Media Distribution/Extenders

May 13 2011

News - Netgear NeoTV 550 HD Network Media Player Review

Netgear 550Not so much a full review as an update, as Netgear has released a new firmware on their 550 Media Player. The price (and looks IMO) are still somewhat of an issue given the competition. And call me crazy, but for $170 you should really be including an HDMI cable.

 

The NeoTV 550’s glaring weakness is in its internet offerings:  If you are married to Netflix, you need to move on; If you can’t live without Pandora, you’d better try and live with YouTube and Flickr.  Netgear has promised their NeoTV users more upgrades in the future that should bolster it's internet offerings, but for now, we are left with the bare minimum.

Legit Reviews

May 03 2011

News - News: Plex now available on Roku devices

If anyone has ever modded a first generation Xbox you are fully aware of Xbox Media Center (XBMC). It was basically a new front end for consuming media through the xbox hardware. Over the hears XBMC has been forked into many different media front ends, one of which is Plex.

Plex is now running the Plex client on the Roku devices (XD|S review), think Media Center extenders but for Plex. You still need to run a Plex server on a desktop of course, but this allows you to extend and play your content from a low cost, light weight, device at any TV in your home.

I for one just might get a Roku box just to try this out.

Plex, the popular Mac-fork of the XBMC project announced something pretty exciting – the Roku Streaming Players will now work as extenders (they call them Plex Clients) for Plex!

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Plex Media Server works on OS X, Windows (soon will work on Linux), the 2011 LG Smart TV, and now the Roku Streaming Players which start at $59 (720p) and $79 (1080p).  That’s a pretty good value and in my opinion puts Plex up with the best of HTPCs with the low-cost extender options.  Throw in their support for iOS and Android devices as noted in the chart below and I think its safe to say the Plex team has been working on connectivity like no one else.

Apr 27 2011

News - Nixeus Fusion HD Reviewed

I wonder if Damian (dbone) gets tired of reviewing Media Players? Smile In his seemingly 50th review, he's got the Nixeus Fusion HD up to the gauntlet. It's tough when a company has a first generation anything, and unfortunately it seems this one is no exception. Let's hope they don't abandon the field though. But just as shown in our Media Player Comparison Guide, there are a ton of players out there!

Nixeus Fusion HD

Overall the Fusion HD is not a bad design. It is compact and should be able to fit in almost any home theater setup. The one item in particular that could turn off some potential customers is the inclusion of a fan. Although not loud I did find the fan to be audible when the room was quiet. I would prefer to see a move to a fanless case with heatsink to take care of the heat (most likely requiring an aluminum case over the current plastic case). One additional thing I would like to see is the addition of an HDMI cable as part of the total package.

MediaSmartServer

Apr 20 2011

News - Sonos gets Android and Apple Airplay support

Sonos, one of if not the best audio distribution systems out there, announced today an official Android application. The application now brings full Sonos control and management to any Andriod phone or tablet. The other news is a new software upgrade to the Sonos platform that brings Apple Airplay support. The new Airplay support allows users to send music via Airplay to any Sonos player around your home.

The new Sonos Android remote control app works much like the iOS app for Apple iPhone and Apple iPad.  You can control your Sonos system completely with the Android and iOS apps browsing through your music collection as well as the many online music sources available.  It allows for control of multiple Sonos devices, volume etc.  The new Android app also allows for the use of voice commands for searching through music artists, albums and tracks.

Geek Tonic

Apr 14 2011

News - Xbox360 Netflix has been updated for Kinect Control, "Xbox Play"

If you use your Xbox360 to play Netflix, there should be an update now that enables Kinect for hand controls and voice controls. You are able to talk to you Xbox like my son loves to do while watching a movie on the Xbox because he is hungry or thirsty. You can navigate Netflix like the Zune Marketplace. Hopefully Hulu is just around the corner too.

 

Today we released an update to the Netflix experience on Xbox 360. The next time you start up Netflix, you’ll be prompted to accept the update which introduces Kinect support for Netflix. 
That means controller-free navigation of thousands of movies and TV show, allowing you to use just the sound of your voice or wave of your hand to control your favorite Netflix content. 
You’ll be able to select movies and TV shows recommended for you by Netflix, as well as play, pause, fast forward and rewind using gesture or voice. Kinect support for Netflix on Xbox LIVE will also feature an exclusive new recommendation channel that is controller-free and uses a smart engine to suggest movies or TV shows based on your viewing habits and instant queue.

Try it out and let me know what you think.

Apr 14 2011

News - Parental Controls on Streaming Services

Sometimes I take for granted the fact that I have no kids in the home to have to be careful around, but for those of you that do here's a pretty good run down of the parental services provided by some of the most popular streaming services.

On the playground the other day, parents were swapping stories about movies they recently saw on Netflix and Amazon Instant. We all enjoy watching movies through our Rokus, Apple TVs or other streaming boxes. During the conversation, one parent stated how a friend had challenges enabling parental controls with one of the streaming services. Streaming services use cutting-edge technology to deliver video to your living room; however, for some providers, parental controls have been an afterthought. Tech of the Hub looked at the parental controls offered by the popular streaming services on the market, including Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, iTunes, Netflix and VUDU.

TechofTheHub

Mar 30 2011

News - Roku in Retail, Boxee Box Firmware Update Coming

Some nice news from two of the more prominent media player companies. First Roku answers the recent Boxee in Best Buy news with an announcement that not only are they in Best Buy, but also at BJ's, Fry's and Radioshack---did I just say Radioshack? How on earth is that company still in business. Ok, I digress.

And in other news, Boxee has announced an upcoming firmware update for their Box which will have some overall stability fixes and performance improvements, as well as support the Boxee on iPad application. Temper your patience though, this won't be out until May. Those sneaky teasing Boxee folks!

And don't forget, if you are looking for a Media Player in general, to check out our Comparison Guide to help you find the right one for your needs.

Mar 29 2011

News - AC Ryan Playon!HD Mini 2

Media players are turning into a commodity these days. Are you going to go cheap or pay extra for more capabilities such as streaming from a premium service? This appears to be on the lower end of the media player market with very little in the way of added services and benefits.

If you're in the market for a media player, don't forget to check out our Media Player Comparison Guide.

For those of you that took a look at the AC Ryan Playon!HD2 1TB and thought to yourself, well that looks great, but I already have a PC full of movies, why do I need one in my lounge too? Well, that’s a good question and here to answer it is the Mini 2, the storage free, networking content hub that you’ll soon want in your living room setup.

XSReviews

Mar 21 2011

News - Boxee Box by D-Link Now Available at Best Buy

Some readers here might dismiss this as non-news, but I think this is *HUGE* for Boxee being able to get into one of the largest electronic retailers in Best Buy. Not just for the convenience factor, but for a lot of people that are intimidated by new technologies, the ability to be able to conveniently return a product to a store makes buying something that much easier. I wonder if they'll offer a "Geek Squad Installation?"

D-Link today announced that its award-winning Boxee Box by D-Link is now available at Best Buy, bringing the ultimate Web-to-TV experience to even more homes across the country. The Boxee Box is the easiest way to bring TV shows, movies, music, and photos from the Internet to your TV, offering support for a full web browser, full HD streaming from the Internet, and popular media file formats, along with integrated social networking.

SYS-CON

Mar 17 2011

News - XBMC on ARM and Intel Based MeeGo 1.2

After the XBMC team quickly got working on the AppleTV2 box, I don't think anyone is going to be surprised to see them running on even more embedded devices. The potential here is pretty sweet, so kudos to the team. This is beta though. From MeegoExperts

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