If you've ever been in the corporate IT realm, you know Cisco is the standard for routers and networking hardware. Now Cisco wants to be known as the home-networking brand also. At CES in January, Cisco will show a digital stereo system designed to play music throughout your house. The bigger picture though is mentioned at DMWMedia.com:
And it wants to develop technology with which Internet providers and media companies can sell new Internet-based services for a monthly fee. One example would let people store music and video on the Internet, rather than on discs or their own hard drives, so they could get access to it anywhere.
Of course there's a big roadblock for storing music and video on the net, which the article points out:
Sounds a bit like Cablevision System's network-DVR technology, in which programming designated by the user is recorded and stored elsewhere and then streamed back on demand. The only problem is, programmers hate the idea, and sued Cablevision to stop it. After winning at the district court level, the studios and TV networks were stunned back in August, when the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in New York overturned that ruling, finding that such remote storage and streaming does not violate U.S. copyright law.
If Cisco can figure out the hardware and storage issues, they can probably be a big player in the home-networking business. The question is will consumers pay for the Cisco name or will they look for cheaper options? Only time will tell.
Ever have trouble with your USB cable or drive mysteriously being unplugged from your computer? Then you'll want to check out the handy hd EZ Lock from BlueEcho, a simple device that locks the USB plug into place. Some of the main features include:
Locks your HDMI™ Cable in place to prevent it from coming loose or unplugged.
Supports your HDMI™ Cable by using your component's chassis instead of relying on your HDMI™ Input for support, significantly reducing or eliminating potentially damaging stress on your HDMI™ Input.
Low profile, easy to use two piece design works with most HDMI™ Cables up to 7/16" high and 7/8" wide (measured at the HDMI™ Cable head), and with most HDMI™ Components on the market.
Innovative Floating Design centers around your HDMI™ cable to hold your HDMI™ Cable in its natural position.
Accommodates various fixing screw distances up to 3/8" from center of HDMI™ Input to center of fixing screw or mounts to chassis using supplied VHB adhesive.
Ultrasonic Threaded Insert allows for variable adjustment and repeated use. Use your hd EZ lock™ over and over again, as you change your system or your HDMI™ Cables.
2 locks will set you back $20 but if you have a need to make sure your USB cables don't get yanked out, be sure to drop by BlueEcho's website.
Back in October we told you HD was coming to the Roku Netflix Player. It's now being reported that the new 1.5 firmware update is available and may take up to 10 days to get to every customer.
As of this morning, we still weren't seeing the update here at the NAV headquarters. Luckily we found the trick to force the update at the Roku Forums:
Just go to Settings>Player Info>Check for update.
It will say "Your software is up to date"
Check again 2 more times. On the 3rd time it should start downloading the software.
Visually the new updates adds a few features like a home screen (supposedly to navigate through the new content that's been promised) and of course the ability to watch HD programs which looks really good. We'll give you more details as we check out the update.
Hoping for a new home theater system for Christmas? We'll keep our fingers crossed for you. If you do get one, we found a generic but handy video series over at YouTube that'll help you with the entire setup from beginning to end. Enjoy!
A friend of mine just buy a really nice 50 inch plasma tv and was having trouble hooking it up. When I went to his house to help him, I noticed he was having trouble with the AV cables. Yep, he was hooking up a $3,000 plasma TV with AV cables.
After I came to, I explained HDMI cables to him and we went got a cable for him. The reason I'm bringing this up is that one of our sponsors, HDMI King is having an incredible deal on HDMI cables. The last time I looked you could get a 2 Meter Gold Plated HDMI to HDMI Cable for under $12 (locally, my friend paid $22.00).
So if you haven't got your HDMI cable for you new TV, be sure to check out the special.
If you view video content through from Joost from their software application, here's some sad news for you from PCMag:
Startup Joost has decided to stop broadcasting videos through its standalone application, and will instead join the ranks of many other video Web sites, the company said Wednesday.
Instead, viewers will be invited to go to Joost.com, which the company added in September.
"With our new website, you're able to watch all of our videos - TV shows, music videos, and films - right in your web [sic] browser," Joost said.
"At this point, we have decided to discontinue our original Joost software application," the company added. "As of Friday, Dec. 19th, you will no longer be able to watch videos in the Joost software application - but you will be able to find all of our videos, and more, on Joost.com. "
While everything seems to be going web-based, we here at NAV prefer gold old software applications to view our content. Oh well life goes on, huh?
If you don't have a VUDU player yet, there's a great new reason to get one. According to CNET.com:
Vudu is adding some free video content to its set-top box. Streaming video from providers such as YouTube, MSNBC, CNN, MTV, PBS, and National Geographic will be available, as will access to Flickr and Picasa photos and a handful of casual video games. The new content will be available via a free firmware update that's scheduled to hit all Vudu boxes over the next 24 hours.
Another tidbit in the article:
If the new Vudu features sound compelling--or potentially compelling, at least--remember that Best Buy's $200 movie credit--bringing the price of the $300 Vudu BX100 to an effective price of just $100--expires on December 31.
You might want to jump on the Best Buy deal if you're leaning towards the VUDU.
Description: If you or someone on your list has a Neflix subscription then a Netflix Player is definitely the ticket. At $99, the player lets you stream all of the "Watch Instantly" titles on Netflix. The device is also wirless and extremely easy to set-up. Did we mention it's only $99? Heck, it's so cheap you could make it a stocking stuffer. The Roku Netflix Player makes our list of one of the best gift ideas this year.
Feature Details from Roku:
Over 12,000 movies and TV episodes instantly
No change in monthly Netflix costs and you continue to get your DVDs by mail
Easily connects directly to your TV
Pause, rewind or play anytime - just like a DVD
Guaranteed to work with your TV or your money back
Description: Liquid TV by Nero is a simple but exciting product that turns a Windows PC into a TiVo based TV recorder. If someone on your list is itching to build their own media system or simply likes to watch TV on a PC, the Liquid TV package is a must-have item this holiday season.
Feature Details from Amazon:
Enjoy the unique and easy-to-use TiVo interface; all the great TiVo features like Season Pass and WishList included
Watch and record shows in HD and Standard formats on your TV or on your PC
Export your favorite programs to portable media players; burn shows to DVD or save them to your hard drive
Schedule TV recordings online (US and Canada only); Pause Live TV on your PC
Includes a 12-month subscription to the TiVo service
If you're an MP3 nut, you probably have a few tools on your PC that'll help you get the most out of your music. Still, we wanted to point you to a small but informative article that lists some free MP3 tools. The article at Software How-tos starts out:
Ok, you've got loads of music on your computer - but is that all cluttered, unorganized, unmanaged and simply not easy to access? May be you need to do something. Literally hundreds of free software let you play, organize, burn and do lots more with your digital MP3 music collection. Have a well tagged, sortable music collection that you can be proud of!
Here comes a carefully chosen list of free programs that might help you squeeze the best out of your MP3 collection.
A few of the items on the list are:
VLC Media Player(VideoLAN)
J.River Media Jukebox
Magic MP3 Tagger
Be sure to check out the full article so you can get the most out your music.
Description: We here at NAV think one of the greatest inventions ever is internet radio. While we can stream radio over our computer, we prefer a stand-alone device that's easy to use and set-up. One of our favorite devices that accomplishes those goals is the Grace ITC-IR1000 Wireless Internet Radio with Pandora Radio Support. Be sure to read our full review at the link above and if you're looking for a gift for the music lover on your list, you can't go wrong with the ITC-IR1000.
Feature Details from Grace Digital:
11,000+ internet radio stations in any room of your house. You can choose to play internet radio stations, podcast, or even stream your MP3's from you PC or MAC.
Pandora Radio Streaming now available. Stream your Pandora personalized stations to any room in your house. With song bookmarking you can purchase songs directly from iTunes or Amazon via the Pandora website.
Want to hear what's going on in your home town, state or country? Using your radio browse stations by location. Listen to music and talk radio from Europe, Asia, Africa...virtually every country in the world.
Slingbox owners know what a great device it is. If you don't know what a Slingbox is, it's a device that hooks up to your team and streams your TV stations so you can watch TV from a computer or PDA from anywhere in the world.
To compliment the Slingbox, SlingMedia has introduced Sling.com, a website that offers video from other content providers. The best part of the website is you can also view your streaming TV from Sling.com, which eliminates having to install software to view your show. Xchange.com gives a little more detail about Sling.com:
The site enters a crowded field of Web video viewing sites, some from which it features movie and sports content. A deal with Hulu.com gives the site access to a lot of mainstream broadcast network programming.
The site's features include blogs, playlists and clip collections. It also has socialization features that let you subscribe to any channel, show or user to create a feed of programming and activity that reflects your personal tastes and those of your social network.
Also, Slingbox owners can now access and view their home television (cable, satellite receiver) and DVR via the Sling.com Web site, making their Slingboxes available without a software client download.
Now you can watch Slingbox on those pesty work computers that won't let you install software. Just don't get caught!
Okay, we don't usually cover toothbrushes at NAV but a wireless toothbrush is just plain cool. We're talking about the Oral-B Triumph with SmartGuide. According to OralB:
The Oral-B Triumph with SmartGuide is the first and only power toothbrush that uses a wireless digital display to help improve your brushing habits. It also has sensor to tell you if you're brushing too hard and alerts you when it's time to change the brush head!
Pretty snazzy, we've got a review unit on the the way and we'll let you know what we we think but in the meantime you can sign up for a $15 mail-in rebate on Triumph by visiting www.oralb.com.
Remember a few weeks ago when we told you Blockbuster was going to offer a device to download content to your TV? Well it's a now a reality. According to Blockbuster, when you order 25 movie or TV episode rentals you'll receive a free MediaPoint Digital Media Player by 2Wire. Some of the MediaPoint Player features are:
Browse and watch movies directly on your TV
Rentals start at just $1.99
DVD-quality looks great, even on HDTVs
Uses progressive playback, not streaming, so video quality is consistent no matter the speed of your internet connection
Has a wide range of outputs including HDMI and component
New movies are available within 30 days of video release
While it would be nice to see more devices that focus on free content or even a subscription model like Netflix, it is nice to see another big player like Blockbuster enter the market.
If you're using the MediaPoint service from Blockbuster, drop us a comment and let us know what you think.