November 14, 2007

Pinnacle ShowCenter 250HD Media Receiver


There is a new media streamer on the block and its name is the ShowCenter 250HD from Pinnacle. They have thrown the kitchen sink at this one and it looks like they have come up with a pretty sweet device. As is the standard these days it has built in 802.11b/g along with a standard Ethernet port on the back. It will accept streams from any UPnP server so that you can use your existing streaming solution and just add the new box. No proprietary software is needed which we feel is the death of a lot of these systems these days.

The list of formats that it can stream is fairly impressive with XviD, AVI, MWV 9, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, DivX, DivX HD, MP3, WMA lossless, WMV-DRM and WMA Pro.

That is a fairly complete list that would make anyone happy. The only things missing are ogg and FLAC, but we can forgive them for that since most players these days don't support them. Not saying it is right, just saying they are following the trend. Also missing is an HDMI port, so people dead set on hooking all their streaming devices with HDMI will be out of luck here, but we subscribe to the school that component video is just as good....if not better :)

Outputs include Component, Composite, S-Video, Analog Stereo Out, Coax and Digital Audio. There is also a USB port included so that you can stream data from either an external disk or a MP3 player. We should have one in house next month when they hit shelves in the States so we will let you know what we think. For $199 this could be an amazing system if it lives up to the hype.

via engadget
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November 13, 2007

Radiospire Networks announces Availability of its Airhook Chipset for In-Room Wireless HD


Radiospire, a small Massachusetts based company, has come up with an amazing new wireless chipset that could revolutionize the industry. They are claiming that this chip was designed with streaming HD signals in mind whereas the other major standards( 802.11n and Ultra-Wideband ) where not. In their press release they say that the chip will deliver 1.6 Gbps transmission speeds which will enable device makers to stream pure uncompressed data wirelessly. No more need for compression and decompression which can only degrade the overall experience.

These chips are already being manufactured, so we will have to wait and see how this will be used, but if they can deliver on their promise then we are in for a whole new way of thinking about streaming media. We are very excited about the prospect of living in a world without all the wires that we are saddled with these days.

We will have our eyes open for the any products included this new chip set. Here's to hoping to a truly wireless future.

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

November 7, 2007

Monsoon Multimedia to Release the HAVA Titanium HD TV Streaming Device


We just got word that Monsoon Mulitmedia is about to announce a new product today dubbed the Hava Titanium HD. We had reviewed the HAVA Wireless HD in the past and we were very impressed with what we saw. It was a great device that really opened our eyes to the wonderful world of place and time shifting. Up until we played with the Monsoon product we really didn't see the big draw of place shifting. After a few days with their product we were sold. Well it looks like they are just about to turn it up a notch.

The new Hava Titanium HD is not just a slight improvement over their past products, but a complete revolution. What they have done is break up parts of the device into pluggable modules so that their device will be as future proof as possible. The device will ship with a USB dongle that provides 802.11g wireless connectivity and soon they will have a new dongle that will offer the 802.11n standard. We can only assume that they didn't ship with the n version since it is still in draft form and not finalized. They have also added support for external hard drives to be attached so that you can just record shows onto these drives and not have to have a PC on in the house to act as storage. Other plans include a TV tuner that will pull in the off the air channels so you can get the basic stations and you won't need a cable box.

We love the fact that they have gone this pluggable module route. They have basically come up with a product that can evolve as the TV and network technology evolves. As we see new standards and new ideas pop up the people at Monsoon can just release a new USB peripheral that will fill the gap. So as a consumer you won't have buyers remorse when some new technology comes out that your box doesn't support, you can always just add on to the box you currently own.

Read on for more info about what is coming in this new product.

ArrowContinue reading: "Monsoon Multimedia to Release the HAVA Titanium HD TV Streaming Device"

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October 22, 2007

Sansa TakeTVTM Lets You Take Your Movies With You


Sansa is set to release a very cool new product that seems so simple yet we wonder why we haven't seen something like this before. It is basically a USB memory stick that you load with videos from your PC, plug into a dock that hooks up to your TV and then with the supplied remote you can watch those videos on your TV. It sounds simple, but no one until now has come out with anything to do this as simply as this.

What we like about the TakeTVTM is that it doesn't mess around with encoders or decoders, it just streams the data to its base station which then just passes the infomation on to the TV. Having to deal with encoding and/or decoding really taxes these small devices and it usually is a bottleneck in performance as well as a big bump in price.

The TakeTVTM will let you display your videos on your TV with a resolution of 720x526 so we aren't talking HD, but it is still very nice for such a small and conveinent device. It will let you view files that are encoded with
  • DivX
  • xVid
  • MPEG-4
And choose either 16:9 or 4:3. Now this is a Windows only device so no Linux or Mac support expected. There is no release date or pricing yet but we can't imagine this will be too expensive based on what we have read. Also no word on capacity, but you can expect it to come in a few different version from say 4GB to 8GB. We will be sure to update you when we find out how much and when.

UPDATE: On sale now at Amazon.

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

October 18, 2007

Fiire Media Streaming Computer Could Be All You Will Ever Need


We are constantly on the look out for the coolest devices to stream media around the house. They are typically proprietary devices from the likes of MvixUSA or Apple or Netgear and they are closed systems. Well as much as we like these systems( and own a few ) our hearts are with the open systems. Devices that use software that can be modified by the user, have additions developed for it and basically be totally customizable. We have reviewed MythTV in the past and as much as we love it it usually tends to be a complete pain in the ass to setup. Other companies have released pre-configured MythTV boxes, but nothing like this.

Well the good people over at Fiire have released what could be our dream media streaming device. They have taken Linux MCE( basically a souped up version MythTV ) and put it into a very quiet and attractive case to make a great media streaming system for even the most discerning of media geeks. One of the biggest issues to consider when putting a media streaming computer in your entertainment center is noise. We won't go into all the features of Linux MCE, just check out their site here and a good video of the system in operation here, but needless to say it is cooler then you could imagine. The fact that someone has bundled this all together in a pretty sweet package brings a large smile to our face. They have a bunch of offerings from the main beefy server you could keep in the basement while you use one of their smaller offerings to be the client that you keep in the media cabinet. They even have a product that attaches right to the back of your LCD TV so there are no cable lying around and no ugly devices sitting around.

These products don't come cheap, but they do offer you something that very few products do, the ability to configure the software completely. If you were so inclined you could modify the code yourself since this is all open source stuff. Another great thing about this is since it is based on MythTV you can separate the functions of your setup so you could use that beefy server you put in the basement to do all the heavy lifting like encoding and decoding while that nice and quiet system you put next to your TV just takes care of the streaming the media up.

We see these boxes for geeks that have some extra cash, really enjoy the complete package that Linux MCE offers and don't mind doing some tinkering from time to time. We will come back with another review about performance and usability after we have done more research and/or get a system in house so stay tuned.
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

October 16, 2007

D-Link DSM-320 High Speed Wireless Media Player In House


Well we just got the D-Link DSM-320 media player in house and we are looking forward to putting it throught its paces. This is one of the first major players that D-Link came out with to compete in the digital media streaming department. D-Link has really made a push in the recent years to establish themselves as one of the major players in the this space. They have continually released newer and better products of the years and they are slowly cementing their name along side Apple, Sony and Netgear as the major providers of quality streaming products.

We have just begun our testing, but so far it looks like something that is right up our alley. Setup was a snap and the fact that it works with so many media servers like TwonkyMedia and TVersity really makes us happy. We love that device manufactures allow their products to be open to other media servers and don't force you to use theirs. There is no worse feeling for a techie then to purchase what seems to be a perfect product only to realize that the people that developed the software were morons. The fact that D-Link gives you the option to use their streaming software or any of the other popular ones gets two thumbs up from us.

We are in the process of testing it out and we expect to have more info for you guys soon. Stay tuned for our in depth review.

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

October 12, 2007

Popcorn Networked Media Tank Lauch Day Only Days Away


We here at Networking Audio Video love a good rumor and/or a promise of the next great new device. Well as were were doing our daily scouring of the net looking for great information to bring you we came across something that peaked our interest. In a couple of days( October 15, 2007 ) Popcorn Hour will launch what could be our newest favorite product. They are rumored to be releasing a product that hits all of the features we here at Networking Audio Video dream of.

There isn't much info now since the site doesn't go live for another 2 days, but what we do know is very interesting. Supposedly, we are looking at a media center streamer that acts not only as a NAS server, not only as a BitTorrent server, but also a device that can stream in HD. As anyone that has read our blog for any length of time knows is that we love a solution that allows us to download and share media without having to keep our main power hungry PC on all the time. One of the main advantages of having a device like this take the BitTorrent downloading and NAS storage away from your main computer is that this is a low power device. You can leave this on over night and not see a huge spike on your electric bill.

So it looks like with the limited amount of information that is available that you can expect to stream content at 1080p resolution which isn't that common among media streamers.
We aren't sure what to actually expect, but all will hopefully be revealed in a few days and then we can update you on what could possibly be our dream NAS/Streaming device.

via engadget
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October 11, 2007

Review of the Orb Media Streaming Server Software


We have played with the Orb media streaming server for awhile now and it looks like we might just finally get it. When we were first playing with this free software we were intrigued for sure, but we didn't really see the major benefit to it. We have tons of devices that stream all kinds of media around our house, what does this software do that makes me want to play with it?

Well one thing it does really well is it opens up your entire media library to you anywhere you are with a net connection. After you install the software on your PC and you allow it access through your firewall you tell it where are all your media lives. It then starts indexing everything and adding it to your private Orb web page. You then just need to log into your Orb page to be able to have access to all of your favorite media.

Now you can make a playlist out of your entire collection of music at home or create a slideshow of pictures you recently took, or better yet, watch that TV show that you recorded and didn't have a chance to watch before you left the house.
ArrowContinue reading: "Review of the Orb Media Streaming Server Software"

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

October 5, 2007

New NEC Server Streams Multiple HDTV Signals Around Your House


So NEC is upping the ante in the video streaming world with their newly demonstrated HDTV streamer. NEC is really pushing the limits of the what can be done with these recorders. The one they showed off at CEATEC was able to record two HDTV signals while streaming two other signals around the house. Add to that Slingbox like features and you have one very powerful machine.

We have been seeing the evolution of technology to deal with the vast amount of processing power needed to deal with the HDTV signals. The fact that this box can record two streams while still having horsepower left over to decode and stream out two other streams is very impressive. We aren't sure what they are packing under the hood on this one, but you can bet it is a couple of very beefy CPUs.

No word on price yet, but we would assume that they would be fairly pricey. Considering the amount of hardware that will be needed to go into this box keeping the price point where mere mortals can afford it is going to be very difficult. This is slated for release next year so we will keep our eye on this and see what comes of it. Stay tuned.

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

October 4, 2007

Addlogix InternetVue 2020 Media Streamer Review


In the past we had seen devices that allowed you to stream music from your computer to your stereo without having to worry about formats because it just forwarded on the data and didn't have to deal with decoding anything. Well now Addlogix has come out with a product that does the same thing for video.

The InternetVue 2020 hooks up to your TV and can connect to your computer network wirelessly. Without having to worry about codecs you can open up your entire library to your TV. With component hook-ups you can get a very high quality picture. Of course since this connects over 802.11b/g you can't expect to get HD content, but it should still be near DVD quality.

They are on sale now for only $250 which if you think about isn't that bad. You can basically use your computer as your main media center and be able to pump your video across to your TV. We can think of a lot of fun ways this can be used and added to our setup. If we end up getting one in house we will report back and let you know what we think.

For more info check out the product page.

via engadget
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (2) | social bookmarking

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