Suave Kajko

After completing a Bachelor of Science degree in Computer Science in 2002, Suave turned his attention to his passion for audio, video and technology in general. Through hands on experience with an extensive number of audio video products, Suave provides a real world, expert perspective on the latest products and the technology surrounding them. As an enthusiast, he shows a true passion in his writing that is easy to understand by all consumers. Aside from contributing to NOVO, Suave has also written about audio for special sections of The Toronto Star, Son et Image Magazine (FSI Guide) and appeared several times on television. More recently Suave was interviewed and quoted in articles for the Globe and Mail and In 2010, Suave launched the Toronto Audio Video Entertainment Show (TAVES), an annual consumer trade show that has witnessed tremendous growth year after year.  In 2014, the show was expanded to include a new technology & innovation pavilion and rebranded as the TAVES Consumer Electronics Show.  As of 2016, the show attracts over 7,600 attendees and exhibitors from around the globe.  TAVES showcases cutting-edge technology and innovation in the most exciting categories: virtual reality, drones, wearables, health & fitness, gaming, audio, home theater, robotics, 3D printing, personal transportation, smart devices and electric vehicles.  For more info, please visit


Totem The Signature One Loudspeakers 01

Late this summer, Totem will celebrate it’s 30th birthday by launching an amazing new loudspeaker called the Totem The Signature One.

Borrowing a line from LL Cool J “Don’t call it a comeback”, the The Signature One monitor loudspeaker is not just a comeback of Totem’s infamous Model 1 Signature loudspeaker, it is an elevated, advanced monitor loudspeaker reflecting the progression of Totem Acoustic’s engineering prowess and primed to knock you out!

This beautiful new monitor/bookshelf speaker retains all the superlative attributes made famous by our most cherished past reference bookshelves but also includes significant enhancements made possible by Totem’s continuous research and desire to push the boundaries of our acoustic capabilities. It easily brings forth a whole range of new “world leading” characteristics.

While undoubtedly a truly worthy evolutionary successor to the famous Model 1 Signature, it is unique in its own right and its superior performance will defy comparison. The Signature One is larger in size and sports an imposing 6.5-inch woofer derived from the Forest unit but modified to excel in its new application and cabinet. It not only increases the dynamic capabilities but additionally facilitates the speaker system’s uncanny ability to activate the room in a totally unique, engrossing fashion.

Imaging height is breathtaking, achieving real world size for an unparalleled, lifelike result. The micro nuanced detail and incredibly wide staging provides a natural and majestically wide horizon of sound that we believe is unique.

Highlights of the Totem The Signature One include:

  • Gigantic, life-size imaging capabilities
  • Substantial, lock-mitered monocoque cabinetry with incorporated full cross bracing and both internal and external veneered ensuring uncompromising cabinet rigidity that results in consistent performance for literally decades
  • Industry unique Borosilicate dampening manages energy dissipation in a desired, controlled manner within the enclosure while keeping the cabinet musically alive
  • Proprietary and exclusive crossover and driver componentry to ensure the unique Totem Acoustic sonic signature and phase characteristics
  • Annealed Aluminum rear terminal plates with superlative
  • Bi-Wireable WBT 4 way connectors accommodate the most advanced wiring options and ensure the most efficient signal transference from the amplifier

For more info (this summer) check out

Totem The Signature One Loudspeakers 02


QNAP TS-453Bmini

Taipei-based QNAP Systems is an innovative company that produces cutting edge network attached storage (NAS) systems designed for home entertainment and business environments.

The brand new QNAP TS-453Bmini vertical Network Attached Storage (NAS) is powered by the latest Intel 14nm J3455 quad-core 1.5GHz processor and features AES-NI encryption, 4K UHD output and transcoding. The TS-453Bmini couples elegant glossy aesthetics with high performance, security and intelligent services to provide excellent data storage, backup, sharing, and entertainment options for home and small office use.

With 4GB/8GB DDR3L dual-channel RAM, dual Gigabit LAN ports and SATA 6Gb/s, the TS-453Bmini drives up to 225 MB/s read speeds and runs tasks smoothly and quickly under dual network environments. The TS-453Bmini features Intel AES-NI 256-bit hardware-accelerated encryption for both shared folders and the full NAS volume to provide transfer speeds of up to 225 MB/s and ensure data security without compromising performance. The total potential storage of the TS-453Bmini can be expanded up to 120 TB by using an 8-bay UX-800P expansion unit (when using 10 TB HDDs).

QNAP’s exclusive vertical NAS series has received excellent feedback for its excellent performance, elegant appearance, and compact design. With user-friendly features, quiet cooling, adjustable LEDs, and a tool-less design for installing and upgrading hard drives and RAM, it is ideal for smaller spaces and easy to use for everyone (without computer knowledge).

Running on the latest 64-bit QTS 4.3 NAS operating system, the TS-453Bmini offers numerous new and improved applications to increase the efficiency of management tasks and everyday use. Container Station supports various container applications and provides support for QIoT Containers and IoT applications. Virtualization Station allows users to run multiple Windows, Linux, UNIX, and Android-based virtual machines. QmailAgent centralizes multiple email accounts and simplifies daily email management. Qcontactz centrally stores and manages contact information.

The TS-453Bmini also uses advanced virtualization technologies to perfectly integrate QTS and Linux. By installing Linux Station and connecting a keyboard, mouse and HDMI display to the TS-453Bmini, it can be used as if it was an Ubuntu PC. This is especially useful for IoT developers. The TS-453Bmini also supports 4K UHD output and real-time transcoding to provide a smooth and high-quality multimedia experience across devices or where network bandwidth is limited.

Additional features include support for VMware, Citrix, Microsoft and Citrix to assist in flexibly deploying and managing virtualization environments; cross-platform file sharing for Windows and Mac and desktop/laptop backup; Windows AD, LDAP directory services and Windows ACL to improve the efficiency of permission settings. The TS-453Bmini also offers flexible backup solutions for Windows and Mac and disaster recovery solutions with RTRR, rsync and cloud storage backup.

For more info, jump to or call 416-479-0558.




Features inside this issue:

  • Robots to Rock Your World: Social, Companion and Educational Robots
  • Outdoor Speaker Buyer Guide: From Portable Bluetooth Speakers to Dedicated Outdoor Speakers
  • Virtual Reality at the International CES: New VR Headsets, Experiences, Backpack Computers and Accessories

Product reviews:

  • Bryston BDA-3 DAC (Digital-to-Analog Converter)
  • Audiovector QR3 Loudspeakers
  • Skogrand Vivaldi Interconnects and Speaker Cables
  • Yamaha A-S2100 Integrated Amplifier
  • Monitor Audio Controlled Performance In-Wall Speaker

View this issue HERE or choose other formats:

Tablet / Smartphone Editions: CANADA HiFi app  |  Magzster app (iOS or Andriod)  |  PressReader app (iOS or Andriod)
Computers: PDF Edition (ideal for printing)



TAVES, the Consumer Electronics Show that everyone in North America is taking about, is returning this fall!

New venue, new experiences: We’re thrilled to announce that after another year of exponential growth, TAVES is moving to a new, larger permanent home — the Toronto Congress Centre — and running two weeks earlier — October 13th-15th, 2017!  Easily accessible by public transportation and car — with over 6,000 free parking spaces, TAVES 2017 will feature over 70,000 square feet of dynamic installations on one easy-to-explore show floor.

Watch for an expanded technology showcase, a greater number of HiFi / Home Theater exhibits and exciting new programming!

TAVES showcases cutting-edge products in the most exciting categories: HiFi and home theater, virtual reality, robots, wearables, drones, hi-tech vehicles, 3D printing and tech toys. The show attracts, tech-savvy millennials, luxury-loving consumers, industry professionals, mainstream and specialist media, innovators and educators.

More information about the 2017 show will be released in the coming weeks :-)  For more info, please stay tuned to NOVO or check out


Skogrand Cables Wagner AC Power Cable Review.indd

When I began building my first hifi system some twenty years ago, I didn’t give much thought to cables. Cables simply served as a means of connecting all the components together.  Audio magazines introduced me to the idea of upgrading cables but it was only when I tried the first few cables in my own system that I truly began to appreciate how much influence good quality cables had on a system’s performance. As hifi component designers continue to push the envelope of audio performance in their products, audio cable designers need to develop cables that are more transparent than ever in order to let hifi components perform at their highest level. One of the cable companies that has been capturing the attention of music enthusiasts around the world for the last few years is Skogrand Cables of Norway. In business since 2011, the company has been on the ‘hifi show circuit’ around the world for several years now, demonstrating its high-end cables to a great acclaim of music listeners and industry types. I’ve been impressed by the exemplary performance of Skogrand cables on several occasions at audio shows but my true appreciation for the brand was born when I tested the Skogrand SCI Tchaikovsky interconnect cable in my own system earlier this year. Never before had a cable conjured up such an emotional connection with the music that I listen to, allowing my hifi system to truly achieve world-class performance. In fact, I loved this interconnect cable so much, it ended up finding a permanent position in my reference system.

Given this positive experience with the Skogrand interconnect, you can imagine my excitement at the chance of reviewing the Skogrand Cables Wagner AC power cable. It is a well known fact among hifi enthusiasts that when it comes to cables, power cables play the most significant role in the performance of a system. That’s because music reproduction starts at the wall power outlet. Music components essentially “shape” the AC power into the music that reaches our ears. Therefore, if you upgrade the cables in your hifi system, it is best to start with power cables and follow the signal path (interconnects next, and finally speaker cables).

Skogrand Cables produces a full range of hifi cables, including power cords, interconnects, digital cables and speaker cables. Skogrand power cords are available in two different series, called Wagner and Beethoven. The company’s speaker cables and interconnects are grouped into five different series, each named after a famous composer – Rachmaninov, Brahms, Ravel, Tchaikovsky and Beethoven. Skogrand digital cables on the other hand are available in the Grieg and Beethoven series.

The Wagner series of cables is Skogrand’s affordable (by high-end standards) series of power cords. The 2 meter Wagner AC power cable I received for this review retails for $2,500 US. These are far from the least expensive power cables you can find in the market, but as with everything in this world, when it comes to audio cables, you get what you pay for. High-end performance costs. In contrast, a 2 meter power cord from the flagship Beethoven series will run you a whopping $18,000 US.

Unlike some cable manufacturers, Skogrand Cables does not offer a great level of detail about its cables designs on the company’s website. Skogrand prefers for listeners to focus on what they hear from their music when using its cables. As stated on the company’s website, the Wagner AC power cable is designed to deliver a pure energy flow to your components, while protecting and preserving the energy transfer. The cable features a multi-strand design, which consists of two 4mm stranded UP-OCC copper conductors, and a single 5mm ground wire. Surrounding these conductors is a double braided copper shielding. A polyolefin cable jacket offers additional insulation. All Wagner power cords can be ordered with an optional silk brocade cable sleeve or black braid with purple polyolefin shining through. My review sample came in the unique and gorgeous silk brocade sleeve. Wagner cables are equipped with high-end Rhodium plated UP copper connectors, and can be ordered with North American or European power connectors.


Happy Holidays From Suave Kajko & George de Sa!


Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2, $79 US
The applications for tablets never cease and the Wacom Intuos Creative Stylus 2 is a great and well-priced iPad stylus for the budding artist.  Great accuracy and a comfortable feel make it a sure-to-please gift for any iPad owner.  A thin pressure-sensitive tip makes drawing or painting intuitive, while delivering a natural feel.  A creative gift that feeds the creative spirit; one that any budding artist should truly appreciate.


IsoAcoustics ISO-L8R130 Monitor Stands, $89 US
Want to get more out of your existing bookshelf speakers or monitors?  Give them a stand that’s designed to draw out the most of what sits on them.  I [George] have heard these demonstrated myself and the results are astonishing.  Don’t start shopping for new speakers until you or your friend has tried these monitor stands.  I expect you will be as surprised as I was with how well they work.


Google Cardboard, $15+ US
Virtual reality immerses the viewer in out-of-this-world experiences.   It’s something that’s hard to explain with words – you really have to see it to believe it.  The Google Cardboard is the most affordable way to experience the immersion of VR and one heck of a way to amaze everyone at a holiday party.  Just assemble the kit, slide your smartphone inside, download some VR apps and you’re off to the races.


TIDAL HiFi Music Streaming Service, $19/month CDN
TIDAL is a commercial-free subscription music streaming service that offers two tiers of service – Tidal Premium (compressed) or TIDAL HiFi (uncompressed CD resolution).  Where most other music streaming services are just MP3 quality, TIDAL HiFi is a dramatically better music experience.  I [George] can vouch for its quality, as a happy, regular user.  Give the gift of high resolution music to yourself or a friend with a few months of TIDAL HiFi.


Star Wars: The Force Awakens Holographic Records, $50 US
It’s no surprise that the Star Wars franchise has inspired us to develop many of the technologies that we love so much today.  One technology we are still trying to crack from these films is the holographic display.  Each of the two records in this set floats a holographic image in mid-air when you shine a light on it – one shows the Millennium Falcon and the other a Tie Fighter.  Oh, and the soundtrack is fantastic too!


TAVES Consumer Electronics Show Ticket, $25
This show is a tech & HiFi lover’s paradise, and perfect for the whole family.  Where else can you find so much of the latest consumer tech all in one place?  From virtual reality to drones, wearables, gaming, HiFi, home theatre, robotics, 3D printing, personal transportation, smart devices and electric vehicles – this show literally has it all.  And if you’d like to learn something in a more intimate setting, don’t forget to check out one of the many workshops and seminars.


Samsung Gear VR Headset, $99 US
If you’ve had an itch like me to enter the world of Virtual Reality (VR), you won’t find an easier way then with the Samsung Gear VR.  It’s a mobile VR headset that Samsung designed with Oculus – known for the Oculus Rift VR experience.  The Samsung Gear VR will work with a number of Samsung Galaxy phones.  With an attractive price, it’s one of the cheapest ways to dive into VR.  Get one for yourself and a friend this holiday season.


MainStream Audio Multi-room Streaming Components, $99 to $439 US
MainStream offers components that turn existing speakers and music systems in your home, into a seamless wireless, multi-room system.  The “solo” is a streamer that offers 16-bit streaming and turns any pair of speakers into a wireless system.  The “omni” offers the same streaming / wireless capability but adds 24-bit sound quality.  The full-featured “omni+” offers 3 additional inputs (3.5mm jack, Toss Link and USB) to play from various audio sources.  The “amp160” is equipped with all the features of the “omni+”, plus a 2 x 80 watt amplifier and a volume knob.



Funk-Firm Achromat Turntable Mat $130+ CDN
Whether it is a vintage turntable or a new model that same truth remains – it’s all about the base and that’s what the Achromat is all about.  Dropping one on the platter of your turntable will provide noticeable sonic improvements – tighter focus, crisper images and better soundstaging.  Using a special foam with millions of bubbles that eradicate unwanted noise your vinyl will never sound better.  Get one for your friend and yourself, they are that good.  Available at the NOVO / CANADA HiFi store HERE.


Nintendo Wii U Super Mario Maker Deluxe Set or Mario Kart 8 Deluxe Set, $299 US
A favourite with kids and great fun for the family, Nintendo now offers a deluxe package with the Super Mario Maker game, a Super Mario Maker idea book and a 30th Anniversary Mario Modern Color amiibo figurine.  If the members of your family are a little more competitive, check out the Mario Kart 8 deluxe set instead.  The Wiil U is a great way to have some fun with the family over the holidays.


Samsung Gear S2 Smartwatch, $299 US
Looking for a stylish and feature rich wearable?  If you’re an Android fan, then look no farther than the Samsung Gear S2 smartwatch.  The Gear S2 sports a fashionable look and clever rotating bezel with an impressive display.  It has solid health tracking and better battery life than many other high-end smartwatches.  Everything is easily accessed via a quick twist of the bezel or press of the buttons.  There are apps for messages, text, email, timer, health tracker and more.


Nordost QRT QK1 AC Enhancer, $249 US
The QK1 uses and innovative design and technology to produce a beneficial effect on standard AC current.  Equipped with Nordost’s patented Micro Mono-Filament technology to prevent time delay and distortion, the QK1 results in improved overtones, pace, focus, sharpness and depth in music, with similar benefits to video signals.  Housed in a mechanically tuned carbon-fiber body, it can be equipped with either a US or EU connector.


littleBits Smart Home Kit, $249
Help bring a loved one’s home into the 21st century with this smart home kit.  With a little ingenuity, this kit will let you solve your unique problems, like brewing coffee from bed, feeding your pet while at work, or turning on your AC as you’re heading home from work.  All you need to do is connect all the littleBits components and control your creations with a smart phone.  An included “invention book” will help you get started, but the possibilities are pretty endless.


Nippon Antenna UDF85, $129 US
Cable and satellite TV costs continue to climb… and yet the quality of content continues to deteriorate.  That’s why some consumers are cutting the cord and turning to a high quality antenna.  The UDF85 will allow you to pick up many local channels, and even some from other close-by cities.  Plus you’ll get a crystal clear, HD signal.



High-end cable maker Skogrand Cables has just launched a brand new entry-level range of cables, called Skogrand Cables Vivaldi. Skogrand manufacturers some of the best performing cables in the world and until now its cables were not accessible to all hifi fans because the high prices of admission.  The new Vivaldi ranges, however starts at a reasonable $600 USD per cable.

The Vivaldi cable model range contains speaker cables, interconnects, speaker terminal jumpers and USB cables. Vivaldi offers some of the same materials and components used in the company’s higher end cables with Skogrand termination, solid core copper wires, air dielectrics and optional silk sleeves/black braid.

For more info, please check out


This Fall CANADA HiFi Will Become NOVO Magazine.inddPromotional issue of Toronto HiFi (August 2003), the first issue of CANADA HiFi (Nov/Dec 2005) and prototype NOVO cover.

A Brief Story About Toronto HiFi, CANADA HiFi and the Evolution To NOVO

My love for music and technology began when I was a little boy, while my professional journey in these industries began just over 13 years ago, when I started this magazine. Over the years our magazine has slowly evolved but this fall it will take its most significant leap forward when CANADA HiFi becomes… NOVO.

A momentous event such as this deserves a telling of how it all began.  After graduating university with a BSc in computer science in 2001, I scored what I thought was a ‘perfect job’ as a systems analyst.  However, it took me only nine months to realize that I wasn’t well suited to work from a cubicle of a big corporation.  I decided to turn my attention to audio and technology instead, subjects that I was passionate about for as long as I can remember. Both of my parents are electronics engineers so it’s no surprise that I grew up around home-made stereos and other electronics components. Music has always been a part of my family life – I recall listening to The Beatles with my parents as far back in time as I can remember.  My dad played guitar and as a young boy I learned to play piano. I also picked up the guitar in my early teens and still play today.  My dad also taught computer science and so I was lucky enough to have access to a home computer at a very young age.  Music and technology were intrinsically linked for me, from the beginning.

The idea of publishing a magazine about audio and video was born as I was nearing the end of university.  I envisioned a widely distributed, free publication that would connect with a broader audience than the hifi magazines of the time.  A magazine that would capture the attention of music and movie enthusiasts, as well as audiophiles.  In 2002, I had just the opportunity to realize the dream when together with two great high school friends, Janak Handa and Octavio Umana, I launched the Toronto HiFi magazine. Alas, our professional collaboration lasted only a few months, as my friends were unable to devote the countless hours needed to translate the dream into a business.  Octavio did remain close to the publication over its first couple years, contributing many reviews and articles, as well as helping me define the initial direction for the magazine; something I will forever be grateful for.  I’m also very happy to say that the three of us have remained the best of friends to this day – I spend time with both of these guys regularly.  My partner Sarah Ferguson also offered a tremendous amount of time and effort to the magazine from its infancy and continues to do so today.  Sarah began as a copy editor but has progressively taken on greater roles, becoming an editor, graphic designer and advisor on just about everything.  With combined efforts, Toronto HiFi was received very well by the industry and readers in the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), having an initial distribution across just 80 audio video stores in the GTA.


From left to right: Sarah Ferguson, Suave Kajko and Octavio Umana at the Salon Son & Image Show in Montreal, Quebec in 2004.

With the model for the magazine a success and strong positive feedback received, by 2004, the magazine was renamed CANADA HiFi.  The circulation was increased and distribution was expanded to reach all major Canadian cities.  For the next seven years I continued to generate awareness about the magazine to the industry, while entertaining readers about the latest audio and home theatre topics.  At the same time, I built a strong team of writers that were passionate about these topics.  Since the early days, Phil Gold, Shamus Coghlan, Brad Copeland, Neil Underwood, Giovanni Militano and Malcolm Gomes have shared their wealth of knowledge and enthusiasm about audio topics in these pages.  Mike Osadciw has offered unequivocal expertise when it comes to all video and home theatre topics.  Jeremy Phan on the other hand has kept us up to date about the latest audio, home automation and technology trends.  Over the years, I personally learned a great deal from these gentlemen.  In the last couple of years, Douglas Brown, Glen Wagenknecht and Frank Labonte have joined our contributing team, each bringing their passion, knowledge and unique voice to the magazine.  More recently, our team has been expanded to also include David Mitchell, who runs a website called, and Dale Goz, an expert custom audio/video installer.  Another recent addition to our team is Ted Kritsonis, a seasoned technology writer highly knowledgeable about various technology categories.

During the earlier half there were challenges to overcome – it’s tough to keep things new, adapt and grow revenue when you are a fledgling publication in a niche market. Yet my determination, and the dedication of the professional staff I had recruited allowed the magazine to ride the waves to ever greater opportunities.

In 2011, I was looking to expand CANADA HiFi’s contributor team, when I posted a job on our website.  A long-term passionate reader George de Sa responded with great enthusiasm.  With a string of outstanding reviews and feature articles for CANADA HiFi, it soon became apparent that George was destined for greater responsibilities with the magazine, though at the time I didn’t realize just how significant his role would be.  Over the last six years, George has helped me refine just about every element of CANADA HiFi, taking it to new levels.  And, today, as our Director of Marketing and Sr. Editor we work side-by-side collaboratively to build, develop and take CANADA HiFi into the future.  It has been an enormous pleasure to work with George and I’m thrilled to say that he has not only become instrumental to the success of this publication but also a great friend.  I could easily go on but this is a story of its own, for another time.

This brings us to today and the future – meet NOVO, the successor to CANADA HiFi and greatest step forward this publication has ever seen.

At the TAVES Consumer Electronics Show, held this fall (Oct. 28 to Oct. 30), NOVO will be officially launched, as the new name of CANADA HiFi.  NOVO will bring a fresh new look and style to audio video content and expand its reach into new realms.

NOVO will introduce you to a curated mix of hifi, home theater, technology and lifestyle topics.  If you’ve enjoyed the hifi and home theatre content that our publication has delivered over the years, don’t worry because NOVO will bring you all that and more in a more focused and refined fashion.  You’ll find even more hifi and home theatre articles per issue, with each being more concise and to the point, with less technical jargon, just what today’s readers want.  Equally as important, every issue of NOVO will serve up exciting technology and lifestyle content that we’re sure you will enjoy, whether you are a seasoned or new enthusiast.  This expanded content will cover topics such as tech toys, robotics, virtual & augmented reality, 3D printing, home design, etc.

Our unique, free distribution model will be expanded to furniture stores, home & lighting stores, car dealerships, and even some universities and colleges.  So you’ll be able to find NOVO in more places and we expect to reach the hands of tens of thousands of readers, like no other traditional hifi magazine can.  This formula has proven itself successful with the TAVES Consumer Electronics Show, which has made it the largest of its kind in Canada and among the top in North America.

Why the name NOVO?  It’s a derivation of the Latin word Nova, meaning new, which is exactly what it is.  The publication will bring new insight, new products and new interests to consumers.  The simplicity of the name makes it more stylish but also its uniqueness will build curiosity, inspiring consumers to explore its pages.  In addition, NOVO is a name that knows no national boundaries, engendering worldwide appeal.

Though CANADA HiFi will become NOVO this fall, with the Oct/Nov 2016 issue to be launched at the TAVES Consumer Electronics Show, you’ll still find a cover reference to CANADA HiFi for the next 12 months.  I invite you to take a look at the prototype cover and a couple of page designs from NOVO on this page.

George and I have been working relentlessly on this evolution of the magazine for more than a year and we trust you will be immensely happy with the new direction, look, feel and content under NOVO.

We would like to thank you for reading this publication over the years and warmly welcome you to continue with us, as we embark on this thrilling new adventure!

novo-magazine-preview-cover-02-custom novo-page-01-custom novo-page-02-custom



The TAVES Consumer Electronics Show is Canada’s ultimate consumer technology event.  This year’s show is set to feature the largest number of exhibitors and new product launches since the show’s inception.  A massively expanded show floor for 2016 will highlight cutting-edge products in the most exciting categories: from virtual reality to drones, hifi & home theatre, robotics, 3D printing, electric vehicles, and lots of tech toys.

This fall, TAVES will also offer a new TAVES Talks Tech series of talks where can learn from leading industry experts and innovators.  The number of workshops, for both adults and kids, will also be significantly expanded, covering topics such as robotics, coding and 3D printing.

To purchase an early-bird ticket (and save $5) please CLICK HERE and then click “Enter promotional code” [just above the green “Order Now” button].  Enter code 16nova, and select your desired number of tickets above.

This discount is valid until Oct. 15th and for a limited number of tickets, so pick up yours today!  Feel free to share this discount code with your friends online :)

To find out more about the TAVES Consumer Electronics Show, please visit  TAVES runs October 28-30, 2016 at the Sheraton Parkway Toronto North and Best Western Hotels, in Richmond Hill, ON.

The 3-day show runs from Friday, Oct. 28 to Sunday, Oct. 30, 2016 in Richmond Hill, ON.


VIZIO NYC event 2016

I recently had the pleasure of being invited to an event in New York City where VIZIO launched its new SmartCast home theater displays and sound bars to the members of the media.  VIZIO also showcased its brand new collection of SmartCast Crave Pro and Crave 360 wireless speakers.  The event was hosted inside a chic condo in downtown New York and gave me the opportunity to explore the SmartCast range of displays, sound bar and Crave audio products first-hand, in an intimate setting.

VIZIO NYC event 2016 02 (Custom)

VIZIO SmartCast Ecosystem

The SmartCast ecosystem, based on Google Cast technology, allows any iOS and Android smartphone or tablet to become a powerful touchscreen remote.  SmartCast also allows you to cast your favorite content with your phone or tablet to your VIZIO TV or speakers.  All you need to do is download the free VIZIO SmartCast app on your mobile device.  Since the SmartCast uses your home WiFi connection to communicate, a line of sight is not required when controlling VIZIO SmartCast products, in contrast to a standard IR remote which requires line of sight.  The SmartCast app provides access to all menus and playback controls on the screen of your smartphone or tablet, which will allow users to adjust settings or navigate apps from across the room, at a distance where you might not see the menu on the TV display.

VIZIO NYC event 2016 03 (Custom)

SmartCast Home Theatre Display and Sound Bar System Demonstration

Inside the condo, VIZIO demonstrated three all-new Home Theater Display collections: the P-Series, M-Series (Ultra HD HDR displays) and E-Series (Ultra HD displays).  The main demonstration of SmartCast products took place in the living room, where the stars of the show were a 55-inch M-Series home theater display (model M55-D0), alongside VIZIO’s 45-inch 5.1 slim sound bar system (model SB4031-D5), placed below the display.  The system was controlled using VIZIO’s own Andriod-based tablet, which comes included with all 2016 M-Series and P-Series home theatre displays.  The M-Series tablet features a beautiful 6-inch 720p touchscreen with the VIZIO SmartCast App preloaded.  The SB4031-D5 5.1-channel sound bar system consists of the sound bar itself, two surround speakers and a slim-line subwoofer, which in this demo was placed under the couch.  The subwoofer connects wirelessly with the sound bar, so you don’t need to run wires from the front of the room to where the subwoofer sits.  The surround speakers on the other hand are connected  by speaker wire to the subwoofer, so it’s best to position the subwoofer somewhere at the back of the room.  The beauty of this sound bar system is that it does not require a separate AV receiver, since the system has on-board amplification and surround sound decoders.

VIZIO NYC event 2016 04 (Custom)

Watching a clip of Netflix’s Marco Polo, the picture on this M-Series TV looked excellent.  The picture details were plentiful, colours looked natural and contrast was impressive.  The sound emanating from the lifestyle sound bar system was almost as impressive.  It gave this smallish living room a great sense of ambience and punctual bass, with only a slight bit of emphasis in the dialogue region.  VIZIO offers a range of 9 different SmartCast sound bar systems, suitable for different TV/room sizes, priced between $179 and $499 US.

Highlights of the P-Series, M-Series and E-Series

VIZIO refers to its P-Series, M-Series and E-Series as “home theater displays”, rather than TVs, since they do not have a built-in TV tuner.  The lack of a TV tuner is no surprise because today most viewers get television programming from a cable box, a satellite box or simply stream it.  Various models from these three series were on display throughout the condo, while the main system in the living room highlighted the 55-inch M-Series home theater display.

The higher-range P-Series SmartCast displays also offer Ultra HD resolution and feature High Dynamic Range (HDR) playback, with support for both HDR10 and Dolby Vision content. The P-Series also offers Ultra Color Spectrum technology that greatly enhances colour reproduction.  Combined, these features result in a dramatically improved picture – with incredible brightness, contrast and color that brings content to life.  P-Series TVs are equipped with a Full-Array LED backlight, with up to 128 active LED zones (depending on screen size).  This allows the display to achieve deeper, richer black levels and more accurate contrast.  The included VIZIO Android tablet remote allows viewers to browse and play content with tap, swipe and voice-based controls – it can also be used as a standalone tablet.

The middle-range SmartCast M-Series also offers Ultra HD resolution and HDR playback with HDR10 and Dolby Vision support.  It does not feature Ultra Color Spectrum technology however.  The M-Series is equipped with Full-Array LED backlighting with up to 64 Active LED Zones.  Like the P-Series, the M-Series also comes with a VIZIO tablet in the box.

For those with a smaller budget but still interested in a great picture and value, VIZIO offers the SmartCast E-Series.  These displays also offer Ultra HD resolution and Full-Array LED backlighting with up to 12 Active LED Zones.  A VIZIO tablet is not supplied with this series.

VIZIO CRAVE SP50-70_#31BEA5 (Custom)

SmartCast Crave Pro and Crave 360 Wireless Speakers

At this event, VIZIO also celebrated the launch of its brand new collection of SmartCast Crave Pro and Crave 360 wireless speakers.  The Crave speakers are designed to function in standalone or multi-room applications.  With multiple speakers, listeners can listen to the same music on all speakers or different music in every zone.  The Crave Pro is a larger speaker designed to sit “permanently” in a room and offers 2.1-channel audio, with dual integrated subwoofers.  The Crave 360 speaker on the other hand is designed to be easily portable and offers 2.1-channel 360 degree, omni-directional sound – it will serve up great audio inside any room in your house and is perfect for listening to music in your backyard or on the balcony.

Both speaker models feature Google Cast technology which allows music fans to stream music from Google Cast audio apps which many consumers already have on their mobile devices, directly to the Crave speakers.  The VIZIO SmartCast iOS / Android app can also be used to control the Crave speakers.

During this media event, I got the chance to listen to both speakers, the Crave 360 and the Crave Pro, and I have to say that both sounded very good. The Crave 360 is a unobtrusive silver aluminum/fabric cylinder and features a 2.1 speaker array. The sound, streamed from SmartCast, filled the room very nicely.  The Crave 360 can be plugged into the wall or operated by battery, thus allowing it to be carried from room to room (with up to 8hrs of operation per charge). The Crave Pro is a larger speaker with larger drivers and subs, housed in a sealed enclosure. Both models feature DTS TruVolume which normalizes loudness levels of different content, providing a comfortable listening experience. The bass from the Crave Pro was quite impressive. I asked for the Crave Pro to be played on the rooftop patio to see how well it would compete with NYC street noise and it did so effortlessly, while providing a full-bodied sound.

For more information about the VIZIO SmartCast collection, please visit

VIZIO SmartCast P-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display Collection
VIZIO SmartCast 50” P-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display (P50-C1)      MSRP $1,499 (CAD)
VIZIO SmartCast 55” P-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display (P55-C1)      MSRP $1,799 (CAD)
VIZIO SmartCast 65” P-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display (P65-C1)      MSRP $2,999 (CAD)
VIZIO SmartCast 75” P-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display (P75-C1)      MSRP $5,499 (CAD)

VIZIO SmartCast M-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display Collection
VIZIO SmartCast 70” M-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display (M70-D3)   MSRP $3,199 (CAD)
VIZIO SmartCast 80” M-Series Ultra HD HDR Home Theater Display (M80-D3)   MSRP $5,999 (CAD)

VIZIO SmartCast E-Series Ultra HD Home Theater Display Collection
VIZIO SmartCast 60” E-Series Ultra HD Home Theater Display (E60u-D3)             MSRP $1,299 (CAD)
VIZIO SmartCast 70” E-Series Ultra HD Home Theater Display (E70u-D3)             MSRP $2,199 (CAD)

VIZIO SmartCast Sound Bar Collection
VIZIO SmartCast 38” 3.0 Sound Bar                                (SB3830-D0)               MSRP $179.99
VIZIO SmartCast 38” 2.1 Sound Bar System                   (SB3821-D6)               MSRP $219.99
VIZIO SmartCast 38” 3.1 Sound Bar System                   (SB3831-D0)               MSRP $269.99
VIZIO SmartCast 38” 5.1 Sound Bar System                   (SB3851-D0)               MSRP $299.99
VIZIO SmartCast 40” 3.1 Slim Sound Bar System           (SB4031-D5)               MSRP $379.99
VIZIO SmartCast 40” 5.1 Slim Sound Bar  System          (SB4051-D5)               MSRP $429.99
VIZIO SmartCast 45” 3.1 Sound Bar System                   (SB4531-D5)               MSRP $449.99
VIZIO SmartCast 44” 5.1 Sound Bar System                   (SB4451-C0)               MSRP $499.99
VIZIO SmartCast 45” 5.1 Slim Sound Bar System           (SB4551-D5)               MSRP $499.99

VIZIO SmartCast Crave Pro and Crave 360 Speakers
VIZIO SmartCast Crave Pro Speaker         (SP70)                                   MSRP $299.99
VIZIO SmartCast Crave 360 Speaker         (SP50)                                   MSRP $249.99