August 31, 2007
News: NAS Buying Guide
PC World has a good article
on how to buy a NAS. Now the article is mostly centered on buying a NAS for a business, but we feel that a lot of the advice they give pertains to the home user as well. Most people don't realize they actually need a NAS solution for their home. Anyone that has multiple people accessing a network, multiple computers on a network, or a large amount of files that need to be alway accessible, a NAS is an easy way to achieve all of that.
We have always been a big fan of a central location for commonly accessed files as well as a repository for important backups. Just having a USB attached hard drive makes sharing with the rest of the computers on your network reliant on your computer being turned on and the drive being recognized.
With a NAS drive you will have storage that is always on and assuming you were smart and opted for either RAID 1 or RAID 5 you will have a secure location for all of your files. It is not enough to just back up your drives, you need to make sure that the back ups are safe and protected from drive failure. One thing we have learned over the years is that drives will fail and along with them your data goes the way of the Dodo.
Continue reading: "News: NAS Buying Guide"
August 30, 2007
Jabra Multifunction Bluetooth Headset
is set to release a pretty innovative product when the BT8030 Bluetooth speaker comes out. This headset is more then meets the eye. You can use it to listen to any Bluetooth equipped music player to enjoy cord free music, but if you happen to want to share your music with other people you can unfold the head set and turn it into a full fledged speaker system.
What we like about this is the versatility. We aren't sure what the quality will be like, but we have had the situation crop up way to often that you are trying to let your friend listen to the music you have in your headphones and you have to try and bend the ear pieces so they can hear. Now with the BT8030 you can just uncurl them and turn them into a local speaker set.
As with so many things that we post here, we aren't sure when it will be released, but if we hear anything we will let you know.
August 29, 2007
Neuros OSD Media Player in House
Well we just received our shiny new Neuros OSD
and we have been tearing at it all night. So far the setup and usage have been very straightforward. We had read some reviews of people not being able to set this device up and not being able to use it. We aren't sure what was wrong with them, but so far it has been a snap.
Our first impression has been very positive. You can tell right off the bat that this is a community oriented device in that there is a big red flier in the box that says the first thing you should do is to upgrade the firmware of the device. Being tinkers we were very happy when we went to the update firmware section and saw so many options. You can select to have it auto check for new firmwares and also specify which types of firmwares you want; do you want stable, beta, or dev.
Us never being able to handle not playing with the latest and the greatest opted for the the dev firmware to see what it had to offer. There were a lot of obvious changes like a new UI and the addition of YouTube viewing.
Out only negative so far, and it is a big one, is that the only connection available for your TV is composite. We didn't expect HDMI or anything, but we were hoping for component at least, we would have even settled for S-Video( shudder ). So this will never replace our Mvix
, but it does offer a whole lot more options so far with the ability to record TV and movies and format them for different devices like the PSP and whatnot.
We haven't finished playing with all the options, but stay tuned for a detailed report in the coming weeks.
August 28, 2007
Logitech Pure-Fi Dream iPod Dock for Your Bedroom
has released a very cool iPod dock for your bedroom dubbed the Pure-Fi Dream
. This device will allow you to dock your iPod and have it setup to be your alarm clock. I know we are tired of waking up to the same old station day after day. It would be very cool to have your entire collection available for those dreaded morning alarms.
One of the coolest features of the the Pure Dream
is that you don't have to hunt around for the snooze or off button in the morning. You can simply wave your hand to illuminate the display so you can see the button that you need. No more smashing your alarm clock trying to stop the noise.
The built in LCD display will show you what is playing on your iPod and the included remote will let you treat this little bedside boom box as an actual mini stereo system. On top of all that the thing looks really cool as well.
Pick one up at Amazon
August 27, 2007
Neuros Already Working on a New Media Streaming Device?
Well it looks like Neuros
is not resting on their laurels and is in the works to release a new media streaming device that adds some nice additions to the standard fair.
Details are sketchy at the moment, but it looks like they are trying to add a layer of metadata over existing TV shows so you can access related shows and whatnot. We aren't sure how they are going to pull it off, but if they do then they will have opened up a whole new arena in viewing television.
One of the few cool features of AppleTV
was the ability to ask for related shows when you finished watching a YouTube video. If Neuros can pull that off with regular TV then we will be waiting in whatever line forms to pick one up.
We should have our first Neuros OSD
in house soon to get a review of their basic media streamer and you can be sure we will keep you posted with any new developments along the lines of this new device.
August 24, 2007
XOUNT's Crazy Speaker That Loks Like Furniture
Yet another attempt to make the speakers that play our music blend into the rest of the house. One problem so many people face is how to put speakers in your house without them looking like big square boxes stuck everywhere and having wires all over the place.
Well the people at XOUNT are attempting to change that by changing the way we think about speakers. This obelisk looking speaker doubles as a light source and is wireless. All this doesn't come cheap though, at $443 per speaker it can become pretty pricey to outfit your home with these things. They do offer ( for another $70 ) different coverings so you can change the look of each speaker you buy.
Another bonus is ( for another $222 ) you can have an iPod docking station added in, allowing this to be a completely self contained entertainment center.
August 23, 2007
Crazy Speaker Chair to Impress and Confuse Your Guests
So here we have another
crazy speaker chair that just looks weird. It is hard to tell from the pictures we have seen if this will be at all comfortable, but if you are into weird furniture with speakers this might be your dream chair.
It comes with an included CD player on one side, a jack for your MP3 player on the other and a large speaker inside the chair to really make you feel the bass.
It is only a concept chair, so don't expect to see it at your local Target any time soon, but we thought it was pretty cool.
August 22, 2007
Advantek Networks Portable Bluetooth Speaker System
We just recently came across this really cool product from Advantek Networks
called the ABT-SPK-A8. Ya we know, great name right. Not sure why companies feel the need to give their products such crazy names that no one can actually use. You'll never see someone say, "hey Jim did u get out the new ABT-SPK-A8, its really sweet". Seems like they could have spent just a few more minutes and come up with a name that had some actual words in it. OK, so this isn't a really a problem with the product itself, just us ranting over what we get so frustrated with. So onto the actual review.
This looks to be a pretty cool device. It will allow you to stream any audio being broadcast from a Bluetooth enabled device. And its not limited to just your music. You can pair it up with a bunch of different systems, so say for instance you are rocking out to your favorite tunes on the back porch and your buddy calls, well this can drop the music and switch to the phone.
We aren't sure how it will sound, but the convenience factor is pretty high. Granted its small size this isn't meant to entertain anyone else but you, so don't expect this to be the life of the party.
August 21, 2007
Netcom eSATA RAID 5 NAS Review
Well like regular readers know, we are addicted to storage. We keep adding it just cause you never know when you need an extra TB or two. So we love when we come across products like the new Netcom NAS device.
With the ability to store up to 3 TB in RAID 0, 1 and 5 you are sure to find something to suit your needs. There is no network so you'll have to rely on this being hooked up to a central computer via a PCI host adapter that the others on your network can access. We would have liked to have seen an Ethernet connection added, but having an eSATA connection isn't so bad. Of course you will need a computer that can handle that, but you can always get an add on card for that.
No word yet on availability, but the price tag is around $2,000 so it doesn't come cheap. This seems like a great little device, but so far details are pretty scare. We would love to know if the disks are hot swappable and what media servers you could run on it. We will definitely be keeping our eye on this guy.
August 20, 2007
Parrot Bluetooth Speaker System
has a very cool wireless speaker system that we think is a very interesting option. Using Bluetooth these speakers will be able to play music from any device that is broadcasting over Bluetooth near by. Most wireless speaker systems we have seen have been rather large while the Parrot Party
is only nine inches long. So you can bring this just about anywhere and use it to add some more omf to your party.
Admittedly no one is going to call the cops on you while you are rocking these speakers since they only have two 3 Watt speakers, but still its a great option to have. With more and more devices sporting Bluetooth these days this would make the perfect companion for your party on the go.
August 18, 2007
Com One Phoenix Internet Radio Review
Well here is another review of yet another Internet radio device. The Phoenix is from Com One and it enters a market that has been getting a lot of attention as of late. With the tax being levied and everyone scrambling to figure out what to do the devices keep coming.
The Phoenix has a lot of very nice offerings bundled with it. Here is a list of the biggest features:
- 802.11b/g WiFi
- 128x64 6 line display
- Built in speakers
- MP3 playback via a USB port
- Podcast playback
- Batteries so that it is portable
We love the fact that it is portable so that you could put this in your backpack, get to say a coffee shop or the beach( if there is access there ) or anywhere you feel like kicking back and listening to some tunes. You hook up to your favorite stations and presto, streaming Internet radio anywhere you want, almost. Hopefully this device and devices like it will start to take off so it can show the big companies that we love Internet radio and the diversity it offers.
Long live Internet radio :)
August 17, 2007
Data Robotics Drobo Home NAS Server
We are always on the hunt for bigger and better ways to store our data. Some say we have a problem, we say that we just like hard drives. We are always on the lookout for something new and different, something that we can bring home and add to our collection of storage servers.
Well we came across the Drobo
from Data Robotics
and we were intrigued. We love that they call the Drobo
a storage robot. Anything with robot in the name peaks our attention. We started reading about the device and it got even more interesting.
Instead of subscribing to a standard RAID model( 0,1,5 ) they have some special, secret, hidden technology underneath it all that makes having multiple disks as simple as possible. With 4 SATA bays you can have up to 4TB at your fingertips or just use one of the bays and add a drive later if you run out of space. If one of the drives fails you can easily just pull it out and put another one in without effecting you data and that is something that not all NAS solutions offer.
Continue reading: "Data Robotics Drobo Home NAS Server"
August 16, 2007
Princeton 500GB Media Streaming Hard Drive
Princeton Technology is set to release another media streaming hard drive onto the market. This is a 500GB drive that you can hook up to your network and it provides an iTunes server as well as all of the DLNA capabilities that you would expect from a device like this. For good measure they have even added an extra USB port on the back to use for a printer or to chain another USB drive to it.
One thing we constantly blog about here is off loading our media servers from our PC to these small, quiet, low power devices. We would much rather stream everything from something like this rather then leaving our power hungry and loud PC on all the time.
We have been seeing more and more units like this and it seems that companies are starting to really catch on that more and more people have home networks and they aren't satisfied with your basic USB drive. They want something you can hook up to the network and that is available to everyone.
This won't available in the States just yet as it is set for a Japanese release later this month, but if we hear of it hitting our shores you can be sure that we will snatch one up.
August 15, 2007
Sonos Adds Sirius Satellite Radio to Their System
Well as if the Sonos
system wasn't great enough as it was (see our previous article
) they have just announced that they are adding Sirius Satellite Radio
integration. We found using the remote to browse the Internet radio stations fun and easy. Now with the ability to browse 80 of Sirius' stations that ability has taken a huge step forward.
Internet radio has been all over the news as of late as more and more people come to realize the wonders and breathe of Internet radio stations. It makes a lot of sense for Sonos
to add support for Sirius. Another way to make the Sonos
player the central source for audio in the house. Now you have one device that not only plays all of your personal music, but it can stream Internet radio stations as well as Sirius satellite radio.
We think this is a great move by Sonos
and one that will have two effects. First it should add a bunch of sales to their bundle deal and second it will put smiles on the faces of all the people that already own a Sonos
Pick one up at Amazon
TubeStick Allows Television on Your Mac
has done it again and released another great prodcut. This time it's the TubeStick
that allows Mac users to watch and record live television on their computer.
It looks like a simple USB memory stick, but in reality it is a very sophisticated DVB-T tuner that can turn your Mac into a full on media hub. Of course no product involving video coming out of Equinux
would be complete if it didn't integrate with their other big time product, MediaCentral
It also comes with an antenna to help pull in the signal allowing for better reception. We love the idea of just using such a small device, couple it with some great software and have a full featured DVR on your Mac.
This is something we will be trying out in the near future for ourselves. We can't let something this cool go buy without giving it a go here in the office. Stand by for our hands on review.
via The Red Ferret
August 14, 2007
New York Times Article on Internet Radio
Well it seems that it has been rapid fire recently with more and more press on Internet radio devices. The New York Times even had a giant article
describing the entire genre. You know when the New York Times gets onto something it has to have some mass appeal.
Internet radio has seen a lot of headlines of late with the taxes being levied and almost killing it for good along with a bunch of new products for the home. [here and here
] No one is really sure yet what the ultimate fate of Internet radio really is, but product manufactures seem to be betting heavily on it surviving.
The article goes on to cover a bunch of the more popular devices and gives a brief overview of all of them. They cover the Noxon
, NetWorksGo( from Tivoli )
, SoundBridge from Roku
and declare the Roku the clear winner.
We have not tested all of these devices, but it doesn't surprise us to find out that they picked the Roku as the best of all of them. Roku has consistently produced great products over the years from audio streamers
to image viewers and it seems that their foray into Internet radio is no different.
We are keeping our ear to the ground for any more information regarding the fate of Internet radio as well as products that can take advantage of it.
August 13, 2007
Netgear Digital Entertainer HD Wins Big Award From Maximum PC
Well it looks like one of our favorite media streamers on the market just got some major props from Maximum PC. The were given the "KICKASS" award in recognition of the EVA8000
. We had reviewed the eva8000 awhile back
and although we had some minor complaints we were overall happy with the update from the eva7000
( which we thought was lacking ). We love that Netgear
has stuck with the making media equipment and it looks like they are too now that they have been getting so much more recognition.
Most devices like the eva8000
are only known to geeks like us, but with more and more press like this we can only hope that Netgear
and others start getting a lot more order :)
August 11, 2007
Review of theTerratec Noxon2Radio for iPod
The good people over at TerraTec
have released what looks like a great little radio device to listen to your favorite Internet radio stations. We have seen a very big increase in the number of Internet radio devices
that have been hitting the market. It seems that more and more people are finding out about the wonders of Internet radio. There are so many great stations out there and so much variety in music that you'll always be able to find something you like and be exposed to new music like never before.
is a cool device that allows you to easily hook up to the net and stream your favorite net stations. Other then sitting in front of a computer all the time there really is no other way to do this, so these types of devices are a great addition to the home.
We came across a great review fo the Noxon2 over at shiny shiny
and they spell it out very well. This is an easy to use product that does a great job of pulling stations together and allowing easy access to them.
Add to that the fact that you can dock an iPod to it and also pick up regular FM stations and you just might have found your next gadget.
Check it out at Amazon
August 10, 2007
How-to: PS3 Media Streaming From Your Mac
So for those Mac users out there that don't mind getting their hands dirty here is some information on streaming your media to your PS3
. This is not a straight forward procedure so if you are squeamish around Terminal and don't know what XCode is then you might want to stop reading now.
We came across an interesting article
showing how to use a program called MediaTomb
to turn your PS3 into a media streaming game system.
Reading over the article the author goes through a lot of trouble to get his PS3
to see his media share. To us it seems like a lot of work to do and hoops to jump through to get something to work that should have just worked when they launched the damn thing in the first place. We had reported on Sony releasing the new firmware
that allowed streaming in the first place and we were shocked it took them that long.
We are amazing at the amount of mistakes that Sony made in getting this beast out to market. If anyone has one and has been looking for a way to get it to stream content from their Mac this article might be for you. Otherwise just move along, nothing to see here.
Oh and if anyone out there has an easier way to stream from their Mac to their PS3
please let us know. We would love to hear what you guys have setup at your place.
At Sony PS3
and Mac Mini
August 9, 2007
Miglia TVMax+ for the AppleTV
OK so anyone that has been reading our site knows that we have no real love for the AppleTV
so it was a very welcome moment when we came across the Miglia TVMax+
. This little device picks up where there AppleTV
left off. One of the things we would have like to have seen with the AppleTV
is the ability to use it as a PVR. It seemed to us to be a no-brainer, but the good people at Apple had other ideas.
Well the TVMax+
fits perfectly with your Apple universe. This device needs a separate Mac to help it with the recording and scheduling and as luck would have it it is the same dimensions as a Mac Mini! So once it is hooked up and recording from your TV you can send the recordings to iTunes which of course will then sync up with your AppleTV
So now you can have the best of both worlds. You can enjoy the ecosystem that Apple has provided as well as live outside of it and enjoy the world of recording live television and watching it on your AppleTV
August 8, 2007
Airport Extreme Finally Gets Gigabit Ethernet
Well it looks like Apple
has finally updated their Airport Extreme Base Station
to include gigabit Ethernet ports. There was a lot of other news coming out of Apple this week and this one seemed to slip under the radar, but anyone that actually uses the wired network ports of the base station is going to be very happy.
With the majority of new PCs and Macs coming with gigabit Ethernet built in it is nice to know that you can start to actually use that speed with the Airport
. Sure there are plenty of other routers out there that offer gigabit speeds, but the Airport
also has a print server and a USB port for NAS file storage, not to mention the 802.11n wireless aspect of it.
If we didn't already have one of the UFO looking base stations we would be all over this one.
August 7, 2007
ZyXel DMA-1000 Digital Media Theater
Another contender in the complete streaming digital home theater is the DMA-1000 from ZyXel. It carries all the appropriate buzz words to land it in the same category with the likes of AppleTV, Mvix760HD and the Netgear EVA-8000, but after reading through their website and looking at a few reviews it seems that the people at ZyXel just whipped something together without a lot of thought and in the end aren't in the same league with those big boys.
Continue reading: "ZyXel DMA-1000 Digital Media Theater"
So right off the bat the unit does not come with WiFi. This is a huge strike against it since most people don't have a network connection by their entertainment center. Strike two comes when we found out that it doesn't play DivX files. While this would seem a minor annoyance to some, we find it as a sign of a poor product. The popularity of the DivX encoder has been well established for many years so we are curious as to why they didn't add support for it.
August 6, 2007
New Lanner NAS Server with Media Playing Capabilities
Lanner is set to release a new NAS server to the market that should make a lot of people happy. With 4 bays that can handle SATA drives in either RAID 0,1 and 5 and with 750GB and 1TB drives not that uncommon these days you are looking at a very beefy storage system. Add to that the fact that it can be used as a media server and you might just have found what you are looking for if you need a central storage solution.
It seems that more and more people are realize just how frail hard drives are these days and the fact that they need a backup system for their home unless they don't mind losing their data every so often. We have had enough hard drives crash on us that we now have a dedicated backup server in the house so all of our movies, music and pictures are secure.
Here is the feature list from their site:
- Marvel 88F5281 Processor : 30+ MBps read performance with minial power draw.
- Large Storage Capacity : Four Serial ATA drives
- RAID Data Protection : RAID 0, 1, 5 and JBOD
- DHCP and FTP Server : Easy network integration
- UPnP AV and iTunes Server : Stream music directly to iTunes or network media device
- OS Support : Windows 2000/XP/Vista, Linux and Mac OS X
- System backup and restore : Optional software package for business orientated clients
If you don't already have a storage solution and/or you are looking for a way to serve up media to your network without having your main computer on all the time this might work out perfectly for you.
No word on when it will be released, but we will keep you posted when it does.
August 3, 2007
Review of the Neuros OSD DVR and Streaming Appliance
The Neuros OSD is a very cool product that should make a lot of people turn their heads. This is the next generation media streamer we have been thinking about for a long time. The Neuros OSD is a very slick looking media streamer that aims to do it all.
The OSD has some very interesting features we haven't seen in other media streamers we have reviewed. For one you can hook up a DVD player to it and stream the output to a bunch of different devices around the house or around the Internet. Usually network streamers only can push content stored on your computer or cable box, the fact that this can do it straight from your DVD player is a very nice addition.
Just check out the other options for streaming and recording, very impressive.
Continue reading: "Review of the Neuros OSD DVR and Streaming Appliance"
August 2, 2007
PS3 to add DVR ability early next year
So it looks like Sony has decided to update its PS3 console to add a DVR component to it. Sony has been loosing the console battle this round and it looks like they are going to try everything they can to either match or one-up their competition. While both the Xbox 360 and the PS3 can both stream content around the house it seems that Sony is trying to add the DVR ability to try and separate itself from the pack.
The only problem with any of these consoles that try and be a DVR is the limited amount of storage space they come with. If you want to recored HD content you can't survive with anything less then a 500GB drive. Well you could, but you would have to constantly be deleting content off the device to ensure that you didn't run out of storage every day.
So far nothing has been confirmed completely, but it looks promising so far.
We will keep you posted on any future developments.
August 1, 2007
Logitech FreePulse Wireless Headphones
One thing that has always frustrated us with all the devices we have here is the amount of cables that accumulate after awhile. Sure plenty of them are necessary like power and all, but so many of them are just the product of slow advances in technology. OK, so we might be overstating the problem slightly, but so much of the world these days is either wireless or going wireless we just wish we could do away with them all.
One place were there has been great advances in wireless technology has been with headphones. We have reviewed a bunch of other wireless headphones( here, here, here, and here ) and they have all been good, but they have all been huge with a large base stations and meant for the home stereo.
Logitech is aiming the FreePulse squarely at iPods and MP3 players to make a stylish and small headphone you can use anywhere. We personally don't like the earbuds that ship with the iPod and we hate the wire that hangs down from your head when you are listening to music. So the thought of plugging in a Bluetooth transmitter to the iPod and have wireless headphones on is genius in our book. And for under 80 bucks at Amazon its hard to beat!