Not a month goes by without us getting an e-mail or two from consumers looking for a set-top Blu-ray recorder. "They're available in Europe and Asia," goes the common refrain. "When will they be coming here?" Well, I have some good news and some bad news. The good news: JVC has just announced two new Blu-ray set-top recorders for the North American market. The bad news? They're expensive models aimed squarely at professional videographers who are mastering their own HD discs (think wedding photographers and the like). They're not intended for home use … Read more
Is a 55-inch screen just not big enough for you? Don't worry, Samsung's riding to the rescue with its largest flat-screen to date: the 65-inch LN65B650. In terms of features, the new model is identical to that of its smaller siblings: 1080p native resolution, 120Hz refresh rate with dejudder processing, four HDMI inputs, Energy Star 3.0-compliant, and support for Internet content via Yahoo Widgets. Note that this model uses good ol' CCFL (fluorescent light) backlights, not the LED backlighting that Samsung and other manufacturers have been touting this year.
If we had to guess, we'd expect … Read more
Add the LG BD390 to the growing list of products that will soon offer built-in Vudu support.
The flagship LG Blu-ray player will become the first disc player to include Vudu functionality via a free firmware upgrade due later this month. The upgrade will effectively offer the same basic functions as Vudu's standalone BX100 set-top box. That gives users access to Vudu's streaming library of movies, which can be purchased or rented on a per-title basis (there's no monthly fee). Vudu has set itself apart from other Internet-on-demand providers like Netflix, Amazon, Blockbuster, and Apple by stressing … Read more
Add the Sonos Digital Music System to the list of Twitter-friendly hardware platforms. The network music streamer (which recently garnered a CNET Editors' Choice Award) will be integrating the microblogging service into its CR200 touch-screen controller, its iPhone app, and its Windows and Mac Desktop Controller software later this fall. In the meantime, it's in beta testing.
According to Sonos, the Twitter function will allow users to post (or "tweet," in the parlance of our times) track and artist info with one click. More interesting for users of the free iPhone/iPod Touch Sonos app is that … Read more
Add YouTube the growing list of streaming media services supported by Samsung Blu-ray players. Effective immediately, Google's megapopular online video site will be added to the Samsung's current 2009 (and future) Blu-ray players via a free firmware update. The update also adds support for playback of MKV files. (A placeholder button has been added for the previously announced Blockbuster video-on-demand service streaming service as well; it's still on track to be added later this year.)
We were able to run the automatic firmware update on our Samsung BD-P3600 review sample quickly and painlessly. The YouTube main menu (… Read more
Mitsubishi's upcoming line of Unisen LT-249 LCD TVs were already notable for being the first flat-panel TVs with built-in soundbar speakers. But now the 46-inch and 52-inch models have a second bragging point: built-in support for Vudu. When the TVs hit retailers later in September, they'll have nearly all of the same streaming video features available in the Vudu BX100 set-top box. That includes access to YouTube, Flickr, Picasa, and Pandora online streaming as well.
Logitech is adding a touch-screen model to its line of Squeezebox streaming audio products. Unfortunately, the upcoming Squeezebox Touch has a design flaw (in my opinion) that will likely relegate it to the periphery of the burgeoning home digital audio market.
At first glance, the Squeezebox Touch has a lot to like. Basically, it's the trusty Squeezebox Classic, but with that model's monochrome vacuum fluorescent display replaced by a 4.3-inch color touch screen. Connect it to a stereo (or a pair of powered speakers), and you've got access to your entire home music collection (streamable from … Read more
For this week's installment of the weekly Crave giveaway, we're offering up the Hercules ePlug 200 Duo. The product is an Ethernet-to-powerline adapter set, and it's ideal for anyone who wants to extend a home network into another room of the house without running extra wires or setting up complicated wireless bridges. Just plug one of the ePlug units into the electrical socket near your router, and put the other one near the destination device (a game console, DVR, set-top box, or any other networked product), and you should be good to go.
Normally, this package would … Read more
Back in the 1980s, when portable audio was synonymous with "cassette tapes," boom boxes were a mainstay of music culture. While luggable, battery-powered speaker systems still exist today, they tend to be somewhat dainty iPod speakers. Altec Lansing's new Mix iMT800, meanwhile, aims to mix and match the best of the old and new. It has the look and feel of an old-school, crank-it-til-your-ears-bleed boom box--albeit a rather stylish one--but it boasts an iPod/iPhone dock (and it's GSM-shielded to boot, so you don't need to flip the iPhone into airplane mode). The Mix also … Read more
Like satellite radio, but don't want to deal with the kludge-y "dock and play" satellite radios that clutter up your car's dashboard? The XM SkyDock could be for you. It looks little different than your average iPod car charger, but the SkyDock has a satellite tuner built in. Pop in any iPhone or iPod Touch, run the free SkyDock control app, and the Apple handheld is transformed into a touch-screen control for the satellite radio service.
The app automatically adjusts to landscape (shown) or portrait mode, and the audio stream can be sent either via line-out … Read more