November 30, 2007

Slingbox Pro Hands On Review


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We just got the Slingbox Pro in house today and in just under 20 minutes we were totally blown away. We have reviewed this product in the past and we have tested out the Monsoon Hava product so we thought we knew what to expect. From the minute we fired up the software we were amazed at not just how easy the setup was, but how easy it was to set up the remote streaming.

With the Hava we spent a long time trying to configure our router and their software to allow us to stream our TV, but we never really got it to work. With the Slingbox Pro we had it streaming over the Internet in a matter of minutes and we never once needed to mess with our router. It seems the people over at Sling have really put together a well thought out easy to use software package that just works. You don't need to fight it, you just follow the instructions and you have it running the way you want.

ArrowContinue reading: "Slingbox Pro Hands On Review"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 29, 2007

SageTV HD Media Extender Details Trickle Out


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SageTV, makers of the very cool Media Center replacement software is coming out with what looks to be a HD media extender to help you push your media all over your house. It is outfitted with all sorts of options when it comes to video, just check it out:
  • HDMI
  • component
  • S-Video
  • composite
This is a sweet line up of options with the highlight being HDMI of course. Now you can enjoy all your HD media streamed throughout your house with no lose in quality. SageTV has been in the home media market for a long time now and they have constantly improved their software and recently with the edition of hardware devices they are really making the push to position their media systems as the full solution for all of your needs. We will be sure to keep an eye on this and update you when a release date is known.

via engadget
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 28, 2007

CNet Casts Doubt on AppleTV's Future


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There is an interesting article at C|net discussing not only how poorly AppleTV has sold, but that most people don't know media streaming products exist or why they would want them. We started this site because we realized that not everyone knew what they could do with their media. Occasionally we would run across someone that was using the Airport Express to stream music to their stereo, but more often then not we would see the people with the racks and racks of CDs and the piles of DVDs and they never thought of doing anything with them. Well it looks like after almost a year of watching and writing about the industry little has changed. The AppleTV is selling poorly it seems simply because people haven't caught on to streaming their media around the house.

Sure the Internet is everywhere now and even grandmothers are using it, but the idea that we will ditch physical media to just stream movies over the Internet is still a far fetch reality for most. Nevermind that the US is woefully behind the rest of the developed world when it comes to connection speeds, but most people would rather use Netflix or go to their local rental shop. Not that there is anything wrong with that, but once their collection of purchased DVDs grows it becomes not only a pain to store them, but we found that you don't utilize them as much. Once we put all of our DVDs onto our server we ended up watching them more often. Not to say we watch more movies then normal, but now the choice of what to watch so so very different. With all your movies so easily accessible it made the selection process very different then the typical browsing of all of your DVD cases. OK, sure this sounds like the lazy mans excuse or something, it's not. Having all of our DVDs and CDs at your finger tips without having to leaf through cases to find the right one and without having to worry about scratches is a great thing.

Well the article is a sad read as it seems to point out that we are a long way away from people jumping on the streaming media bandwagon. Hopefully some more exposure and a big 2008 will help propel our little niche market into the mainstream. We are doing our part, not get out there and spread the word!
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

November 27, 2007

Free Sonos Charging Cradle with Sonos Bundle 130 Purchase


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Sonos has a great deal going on right now. If you buy their Sonos Bungle 130 they are going to throw in a free charging cradle for the remote. If you haven't read our review of this product you should jump here and check it out. It was such an amazing device to play with. We were very sad when we had to send it back.

If there is someone in your life that has been extra special good this year and loves music you should set them up with the Sonos Bundle. It will change the way they listen to their music and they will be forever grateful. Granted it is fairly pricey, but this is a product that will last years and allow for a lot of quality time listening to music and maybe a little less time watching TV.
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 26, 2007

Wireless Speaker System For Your iPod


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Having your iPod as the center of your music hub has become a very common occurrence these days. Everyone seems to have some system in their house where they plug there iPod in and can enjoy all their music over speakers a lot more powerful then the mini earbuds they are use to. Well Griffin has taken the concept a step further with speakers that detach and can be placed anywhere. This allows you to place the speakers in a location that might be better suited for listening to your music without you having to take the entire music station with you.

They are claiming a range of 150 feet for these speakers which would be very cool if you were having some people over and were hanging out in the backyard lets say. Setup a playlist and bring the speakers outside with you, stick them out of sight and enjoy some sweet music on the patio. The speakers have built-in rechargeable batteries that they claim can hold a 10 hour charge so unless you are planning on having an epic all night party these will be able keep playing for the entire night.

These look like a great solution for someone that just wants a simple product that allows them to use their iPod as their music streaming device and doesn't want to have to bring a bulky base station where ever the party has moved to in order to hear the music. No need to undo any cables and mess up the neat entertainment center. Just bring the speakers and be done with it. Use the included remote to control the iPod and you have what for some will be the perfect listening station.

via gizmodo
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 25, 2007

Great Example of why Everyone Should Backup Their Media All the Time


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We are always preaching here about the importance of a good backup strategy for your media files. More times then we care to count we have lost files because of a drive that failed. In the end we went overboard and created a large RAID 5 storage system that will keep all of our data safe even with drive failure. Well, it seems that as much as we tell people that they should buy storage to back their files up they don't want to listen. A bunch of people we know over the past year have lost a lot of very important files because of a drive that failed. Even the simple act of buying an external USB drive can save you in case of a crash.

Well to hammer home the point a little further we would like to point you at a real world example of what can happen if you don't take a lot of care with your data. Baratunde Thurston writes an excellent blog over at baratunde.com and he has a very sad article about what happened to him one day when his hard drive crashed. If you think you've lost something important go check out his article and you will learn about how devastating it can be to lose your data. Losing some MP3s or some photos is one thing, but losing the last recording of your dead mothers voice puts it on a whole new level.

So once again, please, go out and buy an external hard drive and make sure you protect the files that are important to you.
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 24, 2007

Wiideo Center Adds Another Option For Media Streaming With Your Wii


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Well it looks like there is another option in the Wii media streaming space that you might want to consider. Wiideo Center 0.3 has been released and it looks to be your one stop shop for streaming your media to your Wii. The Wii seems to have been left behind the other consoles when it comes to media streaming as there are only a handful of apps out there to help you do this. The Wiideo Center is a Windows only application that allows you to select media from your PC and have it made available to your Wii for viewing.

The main application runs on your Windows machine and has the ability to transcode and stream your videos. It seems like a pretty straight forward application and if we could actually get our hands on a Wii this holiday season we would love to try it out, but as usually they are near impossible to find. We just hope that Nintendo releases a lot more consoles for the holidays so we can actually have a shot at getting one.

As a side note the code is available to be downloaded in case anyone out there is interested in tinkering with it. We are just glad someone else has released another way to view media on the Wii, can't let the Xbox and PS3 have all the fun!

via nintendo-scene
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November 23, 2007

Get $40 off the Mvix 760HD at the Mvix Store


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MvixUSA has a sale going on right now that if you buy the 760HD from their store within the next 96 hours( Nov 22-26 ) they will give you 40 dollars off. The 760HD is still on of the best all around media streamers on the market and this is a nice incentive to jump on board and pick one up. All you need to do is fill out the rebate form, send it in, and you will get your 40 bucks back. It looks like you will need to actually physically own the device before qualifying since you need to enter the devices serial number into the rebate form.

We have owned one for awhile now and after some tweaking we love what it can do for us. It has changed the way we think about watching movies. Having your entire library at your fingertips without needing to find a disc or worry about a if the disc happens to be scratched is a great thing. Now you can enjoy your entire video collection in one device. Go check out their site and pick one up. Don't forget you need to use this link to get the rebate form to realized the discount.

We hope someone takes advantage of this deal cause we feel like any geek would love this product. It isn't without its warts, but it will fulfill many peoples wishes for a media streamer.
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 22, 2007

Early Bird Black Friday Deals Live Now


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Well great news everyone, you don't need to wait in those crazy long lines tomorrow to get some of the great deals that are out there. Circuit City, Best Buy, CompUSA, and Office Max are letting people access to their black friday deals online tonight, therefore avoiding the need to wait in long lines, possibly in the cold.

One of the most exciting things for us is the Circuit City deal for the Seagate 500GB external Hard drive for only $80 after mail-in rebate. Anytime we get to add 500GB to our network for under 100 bucks we get excited, yeah we know, we have a problem, but with the ever expanding need for storage we say spend for the future. There is another deal from Circuit City of a 1TB external drive from Western Digital, but it is $200 after rebate so you can buy 2 external drives from Seagate( a better product ) for $40 less then the Western Digital Drive.

Circuit City has a bunch of other deals that might appeal to someone looking to add a few gadgets to their home network. How about a 2GB memory stick for $7.99! We have found that having a bunch of memory sticks around the house is a good thing. We use them all over the place, from helping to run our Mvix system to being the OS for our FreeNAS box. For $7.99 it is hard to resist.

The other product of interest from Circuit City is the computer case from Thermaltake. We use one of these for our main NAS server and we can't say enough about them. This is the best case we have ever owned. Yes it weighs a ton, but it has a ton of expansion inside as well as more fans than you can imagine. We have 6 drives in ours and they are constantly cooler then they were in their previous case.

Going to these sites right now is like waiting in the line tomorrow though as most of them are either slugish or non-responsive, but going this route might allow you to sleep your thanksgiving turkey hangover off. Here is a list of 4 of the stores that have their sales online right now:
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Revo Blik WiFi Internet Radio Review


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Amidst all the craziness that has surrounded Black Friday around here we almost missed a very cool review of a great Internet radio streamer. The Blik Wifi from Revo is the type of product that we love around here. They picked one thing and tried to do it the best they could. That isn't to say the multi-function devices aren't good, it's just more often then not they try to do too much and muddy the whole product up.

The Blik is a very simple, stylish Internet radio that also allows you to wirelessly stream audio from a computer on your network. Like the rest of the Internet radios out there this one has a nice display on the front that will show you which station you are on. You can connect to thousands of different stations from all over the world. They have a central server that caches all the radio stations they offer and can update your player so you always have the most up to date listing of stations on your device.

This device also ships with a remote control so you can enjoy just vegging out on your couch while you surf the stations of the world. When you aren't using it as radio streamer it can function as a standard alarm clock. You also have the option to plug an iPod into the device via a line in jack and listen to your iPod over the units speakers. OK, so they didn't really pick one thing, but rather a bunch, but we like that it is all audio streaming. No wasted tech on having to decode video or render images. Thats all we were driving at, if you think about it.( Thanks Brian Regan )

The only downsides to the product that we can see is that it only supports MP3 and WMA for its streaming. That seems to be a very limited selection of audio formats these days. It isn't a deal breaker, but we know lots of people that keep their music in a bunch of different formats so this would really piss them off. :) All in all it looks to be a pretty solid product, and for $205 not to expensive that you couldn't put this under the tree this year for someone that has been very good.

via Engadget and advancedmp3players
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November 21, 2007

Networking Audio Video 2007 Holiday Gift Guide Part 2


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Our first gift guide focused mainly on some of the more high profile streaming devices on the market. Any of them would make for a great present under the tree this holiday season. But what if they don't want a streaming device, but rather infrastructure devices like hard drives and whatnot. Well that is the focus of our second gift guide. Products to help expand the amount of available storage as well as maybe helping you stream without needing an actual streaming device.

Read on after the jump to see our recommendations.
ArrowContinue reading: "Networking Audio Video 2007 Holiday Gift Guide Part 2"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 20, 2007

Tributaries HXC5 Streams HDMI Over Ethernet


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A company called Tributaries Cable has released a very cool product to help people solve the issue of getting their HDMI signal to carry a rather long distance. Often when you are setting up your home entertainment center in an older house you are limited where you can put the TV since you need to located it relatively close to where the cable feed comes in. Well now their new product the HXC5 will let you use standard Ethernet cable to bring that signal much further then standard HDMI cables will let you.

Standard HDMI cables stop being effective around 5 meters or so, but using a technique utilizing dual Cat 5 Ethernet cables they have been able to attain a distance of 164 feet. Now many people don't have the problem of having their TV 164 feet away from where their line comes in, but the fact that you can, with this product, carry your HDMI signal basically anywhere in your room opens up a lot of possibilities as to where you can place your TV to fully maximize your room layout.

As you can see from the picture there are two boxes. The boxes communicate with each other over Ethernet while their input/output is HDMI. One to your source and one to your TV. A very nice solution for people that have had to ditch the HDMI option because of poor location or where their cable enters their house. Now of course since this solution cost $600 it might just make sense to pay an electrician to move where the cable enters your house and bypass the need to run HDMI over Ethernet, but hey, sometimes you just need the easy and more expensive way to solve a problem and not deal with drilling and contractors.

via gizmodo
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

November 19, 2007

Black Friday Deals Are Too Good To Pass Up


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Well we have been keeping our eye on the black Friday deals that have been reported and we wanted to share some that we thought you might be interested in. There are plenty of great deals to be had on Friday, it all comes down to how willing you are to fight the crowds. Some of these deals are in store only so you might have to show up at like 6 AM to have a fighting chance to get in on them while others you can actually do online so you can sleep in on turkey day and still get a sweet deal on the product you want. OK, so what do we have for you...

Well as anyone that reads this blog knows that we have an unhealthy obsession with storage in our house and our mouth started watering when we found out that Circuit City would be selling a Seagate 500GB external HD for $79.99! That is around $40 less then their normal sale price meaning that you can add a Terabyte to your home network for $160!! Compare that to what Amazon is selling it for and you can see the savings. Seagate makes excellent drives that come with a 5 year warranty. We personally don't use anything else in our systems. We have had great success with them and don't feel the need to test the waters with anyone else's product, and at $79 it is very hard to pas up!

For anyone looking to add another computer to their home network to add either a MythTV box or a media server or storage center there is a great deal from Dell that might be too hard to pass up. You can get a pretty sweet system with a 24" monitor for $649. You would be hard pressed to build a similarly configured machine from parts for less then this. Consider the fact that for $649 you are also getting a 24" monitor and it might send people over the edge. The monitor alone is worth $470 so it just shows you the value that this system provides. We are very tempted by this, you can add a powerful system to your network that can handle any of the jobs you throw at it as well as getting a nice 24" monitor to enjoy some of your media on.

We will have more Black Friday info the rest of the week as more and more deals are announced. Be sure to check back often as we will try to put as much info up here as possible. The next 7 days are a geeks shopping dream come true. Companies give huge discounts on a ton of their products hoping to move a lot of their inventory. It is a win win situation.
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 17, 2007

Linksys Kiss 1600 Review


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So many of the big home networking companies are taking notice of the streaming media frenzy and are doing whatever they can to get into the game. Linksys has released a bunch of products over the past couple of years to try and establish themselves firmly in the space. We have reviewed a few of their products in the past, here and here, and for the most part have been impressed. They have never really blown us away with anything yet, but they are surely making an effort to make their name synonymous with media streaming.

The latest product we have found from them is the Kiss 1600 Media Player. This is an upscaling DVD player that adds on media streaming as well as USB expansion. Those with fancy HDTVs that haven't yet jumped into the new HD/Blu ray DVD format will enjoy the upscaling feature of the 1600. It will push a standard DVD to look like HD. This is a nice bridge until you make the leap to Hi-Def DVDs. ArrowContinue reading: "Linksys Kiss 1600 Review"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 15, 2007

GMG TVisto Pro 3500 USB 2.0 / Ethernet Media Player


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We just stumbled upon this really cool new media streamer today and we were pretty blown away with what we read. Out of no where this little( read 6.5 inch wide ) media streamer seems to have all its bases covered. It offers decent amount of file formats to be streamed over it as well as offering multiple ways in which to stream them. You can install in internal SATA drive to the device, you can hook up a USB drive to it or you can stream content over your local network.

Hook the TVisto up in your entertainment cabinet, connect it to your TV and you will have access to all of your movies, music and photos at the touch of a button. The setup seems pretty simple and from what little we have seen of the interface it looks very clean and easy to use. This is the type of device that we think could really bring a whole new crop of people to the media streaming world.

Read after the jump about file formats and what we view are the shortcomings. ArrowContinue reading: "GMG TVisto Pro 3500 USB 2.0 / Ethernet Media Player"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

November 14, 2007

Pinnacle ShowCenter 250HD Media Receiver


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There is a new media streamer on the block and its name is the ShowCenter 250HD from Pinnacle. They have thrown the kitchen sink at this one and it looks like they have come up with a pretty sweet device. As is the standard these days it has built in 802.11b/g along with a standard Ethernet port on the back. It will accept streams from any UPnP server so that you can use your existing streaming solution and just add the new box. No proprietary software is needed which we feel is the death of a lot of these systems these days.

The list of formats that it can stream is fairly impressive with XviD, AVI, MWV 9, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, DivX HD, MP3, WMA lossless, WMV-DRM and WMA Pro.

That is a fairly complete list that would make anyone happy. The only things missing are ogg and FLAC, but we can forgive them for that since most players these days don't support them. Not saying it is right, just saying they are following the trend. Also missing is an HDMI port, so people dead set on hooking all their streaming devices with HDMI will be out of luck here, but we subscribe to the school that component video is just as good....if not better :)

Outputs include Component, Composite, S-Video, Analog Stereo Out, Coax and Digital Audio. There is also a USB port included so that you can stream data from either an external disk or a MP3 player. We should have one in house next month when they hit shelves in the States so we will let you know what we think. For $199 this could be an amazing system if it lives up to the hype.

via engadget
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 13, 2007

Radiospire Networks announces Availability of its Airhook Chipset for In-Room Wireless HD

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Radiospire, a small Massachusetts based company, has come up with an amazing new wireless chipset that could revolutionize the industry. They are claiming that this chip was designed with streaming HD signals in mind whereas the other major standards( 802.11n and Ultra-Wideband ) where not. In their press release they say that the chip will deliver 1.6 Gbps transmission speeds which will enable device makers to stream pure uncompressed data wirelessly. No more need for compression and decompression which can only degrade the overall experience.

These chips are already being manufactured, so we will have to wait and see how this will be used, but if they can deliver on their promise then we are in for a whole new way of thinking about streaming media. We are very excited about the prospect of living in a world without all the wires that we are saddled with these days.

We will have our eyes open for the any products included this new chip set. Here's to hoping to a truly wireless future.

via eHomeUpgrade
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 12, 2007

Networking Audio Video 2007 Holiday Gift Guide


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Well it is that time of year again. You need to buy gifts for your friends and family and invariably you get stuck trying to think of a gift for that one techie family member that seems to have everything. We have taken it upon ourselves to try and help you out and give you some ideas for the coming holidays. This gift guide will be focused on media streaming devices. We will add another guide later for the peripherals like hard drives, routers, etc. We thought we would break this guide up into categories. Hopefully we can help someone out and give them a great idea for a friend of family member. OK, onto the ideas:

ArrowContinue reading: "Networking Audio Video 2007 Holiday Gift Guide"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 9, 2007

Intempo GX01 Budget Audio and Internet Radio Streamer Review

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The GX01 from Intempo is an entry level audio streamer that puts a heavy focus on Internet radio streaming. This device looks similar to a radio from the 50's but packs all the bells and whistles of a modern day Internet radio. With its one front speaker and large tuning dial this would fit anywhere in your home and not look out of place. It has a small backlit display that will show you the relevant information regarding your radio selection and other pertinent information.

The device is very easy to configure and get connected to your network which is not something most home networked devices can boast these days. The GX01 comes with both wireless and wired hookups so it can work anywhere you want. They have included support for both WEP and WPA allowing greater flexibility when setting it up. To many products these days don't include WPA and we find that to be a major strike against the product. We are happy to see Intempo add WPA to their specs and embrace a more secure connection then the outdated WEP spec.

So basically what the GX01 offers you is access to over 5000 Internet radio stations at the touch of a button in a fairly attractive package. Also thrown in is the ability to stream music from your PC using Windows Media Player or any other UPnP server you might have running on your home network. This is currently only for sale in the UK so if you live across the pond you are in luck. If there are any Brits reading this and own this little guy please drop us a line and let us know what you think, we would love to get your impressions.

at Amazon UK
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 8, 2007

Stream Music From iPhone or iTouch to any Computer Running iTunes

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A new app called the FireFly Media Server will allow you to stream music off of your iPhone or iTouch to any computer that is running iTunes. This does require that you 'jailbreak' your iPhone/iTouch, but that isn't that difficult.

Once you have followed the necessary steps to get the app installed your device will now show up as an option in the Shared Libraries section of iTunes. Now you have complete access to your music via the iTunes client allowing you to stream your music as if it was on the local network. This isn't that great for your personal network, but awesome for when you drop by a friends house or something and you can just add your iPod to their wireless network with the push of a button. This is something that Apple should have bundled in the first place, but we assume it has to have something to do with DRM or some other ridiculous nonsense that is the digital music conundrum of today.

These are the types of apps we love to see come out for mobile Apple products. Apps that allow you to share your music and not keep it locked up in the portable format. The main problem is that Apple keeps updating their software and breaking a lot of these cool apps. Of course they will work again, it just is a pain in the ass that Apple has yet to fully embrace the 3rd party apps that people are making. We are hoping that a cool app like FireFly Media Server will help open Apples eyes and change their tune for 3rd party apps.

via lifehacker
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 7, 2007

Monsoon Multimedia to Release the HAVA Titanium HD TV Streaming Device


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We just got word that Monsoon Mulitmedia is about to announce a new product today dubbed the Hava Titanium HD. We had reviewed the HAVA Wireless HD in the past and we were very impressed with what we saw. It was a great device that really opened our eyes to the wonderful world of place and time shifting. Up until we played with the Monsoon product we really didn't see the big draw of place shifting. After a few days with their product we were sold. Well it looks like they are just about to turn it up a notch.

The new Hava Titanium HD is not just a slight improvement over their past products, but a complete revolution. What they have done is break up parts of the device into pluggable modules so that their device will be as future proof as possible. The device will ship with a USB dongle that provides 802.11g wireless connectivity and soon they will have a new dongle that will offer the 802.11n standard. We can only assume that they didn't ship with the n version since it is still in draft form and not finalized. They have also added support for external hard drives to be attached so that you can just record shows onto these drives and not have to have a PC on in the house to act as storage. Other plans include a TV tuner that will pull in the off the air channels so you can get the basic stations and you won't need a cable box.

We love the fact that they have gone this pluggable module route. They have basically come up with a product that can evolve as the TV and network technology evolves. As we see new standards and new ideas pop up the people at Monsoon can just release a new USB peripheral that will fill the gap. So as a consumer you won't have buyers remorse when some new technology comes out that your box doesn't support, you can always just add on to the box you currently own.

Read on for more info about what is coming in this new product.

ArrowContinue reading: "Monsoon Multimedia to Release the HAVA Titanium HD TV Streaming Device"

David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 5, 2007

Sling Media May Show Ads While Streaming

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So it looks like Sling Media has filed for a patent that will allow them to display ads inside the streams coming from their box. The patent shows that they can display these ads over any of the current mediums that they stream over. There is quite a bit of detail about the differetnt ways they could display ads via their network. It is kind of scary to think about the amount of differnt ways that they can slip ads into the viewing experience, but as the article over at gizmodo says, they have no plans to use this, just filing for the patent so they have the option to do it.

We'll see if they actually implement any of this, but our take is similar to that of gizmodo; if they do turn this on it will start a mass exodus to other TV streaming solutions. Companies need to figure out a way to show ads in a new way in this modern streaming world, we hope it doesn't come this way.

via gizmodo
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 2, 2007

I-O Data WN-G54/R4 Router Makes Getting Around Your Obtuse Home Security Very Easy


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For the most part a router is a router is a router. Sure they offer some special features like QoS or whatnot, but for the majority of people out there they just need the basics. Get my machines to all have access to the net and protect them via a built in firewall from any of those 'bad' people out there. Most people don't care about all the fancy things most modern routers can do these days. We aren't those people :) We are always very protective of our home network and we make sure that our wireless router has the most secure setup possible.

We will be the first to admit that for the most part what we have setup here is overkill as the chances that someone would actively try and hack our network is pretty slim( that wasn't a challenge!! ), but why take the chance right. So we made sure to use WPA2 with a very secure passphrase among other tactics. The problem comes from certain devices that we have around the house that want to use the wireless network to get access to remote servers and the Internet in general. Well they aren't designed to work with WPA, they will only talk to a network secured with WEP or sometimes only if you are wide open. Well there is no way that we are going to lower our security just so a few devices can get access to the Internet. So we have had to deal with the fact that they just would not be able to connect.

One device that hasn't been able to access the net that makes us very sad had been our Nintendo DS. They had come out and said that it would only work via WEP and would always be that way. We were very sad since there are a lot of fun things you can do with the DS online that we figured we would never have the chance to do. Well along comes the WN-G54 with a solution to that problem.

Basically their router, which is the standard 10/100, 802.11b/g, has two modes to it. The first mode is your very secure network for your home machines and whatnot. The second mode is an insecure passthrough mode that allows certain devices to bypass your internal security and hop right on the net. This way you can keep the majority of your network in secure mode while granting special permissions to the devices that can't deal with the multiple layers of security. This may be a great solution for people like us that are unwilling to compromise our security so that a few of our devices can get access to the outside world.

We are going to try and get one for our office and see how it works. We'll be sure to let you know.

via engadget
David Ficocello Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

November 1, 2007

Review: Elgato Turbo.264 - Video H.264 MP4 Encoder Hardware



We recently purchased the Elgato Turbo.264 - Video H.264 (MP4) Encoder Hardware because we have an older ailing mac-mini that takes forever when encoding anything for our iPhone or Apple TV. The Elgato Turbo.264 - Video H.264 (MP4) Encoder Hardware comes with software and a hardware dongle that plugs into your USB port. The hardware dongle basically has a processor that takes over the encoding of the video from the main processor - and from our tests it works.


You use the included software to convert your Mac videos one at a time or in a batch. The software application that comes with Elgato Turbo.264 offers an easy-to-use choice of five presets: iPod High, iPod Standard, Sony PSP, Apple TV, and iPhone. Turbo.264 converts standard definition television recordings without scaling so that recordings appear on Apple TV in the same resolution they were recorded.
You can adjust size, aspect ratio, overscan, frame rate, data rate, and AAC audio by creating custom settings. This enables you to:

  • convert widescreen DVD (VIDEO_TS) video files without black bars.
  • tweak video resolution and frame rate;
  • adjust the video settings so it plays on your smartphone;
  • pick the audio track you wish to go with the main feature when converting VIDEO_TS folders.
  • Turbo.264 supports 4:3 and 16:9 aspect ratios as well as widescreen content.



What used to take over 3+ hours on our older 1ghz Mac-Mini takes a little over an hour now. We love the size of the item, and also the software is drag and drop. If you have a ton of AVI or other formats you want converted, you simply drag them into the encoder software window and pick the output formats you want. The completed encoded movies not only look great, but also get added to iTunes automatically.

ArrowContinue reading: "Review: Elgato Turbo.264 - Video H.264 MP4 Encoder Hardware"

Jay Brewer Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
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