April 29, 2008

The Ripserver CD Buring Device to Solve All of Your Problems

One of the biggest hurdles people face when contemplating the move to a digital music lifestyle is the prospect of having to rip all of their CDs to their hard drive. When we made this leap it took about 2 weeks using two computers, specialized software( EAC and CDex are tops of Windows users ) and constant attention. Not everyone has the time to deal with this and so their thoughts of going digital fade into the ether for another year. Well there is now a solution, albeit a pricey one.The Ripserver is a dream for people that don't want to have to deal with all of the complexities that can creep up when ripping CDs yourself. This system is about as idiot proof( no offense ) as possible. Select either MP3 or FLAC and the bitrate and start shoving discs into its hungry mouth. It will rip the source material to its internal drive( 500GB or 1TB ) and allow you to stream them right from the box with its built in UPnP server. Oh and it is DNLA compliant also so no worries about compatibility with any music streamer you may already have or are thinking about buying.

It will also act as a standard RAID 1 NAS device so you don't have to feel that you spent over $1000 on a simple music ripping device. If all of this didn't already have you salivating then check this out, the device sports a 1Ghz processor. We haven't really seen a NAS device sport anything north of 500Mhz. The performance of this sucker should be top notch and streaming should be smooth as a dream. Also the fact that it is running Linux means that you can bet the Linux community will have ported some cool apps to this in no time. If you live in the UK you can get one from Amazon or if you are in the US you can get one here. If we hadn't ripped our CD collection already we would be all over this thing. As always if anyone owns this we would love to hear about it.

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

April 11, 2008

SlingCatcher Delayed: Hoping for 2008 release

It looks like the very anticipated release of the SlingCatcher is still many months off. This was first debuted in 2007 and has constantly been pushed back. This will be Sling's first device to include an internal hard drive( hence the catcher part of the name ) and has had many Sling enthusiasts very excited. With delay after delay this news wasn't all that unexpected or anything, we are just hoping that it actually sees the light of day. We have been playing around with both the Sling products and the Hava products and it is nice that they are both competing against each other. Hava doesn't have an internal hard drive, but they make use of a file cache system to allow you to record shows to your PC's hard drive. We were hoping to be able to get our hands on one of these by now, but it looks like we will have to wait till, "sometime later this year". When we find out any more info about the launch date we will post an update. Stay tuned.

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

April 1, 2008

New Hava Player for Nokia Tablets - Mobile TV Here We Come

We have been big fans of the Hava streaming products for some time now. Sure the Slingbox's are great products, but having only one device in a space doesn't foster innovation. We have loved that Hava has come out with very competitive products and have challenged Sling every step of the way. The one area that Hava really hasn't gone has been the handheld market. Sling has software that will playback TV on a bunch of different handhelds and that is one of the big draws for many people. Well it was just unveiled that Hava has a very sweet Nokia Tablet TV streaming client. The Nokia tables are really cool devices. We have the N770 and love how we can carry around a small computer with us wherever we go. Now that Hava has made a client for it, it becomes a portable TV player! Get a 'net connection anywhere in the world and start watching your home TV. From the article over at Engadget they said that the quality was pretty good which is all you can hope for in such a small device. We can't wait for this to go live and test it out. Having a nice handheld TV is something that the geek in us can't wait for. Once this is actually released you can bet we will be grabbing it and trying it out. Stay tuned.

via engadget
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (4) | social bookmarking

March 28, 2008

Hauppauge Jumping on the DivX Connected Platform Bandwagon

Hauppauge, one of the biggest players in TV capture cards and all things video, has an agreement with the people over at DivX, Inc to create a new device based on the DivX Connected Platform. Currently only the D-Link DSM-330 has the Connected Platform installed so this is a very good sign for the future of the Connected Platform. We love what the guys at DivX have created and we are excited to see this getting added to another device. The DivX Connected Platform was designed so that people could extend it by writing plug-ins for it, thus keeping it constantly fresh and new. There is a very vibrant user community already in place creating great content to add to the Connected Platform. In our testing with the DSM-330 we have been very impressed with just how well thought out the whole system is. We have reviewed more devices then we can count and this is one of the few that had us saying wow on a regular basis.

We are interested in seeing what video veterans like Hauppauge can do with this. There is no info on when this device will see the light of day, but since the announcement just came out we would assume it will be a while, maybe CES 2009. For now the DSM-330 is the only place you will be able to find the DivX Connected Platform running in a device. If you want to play around with it you can download a standalone client/server setup here.

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

March 25, 2008

25 Million Home Theater PCs Installed Worldwide by 2013

We came across a great article over at ehomeupgrade referencing a study saying that by 2013 there will be 25 million home theater PC's installed worldwide. At first we thought this number seemed pretty low until we realized they were talking about only PC's and not streaming devices. There has definitely been a lot of products that we have seen that are mini-PCs that are used primarily for media streaming: the Fiire is one that comes to mind. With advances in CPUs using less power and generating less heat we can easily see PCs moving more and more into the entertainment center. The biggest problem having a PC in your entertainment center is the noise from the fan used to cool the PC and the noise of the hard drive spinning. We have a couple of devices in our cabinet that have hard drives and you can really hear them. With the progress that is being made in solid state disks we should see the next couple of years produce a bunch of new devices that are ultra quiet.

One benefit of having full fledged PCs as your main media streamer will be the functionality. Most of the current generation of media streamers are very low powered devices usually running a low powered Sigma chip. If the noise and power levels of embedded PCs can come down to a reasonable level then we could see some amazing devices entering our living room soon. One of the limiting factors on most of the devices we test out is they don't have the raw horsepower to really knock your socks off. Take for instance the Mvix 760HD that we are so fond of. It is using an older Sigma chip and can't do H.264 for instance. So we can only imagine that there are some great things in store for all of us in the coming years. The media streaming market is just starting to take hold. 2008 is going to be the watershed year for these devices and by 2010 they should be as common place as DVD players( call us crazy, but we are always the eternal optimists ).

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

March 18, 2008

ezSpace UFO - Truly Space Out your Adaptors


Given the amount of streaming audio and video devices we have packed into our media cabinet, it's nice to see a new type of surge protector that accomodates all of our adaptors. A surge protector called the UFO - Uniquely Formed Outlets (looks like a flying saucer with a cool blue middle from ezGear) solves the problem of fitting multiple adapters for all of our media gear into one space. It can accommodate 4-6 plugs of any size without blocking, avoids bulky adapter boxes from protruding, and the adapters do not interfere with each other or overlap the outlets themselves.

We think this is also a perfect surge protector for a mixture of an Apple AirPort Express, power adaptors, and regular plug in devices. This makes a device like the AirBase Desktop Stand for AirPort Express a bit pointless.

At UFO Easy Gear and ezSpace UFO 6-Outlet Surge Protector

Jay Brewer at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 12, 2008

Brando Wireless Keyboard with Built-In Touch Pad

Brando Keyboard Touchpad GI.jpg

Currently we use our Macbook Pro to control our Mac Mini on our 40" Sony LCD TV. It's a pretty good solution, but you don't always want to flip open the Macbook Pro to play a movie each time, or browse the web. Finally there's a solution (though we're not sure if it's Mac compatible - the Brando Wireless Keyboard with Built-In Touch Pad. The Wireless USB Keyboard with Touch Pad leaves comes fully equipped with 11 hot keys, including buttons for quick access to your browser, email, as well as a plethora of built-in media controls. To save on battery power, you can also set it up to function via USB when your within PC-reaching or on a USB adaptor. All of this is only going to set you back $57, and the bummer for us is so far it only works with Windows XP and Vista.

Via Gizmodo at Brando Wireless Keyboard with Built-In Touch Pad

Jay Brewer at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

March 4, 2008

Video Download Battle Royal: Xbox 360 vs Vudu vs AppleTV

We here at Networking Audio Video have always been about finding the best way to stream media around your house. We love the idea that you can load all of your Videos, Pictures and Music onto a server and play them anywhere in your house. While we always will love the idea of owning content we can't help but see the writing on the wall and realize that renting content or subscribing to content on the web is probably going to be the next step for many people. Devices like the Vudu haven't really interested us much since they only allow you to view/buy content that they have on their servers. Well we realize that we may have to get with the times and accept that content in the cloud is probably going to be the media streaming choice of the future.

The god people over at gizmodo have done a nice round up of 3 of the best known devices that allow you to rent/buy content from the web: the Xbox 360, the Vudu and the AppleTV. They end up leaning towards the Vudu as the overall winner, but they had a lot of good points as to why the Xbox 360 and AppleTV should be considered right up there with them. They did a fairly thorough review of the three units and we think it seems like a great resource for anyone trying to figure out which device is best suited for them. You can check out their review here.

We would love to hear any of your feedback or comments on their findings. We haven't had first hand experience with the Vudu yet so we don't know what that service is like. Anyone want to give us their impressions?

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

February 28, 2008

Stage6 Closes its Doors Today

Well a sad day has now come upon us, Stage6 has officially closed its doors. Stage6 was one of the better HD video sites on the Internet. After a few days watching videos on Stage6 it made YouTube look very crass and unrefined( not that YouTube needs much help in that department ). We loved the awesome content that they provided and we are very sad to see them go. They wrote an letter to their users explaining that the shutdown was due to the tremendous cost of maintaining the site.I guess they tried to shop it around, but in the end no one was willing to buy it.

One reason this makes us so sad is that Stage6 was an integral part of the new DivX Connected platform. The new D-Link 330 is the first device to be sold using this new framework and Stage6( which is a DivX corp spin-off ) was a major part of the online experience that they bundled. We are in the middle of collecting our notes for our hands on review of the DSM-330 and the web content aspect of it was a big part of it. Looks like once the DSM-330 lands state side in a few months people will never know how cool it was to kick back on the couch and stream HD content off the web and have it feel like it was local media. Oh well, bye bye Stage6, we hardly knew ya. Of course we are the eternal optimists around here so we are holding onto hope that someone will pick up the scraps and re-open Stage6 in some form. It is far too great of a site with such an active userbase to just let die like this.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

February 22, 2008

Study Shows Home Media Streaming Growing But Not There Yet

Not that it is much of a surprise to anyone that follows this area of technology, but the mainstream has yet to catch onto media streaming. We have seen a lot of headway with products like AppleTV and the Slingbox, but still most people listen to their music either with CDs or with a MP3 player and watch their movies via DVD. People haven't caught onto the world of streaming media. This is mostly because there is yet that killer product. The iPod single handedly brought MP3s to the masses. MP3 players existed before the iPod, but it was only techie geeks for the most part that used them. Well the media streaming market is still waiting for their iPod. Sure AppleTV has done a good job, but it still isn't taking off like some expected it to. Maybe with the addition of movie rentals it will, we'll see. I think it comes down to two things: no one has yet made a simple, elegant easy to use media streamer that just works and two the media companies have made it very difficult for people to use their content how they like.

The rental market will have to go through some growing pains as it tries to figure out the best model to give to their customers. I think it is still going to take at least 3 more years for truly great products to become available. We came across a very cool study over at ehomeupgrade about the projected rise of the in home media server market. It basically says that it is growing fast, but it still isn't there yet. They also mention that in the next 3 years we should see very rapid growth in the adoption of these technologies. Check out after the jump for the full press release.

via ehomeupgrade

ArrowContinue reading: "Study Shows Home Media Streaming Growing But Not There Yet"

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

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