If last week's FCC leak wasn't proof enough, the UK's Automated Home (via Gizmodo) has pretty much filled in all the details on an as-yet-unannounced networking accessory for the Sonos Digital Music System. The Sonos ZoneBridge BR100 will act as a wireless bridge between other ZonePlayers in the Sonos' proprietary mesh network. That's useful because the Sonos system requires at least one of its boxes to be tethered to a wired network connection. Previously, that meant one of the two included base stations of the Sonos system would need to be near an Ethernet port, or … Read more
It's been online for a few days now, but I just spotted (via PaidContent) Forbes' article titled The iFlop (subhead: "Steve Jobs tried to design--and dictate--the future of television. Here's how he failed.") Author Scott Woolley calls the Apple TV "a flat-out" failure, claiming that it's sold less than 250,000 units in six months. Among the supposed sins of the product: the lack of a built-in DVR and a "parochial and proprietary approach" to online video content. He also highlights a variety of on-demand video competitors, including Vudu, TiVo (via Amazon Unbox), and Xbox 360 (which offers rentals and sales of TV shows via the Xbox Live Marketplace)--while glossing over many of their shortcomings. Still, is he right? Is the Apple TV dead in the water? … Read more
The SlingPlayer for Symbian S60 phones is out of beta and now available for sale. The software allows a selection of Nokia phones (the E65, N75, and N95 in the U.S., and the E65, N73, and 6120 elsewhere) to stream TV from the full range of Slingbox models. Previously, the Symbian software was only available pre-installed on models sold by British wireless provider 3. Furthermore, the new standalone software delivers full-screen playback and Wi-Fi streaming not available on that previous edition.
The Symbian software will be available on Sling Media's Web site soon. It will cost $30 in … Read more
Linksys is tossing its hat into the 2007 Media Center Extender ring with not one but two models. The DMA2100 is a small form factor MCE, while the larger DMA2200 offers a built-in upconverting DVD player. Both models attach to a standard or high-def TV to stream a variety of digital media--live and recorded TV, video files, music, and photos--from networked Media Center PCs located elsewhere in the home. Like the rival D-Link DSM-750, the Linksys models offer dual-band 802.11n wireless connectivity (for optimal streaming of HD video) and HDMI outputs. Interestingly, the DMA2200 has the same overall look … Read more
In journalism as in technology, one learns early to K.I.S.S. ass. That is, you Keep It Short and Simple, or end up feeling like an ass. So what's with the convoluted naming convention from some tech vendors? Take, for example, the "Yur.Beat Fusion Stream" from Singapore-based Yuraku. Who needs a lobotomy after that?
Names aside, Yuraku claims this is the world's first portable wireless Internet radio with full multmedia features. And there lies the catch. Want Internet radio? Well, you need a wireless hot spot to connect to. Although once online, you … Read more
MP3tunes, a company created by MP3.com's original founder, Michael Robertson, has launched a new service called LockerSync 3.0. The LockerSync service allows users to upload their music collection to the MP3tunes server, where it can be accessed a streamed to any computer or Web-enabled device. The LockerSync system has more than a few things going for it: it's free; storage space is unlimited; the uploader application is cross-platform and easy to use; and the browser-based jukebox application works really well.
The appeal of a system like MP3tunes and LockerSync, is that gives computer-hopping digital music junkies … Read more
Rising up out of the chaos and career collapse that was Britney Spears' performance on Sunday are MTV's traffic numbers.
The cable channel's Video Music Awards were bad for Britney but a boon for Viacom, MTV's parent company. Users flocked to MTV.com to watch Spears' on-stage misadventures.
On Sunday, MTV.com saw 2.6 million visitors log on, a tally that smashed the site's previous record for daily Web site traffic. The site also delivered 7 million video streams on Monday as of 3:30 p.m. ET, which topped its previous best day of … Read more
So this week a lot happened in iPhone-land--unlocked by a Jersey boy that allows anyone to use the iPhone, on T-Mobile...right! But for would-be iPhone owners in GSM-enabled countries, this could mark a watershed. Apparently, I'm told that the menus for selecting which network you want to connect to (provided they're GSM) are already embedded in the software/OS. How interesting.
There are plenty of critics who claim, however erroneously, that Second Life is a mess both structurally and technologically. And Linden Lab's decentralized and laissez-faire approach to the largely user-created virtual world, it could be argued, has allowed its identity to be shaped by its most prominent and press-worthy residents--who are, on occasion, blowing up buildings, stealing identities, and barraging lectures with oversized flying man-parts.
We won't really know until tonight … Read more
Sony just sent me the XDR-S3HD tabletop HD Radio to review. I'm not quite done with it yet--I'm still evaluating the sound quality and reception versus the Polk Audio i-Sonic--but it appears to be a perfectly capable HD Radio. The big advantage of the Sony is that it's the first name-brand tabletop HD Radio that's available for under $200. That edges out the earlier Sangean HDR-1 ($250), as well as the Boston Acoustics Recepter HD and Cambridge SoundWorks 820HD (both $300). (While the Radiosophy HD100 is available for a scant $99, the photos alone don't exactly inspire confidence). The relative advantages and disadvantages of the Sony versus those competing models will be covered in the full review later this week, but the bigger question I keep running into when reviewing these products is this: is the HD Radio format good enough to justify the purchase of a dedicated radio?
HD Radio's extra stations For me, the supposed increase in sound quality just isn't that much of a selling point--you're just hearing those same lame Clear Channel playlists, albeit on a digital rather than an analog band. But the multicast (or HD2) stations are a different story. They're substations that offer alternative programming that's unavailable on the analog dial. For instance, New York's WPLJ offers adult contemporary music on its main station (analog and digital), but has two multicast stations--95.5-2 and 95.5-3--that play '70s and '80s music only, respectively. And because the industry is trying to hook people on HD Radio, these HD2 stations--for the time being, anyway--often broadcast free of commercials.
OK, now we're getting somewhere: there's some exclusive content dispersed throughout the HD Radio dial, so maybe it's got some value after all. But then I remembered something. When Tivoli Audio announced its two new NetWorksGo Wi-Fi radios last June, CEO Tom DeVesto defended their lack of HD Radio reception by saying that it was essentially superfluous: most of the multicast HD2 stations would still be available, just via Internet streaming instead of over the air. So I decided to put DeVesto's claim to the test.