January 12, 2008

Apple to Announce Major Update for AppleTV at MacWorld 2008


Well it looks like the good people over at AppleInsider have learned that Apple plans to to announce a major update to their media streamer, the AppleTV. Apple can not be happy with how the AppleTV sold in 2007 and we would guess is looking for ways to boosts its sales and get its foot more firmly in the media streaming market. There has been a lot of rumors floating around that iTunes will be updated as well to allow for HD movie rentals so a new AppleTV that can take advantage of this online rental option would make perfect sense.

As with most rumors there is very little in the way of concrete information, but with Macworld just a few days away you can be sure that this rumor will be answered soon, so stay tuned.
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

January 7, 2008

D-Link DSM-330: Finally Coming to the States


We had reported on the GejBox awhile ago and it has since launched in the UK, but word out of CES is that it will be coming to the States in the first half of this year. From everything we have read this looks to be a very impressive device that can handle just about any file you can throw at it and we can't wait to get our hands on one. We have been so disappointed with most of the media streamers we have demoed so far. We have high hopes for this one though. You can be sure that the minute it is for sale in the US we will snatch one up.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

CES 2008: Let the fun begin


Another year has past and another January geek festival is about to begin. CES starts today and we couldn't be happier. We have been blogging about streaming devices for almost a year now and have been playing with them for far longer. We really feel that this is the year that CES has a heavy dose of quality network streaming products. The concept of streaming media made a lot of headway into the average persons home in 2007 and it looks like 2008 is shaping up to be the big break out year.

We will do our best to sift through the tons of information that will be pouring out of Vegas and present you with all the cool new products that make our streaming lives that much better. If there is something in particular that you would like some info on let us know and we will do our best to get you answers. We do have a brave soul on the floor and he will be updating us with any new info that he gets. So stay tuned and lets keep our fingers crossed that this year will not disappoint.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 2, 2008

EZFetch HD Networked Media Streaming Device Unboxing

Just the box

Our EZFetch Media Streamer showed up today and we were very excited to tear into it. Before we ripped it apart and put it through our testing we made sure to take some unboxing photos for you so you had something to look at while we test.
So with out further ado here are the pics of the device. A full review will be coming next week.

A look at the back of the box

The first look inside

A litter further into the box

Everything that was in the box. They provide a lot of cables which is nice

Front of the EZFetch, notice the free 128MB USB stick they provide

A rather nice assortment of video outputs. The only thing missing in our opinion is Component out.

So there you have it. Our unboxing of the EZMedia HD Media Streamer. Stay tuned for our full review.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 27, 2007

Your Vote for the Best Streaming Product of the Year


Well the end of the year is upon us and we want to take a look back and ask our readers what they feel were some of the best streaming products of the year. We have covered a lot of different types of devices this year, some old and some new and we want to know what you think are the best. Since this is our first year on the web we won't limit you to products that were released just this year for voting. Feel free to vote for products that have been out for awhile, just state your case why you think they are the best. We have our opinions on what ranks where, but we want to hear what you have to say.

So come on and add a comment and tell the world about media streaming devices that have blown you away. We bet there are a bunch out there that we haven't even heard of yet.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (3) | social bookmarking

December 19, 2007

Honeywell's New Product Allows Us to Transmit HDMI Over Cat5


Well we see another example of companies seeing a problem and stepping in with a good solution. Honeywell has added another product to the new segment of allowing us to transmit HDMI over standard Cat5 cable. We reviewed a product from Tributaries in the past that did something similar, but it used an external device to do all the conversion. What makes this product really cool is that it is an in wall setup. If you are one of the lucky ones that has Cat5 running throughout your house already this could be the perfect solution. Using a standard wall plate mount this will fit right in with the rest of your network drops around the house. Behind each plate is where the Cat5 will plug into and on the outside of the plate is the actual HDMI connector port.

We love the idea of having the ability to stream HD content anywhere we have a network drop without lost of quality, assuming of course if we stay in the ~200 foot range of the source. Devices like these are what is going to transform our living rooms into complete media experiences. Soon the days of having all of your equipment in one area, crammed together because they all need to be directly connected will be gone. You can have your TV on the wall in front of the main couch, your stereo on the other side of the room near the listening chair and speakers wherever the hell you want them. Between piggybacking on existing cabling( Cat5 and power ) and using wireless technology the entertainment center of tomorrow will be a lot more flexible and all encompassing then what we have today. With wireless HDMI around the corner we will be seeing a complete decoupling of your media equipment.

There has been no price set on this yet, but it should be launching any day now. We will update you when we hear about this actually being sold.

via ehomeupgrade
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

December 17, 2007

Archos TV+ Nearing Launch


It looks like the Archos TV+ is set to be launched the first week of January. We had reviewed this back in July so we are very excited to see this nearing its launch date. Looks like it will be shipping in 2 models, with 80GB($200) and 250GB($350) of built in storage.

This seems like another great competitor to the likes of AppleTV and one that you can be sure we will be all over when it is launched. From what we have seen of the interface it looks to be rather clean and easy to navigate. Archos has a reputation for making quality products and as this is their first foray into a full time streaming box we can only imagine that it is going to be great. Where this might set itself apart from Apple is that not only does it have an internal drive, but it will be able to stream from another PC on your network and not just iTunes videos. It will hook up with any UPnP server that you have running on your network and use that as one of its media sources. This is one of the biggest drawbacks to the AppleTV in our opinion. Apple forces you into their world and doesn't make it easy for you to use your existing video library as content for the AppleTV. Products like the Archos TV+ are the types we love. They get the simple point that a lot of people out there don't want to be forced into one way of doing something.

Anyway, they launch soon so be sure that we will have new info when we get this sweet new product in house.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

December 12, 2007

Microsoft Positioning Itself to be the Center of Your Media Streaming World


Well it looks like Microsoft is making a huge push to become the de facto media streaming solution in your house. Just about every time they try and break into a new market they start with a product that doesn't match up against the already existing competition in that space. But they have more money then just about anyone so they keep at it. They throw so much money at the product that after awhile, say 2 or 3 years, people just come to see it as the standard in the space. There was a time when people laughed at the Xbox and saw the PS2 as the best console around. Microsoft actually lost billions on the first Xbox, but they knew they just had to wait and improve. Make your beachhead and don't give up. Well here we are at the end of 2007 and the new Xbox has become the platform of choice in the States.
ArrowContinue reading: "Microsoft Positioning Itself to be the Center of Your Media Streaming World"

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

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