CES 2008

January 14, 2008

Media Server Overkill: Introducing the Envive TheaterStation


We thought we had seen it all with the onslaught of media devices shown off at CES this year, but we just came across an article about the Envive TheaterStation and we still can not figure out who in the hell this product is aimed at. We understand that the future of movie rentals will be via a download service to authorized hardware that you will own. We actually love this idea as it frees the consumer from having to deal with the media and most of the technology that goes along with setting up a home media streaming solution. There are many different ways to go about providing customers with this 'on demand' type of service. You could stream the movie to the box from a central location, but this would rely on the end user having a fast Internet connection. You could have them download the entire movie in advance and only make it good for 2 days from when they started watching it. The list could go on, actually if I could come up with like 3 more I should probably be working for a different company :). Anyway, back to the point. Envive thinks they have come up with a great product for this second market and to be honest the details that have been released don't make much sense to us.

Their product involves a fancy carousel style movie viewer, similar to Cover Flow, and a big hard drive to store movies on. While this all sounds normal there is a strange piece that just doesn't add up. The price for their basic system is $2,495.99!! We aren't sure what they could be possible offering in this device to warrant that kind of price tag. From what we could tell from the press release you are just storing movies on the internal hard drive for playback later. While we applaud them for trying to make the process of viewing movies a more seamless process for the end user,they have totally missed the mark if they think they will see any sort of mass adoption of this device. We will try and find out more information about what this is all about and if we come up with anything we will let you know.

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

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

Wireless HD: Panasonic Unveils it at CES


Panasonic has demoed what we have been talking about for awhile now, wireless HD streaming. It looks like a camera type device beams the content across the room to a receiver that is hooked up to the TV. The signal seems to be robust enough not to get cut off if someone walks in front of it. We love the idea of streaming content without wires as it can really transform the setup of your entertainment center and frees you of having to think of where to run the cables in your house. Cables are so 2007. We can't wait till the day that nothing has cables, not even for power...ahh we can dream can't we. Who knows when this will hit for consumers, we just hope it actually hits.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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"

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

January 7, 2008

HD Radio: Sony Announces Two New HD Radio Products at CES


The two new products are labled the always easy to understand, XDR-F1HD Tuner and XDR-S10HDiP HD Radio. Both devices will have access to roughly 1500 different digital stations. They both fill different areas in the HD radio market. The Tuner is more of your straight up HD radio with an LCD screen and remote. Nothing to earth shattering there. Where it gets cool is with the XDR-S10HDiP Radio. This one comes with an iPod dock and also allows you to tag songs as you hear them over the radio. Using this info you can later go to the iTunes store and buy them. Very cool integration of web services that hint at the future of HD radio. The XDR-F1HD Tuner will be for sale in March for $100 while the XDR-S10HDiP will be for sale this summer for $180. So all you HD radio nuts get ready. I'm sure there will be more news out of CES before the end of the week about other HD radio products. Stay tuned.

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

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