"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Iomega, one of the leaders in helping you store your content, has released a Hi-Def media streaming hard drive to help with experiencing your media via your entertainment center. The Screenplay is a USB based hard drive streaming device that will allow you to store just about all of your videos, music and pictures in one place. There is no network with this device so you will have to load it up via USB with all of your content, but it does support HDMI which most of the media hard drives on the market do not support. This will allow you to play a bunch of different file types like:
MPEG-2( AVI / VOB )
MPEG-4( AVI / DiVX / XVid )
With the Screenplay you will be able to view your videos at 1080i which should satisfy most people these days. Sadly there is no H.264 support as of yet. We couldn't find any info on their site as to what CPU they are using in there so it may be that they can't do H.264. Hopefully they are using the newer Sigma 8634 processor. That way H.264 can come via a firmware update later. If they are using a lower powered CPU then H.264 probably will remain a pipe dream. This is a device we may have to go out and get as this could be a very cool travel streamer. Going somewhere and want to take your media collection with you, bring the Screenplay. We'll hunt around for some hands on reviews in the meantime and see if this thing is worth your time.
One of our favorite companies when it comes to media streamers has been MvixUSA and they have just released another cool portable media streamer dubbed the MV-2500U. This little( 5- x 3- x 0.8-inches ) device sports a 2.5" internal drive and basically will be able to fit in your pocket. You can now take a large portion of your media collection with you wherever you go. And the fact that it will let you output in HD is a huge bonus for this little device. MvixUSA has focused on this segment for awhile now, producing products that can act as your main home streamer, but also have the functionality to be taken with you. The MV-2500U does not have an LCD screen like the rest of their products so you will have to rely on the on-screen menu system to navigate your stored media.