Sony Unveils the VGX-TP1 Media Center - Square Isn't the Only Way to Go!
When we first saw a picture of the VGX-TP1, we thought it was and old-fashioned hatbox with a keyboard and remote. To tell the truth we just don't dig round computers but we are impressed with the specs of the VGX-TP1 according to Engadget:
The tried-and-true circle PC is back, this time with even more potent hardware under the hood to keep your media churnin'. First up is the VGX-TP1D, which features a white motif, 2.1GHz Core 2 Duo T8100 processor, 2GB of RAM, a 320GB hard drive, GeForce 8400M GT graphics card, integrated WiFi, a dual-layer DVD writer and HDMI / VGA outs.
Not bad at around $1300 if you dig the design. The VGX-TP1 will be hitting Japan soon but no release information for the U.S.
Yeah, we know this isn't home audio or video related but we think it's just plain cool. Pretty soon we'll be able to tool down I-44 doing 70 while playing World of Warfare on our laptop (calm down, we're just kidding!). According to Yahoo:
Chrysler is adding a new in-dash system called UConnect to all its vehicles in order to bring Bluetooth connectivity, iPod integration, satellite TV, and a mobile hotspot to consumers looking for more entertainment options. The Internet connection will be possible through a 3G cellular connection that allows download speeds of up 800 kilobits per second, and upload speeds of 200 kbps.
Passengers will be able to connect laptops, handheld devices, and even Web-connected gaming consoles, like the Nintendo Wii, provided they have an LCD monitor in place.
As cool as this is we're a tad worried about those idiots who shave and put on make-up while they drive (not at the same time hopefully). Just imagine adding a laptop into the mix. Are you scared yet?
Sony Announces Movies and TV Shows Coming to the PS3
It seems like that we're seeing the media revolution over the gaming device really ramp up. Last week, we mentioned the ability to stream Neflix media over the Xbox 360. Now CNET is reporting that Sony will be offering media downloads to the PS3 by the summer. There's not a lot of details yet but CNET states:
Sony has just confirmed the rumor we all heard back in April: video downloads will be available on the PS3 this summer. Details right now are scarce, but we do know the service will first be rolled out in the United States, followed by Japan and Europe later in the year. As we mentioned before, we would like to see a service tied in with Netflix since everybody and their mother seems to use the service, or even a Hulu type service, which offers TV shows from Fox and NBC, broken up by short 15-second ads.
Our best guess though: iTunes-esque pricing, the most expensive of all three choices. Rent a movie, pay a high premium, and lose it . We can't see how this will be successful, considering Sony's quirky history with digital media downloads.
Yean, we know that's not very firm or exciting news at this point but we'll keep you posted when we hear more.
There's a lot of exciting things happening in the world of audio and video streaming and we here at NetworkingAudioVideo.com don't want you to miss out. So here's a couple of things you want to do to keep up with us.
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XBox 360 Pro Dropping Price in a Few Weeks - How Sweet Will That Be?
Here's some good news for those looking to invest in an Xbox 360 Pro. There's a forum thread over at SlickDeals.com that has some pictures of a July 6th Kmart circular showing the Xbox 360 Pro priced at $299. How sweet to have a $50 price drop right around the time we discovered we could stream Neflix over the Xbox 360.
ZeeVee ZvBox Video - The Little Powerhouse in Action
Just a few days after we let you know the ZVBox from ZeeVee was available for preorder from Amazon, we ran across a couple of really cool ZvBox videos shot by eHomeUpgrade at the Connections 2008 Tradeshow. Overall, the ZeeVee representatives on the video do a good job of explaining the ZvBox. Also be sure to check out the sweet remote for the ZVBox on the first video.
The videos are just under 10 minutes total but well worth the sneak peek of the ZvBox.
If it weren't for the invention of wireless headphones I'd never get to watch TV. The reason is most of my quality TV time is late night after the family is asleep and they get a bit cranky when I'm watching the bank robbery scene in 'Heat' at full volume. While some audio purists might squawk about wireless headphones, a good set of headphones can really enhance TV and music anywhere in the house.
Since we're big fan of Rocketfish products we thought we should mention they've announced two new wireless headphone models, the The RF-WH01 and RF-WH02 which uses Avnera's first generation wireless audio system.
According to WirelessAudioBlog.com:
The RF-WH01 and RF-WH02 are both very similar models, with the primary difference being:
RF-WH02 is mainly targeted at TV users, so it offers some hook-up flexibility. Including a boom mic option for older sets that don't have supplementary audio outputs. This is also a quick and dirty way for someone to enjoy music at a higher volume level than others also watching the same TV, without headphones.
RF-WH02 has a spatial enhancement feature to enhance stereo sound.
RF-WH02 also offers some voice enhancement meant for people with diminished hearing who have difficulty picking out speech when watching TV.
RF-WHP01 has black trim. The RF-WHP02 has metallic maroon trim.
The RF-WHPO1 & RFWH02 are available now at Best Buy stores. As of the writing of this article, they are not yet available online, though that's only a matter of time.
If you have a pair of these headphones be sure to leave us a comment and let us know what you think of the quality.
D-Link Announces Dual-Band 802.11n Router for Around $120
I'm still living in the dark ages with my 802.11g wireless router but that's probably about to change. A couple of days ago D-Link announced their new DIR-628 Dual-Band 802.11n Router which is going to retail for around $120. According to the press release:
D-Link, the end-to-end networking solutions provider for consumer and business, today introduced the newest product in its award-winning RangeBooster N® line of 11n Wi-Fi solutions, the DIR-628, a competitively priced solution for creating a powerful home network optimized for high-definition (HD) video streaming, file sharing, VoIP calls, gaming and Web surfing.
The affordable DIR-628 launched with an MSRP of $119.99, giving the product an estimated street price (ESP) of under $100. The router offers dual band 802.11n Wi-Fi technology with selectable 2.4GHz or 5GHz radio bands, enabling users to create a high-performance network tailored to their needs and applications. A typical scenario could include checking email and sharing a broadband Internet connection using the common 2.4GHz band and then switching to the less crowded 5GHz band for more bandwidth-intensive applications such as streaming HD movies throughout the home or playing online games. It also includes D-Link's Quality of Service (QoS) engine that prioritizes time-sensitive network traffic to enable smooth VoIP phone calls and responsive gaming.
I've had great luck with D-Link so I think I'll do my preorder this afternoon and enter the world of 802.11n.
How To: Turn Your Xbox 360 into a Streaming Netflix Player
Looking for another way to get the most out of your Xbox 360? Well, if you're a Netflix subscriber you can stream "Watch Now" content over your Xbox 360. What makes this possible is a neat little add-in for Microsoft Windows Vista Media Center called vmcNetflix. Lifehacker.com has put together a nice tutorial on how to install vmcNetflix to your Xbox 360 and gives a rundown on what vmcNetflix does:
With vmcNetflix, you can watch, browse, and queue movies to your Netflix Watch Instantly queue all from your Xbox 360 or Vista Media Center. A highlight of the list of growing features listed on the vmcNetflix site include:
Stream WatchNow movies directly to the Media Center player.
Download WatchNow movies to a "Watch Later" gallery.
Support for Vista Extenders on both x86 and x64 platforms.
Support for Netflix Instant Queue.
Support for Episode listings.
Search for movies by keyword.
Browse DVD and WatchNow movies by genres.
Sort Gallery by Title, Year, or Star Rating.
View your queue, history, and recommendations.
Add, remove, move movies in your queue.
Supports DVD/Movie Parental Controls
Here's a nice little video from HackingNetflix.com that gives you more information about vmcNetflix:
Overall Lifehacker did a great job with the tutorial, so be sure to check out the link below if you want the complete details to stream Netflix over your Xbox 360.
Wow! What a Nice Chumby...I Mean Streaming Internet Device!
The other day I went to a friend of mine's office and he started showing off his Chumby to me. Now as I.........okay that didn't exactly sound right so maybe I better start over. The other day I went to a friend of mine's office and he showed me his Chumby Internet Device. I'd have to say it was pretty impressive and quite unique. We know the Chumby has been out since late last year but this is the first time we actually found someone using it. Basically the Chumby is a wireless internert device that's a tad smaller than your typical alarm clock that streams content to "widgets" on the device.
The device is capable of streaming radio, news, weather and a lot more. I didn't get to spend much time with the device so I'm not quite sure how I'd use it but I'd assume it would set next to my computer and serve as a background tool while using my main computer. The Chumby might also be a great beside table device to keep an eye on your late night Ebay auctions. We'll work on getting a review unit to give you more of a detailed look but we wanted to let you know the Chumby is a pretty cool device.
Here's a few more details from Chumby.com:
What's a chumby?
The Chumby is a compact device that displays useful and entertaining information from the web: news, photos, music, weather, celebrity gossip, webcams, sports scores - using your wireless internet connection. Always on, it shows - nonstop - what's online that matters to you.
How does it work?
Just plug it in, connect to your wireless network, and use your computer to choose a playlist of "widgets" (the bite-sized applications that run on a chumby - check them out on the Browse Widgets page). And if, say, you want to see news, the surf report, and traffic in the morning, and animations, web cams and eBay auctions at night, you can group widgets in "channels." Watch constantly updated info, or use interactive widgets that take advantage of its touchscreen or motion sensor. You can even share widgets and send ecards to other people's chumbys.
With over 600 widgets across 30 different categories such as weather, social networks, photos, sports, news, entertainment, videos and much more, you'll find lots of stuff you'll love.
The Chumby is bit pricey at just under $200 but with a touchscreen and motion sensor, this just might be a cool little device to have around the house or office.
TiVo Announces New Channels for TiVo Video Downloads
We ran across this interesting bit of information at TiVoCommunity.com. TiVo has added several new channels to it's TiVoCast service. The channels are free and available to broadband-connected Series2 and Series3 units. Here is the list and a brief description:
City By City (launched 6/23) has been added to the Lifestyle category of the Video Download service. An On Networks channel, City By City is "a travel show with a twist, your virtual little black book for the swankiest cities across Europe." This show will publish on Mondays along with the other five series from On Networks.
MediaBytes with Shelly Palmer (launched 6/16) is found under the News and Technology categories. MediaBytes is "News you can use about technology, media and entertainment." This channel will be published Monday through Friday.
Golf Tips (launched 5/29) was added to the How-To category of Video Downloads. An On Networks property, Golf Tips "is a show that will make your drive longer, your putts more accurate, and your game better." Every Monday.
Vogue.TV (launched 5/29) has been added to the Lifestyle category of the Video Download service. Vogue.TV takes you behind the scenes of fashion, beauty, and culture and gives you up-to-the-minute trend reports and more. Vogue.TV will be publishing on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
Budget Health Nut (launched 5/21) from On Networks is found in the Lifestyle category: "Don't let modest funds get in the way of gourmet taste. Instead, learn how to shop, cook and eat on a budget with culinary cheapskate, Joe Dias." Every Monday.
Cocktails on the Fly (launched 5/21) from On Networks is also under Lifestyle: "Alberta Straub (a.k.a Miss Flighty); is known for turning fresh homemade ingredients into wildly sexy, exuberant drinks." Every Monday.
ON Dating (launched 5/21) from On Networks is another one under Lifestyle: "Online dating is the fastest growing social phenomenon on the Internet, and something celebrity dating coach Andrea Syrtash knows all about." Every Monday.
Zipidee Action Sports (launched 5/15) has been added to the Fitness category of Video Downloads. Zipidee brings us "cutting edge BMX, skateboarding, surfing, mountain biking, snowboarding, and more! Visit zipidee.com/tivo for the full-length videos!" Every Wednesday.
beYOU.tv (launched 5/15) now appears under the Fitness category of Video Downloads. BeYOU.tv "brings you informational and inspirational video to help you attain all of your fitness, health and wellness goals." Every Wednesday.
Zen Living (launched 5/7) from On Networks, under Lifestyle, is all about incorporating a balanced lifestyle through the connection of food, exercise, spirituality, and medicine, blending old world philosophies with the convenience of contemporary advances to improve well-being. Every Monday.
If you're not familiar with TiVoCast, here are a few FAQs from Tivo:
What is TiVoCast?
TiVoCast is an exciting feature from TiVo that lets you easily download TV programming to your TiVo box via your broadband Internet connection. The programs will appear in your Now Playing List, just like regular television recordings.
How Does TiVoCast Work?
TiVoCast downloads are available to all current TiVo® service subscribers with a TiVo® Series2, HD or Series3 HD DVR connected to their home network and a broadband Internet connection, at no additional charge.
Great Introduction Video for the Netflix Player from Roku!
I've had my Netflix Player from Roku for about 3 weeks now and I've got to say I'm pretty impressed. In the next few days, I'll be sure to post my thoughts on the player but in the meantime you'll want to check out this excellent video from Hacking Netflix. The short but informative video goes from unboxing to actually showing the quality of a TV show. Be sure to check it out:
Are you addicted to good old fashioned FM radio? While most of us get our radio from the internet or satellite, Intempo has a unique product for those who need an FM radio fix while on the go. The Intempo Rebel is an FM radio that records the content and saves it to an MP3 format that can be save onto an SD / MMC card so you can play it on a mobile device or MP3 player. The really unique part of the Rebel is that it cuts out the DJs and advertisements. According to Intempo's website:
The Intempo Rebel is a breakthrough product that allows consumers to explore new music recorded from the radio, free of charge. The first of its type in the world, Rebel is a music sampling system which records the most-played tracks from any FM station then saves these tracks as MP3 files, cutting out hyperactive DJs and adverts as it goes. You can then effortlessly download these songs onto your iPod, MP3 or mobile phone, liberating your favourite tracks to your pocket without paying a penny.
While it's a neat concept, the Rebel seems a bit behind the times. Isn't it a whole lot easier to record or download your MP3s from the internet? Now if they introduced the Rebel 20 years ago when people actually listened to FM radio, I might of been impressed. Still, this might be a unique device for someone who's a hard-core FM lover.
ZvBox Finally Available for Preorder at Amazon.com
The ZvBox was supposed to be released in June but it now appears the new release date is July 31, 2008 (My birthday, so I guess it's an Omen!). So what makes the ZvBox different than devices like the Apple TV, Slingbox, Vudu, etc? For starters, the ZvBox uses your coax cable to stream PC content to all of your TVs in the house. According to Gizmodo:
The box itself converts the video from the PC's VGA port into a high-def channel and sends it out to your home's coax cable network.
A PC app acts as a launcher for all the good PC-based internet video clients, like Hulu, Joost and even Microsoft's own Media Center.
The remote controls not just your TV, but the app on the PC too, giving you decent control over the otherwise PC-locked experience.
The article also states what the ZvBox really does:
As soon as you connect your VGA out to the ZvBox and connect that to the coax network in your house, it scopes out the channels occupied by your cable box, and picks one that's not. Any TV with an ATSC tuner will see the ZeeVee stream as a high-def channel, and display it as such via the coax input most cable and satellite customers have generally forgotten about.
You put the ATSC tuner to use, your coax cable gets new life, and you get an easy way to toggle from your other cable content to your PC's video bidness.
Even though the ZvBox is a bit pricey at around $500, this is one of the powerful media streamers on the market. So if you're an early adopter when it comes to streaming media, you may want to preorder your Zvbox now!
How To Turn The 3G iPhone Into A Universal Remote from the Future
Steve Moore, a London-based networking audio video installer, has come up with a reasonably low-cost way to turn an iPhone into a universal remote. Using an application called AirRemote, which will be available via Apple's App Store after July 11 for $99, and a Global Cache communications box ($120-$150) that converts the iPhone's IP commands into infrared signals that can be read by home theater products. Moore says support for more devices is on the way, so keep your eyes peeled for this one.
Life|ware at Disney Innoventions Dream Home - Networked Home of the Future
Disney is at it finally with a new dream home of the future - the Disney Innoventions Dream Home. eHomeupgrade has a bunch of cool videos showing the various networking audio video options for the home of the future.
USB Drive Sneakernet Networking - Mimobots are Best
We noticed this little article referencing the mimobot USB drives. We often use ours for some sneakernet networking. Sometimes it's just easier to take a 4 gig file and plug it in then push it across our network in some spots - as we roughly have 1/2 802.11n and 1/2 802.11g.
Oh and if you're looking for the coolest sneakernet USB drives - check out mimobots.
We've been using our Apple TV since early February here at Networking Audio Video. With the HD download movies, and the amazing amount of TV shows available for direct download, we can safely say - get this thing. Recently we've been catching up on Mad Men, and also rewatching episodes of Breaking Bad. The Apple TV just works, and works well. Now we don't even need to leave on the Mac Mini to get content, as you can directly download from the iTunes store to the Apple TV. Verdict - as we said above - get this thing.
We came across a very interesting article over at Geek Zone that alludes to new models of one of our favorite media streamers: The Popcorn Hour A-100. It looks like someone who was trying to set up a Popcorn Hour reseller contract got word that they were ready to release new models soon. The Geek Zone board use to have the specs for the devices, but it looks like it has been removed. We went over to EngadgetHD to find the info we were looking for. Here are the unverified specs that are out there:
A-110: USB Slave / SATA / HDMI 1.1
B-110: Home Theatre main Board based on feedback, comments and targetted for the hobbyist to create it's own HTPC style case and be a bit active around modding and making it's own casing (also a casing could be provided).
IDE / USB Slave / HDMI 1.3 / MINI ITX factor Optical / Coaxial / Mini PCI
Player is internally references as "hi-jack hour"
A-112: SATA / USB Slave / HDMI 1.3 cube casing with LCD
S-200A: 2GB Flash, Black player, HDMI 1.1 and VGA, UART port (signage)
WN-100: USB Wireless N USB dongle (20Mbps capped for now)
We'll keep our ears opened for any info on this and we'll try and ping our contact over at Popcorn Hour and see if they can shed some light on this.
Grace Audio Spices Up The Pool With Waterproof Wireless Speakers
Well now that the summer weather is here we are spending more and more time outside and often times that involves a pool. A great thing about pool parties is having some nice music playing to set the mood. Well the good folks over at Grace Audio have come up with a killer idea. Floating, waterproof speakers that can stream your music all over the pool. These fun looking devices just bob along in the pool belting out cool tunes as you enjoy the nice summer weather. The base unit supports streaming to 10 separate speakers so no matter how big your pool is this should have you covered. With the ability to be submerged up to 9 feet these should be rugged enough for even the craziest of pool parties. They claim a range of up to 150 feet from the base unit with the battery lasting for six hours.
The base unit with one speaker is $150 and each addition speaker is $99. If you have a pool and you entertain a lot this seems like a great way to impress your friends and supply good music to the party.
We had reported earlier that Hauppauge was working on releasing a very cool HD-PVR for the home. Well the time has come and they have officially started shipping the them. You can cruise over to their site to read more about it, buy it directly from them or head over to Amazon to get it.
This will be the first DVR on the market that will allow you to record your HD content on a separate box. It uses the 'analog hole' to grab content off of the component output on your digital receiver and converts it to the H.264 format. This is a very cool way to record content off of your HD tuner without having to use the mostly craptastic systems that are out there( I'm looking at your Comcast ). Go check out Brent Evans sweet site Geek Tonic for the full skinny. He has one in the mail and on the way to his house. He has been following this product of a long time and has a ton of information on it. If you are interested in getting the HD-PVR from Hauppauge jump over to Geek Tonic and read all he has to say and then head over to Amazon and throw one in your cart. If anyone has already ordered one we would love to hear about your setup and why you went this route. We are really excited for this unit to hit the market and we'll be sure to post again once some reviews start flooding in.
April 2008 Monthly Round Up for Networking Audio Video
Here we are again at the end of another month and helping you stay up to date on what has been going on here. As always we reviewed a bunch of devices to help you in your endeavor to stream your media anywhere you want. We are still working on some of our bigger reviews that we have been talking up for awhile now. We recently did some upgrading at our office so we will be diving head first into our hands on reviews in June. Here is hoping that once again the coming months are filled with a lot of cool new product releases.