November 15, 2007

GMG TVisto Pro 3500 USB 2.0 / Ethernet Media Player


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We just stumbled upon this really cool new media streamer today and we were pretty blown away with what we read. Out of no where this little( read 6.5 inch wide ) media streamer seems to have all its bases covered. It offers decent amount of file formats to be streamed over it as well as offering multiple ways in which to stream them. You can install in internal SATA drive to the device, you can hook up a USB drive to it or you can stream content over your local network.

Hook the TVisto up in your entertainment cabinet, connect it to your TV and you will have access to all of your movies, music and photos at the touch of a button. The setup seems pretty simple and from what little we have seen of the interface it looks very clean and easy to use. This is the type of device that we think could really bring a whole new crop of people to the media streaming world.

Read after the jump about file formats and what we view are the shortcomings. ArrowContinue reading: "GMG TVisto Pro 3500 USB 2.0 / Ethernet Media Player"

David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (5) | social bookmarking

November 14, 2007

Pinnacle ShowCenter 250HD Media Receiver


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There is a new media streamer on the block and its name is the ShowCenter 250HD from Pinnacle. They have thrown the kitchen sink at this one and it looks like they have come up with a pretty sweet device. As is the standard these days it has built in 802.11b/g along with a standard Ethernet port on the back. It will accept streams from any UPnP server so that you can use your existing streaming solution and just add the new box. No proprietary software is needed which we feel is the death of a lot of these systems these days.

The list of formats that it can stream is fairly impressive with XviD, AVI, MWV 9, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, DivX HD, MP3, WMA lossless, WMV-DRM and WMA Pro.

That is a fairly complete list that would make anyone happy. The only things missing are ogg and FLAC, but we can forgive them for that since most players these days don't support them. Not saying it is right, just saying they are following the trend. Also missing is an HDMI port, so people dead set on hooking all their streaming devices with HDMI will be out of luck here, but we subscribe to the school that component video is just as good....if not better :)

Outputs include Component, Composite, S-Video, Analog Stereo Out, Coax and Digital Audio. There is also a USB port included so that you can stream data from either an external disk or a MP3 player. We should have one in house next month when they hit shelves in the States so we will let you know what we think. For $199 this could be an amazing system if it lives up to the hype.

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

November 13, 2007

Radiospire Networks announces Availability of its Airhook Chipset for In-Room Wireless HD

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Radiospire, a small Massachusetts based company, has come up with an amazing new wireless chipset that could revolutionize the industry. They are claiming that this chip was designed with streaming HD signals in mind whereas the other major standards( 802.11n and Ultra-Wideband ) where not. In their press release they say that the chip will deliver 1.6 Gbps transmission speeds which will enable device makers to stream pure uncompressed data wirelessly. No more need for compression and decompression which can only degrade the overall experience.

These chips are already being manufactured, so we will have to wait and see how this will be used, but if they can deliver on their promise then we are in for a whole new way of thinking about streaming media. We are very excited about the prospect of living in a world without all the wires that we are saddled with these days.

We will have our eyes open for the any products included this new chip set. Here's to hoping to a truly wireless future.

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

October 18, 2007

Fiire Media Streaming Computer Could Be All You Will Ever Need

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We are constantly on the look out for the coolest devices to stream media around the house. They are typically proprietary devices from the likes of MvixUSA or Apple or Netgear and they are closed systems. Well as much as we like these systems( and own a few ) our hearts are with the open systems. Devices that use software that can be modified by the user, have additions developed for it and basically be totally customizable. We have reviewed MythTV in the past and as much as we love it it usually tends to be a complete pain in the ass to setup. Other companies have released pre-configured MythTV boxes, but nothing like this.

Well the good people over at Fiire have released what could be our dream media streaming device. They have taken Linux MCE( basically a souped up version MythTV ) and put it into a very quiet and attractive case to make a great media streaming system for even the most discerning of media geeks. One of the biggest issues to consider when putting a media streaming computer in your entertainment center is noise. We won't go into all the features of Linux MCE, just check out their site here and a good video of the system in operation here, but needless to say it is cooler then you could imagine. The fact that someone has bundled this all together in a pretty sweet package brings a large smile to our face. They have a bunch of offerings from the main beefy server you could keep in the basement while you use one of their smaller offerings to be the client that you keep in the media cabinet. They even have a product that attaches right to the back of your LCD TV so there are no cable lying around and no ugly devices sitting around.

These products don't come cheap, but they do offer you something that very few products do, the ability to configure the software completely. If you were so inclined you could modify the code yourself since this is all open source stuff. Another great thing about this is since it is based on MythTV you can separate the functions of your setup so you could use that beefy server you put in the basement to do all the heavy lifting like encoding and decoding while that nice and quiet system you put next to your TV just takes care of the streaming the media up.

We see these boxes for geeks that have some extra cash, really enjoy the complete package that Linux MCE offers and don't mind doing some tinkering from time to time. We will come back with another review about performance and usability after we have done more research and/or get a system in house so stay tuned.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 17, 2007

Sony to Release 80GB Networked Digital Photo Album

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Sony is set to release a rather unique product dubbed the HDMS-S1D( great name we know ). This puppy is a self contained digital photo archiver. There is an internal 80GB hard drive that can store roughly 50,000 images. You can import your photos various ways whether it be by flash drive, USB or Ethernet. It will hook up to your TV via HDMI, Component, S-Video, or Composite. With this output ability anyone can hook this up and start enjoying their digital photo library on their TV. Full specs aren't out so we aren't sure if the Ethernet port will allow you to house your photos somewhere else and stream them or just be able to copy over your network to the device. Either way this looks to be a really slick device. You can use either:
  • Memory Stick
  • SD card
  • CF
  • xD
to load photos so this should jive with just about everyones style. It also looks like you could plug your camera directly into the device via a mini-USB port and push pictures to the hard drive.

Along with just the basics of being a place to hold all of your photos it also offers some minimal editing, you can also rotate, delete and group photos. This should be available sometime this month for $400. We are going to try and get our hands on one and let you know how it works. Sony has released some questionable products in the media streaming world, we are curious where this ranks.

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

October 16, 2007

D-Link DSM-320 High Speed Wireless Media Player In House

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Well we just got the D-Link DSM-320 media player in house and we are looking forward to putting it throught its paces. This is one of the first major players that D-Link came out with to compete in the digital media streaming department. D-Link has really made a push in the recent years to establish themselves as one of the major players in the this space. They have continually released newer and better products of the years and they are slowly cementing their name along side Apple, Sony and Netgear as the major providers of quality streaming products.

We have just begun our testing, but so far it looks like something that is right up our alley. Setup was a snap and the fact that it works with so many media servers like TwonkyMedia and TVersity really makes us happy. We love that device manufactures allow their products to be open to other media servers and don't force you to use theirs. There is no worse feeling for a techie then to purchase what seems to be a perfect product only to realize that the people that developed the software were morons. The fact that D-Link gives you the option to use their streaming software or any of the other popular ones gets two thumbs up from us.

We are in the process of testing it out and we expect to have more info for you guys soon. Stay tuned for our in depth review.

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

October 12, 2007

Popcorn Networked Media Tank Lauch Day Only Days Away

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We here at Networking Audio Video love a good rumor and/or a promise of the next great new device. Well as were were doing our daily scouring of the net looking for great information to bring you we came across something that peaked our interest. In a couple of days( October 15, 2007 ) Popcorn Hour will launch what could be our newest favorite product. They are rumored to be releasing a product that hits all of the features we here at Networking Audio Video dream of.

There isn't much info now since the site doesn't go live for another 2 days, but what we do know is very interesting. Supposedly, we are looking at a media center streamer that acts not only as a NAS server, not only as a BitTorrent server, but also a device that can stream in HD. As anyone that has read our blog for any length of time knows is that we love a solution that allows us to download and share media without having to keep our main power hungry PC on all the time. One of the main advantages of having a device like this take the BitTorrent downloading and NAS storage away from your main computer is that this is a low power device. You can leave this on over night and not see a huge spike on your electric bill.

So it looks like with the limited amount of information that is available that you can expect to stream content at 1080p resolution which isn't that common among media streamers.
We aren't sure what to actually expect, but all will hopefully be revealed in a few days and then we can update you on what could possibly be our dream NAS/Streaming device.

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

October 11, 2007

Review of the Orb Media Streaming Server Software

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We have played with the Orb media streaming server for awhile now and it looks like we might just finally get it. When we were first playing with this free software we were intrigued for sure, but we didn't really see the major benefit to it. We have tons of devices that stream all kinds of media around our house, what does this software do that makes me want to play with it?

Well one thing it does really well is it opens up your entire media library to you anywhere you are with a net connection. After you install the software on your PC and you allow it access through your firewall you tell it where are all your media lives. It then starts indexing everything and adding it to your private Orb web page. You then just need to log into your Orb page to be able to have access to all of your favorite media.

Now you can make a playlist out of your entire collection of music at home or create a slideshow of pictures you recently took, or better yet, watch that TV show that you recorded and didn't have a chance to watch before you left the house.
ArrowContinue reading: "Review of the Orb Media Streaming Server Software"

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

September 21, 2007

Using Your Old Xbox to Stream Meida in the House

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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.

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

September 18, 2007

Sony Unveils Massive Home Media Server

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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.

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

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