April 29, 2008
One of the biggest hurdles people face when contemplating the move to a digital music lifestyle is the prospect of having to rip all of their CDs to their hard drive. When we made this leap it took about 2 weeks using two computers, specialized software( EAC
are tops of Windows users ) and constant attention. Not everyone has the time to deal with this and so their thoughts of going digital fade into the ether for another year. Well there is now a solution, albeit a pricey one.The Ripserver
is a dream for people that don't want to have to deal with all of the complexities that can creep up when ripping CDs yourself. This system is about as idiot proof( no offense ) as possible. Select either MP3 or FLAC and the bitrate and start shoving discs into its hungry mouth. It will rip the source material to its internal drive( 500GB or 1TB ) and allow you to stream them right from the box with its built in UPnP server. Oh and it is DNLA compliant also so no worries about compatibility with any music streamer you may already have or are thinking about buying.
It will also act as a standard RAID 1 NAS device so you don't have to feel that you spent over $1000 on a simple music ripping device. If all of this didn't already have you salivating then check this out, the device sports a 1Ghz processor. We haven't really seen a NAS device sport anything north of 500Mhz. The performance of this sucker should be top notch and streaming should be smooth as a dream. Also the fact that it is running Linux means that you can bet the Linux community will have ported some cool apps to this in no time. If you live in the UK you can get one from Amazon
or if you are in the US you can get one here
. If we hadn't ripped our CD collection already we would be all over this thing. As always if anyone owns this we would love to hear about it.
April 28, 2008
We had reported earlier
about the new streamer from MediaGate
and our thoughts on it were mixed. While it did offer a lot of nice features we thought it lacked a lot of polish. Also the stock image they were using to promote the device did not have an HDMI input on it, but they were talking a big game about HDMI so that really confused us. We said that we would update you when we got more info about the release date of the MG-450HD so here we are letting you know that they are officially being sold so if you want to grab one you can click here
. We are going to try and see about getting one in the office and see how it preforms. We'll be sure to let you know what we find out.
available at Amazon
April 25, 2008
has been around for awhile and they make all kinds of products for your Mac, but the one that most people reading this blog will recognize is the TubeStick
. This little USB stick will allow you to receive TV right on your computer. These are some of the smallest TV tuners on the market and they are known not only for their quality, but their very snappy design. Their latest addition to the TubeStick line is the new TubeStick Hybrid
. This new TV tuner will allow you to receive "digital over-the-air HDTV (ATSC), digital (QAM), and analog cable TV (NTSC)" all the while being so small that you won't have to sacrifice any other of your ports on computer. It also ships with an external antenna to allow you better reception for the over the air channels. Using their software you can record your favorite shows to your computer for viewing at a latter date. For only $129 this is a great deal. You can read the rest of the details here
, but from what we have read it looks like a homerun of a product.
April 24, 2008
We have noticed over the past six months or so the increase in companies releasing Internet radio devices and the latest one we have come across is from a company called Intempo
. The Daisy
is their latest Internet radio to hit the market and it wants to be your portable Internet radio that you can take anywhere. They claim access to thousands of streaming radio stations as well as standard FM radio so you can get your fix of standard terrestrial streaming radio, commercials and all. They claim up to 20 hours of battery life which makes this a great device to have with you in the backyard as you work on your garden or just sip some wine and enjoy the spring weather.
This should be for sale any day now. After all the bad forecasts it looks like Internet radio is still holding on. We love the addition of another device into the mix, especially one that claims use so little power. We hate buying devices that need to be recharged every day. With 20 hours listen time before a recharge you shouldn't have to be plugging this into the recharger too often( unless you decide to go on some wireless remote radio listening binge ). We'll keep you posted on launch date, but be aware that this is slated to retail for just shy of $300. So while it has a lot going for it you really need to love Internet radio and love it wherever you are. Three hundred bucks is pretty steep for a fairly basic radio streamer.
April 23, 2008
After a fairly long lead up the DPG-1200
is finally available for purchase. This streamer will not only allow you to stream your media content from your PC to your TV but also allow you to bring all the 'great' video content on the web right to your living room. You will be able to browse all of the big video sites on the web and view them via the DPG-1200 on your TV. This will connect to your home network using its wireless connection( WPA2 thankfully ) and can connect to your TV via Component, Composite or VGA. You can check out all of their other specs here
. The list price is $239.99 and we are working on getting one in our offices to give it a run through to see if it is something you guys might like. If you have any questions about this device let us know and we will do the best to answer them or track down the answers from D-Link.
April 22, 2008
OK fine, we are like 2 months late on the news, but we really haven't been covering the Vudu
box since we weren't really sure where we thought it stood. Is it a media streamer or just a box that allows you to watch DRM movies from the web. In the end we realized that we were splitting hairs and that we had been avoiding it because we thought it another proprietary device designed to lock you into a company's ecosystem and not let the user have the freedom that we think they deserve. That being said, it is still a box that streams movies to your TV so therefore we figured it was about time to add some more coverage to it. You can expect to start seeing more Vudu
articles as news becomes available. The news that we are so late in bringing you is that Vudu has released version 1.2 of its software, which among other things adds 60 new HD movies to its lineup. Other add-ons will include:
Instant HD, (an indicator that alerts the user broadband speeds are high enough for HD content downloads); speed limit adjustment control, (user definable bandwidth limits and recommendations based on the imposed limit) and a constant audio setting for high-end audio equipment compatibility.
With prices ranging from $3.99 to $5.99 this actually might be something your average joe may use. We will need to dig deeper and check out what the interface looks like and how it flows. Nothing can kill an cool product quicker then a poorly designed UI. Keep an eye out for more Vudu based articles in the future and if anyone has one of these or has any hands on experience with one we would love to hear from you.
via our sister site tvsnob
Available at Amazon
April 21, 2008
Sony's new S-AIR
technology is a very curious move given the amount of wireless streaming technologies out there. S-AIR
is a proprietary technology from Sony that is suppose to make setting up and sharing your music among your S-AIR compatible music devices a snap. While we can see the draw of this convenience, the simple fact that you are locked into yet another proprietary format makes us think this is a bad idea. The wireless streaming market is getting very crowded these days and coming out with a closed system doesn't seem like a great idea in our mind. In our opinion if you want to make your device the simplest to use and also sell a lot of units make the setup work with standard wireless protocols. With the amount of time and money Sony probably spent on developing the technology they could have come out with something that played nicely with the rest of the wireless systems that you have in your house currently. I guess this is the way these big companies operate. Come out with a new technology, push it hard and hope that everyone supports it. Unfortunately we don't see this one panning out. There really is no major added benefit of S-AIR. Most devices these days are very simple to setup so having a new Sony system that doesn't work with anything else doesn't make a ton so sense.
If after all our rants you are still interested you can check out their press release that is filled with all the specs over at ehomeupgrade
April 17, 2008
OK so forgive us if the details of this post are a little sparse, but we stumbled across this article that really peaked our interest. NEC is launching a few new products in Japan this month and one of them in particular looked really cool and we thought you might be interested. The Lui RP is a hand held device that sports a full QWERTY keyboard, sliding four inch screen and the ability to stream content from your network. Normally we have been seeing devices that stream to your TV, but this little guy will let you sit anywhere within range of your network and view any of your media. There is very little on the way of detailed information regarding specifications so this is really all we've got. They will also be launching a small notebook( 10.6 inch screen ) and full fledge desktop to round out this new Lui Media Streaming line of devices. If we can get our hands on any more info then this we'll post an update. So once again, let us all drool and wish we lived in Japan: home to some of the worlds best gadgets.
April 16, 2008
We had reported on the first generation of the iRecord
back in April of last year and now it looks like the good people over at Streaming Networks
have released a successor: the iRecord Pro
. This is a similar device to the first generation, but adds better quality and more recording options.
The new Pro version also allows you to record in full D1
quality allowing for even better images on your portable device. Actually you might be hard pressed to find a PMP that can play video at D1 resolution( 720x480 ).
The iRecord Pro works with both PCs and Macs and connects via USB. The device will let you convert MPEG-2 files to the H.264/AVC format. The list price for this little sucker is $259.95 which may seem steep, but if you are a person always on the go and you rely on your PMP for your video fix this could be the perfect setup for you. Get all your content formated perfectly and in high quality for your PMP of choice. They are saying this will be released Q2 this year( which technically means any day now ). Here is the site you can check to see when it is released: iRecord.com
April 14, 2008
We had reported earlier this month
was about to unleash their sweet new HD PVR product
, the one that so many people have been dying to get their hands on. Well xmas has come early this year and it has been released about a month ahead of schedule. If you have been dying for a device to record High Definition video off your TV via Component cables then look no further. This seems to have all you could want. Check out the feature list from their site:
Built-in hardware H.264 high definition encoder, for high performance, high quality TV recordings
Component video input from most high definition cable TV and satellite TV receivers. Optical or stereo audio inputs.
Record high definition video at up to 1080i resolution, 720p or VGA/D1
Record at datarates from 1Mbs to 13.5Mbs, constant and Variable Bit Rate
Blu-ray format AVCHD recordings, so you can burn your TV recordings onto a standard DVD disk (up to 2 hours of video at 5MBits/sec) and playback on Blu-ray DVD players
Includes HD software video player, so you can playback recordings to your PC screen
Audio / Video component video loop through to allow HD recording and viewing at the same time
High Performance Noise Reduction Function
NTSC,PAL and SECAM Support
IR receiver for remote control
IR Blaster to change the TV channels in your set top box
What are you waiting for, grab one and start recording!!
April 11, 2008
It looks like the very anticipated release of the SlingCatcher is still many months off. This was first debuted in 2007 and has constantly been pushed back. This will be Sling's
first device to include an internal hard drive( hence the catcher part of the name ) and has had many Sling enthusiasts very excited. With delay after delay this news wasn't all that unexpected or anything, we are just hoping that it actually sees the light of day. We have been playing around with both the Sling products and the Hava
products and it is nice that they are both competing against each other. Hava doesn't have an internal hard drive, but they make use of a file cache system to allow you to record shows to your PC's hard drive. We were hoping to be able to get our hands on one of these by now, but it looks like we will have to wait till, "sometime later this year". When we find out any more info about the launch date we will post an update. Stay tuned.
April 10, 2008
has released a pretty cool little product called, what else, the Portable Media Player
. This is basically a slimline hard drive attached to a video out unit allowing Component or Composite connectors for hooking up to your TV. The Component cables will allow you to upconvert to 720p if you have a HDTV. We love these types of products here at NAV
, a small device to take your media with you. Going on vacation somewhere that has a TV and you want to watch your movies? Take this with you, hook it up and feel like you never left home( although that kind of defeats the purpose of a vacation, but nevermind that ). We think it is just cool to be able to walk around with a 120GB disk full of your media, plug it into a TV or stereo and enjoy it without having to lug around a bunch of discs. It comes with a remote control so you can control everything from your couch. To get content onto the device you hook it up to your PC and transfer data via USB 2.0. This is very PC centric so you Mac and Linux folks out there you may want to pass on this. Check out after the jump for the supported codecs/protocols.
Continue reading: "IOGEAR Portable Media Storage Unit: Take your Media With You"
April 9, 2008
We had reviewed a few of the earlier products from Olive
) and other then the price we loved what they had to offer. Like a lot of the high end music streamers on the market, the creators of the Olive products put a lot of care and high end components into their devices so as to provide the richest sound possible. You will be hard pressed to find any negative reviews of their sound quality. We just read an article over at MacWorld talking about the two new music players they have released: the OPUS Nº4
and the MELODY Nº2
The OPUS Nº4 is a full featured and seemingly complete audio streamer. For starters it comes with internal storage up to 1TB to keep all of your audio files on. It has a CD-R/RW drive to allow you to rip a CD to the hard drive or burn off a playlist. It can stream from a network source over either its Gigabit Ethernet connection or use its 802.11g wireless network. And lastly it has a USB port that you either backup your music to or stream from an MP3 player. It supports WAV, FLAC and MP3 for music formats and has a sweet little LCD screen on it that will show you what is currently playing along with album art. Now where this gets really interesting is with the other product that they have, the MELODY Nº2.
The MELODY Nº2 is the remote access point for the OPUS Nº4. Each OPUS Nº4 can support up to ten MELODY remote units. The MELODY Nº2 has a pretty slick touchscreen interface that lets you navigate your music collection that is either being served up by your OPUS or from a UPnP/DNLA server on your network. The rest of the components are the same between the two. You'll fine Gig Ethernet, 802.11G wireless, the USB port, etc. The OPUS will run you $1499 while each MELODY unit costs $599. If you are really into music and dont' mind the price point this would be an excellent choice for a multi-room music system.
April 8, 2008
We always have our eyes open for new audio gear for our home setup. We definitely don't have the most high tech audio system which makes us very jealous when we come across cool new gear that isn't ours yet. Well we just came across these amazing looking speakers from a company called Orb Audio
. These are very small speakers, about the size of a baseball, that can fit in with any decor you may have. As we have learned, the size of the speaker no longer defines its quality. Sure you can go out and spend tens of thousands of dollars on crazy audiophile speakers, but for most of us that is total overkill. These little guys are well within the price range of anyone that is moderately into music. They have a bunch of different options available for pricing from $239 up to $1500. They are a small company that hand makes all their own speakers and you can tell the passion they have for them by glancing over their site. Here is a choice quote from their press release that you can read in full after the jump:
The heart of the Orb speaker system is the spherical Mod1 satellite speaker, which is a little bigger than a baseball and is made from high carbon steel. The Mod1 uses advanced technologies like rare earth magnets, Santoprene, Nomex and CCAD voice coils to produce big, full sound from the smallest possible package.
Continue reading: "Orb Audio: Perfect Speakers for your Entertainment System"
April 5, 2008
is never one to shy away from pushing their product line further out and trying to grab a larger share of the video capture market and the new HD-PVR
is a great example. This device will capture 1080i video from a component source and do real-time encoding to H.264. People have been wanting a device like this for a long time and by reading the boards
you can see that just about everyone is lining up to buy one. So basically if you can grab component out from your TV you can start to record all the video you want with none of that DRM crap that you have to with the proprietary PVR's currently on the market.
We haven't found the link yet, but they are suppose to be taking pre-orders for this already with the price point at $250. If anyone finds the page or has a pre-order already in let us know. We want to grab one ourselves so we would be very interested in any tidbit of knowledge. And as always, as more info about this becomes available we will update you.
April 4, 2008
We love the clean lines and decent price for this desktop storage unit from LaCie. Sure - it's not networkable, but it has the ability to hang off your Airport Extreme as a USB air disk or network backup using Time Machine. It comes in both a 500 gb and 320 gb model. Get the 500 and don't look back.
Via acquire at LaCie Desktop Hard Disk 301285U 500 GB USB 2.0 External Hard Drive
April 3, 2008
, makers of all kinds of storage products has slowly been getting into the home media streaming market and just announced that they are bringing the LinkTheater HD
to the States. We had covered one of their earlier products, the LinkThearter DVD
, and from what we had read it wasn't a top notch streamer. Well they have been in the shop and have come up with what seems to be a great little product. The LinkTheater HD supports 720p and 1080i via HDMI. Because of some weird lawsuit they can only bring the wired version of the device to the US, the wireless version is staying in Japan. There is a USB port on the back so you can hook up an external hard drive to stream off of or just stream from a computer that is on your network via the Ethernet port. It supports a decent amount of formats, check it out after the jump.
Continue reading: "Buffalo LinkTheater HD Media Streamer Available in the US"
April 1, 2008
We have been big fans of the Hava
streaming products for some time now
. Sure the Slingbox's
are great products, but having only one device in a space doesn't foster innovation. We have loved that Hava has come out with very competitive products and have challenged Sling every step of the way. The one area that Hava really hasn't gone has been the handheld market. Sling has software that will playback TV on a bunch of different handhelds and that is one of the big draws for many people. Well it was just unveiled that Hava has a very sweet Nokia Tablet TV streaming client. The Nokia tables are really cool devices. We have the N770
and love how we can carry around a small computer with us wherever we go. Now that Hava has made a client for it, it becomes a portable TV player! Get a 'net connection anywhere in the world and start watching your home TV. From the article over at Engadget they said that the quality was pretty good which is all you can hope for in such a small device. We can't wait for this to go live and test it out. Having a nice handheld TV is something that the geek in us can't wait for. Once this is actually released you can bet we will be grabbing it and trying it out. Stay tuned.