The open assault on cables and wires was on particular display at CES. Apparently, wires clutter your life and cause you misery, or some vendors would have you think. Whether it's faster and faster Wi-Fi from Intel, streaming video from Slingbox, in-home HD distribution, Bluetooth home theater audio from Samsung at different parts of the radio spectrum, the trend is moving away from physical media and physical connections.That said, I wondered how a leading wire cable company, Monster, would make themselves relevant in this anticable movement. Apart from having a sold-out Mary J. Blige concert, Monster has made … Read more
There are many devices that aim to let you share the multimedia content stuck on your PC with that large HDTV in your living room. Zyxel's DMA1100P digital media adapter is the only such device, however, that uses HomePlug AV Powerline technology to do so. (Netgear's Powerline HD Ethernet Adapter isn't certified as a HomePlug AV device, but it promises the same 200Mbps theoretical throughput as the Zyxel DMA1100.)
Still, for those looking to stream HD video and music and can't do it wirelessly--perhaps your TV and your home theater are too far apart or you … Read more
Bearing a striking resemblance to Sony's Bravia Internet Video Link, Samsung has announced the Home Digital Media Adapter (DMA). The Home Digital Media Adapter is designed to attach to the back of certain 2008 Samsung HDTVs and streams media from the internet or networked connected PCs. Connecting to your home network is possible either by a wired Ethernet connection or by buying a separate 802.11n module. It also works as a Media Center Extender, which gives you access to Microsoft's user interface and features like an electronic programming guide. The initial list of supported file types is … Read more
Despite all the hype and bluster of industry giants such as Intel and Microsoft, the promise has to date only been realised by the small percentage of the market that can afford high end products and services from specialist integrators, and a handful of technical folk armed with the skills necessary to install their own kit.
Even people with a reasonable grasp of networking … Read more
If this is what it takes to get a full-featured cell phone watch, we'll pass. Even if it does deliver as promised--MP3 playback, videos, Bluetooth, MIDI ring tones, 260,000-color resolution, and a raft of other features, according to ProductDose--we wouldn't be able to look at this ugly thing for fear of turning to stone.
It's not the Pepto-Bismol pink that bothers us; it's, well, just about everything else, from its bulky girth to cheap silver-toned filigrees. It doesn't help that it has a stylus that looks suspiciously like an eyebrow pencil.
It's … Read more
Q: How many feminists does it take to change a lightbulb?
A: That's not funny.
OK, getting that out of the way, let me tell you about the greatest marketing campaign since "The Wow Starts Now."
You see, Microsoft, known for its riotous sense of humor, thought it would try its hand of parody, creating a Colbert-like investigative report about whether servers belong in the office or in the home to promote the Windows Home Server. There's a whole series of larger than life posters here at the Consumer Electronics Show.
The problem is, the attempted parody ultimately reinforces all the stereotypes about moms, domesticity, and the so-called "Mommy Wars" that writers and activists are working really hard to erase.… Read more
Polk Audio has officially unveiled its first single-speaker all-in-one home theater system, the SurroundBar 360. The system is comprised of just two components--a single elongated speaker (44 inches wide) designed to sit beneath your flat-panel TV, and a DVD player/amplifier head unit that houses the electronics. While the SurroundBar concept isn't new for Polk (the speaker-only 2005 version was designed to be paired with an AV receiver), the latest iteration utilizes a new active (powered) design that's said to maximize the speaker's eight drivers. In addition to the disc player and AM/FM radio, the head unit offers all of the standard DVD player outputs (including HDMI). Input capabilities fall short of HD switching, but the 360's analog composite and S-Video inputs will be upconverted via the HDMI output. A USB input is also available for digital photo playback and music players.
We had the opportunity to hear an early version of the SurroundBar 360 put through its paces by company founder Matthew Polk himself.… Read more
SDI Technologies, the company behind the iHome series of affordable iPod audio systems, is not surprisingly embracing both iPods and iPhones in 2008, as well as Microsoft's Zune line of portable media devices. SDI is showing off several new products at CES, including an L-shaped alarm clock for the iPod and iTouch (as well as other iPod models) that allow you to change the orientation of the unit so you can watch videos, "while the clock display rotates accordingly to complement the position of the unit." We also liked the looks of the iP51 2.1 Micro … Read more
Aiming to boost the appeal of its Windows Home Server software, Microsoft is offering an update to the operating system that will add both fixes to the existing product as well as add-ons and new features.
Dubbed Power Pack 1, the software makes it easier to choose which files can be accessed remotely, and by whom, and also makes it possible to watch recorded TV programming remotely, essentially letting the Home Server act like a Slingbox of sorts. It also allows the Home Server's contents to be backed up to an external drive.
It's the first significant update … Read more
Just a month ago, home theater enthusiasts were clamoring Samsung's soon-to-be released BD-UP5000 HD DVD/Blu-ray combo player, which promised high-end features like HQV processing and the ability to decode DTS-HD Master Audio (after a future firmware update). But the BD-UP5000 was delayed, and now it's likely to face less demand considering Warner's decision to go Blu.
The same goes for Samsung's newly announced combo unit, the BD-UP5500. It appears that the main step-down from the BD-UP5000 is that it lacks HQV video processing, which … Read more