lasers only create the exact colors needed, which uses less power. Here’s one way to think about it: if a UHP lamp draws 300 watts to create white light, only a portion of that is used to create red, green and blue. The rest is wasted on yellow, purple, chartreuse, etc. With a laser projector there could be three 100-watt lasers which could, in theory, each create much more light for their respective colors, given the same overall power draw. It’s not quite this simple, but that’s the basic advantage.

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There are two common questions when it comes to lasers. The first is one of safety. After all, anyone who’s played with a consumer laser knows you don’t shine them in people’s eyes.

The lasers in projectors are much more powerful. Doesn’t that mean they’re more dangerous?

Epson says safety is not an issue. “The laser passes through a phosphor/diffuser wheel. Light from the projection lens complies with the class 2 safety standard, and is in accordance with other laser projectors. There is no risk of retina damage, unless users intentionally stare into the lens directly for prolonged periods.”