September 21, 2007

Using Your Old Xbox to Stream Meida in the House

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Do you have an old Xbox system lying around the house collecting dust while you enjoy the splendor the the Xbox 360? Do you want a fully functioning home media streaming device, but don't feel like spending all that money to get one. Well here is your solution; grab that old Xbox, dust it off and get ready to enjoy a pretty sweet media streamer. In the old days in order to hack the Xbox to allow it to become a media streamer you had to do some pretty serious hacks whether they be hardware hacks or complicated software ones. Now those days are gone with the simple XBMC( Xbox Media Center ).

The new way to hack the box is by using certain games that people have found an exploit via a saved game. Once the hack has been completed you are treated to a pretty stunning interface that has just about all the functionality of the more expensive media streamers on the market. Lifehacker has a great article on how to unlock your old Xbox to achieve all of this.

There is also a large online community over at xboxmediacenter.com and detailed descriptions of what you can do with this new software over at their wiki. This is one of the cooler projects we have seen for taking old and obsolete hardware and really making it into something new and exciting, something that can be very useful and become the center of your streaming media world.

With all the high tech and fancy systems out there it is nice to see people working to make what many thought a dead piece of hardware a very viable alternative to multi-hundred dollar investments.
If anyone out there has one of these running at their place we would love some feedback as to what your thoughts are on it. How does it compare to other streamers you have experience with, how hard was the setup and what problems do you face with it.

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

September 18, 2007

Sony Unveils Massive Home Media Server

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So Sony has a new product out and all we can say is, what the heck are they thinking. They have decided to not just jump into the home media streaming market, but jump into the high end of it. What they have produced is a massive media streamer that only the Richie Rich's of the world can afford. Enter the HES-V1000. At $3500 we aren't sure the exact market they are going for other then the people with too much money in their pockets, but looking over the specs it looks like they just packed as much technology into it and never really gave it much thought.

Other media centers on the market either come with some built in storage and or the ability to stream from a PC over a network. Well Sony thought that was a bad direction to go in and instead did something that had our head spinning. They have included a 200-disc Blu-ray changer in this sucker. So nevermind the fact that Blu-ray is failing to win the format war with HD-DVD, but who the hell owns 200 of them. For that matter are there even 200 Blu-ray discs worth buying? On the positive side they do include a 500GB hard disk so you can store a lot of data internally, but it isn't clear how you get data onto the disc. Is it moved over from another computer on your network or ripped from one of the discs in your changer?

One of the stranger choices the designers made was the streaming aspect. Instead of following the crowd and allowing the box to funnel music from your network to the device so it can play it or pass it to an entertainment system, it will stream out from the box to either certain Sony products equipped to handle the stream or DLNA devices like the PS3. While DLNA is slowly growing in popularity it is by far the most widely adopted setup. Sony likes to keep you using their products and makes it hard for you to go outside their little world. So this choice just furthers our distaste for the box.

We can't imagine that this will be received too well next month when it goes on sale. With all of the devices out there that basically do what it does( except of course for that 200 disc changer ) we can't imagine many people will be going out to spend $3500 on it. We will report back next month and see if we have to go eat our words.

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

September 17, 2007

Prolink PixelView PlayTV Media Box News

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So here is an interesting new take on video recording and streaming. A simple box that just shuttles content from your TV onto either SD cards or an attached USB drive. It acts as a basic PVR as well as sporting one button record feature. It will also let you record to different formats so you can use these files on any number of portable players that require different formats then your TV.

No release date has been set, but we will keep our eye out on this one as this could be a fun box to play around with.

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

September 14, 2007

Monolith Deliver MythTV Without The Nasty Install

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One thing we love is free open software, especially when it is of very high quality. We have followed the free media center apps for many years now, mainly MythTV and Freevo. These are very robust and fully featured media centers that run on Linux and are completely free. MythTV is the more mature of the two and has a wider adoption in the world.

One of the downsides of MythTV, Freevo and the other open source packages is that they tend to be hard to install and they require you to have at least one Linux machine in your home, not to mention experience with the Linux OS. This tends to be enough to turn most people without a little tech savy off. We have tried to tell people how great it is, but once they realize they can't buy it and need to install and configure it they get turned off very quickly.

We can't blame them at all. As any reader of this site knows we are all about things working out of the box. We don't mind having to configure systems and tweak settings, but your average person doesn't want to, or need to, deal with that. So with Monolith releasing a pre-built system running MythTV is a huge step forward and one we find very encouraging. ArrowContinue reading: "Monolith Deliver MythTV Without The Nasty Install"

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 10, 2007

Emtec new Cube -R Media Streaming Hard Drive

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We here at Networking Audio Video love multi-function devices and we love nothing better then a cool hard drive that has media streaming capabilities. The Emtec Movie Cube -R is more then just a run of the mill media streaming hard drive, it is a full fledged media streaming device. Emtec has always been a company that had cool innovative products, but we really love the prospect of their forthcoming Movie Cube -R.

Like most hard drives that stream media the Movie Cube has an internal hard drive that will store all of your media and let you play it on your TV. The nice thing about this device is it also has video in allowing you to record off of your TV, which is a great addition to this niche. The included remote allows you to choose what actions you want to do, record off the TV, playback a movie off the internal drive, or view photos off of your camera. ArrowContinue reading: "Emtec new Cube -R Media Streaming Hard Drive"

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

September 6, 2007

New HD Slingbox Pro Slated For January

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So it looks like fans of the Slingbox brand of TV streaming products are in for a treat come this January. The rumored HD Slingbox Pro will ship with built in Component output to allow an HD signal to pass through it. Granted these are still rumors, but you have to expect something like this from SlingMedia. Everything has gone HD and if they didn't start producing products that could stream HD they were in for a lot of trouble.

So we'll see if and when they release this new HD TV streamer and we will be looking out for any more news of its impending arrival .

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

August 29, 2007

Neuros OSD Media Player in House

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Well we just received our shiny new Neuros OSD and we have been tearing at it all night. So far the setup and usage have been very straightforward. We had read some reviews of people not being able to set this device up and not being able to use it. We aren't sure what was wrong with them, but so far it has been a snap.

Our first impression has been very positive. You can tell right off the bat that this is a community oriented device in that there is a big red flier in the box that says the first thing you should do is to upgrade the firmware of the device. Being tinkers we were very happy when we went to the update firmware section and saw so many options. You can select to have it auto check for new firmwares and also specify which types of firmwares you want; do you want stable, beta, or dev.

Us never being able to handle not playing with the latest and the greatest opted for the the dev firmware to see what it had to offer. There were a lot of obvious changes like a new UI and the addition of YouTube viewing.

Out only negative so far, and it is a big one, is that the only connection available for your TV is composite. We didn't expect HDMI or anything, but we were hoping for component at least, we would have even settled for S-Video( shudder ). So this will never replace our Mvix, but it does offer a whole lot more options so far with the ability to record TV and movies and format them for different devices like the PSP and whatnot.

We haven't finished playing with all the options, but stay tuned for a detailed report in the coming weeks.
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 15, 2007

TubeStick Allows Television on Your Mac

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Well Equinux has done it again and released another great prodcut. This time it's the TubeStick that allows Mac users to watch and record live television on their computer.

It looks like a simple USB memory stick, but in reality it is a very sophisticated DVB-T tuner that can turn your Mac into a full on media hub. Of course no product involving video coming out of Equinux would be complete if it didn't integrate with their other big time product, MediaCentral

It also comes with an antenna to help pull in the signal allowing for better reception. We love the idea of just using such a small device, couple it with some great software and have a full featured DVR on your Mac.
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This is something we will be trying out in the near future for ourselves. We can't let something this cool go buy without giving it a go here in the office. Stand by for our hands on review.

via The Red Ferret
David Ficocello at Permalink | Comments (0) | social bookmarking

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