January 11, 2008

iRiver UNIT-2: The All in One Kitchen Sink Media Player/Streamer


We have fallen in love with iRiver since they just make the coolest devices around. We bought the iRiver clix2 awhile back and have been in love with it, it does so many things right and makes us forget all about our nasty iPod. They really have spent a lot of time thinking not only about design, but about functionality and have really pushed the innovation of portable music. Well they were at it again at CES with their UNIT-2 announcement. They really have put everything they could think of into this new device. It is hard to fully describe it since it is so many different things in one. It is a standalone boombox with a built in CD/DVD player with two decent sized speakers and a nice 7-inch screen. This will play video and music back from a variety of sources including the CD/DVD drive, the internal 30GB hard drive, Internet radio stations or streamed from a connected computer on your network.

As if this wasn't enough iRiver is claiming that they will have VoIP phone capabilities, with video mind you, as well as the ability to surf the web so it can become the center of so many different areas of your life. Since there has been no actual release date or price set for this we have no idea the time table iRiver is looking at and if they will be able to get all of this functionality crammed into this device for a reasonable price. Time will tell, but if their track record is anything to go by then you should be getting very excited about the coming year for iRiver.

Oh did we mention that the 7" inch screen on the device detaches and can be carried around while you watch streaming movies or surf the web, yeah sorry about that :) Trust us we will scouring the web looking for any more concrete info about this and we'll let you know the minute we have more information.

via ehomeupgrade
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 10, 2008

Griffin Adds to its Line Up of Wireless Speakers


More news out of CES, this time around more cool wireless speakers to help you enjoy your music anywhere you damn well please. Griffin has been hammering away at the iPod market for a long time now and they have continually released very cool and innovative products that have help iPod owners expand the use of their MP3 players. We had reviewed one of their cool wireless speaker systems for iPods awhile back and thought it was a very cool way to free your music. Portable cube speakers that go where you go. Well they have added onto that cool idea with their latest release, the Evolve iPod Speaker Doc.

With this system you can add on to your existing Evolve speaker system. These add-on speakers just hook into your current setup and add more speakers for you to put wherever you please. With a built-in lithium-ion battery capable of 10 hours of playtime you can be sure that they won't run out of juice in the middle of the party. They also come with charging bases so if you do actually outlast the charge you can set them down on their dock and keep playing music while their batteries charge. This system is perfect for people that want to be able to position speakers around their house depending on the situation and don't want to permanently mount speakers onto the wall.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 9, 2008

Logitech Doesn't Let Us Down: Squeezebox Duet Announced


Logitech recently acquired one of our favorite companies, SlimDevices, and we weren't sure what their fate would be. We actually like Logitech a lot, just when a small company that is committed to making top of the line audio streaming gear gets bought by a big company we tend to fear the worst. We waited the better part of year, waiting for Slimdevices to release their first new product under the Logitech umbrella. Well man were we pleasantly surprised when we saw the Squeezebox Duet.

We had wondered where SlimDevices would go after the Squeezebox 3,a near flawless audio streamer. Well they didn't let us down with the announcement of the Duet. This product seems squarely aimed at competing with the Sonos products. We always felt that Sonos had the leg up in the overall wizbang look and feel. The Sonos remote is very cool and the fact that you can see album art and song information on a nice PDA like remote is very cool. We assumed that Logitech would just release another Harmony remote that added some of this functionality, we never guessed they would build a direct competitor to Sonos.

The Duet has a very simple and yet elegant design. There is the cool looking remote sporting a 2.4 inch color screen to display album art along with song information. A scroll wheel to move through your music collection and a myriad of other buttons for other functionality like jumping to the home screen or adding a song to a playlist. The base unit is a very low profile black rectangle that hooks into your stereo via the standard digital or analog ports. Everything communicates over a 802.11g wireless network. Even the remote uses WiFi allowing you to control your music from anywhere and removing the notion that your remote has to be able to 'see' your base unit.

You can purchase additional base units and hook them up around your house and they can also stream music from the same source. You can configure them to play different songs or all sync up and play the same song. Another new feature that they have rolled into this release is the concept of not needing your computer to be on and running the server software in order to listen to your music. You can either hook directly up to the SqueezeNetwork and listen to Internet Radio stations like Pandora or Rhapsody or you can store music online in a "MP3Tune music locker".

We can't wait to get our geeky hands on this sweet little product. No actual release date has been announced, but they have said that it is going to retail for $399. We will keep you posted when this is actually available and also expect a more in depth review once we get one in house.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 8, 2008

Nullriver Shows Love for the Mac, Creates Connect 360 like App for the PS3


Some cool news out of CES for all you PS3 owners is that it looks like Nullriver, the company behind the hugely successful product Connect 360 is setting its aim on the PS3. Connect 360 allowed Mac users to seamlessly stream their content to their Xbox 360 with a simple and intuitive interface. Well now it looks like they are giving the PS3 some love. Called MediaLink, they aim to make the same simple app transform streaming media to your PS3 a simple affair. If you poke around the forums you will find that a lot of people are having difficulty streaming media to their PS3. For whatever the reason, it just doesn't seem to be an easy process for some. Nullriver brings their vast experience at making console streaming a trivial matter. We will try this out as soon as we can and report back how it seems to work for us. We just got a PS3 in the office( purely for research of course ) so you can bet we will be taking this new software for a whirl. Check out after the jump all the formats it supports.
ArrowContinue reading: "Nullriver Shows Love for the Mac, Creates Connect 360 like App for the PS3"

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January 2, 2008

EZFetch HD Networked Media Streaming Device Unboxing

Just the box

Our EZFetch Media Streamer showed up today and we were very excited to tear into it. Before we ripped it apart and put it through our testing we made sure to take some unboxing photos for you so you had something to look at while we test.
So with out further ado here are the pics of the device. A full review will be coming next week.

A look at the back of the box

The first look inside

A litter further into the box

Everything that was in the box. They provide a lot of cables which is nice

Front of the EZFetch, notice the free 128MB USB stick they provide

A rather nice assortment of video outputs. The only thing missing in our opinion is Component out.

So there you have it. Our unboxing of the EZMedia HD Media Streamer. Stay tuned for our full review.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 29, 2007

OXX ALTO Media Streaming Alarm Clock


One thing has been becoming more and more popular as of late are Internet radio alarm clocks. Waking up to any web station in the world is a nice perk for a lot of people. We just stumbled across another entry into this growing market. The OXX ALTO looks to be a very strong competitor since it not only can stream thousands of Internet radio stations, but also stream music off of a computer on your home network.

It will hook into your network via a wireless connection using WEP or WPA security. It can stream the following formats from your PC:
  • RealAudio
  • MWA
  • MP3
  • AAC (unprotected)
  • AU
  • WAV
  • AIFF
  • Ogg Vorbis
The idea that you can wake up to a variety of radio stations from around the world is very cool. We have grown tired of the over the air radio that we are subjected to. Internet radio has really shown us that there is more life to radio, you just have to release it from commercial interests and allow us to just hear good music.

We found a good review of it here. From the looks of it this seems to be a great idea if you are looking for a way to grab Internet radio stations or an easy way to listen to music streamed off of your home computer.

available at Amazon
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 28, 2007

Sony VAIO VGF-WA1/W Wireless Digital Music Streamer


The Sony VAIO WA1 Wireless Music Streamer is another attempt to release a full on music streamer. Sony has gone for portability with this product as it will run on batteries so that you can take it wherever you want. With its built in speakers you now have a portable jukebox that can play all of the music from your server as well as Internet Radio from Live365.

This will play the following formats:
  • MP3
  • WMA
  • AAC
  • WAV
  • PCM
This device will not play DRM music so if you have a large collection of that this is not for you. What we really like about this is the fact that it is so portable. As long as it can stay connected to your wireless network you can have your music wherever you want. We haven't been able to find any information yet on what wireless security it supports. It seems to suporrt WEP, but we aren't sure if it also supports WPA. Don't worry, we won't go on our typical rant about wireless network security and the inherent flaws in WEP, we'll just leave it to your imagination. We also haven't seen many reviews. If we see any other info we will let you know. From what we can see this looks like a really cool product for someone looking for that portable music solution.

available at Amazon
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December 26, 2007

EZFetch HD Networked Media Streaming Device


One great thing about the Internet is there is always someone out there with way more free time then you. People love combing over the FCC database looking for the latest and greatest products that are coming down the pipeline. Thankfully, sites like engadget collect all this information and make it available to us. One such item almost slipped past our radar until one friendly reader pointed it out to us.

The EZFetch HD media streamer from EZ 4 Media boosts a lot of options for getting your content off your network and onto your TV. This device sports most of the standard connections you would expect in a new streamer these days.

For Video:
  • Composite
  • DVI-D
  • S-Video
For Audio:
  • RCA
  • Optical

One of the things that separates this device from the piles of other networking streamers is this will allow you to stream media off your Nokia N series devices. So if you captured a good image or movie while you were out this will let you stream it to your TV with the ease.

The EZFetch uses standard UPnP software to fetch its media. It comes bundled with SimpleCenter which is just one of the many great UPnP based media streaming servers that are out there. While SimpleCenter is a Windows only program you can always use the amazing TwonkyMedia which runs on Windows, Linux and Mac. For a list of the different codecs it supports check it out after the break.
ArrowContinue reading: "EZFetch HD Networked Media Streaming Device"

David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 22, 2007

Hands on with the GMG TVisto Pro 3500 Media Streamer


We have had the TVisto Pro 3500 in our office for a couple of weeks now and we have finally finished our hands on review. We had initially reviewed the product and thought it was a great sounding new device. The marketing surrounding it had all the right buzzwords and we were very excited to to get our hands on it. We have been playing with it for some time now and we have put it through our testing and come up with a review. Click on to read what we thought of the TVisto Pro 3500.
ArrowContinue reading: "Hands on with the GMG TVisto Pro 3500 Media Streamer"

David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

December 17, 2007

Archos TV+ Nearing Launch


It looks like the Archos TV+ is set to be launched the first week of January. We had reviewed this back in July so we are very excited to see this nearing its launch date. Looks like it will be shipping in 2 models, with 80GB($200) and 250GB($350) of built in storage.

This seems like another great competitor to the likes of AppleTV and one that you can be sure we will be all over when it is launched. From what we have seen of the interface it looks to be rather clean and easy to navigate. Archos has a reputation for making quality products and as this is their first foray into a full time streaming box we can only imagine that it is going to be great. Where this might set itself apart from Apple is that not only does it have an internal drive, but it will be able to stream from another PC on your network and not just iTunes videos. It will hook up with any UPnP server that you have running on your network and use that as one of its media sources. This is one of the biggest drawbacks to the AppleTV in our opinion. Apple forces you into their world and doesn't make it easy for you to use your existing video library as content for the AppleTV. Products like the Archos TV+ are the types we love. They get the simple point that a lot of people out there don't want to be forced into one way of doing something.

Anyway, they launch soon so be sure that we will have new info when we get this sweet new product in house.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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