July 31, 2008

Aperion Introduces Intimus 4T Tower Home Theater Speakers


There's just something sexy about high-end tower speakers! If you drool over tower speakers like us here at NAV, you might want to check out the Intimus 4T Tower Speakers from Aperion. According to SlipperyBrick:

The Aperion Intimus 4T tower speakers feature dual 4″ woven fiberglass composite mid-woofers and a reportedly audiophile grade 1″ silk dome tweeter. A pair of these speakers is designed to be used as either the main speakers in small to medium sized rooms, or they can be used as surrounds as part of a larger system. Body colors to choose from include gloss black or real cherry.

At $650 a pair, these speakers will definitely add some class to your home theater.

At SlipperyBrick.com

Aperion Intimus 4T Product Page

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 31, 2008

LG Introduces the BD300 - The First Blu-ray Player With Built-in Netflix Streaming


Anytime we can combine the zillion boxes that coming off of our TVs here at the the NAV headquarters, we get pretty excited. One of the coolest dual products to come along lately is the BD-300 from LG. The BD-300 is a Blu-ray player with the ability to play streaming content from Netflix. Excellent! According to Gizmodo:

After adding flicks to your instant queue, you can access them directly from the player, just like with the Roku box. Basically, the BD-300 is a BD-Live Blu-ray player with an invisible bolted-on Roku box--and that's totally awesome, since it chops the number of boxes you need down by at least one (and shows why Netflix's strategy to win the set-top box war is brilliant). If you're a Netflix subscriber, this is three levels of win. We'll see this baby later tonight, but here's all the details we got in the meantime.

What great news. Now when your Netflix Blu-ray DVDs show up you can just pop them in the BD-300. When you're done with the DVDs, you can fire up the Netflix streaming over the same device. Anyone else notice that Netflix is taking over the world? We're not complaining though!

The LG BD-300 Network Blu-ray Disc Player will be available this fall at under a $500 price point. We'll let you know when more details come in.

At Gizmodo.com

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July 30, 2008

SATA HDD Multimedia Dock- Just add Harddrive


So simple yet so cool! How would you like the ability to shove a SATA hardrive into a dock that connects to your TV without a bunch of headaches. You can do tha that with the SATA HDD Multimedia Dock and according to RedFerret.net:

This new SATA HDD Multimedia Dock not only accepts 2.5/3.5 inch hard disks and SD Cards but will deliver multimedia content like video and audio from the disk to your television without a computer. Now that's cool. So you can drop in your disk full of photos or MP3s, hook the thing up to your HiFi or TV and play it all without missing a beat. Now that's cool. Did we say that already? There is however one tiny hitch, the thing only streams FAT32 formatted disks, which is a bit naff, eh? Ah well. $84.00.


At $84, this is quite a deal. The only thing to figure out you'll want an easy to access harddrive external case for your PC so you can load your data. Other than that, the SATA HDD Multimedia Dock looks like a handy device to have around the house.

At RedFerret.net

SATA HDD Multimedia Dock Product Page

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July 30, 2008

More U.S. Viewers Watching TV Online


Here's some news that doesn't surprise us here at the NAV headquarters. More people are watching TV online. According to a poll by Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI):

A fifth of U.S. television viewers are putting down their remote controls and clicking on a mouse instead to watch primetime programs online -- particularly professional women, according to a new survey.

It showed that 50 percent of people viewing TV on the Web are watching programs as they become available and "appear to be beginning to use the computer as a substitute for the television set," Integrated Media Measurement Inc. (IMMI), which conducted the poll, said.

We're guessing the reason the number of online viewers is increasing is because of the advent of handy devices like AppleTV and the Netflix Player.

At MSNBC.com

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July 29, 2008

Netflix Streaming to Stay Subscription Based


While the news may dissapoint some Netflix streaming users, we like the news that Netflix has no plans to be a pay-per-view model. According to Gizmodo, Netflix CEO Reed Hastings states:

"We don't plan to enter the pay-per-view segment, where Apple, Amazon, Sony and others focus, or the ad-supported segment, where Hulu, YouTube and others compete,"

While Netflix does need to work on more streaming content, we here at NAV like the current concept and simplicity of the Netflix streaming model. We can always get pay-per-view from other sources if we really want it.

At Gizmodo.com

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Samsung Introduces MediaLive Windows Media Center Extender For 2008 Samsung HDTV's


Want to take your brand new Samsung TV to the next level? Well you'll want to check out Samsung's MediaLive media center extender that hooks up with Windows Media center to stream content from your PC to your TV. According to TVSnob.com:

The company's new MediaLive media center extender, available next month, enables Windows Media Center users running Vista Home Premium or Vista Ultimate operating systems on a PC to quickly and easily stream digital content from the computer to 2008 model Samsung HDTV's using an HDMI-CEC connection via either a wired or wireless home network. The MediaLive extender supports all types of multimedia codecs including AC3, H.264, JPEG, MPEG2, MPEG4, WMA, and WMV bringing virtually any audio, video or photographic content straight to your bigscreen.

The extender discreetly attaches to the back of the Samsung TV. Since the extender is for Samsung only, it's a tad limited but at $200 it's probably not a bas investment.

At TVSnob.com

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July 28, 2008

Understanding the Home Networking Mumbo Jumbo


As our homes become more entrenched with technology, one of the biggest issues is trying to keep up with the it. One example of a fast moving technology is home networking. It seems just a few years ago, our only choice was a wired network with Cat 5 cable. Not anymore! We ran a great across a great article at Computerworld.com that goes into your choices for setting up a home network. The article starts by explaining the types of networks:

A network lets you connect multiple PCs and other devices together so that they can share resources such as printers, files or an Internet connection. There are three major types of home networks: Ethernet networks that make connections over special (Category 5) wiring; power-line networks that use existing electric wiring and outlets; and wireless (Wi-Fi) networks based on components that send data over the airwaves using radio frequencies.

The article covers these areas:

Wireless Networks

  • Wi-Fi standards

  • Draft-N vs. Pre-N

  • Older and slower standards

  • 2.4 GHz vs. 5.4 GHz

Wired Networks

  • Power-line networks

  • The Ethernet option

  • Network components

Key Features

  • Network Type

  • Speed and Range

  • Security

  • Hardware Support

  • Firewall Features

And much more. This is an excellent article you'll want to check out to make sure you're getting the most out of your home network.

At Computerworld.com

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NFL Teams with NBC to Stream 17 Regular-Season Games


This is great news for us NFL fans. The NFL and NBC Sports are teaming up to offer some streaming football for free this season. According to SportsBusinessJournal.com:

The NFL will stream 17 regular-season games live this season, marking the first time regular-season action will be broadly streamed in real time in the United States.

Starting with the NFL Kickoff game on Thursday, Sept. 4, between the Washington Redskins and New York Giants, the league plans to stream NBC's prime-time schedule on NFL.com and NBCSports.com as part of a plan being engineered by NBC Olympics President Gary Zenkel and Brian Rolapp, NFL senior vice president of digital media.

This is pretty exciting news. While the NFL offered some streaming football on NFL.com last year, it was a combination of talk show and live cut-ins resulting in only about 50 percent of the game being viewable. Are you excited about the NFL and NBC deal? Leave us a comment.

At SportsBusiness Journal.com

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July 25, 2008

Roku Neflix Player Believed to be at 100K Units Sold


Over the last few days, there's been a lot of unverified claims that the Neflix Player by Roku has surpassed 100K units sold. According to the WashingPost.com:

The Roku-Netflix ( NSDQ: NFLX) movie delivery box, which went out of stock soon after it was launched, has apparently sold close to 100K units since its launch in May, a seemingly high number considering its limited application and selection of Netflix movies for now..that number comes from Dan Rayburn on his blog. The price point of the box is $99 (and then Netflix movies are free for most of its subscribers), and 100K is only 1 percent of total Netflix user base of 8.2 million customers, so it is possible.

Here at NetworkingAudioVideo we're not surprised and actually believe the number may actually be much higher. The one thing the player always takes a beating on is the lack of content (about 10,000 titles to stream). The key is at a $99 price point if you're already a Netflix subscriber at say $8.99 at month you're only paying .02 cents per show or movie the first year. Even if you only find 1000 shows or movies to watch thats only .20 cents a show or movie.

The whole point is there is no other type of "legal" content out there that is that cheap. As Roku adds more providers and Netflix and more streaming content, we predict that the Netflix Player sales will surpass all the other streaming media devices out there. The biggest issue for Roku right now is there isn't a lot of promotion for the product going on and we only have to assume that's because they've had a tough time fufilling the orders they alreay have. Once they fix their supply issues, Roku will definitely want to look at an all out media blitz.

At WashingtonPost.com

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How To: Build your own Home Theater PC Computer

It's been a few years since we here at NetworkingAudioVideo built our Home Theater PC. At the time it cost us around $1000 for our setup. Here's a decent video on building a Home Theater PC that shows you how to build a pretty nice setup for around $500 and it's a lot nicer than the one we built.

So if you're interested in building a home theater pc, be sure to check this video out.

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 24, 2008

How To: Streaming Your Music Online


Yesterday we told you about a cool little project to build your very own Wireless Audio Streamer for under $100 bucks. So once you build your streamer, what do you listen to? You might want to check out this handy "wiki" at Wired.com that shows you how to stream your music online.

The tutorial starts out:

You've spent a lot of time and money collecting digital music. And by now, you have a pretty sweet library of MP3s and AACs to show for the effort.

But let's say you want to take that library to go? Before you start carrying around a huge hard drive, you might want to try streaming your tunes online instead. All it takes to start streaming your music over the internet is a playlist, a server with some storage space, and a software player that can open and play an internet stream.

The steps are:

  • Step 1: Host it somewhere
  • Step 2: Create a playlist
  • 2.1 Extended M3U
  • 2.2 XSPF
  • 2.3 PLS
  • 3 Download Software to Do It For You
  • 4 Don't Feed the Lawyers

If you're not sure where to start when you want to stream your own music, this article is a good place to begin.

At howto.wired.com

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TiVo and Amazon Equals Products at the Click of a Remote


Everytime the "TiVo is Dead" talk starts to heat back up, TiVo comes out with another impressive announcement. Now besides spending too much money on the Home Shopping Network, TiVo users will be able to buy products with the click of the remote. According to The NYTimes:

The company, based in Alviso, Calif., will introduce a "product purchase" feature on Tuesday in partnership with the Internet retailer Amazon.com. Owners of TiVo video recorders will see, in TiVo's various onscreen menus, links to buy products like CDs, DVDs and books that guests are promoting on talk shows like "The Oprah Winfrey Show," "The Late Show With David Letterman" and "The Daily Show."

In the months ahead, TiVo plans to begin offering this feature to advertisers and programmers, so that the chance to buy products and have them delivered will be presented to viewers during commercials and even alongside product placements during live shows.

Hopefully TiVo will show restraint and overload TiVo viewers with too many ads. Only time will tell!

At NYTimes.com

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July 23, 2008

Build a Wireless Audio Streamer for Around $100


Need a wireless audio streamer for the house but you don't want to shell out $200 or $300 dollars. Maybe you have the money but you're looking for a cool weekend project?

Popular Science's website has a cool "how-to" that shows you how to assemble an audio media streamer starting with an old PC that you have lying around the house.

Some of the things you'll need to get started:

  • Salvaged PC (must have serial RS232 port, two USB ports, and one stereo line out jack; or, build your own, like our $72 PC
  • Streamzap PC remote control (Amazon.com; $30.24)
  • TRENDnet 54Mbps wireless G USB adapter (Amazon.com; $15.99)
  • Serial-Enabled 20x4 LCD (SparkFun Electronics #LCD-00462; $32.95)
  • RS232 shifter board kit (SparkFun Electronics #PRT-00133; $6.95)
  • Hookup wire (RadioShack #278-1223; $5.99)

This project made be a tad advanced for some, but it definitely looks like a project that might be fun to try. We here at NetworkingAudioVideo will give it a shot and let you know how it turns out.

At PopSci.com (image credit: Luis Bruno)

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Major Players Join Forces on Wireless HD Standard


When it comes to new technology standards, it seems the major players all go in their own direction. Well it appears there may be some teamwork at play with an Wireless HD Standard. According to Engadget:

WHDI creator AMIMON has joined forces with Motorola, Samsung, Sony and Sharp in order to form "a special interest group to develop a comprehensive new industry standard for multi-room audio, video and control connectivity" utilizing the aforementioned Wireless Home Digital Interface technology. Reportedly, the group will have a standard completed before 2009 dawns, but we all know how easily these things can get pushed under the rug.

We agree the standard probably won't be ready by 2009 but we're excited to see some progress towards a standard.

At Engadget.com (image source: Engadget.com)

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

July 22, 2008

Review: MediaGate MG-450HD High Definition Digital Media Server

A few months ago we introduced the MediaGate MG-450HD High Definition Digital Media Server to you. Since then we've been working on a review of the MG-450HD that we wanted to share with our readers. In case you missed it, you'll want to check out our unboxing of the device we did in May.

We'll start by telling what makes the MG-450HD such a powerhouse. The device is a media streamer that connects to you home theater in ways that most devices can't. Besides wireless and wireless connections you also have the ability to connect to multiple drives like to the hard drive of a networked computer, an attached USB device, or an optional SATA internal hard drive. Without the optional drives you can stream HD video, photos and audio from any PC on your wireless or wired network to your TV. Once you add one of the optional drives you can then store media locally.

Let's look at the basic specs:

ArrowContinue reading: "Review: MediaGate MG-450HD High Definition Digital Media Server"

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Is it the End of the Road for CDs?


How do you get your digital music? Here at the NAV headquarters we prefer to stream music over the internet. Sometimes that involves a streaming device like the Grace Digital Radio or the Sonos Wireless Music System and other times we stream right over a PC. One thing we noticed lately is that we rarely listen to CDs anymore and it appears we may not be alone. According to CNET.com, there was poll recently at Stereophile that asks: How do you listen to digital music? The results:

The poll says 34 percent still use CD players as their primary digital source. Yikes, I would have guessed much higher, more like 70 percent. Thirty-six percent use a computer-based server, and 10 percent use dedicated servers such as Sonos or Squeezebox. Another 4 percent use iPods! I felt a little better that 11 percent use a SACD or DVD-Audio player. Another 3 percent voted "other."

We'd like to see this poll taken again in about 12 months as we bet the 10 percent for dedicated servers at least doubles and the CD uses gets cut in half. The sad thing is that CDs are definitely appear to riding off into the sunset like LPs once did (although LPs have made somewhat of a comeback).

Do you still listen to CDs? Leave us a comment and let us know how you get your digital music.

At CNET.com

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July 21, 2008

D-Link Announces the DHA-390 Surveillance Cam with Powerline Networking


Looking for a home surveillance system that won't take a degree from Harvard to hook up? Well you might want to check out the Internet Surveillance Starter Kit (DHA-390) from D-Link which allows you to monitor your home from a remote web browser. According to ZDNet:

D-Link is shipping the first in the line of its D-Life products, a series that is designed to enable users to easily manage networking devices via its D-Life Web site. First up is a surveillance camera kit that allows remote viewing of live streaming video from a remote Web browser. Starting at $399.95, the Internet Surveillance Starter Kit (DHA-390) is pricier than most entry-level IP Web cams, but D-Link bundles two Powerline networking adapters with the camera.

What makes the DHA-390 easy to install? According to the article:

I've tested only Wi-Fi IP cams, however. The D-Life camera is a different animal. Using Powerline adapters, it plugs into existing power outlets in the home for connecting to the home network router and then out to the Internet. D-Link says consumers can access the camera via the D-Life Web site for remote viewing and management of their account (adding new users to the camera, for instance).

For a quality home surveillance setup, the DHA-390 starts at a decent price-point and might be worth checking out.

At ZDNet.com

D-Link Product Page

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TiVo to Deliver YouTube Videos To TV Sets


We've known this was coming for awhile but you should see YouTube videos on certain TiVo boxes within the next few weeks. According to NewsFactor.com:

TiVo says it has completed the technology to make YouTube videos available on TV sets connected to its digital video recorder (DVR) boxes. As part of an agreement with YouTube announced in March, TiVo expects to roll out a software upgrade over the next few weeks.

Broadband subscribers with TiVo Series3 and TiVo HD DVRs will have access to the YouTube video universe. Viewers will be able to search by keyword or browse for content under categories such as featured, most recent, favorites or most viewed today.

It's amazing how YouTube is becoming available on all types of streaming devices. Hopefully YouTube will be on the Roku Netflix Player soon. We'll keep our fingers crossed.

At NewsFactor.com

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July 18, 2008

Get Acquainted With the Slingbox

Here at the NetworkingAudioVideo headquarters we recently received a Slingbox Solo to review. As we mentioned the Slingbox to a few friends we we're amazed how many of them had no idea what the Slingbox was (shows you how many of our friends read our site!). For those of you not in the know, the Slingbox is one of the greatest devices to stream your television shows ever made we found a short video from TekieTV to that helps familiarize you with the Slingbox.

At TechiTV.Blip.TV

Slingbox Solo at Amazon.com

Slingbox Solo at Amazon.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

Apple TV vs. Roku Netflix Payer - Can They Really be Compared?


Lately there's been several articles on Apple TV vs. the Roku Netflix Player. The strange thing is that almost all of them come Mac based websites which usually clues you in to which way the article is going to lean. MacNewsWorld has an article that pits the two against each other that actually doesn't slant too far in the Apple TVs favor. The problem is article starts by stating the services can't really be compared by saying:

Comparing the Apple (Nasdaq: AAPL) TV to the Netflix (Nasdaq: NFLX) Player by Roku is like comparing two wildly different kinds of automobiles -- like a Chevrolet Camaro vs. a Ford F-150 pickup.

Sure, the Camaro and F-150 are both automobiles, and they can take you places you've never been before, but it's their differences that define them more than their similarities.

Then the article goes on to comparing the two devices and finishes up:

Basically, it comes down to this: If you want fresh HD quality content downloadable for immediate TV viewing, your best choice is the Apple TV, hands down. The only catch is you have to be willing to pay for it each time you rent or buy a movie or TV show.

If you gravitate toward an all-you-can-eat buffet, Netflix, with its mail-order DVDs and bigger streaming library, will at least keep you full.

We'll start by saying that we think both the Apple TV an the Netflix Player are incredibly great products. Our concern is that the last sentence in the quote above is never keyed on enough when you compare the two products. Comparing a service that charges for every download against a service that gives unlimited downloads for as low as $8.99 per month just doesn't work.

Anyway, we still suggest reading the article because it does point out the key features of each device.

At MacworldNews.com

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July 17, 2008

Sony Announces Video-On-Demand for PS3 and PSP Owners


Our sister site TVSnob has some great news for PS3 and PSP owners, a new video service from Sony is on the way:

Just days after Microsoft announced Netflix would be coming to the Xbox 360, Sony has announced a new video service for the Playstation 3 and Playstation Portable that has already kicked off with 300 full-length movie titles and 1200 TV shows. That's just a start-Sony claims that they have signed seven movie studios to the service including Disney, Fox, MGM, Warner Bros., Sony Pictures, and Lions Gate.

Both HD and SD movie rentals will be available priced between $2.99 and $5.99 and TV shows will set you back $1.99 per episode, and you'll be able to purchase standard-def movies with the exception of those from Disney.

While that's some great news, we'd still like to see some free content coming from Sony.

At TVsnob.com (Picture Credit: PS3 Fanboy)

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Digital Signature Launches the Mint 220 Digital Music Station


Yesterday, Digital Signature announced a sleek new multimedia speaker system called the Mint 220. According to the press release:

"The Mint 220 doesn't just deliver higher quality sound for the iPod -- laptop users want premium sound without the hassle of plugging in cables, once you plug in the transmitter you are ready to listen, and that's where the Mint 220's wireless capabilities really shine," according to Joyce Ahn, VP of Product Marketing for Digital Signature. "Now everyone can have high fidelity audio not just for music, but for all of their digital entertainment -- the Mint 220 truly delivers the best all-around value in its class."

So what's under the hood?

The Mint 220 features Texas Instrument's PurePath Digital™ audio technology, with wireless transmission via Digital Signature's proprietary 2.4 GHz USB transmitter, which is completely lossless over ranges of up to 45'. A remote control offers the final component of complete wireless freedom. With the ability to control all of the user's music, the Mint 220 is as easy to use as it is to set up.

The Mint 220 Digital Music Station features an integrated amplifier, iPod dock/charger, and two 3.5-inch Peerless speakers in the sealed design preferred by many audiophiles for tight control of mid- and high-range sound fidelity in bookshelf systems.

We've got a unit on the way so we'll give you more details then it gets here.

Mint 220 Product Page

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July 16, 2008

Nyko Announces Intercooler TS for Xbox 360 and PS3


Tired of burning holes in your carpet with your Box 360 and PS3? Well you might want to check out the Intercooler TS from Nyko. According to Joystiq.com:

Nyko has introduced its new Intercooler TS today. Unlike the old Intercooler, this new model has its own AC adapter and has a temperature sensor which activates when there's rapid change, rather than just being perpetually on and using the Xbox 360's power port. It retails for $25, and the original Intercooler will still be available for $20.

You can't beat $25 to prolong the life of your cherished gaming system.

At Joystiq.com

XBox 360 Intercooler TS atAmazon.com

PS3 Intercooler TS atAmazon.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

A Family's Review of the AppleTV - It Rocks!


We've seen quite a few reviews of the AppleTV from the media but it's nice to when we find reviews from typical users. We found a review of AppleTV from Sean at Sean808080.com that states:

When we started reviewing the AppleTV, we were surprised to find out that the AppleTV requires an HDTV. It was for this reason that we went out and bought one this year {REALLY!}

After that rather expensive day of picking up an HDTV and the 160GB AppleTV, we hooked things up. It was a _very simple_ hookup. Just an HDMI cable and we were off. After setting up our account information on the AppleTV, we began looking at our flickr pictures.

This is really one of the key benefits of the AppleTV. When it's idle, it will pull your photos and display them in beautiful color on your HDTV. If you've got a decent set of pictures that you've either taken or marked as favorites, prepare to be pleasantly surprised at how beautiful they are on an HDTV as opposed to your computer monitor.

What really interested us in the review is the way the family bonds around the AppleTV:

The big surprise for me was Youtube. I personally use Youtube sparingly as it's not very interesting to me. The kids on the other hand go bonkers when I offer to play some Youtube videos. They all sit around watch and dance to the Youtube selections. This was a real unexpected benefit of the AppleTV. It turns Youtube watching into a family experience as everyone in the house sits and watches very excitedly. I had no idea that the Youtube player on AppleTV would be the killer feature in our house.

It's a nice review so be sure to check it out.

At Sean808080.com

Related: First Impressions: Apple TV

AppleTV at Amazon

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 15, 2008

Review: Four Wi-Fi Radios to Take a Look at


Streaming radio has to be one of our favorite things here at the NetworkingAudioVideo headquarters. When you add a portable device that allows you to stream radio anywhere in the house or office, what more could you want? Since there's quite a few intenet radio devices on the market, where do you start? Well Newsfactor.com has a nice article that looks at these four radios:

You'll have to read the article to get the rundown on each device but we will tell you the reviewer's favorite device was the Phoenix because of it rechargeable batteries even though the sound quality way below par. Be sure to check out the complete review.

At NewsFactor.com

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Microsoft and Netflix Announce Streaming Partnership for Xbox 360


It seems that just a few months ago there was a lot of buzz that Netflix was going to have a tough time surviving in today's marketplace. Since the buzz started we've seen Neflix creatively adapt and look at other opportunities besides just DVDs. Their partnership with Roku was brilliant and now Netflix and Microsoft have teamed up to allow Xbox Live Gold members to stream Netflix content over their Xbox 360 at no extra cost.

According to TVSnob:

The partnership was announced yesterday at the E3 gaming conference and will bring over 10, 000 TV shows and movies to members when it launches. Combining the new Netflix offerings with other Xbox Live content means the Xbox 360 will be home to more content than any other "connected" device on the market at the moment.

Now might be a great time to take advantage of the Xbox 360 price drop we told you about yesterday.

At TVSnob.com

Xbox 360 Pro at Amazon.com

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July 14, 2008

Dissecting the Roku Netflix Player


Are you curious about the guts of the Netflix Player by Roku but you just don't what it takes to tear it apart? Well the good folks at TechRepublic.com have torn apart a Roku player, saying us the pain of doing it ourselves.


So for you geeky types who drool over disassembled hardware, be sure to stop by TechRepublic and see all of the images.

At TechRepublic.com

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Microsoft Cuts Xbox 360 Pro Price - Unveils 60GB Xbox 360


A few weeks ago we told you Microsoft was going to drop the price of the Xbox 360 Pro. Well they also threw us a curveball by releasing a 60GB model. According to PCWorld:

We knew a price cut for Microsoft's mid-grade Xbox 360 was imminent, but who knew it'd be such a tempest in a teapot? Instead of a permanent price drop on its "Premium" 20GB $350 model, it turns out that Microsoft's merely discounting that model and selling it for $300 "while supplies last."

In its place, the company says it'll sell a new 60GB version for $350, identical to the 20GB version except for the 40GB bump.

So the big question is do you go after the $50 price break for the 20GB model or spend an extra $50 and get the 60GB model? Don't you hate tough decisions? Leave us a comment and let us know what your big decision will be.

At PCWorld.com

Xbox 360 Pro at Amazon.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 11, 2008

OpenPandora Desktop Client Rocks!


It's no secret that we're Pandora Radio fans here at the NetworkingAudioVideo headquarters and in the few weeks we'll have a review of the ITC-IR1000B Wi-Fi Internet Radio. The ITC-IR1000B was sent to us by friends at Grace Digital and lets you stream Pandora Radio anywhere in the house.

In the meantime, we listen to a lot of Pandora Radio on our computer. The only issue we have with Pandora is since it plays in a web browser window, were always accidently closing the browser and losing our music. We then have to open the browser again to start our music. Now that may not seem like a big deal but we're a bit lazy here at the headquartes and we don't want to restart our music every fiteen minutes just because we're click-happy.

So imagine our surprise when we found the OpenPandora Project. Basically OpenPandora is free Windows software that lets you play your music without having a browser open. The nice thing about the player is that the great look and function of the Pandora website resides in the player giving a familiar feel. Another nice feature is while the player is minimized in the system tray you can hover over the OpenPandora icon and see the name of the song and artist. We can't tell you how many times before OpenPandora we had to keep maximizing our browser to see the name of a song. In addition there are a lot of other great features that you can check out when you download the software.


So if you listen to Pandora Radio on your Windows PC be sure to downlaod this simple but powerful piece of software.

OpenPandora Website

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

July 10, 2008

A Brief Video Primer on IPTV

Lately we've been talking a lot about streaming set-top boxes and IPTV. The basic concept of IPTV is internet packets are sent to a box that then sends video to your television. While the concept is simple, there's quite a bit happening behind the scenes. If you're interested in how IPTV works from a technology standpoint, check out this short video:

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

WhereverTV Set-Top Box Launched - Over 2,000 Channels of International Programming


As streaming set-top boxes continue to hit the markets, we're glad to see some boxes that link to free content starting to arrive. Recently the WhereverTV Receiver was debuted at the SINO Consumer Electronics show in Qingdao, China. The box streams channels from the Wherever.TV website. According to BetaNews.com:

Content that can be watched on Wherever.tv, which consists of simulcasted regional stations and broadband-exclusive TV channels, can be watched through the WhereverTV receiver with just a high speed connection and a television.

The $199 receiver is similar to the Neuros OSD digital archiving box in both design and onboard hardware, but offers WhereverTV's exclusive Global Interactive Program Guide (IPG) to manage and browse the thousands of channels the service handles. No additional fees are incurred for usage, and the unit offers a simple way to access content from 94 countries in 43 languages on any television. Premium content can also be accessed in real time, at an additional cost to the user.

Pretty cool! With all of the content Wherever.TV offers, $199 isn't too bad for the WhereverTV receiver. We'll try to get a box and let you know what we think.

At BetaNews.com

Website: Wherever.tv

WhereverTv Receiver at Amazon.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 9, 2008

Drobo 2.0 Released with FireWire 800


Last year we here at NetworkingAudioVideo did a review on the Drobo Home NAS Server from Data Robotics. The Drobo is a device that is designed as a backup device with some hard-core features like multiple drive support. During our review we mentioned the lack of a network connection which puzzled us. Well the newest version, the Drobo 2.0 is still lacking a network connection but it does come with two Firewire 800 ports which is definitely a step-up.

It's good news but at $500 we still want to see a network connection.

[Via Wired.com]
[Thanks Jay]

Drobo Product Page: Drobo.com

Drobo USB (Original Version) at Amazon.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

TVersity Finally Launches Version 1.0 of Media Streaming Service


TVersity has finally come out of beta after several years and has launched as Release Candidate 1. If your're not familiar with TVersity, it's free software that allows you to stream media from your PC to multiple devices. While there are quite a few pieces of media streaming software out there, TVersity is a Truly loaded product. According to the TVersity website:

Play Internet audio, image and video streams and RSS/RDF/ATOM/OPML
feeds and podcasts on your TV, Stereo and other connected devices

The media server streams media from the Internet and delivers it to
connected devices via HTTP, the only protocol supported by those devices

The only truly universal media server (including support for the
Apple iPhone, Sony PSP, the Sony PS3, the Xbox 360, the Nintendo Wii, The
Nokia 770/N800 and many more devices)

Use the same server for home and mobile networked devices (with multimedia
capabilities) whether they support UPnP AV / DLNA or just have a web browser
or an RSS/Podcast Reader

Enter your own Internet URLs or select from the bundled Audio and
Video Guides

The media server is bundled with hundreds of TV stations from all over the
world and thousands of radio stations

Play your ENTIRE media collection on your connected

Finally almost any content that plays in Windows Media Player can be
played on any of the supported devices disregarding their codec limitations

Automatic Real-time Seamless Transcoding
Let the Media Server automatically detect when a given media needs to be
transcoded for playback on your media player

Very fast browsing of your media library with unprecedented speed
for huge libraries (up to 100,000 items and more)

You can see the full (and very long) list of features here. At the great price of free, you got no reason to not give the software a try.

At TVersity.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 8, 2008

Installing a Harddrive on the Networked Media Tank from Popcorn Hour

When we here at NetworkingAudioVideo rolled out our review of Networked Media Tank from Popcorn Hour we didn't really talk about the ability to add a harddrive to the device.

Well, our sister site TVSnob.com has found a video on how to install a harddrive on the Networked media Tank. The nice thing is the 10 minute video also shows how to set up the device as a BitTorrent client. Be sure to check the video above out.

[via TVSnob]

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

ITC One Home Theater Container - Definitely not for The Broke Man


If you're in the market fo a home theater system that costs more than your car (well, at least more than my car), then you might want to check out the ITC One Home Theater Container from SE2 labs. We'll start by telling this sucker will set you back $25,000 smackers (not a typo!). So what do you get for that price? Well according to The Tech Blog at the Dallas Morning News, you actually get quite a bit:

This mini-fridge-size device can hold:

Blu-ray Disc drive, Apple TV, DIRECTV high-definition DVR, Dish Network DVR or national cable providers' DVR (including Comcast, Time Warner, Cox Cable and more), AMX NetLinx Control System, Bryston pre-amp processor with full digital outputs, IcePower high-end D-class amplifiers, Vidikron high-end video processor, Apple Video iPod dock, proprietary remote control, Microsoft Xbox 360, Windows Media Center, Nintendo Wii, Transparent Cable power conditioning, Transparent cabling and cable harness, and an anti-noise/vibration system.

We'll probably skip the ITC One for now. Maybe we'll try to get a unit to review to check out. I can't even type that with a straight face. Even the Dallas Morning News guy had to go the see the device coming to him.

Anyway, if we find any reviews of the ITC One we'll let you know.

At Techblog.DallasNews.com

ITC One Homepage

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 7, 2008

Hey I Think your Fridge Just IM'd Me!


We just love technology and how it continues to evolve quicker than we ever thought possibe. We ran across an interesting article over at PCWorld called 5 New Ways to Use Wi-Fi that had a section that knocked our socks off:

Wireless networks are also coming to your kitchen, laundry room, and beyond. For example, Miele builds Wi-Fi into both its Honeycomb washers and dryers (US$1300+) and its upcoming MasterCool refrigerators and wine coolers (pricing unavailable at press time). When the appliance detects a problem--a device fails, or you simply left the fridge door open, threatening the safety of your pricey wine collection--the device will send a message over your home Internet connection to a Miele technician, who can tell you to shut the fridge or set up a service appointment. In addition, Miele says it plans to roll out its RemoteVision diagnostic service this spring.

In the "Laundry Time" project, Whirlpool, HP, and Microsoft tested Wi-Fi-enabled appliances that alert consumers when it's time to move the laundry from the washer to the dryer. (No products have been announced yet.) In Japan, Toto sells an "Intelligence Toilet" that monitors your health (you don't want to know how) and can transmit that information across a network to your doctor's office.

We're sure that bossy appliances is what every housewife dreams of.

At PCWorld.ca

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Roku's Announces Timeframe for Other Content Providers for Netflix Player


It's no secret that Roku's Netflix Player will eventually provide content from providers other than just Netflix. Well now at least, Netflix has given us a timeframe for the new content rollout. According to Forbes:

Twerdahl wouldn't disclose sales figures, but he says Roku calculated initial shipments based on sales of competing digital delivery products such as Apple (nasdaq: AAPL - news - people ) TV and Vudu. Twerdahl also says the Roku player won't be limited to Netflix. Later this year, a simple software update will allow the box to stream content from other "big name" providers.

Yeah we know that's about as vague as can be but the more we hear Roku confirm this is coming, the happier we get.

[via EngadgetHD]

At Forbes.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 6, 2008

How to Hook your Xbox 360 up to any LCD Monitor

The other day we got an email asking how to hook up a computer monitor to an Xbox 360. Well there's actually a nice video out there that explains what parts you'll need and how to hook it up. Enjoy!

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 3, 2008

AT&T Invests $70 Million in Content Delivery Network


It looks like the battle to deliver media into our homes just got kicked up a notch. According to a recent article at xchangemag.com, AT&T is once again trying to take over the world. According to the article:

AT&T has added new partners and invested $70 million for its content delivery network. The goal is to fuel development of services aimed at helping companies package and deliver web content to the TV, PC and mobile device.

AT&T's Digital Media Solutions suite already includes services for content distribution and management as well as broadcast video and digital signage. The telco has teamed with software firms ExtendMedia, Qumu and Stratacache, that format and package content for streaming video, live and on-demand webcasting and the delivery of advertising.

By yearend, AT&T will complete its $70 million global CDN network infrastructure investment. In the coming months, the telco says it will work with the new software partners to provide "one-stop shopping and simplified network-based solutions to encode, deliver, manage and support video and multimedia files."

No suprise AT&T is making the move. The battle for to deliver multimedia content to consumers is getting ready to heat up and that's great news for consumers.

At xchangemag.com

AT&T Press Release

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

D-Link DSM-210 Internet Picture Frame - Pictures and Internet All-In-One


We have to admit that video picture frames don't thrill us too much but when you mention a frame that's internet enabled, our ears perk up. One device that catches our eye is the D-Link DSM-210. The DSM-210 is more than a one-trick pony according to DigitalMediaPhile:

I'm pretty impressed. Besides handling the wireless streaming (which you'd expect from a wireless picture frame), the DSM-210 is very network savvy. Autosensing my DNS-323 NAS (which sports a UPnPAV media server) the network settings displayed this server as a media source. When I fired up a computer that previously was not used for media sharing, Window Vista detected the DSM-210 and asked if I wanted to set up Windows Media Sharing. Pretty slick.

The frame has 1GB internal storage and comes pre-loaded with some sample pictures. D-Link has a widget that works with Yahoo Widgets and lets you manage the content in the built in memory. Delete the samples and drop your own images onto the widget and they are quickly uploaded. In fact, the widget lets you manage multiple frames.

I've only just begun to explore the Online Content features. You can view photo streams from all the usual places (or set up your own from your hard drive or other RSS capable source). Plus there are channels for just about every interest. And yeah, I've got my local weather forecast set up.

Hmm...now we're interested. We're not sure we'd jump at the DSM-210 at the $299 price point but maybe if the price drops, we'll actually buy a digital picture frame.

At DigitalMediaphile

D-Link DSM-210 at Amazon.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 2, 2008

The Digital Home of 2013 - We Don't Even want to Think About the Electric Bill!


Are you curious about the home of the future? If you are, you'll want to check out a lengthy article about the Digital Home of 2013 at TheStandard.com. The article starts out:

It's 2013, and you've just come home from work. As you pull into the driveway, you reach into your pocket and swipe the screen of your smartphone with your thumb. Your garage door opens and the lights in your house turn on. The TV queues up the shows you missed while you were working late. Your favorite songs are following you from the living room to the kitchen. Then you stop. The phone blinks and warbles at you. The fridge says you forgot the milk.

It's the HD/wireless/automated/streaming/sych'd/ready-to-entertain house of the future, and you're living in it.

In the following pages, you'll be treated to a glimpse of the toys and technologies that will grace your home in the not-so-distant future. If you are like most people, you probably have already sampled some of them, but others -- such as automated home control and personal applications of cloud computing -- haven't made it into people's homes ... yet.

The articles is broken down into the following categories.

  • Introduction: What your future really looks like: The Digital Home of 2013
  • 1. The Digital Home of 2013: High-speed telecommunications
  • 2. The Digital Home of 2013: It's an HD world
  • 3. The Digital Home of 2013: Gaming gets real
  • 4. The Digital Home of 2013: Reach out and touch something
  • 5. The Digital Home of 2013: Automated home control
  • 6. The Digital Home of 2013: Green goes mainstream
  • 7. The Digital Home of 2013: Welcome to the cloud
  • 8. The Digital Home of 2013: The rise of streaming media
  • 9. The Digital Home of 2013: Online distribution of TV, movies
  • 10. The Digital Home of 2013: Collaborating across town, and across the world
  • Sidebar: The castoff home technologies of 2013?

We told you it was a lengthy article but it's well worth the read.

At TheStandard.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

SoundCast OutCast Wireless Speaker System - Rocking a Pool Near You!


"Wow, those are some cool jams crankin' out of your Air Purifier". At least that we imagine what folks will say when they see the SoundCast OutCast Wireless Speaker System. The Outcast is a mobile speaker system that connects up with your iPod. I4U has a small review of the Outcast that starts:

The SoundCast OutCast speaker system includes two pieces, the OutCast speaker and the iCast transmitter. The iCast transmitter connects to your iPod and sends the music streaming wirelessly to the large outdoor speaker. The speaker is powered by an internal NiMH battery pack and the speaker has an AC port that can recharge the battery and run the speaker at the same time.

The speaker is large and has a downward firing 8-inch woofer and four 3-inch high frequency drivers in an omni-directional array that assures no matter what side of the SoundCast OutCast you are on you get good sound. The speaker is powered by a 100W digital amp and is built out of water resistant plastic. The battery life is good for a claimed 10 hours of playback. The transmitter and speaker communicate on a 2.4GHz frequency band and automatically jumps channels until a clear channel is found.

As far as quality, the review states:

The SoundCast OutCast is large and rather ugly. I have seen air purifiers that look better than it does, but it delivers the goods when it comes to sound quality. The large 8-inch sub makes for deep bass that sounds great with minimal distortion. The omni-directional array speakers make for great mid and high sounds at any position around the system. I found that it sounds best when not placed against a wall on one side or in a corner.

Besides the look, the biggest issue I4U had was the $699 price tag. We're working on getting a review unit so we'll let you know what we think about the look and the price point. So if you need a strong speaker system by the pool this summer, the Outcast may be the answer.

At I4U

SoundCast OutCast Wireless Speaker System at Amazon.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

July 1, 2008

Google Media Server - Easily Stream PC to your TV


Looking for an easy to use software to stream your PC to your TV? As long as you have a UPnP-enabled device, you might want to try out Google Media Server. According to Google:

Google Media Server is a Windows application that aims to bridge the gap between Google and your TV. It uses Google Desktop technology such as Desktop gadgets for the administration tool and Google Desktop Search to locate media files. All you need is a PC running Google Desktop and a UPnP-enabled device (e.g. a PlayStation 3). At the touch of a button, you can then:
  • Access videos, music, and photos stored on your PC
  • View Picasa Web Albums
  • Play your favorite YouTube videos

We'll give Google Media Server a shot and let you know what we think. If you're currently using it, drop us a comment and let us know what you think.

At GoogleDesktop.com

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

Sony Announces New Elevated Standard A/V Receivers


Here at the NetworkingAudioVideo headquarters, it's just about time to invest in a new home theater system. With all of the devices we have connected into our existing theater system, we're just waiting for the old gal to disenegrate.

That's why we're pretty interested in the new high-end home theater systems just announced by Sony:

SAN DIEGO, June 26, 2008 - Sony today introduced three new audio/video receivers in its "Elevated Standard" (ES) product line that deliver high-quality sound and video performance.

Engineered for high-end home theaters, the new STR-DA4400ES, STR-DA3400ES and STR-DA2400ES receivers feature sophisticated A/V technology supporting 1080/24p video signals, the latest audio codecs (Dolby® Digital Plus, Dolby® TrueHD, dts® High Resolution Audio and dts® HD Master Audio) and Faroudja DCDi Cinema® technology for upscaling all video sources to 1080p when connected via HDMI™ to a compatible high-definition television.

The ES receivers are all designed around a unique construction platform, digital board and a wide band power amplifier to maintain the purity of the audio and video signals by minimizing external vibrations and internal jitter.

"The rapid evolution of audio and video has generated increased demand for connectivity and high-performance components," said Tyler Ishida, director of marketing for Sony Electronics' Digital Imaging and Audio Division. "This new line of ES receivers delivers the fidelity, build quality and connectivity expected for an outstanding cinematic experience in the home."

The new models utilize a xross media bar™-inspired graphical user interface for easy content navigation, Sony's Digital Cinema Auto Calibration for simple surround sound setup, and BRAVIA® Sync™ for Theatre for easy synchronization of compatible home theater components.

Sony's DIGITAL MEDIA PORT adds control, networking and connectivity options for music playback through various accessories, including a Cradle for iPod (TDM-iP10), a Network Walkman™ cradle, a PC client device and a Bluetooth® adapter (each is sold separately). The models are also Sirius® and XM Connect-and-Play™ Ready.

The models are:

  • The STR-DA4400ES 7.1 channel receiver has a 120-watt amplifier (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.09 percent THD), six HDMI inputs and DSD decoding through HDMI. It offers high-definition video distribution to a second zone, audio distribution to three zones and picture-in-picture for monitoring of multi-zone output or an external video source. The model will be available in August for about $1,500.
  • The STR-DA3400ES 7.1 channel receiver has a 100-watt power amplifier (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.09 percent THD), four HDMI inputs, a 12-volt trigger, IR repeater and high-definition video distribution to a second zone (composite). It will be available in August for around $1,000.
  • The STR-DA2400ES 7.1 channel receiver has a 100-watt power amplifier (8 ohms, 20 Hz - 20 kHz, 0.09 percent THD), a basic icon-driven graphic user interface and four HDMI inputs. The model will be available next month for about $800.

For a high-end system, the $1500 doesn't scare us too much so we may have to make the jump.

At Sony.com

[via SlipperyBrick]

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

Listen to Your Pandora Stations Anywhere in Your Home


Here at NetworkingAudioVideo we're big Pandora Radio fans. If you're not familiar with Pandora, it's a free streaming music service that catagorizes and plays music based on the Music Genome Project. According to Pandora:

Together we set out to capture the essence of music at the most fundamental level. We ended up assembling literally hundreds of musical attributes or "genes" into a very large Music Genome.

Taken together these genes capture the unique and magical musical identity of a song - everything from melody, harmony and rhythm, to instrumentation, orchestration, arrangement, lyrics, and of course the rich world of singing and vocal harmony. It's not about what a band looks like, or what genre they supposedly belong to, or about who buys their records - it's about what each individual song sounds like.


So image our excitement when we heard there's a new wireless device from Grace Digital Audio to stream our favorite music from Pandora. According to PRWEB:

San Diego, CA (PRWEB) June 24, 2008 -- Grace digital Inc., a leading manufacturer of audio and telephony consumer electronics, announces the integration of Pandora's personalized radio service onto their Grace Digital ITC-IR1000B Wi-Fi Internet radio.

Grace Digital brings to market the first Pandora enabled sub $200 wireless Internet radio to provide personalized radio to the over 65 million active Internet radio listeners. The ITC-IR10000B allows you to play your favorite Internet radio station in any room of your house wirelessly - directly from your broadband router. The set up is simple. Plug your ITC-IR1000B stand alone Internet radio into any power outlet in your home, log on to your wireless broadband connection, and start listening to over 11,000 Internet radio stations with no monthly service charge.

$200 might be a little pricey but we like the retro radio design. We'll try to get a hold of the Pandora Radio and let you know what we think.


More Details at GraceDigitalAudio

William Hungerford Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking
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