March 23, 2007

First Impressions: AppleTV

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We received our new AppleTV today and we set about our usual routine of ripping the box open as fast as we can and racing over to our entertainment center to hook it up. Once we opened the box we had two immediate thoughts: first, I can't believe they shipped this thing with that puny little remote. Sure we knew that was coming, but we were just hoping that they would have come to their senses and given us something with slightly more functionality. Our second shock was that the only cables that shipped with the box were the power cables. No ethernet, HDMI, or any other cable that you could use with it. We didn't think it much to send at least one! Let us hook the damn thing up right away. Don't make us hunt for cables.

After the initial shock wore off we slowly walked over to our media center, plugged it in and hooked it up to our network and to our HDTV via HDMI cable. Once it booted up we were given a code that we had to enter into iTunes. Once that is done the unit is 'paired' up with the iTunes server. We then can either copy files to the device or tell it which files in our iTunes library it should play.

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

March 13, 2007

Mvix MV-5000U Multimedia Player

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MvixUSA's MV-5000U is a new approach to networked music and one that we think you will come to love. Usually the products that we cover deal with being hooked up to the network so you can keep your files in once place and play them over your entertainment center.

Well the MV-5000U takes a different approach. Basically you hook this up to your PC via USB 2.0 and transfer all of the files you want to the internal hard drive( not included with purchase ). Once you have all of your music, photos and videos on the device just move it down to your entertainment center and hook it up to your TV and stereo.

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

March 11, 2007

Buffalo Link Theater DVD

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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 trustedreviews.com

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

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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 what....no 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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David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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