May 31, 2007

May 2007 Monthly Round Up for Networking Audio Video

Well we have had a great month this month. We got our Mvix 760HD in house to play with and it has been nothing but fun. We have also branched out and added two new categories to our list: HD Streaming Radio and Game Console Streaming. Both of these areas are really starting to really take off and we see a lot of potential there, so expect a lot more articles centering around them.

We have seen a lot of new media hard drives hit the market as well as a trend to include streaming and downloading capabilities to routers. It has been a busy month and from the looks of it, next month will be even busier!

OK enough of our babble, lets take a gander at this months posts.

Streaming Video
Aston Bee-Box WiFi Media Streamer
Oneforall PC Media Streaming Kit
Tvix M-3100U Media Streaming Device
Prismiq Streaming Media Player
Ziova CS505 High Definition Network Media Player
AL Tech Mediagate MG-35

Streaming Audio
Linksys Wireless-B Music System WMLS11B
Whole House FM Transmitter: Wireless Stereo Audio Adapter
Juke Tower MP3 Player

Streaming Images
Aluratek Digital Picture Frame Review

Wireless Speakers
Audio Technica AT-SP550TV Infrared Speakers

News
Digital Home 10 years off?
Sonos Announces Pandora Integration
Sale on Slimdevices White Squeezebox

Hands on Reviews
MvixUSA 760-HD Hands on Review

HD Radio
Stream HD Radio with the Sangean HD Radio Receiver

Book Reviews
Home Networking: The Missing Manual

Game Console Streaming
Stream Music via your Wii

Media Hard Drives
LaCie Silverscreen Media Hard Drive
TrekStor MovieStation maxi t.u

Media Routers
Planex MZ-04G Media Router

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 30, 2007

MvixUSA 760-HD Wireless Media Center Hands on Review

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Well we have had some time to play around with our shiny new 760HD and we can only say, WOW! Sure its not the most creative description of our thoughts, but we were so blown away with everything this thing can do that we are left speechless.

We were expecting the typical streaming device that worked, but left us with that, meh, feeling. From the minute we plugged this sucker in we knew that there was more to this then just your run of the mill device. We had been reading up on and writing about the 760 for awhile now so we had a basic understanding of what it should be able to do, but we were excited to see how well it actually did them.

ArrowContinue reading: "MvixUSA 760-HD Wireless Media Center Hands on Review"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

May 29, 2007

Home Networking: The Missing Manual

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Usually when we start learning a new piece of software or something one of the first things we like to do is find a good book on the subject and read it cover to cover. We like to know the ins and outs of something before we dive in to best prepare ourselves. When we go looking for a book on the particular subject matter at hand we invariably start by looking for one of the Missing Manual series of books. These books have great insight into a vast array of topics and so far we haven't been let down by one of them( can you feel us building to the big BUT ).

We are sorry to have to give "Home Networking: The Missing Manual" a bad review. In its defense it was written in 2005 and a lot has changed since then, but still, overall we felt it was a fairly sub par effort on their part to explain the complexities of networking your home.

We found a bunch of things in the book that we had issues with. For starters they seem to spend a lot of time on the littlest details that really have no bearing on a successful home network. For instance, when they cover how to set up user accounts for a Macintosh they seem to spend far to long talking about users, groups, images for users, etc. We felt like they could have spent far less time on this and spent more time on the actual networking of all of your computers. Throughout the rest of the book we felt that the author never really got at the meat of the matter, rather he stayed on the outside and made it a very fluffy coverage.

The one thing that this book did to completely sink it in our eyes as a book we could recommend was when describing wireless networking they said that while WPA is the better protocol for encypting your network you should stick with WEP! While he is correct that at the time WEP was a more common protocol, the flaws in WEP were widely known and WPA was clearly the better standard. Anyone who is a regular reader here knows how we feel about wireless security and this one just about made us drop the book.

The the only people that would benefit from this book would be the completely uninitiated in anything computer related. Our guess is that if you are here and reading this review then you will want to pass on this book. However if you feel like it might be something that your mom or dad might enjoy then you can pick it up from Amazon if you want.

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 28, 2007

Stream Music via your Wii

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We found a cool article over at Ben's Blog that talks about streaming media from a PC to your stereo via your Wii. The first thing you will need is one of our favorite Windows based media players, the venerable WinAmp.

To accomplish this fun task you'll need to first sign up for a Winamp Remote account. The easiest way to get Winamp Remote is to open up the Media Library window in the Winamp client. From there you need to configure it with the location of the media you want to stream.

Now from your Wii browser just go to http://www.orb.com/winamp and use your login information and you will be able to access all your music. Ben has some good notes on his site letting us know what are the limitations of this solution:


The video streaming didn't seem to work and photos are a small, but audio was fine
The fonts are all a little small - I don't know if the interface can be skinned
It would be nice to stream the audio over the local network without going through orb.com for better performance. If anyone knows a freeware way to do this then let us know in the comments
You can control winamp on your PC remotely through the Wii browser with the nice free winamp plugin axajamp

Looks like all the new consoles will allow you to stream your media. Another win for people that like choices.

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 26, 2007

Audio Technica AT-SP550TV Infrared Speakers

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Well if you didn't think companies could attempt to deliver products to fill every possible convenience you can think of check out the AT-SP550TV! You hook up the transmitter to your TV and you put the receiver wherever you like to sit. The transmitter beams the sound to the infrared receiver and outputs the sound only where you are.

This is great for anyone who has ever had the problem of trying to watch the big game while someone else in the house needs some quiet time. No need to turn the volume up super loud so you can hear it across the room. Just hook up this crazy device and you can enjoy whatever is on TV without disturbing anyone else.

Currenly these are only slated for release in Japan, but we will keep you posted if they land State side.

via engadget

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Aston Bee-Box WiFi Media Streamer

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If you live in Europe then you will be able to pick up the Bee-Box, Aston's newest device. From the looks of it this is a pretty slick device. It is the first media streamer we have reviewed that is using VLC for its media playback. We here at Networking Audio Video love us some VLC. In our minds it is the best media playback software out there. It will allow you to play just about any format you can throw at it.

The Bee-Box will let you stream your content to a TV since it will be hooked into your wireless network and grabbing content from one of your PCs. As an added bonus it will also stream IPTV and France's Freebox TV service( whatever that is ).

This should already be for sale so go out and let us know what you think!!

via engadget

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 25, 2007

Oneforall PC Media Streaming Kit

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The Oneforall is an interesting device in the media streaming world. It ships with two pieces, the transmitter and receiver. The receiver hooks up to your TV and waits for a single from the transmitter to start playing files.

The Transmitter hooks up to your video card on your computer. This will only work if you have S-Video out on your card. Once hooked up to your computer you have to install the Simplecenter media software on your computer to bring it all together.

The Transmitter uses RF signals to send the files to the TV. There is an inherent problem with this in that RF signals are susceptible to interference from any number of sources around your house. From what we have read the use of RF for the transmission of your media files really impacts the quality of the files. Here is a very telling quote from the people at computer active:


Due to the nature of RF technology, other electrical appliances and power cables will interfere with the signal, resulting in an image that looks like a poorly tuned TV.

The upside of this approach to streaming media is that the box doesn't have to deal with formats since it is just streaming the signal from your computer. So unlike so many other boxes out there that fight to get just the right mix of formats to make everyone happy, this little sucker just passes the info on not caring what it is.

Wether or not to buy this for your home comes down to a few factors. Personally we don't like the RF transmission, but if you don't have a wireless or wired network in your house this may be a good option. Another telling quote from the review:

If you’re looking to stream movies, music and photos over short distances and your PC and TV are in the same room, you’d probably get good use out of this reasonably priced device. Realistically, though, most of us will want to fire off media to varying parts of the house and that's where reception will be a problem.


via computeractive

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 24, 2007

LaCie Silverscreen Media Hard Drive

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Another entry into the media hard drive market, the silverscreen allows playback of a ton of different media types to your TV. Basically you connect the drive to your computer via USB, transfer the files you would like to view on the TV and then hook it up to the TV. You now have a very simple media streamer without much effort and for not much money.

The silverscreen can playback the following formats:

Video

  • MPEG-1
  • MPEG-2 (ISO, AVI, VOB)
  • MPEG-4 (AVI, DivX, XviD)

Audio

  • WAV
  • MP3
  • AAC
  • WMA
  • AC3

Image

  • JPEG

The Silverscreen comes bundled with a remote to allow you to navigate the on-screen menus so you can select the files you would like to play. It seems very simple and with 2 size options: 40GB and 80GB you have a decent amount of space to save a bunch of DVD's.

The portability factor of this is huge. Load it up with your favorite media files and take it with you. Since it is a self contained unit it will playback anywhere that there are connections for it. Speaking of connections here they are:

Video

  • Component
  • Composite
  • S-Video

Audio

  • Digital Coaxial
  • Optical SPDIF
  • Analog Stereo

You can pick one for cheap over at Amazon.

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 23, 2007

Win $50 Bucks at Tool Snob

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Jay Brewer Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Tvix M-3100U Media Streaming Device

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Like the Mvix 760HD that we reviewed earlier the Tvix M-3100U is a hard drive based multimedia player.
Allowing you to playback movies, music and photos this is an all in one device. You can load up the internal hard drive with as many media files as will fit and enjoy them on your TV.

What we like about these types of devices is the freedom it allows you. Not only do you have a great media player for your house, but you can easily take this with you to a friends house and have all your media files play on their TV. No longer do you have to worry about confusing setups that your friends may have. Just plug in M-3100U to their TV and BAM, you're good to go.

ArrowContinue reading: "Tvix M-3100U Media Streaming Device"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 22, 2007

Sonos Announces Pandora Integration

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Well Sonos has taken another step forward in making their offering hard to resist. They are now offering Pandora integration with their products for only $4 a month! For those of you who don't know what Pandora is well you are missing out. Basically it is a way to create custom radio stations of only songs you like. By using algorithms that they have developed along with input from the listener they can continue to stream songs that fit the same song type as the original song you selected.

Sonos has also launched a new $999 bundle to go along with this. Now you can finally own a Sonos system for under $1000. The bundle includes two of the ZonePlayer 80s and the amazing Sonos remote.

The people at Sonos have continued to make great products and now by bringing the price just under $1000 and offering Pandora integration they are really opening the doors to a lot of people to experience this amazing product.

Pick up the bundle over at Amazon.

via engadget

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Planex MZ-04G Media Router

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The Planex MZ-04G Router is a new breed of routers that does more then just route your traffic around your house. Typical routers only allow you to create a home network from just the one incoming connection you have to the internet. The new trend now is to build more functionality into these devices allowing you to do more with them then ever before.

One of the big new additions to these new routers is an embedded BitTorrent client. One of the pains about using BitTorrent to dowload media from the net is the fact that you have to leave your computer on all day to do it. We hate wasting energy and wish we could have another low power unit do all of our BitTorrent downloads for us. Well enter the MZ-04G.

By hooking up a USB hard drive to the to one of the 2 USB ports on the back of the router you can save all your downloads right to that, again keeping the main PC off for the night. Even if you aren't big into downloading BitTorrents you can still take advantage of the USB ports to add some NAS to your home network.

We can only assume that we will be seeing more and more of these types of products this coming year. There is no release date yet, but we will be sure to update you once we find out.

via engadget.

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 21, 2007

TrekStor MovieStation maxi t.u

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The MovieStation from TrekStor is a one of the new breed of media hard drives used for streaming audio and video content to your TV. The MovieStation hooks up to your TV and streams video via either component or composite and audio via either optical or analog.

The MovieStation supports both MPEG and DivX for movie playback and MP3, WAV, WMV and OGG for audio. With the included remote control you will be able to browse the content on the whopping 500 or 250 gig internal drive.

We are excited to see this new type of device enter the market. A barebones player that just stores and plays back media. Nothing too fancy, just a media hard drive. Once we get one in house we will let you know our opinion.

via gizmodo

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 18, 2007

Prismiq Streaming Media Player


In a nut shell? A very cheap XBOX 360 like device without the games and just the streaming. The PRISMIQ MediaPlayer entertainment gateway delivers high-quality digital entertainment content to standard TVs and stereos throughout the home using Windows MediaManager. The PRISMIQ MediaPlayer communicates over your home network with PRISMIQ's Windows-compatible MediaManager software, which runs on the networked PC to detect suitable PC and Internet files anywhere on the network. These PC and Internet files are served by the MediaManager software to the MediaPlayer set-top box, to be played on your TV or stereo.

It's not getting rave reviews, but might just do the trick for $99 bucks.

At PRISMIQ MediaPlayer

Jay Brewer Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 17, 2007

Whole House FM Transmitter: Wireless Stereo Audio Adapter


Essentially this product creates an FM radio station you can use to broadcast whatever audio source you want around your house and even outside your house. It's like operating your own personal FM Radio Station 24/7. We can't think of a more flexible old school solution than this for streaming audio around the house. We can see it now - tune into 106.7 FM and it's our music instead of something we don't want to hear.

  • Will transmit in stereo from any audio device such as iPod, Sirius & XM Radio, PDA, TV, DVD & CD Players, Home Stereo & Theater Systems
  • 4 way power: 12V AC power, 3 AA Batteries, Computer USB and 12V Auto Cigarette Lighter
  • Operates on any one of 7 FM stations (106.7, 106.9, 107.1, 107.3, 107.5, 107.7, 107.9).
  • 100% Satisfaction Guarantee: If you are not totally satisfied simply email us for an RMA number and return within 30 days of your purchase date. Return in original condition and we will promptly refund your purchase price less shipping related charges.
  • Accessories included in this package: 120V AC Power Adapter, Retractable Computer USB Power Adapter, 12V Auto Cigarette Lighter, RCA Jack Adapter with Volume Control and a Retractable 3.5 mm Stereo Connector Cable

At Whole House FM Transmitter: Wireless Stereo Audio Adapter

Jay Brewer Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 16, 2007

Linksys Wireless-B Music System WMLS11B


We've been looking for a bunch of different options besides just a wireless speaker option for the house. The Linksys Wireless-B Music System lets you bring the digital music stored on your computer to your Home Entertainment Center, without running cables through the house, much like wireless speakers but a bit better. The Wireless-B Music System sits by your home stereo and connects to it using standard consumer electronics cables. Then it connects to your home network by Wireless-B (802.11b) wireless networking, or if you prefer, it can be connected via standard 10/100 Ethernet cabling. You can also tune into thousands of Internet radio stations from over 100 different countries around the world. Oh and it's also Rhapsody friendly.

At Linksys Wireless-B Music System WMLS11B

Jay Brewer Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 15, 2007

Stream HD Radio with the Sangean HD Radio Receiver


HD radio is the next step in the evolution of sound.HD radio eliminates this loss of signal by providing a digital signal that allows AM to sound like FM, and CD-quality sound out of FM stations. The HDR-1 is a full-featured, portable HD radio, with 20 memory presets, tone and bass control, an IR remote control, and much more. We recommend streaming the audio of this bad boy around the house using some Wireless Speakers.

Feature List

  • Auto Tuning System (ATS)
  • Auto Preset System
  • 20 Memory Presets (10 FM, 10 AM)
  • Backlit LCD Display
  • Automatic Multiplex Re-configuration.
  • Tone & Bass Control
  • EQ Pre-sets
  • Adjustable Sleep Timer
  • Program Associated Data Service (PAD)
  • Hybrid and Full Digital Radio Reception
  • SPDIF Optical Out-put
  • IR Remote Control

At Sangean HDR-1 Table Top HD Radio Receiver

Jay Brewer Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 10, 2007

Digital Home 10 years off?

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Over at the BBC website we stumbled upon an article claiming that the digital home is still 10 years away. We were initially shocked and thought that this was complete crap until we finished reading the article and now we fully understand what they mean.

They mention some powerful statistics that start to bring this into focus.

About one in six homes have a home network in North America, according to a recent report from Forrester Research.

and

According to Forrester, only one in five people who have a home network actually use it to listen to music.

And of people who do not have a home network, one in six said it was because they did not understand what one was.

One of the interesting things about the article is that one of the people they quote saying that the digital home is so far away is none other then the CEO of Sonos, John MacFarlane! Thats when we realized that we had been looking at this segment of the market with rose colored glasses this whole time.

ArrowContinue reading: "Digital Home 10 years off?"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 9, 2007

Sale on Slimdevices White Squeezebox

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Slimdevices is having a Spring sale on the new white Squeezebox. Through May 28th they are selling the new version for only $249!!

This is a great chance to pick up one of these amazing devices for cheaper then normal. We can't tell you how happy we are since we got ours. It has transformed the way in which we listen to music. Gone are the days of searching for CDs and wishing you hadn't lent your favorite CD to a friend. Now with the touch of a remote you have your entire collection at your disposal.

If you want more information on the Squeezebox you can check our our previous articles here and here.

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 8, 2007

AL Tech Mediagate MG-35

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The MediaGate MG-35 from AL Tech is one of the new line of multimedia HD enclosures. Now of course our favorite of this segment of the industry is the MvixUSA 760HD, but we are excited to see more and more of these hit the market.

The MG-35 is one of the second generations of enclosures that offers an Ethernet port so you can access your files remotely without having to have a USB cable strung between your computer and the device. The point of buying a media center is to have your main computer our of the way. Who wants to have to keep taking the media center to the PC, connecting via USB, transferring files to it, then moving it back to your TV. By adding an Ethernet port you are now able to pull all the data you want over your network leaving your PC and media center where they are.

Ok so enough of that, what can this sucker do, well lets look at the formats it can handle:

Video

  • MPEG 1
  • MPEG 2
  • MPEG 4
  • DivX 3.11 and higher
  • XviD

Audio
  • MP3
  • OGG Vorbis
  • WMA

Image
  • JPEG

Looking at that list you can see that it doesn't offer the bevy of formats that the 760 does, but it is a pretty good list, good enough for most people. We like the inclusion of OGG as an audio format, but aren't happy that they didn't add support for FLAC.

The list of video formats is adequate. Supporting DivX was a good decision as more and more content is being found in DivX.

For images it seems to only support JPEG which is a curious decision since just about every other device supports at least GIF and PNG also, so we aren't sure why they decided to stick with just JPEG, but thats what they did.

Reviews have been pretty positive so we would see this as a good low end entry into the home media market. Maybe you just want to test the waters and see if this streaming media thing is for you, but don't want to fork over 300 or more dollars for one of the better devices. You can pick this up for pretty short money over at Amazon.

We'll keep you posted if we manage to get one in house for testing.

via I4U

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 3, 2007

Aluratek Digital Picture Frame Review

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So one thing that we have seen a constant improvement over the years is the quality of digital picture frames. Years ago these were always very clunky, ugly and crude devices. Now they are elegant and very full featured. Aluratek has released a massive 10.5 inch digital picture frame that has tons of features.

This large digital picture frame sports a 1024x768 resolution whcih will allow you to display your photos in a very crisp large format. Its not the first frame to do it, but the addition to play video is a huge bonus for a high end frame. With 256MB of built in storage it has the ability to accept data from any of the following flash cards:

  • CD
  • MS
  • SD
  • MMC
  • xD
And also supports the following file formats:
  • JPEG
  • Motion JPEG
  • AVI
  • MP3

And if that wasn't enough for you it also comes with a wireless remote which will let you control the frame from the couch. That way you don't even need to get up to show your friends the 80 pictures you took of your child yesterday.

It also comes with analog stereo outputs so you can hook it up to your stereo to for sound. You can pick one of these bad boys up at Amazon.

via Engadget

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 2, 2007

Juke Tower MP3 Player

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The Juke Tower is a very unique product and one that we, as scary as this sounds, see a need for. Basically this lets you play music in your bathroom while you shower and not have to crank the stereo and bother your neighbors( or your partner ). The way it works is you hook up a USB drive to it that contains music. Using either a Mac or a PC you can drag the music you want to listen onto the device( only 2GB of storage ) and then take it where you want it. Its waterproof design lends itself perfectly for shower usage.

Now you can rock out to Prince's "Raspberry Beret" like you did when you were younger.

It sports a nice little LCD screen so you can see what you are listening to. All in all we have to say we actual love this device. It is very stylish and can be put anywhere in the house without looking like a blocky geek toy. If you want you can pick one up here:

via popgadget


David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

May 1, 2007

Ziova CS505 High Definition Network Media Player

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The Ziova is another product that has realized what consumers want and has delivered. The CS505 does just about all you could want out of a networked player. It will play back just about any format you can throw at it and stream it over a wireless( 802.11G ) or wired network. The interesting addition to this product that sets it apart is the inclusion of a DVD player. We have to say that this is a nice touch. We have a bunch of network streaming devices in the house and if only they had a DVD player we could ditch our current DVD player and have one less unit in our already crowed entertainment center.

The CS505 is a complete all in one solution for someone looking to transform their collection of CD's and DVD's into digital files that can be viewed anytime over the network.

ArrowContinue reading: "Ziova CS505 High Definition Network Media Player"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
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