September 27, 2007

QNAP Updates Their NAS Boxes to Play Nicely With Consoles

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We have reported on the very cool NAS devices that QNAP has been producing in the past and it looks like they have added a major piece to their offerings. They have updated the firmware for two of their new NAS devices; the TS-109 and TS-209. They have added DLNA support( Digital Living Network Alliance ) so that their NAS boxes can be used to serve up content to the any device on the network able to handle DLNA.

The really cool thing is that they really are aiming at the newest generation of gaming consoles since they all support DLNA. Now their NAS devices appeal to a much broader base of consumers. There are a lot of people out there that love their Xbox 360 and PS3 not only for the games that it allows them to play, but for acting as the center of their digital media universe. Having NAS devices able to serve up content for these devices makes the prospect of not needing another device to handle the media streaming all the more promising.

We hope to get the TS-109 in house soon so we can try this out and see how it performs.

via connected home news
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

September 26, 2007

EchoStar Buys Sling Media

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Well it looks like Sling Media just got rewarded for all their years of hard work and great products. EchoStar, owners of Dish Network, just bought one of our favorite tv streaming companies for the low low price of 380 million dollars.

We aren't sure what to expect from this merger, but we can hope that they integrate the Slingbox software into their future satellite boxes. It would be nice to wrap all this technology up in one device. Who wants a cable/satellite box, DVR box and a Slingbox in the cabinet. If they roll them up like DirecTV did with Tivo then you will have a very powerful box and a major new reason for people to jump ship from their current cable/sat provider and join Dish.

The deal is going to be finalized before the end of the year so we expect '08 to the be the year of the products actually merging and producing something we can buy.

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

September 19, 2007

Denon's New Sound System to Offer Music Streaming

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Denon is set to release a pair of cool new Home Theater systems that offer some really nice features, most notably WiFi for Audio Streaming. While these aren't the most ground breaking of Home Theater systems ever to be offered we like the idea that they are including the option to stream audio from somewhere else on your network. It also comes equipped with a USB port so you can hook up an external drive or MP3 player as well. There two models in this release are the S-102 and the S-302. The S-302 succeeds the S-301 which also offered the same USB connection ability, but lacked the WiFi option while the S-102 succeeds the S-101 and doesn't offer any WiFi or USB connection.

This offering from Denon is fairly basic sporting two speakers and a subwoofer so no surround sound, but it does have HDMI and 1080p upscaling. It looks like a very nice little Home Theater system that gives you the flexibility to stream music from your already created digital archive of music.

The fact that Denon is offering audio streaming on their new line is a good sign that you can expect to see more and more of the big audio companies bundling some kind of streaming feature into a few of their products. You can really start to feel the momentum going with streaming media in the home. It has been going on for a long time, but as of the past 6-8 months we have seen more of the bigger companies( read slow to change ) jump into the streaming media world. We expect that this holiday season along with CES in January will usher in a huge new crop of streaming media devices and we can't wait!

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

September 12, 2007

Sony ads HD to their LocationFree Line

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So it looks like Sony has stepped up and added HD to their LocationFree devices. We had reported on their LocationFree line up earlier and we had thought they had a leg up on the competition due to the fact that they shipped all of the computers with the software built in just waiting for a LocationFree server to be added.

Similar to Apple's idea of giving the user a complete experience from purchase to playing , the Sony LocationFree system seems similar. You can now buy music from Sony, load it onto a Sony computer and play it on a Sony music streamer. They are really making a big push to get a piece of the connected homes pie.

So anyway, the HD version isn't really HD, but an approximation of it. From the gizmodo article:
First, the HD signal is not your source signal but an MPEG4 compressed product. Sony claims the picture has somewhere near 96% fidelity, which is still pretty good in our book. Second, the transmitter doesn't have HDMI input. The receiving unit supports the format, but apparently Sony can't deal with transcoding and transmitting the HDMI data—or finds the prospect too expensive.
So while its not all bad there are definitely some warts. While we won't be able to play with this since it will only be released in Japan we are still looking into getting one of the standard ones to see how they perform and stack up to the rest of the devices we have tested.

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

September 11, 2007

Big Sale on Mvix 760HD at NewEgg

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Well as any reader of our site knows, we love the Mvix 760HD. It has fulfilled our desire to be able to access all of our DVD's without having to actual have the DVD present. We have put all of our DVD's on our central server and use the 760 to stream them to our TV.

Well we were very excited when we saw that Mvix had teamed up with Newegg to offer a great deal on their 760HD. You can now purchase the 760HD via Newegg for the low price of 304.99 after printing and filling out the main-in-rebate form on the website.

If there was ever a time you were thinking of jumping on the 760's bandwagon now is it. This has been our favorite media streamer yet. It has changed the way we watch movies. Having all of them available all the time without that ugly stack of DVD's next to the TV has been great.

Hopefully this deal will turn some more people onto the the 760HD and help show companies like Apple what a true media streamer should be like!
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

August 31, 2007

News: NAS Buying Guide

PC World has a good article on how to buy a NAS. Now the article is mostly centered on buying a NAS for a business, but we feel that a lot of the advice they give pertains to the home user as well. Most people don't realize they actually need a NAS solution for their home. Anyone that has multiple people accessing a network, multiple computers on a network, or a large amount of files that need to be alway accessible, a NAS is an easy way to achieve all of that.

We have always been a big fan of a central location for commonly accessed files as well as a repository for important backups. Just having a USB attached hard drive makes sharing with the rest of the computers on your network reliant on your computer being turned on and the drive being recognized.

With a NAS drive you will have storage that is always on and assuming you were smart and opted for either RAID 1 or RAID 5 you will have a secure location for all of your files. It is not enough to just back up your drives, you need to make sure that the back ups are safe and protected from drive failure. One thing we have learned over the years is that drives will fail and along with them your data goes the way of the Dodo. ArrowContinue reading: "News: NAS Buying Guide"

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

August 27, 2007

Neuros Already Working on a New Media Streaming Device?

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Well it looks like Neuros is not resting on their laurels and is in the works to release a new media streaming device that adds some nice additions to the standard fair.

Details are sketchy at the moment, but it looks like they are trying to add a layer of metadata over existing TV shows so you can access related shows and whatnot. We aren't sure how they are going to pull it off, but if they do then they will have opened up a whole new arena in viewing television.

One of the few cool features of AppleTV was the ability to ask for related shows when you finished watching a YouTube video. If Neuros can pull that off with regular TV then we will be waiting in whatever line forms to pick one up.

We should have our first Neuros OSD in house soon to get a review of their basic media streamer and you can be sure we will keep you posted with any new developments along the lines of this new device.

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

August 23, 2007

Crazy Speaker Chair to Impress and Confuse Your Guests

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So here we have another crazy speaker chair that just looks weird. It is hard to tell from the pictures we have seen if this will be at all comfortable, but if you are into weird furniture with speakers this might be your dream chair.

It comes with an included CD player on one side, a jack for your MP3 player on the other and a large speaker inside the chair to really make you feel the bass. It is only a concept chair, so don't expect to see it at your local Target any time soon, but we thought it was pretty cool.

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

August 14, 2007

New York Times Article on Internet Radio

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Well it seems that it has been rapid fire recently with more and more press on Internet radio devices. The New York Times even had a giant article describing the entire genre. You know when the New York Times gets onto something it has to have some mass appeal.

Internet radio has seen a lot of headlines of late with the taxes being levied and almost killing it for good along with a bunch of new products for the home. [here and here] No one is really sure yet what the ultimate fate of Internet radio really is, but product manufactures seem to be betting heavily on it surviving.

The article goes on to cover a bunch of the more popular devices and gives a brief overview of all of them. They cover the Noxon, NetWorksGo( from Tivoli ), SoundBridge from Roku, Phoenix and Pico and declare the Roku the clear winner.

We have not tested all of these devices, but it doesn't surprise us to find out that they picked the Roku as the best of all of them. Roku has consistently produced great products over the years from audio streamers to image viewers and it seems that their foray into Internet radio is no different.

We are keeping our ear to the ground for any more information regarding the fate of Internet radio as well as products that can take advantage of it.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

August 8, 2007

Airport Extreme Finally Gets Gigabit Ethernet

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Well it looks like Apple has finally updated their Airport Extreme Base Station to include gigabit Ethernet ports. There was a lot of other news coming out of Apple this week and this one seemed to slip under the radar, but anyone that actually uses the wired network ports of the base station is going to be very happy.

With the majority of new PCs and Macs coming with gigabit Ethernet built in it is nice to know that you can start to actually use that speed with the Airport. Sure there are plenty of other routers out there that offer gigabit speeds, but the Airport also has a print server and a USB port for NAS file storage, not to mention the 802.11n wireless aspect of it.

If we didn't already have one of the UFO looking base stations we would be all over this one.

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

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