April 19, 2007

SanDisk Digital Photo Album

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The SanDisk Photo Album is a very cool little utility product that is sure to find a lot of success in the world. Basically it is a flash card reader that can output to a TV. So lets say you are visiting friends and you want to show everyone pictures of your new baby, instead of having everyone look at the display on your camera, you can just plug this into the TV, put your storage card in the Photo Album and bam, pictures on your TV. And as if that wasn't enough it will also let you play music and video via the TV as well.

Media formats that it supports

  • CompactFlash Type I/II
  • Secure Digital (SD)/MultiMediaCard (MMC)
  • Memory Stick/Memory Stick PRO
  • SmartMedia/xD

It also sports a USB input on the back allowing you to use a USB thumb drive for viewing your media. With the small size and the wide compatibility of input media we think this is a sure fire winner for great travel product or a very cheap way to view things on your home TV when company comes over. How far we have come from the old days of setting up the projector with the slides to now just plugging a device into the TV and boring your friends with ease.

At Amazon.

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

April 13, 2007

Belkin TuneFM Radio Transmitter Review

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Belkin's TuneFM radio broadcaster for the iPod has been kicking around for about a year or so and has been met with mixed reviews. The idea is simple enough, plug in the device to your iPod so that you can broadcast music that your stereo can pick up via its FM receiver. This is what a lot of people have to use their iPod in a car that lacks any kind of auxiliary input. While the concept is simple enough it is the implementation that often falls short as is the case with the TuneFM.

The TuneFM allows you to use any FM station between 88.1 MHz and 107.9 MHz. The reviews we have have been reading basically say that the broadcast quality isn't what you would expect. Most peoples reports range from complaining about lackluster audio playback to a very weak single that sounded like crap on their car stereo. There is an entire crop of these FM broadcasting devices and it looks like Belkin either rushed this to market or just missed the mark.

Here is the list of iPods that it is compatible with:

  • iPod nano
  • 5th generation (video)
  • 4th generation (color display)
  • 4th generation
  • mini

Hopefully they will keep releasing revisions to this so that in the future we can enjoy high quality iPod music in our car as we drive. The are available at Amazon for pretty cheap.

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

April 12, 2007

TuneView for iPod Review

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Keyspan has a new product that adds a few cool new twists to the crowded market of iPod streaming. The TuneView comes with a color LCD screen for navigating your iPods music collection. It will connect both to your stereo or your TV so you can either listen to music or watch movies. The screen will display everything you could want about the currently playing song: duration, album, title, and artist. The only thing they haven't set up is for it to display album art, but we can forgive them for that one.

There have been some negative reviews of the product though. Complaints range from the LCD screen not looking that sharp and therefor ugly, to bad button placement and overall bad ergonomic design. While all of these are valid complaints we would say that if it does its job and does it well we can always look the other way at not so great design.

From what we can tell it is a superb product that does exactly what it claims to do. The remote is a fully functional replacement to your iPod, allowing you to be just about anywhere and control your music selections. The dock is a multi-function dock that not only charges your iPod but allows for syncing with your iTunes library.

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If you want something that gives you the mobility of a remote and allows you a lot of freedoms with how you select your music then this just might be the product for you.

At Amazon.

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

April 11, 2007

Sony NAS-CZ1 Network Audio Player Review

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The NAS-CZ1 is one of Sony's first entries into the networked music world. The have combined a CD player, AM/FM radio along with the ability to stream music anywhere in your house. We like the addition of the standard stereo components like the CD player and radio receiver a lot since it makes this an all in one unit and not just another add-on to your already bulging assortment of stereo equipment.

The streaming is done through some included software called m-crew. From what we have read online the software is the major downside of this product. What was shocking to us is that the software apparently can not stream files if they are not on the actual computer where the software is installed, so anyone out there that has either a NAS or maybe an external USB drive will be out of luck.

ArrowContinue reading: "Sony NAS-CZ1 Network Audio Player Review"

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

April 6, 2007

Soundcast iCast System Review

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The iCast System is the latest product from the people at Soundcast. It is both a stylish stereo accessory as well as a very functional iPod music transmitter. Built to work with just about any iPod out there the iCast allows you to stream your music anywhere in your house with a very simple setup.

Wireless iPod docs are becoming all the more popular these days as the storage on these devices keeps increasing. With the high end iPods capable of 80 gigs they are being seen as perfect little units to run a home media station.


ArrowContinue reading: "Soundcast iCast System Review"

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

April 3, 2007

Creative's new Xdock shown at CeBIT

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Creative debuted a very interesting new line of products at CeBit this year. They are calling the technology X-Fi for "Xtreme Fidelity". The Xdock is at first glance just another run of the mill looking iPod docking station. But in reality it is so much more.

With the Xdock you can stream music to the rest of your house by purchasing extra receiver units and attaching speakers to them. Each unit has the ability to output its music through attached powered speakers or to a home audio system. That way you can have one iPod service your entire house.

It also comes with S-video and composite video connections allowing you to display photos and videos from your iPod to your TV. Creative has attempted to make the all in one media station based around an iPod and by the looks of it they have succeeded.

ArrowContinue reading: "Creative's new Xdock shown at CeBIT"

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

April 2, 2007

Review of MythTV

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For those of you with some technical know-how and that are looking for a product that not only does it all, but does it all and then some, you should think about MythTV. MythTV is an open source software package that can do just about anything with your home media. It can act as a PVR, video viewer, photo viewer, mp3 player, game emulator, RSS feed reader, weather viewer, and a dvd player. And if it can't do something you want, odds are someone has already written a plug in to do it.

The reason we say that you need some technical know-how is that this is a Linux based software package, and the installation, depending on which flavor of Linux you install on, can be challenging. We played around with this about 3 years ago and then again just a few weeks ago and the improvements blew us away. First off the install is fairly simple now following a pretty standard install script that most computer users have seen before. The interface is very smooth and responsive and the themes that come bundled are gorgeous.

ArrowContinue reading: "Review of MythTV"

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

April 1, 2007

Philips WACS700 Wireless Audio System

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Philips has released an interesting product to compete in the very competitive networked audio space. The WACS7000 Wireless Audio System is an interesting addition to the market. They offer a two fold solution to streaming audio in your house. First you can stream music from your PC like most units and also you can store music on the internal drive. The nice thing about having both options is that if you don't have a connection to your network you can just play right from the device.

The WACS700 comes with the central until and the remote player station. That way you can have the main unit play and have the remote unit pick up the signal and replay the same stream somewhere else in your house. Philips has produced a visually beautiful device, but unfortunately it is not without its flaws.

ArrowContinue reading: "Philips WACS700 Wireless Audio System"

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

March 31, 2007

Cool Sofa with Built-in Speakers

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OK, so details are in short supply about this product, but it looks really cool.
Who wouldn't want a cool looking sofa with built-in speakers that attach to a CD player and can apparently play music wirelessly. You can hang out in it and blast your favorite tunes and get that close up surround sound. We have no idea when you can get these, where you can get these or how much they will cost, but we will be sure to update you when we do.

The only information we have seen on this is here and here.

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

March 29, 2007

AppleTV Stops User Hacks

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Well it looks like Apple just doesn't get it. There are reports coming out that apparently people that have hacked their AppleTV's are seeing their hacks go bye-bye. Engadget has a good write up of what is going on.

One of the things we have found is that the devices that leave themselves open to hacking seem to always sell better. And we aren't talking about hacking devices to do illegal things, just extending the device in ways the developers did not originally intend.

Take for example the Hauppauge MediaMVP that we reviewed earlier. Obviously it isn't one of the greatest device out there, but since they have left themselves opened to be hacked they have turned a mediocre product into something that has sold much better then it would have otherwise have.

So we think that Apple might have made a blunder here. Maybe they have some grand reason why they would push more software onto their devices and closing all the doors that people have found, but we personally think that if someone wants to add a SSH server to something that they purchased then they should be able to. But, thats just us, we aren't Apple now are we :)

We will keep you updated as we learn more about what can and can't be done with the AppleTV.

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

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