Media Distribution/Extenders

Oct 08 2006

News - Kaleidescape Movie & Music Server

I do recall the insanely expensive Kaleidescape servers of yore, however, a much less expensive unit from Kalediescape has made its way onto the market. Most Media Servers are Media Center clones with a fancy case (which I don't mind myself) but Kalediescape is built from the ground up using a custom OS. Control can be acomplished via an adnvanced controller such as Crestron or via a web based application.CDs and DVDs are ripped bit for bit making the multi-terabyte storage a neccesity in this $16,000 system. Next on lifestyles of the rich and famous..

From the article:

BOTTOM LINE Even with the new pricing, a Kaleidescape system still runs $9,995 with a server and Movie 2 player, while a music-and-movies system starts at $12,730.

But Kaleidescape is just a media server the way Patek Philippe is just a watch, Kristal just a sparkling wine, or Bentley just a car. It offers the highest level of refinement, sophistication, and elegance of operation while remaining simple enough for a child to use. Personal movie and music libraries can easily be worth $10,000 or more, so why not get something that lets you enjoy yours to the max? For that, there's simply nothing better today than a Kaleidescape Movie & Music Server.


Oct 07 2006

News - Sooloos spreads your music around, for a price

sooloos If you really want to take the work out of audio distribution, take a gander at the Sooloos. Not only do they supply the box, they supply all of your music pre-loaded. This includes albumn art, liner notes, and suscritpions are available to fill the holes in your music collection. Starting prices for this unit is $12,000, but you can be happier with that price because it integrates with other HA controllers.

From the article: 

Storage is handled by noiseless convection cooled RAID type servers that come in 1, 2 and 3 TB versions, with the option to link storage units to provide additional capacity. The music is stored and distributed as lossless files, and the system can include as many as 32 individual zones. The main control panel which you use to import new files and control the storage system is a 17â€Â touch screen, with smaller 7â€Â panel and remote control options for each zone. It is also compatible with existing control systems such as Crestron. As you might expect, prices aren’t exactly cheap, starting at about $12,000 for a single zone system, or you could use that money to buy about 800 CDs, and do it the old fashioned way. 

Oct 05 2006

News - HAVA Wireless: a Slingbox alternative for Windows Media Center owners?

It looks like Slinbox has a competitor in the hardware placeshifting market. The HAVA Wireless hardware takes your TV signals and allows it to stream to any broadband connected PC. As you will see from the article quote below, HAVA appears to have a lot of improvements over the Slingbox including multiple viewers, built in wireless, MCE compatability and will accept HD. I would think this is something Sage or Beyond TV might want to get involved with.

From the article: 

The current hardware and software iterations on the HAVA Wireless box certainly didn't have the refined polish that we've come to expect from Slingbox products. But given the comparatively rich feature set and low prices on the HAVA products, we suspect a lot of prospective placeshifters would say, "So what?" While the built-in wireless and multicasting capabilities were enticing, it's the Media Center functionality that was particularly impressive. Essentially, the HAVA lets Windows think that it is the PC's built-in TV tuner--whether it's two rooms or two continents away. That leaves you with all of the great Media Center functionality--including DVR-style controls (pause, play, rewind, fast forward) and recording abilities--without the need to be tethered to your cable or satellite box.

Oct 04 2006

News - Philips WACS700 Wireless Music Center and Station

Hardware Zone has a review up of a very interesting music streaming center from Phillips. Looking at the specs, it appears to have the perfect blend of stand alone capabilities and connected capabilities. It is able to take songs from your PC, and rip and tag CDs from its internal databse on the fly. 

From the article: 

Although the WACS700 is targeted at the mainstream consumer, the inbuilt speakers surprised us with a lively performance. Mid and high notes on both the Center and Station units were sharp and clear, but their compact profiles probably limited what could have been superior sub woofers. While it does boast an ability to fill a room more then adequately with good audio output, audiophiles shouldn't be expecting amazing performance from the WACS700.

Oct 03 2006

News - Toshiba's slim HD DVD drive for thinner HD DVD laptops

At a tiny 12.7 millimeteres in height, Toshiba's HD DVD drive laptops is pretty dang small. However, they have packed a ton of format compatibility into the system. All the way from HD DVD down to CD-RW.

From the article:

Meet Toshiba's slim HD DVD optical drive for laptops. Perhaps already spotted in Samsung's M55, the SD-L902A measures a mere 12.7-millimeters in height and integrates a blue-violet laser that can read and write to HD DVD-R, access HD DVD-ROM media and act as a multi-drive to read and write to "all types" of standard DVD and CD discs. The drive includes an 8MB buffer with recording rates of 1x to HD DVD-R, 2x to DVD-R DL, 2.4x to DVD+R, 4x to DVD±R and DVD±RW, 3x to DVD-RAM, 16x to CD-R, and 10x to CD-RW. On display starting tomorrow at CEATEC Japan and shipping in "sample quantities" by the end of the year. Good news if you've ever been saddled with Toshiba's Qosmio fatty.  

Oct 02 2006

News - Data over power line kicks into high gear

I am always very skeptical when a company claims great networking performance over powerlines. As we have found out in the past, the only way to achieve these lofty goals is to have the components networked in the same room. The new spec is supposed to be much more resistant from interference from other household products. There is nothing worse then grandma switching on her hair dryer to cause drop outs of Ernest Saves Christmas. Only time will tell if this is true!

From the article:

The solution to the problem seems much easier than previously thought. HomePlugAlliance consists of dozens of members from the networking industry, and this industry consortium just brought out new spec.

PowerLineEthernet (PLE) is offering fantastic speed of 200 Mbit/s, or equal to full-duplex 100Mbit Fast Ethernet. This is more than enough for streaming any of the current HD formats.

Oct 02 2006

News - Slingbox Palm client coming soon

Slinbox recently introduced a new line up of tuners and placeshifters to the general public and now it looks they are going to release a client for Palm OS. With this final OS supported, you would be able to placeshift your content to just about any portable device out there.

From the article: 

Right now, you can use a Silngbox original, tuner, AV, or Pro to stream media from your home to any internet-connected Windows-based PC, PDA, or mobile phone. Sling is beta testing a Mac client, which will be launched soon. And Krikorian sheepishly admitted that Symbian "might be" one of the platforms to be supported in the future. Well, it looks like we can add Palm to that list.

Oct 01 2006

News - Niles IntelliControl ICS Multiroom Audio System

Taking a cue from PC's, the Niles IntelliControl Multiroom Audio system is a 12 channel/6 Zone expandable audio distribution system. It uses cards to expand its functionality. Of course an iPod expansion card is available and other systems such as XM, line level inputs and traditional FM/AM radio are all available. Wisely, Niles has chosen Cat-5 cable for signals and 4 conductor cable for speakers. You can expect a well rounded system for around $4500.

From the article:

I loaded my GXR2 with the maximum six cards, using each of the cards Niles offers and doubling up on IM-AUDIO cards to handle my Escient and digital cable box. The system is expandable to a total of 30 separate music zones by connecting additional GXR2s. Each adds another six zones that can be independently controlled, though you're limited to the original six sources; these "slave" GXR2s are outfitted with IM-AUDIO cards to "cascade" sources from one unit to the next. If 30 separate audio zones were actually needed in a home, six sources would likely be a limitation, but this probably won't be a concern for most users.

Sep 28 2006

News - How Hauppauge’s MediaMVP married Beyond TV

Sage has made a big big deal over their cheap branded Hauppauge Media Extender. It is a pretty good deal (around a $100 per TV) to distribute TV through out your house. Wanting to get into the action, the folks at Snapstream have published a guide on how to use BeyondTV and the same Media Extender Sage uses. I would try out both systems before blindly proceeding, as both offer a decently long trial. Hauppauge MVPs.. DO NOT... I repeat DO NOT work with HD; it just works with analog TV, pics and music.

From the article: 

So with these limitations in mind, a team of us decided that we could create a better interface. We created the open source MediaMVP BTV interface project. With our software, you get something closer to the complete Beyond TV experience (plus some extras like weather and Music playlists!), including access to live TV, and the program guide!


Sep 21 2006

News - Hey Mister! Want To Buy A Balun!

Whilst browsing over at Automated Home, I noticed a press release about a new product from Niles Audio. They announced a new range of Audio and Video baluns. They pretty have ever audio video standard covered including digital audio, component HD, and VGA. Lacking from the product line is HDMI, but I imagine there is bandwidth constraints for 1080p video. Talk about easy wiring, just wire 3 or 4 runs of Cat 5 to every room :).

From the article

"Make the Connection– New CAT-5 Baluns cables strengthen the connectivity link in the home entertainment signal chain. The pioneering design decreases signal attenuation and increases CAT-5 range – at a fraction of the cost of other connectivity solutions. Installations are more profitable, and customers more satisfied, thanks to lower distortion and decreased pixilation on HD displays...

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