May 2, 2008

Popcorn Hour A-100 Available For Public Pre-Order

We recently got an email from our friends over at Popcorn Hour letting us know that they have opened up their ordering system to everyone. For a long time you were only able to buy a Popcorn Hour A-100 by signing up as a member and getting on their wait list. In the past this wait list was months long. Well it looks like they have been able to ramp up their manufacturing process and have enough devices to open up the ordering to everyone. It will still be a first come first serve system, so the sooner your pre-order the quicker you will receive your Popcorn Hour streamer.

We have had our Popcorn Hour A-100 in the office for awhile now and we have been really digging it. Of course it is not without its flaws, but it is one of the top streamers on the market today. And for $179 it is a total bargain. You would be hard pressed to find a HD( 1080p ) media streamer out there for under $200. So If you are in need of a new media streamer and you want to be able to stream true HD, stream over NFS and have a device from a company that is devoted to constantly improving their product, then this is the box for you. Like we said, for $179 it is a no brainer.

You can read all of our coverage of the Popcorn Hour A-100 Media Streamer here.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

April 29, 2008

The Ripserver CD Buring Device to Solve All of Your Problems

One of the biggest hurdles people face when contemplating the move to a digital music lifestyle is the prospect of having to rip all of their CDs to their hard drive. When we made this leap it took about 2 weeks using two computers, specialized software( EAC and CDex are tops of Windows users ) and constant attention. Not everyone has the time to deal with this and so their thoughts of going digital fade into the ether for another year. Well there is now a solution, albeit a pricey one.The Ripserver is a dream for people that don't want to have to deal with all of the complexities that can creep up when ripping CDs yourself. This system is about as idiot proof( no offense ) as possible. Select either MP3 or FLAC and the bitrate and start shoving discs into its hungry mouth. It will rip the source material to its internal drive( 500GB or 1TB ) and allow you to stream them right from the box with its built in UPnP server. Oh and it is DNLA compliant also so no worries about compatibility with any music streamer you may already have or are thinking about buying.

It will also act as a standard RAID 1 NAS device so you don't have to feel that you spent over $1000 on a simple music ripping device. If all of this didn't already have you salivating then check this out, the device sports a 1Ghz processor. We haven't really seen a NAS device sport anything north of 500Mhz. The performance of this sucker should be top notch and streaming should be smooth as a dream. Also the fact that it is running Linux means that you can bet the Linux community will have ported some cool apps to this in no time. If you live in the UK you can get one from Amazon or if you are in the US you can get one here. If we hadn't ripped our CD collection already we would be all over this thing. As always if anyone owns this we would love to hear about it.

via engadget
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April 28, 2008

MediaGate HD MG-450HD Now Available For Purchase

MediaGate_450HD.jpg We had reported earlier about the new streamer from MediaGate and our thoughts on it were mixed. While it did offer a lot of nice features we thought it lacked a lot of polish. Also the stock image they were using to promote the device did not have an HDMI input on it, but they were talking a big game about HDMI so that really confused us. We said that we would update you when we got more info about the release date of the MG-450HD so here we are letting you know that they are officially being sold so if you want to grab one you can click here. We are going to try and see about getting one in the office and see how it preforms. We'll be sure to let you know what we find out.

available at Amazon.
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April 23, 2008

D-Link MediaLounge DPG-1200 Media Streamer Now Shipping

After a fairly long lead up the DPG-1200 is finally available for purchase. This streamer will not only allow you to stream your media content from your PC to your TV but also allow you to bring all the 'great' video content on the web right to your living room. You will be able to browse all of the big video sites on the web and view them via the DPG-1200 on your TV. This will connect to your home network using its wireless connection( WPA2 thankfully ) and can connect to your TV via Component, Composite or VGA. You can check out all of their other specs here. The list price is $239.99 and we are working on getting one in our offices to give it a run through to see if it is something you guys might like. If you have any questions about this device let us know and we will do the best to answer them or track down the answers from D-Link.

via engadget
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April 21, 2008

Our Thoughts on Sony's S-AIR Technology

Sony's new S-AIR technology is a very curious move given the amount of wireless streaming technologies out there. S-AIR is a proprietary technology from Sony that is suppose to make setting up and sharing your music among your S-AIR compatible music devices a snap. While we can see the draw of this convenience, the simple fact that you are locked into yet another proprietary format makes us think this is a bad idea. The wireless streaming market is getting very crowded these days and coming out with a closed system doesn't seem like a great idea in our mind. In our opinion if you want to make your device the simplest to use and also sell a lot of units make the setup work with standard wireless protocols. With the amount of time and money Sony probably spent on developing the technology they could have come out with something that played nicely with the rest of the wireless systems that you have in your house currently. I guess this is the way these big companies operate. Come out with a new technology, push it hard and hope that everyone supports it. Unfortunately we don't see this one panning out. There really is no major added benefit of S-AIR. Most devices these days are very simple to setup so having a new Sony system that doesn't work with anything else doesn't make a ton so sense.

If after all our rants you are still interested you can check out their press release that is filled with all the specs over at ehomeupgrade
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April 17, 2008

NEC set to release a bunch of very interesting portable media streamers in Japan

OK so forgive us if the details of this post are a little sparse, but we stumbled across this article that really peaked our interest. NEC is launching a few new products in Japan this month and one of them in particular looked really cool and we thought you might be interested. The Lui RP is a hand held device that sports a full QWERTY keyboard, sliding four inch screen and the ability to stream content from your network. Normally we have been seeing devices that stream to your TV, but this little guy will let you sit anywhere within range of your network and view any of your media. There is very little on the way of detailed information regarding specifications so this is really all we've got. They will also be launching a small notebook( 10.6 inch screen ) and full fledge desktop to round out this new Lui Media Streaming line of devices. If we can get our hands on any more info then this we'll post an update. So once again, let us all drool and wish we lived in Japan: home to some of the worlds best gadgets.

via mymce
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April 10, 2008

IOGEAR Portable Media Storage Unit: Take your Media With You

iogear-hd-pmp.jpg IOGEAR has released a pretty cool little product called, what else, the Portable Media Player. This is basically a slimline hard drive attached to a video out unit allowing Component or Composite connectors for hooking up to your TV. The Component cables will allow you to upconvert to 720p if you have a HDTV. We love these types of products here at NAV, a small device to take your media with you. Going on vacation somewhere that has a TV and you want to watch your movies? Take this with you, hook it up and feel like you never left home( although that kind of defeats the purpose of a vacation, but nevermind that ). We think it is just cool to be able to walk around with a 120GB disk full of your media, plug it into a TV or stereo and enjoy it without having to lug around a bunch of discs. It comes with a remote control so you can control everything from your couch. To get content onto the device you hook it up to your PC and transfer data via USB 2.0. This is very PC centric so you Mac and Linux folks out there you may want to pass on this. Check out after the jump for the supported codecs/protocols.

vai engadget ArrowContinue reading: "IOGEAR Portable Media Storage Unit: Take your Media With You"

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April 9, 2008

Another Homerun for Olive: The OPUS Nº4 and MELODY Nº2 Wireless Music Streamers

We had reviewed a few of the earlier products from Olive( here ) and other then the price we loved what they had to offer. Like a lot of the high end music streamers on the market, the creators of the Olive products put a lot of care and high end components into their devices so as to provide the richest sound possible. You will be hard pressed to find any negative reviews of their sound quality. We just read an article over at MacWorld talking about the two new music players they have released: the OPUS Nº4 and the MELODY Nº2

The OPUS Nº4 is a full featured and seemingly complete audio streamer. For starters it comes with internal storage up to 1TB to keep all of your audio files on. It has a CD-R/RW drive to allow you to rip a CD to the hard drive or burn off a playlist. It can stream from a network source over either its Gigabit Ethernet connection or use its 802.11g wireless network. And lastly it has a USB port that you either backup your music to or stream from an MP3 player. It supports WAV, FLAC and MP3 for music formats and has a sweet little LCD screen on it that will show you what is currently playing along with album art. Now where this gets really interesting is with the other product that they have, the MELODY Nº2.

The MELODY Nº2 is the remote access point for the OPUS Nº4. Each OPUS Nº4 can support up to ten MELODY remote units. The MELODY Nº2 has a pretty slick touchscreen interface that lets you navigate your music collection that is either being served up by your OPUS or from a UPnP/DNLA server on your network. The rest of the components are the same between the two. You'll fine Gig Ethernet, 802.11G wireless, the USB port, etc. The OPUS will run you $1499 while each MELODY unit costs $599. If you are really into music and dont' mind the price point this would be an excellent choice for a multi-room music system.


via macworld
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April 8, 2008

Orb Audio: Perfect Speakers for your Entertainment System

We always have our eyes open for new audio gear for our home setup. We definitely don't have the most high tech audio system which makes us very jealous when we come across cool new gear that isn't ours yet. Well we just came across these amazing looking speakers from a company called Orb Audio. These are very small speakers, about the size of a baseball, that can fit in with any decor you may have. As we have learned, the size of the speaker no longer defines its quality. Sure you can go out and spend tens of thousands of dollars on crazy audiophile speakers, but for most of us that is total overkill. These little guys are well within the price range of anyone that is moderately into music. They have a bunch of different options available for pricing from $239 up to $1500. They are a small company that hand makes all their own speakers and you can tell the passion they have for them by glancing over their site. Here is a choice quote from their press release that you can read in full after the jump:
The heart of the Orb speaker system is the spherical Mod1 satellite speaker, which is a little bigger than a baseball and is made from high carbon steel. The Mod1 uses advanced technologies like rare earth magnets, Santoprene, Nomex and CCAD voice coils to produce big, full sound from the smallest possible package.

ArrowContinue reading: "Orb Audio: Perfect Speakers for your Entertainment System"

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April 3, 2008

Buffalo LinkTheater HD Media Streamer Available in the US

Buffalo, makers of all kinds of storage products has slowly been getting into the home media streaming market and just announced that they are bringing the LinkTheater HD to the States. We had covered one of their earlier products, the LinkThearter DVD, and from what we had read it wasn't a top notch streamer. Well they have been in the shop and have come up with what seems to be a great little product. The LinkTheater HD supports 720p and 1080i via HDMI. Because of some weird lawsuit they can only bring the wired version of the device to the US, the wireless version is staying in Japan. There is a USB port on the back so you can hook up an external hard drive to stream off of or just stream from a computer that is on your network via the Ethernet port. It supports a decent amount of formats, check it out after the jump.
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