March 11, 2007

Buffalo Link Theater DVD

Buffalo has been making NAS ( Network Attached Storage ) equipment for many years, but recently they have been trying the waters in the networked media world.

With this release they have basically thrown the kitchen sink into the Link Theater. It has the ability to play just about any audio format you can think of and can output it in either analog, optical and digital coax. It can also output video in either s-video, composite or component. It has a DVD player which is nice since you could use this as your primary DVD player and not feel the need to add yet another device to your already overcrowded entertainment center. The DVD player supports progressive scan and from what we have read the playback is very respectable. Here is a very thorough review at

So as we read more about the Link Theater we were very impressed with what Buffalo had been able to release, but it seems that it falls down on one of its biggest features and that is video playback. We are always tolerant of some hiccups here and there, but from the sound of it steaming video playback is terrible. We will keep you updated on any future firmware releases that may address these issues.
If you would still like to get one you can pick one up for pretty cheap at Amazon

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

March 8, 2007

Hauppauge MediaMVP Hands on Review

We received our MediaMVP today and we got right to the task of ripping it open and setting it up. We first installed the server software that came in the box. Nothing exciting there, just your basic server install. We then set to the task of hooking it up to our computer monitor for our first test. It has the standard connections you would expect on the back: ethernet, power, composite, s-video and digital coax.

Once we plugged the power in the MVP found our host server right away and downloaded the client software it needed to boot up. The MVP doesn't store its OS on the box, it downloads it each time it boots from the server( this opens it up to some great hacks we'll cover in a later article )

After it found the server it configured itself and then started the process of getting ready to finish booting. This is where the wheels fell off for us. It was stuck in an endless loop trying to contact the server. We couldn't figure out how this could be since it just found the server seconds ago to download its client software. Not to be daunted, we started changing the way we were hooking it up.

Maybe it didn't like our gig router so we hook it into a 10Mbit Hub. No dice. We read online that it likes to be hooked up to switches, so we hooked it up to a switch and guess dice still.

At this point it had already failed our most basic test which is it should just work out of the box. We don't mind playing around with these things and searching online for the solution and staying up late trying to solve the problem, but that is not what mom and pop are going to want to, nor should the have to.

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March 6, 2007

Netgear Digital Entertainer EVA7000

Released a few years ago, the Netgear EVA7000 Digital Entertainer is Netgear's frist try and making a consumer device fit for the living room. What they have come up with is a very nice product that allows you to view your photos and movies as well as listen to your music over your stereo/TV. By all accounts this is a great device if you are looking for something to bring all of your digital media to your living room and not break the bank doing it.

It has the ability to hook into your network either wired or wirelessly(b/g) and with the dual antenna that are on the back, having a weak connection to your wireless router won't be a problem. A quick word of caution for those that buy this device and want to use it with their wireless network. Out of the box it only supports WEP encryption, which as we all know is so 2003. The company does offer a firmware update that will upgrade the box to WPA. So we HIGHLY recommend that the first thing you do is get the update!
The EVA7000 boosts support for a large assortment of formats and that right there is a huge selling point for us.

Like we said, its been out for awhile and isn't the most cutting edge device out there( no HDMI ) but for the price it might be a nice way to try out streaming your content in your house. You can pick one up at for cheap these days.

They recently released the EVA8000 with support for HD content. Look for our review on that coming soon.

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MvixUSA MX-760HD Review

The MX-760HD from MvixUsa is their latest offering in the networked digital media market. The Mvix 760HD is basically an external hard drive that has built in media playing capabilities. Hook this up to your TV and you can, via the on screen menus, browse the media that is backed up on the internal hard drive ( up to 750gig can be purchased and installed by the user ) or another location on your network. This is a very stylish device that offers what a lot of people have been looking for, an attractive unit that can easily display their media on their TV. Very few people want to sit at their computer to watch movies or look at sideshows of pictures. Hook this up to your TV and you won't have to. Once you have the hard drive set up to work with the Mvix, whatever you put on it will be accessible either via the front control panels or the remote control. ArrowContinue reading: "MvixUSA MX-760HD Review"

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SqueezeBox 3 First Impressions

We just received our shiny new Squeezebox the other day and wanted to share with you our first impressions. We have been extremely excited to get one of these guys in house for a long time now and when the box arrived we couldn't wait to tear it open and get at the goodies. Upon opening it up we have to admit that we were surprised at the size of the unit. It is slightly bigger then we were expecting, not that its a bad thing, just its wider is all. We decided on the all black version and once we got all the protective tape off we were blown away at how sexy this little guy is. So we ran over to our media cabinet and started hooking this puppy up. We removed the optical cable that we were using for our airport express( bye bye iTunes ) and plugged it into the back of the Squeezebox. Then we just hooked up an Ethernet cable and then power. We decided to go for wired instead of wireless since we already had an Airport Express next to the media cabinet and we could just plug into the switch that was down there. No need to worry about setting up our wireless stuff again. ArrowContinue reading: "SqueezeBox 3 First Impressions"

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March 4, 2007

D-Link DSM-520 MediaLounge Wireless HD Media Player

D-link has released a new networked media player with the DMS-520. They have added HD support up to 1080i so you can now view your photos and movies in all their glory. It comes with support for both wired and wireless connections to your network. The player is sized perfectly to fit in with the rest of your equipment and not stick out like some of the other devices we have seen. ArrowContinue reading: "D-Link DSM-520 MediaLounge Wireless HD Media Player"

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Hauppauge MediaMVP

Hauppauge, long a player in the video capture card world, has moved into digital media streaming. The MediaMVP is a low cost device that allows you to stream your digital media to your TV. They have included both wired and wireless connections so you can set this little guy up anywhere in your house, regardless of what kind of network you have.

The MediaMVP will allow you to play MP3 and WMA files for audio and MPEG 1 and MPEG 2 as well as DivX on the video side. With the included remote you are able to browse your PC, via the included server software, and select the video, song, or photo you want.

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

February 27, 2007

Apple TV - The next big thing?

Apple TV is Apples foray into more then just streaming music around the house, but rather streaming media of all kinds. With the ability to hook into your iTunes library this little device can stream all the HD content you have bought from the iTunes store and play it right on your HDTV as well as let you listen to all your music. With its small form factor( think about half as big as a Mac Mini ) it will be sure to fit nicely in your media cabinet and with the ability to use the new draft n standard of 802.11 for its wireless connection you should have no problem streaming HD over it. The AppleTV uses a modified version of FrontRow to display your music,video,photos,audio books, etc on a very simple menu system displayed on your TV. Using the supplied remote you just navigate the menu like you would an iPod and select what you want. This is one of those products that is going to help bridge the gap between geeks like us gushing over networked media and mom and pop realizing the beauty of digital storage of all of your media. Lets hope Apple can do it again and revolutionize yet another area of technology! ArrowContinue reading: "Apple TV - The next big thing?"

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

Review of the Slimdevices SqueezeBox

Slimdevices latest consumer level network music device brings hi-fidelity to the masses. SlimDevices has been around for a number of years and has been one of the first companies to offer not just streaming music for the home, but hi quality streaming music. The company is founded by a group of audio enthusiasts that wanted nothing more than to be able to play music anywhere in their house and make it sound great. Their first line of products was the Squeezebox, a sub 300 dollar network attached music player that combinded hi quality audio with stylish design. What seperated this devices from others in the same space, was that the Squeezebox was one of the first to be aimed at the audiophile crowd with its hi end DAC processor. Now with version 3 they have stepped it up yet again. They redefined the look of the unit to something most people believe is stunning( us included ). They have further improved the internals making it the best sounding Squeezebox to date and they have updated the software that runs it. ArrowContinue reading: "Review of the Slimdevices SqueezeBox"

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Roku Soundbridge

Roku emerged awhile ago with the notion to change the face of the digital media landscape for consumers. It took until the release of the SoundBridge for their products to really reach mass appeal. The Soundbridge M1001 is their entry level networked audio device and it has been getting lauded with great reviews. C|net has a quick review of the M1001. With a sleek and low profile look this will be sure to make a great addition to your music cabinet. I know one of the concerns in my house is how all of this gear I keep adding to my collection will look. Some items I need to hide creatively, but by the looks of this( and with my wife's permission of course ) it would sit proudly on top of my entertainment center.

The display is not as sharp and crisp as the Squeezebox but it is still is good enough to see from far away.
It is also able to hook into iTunes so you can leverage the work you have already done setting up your iTunes library.

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

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