Roku is prepping its set-top box line for the holiday season by adding two new models and new content "channels" due within the coming weeks.
The step-up Roku HD XR Player ($130) adds faster 802.11n. Wi-Fi and a USB port "for future use." The step-down model--the Roku SD Player--loses the HD outputs of its siblings; it'll retail for $80. The two new boxes will have the same look and feel of the existing Roku box, which is being redubbed as the Roku HD Player. That model (802.11g Wi-Fi, no USB port) will … Read more
Netflix online streaming is coming to the PlayStation 3.
A Netflix press release spelled out the details of deal. The good news is that the streaming feature--which enables Netflix subscribers to access thousands of movies and TV shows on-demand via the Internet--is available at no extra charge beyond the monthly Netflix DVD-by-mail subscription, which can be as low as $9 a month. (By contrast, Xbox 360 owners also need to subscribe to Xbox Live, which is an extra $50 per year.)
The bad news: PS3 owners will need to put a special Blu-ray disc in the game console, which will enable streaming via the Blu-ray's BD Live functionality.… Read more
Last week, Sonos unveiled the ZonePlayer S5, the first product in its streaming-audio family to boast built-in speakers. Monday, we got the opportunity to see (and hear) it in person for the first time when Sonos reps dropped by our New York office for a demo.
The setup was a two-zone system (two S5s) pulling music from an Apple Time Capsule. The one caveat of a Sonos setup is that at least one component needs a wired network connection. In this case, a ZoneBridge BR100 was connected to the Apple router via Ethernet, which in turn enabled both S5s to … Read more
With the exception of Netflix and YouTube, many online video providers aren't natively available on set-top boxes or game consoles--Hulu being the most notable example. That's led many online video junkies to go with the most direct workaround: connecting their PCs directly to their big-screen TVs. Generally, it works like a charm--but requires a big keyboard and mouse to sit on the coffee table for navigation duties.
It's that niche--the living room input device--that the new GlideTV Navigator is designed to fill. The wireless pointing device is a disembodied touch pad flanked by a handful of … Read more
We've long been fans of the Sonos Digital Music System, which lets you stream all manner of digital audio throughout your home. The latest BU250 bundle is an enthusiastic CNET Editors' Choice, in part because it can be controlled either via the included touch-screen controller or with any iPhone or iPod Touch (running a free Sonos Controller app). Unfortunately, it costs $1,000--not bad for a two-room system, but still out of reach for many consumers--and it needs to be connected to external speakers or audio components to hear the music.
The new Sonos ZonePlayer S5 aims to address both of those issues. It boasts an all-in-one design with built-in stereo speakers, so it's plug and play. And it costs $400--not cheap, but well within the price range of refined iPod speaker systems we've seen from Bose, B&W, and other luxury brands.
Nintendo has officially announced that the price of the Wii will drop to $199.99, effective on Sunday. The long-rumored $50 price cut comes in the wake of recent price drops for the PlayStation 3 ($299, with built-in Blu-ray player) and Xbox 360 ($299 for the 120GB version with built-in DVD player and Netflix support), which have boosted sales of the Sony and Microsoft consoles. (To date, the Wii remains the best-selling home game console of the three.)
Other than the price cut, there are no other changes to the current Wii bundle--you're still getting the console, along with … Read more
The requisite "what's in my gadget bag" feature is a mainstay of consumer electronics coverage these days--we now know what David Pogue (The New York Times), Joshua Topolsky (Engadget editor-in-chief), and Dave Zatz (tech blogger extraordinaire) tote around with them on a daily basis. But I wanted to get a bit more granular. If you want to know which laptop, camera, media player, or phone to buy, there's an app a site for that.
But what about the accessories you need to keep all of those gadgets juiced up and ready for action? Or ways to avoid traveling with three or four proprietary AC chargers stuffed into your bag? That's what I'd like to focus on: some tips that should help anyone who's traveling with multiple portable gadgets, whatever they may be.
First, a few ground rules:… Read more
HP has one big request for when you're talking about its new DreamScreen product line: don't call it just a digital photo frame.
Fair enough. The DreamScreen can display your photos effortlessly, but that just scratches the surface of what it can do. Available in 10.2-inch and 13.3-inch versions (both 800x480 resolution), the DreamScreen offers 2GB of onboard memory, plus slots for all standard flash media card types as well as USB storage. If loading your digital media via flash memory is too old-fashioned for you, the DreamScreen can also connect to your home network via Wi-Fi or Ethernet, and--according to HP--the included software lets you drag and drop the files you want to move to it via the network.
Beyond photos, the DreamScreen can also play videos (MPEG1, MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264) and music (MP3, WMA, AAC, WAV) through its built-in speakers (or you can use the headphone jack to connect to an outboard stereo); it can also play music in the background while displaying a slideshow. But if you don't have a single audio file, you can instead opt for one of thousands of Internet radio stations or Pandora's streaming audio service instead.
But wait, there's more!… Read more
Do you want to turn a USB hard drive into a cheap, easy network-attached storage device? Seagate's DockStar is designed to let you do just that. Like the preceding Dock+ model, the DockStar can host a FreeAgent Go drive in its cradle, plus up to three other USB drives. However, instead of linking to your PC via USB, the DockStar uses its Ethernet port to live on your home network.
Network access is enabled via technology Seagate has licensed from Pogoplug--in other words, it's just a Seagate-skinned version of Pogoplug's interface. That's a good thing, since … Read more