September 28, 2007
CyFi, The Wireless Solution for Listening to You iPod on Your Bike
Well we always say that people will continue to make devices for uses that you didn't know you needed. Along comes the CyFi
, a wireless speaker system for your bike that allows you to listen to your iPod without having to have your ear buds in so you can hear the traffic around you. The design is actually pretty nice looking and they claim it easily hooks up to just about any frame out there. Not sure how well this would work in the city where there is a lot of noise, but out on the quieter roads this would probably be really nice. And since it is so small we doubt you will piss off pedestrians with the noise. Around our town there are a bunch of people that strap actual boomboxes to the front of their bikes and ride around, talk about annoying. The CyFi
should keep the music local to your small space.
Set to be released early next year for about 150 bucks, this should bring a smile to many bikers out there. Said to connect with iPods and the iPod nano, we aren't sure if this will work with all iPods or just the newer generations.
September 27, 2007
QNAP Updates Their NAS Boxes to Play Nicely With Consoles
We have reported on the very cool NAS devices that QNAP
has been producing in the past
and it looks like they have added a major piece to their offerings. They have updated the firmware for two of their new NAS devices; the TS-109 and TS-209. They have added DLNA
support( Digital Living Network Alliance ) so that their NAS boxes can be used to serve up content to the any device on the network able to handle DLNA.
The really cool thing is that they really are aiming at the newest generation of gaming consoles since they all support DLNA. Now their NAS devices appeal to a much broader base of consumers. There are a lot of people out there that love their Xbox 360
not only for the games that it allows them to play, but for acting as the center of their digital media universe. Having NAS devices able to serve up content for these devices makes the prospect of not needing another device to handle the media streaming all the more promising.
We hope to get the TS-109 in house soon so we can try this out and see how it performs.
via connected home news
September 26, 2007
EchoStar Buys Sling Media
Well it looks like Sling Media just got rewarded for all their years of hard work and great products. EchoStar, owners of Dish Network, just bought one of our favorite tv streaming companies for the low low price of 380 million dollars.
We aren't sure what to expect from this merger, but we can hope that they integrate the Slingbox software into their future satellite boxes. It would be nice to wrap all this technology up in one device. Who wants a cable/satellite box, DVR box and a Slingbox in the cabinet. If they roll them up like DirecTV did with Tivo then you will have a very powerful box and a major new reason for people to jump ship from their current cable/sat provider and join Dish.
The deal is going to be finalized before the end of the year so we expect '08 to the be the year of the products actually merging and producing something we can buy.
September 25, 2007
JBL and Infinity Team up to Release Wireless Subwoofer
have teamed up to release a wireless subwoofer for those of you who want to position their sub somewhere that makes running cable inconvenient. These wireless subwoofers sport a 400W output via their 12-inch speaker. They can be placed basically anywhere allowing you to have your base hit you from whichever direction you would like.
There is one problem that we see in that it uses the 2.4GHz frequency to communicate with its base station and that frequency is used by just about every wireless gadget you and your neighbors own. So there is a chance it won't be effected by other devices, but our gut feeling is that you could hear drop out in your sound if your neighbors phone rings.
It is scheduled to launch in January so we are interested in hearing what people think of these things. Do they produce adequate sound and are they even necessary? If we hear anything we will surely report back.
September 24, 2007
Ministry of Sound New Boombox Sports iPod and Flash Hookups
We came across news of a cool new boombox that is nothing like the boomboxes of our childhood. This new boombox is right at home in the 21st century. It has all the standard options you would expect out of a device of this size; FM tuner, CD player, decently powered speakers. But what separates this device from the old school ones is the addition of a USB port to allow reading music from external hard drives as well as an iPod dock so you can just plop down your iPod and listen to your entire music collection via the attached speakers. And if that wasn't enough there is also a SD card reader to grab music from there as well. Add in the wireless remote and it looks to us to be a very nice system for not that much money ( $177 ) although it looks to be only available in the UK currently. If you get your hands on one let us know.
September 21, 2007
Using Your Old Xbox to Stream Meida in the House
Do you have an old Xbox system lying around the house collecting dust while you enjoy the splendor the the Xbox 360? Do you want a fully functioning home media streaming device, but don't feel like spending all that money to get one. Well here is your solution; grab that old Xbox, dust it off and get ready to enjoy a pretty sweet media streamer. In the old days in order to hack the Xbox to allow it to become a media streamer you had to do some pretty serious hacks whether they be hardware hacks or complicated software ones. Now those days are gone with the simple XBMC( Xbox Media Center ).
The new way to hack the box is by using certain games that people have found an exploit via a saved game. Once the hack has been completed you are treated to a pretty stunning interface that has just about all the functionality of the more expensive media streamers on the market. Lifehacker
has a great article
on how to unlock your old Xbox to achieve all of this.
There is also a large online community over at xboxmediacenter.com
and detailed descriptions of what you can do with this new software over at their wiki
. This is one of the cooler projects we have seen for taking old and obsolete hardware and really making it into something new and exciting, something that can be very useful and become the center of your streaming media world.
With all the high tech and fancy systems out there it is nice to see people working to make what many thought a dead piece of hardware a very viable alternative to multi-hundred dollar investments.
If anyone out there has one of these running at their place we would love some feedback as to what your thoughts are on it. How does it compare to other streamers you have experience with, how hard was the setup and what problems do you face with it.
September 20, 2007
Microsoft Wakes Up and Adds TV Streaming to Media Center
Microsoft has finally seen the light and is adding TV Streaming to their Media Center. Companies like SlingMedia
and Monsoon Multimedia
have already released amazing products that allow you to stream your TV anywhere you are with an Internet connection, but that is all they do. This new software from Microsoft allows you access your Media Center from anywhere via just about any net connected device and have total access to your content. Anything you can do locally with the Microsoft Media Center you can now do remotely. With the new WebGuide software you not only can watch TV remotely, but listen to any of your music or watch any of your movies. We normally aren't big fans of most things Microsoft, but we have to admit that this is pretty cool stuff. And the big kicker for us is the fact that they are giving this update out for free. Shocking.
We have played with the Media Center a bit and we never were really that impressed, but after reading this news we will have to go back and see what it is like now. Good job Microsoft for giving your users something they want and giving it to them for free.
September 19, 2007
Denon's New Sound System to Offer Music Streaming
is set to release a pair of cool new Home Theater systems that offer some really nice features, most notably WiFi for Audio Streaming. While these aren't the most ground breaking of Home Theater systems ever to be offered we like the idea that they are including the option to stream audio from somewhere else on your network. It also comes equipped with a USB port so you can hook up an external drive or MP3 player as well. There two models in this release are the S-102 and the S-302. The S-302 succeeds the S-301
which also offered the same USB connection ability, but lacked the WiFi option while the S-102 succeeds the S-101
and doesn't offer any WiFi or USB connection.
This offering from Denon is fairly basic sporting two speakers and a subwoofer so no surround sound, but it does have HDMI and 1080p upscaling. It looks like a very nice little Home Theater system that gives you the flexibility to stream music from your already created digital archive of music.
The fact that Denon is offering audio streaming on their new line is a good sign that you can expect to see more and more of the big audio companies bundling some kind of streaming feature into a few of their products. You can really start to feel the momentum going with streaming media in the home. It has been going on for a long time, but as of the past 6-8 months we have seen more of the bigger companies( read slow to change ) jump into the streaming media world. We expect that this holiday season along with CES in January will usher in a huge new crop of streaming media devices and we can't wait!
September 18, 2007
Sony Unveils Massive Home Media Server
So Sony has a new product out and all we can say is, what the heck are they thinking. They have decided to not just jump into the home media streaming market, but jump into the high end of it. What they have produced is a massive media streamer that only the Richie Rich's
of the world can afford. Enter the HES-V1000
. At $3500 we aren't sure the exact market they are going for other then the people with too much money in their pockets, but looking over the specs it looks like they just packed as much technology into it and never really gave it much thought.
Other media centers on the market either come with some built in storage and or the ability to stream from a PC over a network. Well Sony thought that was a bad direction to go in and instead did something that had our head spinning. They have included a 200-disc Blu-ray changer in this sucker. So nevermind the fact that Blu-ray is failing to win the format war with HD-DVD, but who the hell owns 200 of them. For that matter are there even 200 Blu-ray discs worth buying? On the positive side they do include a 500GB hard disk so you can store a lot of data internally, but it isn't clear how you get data onto the disc. Is it moved over from another computer on your network or ripped from one of the discs in your changer?
One of the stranger choices the designers made was the streaming aspect. Instead of following the crowd and allowing the box to funnel music from your network to the device so it can play it or pass it to an entertainment system, it will stream out from the box to either certain Sony products equipped to handle the stream or DLNA devices like the PS3. While DLNA
is slowly growing in popularity it is by far the most widely adopted setup. Sony likes to keep you using their products and makes it hard for you to go outside their little world. So this choice just furthers our distaste for the box.
We can't imagine that this will be received too well next month when it goes on sale. With all of the devices out there that basically do what it does( except of course for that 200 disc changer ) we can't imagine many people will be going out to spend $3500 on it. We will report back next month and see if we have to go eat our words.
September 17, 2007
Prolink PixelView PlayTV Media Box News
So here is an interesting new take on video recording and streaming. A simple box that just shuttles content from your TV onto either SD cards or an attached USB drive. It acts as a basic PVR as well as sporting one button record feature. It will also let you record to different formats so you can use these files on any number of portable players that require different formats then your TV.
No release date has been set, but we will keep our eye out on this one as this could be a fun box to play around with.
September 14, 2007
Monolith Deliver MythTV Without The Nasty Install
One thing we love is free open software, especially when it is of very high quality. We have followed the free media center apps for many years now, mainly MythTV
. These are very robust and fully featured media centers that run on Linux and are completely free. MythTV is the more mature of the two and has a wider adoption in the world.
One of the downsides of MythTV, Freevo and the other open source packages is that they tend to be hard to install and they require you to have at least one Linux machine in your home, not to mention experience with the Linux OS. This tends to be enough to turn most people without a little tech savy off. We have tried to tell people how great it is, but once they realize they can't buy it and need to install and configure it they get turned off very quickly.
We can't blame them at all. As any reader of this site knows we are all about things working out of the box. We don't mind having to configure systems and tweak settings, but your average person doesn't want to, or need to, deal with that. So with Monolith releasing a pre-built system running MythTV is a huge step forward and one we find very encouraging.
Continue reading: "Monolith Deliver MythTV Without The Nasty Install"
September 13, 2007
Panasonic's Hard Drive Based Boombox
has come out with a very cool boombox that brings the age old music player into the 21st century. For years boomboxes had either a single CD player or maybe a carousel that could house 3 or 5 discs. Well that was so 1992. Now-a-days its all about digial music and Panasonic has seen the light and released a hard drive based system.
So basically you put a CD into the single CD tray and rip it to the internal hard drive. It is shipping in two models, the 80 and 160GB versions meaning you can put a lot of music on here. As for what formats it can play it supports:
It also has a very nice look to it, making far more appealing then those clunkers of yesteryear. There is also support for your iPod so no need to feel like you have to rip you entire collection all over again. It is nice to see big companies releasing products like these. Sometimes you find that the big established companies don't take risks and just like to keep doing things the way they always have been. We can't imagine it is too long before the bulk of the major electronics companies home media products have some sort of internal storage, be it flash or hard drive.
Unfortunately this is slated only for Japan for now. We will keep you posted if we find out it is coming State side
September 12, 2007
Sony ads HD to their LocationFree Line
So it looks like Sony has stepped up and added HD to their LocationFree devices. We had reported on their LocationFree line up earlier
and we had thought they had a leg up on the competition due to the fact that they shipped all of the computers with the software built in just waiting for a LocationFree server to be added.
Similar to Apple's idea of giving the user a complete experience from purchase to playing , the Sony LocationFree system seems similar. You can now buy music from Sony, load it onto a Sony computer and play it on a Sony music streamer. They are really making a big push to get a piece of the connected homes pie.
So anyway, the HD version isn't really HD, but an approximation of it. From the gizmodo article:
First, the HD signal is not your source signal but an MPEG4 compressed product. Sony claims the picture has somewhere near 96% fidelity, which is still pretty good in our book.
Second, the transmitter doesn't have HDMI input. The receiving unit supports the format, but apparently Sony can't deal with transcoding and transmitting the HDMI data—or finds the prospect too expensive.
So while its not all bad there are definitely some warts. While we won't be able to play with this since it will only be released in Japan we are still looking into getting one of the standard ones to see how they perform and stack up to the rest of the devices we have tested.
September 11, 2007
Big Sale on Mvix 760HD at NewEgg
Well as any reader of our site knows, we love the Mvix 760HD
. It has fulfilled our desire to be able to access all of our DVD's without having to actual have the DVD present. We have put all of our DVD's on our central server and use the 760
to stream them to our TV.
Well we were very excited when we saw that Mvix had teamed up with Newegg
to offer a great deal on their 760HD
. You can now purchase the 760HD via Newegg for the low price of 304.99 after printing and filling out the main-in-rebate form on the website.
If there was ever a time you were thinking of jumping on the 760's
bandwagon now is it. This has been our favorite media streamer yet. It has changed the way we watch movies. Having all of them available all the time without that ugly stack of DVD's next to the TV has been great.
Hopefully this deal will turn some more people onto the the 760HD
and help show companies like Apple what a true media streamer should be like!
September 10, 2007
Emtec new Cube -R Media Streaming Hard Drive
We here at Networking Audio Video love multi-function devices and we love nothing better then a cool hard drive that has media streaming capabilities. The Emtec Movie Cube -R
is more then just a run of the mill media streaming hard drive, it is a full fledged media streaming device. Emtec
has always been a company that had cool innovative products, but we really love the prospect of their forthcoming Movie Cube -R
Like most hard drives that stream media the Movie Cube
has an internal hard drive that will store all of your media and let you play it on your TV. The nice thing about this device is it also has video in allowing you to record off of your TV, which is a great addition to this niche. The included remote allows you to choose what actions you want to do, record off the TV, playback a movie off the internal drive, or view photos off of your camera.
Continue reading: "Emtec new Cube -R Media Streaming Hard Drive"
September 7, 2007
EWOO - Wireless iPod Remote for iTunes with Color Display
We keep seeing the Zicplay remote called EWOO and think it looks really solid. At last, iPod and iTunes users will be able to fully control their music and video libraries around their home using the EWOO remote control. Why? Because of the color screen that mimics the iPod's screen and functionality.
The EWOO is supplied with a dock for the iPod, and an USB adapter to control and browse iTunes on the computer. On EWOO’s color TFT screen users can explore their libraries as intuitively as with the iPod or with iTunes. Connect the EWOO dock to your audio-video equipment and take advantage of the 2.4GHz technology to move around within a radius of 100ft (30 meters) while accessing easily all your music. You can now browse your music while comfortably seated in your sofa.
The EWOO will be available at $149 (149 €) during the second quarter of 2007 in the United States and Europe.
More Bluetooth Goodness From Parrot
So Parrot is at it again with another cool Bluetooth device. This one we really think is pretty cool. It is a stereo/speaker combo that will stream music from any Bluetooth equipped device and play it over its speakers. Its a pretty sweet setup for the number of Bluetooth cellphones that are out there with audio capabilities. The DS3120 will also allow you to use it as a Bluetooth calling center using its 1.8 inch LCD screen to view the contents of your cell phones contact list.
Parrot has also introduce some functionality that goes beyond just streaming Bluetooth music from a cell phone to some speakers. It has a line in port that will allow you to hook a device that has an audio out to it and play that music over its speakers as well as having a SD card slot so you can pop in a SD card full of your favorite tunes and enjoy. And if that wasn't enough they have also included a FM tuner.
These won't be for sale until October and they look to be expensive, roughly $500 for the set, but if you have a lot of music on your cell phone or if you love streaming music over Bluetooth, this just might be the product you were looking for :)
September 6, 2007
New HD Slingbox Pro Slated For January
So it looks like fans of the Slingbox
brand of TV streaming products are in for a treat come this January. The rumored HD Slingbox Pro
will ship with built in Component output to allow an HD signal to pass through it. Granted these are still rumors, but you have to expect something like this from SlingMedia
. Everything has gone HD and if they didn't start producing products that could stream HD they were in for a lot of trouble.
So we'll see if and when they release this new HD TV streamer and we will be looking out for any more news of its impending arrival .
September 5, 2007
Venzero's LINQ Personal Streaming Media Player
We have been watching the onslaught of Personal Media Players that have hit the shelves over the past year and have been largely unimpressed. Not to say that these devices suck or anything, but rather, for us we don't see the huge appeal as of yet. With the limit storage most of these have, or the limited functionality nothing has really peaked our interest. Well that has slightly changed after we saw the LINQ.
This small device does what you would expect it to do, it plays music and movies from the included 4GB of flash. Devices that do that are a dime a dozen, what makes this special is that it has built in WiFi so you can stream your music collection from your PC to the LINQ. So that basically allows you to walk around anywhere with your entire music collection on hand, no more limitations with drive size in these small devices. Now you can have access to your home collection from wherever you can get a signal. Now we have no idea how your music would sound over WiFi or if you could even get this working beyond your home network, but the possibilities have us very interested.
We might have to get one of these when they come out this month.
September 4, 2007
Philips SHD9100 Wireless Headphone Review
has shown a very sexy pair of wireless headphones off at the IFA show and we have to say that having looked at a lot of wireless headphones over the years these are by far the best looking. Most systems are usually very unattractive, bulky messes, but just looking at the image you can see that Philips
did a great job with the style. The base unit alone looks beautiful, something we would love to see sitting next to our stereo.
Some of the highlights that Philips
is touting is a lightweight, breathable headband so you don't get that sweat band on your head like some other headphones can cause. There is a claim of a 40 meter range, but we aren't sure how realistic that is in the real world. With the amount of interference that exists in our office alone we would be surprised if these worked at 20 meters. All in all they look like a great pair of wireless headphones, although there is no word out of Philips
when these will be for sale
As always, we will keep our ear out for anymore news and let you know.
September 3, 2007
NewerTech miniStack NAS Partner for your Mac Mini
For those that love their Mac Mini, but don't like the limted storage and hook up options NewerTech is offering their miniStack as an answer to your woes. With both USB 2.0 and Ethernet you can access your files either from a local machine or the network. The miniStack can accommodate up to a 750GB drive allowing you to add some serious storage to your Mac mini setup.
With all the great media streaming setups available for the Mac, having an external drive attached to the base unit can seriously expand the possibilities for your library. Just think about having all of your movies, music and pictures stored right on your mini. Now you can run something like MediaCentral
and you don't have to worry about running out of space with your collection.
It doesn't hurt that it has the same form factor and looks pretty much just like the Mac mini so that it will blend right in. The Mac mini is one of those perfect devices to act as your media hub with its small form factor and near silent operation and having a nice add on like this could make all the difference.