March 31, 2007

Cool Sofa with Built-in Speakers


OK, so details are in short supply about this product, but it looks really cool.
Who wouldn't want a cool looking sofa with built-in speakers that attach to a CD player and can apparently play music wirelessly. You can hang out in it and blast your favorite tunes and get that close up surround sound. We have no idea when you can get these, where you can get these or how much they will cost, but we will be sure to update you when we do.

The only information we have seen on this is here and here.

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 29, 2007

AppleTV Stops User Hacks


Well it looks like Apple just doesn't get it. There are reports coming out that apparently people that have hacked their AppleTV's are seeing their hacks go bye-bye. Engadget has a good write up of what is going on.

One of the things we have found is that the devices that leave themselves open to hacking seem to always sell better. And we aren't talking about hacking devices to do illegal things, just extending the device in ways the developers did not originally intend.

Take for example the Hauppauge MediaMVP that we reviewed earlier. Obviously it isn't one of the greatest device out there, but since they have left themselves opened to be hacked they have turned a mediocre product into something that has sold much better then it would have otherwise have.

So we think that Apple might have made a blunder here. Maybe they have some grand reason why they would push more software onto their devices and closing all the doors that people have found, but we personally think that if someone wants to add a SSH server to something that they purchased then they should be able to. But, thats just us, we aren't Apple now are we :)

We will keep you updated as we learn more about what can and can't be done with the AppleTV.

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 24, 2007

Home Networking Simplified Book Review


We recently purchased the book, "Home Networking Simplified", to see if this is something that our readers would benefit from. We just received it yesterday and set about the task of tearing through it to see what kind of advice it offers.

We have to say that we were extremely impressed with this book. We were expecting something so basic that even your average user would feel sorry for having bought. Boy were we wrong. This book covers so much in its 400+ pages that we kept reading, amazed at how thorough they were.

ArrowContinue reading: "Home Networking Simplified Book Review"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 23, 2007

First Impressions: AppleTV


We received our new AppleTV today and we set about our usual routine of ripping the box open as fast as we can and racing over to our entertainment center to hook it up. Once we opened the box we had two immediate thoughts: first, I can't believe they shipped this thing with that puny little remote. Sure we knew that was coming, but we were just hoping that they would have come to their senses and given us something with slightly more functionality. Our second shock was that the only cables that shipped with the box were the power cables. No ethernet, HDMI, or any other cable that you could use with it. We didn't think it much to send at least one! Let us hook the damn thing up right away. Don't make us hunt for cables.

After the initial shock wore off we slowly walked over to our media center, plugged it in and hooked it up to our network and to our HDTV via HDMI cable. Once it booted up we were given a code that we had to enter into iTunes. Once that is done the unit is 'paired' up with the iTunes server. We then can either copy files to the device or tell it which files in our iTunes library it should play.

ArrowContinue reading: "First Impressions: AppleTV"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 22, 2007

Pioneer SE-DIR800C Wireless Headphones


Wireless headphones have always been the holy grail of speaker technology for us. One of the main issues they typical face is the low quality sound that is produced. Most digital receivers only output 2 channel stereo via the headphone jack so even if you had high quality wired headphones you were out of luck, not to mention if you wanted to use wireless headphones over that same link.

Well Pioneer has a set of wireless headphones that seems to fix these issues. Instead of using the headphone jack you hook your optical cable from your stereo into the back of the base station. The included base station is full of high end stereo goodness. It will allow you to hear the full sound coming out of your stereo and not just the wimpy 2 channel sound.

ArrowContinue reading: "Pioneer SE-DIR800C Wireless Headphones"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

March 21, 2007

Creative Home Theater Connect DTS-610


Creative has released a great product for those wanting to use their computers high end soundcard to provide music via their stereo. The DTS-610 gets around one of the most annoying issues when it comes to playing purchased content over your stereo. Usually you are unable to just hook up your computer to your stereo and play DRM music. Well the DTS-610 lets you use the standard outputs from your soundcard and outputs it in either digital coax or optical.

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David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 20, 2007

Panasonic Digital Wireless Headphones


A great addition to anyone serious about wireless music is a good pair of wireless speakers or headphones. Panasonic has a made a great pair with the RP-WH5000S.

These headphones have gotten great reviews based on non-existent hiss which is the bane of all speaker systems, wireless or not. The come with a very functional base unit that allows you to customize your sound experience in 3 ways: music, cinema and voice. We think that is a great touch since your speakers should reflect the type of music coming through them.

Wireless speakers and headphones are such great additions to anyones entertainment center do to the freedom it allows. With wireless headphones you have the ability to listen to your great music collection without bothering anyone else around you, and listen in any room you want.

At Amazon.

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 19, 2007

Hands on with the Logitech Wireless Music System for the iPod


Our Logitech Wireless Music System arrived today and we couldn't wait to tear open the box and see how this puppy performed. We posted a review of the product last week when we placed the order and we promised you our hands on review, well here it is.

The concept is simple enough. Hook the receiver up to your stereo and plug the transmitter into your iPod. A very nice part of the design was in hooking up the transmitter. They made it so that the peg that will be inserted into your headphone jack can be moved, thus acomodating just about every iPod out there.

Once the connection is established you should be able to hear music through your speakers. We set about hooking this into our existing system. We had recently purchased a new A/V switcher so we didn't have to keep trying to get at the back of our stereo which is no easy task. Well this is where we ran into a slight bump on our road to wireless music.

ArrowContinue reading: "Hands on with the Logitech Wireless Music System for the iPod"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Aitech Pro PC/TV Wireless PC to TV Converter


Anitech has a product that on the surface seems like a great little device. Hook one of the two included components up to your computer and the other to your TV and you will be able to stream video wirelessly across this link.

They claim a maximum resolution of 2048x1536 which is strange since we can't figure how that would work on any HDTV in existence. We really aren't sure which segment of the market they are trying to target with this device since reviews we have read complain about the lack of communication between both devices if they are not in the same room.

If your PC is in the same room as your HDTV why would you want to send video to it wirelessly. We assume there is someplace where this would be handy, we just can't think of one as of yet :)

But like we always say, we are just happy that more and more companies are testing out this space and trying to bring more products to market. We couldn't be happier about that aspect.

At Amazon.

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

Pioneer Music Tap


Pioneer has taken a very interesting approach to streaming music around your house. They have shunned the wireless network, scoffed at the wired network and wouldn't even dignify the radio transmitted network with a response.

They are all about the power lines. Yup, thats right, streaming audio over your home power lines. We aren't sure how this will sound, but it is a very intriguing idea to say the least.

ArrowContinue reading: "Pioneer Music Tap"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 18, 2007

Oregon Scientific WRS368 Music Sphere

With the Music Sphere from Oregon Scientific we are treated to something we always need; The ability to hear music where there are no speakers. We live in an old house and wiring the entire thing for music just isn't an option. So with these wireless speakers we can send music to where ever we are and not have to worry about running ugly speaker cable throughout the house.

The beauty of these is that if its a nice summer day and you are sitting on the back porch you can just hook this up to your stereo and stream some fun music to the backyard. If there are too many mosquitoes or something, just take this with you to another room in the house and you can enjoy the same music without any hassle.

We would say this is a must have for someone needing decent quality music in places around the house that doesn't have speaker access.

At Amazon

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Soundproofing 101

A huge issue for anyone serious about music is the room that they listen in. You could spend thousands of dollars on the best speakers and components, but if you listening room is too noisy and does not retain sound well then it may be all for not.

In searching the web we came across this site that explains how-to soundproof your room and not break the bank.

We realize this is a little much for most of you, but if you are either building a new house or remodeling your current one, this is a good how-to on getting your dream listening room. The guys that run this site are very serious about shutting out all external noise and have gone through great lengths to give you the all the information you need to achieve you dream music room.

And like Depeche Mode once said, "Enjoy the Silence".

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 15, 2007

How To Rip your music Part 2


So we covered ripping to mp3 in a previous article and now we are going to take our stab and the next level of ripping your music.

MP3's are great, and for most people it will be all they need, but there are some that don't want to settle for anything less then an exact digital copy of their CD. And once again when it comes to this there are people in many different camps that are all very serious that their way is the best and only way.

We are going to try and cut through some of the bull and give you some of our thoughts. We here are are big fans of open source solutions so we will discuss getting your music converted to the FLAC standard.

ArrowContinue reading: "How To Rip your music Part 2"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

D-Link DSM-120 review

With the DSM-120 D-Link has released a product that doesn't really know what it is. It can access music in two ways. It has the ability to wirelessly connect to your PC and with the help of the included server software, stream music to your stereo. The other option is to either install an internal hard drive into the device or hook up a USB hard drive to the back of it. This way it has direct access to all of its music

Looking at the specs you can see that D-Link didn't really seem to put a lot of effort into this device. It supports only MP3 and WMA music formats for for starters. While this might work for some people they seem to have completely ignored the iTunes users and last we checked they make up a HUGE percentage of the people with digital music.

ArrowContinue reading: "D-Link DSM-120 review"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 14, 2007

Logitech Wireless Music System for iPod


Logitech has been really pushing their way into the networked media world and we love it. Another cool product they have released is the Wireless Music System for iPod. This is a very cool idea and in our opinion way better then a docking station. Basically you hook up the included receiver to your stereo and then attached the transmitter to your iPod. When you play something with your iPod it gets transmitted to the receiver and is played over your stereo.

We love the simplicity of this device. Just a small attachment for your iPod and boom you have streaming audio in your house! We just purchased one so we will be coming back with a full review soon, stay tuned.


David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Logitech Wireless DJ Music System


Logitech has gone out on a limb and come up with a new twist on streaming music around your house. Enter the Wireless DJ Music System. While this looks like an ordinary remote it is far from it.

This system comes with 3 parts. First you have the transmitter that connects to your PC via USB. Next you have the remote which is the hub of the entire system and finally you have the receiver that is hooked up to your stereo.

ArrowContinue reading: "Logitech Wireless DJ Music System"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 13, 2007

Mvix MV-5000U Multimedia Player


MvixUSA's MV-5000U is a new approach to networked music and one that we think you will come to love. Usually the products that we cover deal with being hooked up to the network so you can keep your files in once place and play them over your entertainment center.

Well the MV-5000U takes a different approach. Basically you hook this up to your PC via USB 2.0 and transfer all of the files you want to the internal hard drive( not included with purchase ). Once you have all of your music, photos and videos on the device just move it down to your entertainment center and hook it up to your TV and stereo.

ArrowContinue reading: "Mvix MV-5000U Multimedia Player"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Slim Devices Transporter

After years of getting critical acclaim over their amazing Squeezebox product, Slimdevices has released their ultra high end digital streaming device. The Transporter is their answer to all of their loyal supporters that were asking for something more. Slimdevices has taken aim squarely at the serious audiophile crowd with this one and from everything we have read they have hit a bullseye. Slimdevies has built up a solid reputation over the past few years with the success of the Squeezebox and they are capitalizing on it with this niche product.

ArrowContinue reading: "Slim Devices Transporter"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 12, 2007

Netgear EVA8000 Digital Entertainer HD


With the release of the eva8000 HD Netgear has shown that it belongs in the consumer networked media world. They tested the waters with the eva7000 and found out what worked and what didn't work and the eva8000 is the product of that research.
They took just about everything from the eva7000 and added a HDMI port to go with the bevy of other output options. They are also trying out the new 802.11n draft standard for its WiFi connection.

This baby will basically do anything you ask of it when it comes to playing media. We are talking just about every music and video format you could want.
Other features include the ability to play internet radio, view RSS feeds and if your PC is setup with a TV capture card you can use it as a PVR!
We will try to get our hands on one when they go one sale sometime in the first quarter of '07

at Amazon

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 11, 2007

CD ripping services

OK so there you are, ready to jump on the networked music bandwagon. You have been eying one of the many players we have reviewed and have been looking into wireless routers and some nice external hard disks. You are all ready to start enjoying you amazing collection of CDs when you realize that your amazing collection of CDs is just that...CDs. You have yet to put them all onto your computer.

The thought of ripping 400+ CDs makes your head spin and you scrap the whole idea of piping your music to every room in the house wirelessly. Well there is an alternative. If you don't mind parting with your entire collection and some of your hard earned cash you can send your CDs off to one of many CD ripping services. They will take your CDs ,rip them, and then send them all back to you.

ArrowContinue reading: "CD ripping services"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Buffalo Link Theater DVD

Buffalo has been making NAS ( Network Attached Storage ) equipment for many years, but recently they have been trying the waters in the networked media world.

With this release they have basically thrown the kitchen sink into the Link Theater. It has the ability to play just about any audio format you can think of and can output it in either analog, optical and digital coax. It can also output video in either s-video, composite or component. It has a DVD player which is nice since you could use this as your primary DVD player and not feel the need to add yet another device to your already overcrowded entertainment center. The DVD player supports progressive scan and from what we have read the playback is very respectable. Here is a very thorough review at

So as we read more about the Link Theater we were very impressed with what Buffalo had been able to release, but it seems that it falls down on one of its biggest features and that is video playback. We are always tolerant of some hiccups here and there, but from the sound of it steaming video playback is terrible. We will keep you updated on any future firmware releases that may address these issues.
If you would still like to get one you can pick one up for pretty cheap at Amazon

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 8, 2007

Hauppauge MediaMVP Hands on Review

We received our MediaMVP today and we got right to the task of ripping it open and setting it up. We first installed the server software that came in the box. Nothing exciting there, just your basic server install. We then set to the task of hooking it up to our computer monitor for our first test. It has the standard connections you would expect on the back: ethernet, power, composite, s-video and digital coax.

Once we plugged the power in the MVP found our host server right away and downloaded the client software it needed to boot up. The MVP doesn't store its OS on the box, it downloads it each time it boots from the server( this opens it up to some great hacks we'll cover in a later article )

After it found the server it configured itself and then started the process of getting ready to finish booting. This is where the wheels fell off for us. It was stuck in an endless loop trying to contact the server. We couldn't figure out how this could be since it just found the server seconds ago to download its client software. Not to be daunted, we started changing the way we were hooking it up.

Maybe it didn't like our gig router so we hook it into a 10Mbit Hub. No dice. We read online that it likes to be hooked up to switches, so we hooked it up to a switch and guess dice still.

At this point it had already failed our most basic test which is it should just work out of the box. We don't mind playing around with these things and searching online for the solution and staying up late trying to solve the problem, but that is not what mom and pop are going to want to, nor should the have to.

ArrowContinue reading: "Hauppauge MediaMVP Hands on Review"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 6, 2007

Backing up your digital files: Part 1

OK you have heard it a million times and you are sick of it...well get ready to hear it one more time. There is nothing and I repeat nothing that we can stress more then for you to be making reliable backups of your content. We have amassed large collections of music, photos and movies over the years and we would hate to see that all disappear with one hard drive failure. We can't tell you how much data we have lost over the years do to computer parts failing. Computer parts fail, it is a fact of life. The computer you are reading this post on will fail at some point. If your home machine happens to meet this fate, there is a good chance it will take all of your precious media with it.

There are many, many, many different strategies to backing up your data and in part 1 on this topic we want to cover the most basic of all backup means.
Go down to your local electronic store or better yet, over to and buy yourself a nice big external USB hard drive. Once you plug this into your computer your OS will need to format it so it can write data to it. We'll leave you to take care of that. All we are trying to say is with a small investment you can protect your digital media for a long time. What would be ideal in this situation is once you have copied all the data you want to back up to your nice new external drive, shut it down and put it away. Take it out once a week or once a month, whatever you are comfortable with and add your new files to it.

This will greatly reduce the wear and tear on the drive and increase its longevity.
While we know this isn't the best method to backup your data, we feel this is a great starting point and if we can just help one person save their files.....then our job would have been worth it :)
Enjoy your digital media and be happy in knowing that it is safe and sound on your new backup drive.

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Netgear Digital Entertainer EVA7000

Released a few years ago, the Netgear EVA7000 Digital Entertainer is Netgear's frist try and making a consumer device fit for the living room. What they have come up with is a very nice product that allows you to view your photos and movies as well as listen to your music over your stereo/TV. By all accounts this is a great device if you are looking for something to bring all of your digital media to your living room and not break the bank doing it.

It has the ability to hook into your network either wired or wirelessly(b/g) and with the dual antenna that are on the back, having a weak connection to your wireless router won't be a problem. A quick word of caution for those that buy this device and want to use it with their wireless network. Out of the box it only supports WEP encryption, which as we all know is so 2003. The company does offer a firmware update that will upgrade the box to WPA. So we HIGHLY recommend that the first thing you do is get the update!
The EVA7000 boosts support for a large assortment of formats and that right there is a huge selling point for us.

Like we said, its been out for awhile and isn't the most cutting edge device out there( no HDMI ) but for the price it might be a nice way to try out streaming your content in your house. You can pick one up at for cheap these days.

They recently released the EVA8000 with support for HD content. Look for our review on that coming soon.

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

MvixUSA MX-760HD Review

The MX-760HD from MvixUsa is their latest offering in the networked digital media market. The Mvix 760HD is basically an external hard drive that has built in media playing capabilities. Hook this up to your TV and you can, via the on screen menus, browse the media that is backed up on the internal hard drive ( up to 750gig can be purchased and installed by the user ) or another location on your network. This is a very stylish device that offers what a lot of people have been looking for, an attractive unit that can easily display their media on their TV. Very few people want to sit at their computer to watch movies or look at sideshows of pictures. Hook this up to your TV and you won't have to. Once you have the hard drive set up to work with the Mvix, whatever you put on it will be accessible either via the front control panels or the remote control. ArrowContinue reading: "MvixUSA MX-760HD Review"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

SqueezeBox 3 First Impressions

We just received our shiny new Squeezebox the other day and wanted to share with you our first impressions. We have been extremely excited to get one of these guys in house for a long time now and when the box arrived we couldn't wait to tear it open and get at the goodies. Upon opening it up we have to admit that we were surprised at the size of the unit. It is slightly bigger then we were expecting, not that its a bad thing, just its wider is all. We decided on the all black version and once we got all the protective tape off we were blown away at how sexy this little guy is. So we ran over to our media cabinet and started hooking this puppy up. We removed the optical cable that we were using for our airport express( bye bye iTunes ) and plugged it into the back of the Squeezebox. Then we just hooked up an Ethernet cable and then power. We decided to go for wired instead of wireless since we already had an Airport Express next to the media cabinet and we could just plug into the switch that was down there. No need to worry about setting up our wireless stuff again. ArrowContinue reading: "SqueezeBox 3 First Impressions"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 4, 2007

D-Link DSM-520 MediaLounge Wireless HD Media Player

D-link has released a new networked media player with the DMS-520. They have added HD support up to 1080i so you can now view your photos and movies in all their glory. It comes with support for both wired and wireless connections to your network. The player is sized perfectly to fit in with the rest of your equipment and not stick out like some of the other devices we have seen. ArrowContinue reading: "D-Link DSM-520 MediaLounge Wireless HD Media Player"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Hauppauge MediaMVP

Hauppauge, long a player in the video capture card world, has moved into digital media streaming. The MediaMVP is a low cost device that allows you to stream your digital media to your TV. They have included both wired and wireless connections so you can set this little guy up anywhere in your house, regardless of what kind of network you have.

The MediaMVP will allow you to play MP3 and WMA files for audio and MPEG 1 and MPEG 2 as well as DivX on the video side. With the included remote you are able to browse your PC, via the included server software, and select the video, song, or photo you want.

ArrowContinue reading: "Hauppauge MediaMVP"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
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