February 8, 2008

D-Link DSM-330: Unboxing in the USA

DSM-330.jpg We were extremely lucky to score a yet to be released product in States the other day: the DSM-330 from D-Link. This is an extremely cool device that has had rumors of its release circulating the Internet for a long time. Well as the US release approaches we were given one of the European models to do a demo with. We have only played with it for a few days and we are already very impressed. One thing that we immediately fell in love with was the openness of the product. They are actively encouraging their users to develop plug-ins for the 330 to bring even more features that were not thought up before the launch, they even have a website for it.

While we still have plenty of work to do before we can give you our full review of the device we wanted to share the standard uboxing photos that some of you love and others hate. So sit back and enjoy the 330 being unboxed in the US.

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

February 4, 2008

Alienware Launching Their Own High Definition Media Server


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Not content with just making high end gaming machines Alienware is getting into the media server market. Of course this media streamer isn't meant for just anyone though. Apparently it is only available via a custom install so we only present it here as more of a novelty. This is a rack mounted setup that offers just about any option you could want in a full home server setup. This is fairly beefy server using the latest 45 Nanometer chips from Intel with up to 4 TB's of storage in a RAID 5 setup. It connects to your network either via 802.11n or Gig ethernet. We saw this over at Slashgear and they pretty much drag this through the mud so take this with a grain of salt. The HDMI output is via a DVI adapter which means you'll have to output your audio some other way. We have no idea how much this will run, but if you have the need for a home server to push video throughout your house this 'could' be what you are looking for.
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January 31, 2008

EZFetch Media Streamer: Hands On Review


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We have had the EZ-Fetch Networked Media Streamer for almost a month now and we have had time to run it through our paces and see what it had to offer. We tested it out with a variety of different types of media to see what it could handle. We wanted to see if this little streamer had what it took to be ranked with the more seasoned companies and the products that they had produced. Check out what are thoughts are after the jump.

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

January 25, 2008

WiDrive: WiFi Media Hard Drive Helps Reduce the Cables in Your Setup


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Here is an interesting device for people that like to keep things nice and tidy. The WiDrive from EDS Lab offers users a WiFi enabled hard drive that will stream their media for them. This seems like a very sweet idea as we are always on the lookout for ways to reduce the size, complexity, and power consumption of our media server. There are two models currently in the works, one that allows transfers via its USB port and the other one that just charges the device over USB. As you would imagine the one device( PX-100 ) that doesn't allow for USB transfers is a nice small 1.8 inch drive wheres the bigger 2.5 inch drive does allow for transfers.

These diminutive little devices pack a nice punch though. Check out the different options you have with them:
  • BitTorrent Client
  • RSS podcast subscription
  • Built in Web Server
  • WebDav
  • UPnP
  • Bonjour
The only major downside to this device is that it mainly connects over 802.11 b/g so we aren't actually sure how one would go about configuring this unless you removed all of the security on your network to allow this to connect and went from there. Maybe something is possible via USB, who knows. Their site doesn't really give any info as to when and where it will be available so we will keep looking and report back if we find any important info out.

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

January 23, 2008

QNAP TS-409: The Only Backup Server You Will Ever Need


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For those wanting a secure way to save all their files and at the same time have a fully robust media server look no further then the QNAP TS-409. This four bay RAID NAS server has all the great qualities that would expect out of a QNAP product. With 4 hard drive bays you can chose from just about any RAID format you want or just go with a JBOD and have one massive disk. This system is a great solution for those wanting to secure their data while at the same time looking for a low power, low noise server for hosting all of their media.

We complain all the time that requiring a PC to be running in order to stream your media is just wrong. We love that there are more and more embedded devices that are coming out that are bundling media streaming software. The TS-409 comes with TwonkyMedia, which is basically the de facto media streaming server out there. The 409 also bundles an iTunes Server as well so no matter what your needs are you are basically covered with this storage unit. Years ago storage units were just storage units. These days companies realize they need to offer more to the consumer to attract them.

We have played with the TS-209 which is their 2 bay offering and we can tell you first hand that it is an amazing product. It couldn't be more simple to set it up and within minutes of turning it on you not only have a secure way to backup your data, but you have a very robust media server. The 409 will stream to just about any device capable of dealing with UPnP including the PS3, Xbox 360, PSP, and the Nokia N95. We're sure there will be more added to this list in time.

If you don't have a good system for backing up your data and/or you need a quiet, low power, secure way to stream your media look no further, you just have seen the holy grail of storage solutions.

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

January 22, 2008

DivX Connected: Coming to the States Soon


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We have been reading about the DSM-330 from back when it was called the DivX GejBox. Well now that it has been released in Europe we have read a ton of really high praise for it and we have been drooling. Check out this great review over at tech.co.uk. They point out that while there are some minor flaws, the need for server software for instance, they come to the conclusion that is leagues above the rest of the market. We have been hearing rumors that Q2 of this year we should see this in the States. With the sad state of media streamers on the market currently we can't wait to give this a whirl. We are in the middle of doing our Popcorn Hour Networked Media Tank evaluation and while it seems better then most of the devices we have tried out, and we have reviewed a ton, there are still some basic issues that make us hope that the DSM-330 is all that and a bag of chips.

We'll let you know when we hear of a firm date for the DSM-330's launch, but I'm sure you could just keep your window open and listen for our screams of excitement.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (1) | social bookmarking

January 21, 2008

New Media Streamer From MvixUSA: The MX780HD


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After many months of silence it looks like MvixUSA will be releasing their new HD streamer, the 780HD. This is a nice upgrade to their 760HD which has garnered a lot of praise from us over the past year.[here and here] The 780 is set to fix the few problems that the 760 had. For starters they have upgraded the Sigma CPU to the EM8621L which can decode H.264 and that will make a lot of people happy since we have heard a lot of people saying they won't buy a media streamer that can't do H.264. Also added to the new device is a HDMI port which again had a lot of 760HD owners upset. We personally love Component video since you aren't subjected to the same DRM restrictions and since most experts agree that few people can really tell the difference between a movie shown via Component and one shown via HDMI. But non the less people love it so it has been added.

They have also thrown a few other new things into this device. There is an eMule client so you can download straight to the box, no need to transfer anything. There isn't much else different, the same case design although this time it is in black. The same connectors on the back with the addition of HDMI. We have spoken with the guys over at MvixUSA and we are going to be getting us a demo unit so you can be sure that we will have all the details for you soon. For those of you that held off on the Mvix 760HD for whatever reason, this could be the update you have been looking for. For those that have yet to buy a digital media center the guys from Mvix have the best multi-function media streamer on the market. So stay tuned for when we get our hands on this sucker.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 18, 2008

Popcorn Hour Networked Media Tank Unboxing


We have been waiting for the opportunity to get our hands on the Networked Media Tank for a long time and today it finally arrived. This is from a company called Popcorn Hour and they have been getting great reviews. Before we dive into the meat of the product ( we don't want to be too hasty ) we thought we would do the obligatory unboxing photo shoot for you. We have just started testing it out and we can already say that it is living up to the hype that we had been reading about. OK enough of that, lets get to the photos.

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The box, the glorious box


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January 17, 2008

Airfoil 3: Sync All of Your Airport Express' and Make Your Home Come Alive


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The Airport Express was one of the first mainstream audio streamers that we came across. At the time it was released there was no simpler full featured audio streamer on the market. We have loved ours and before we really got into audio streaming we used it all the time to stream music to our main stereo system. As we got got more into streaming we found better devices to be our full time audio streamer and our Airport Express just became a wireless extender and nothing else. Well we may have found another use for ours, actually we may want to buy a couple more while we're at it.

With Airfoil 3 from Rogue Amoeba you can now have multiple units hooked up throughout your house and stream the same music to all of them. The software will keep the music in sync by doing some upfront buffering so that while it is actually playing it can make sure that each Express unit is playing at the exact same spot. This makes for some interesting audio options as you can place these tiny units all over the house and create a whole home audio system on the cheap.

Another piece to this really cool software is the Airfoil Speakers add on which will turn any Mac on your network into another 'speaker' for the main Airfoil software. So you can walk around with a laptop that is synced with the rest of the Airport Expresses in your house. There is even an Airfoil Video player program that will let you play video on your Mac and sync it with your Airport Express as well.

For only $25 this really is a steal. You can pick up an Airport Express on ebay for around $50. So if you are looking to create a whole home audio system, but you don't want to break the bank this could be a great solution. If anyone has this already setup in their house we would love to hear about it.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

January 14, 2008

Media Server Overkill: Introducing the Envive TheaterStation


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We thought we had seen it all with the onslaught of media devices shown off at CES this year, but we just came across an article about the Envive TheaterStation and we still can not figure out who in the hell this product is aimed at. We understand that the future of movie rentals will be via a download service to authorized hardware that you will own. We actually love this idea as it frees the consumer from having to deal with the media and most of the technology that goes along with setting up a home media streaming solution. There are many different ways to go about providing customers with this 'on demand' type of service. You could stream the movie to the box from a central location, but this would rely on the end user having a fast Internet connection. You could have them download the entire movie in advance and only make it good for 2 days from when they started watching it. The list could go on, actually if I could come up with like 3 more I should probably be working for a different company :). Anyway, back to the point. Envive thinks they have come up with a great product for this second market and to be honest the details that have been released don't make much sense to us.

Their product involves a fancy carousel style movie viewer, similar to Cover Flow, and a big hard drive to store movies on. While this all sounds normal there is a strange piece that just doesn't add up. The price for their basic system is $2,495.99!! We aren't sure what they could be possible offering in this device to warrant that kind of price tag. From what we could tell from the press release you are just storing movies on the internal hard drive for playback later. While we applaud them for trying to make the process of viewing movies a more seamless process for the end user,they have totally missed the mark if they think they will see any sort of mass adoption of this device. We will try and find out more information about what this is all about and if we come up with anything we will let you know.

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

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