September 28, 2007
Well we always say that people will continue to make devices for uses that you didn't know you needed. Along comes the CyFi
, a wireless speaker system for your bike that allows you to listen to your iPod without having to have your ear buds in so you can hear the traffic around you. The design is actually pretty nice looking and they claim it easily hooks up to just about any frame out there. Not sure how well this would work in the city where there is a lot of noise, but out on the quieter roads this would probably be really nice. And since it is so small we doubt you will piss off pedestrians with the noise. Around our town there are a bunch of people that strap actual boomboxes to the front of their bikes and ride around, talk about annoying. The CyFi
should keep the music local to your small space.
Set to be released early next year for about 150 bucks, this should bring a smile to many bikers out there. Said to connect with iPods and the iPod nano, we aren't sure if this will work with all iPods or just the newer generations.
September 24, 2007
We came across news of a cool new boombox that is nothing like the boomboxes of our childhood. This new boombox is right at home in the 21st century. It has all the standard options you would expect out of a device of this size; FM tuner, CD player, decently powered speakers. But what separates this device from the old school ones is the addition of a USB port to allow reading music from external hard drives as well as an iPod dock so you can just plop down your iPod and listen to your entire music collection via the attached speakers. And if that wasn't enough there is also a SD card reader to grab music from there as well. Add in the wireless remote and it looks to us to be a very nice system for not that much money ( $177 ) although it looks to be only available in the UK currently. If you get your hands on one let us know.
September 21, 2007
Do you have an old Xbox system lying around the house collecting dust while you enjoy the splendor the the Xbox 360? Do you want a fully functioning home media streaming device, but don't feel like spending all that money to get one. Well here is your solution; grab that old Xbox, dust it off and get ready to enjoy a pretty sweet media streamer. In the old days in order to hack the Xbox to allow it to become a media streamer you had to do some pretty serious hacks whether they be hardware hacks or complicated software ones. Now those days are gone with the simple XBMC( Xbox Media Center ).
The new way to hack the box is by using certain games that people have found an exploit via a saved game. Once the hack has been completed you are treated to a pretty stunning interface that has just about all the functionality of the more expensive media streamers on the market. Lifehacker
has a great article
on how to unlock your old Xbox to achieve all of this.
There is also a large online community over at xboxmediacenter.com
and detailed descriptions of what you can do with this new software over at their wiki
. This is one of the cooler projects we have seen for taking old and obsolete hardware and really making it into something new and exciting, something that can be very useful and become the center of your streaming media world.
With all the high tech and fancy systems out there it is nice to see people working to make what many thought a dead piece of hardware a very viable alternative to multi-hundred dollar investments.
If anyone out there has one of these running at their place we would love some feedback as to what your thoughts are on it. How does it compare to other streamers you have experience with, how hard was the setup and what problems do you face with it.
September 19, 2007
is set to release a pair of cool new Home Theater systems that offer some really nice features, most notably WiFi for Audio Streaming. While these aren't the most ground breaking of Home Theater systems ever to be offered we like the idea that they are including the option to stream audio from somewhere else on your network. It also comes equipped with a USB port so you can hook up an external drive or MP3 player as well. There two models in this release are the S-102 and the S-302. The S-302 succeeds the S-301
which also offered the same USB connection ability, but lacked the WiFi option while the S-102 succeeds the S-101
and doesn't offer any WiFi or USB connection.
This offering from Denon is fairly basic sporting two speakers and a subwoofer so no surround sound, but it does have HDMI and 1080p upscaling. It looks like a very nice little Home Theater system that gives you the flexibility to stream music from your already created digital archive of music.
The fact that Denon is offering audio streaming on their new line is a good sign that you can expect to see more and more of the big audio companies bundling some kind of streaming feature into a few of their products. You can really start to feel the momentum going with streaming media in the home. It has been going on for a long time, but as of the past 6-8 months we have seen more of the bigger companies( read slow to change ) jump into the streaming media world. We expect that this holiday season along with CES in January will usher in a huge new crop of streaming media devices and we can't wait!
September 18, 2007
So Sony has a new product out and all we can say is, what the heck are they thinking. They have decided to not just jump into the home media streaming market, but jump into the high end of it. What they have produced is a massive media streamer that only the Richie Rich's
of the world can afford. Enter the HES-V1000
. At $3500 we aren't sure the exact market they are going for other then the people with too much money in their pockets, but looking over the specs it looks like they just packed as much technology into it and never really gave it much thought.
Other media centers on the market either come with some built in storage and or the ability to stream from a PC over a network. Well Sony thought that was a bad direction to go in and instead did something that had our head spinning. They have included a 200-disc Blu-ray changer in this sucker. So nevermind the fact that Blu-ray is failing to win the format war with HD-DVD, but who the hell owns 200 of them. For that matter are there even 200 Blu-ray discs worth buying? On the positive side they do include a 500GB hard disk so you can store a lot of data internally, but it isn't clear how you get data onto the disc. Is it moved over from another computer on your network or ripped from one of the discs in your changer?
One of the stranger choices the designers made was the streaming aspect. Instead of following the crowd and allowing the box to funnel music from your network to the device so it can play it or pass it to an entertainment system, it will stream out from the box to either certain Sony products equipped to handle the stream or DLNA devices like the PS3. While DLNA
is slowly growing in popularity it is by far the most widely adopted setup. Sony likes to keep you using their products and makes it hard for you to go outside their little world. So this choice just furthers our distaste for the box.
We can't imagine that this will be received too well next month when it goes on sale. With all of the devices out there that basically do what it does( except of course for that 200 disc changer ) we can't imagine many people will be going out to spend $3500 on it. We will report back next month and see if we have to go eat our words.
September 14, 2007
One thing we love is free open software, especially when it is of very high quality. We have followed the free media center apps for many years now, mainly MythTV
. These are very robust and fully featured media centers that run on Linux and are completely free. MythTV is the more mature of the two and has a wider adoption in the world.
One of the downsides of MythTV, Freevo and the other open source packages is that they tend to be hard to install and they require you to have at least one Linux machine in your home, not to mention experience with the Linux OS. This tends to be enough to turn most people without a little tech savy off. We have tried to tell people how great it is, but once they realize they can't buy it and need to install and configure it they get turned off very quickly.
We can't blame them at all. As any reader of this site knows we are all about things working out of the box. We don't mind having to configure systems and tweak settings, but your average person doesn't want to, or need to, deal with that. So with Monolith releasing a pre-built system running MythTV is a huge step forward and one we find very encouraging.
Continue reading: "Monolith Deliver MythTV Without The Nasty Install"
September 13, 2007
has come out with a very cool boombox that brings the age old music player into the 21st century. For years boomboxes had either a single CD player or maybe a carousel that could house 3 or 5 discs. Well that was so 1992. Now-a-days its all about digial music and Panasonic has seen the light and released a hard drive based system.
So basically you put a CD into the single CD tray and rip it to the internal hard drive. It is shipping in two models, the 80 and 160GB versions meaning you can put a lot of music on here. As for what formats it can play it supports:
It also has a very nice look to it, making far more appealing then those clunkers of yesteryear. There is also support for your iPod so no need to feel like you have to rip you entire collection all over again. It is nice to see big companies releasing products like these. Sometimes you find that the big established companies don't take risks and just like to keep doing things the way they always have been. We can't imagine it is too long before the bulk of the major electronics companies home media products have some sort of internal storage, be it flash or hard drive.
Unfortunately this is slated only for Japan for now. We will keep you posted if we find out it is coming State side
September 10, 2007
We here at Networking Audio Video love multi-function devices and we love nothing better then a cool hard drive that has media streaming capabilities. The Emtec Movie Cube -R
is more then just a run of the mill media streaming hard drive, it is a full fledged media streaming device. Emtec
has always been a company that had cool innovative products, but we really love the prospect of their forthcoming Movie Cube -R
Like most hard drives that stream media the Movie Cube
has an internal hard drive that will store all of your media and let you play it on your TV. The nice thing about this device is it also has video in allowing you to record off of your TV, which is a great addition to this niche. The included remote allows you to choose what actions you want to do, record off the TV, playback a movie off the internal drive, or view photos off of your camera.
Continue reading: "Emtec new Cube -R Media Streaming Hard Drive"
September 5, 2007
We have been watching the onslaught of Personal Media Players that have hit the shelves over the past year and have been largely unimpressed. Not to say that these devices suck or anything, but rather, for us we don't see the huge appeal as of yet. With the limit storage most of these have, or the limited functionality nothing has really peaked our interest. Well that has slightly changed after we saw the LINQ.
This small device does what you would expect it to do, it plays music and movies from the included 4GB of flash. Devices that do that are a dime a dozen, what makes this special is that it has built in WiFi so you can stream your music collection from your PC to the LINQ. So that basically allows you to walk around anywhere with your entire music collection on hand, no more limitations with drive size in these small devices. Now you can have access to your home collection from wherever you can get a signal. Now we have no idea how your music would sound over WiFi or if you could even get this working beyond your home network, but the possibilities have us very interested.
We might have to get one of these when they come out this month.
August 27, 2007
Well it looks like Neuros
is not resting on their laurels and is in the works to release a new media streaming device that adds some nice additions to the standard fair.
Details are sketchy at the moment, but it looks like they are trying to add a layer of metadata over existing TV shows so you can access related shows and whatnot. We aren't sure how they are going to pull it off, but if they do then they will have opened up a whole new arena in viewing television.
One of the few cool features of AppleTV
was the ability to ask for related shows when you finished watching a YouTube video. If Neuros can pull that off with regular TV then we will be waiting in whatever line forms to pick one up.
We should have our first Neuros OSD
in house soon to get a review of their basic media streamer and you can be sure we will keep you posted with any new developments along the lines of this new device.