May 31, 2009
Lots of great things happened this May at NAV. More media players, set top boxes, A/V streaming sources and, best of all, we added more intelligent folks to our Twitter feed. Our thanks to Jawbone Earwear, Daniel Voice, Lamont, AAA Gifts, Paige Copsey, Fluent News, Shidan, and Kitty on Cam. And, by the way, if you like our tweeting, you will love that you can get Networking Audio Video on your Kindle for a mere $1.99 monthly with automatic updates and a 14 day free trial.
A/V to PC Streaming
Game Console Streaming
PC to TV A/V Streaming
Steals and Deals
May 29, 2009
Adcom hasn't been at the forefront of the market for a while now, but they have reorganized to create their Special Edition 2 channel stereo amplifier. The GFA-555SE has been upgraded to meet ETL/ETLc, FCC, LVD and CE/EMC requirements with FR-4 circuit boards. Specs in brief:
- 200 watts per channel, 8 ohms
- 300 watts per channel, 4 ohms
- 600 Watts Bridged 8 ohms
- 2.5 dB Dynamic Headroom
The amp is available for $1,299.00 and Adcom is planning to roll out more products through 2010. They also have a trade-in program so check their site to see if you qualify.
May 29, 2009
Napster has lowered its least expensive music plan from $12.95 to $5.00 monthly. The subscription has unrestricted streaming from their catalog of over 7 million tunes and 5 DRM-free MP3 downloads a month. The $14.95 premium plan for portable devices is still available for those not owning iPods.
May 28, 2009
Nielsen has determined that as of February, 1/3 of US TV homes had at least one HDTV and that they were the single most popular home entertainment purchase during the holidays. The survey also claims that they are not replacing other sets, but instead relocate their older ones to other rooms. The average household has 2.6 total sets.
NPR's "Entertainment Trends in America" report claims that the US spends 80% of its hard earned bucks renting or buying discs as opposed to downloading. Sixty three percent was spent on DVD, while 7% went to Blu-ray. The remaining amount went to non-physical media such as VOD. While these two announcements certainly let us know the trends in viewing habits, we want to know if that 2.6 figure is like having 2.3 kids.
May 28, 2009
Kinetic UK seems to be covering all bases as its new 3 media center PCs has both Blu-ray and HD DVD compatibility. They also have up to 6TB of storage space, Core 2 Duo/Core 2 Quad/Core i7 processor choices and many CTO options. Choose between the Mini HD:Hub for £849.00 (~$1,351.00,) the Home HD:Hub for £1449.00 (~$2,306.00,) and the X HD:Hub at a price of £1569.00 (~$2,497.00.)
Via Kinetic UK
May 27, 2009
Microsoft now has a Windows Vista Media Center Netflix Streaming application available. It needs either Windows Vista Home Premium or Ultimate, but not if you have a WMC extender. Using your Netflix account, you can search, manage your queue and find out what is available for instant viewing. Setup is promised to be quick and easy.
Via Microsoft Green Button
A recent report, published in the journal Clinical Pediatrics by researchers at Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus, Ohio, has stated that almost 17,000 children were rushed to ERs after heavy or unstable furniture fell on them. Those injuries had risen 41% since 1990. Forty seven percent of them were caused by televisions, many bigger flat-panel TVs. To kidproof your house, have your plasma mounted by experts, or make sure you use a Plasma TV Standthat is stable and can handle a toddler who thinks it is a jungle gym.
May 26, 2009
Comparison shop at an electronics store in the HDTV department and our guess is that if Aquos is there, it wins best picture, hands down. Here is another reason to covet one with the release of their latest HDTV that has a digital tuner for programming and a burner for recording Blu-ray discs. The Aquos DX, aka LC-20DX1, has a 20" screen and two built-in speakers. Available June 20 in Japan, it carries a price of $1,590.00.
Via Slash Gear
VTech has allowed those in the US to share their IS9181 Internet Radio. This WiFi musical streamer can act as your home audio hub. It has a class D amp with 3W front-facing stereo speakers with 10W subwoofer. Search over 11,000 Internet stations with 1 touch access or remote by country, state or genre. When you tire of radio, hook up your MP3 player or PMP.
Via VTech IS9181 Internet Radio
May 25, 2009
iHome has released the iP1 Studio Series Audio System which not only looks good, but features some cutting edge equipment. It has a 4-channel, 100W Class D amplifier with two 4" woofers and 1" dome tweeters. Match that with a Bongiovi Acoustics Digital Power Station and remote. The iP1 works with iPhone, iPod and other players with an aux/MP3 line in jack, and charges while it plays. Finally, the component/composite video-out allows viewing on your TV. Due out this July, it has a MSRP of $299.99.
Verizon Wireless users can now take advantage of MiFi2200, a battery operated device that can establish a WiFi hotspot almost anywhere for up to five users. Install on PC or Mac, load Verizon's software and activate. You will get a default access, but you can change it if you like. Operation is basically a single button push. After four hours of usage, recharge by USB. With a 2 year contract, MiFi will cost you $99.99 after a $50.00 rebate with standard 3G service. Sprint is also planning its own MiFi network in the future.
May 22, 2009
A couple of weeks ago, we needed a new cable. Thinking that it would be a simple and inexpensive thing, we went to our nearest electronics where the least expensive USB extension cord was $15.00. We managed to buy one at half price when we found one in that had been repackaged, but we certainly learned our lesson. The moral here is that before you let that sales associate talk you into saving your gas by buying an overpriced cable, you can probably buy online for a fraction of the price. Here are some examples of some that are each less than $2.00:
The UK based Naim has stretched their line of audio products with an all-in-one home entertainment system. The NaimUniti has an integrated amp, IR player, DAB/FM tuner, CD player, and iPod and MP3 dock. It also features a USB and network stored player, network streamer and analogue converter. Let us not forget the 10, count 'em, 10 inputs with 50W per channel. This is about all the audio you'll need in one convenient unit for £1995 (~$3,025.00.)
May 21, 2009
Pioneer, always state of the art, has two new fine-looking combos that combine amps, SACD Players and FM tuner:
9MK2 Series :
Premium Amp A-A9MK2 (2x55W, USB Audio) + PD-D9MK2 SACD player with a Wolfson DAC and the F-F3MK2 AM/FM Tuner radio.
Premium Amp A-A6MK2 (2x45W) + PD-D6MK2 SACD player with a TI DAC and the F-F3MK2 AM/FM Tuner radio.
As each of them are sold separately you can design your own system.
Via Akihabara News
Fans of Nero will be glad to know that soon they will be bundling their new
MediaHome Essential with the LG BD390 Blu-ray Disc Player. With it you can stream photos, audio and video from your PC. The BD390 can already get Netflix HD, YouTube, Cinema Now BD-Live and upconvert to HD, as well as 7.1 surround sound channel audio output.
Via VPO Press Release
May 20, 2009
HomeSeer Technologies has released the HST-IW07 7" In-wall Touchscreen Unit. IP-enabled, it features a 7" color TFT LCD Display with a 800 x 480 dpi resolution, customizable screens, easy mounting and an LED backlit display. The display is meant to work with HomeSeer's HSTouch interface design system, so before you invest the $995.00, check out the rest of their line.
Via HomeSeer Technologies
Logitech recently launched its Harmony Adapter for Playstation 3 that
supports all 51 commands. The accessory converts Harmony IR commands to Bluetooth signals with a simple guided set up. Play a game, turn your PS3 on or off, watch a DVD or Blu-ray movie with one button press. The adapter is AC powered, a good thing if you want instant use, a bad thing if you thought it would work when the PS3 is powered down.
Via Logitech Harmony
May 19, 2009
LG Korea has a new 5.1 Home Theater that comes with an iPod dock located on a Blu-ray player. The HB954TBW is compatible with all iPods and is available in Korea for 1,299,000 KRW (~$1,029.00.) We expect that in the future, a dock will be an automatic add-on to most home systems.
Via Akihabara News
For those who are both developers and boxee owners, the company has issued a challenge. Select from the three categories of video, music and photos. As an extra incentive, the People's Choice Award in each category will win a Drobo and the Judge's Choice Award will receive a 46″ Sony Bravia XBR9, which is being released in June. Get to work now as the application deadline is June 14. The winning apps will be announced on June 23 at a boxee event in San Francisco.
Via boxee blog
May 18, 2009
Asus has released a Dual TV card that can allow recording and watching analog and video at the same time while reducing CPU loading. The (take a breath) My Cinema-EHD3-100/NAQ/FM/AV/MCE RC PCI-express card has a speed of up to 500MB/second, about 3 times faster than a conventional bus. Asus also has a new widget they have named GadgeTV, an enlargeable screen that allows watching, recording and taking single shots of live TV from a sidebar.
Via Fareast Gizmos
Vudu has decided to think outside the box by piggybacking on 3rd party devices like DVD players, set top boxes and IPTVs. The company has joined with Entone that makes its own IPTV hardware. This summer, expect to see Vudu's software in an Entone update. Although the press release states, "This is the first time two competing visions are coming together in one unified service," we think it is more like survival tactics.
Via LA Times
May 15, 2009
Roth's ALFiE combines an iPod dock, DVD and CD player and AM/FM radio with digital clock and dual alarm. The dock's drive plays DVD, CD-DA, Video CD, DVCD, CDR, CD/RW, and MP3 tunes. A built-in audio engine can crank out 40W while a 2.1 amplifier, subwoofer and two front speakers complete the system. The ALFiE has an auxiliary input as well as earphone, video, S-Video and RGB outputs.
The Kito Mini Projector may look like an alien, but the prototype, designed by David Magnier, is a media viewing system that is battery powered. The LED projector can be connected to laptops, PMPs, game systems and digital cameras. Incorporated in the concept is a detachable remote with headphone jack, two wireless speakers and a washable beanbag base.
Via David Magnier
May 14, 2009
Sony has teamed with a developers group to form Loot. They plan to offer "interactive entertainment products" for PlayStation Home gamers. They already have one for us all called "Living Room Stage Set." It's basically an empty media soundstage that can be filled with cameras, props and furniture. Each "set" will undoubtedly cost $4.99 at Sony's Home Mall. We are not so sure about this idea, which they hope will spur on your friends to compete with their own Stage Set. If we had that kind of extra money, we would probably spend it on another bean bag chair.
Via I4U News
It seems that the Kindle 2 has a long way to go with its text-to-speech function. It mispronounces "Barack" as rhyming with "black" while "Obama" sounds like "Alabama." Nuance Communications, the company responsible for the dictionary, claims that they have worked out the bugs and will update the Kindle. As our new president is going to be around for awhile, we hope that Amazon can work on the problem before the new DX makes its debut. In the meantime, diehard Boston fans may find fault that the device pronounces the word "Celtic" with a hard C.
Via NY Times
May 13, 2009
The oddly named TVBLOB Box streams wireless media from PC to TV, acts as a DVB-T tuner, a 300MHz MIPS processor with a 114MB RAM, BitTorrent support, Personal Download Manager, file uploader and USB storage support and playback via two 2.0 ports. HDMI, SCART Composite Video, SPDIF outputs are also included in the package. Add another box and you get control on your PC. A basic TVBLOB will cost you €307.50 (~$419.00.)
Schmartz claims that they have the ultimate IR to Bluetooth converter for the Playstation 3. The PS3IR-1000 works the same as the BD remote and can also accept IR commands that are converted to Bluetooth packets and sent to the game system. Compatible with Windows 2000 and later, it will also make your game system compatible with univeral remotes, ingegrate with your home theater and, when attached to a PC via USB, allows PS3 control from your desktop. Best of all, it only takes a $79.95 investment.
Via Schmartz PS3IR-1000
May 12, 2009
Dare to dream. Electronic House has released their Home of the Year Awards 2009 for those that they feel are outstanding. Included is this 7,000-square-foot house that they picked as their Home of the Year. It consists of a 7.1-channel JBL Synthesis system, a 125-inch Stewart Filmscreen in CinemaScope format (2.35:1 aspect ratio), a Runco projector and CineWide anamorphic lens. Then they added a 7.1 Sonance architectural speaker system to the den and 5.1 channels in the master bedroom which has two TVs. A video game room has a triple-screen auto racing simulator and a flat-panel TV. In addition, they added sounds to the outside with 16 speakers. We want one.
Via Electronic House
The Coby MP3 Player has 1GB of memory and comes with its own stereo speaker system. Compatible with both Mp3 and WMV files, the speakers can also be used with other audio systems with a 3.5" plug. The best feature is its price. You can purchase several of these for the cost of one iPod. Coby has other
cheap electronics at discounted prices so check it out on the link.
May 11, 2009
Rotel's new RA-1520 can be used as an amp with your home theater or stand-alone stereo system. The company has been around about 50 years, so by now they have mastered A/V. It will play both uncompressed digital and analog music with a 2 x 60W design. Add to that inputs for tape player, tuner, CD player and aux. The RA-1520 is available for $999.00.
We have mentioned before that the six largest film studios and the DVD Copy Control Association claim that RealDVD violates copyright laws and are taking them to court. The RealNetworks program was finally launched last week and allows DVD owners to duplicate a single DVD. The digital version can only be played on the computer that made the copy. The judge that is presiding is Marilyn Patel, who was also involved in the demise of Napster. Let's face it. There are already plenty of ways to copy DVDs besides what the studios refer to as "Steal TV." If you want to keep track of the proceedings, click here.
May 8, 2009
If you still haven't made your claim to fame on YouTube, Flip has a new UltraHD Camcorder. Our Flip has enabled us to upload with such simplicity that we are positively addicted to shooting everything in sight (including our cat.) They have also released a tripod that Amazon will toss in for free (or another accessory) if you purchase before May 13. Sure there are others for less, but as far as we are concerned, if it ain't broke...
Via Free Accessory w/ Flip UltraHD Camcorder
Virgin Media customers, rejoice. You can now get HD BBC iPlayer content. There is VOD streaming, plenty of programs to choose from, as well as highlights that will include the last two Dr. Who specials. If you are in the UK and don't yet subscribe, you need an iPlayer and HD ready TV with HDMI socket. Check with Virgin for special deals that are going on until May 31 that can save you £100.
Via Virgin Media
May 7, 2009
Myro Control has new Home Automation software for both custom installers and DIYers. Myro:Home has easy setup and usage with any HAI Ethernet line of controller. The company promises it only takes about 30 minutes to establish, most of that time spent inputting data for the controller. Here are the requirements:
- HAI Home Automation Controller (Omni IIe, OmniPRO II, Lumina, LuminaPRO) with Ethernet Port and firmware 2.14 or later.
- MS Windows 2000/XP/XP Embedded/2003/Vista or later versions
- Microsoft .Net Framework 2.0
- Adobe Flash 9 (or greater) Player
- 25MB free disk space
- 512MB RAM
- 800mhz or Greater Processor
- Internet Connection
Try it free for 15 days, then choose "The Basics" for $249.00 that includes security, lighting, climate, status, events, messages, weather and stocks. "The Works," that includes IP camera, whole house audio and energy monitoring support, will set you back $498.00.
Via Myro Control
We figure that if you want to have Bluetooth, it would be even cooler in blue. Zoom's 4300AF Modem connects to the Internet, email and fax for any Windows computer or Bluetooth enabled PDA. With a range of up to 328 ft., the modem connects with speeds up to 56,000 bps and its compression can support data rates of up to 200,000 bps. The 3.5 x 9.8 x 7.1", 12.8 oz. device includes a security key to deter unauthorized access.
Zoom 4300 Modem
May 6, 2009
Two new Bluetooth 2.1 headphones have been released from Sony. The DR-BT101 has a 30mm neodymium driver and offers 12 hours of playback, while the DR-BT100CX has 8 hours of playback and come with 3 sizes of silicon ear buds. Both are USB rechargeable and promise the company's "exceptional sound" with their echo and noise-canceling technology. No word yet on availability or price.
Via Sony Bluetooth Headphones
OPPO Digital has a new Blu-ray player available, the BDP-83. It will also play such formats as SACD, DVD-Audio and HDCD. The device features 7.1-channel analog and dedicated stereo outputs, Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD audio codec support and USB connectivity. Of course it is packed with BonusView and BD-Live and comes with a backlit remote which will control not only the BDP-83, but any other device hooked up to the player via HDMI. Right now the company is offering a $499.00 pre-order price.
If that's beyond your budget, OPPO also has a DV-980H 1080p Up-converting Universal DVD Player with HDMI and 7.1CH audio playback formats, including DVD-Video, DVD-Audio, Super Audio CD with DSD, Audio CDs, HDCD, WMA, DivX and more.
May 5, 2009
The Lan-Storage Network Server attaches to USB 2.0 and can be used with an HDD box, flash drive, printer, card reader or other electronic devices. With support for Windows, Mac and Linux, it is easy to install, has a key recovery system and a uPnP media server function. Get yours for $55.99.
Via Giz Fever
Epson has a new deluxe Ensemble HD Home Theater Kit with 3 LCD 1080p projectors, a motorized 100" screen with integrated surround sound, AV controller, DVD player, universal remote and all the hardware you need to make every kid on the block call your place home. The kit can be assembled without assistance and ranges in price from $6,499.00 to $7,999.00.
Via Epson Ensemble HD
May 4, 2009
Perceptive Automation has recently announced the 4.0 version of Indigo Touch, their Mac-based software. Control lights, appliances, audio and video gadgets and more by iPhone/iPod Touch while saving energy at the same time. The system has WiFi, Edge or 3G connectivity, but you need an OS X 10.4.11 or higher Mac with either an Intel or PowerPC G4 (or higher) processor. Download a free trial for 30 days or purchase the Pro for $179.99 or the Lite version for only $89.95.
Via Perceptive Automation
We try to make it a practice to see every movie nominated for best anything. Would that Netflix could get them to us faster. The good news is that we finally got to see "The Wrestler" this past weekend, a movie that seemed more of a remark on the life of Mickey Rourke than a remarkable film. It was overshadowed by "Milk" which, if you haven't seen, must put at the top of your queue. (See the original documentary as well!) We give "Frost/Nixon" and "Changling" strong B ratings and although Slumdog Millionaire," "Benjamin Button," and "The Reader" have all been released, we have yet to view them. Sometimes patience pays off in the long run.
Via Academy Award Winning Movies
May 1, 2009
The D-Link HD Mediabridge Coax Network Starter Kit uses your home's existing wiring to create a high-speed network connection. It comes with 2 HD adapters, each with an Ethernet port and coax connector. The DXN-221 can be connected to your router, then to game consoles, media players, Blu-ray players or other electronics, including Internet access if your router already has it. Password protection is included for security.
Coax Network Starter Kit
Sabrent has a new solution for bringing unencrypted digital cable TV to your PC with HDTV quality. The TV-DGUSB 2.0 Digital HDTV Tuner turns your computer into a DVR while recording movies and TV shows in full-original quality and you can set it to record while you are away. The Windows compatible tuner comes with a remote and is priced around $40.00, depending on where you shop.
If you missed any of our discoveries here at NAV in April, now is your chance to catch up. New streaming sources, audio and video devices, and savings on lots of networking tools.
By the way, we want to thank our new Twitter friends. You know who you are, but we like to give you special notice anyway. Thanks to Katherine Ryan, Tweet Find, Stevz Crownz, Geoffrey Malloy, Sandler Nagtegaal, Jean-Marc Soumet, Life Simplified, Nightlife Supps, Moshe Cohen, and Kata Leifsdottir. If your name isn't here, we'll be watching for you!
A/V to PC Streaming
Game Console Streaming
PC to TV A/V Streaming
Roku Netflix Player
Steals and Deals