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
Soon after DVD hit it big--let's say right around the turn of the century--the concept of the home-theater-in-a-box ("HTIB," in the parlance of our times) was born. Manufacturers bundled up a 5.1 audio system with a DVD player and an amplifier--sometimes in one integrated unit--and sold the whole thing for a song, leaving the buyer to "just add TV." Not surprisingly, HTIBs soon became ultra-commoditized, with name brand units selling for under $300, and no-name budget rigs sitting on supermarket endcaps for half as much. But there's always a new high-end:… Read more
Microsoft has largely succeeded in getting a PC into the home, but its effort to put a server there will be an uphill battle.
Bill Gates announced the product to much fanfare at last year's Consumer Electronics Show. However, even folks who are bullish on the concept, such as Forrester Research analyst J.P. Gownder, say it's destined to be a niche product for years to come.
In a soon-to-be-published research report, Gownder figures that home servers (not just those running Microsoft's home server product) will reach 4.5 million households by 2012. That's up from … Read more
Even in this age of Wi-Fi ubiquity, nothing beats a wired network for enhanced security and guaranteed bandwidth, especially in A/V applications. The latest iteration, Powerline, taps on your existing in-house power grid for data transmission. To further simplify installation, Singapore-based Aztech is debuting two products from its HomePlug series during CES 2008.
The HL109RN is possibly the world's first all-in-one WiFi-N router with integrated Powerline connectivity. Not only does it eliminate the need for a dedicated Powerline adapter, but it also minimizes cable clutter while supporting up to 200Mbps of theoretical fast data rate for standard- and … Read more
We fell in love with HP's MediaSmart Server this past fall. You can imagine then, that we're glad to learn about HP adding even more features to its poster child for Microsoft's Windows Home Server, the software at the heart of HP's MediaSmart Server hardware. The three updates will bring server-side McAfee antivirus protection, Windows Vista 64-bit support, and improved data handling for things like quicker photo thumbnails and the ability to stream video. Even better, these updates are all free and will come to current MediaSmart Server owners this February via download.
As we embark upon another year here at The Digital Home, I wanted to make it clear to you all that 2008 will be even better. If you've spent the last six months enjoying my hard-hitting commentary on those topics that matter most to both you and I, then you won't be disappointed in the New Year. That, I can promise you.
In the coming year, a number of additions will be made to The Digital Home so you get even more of what you're looking for when you get here. In the coming weeks, my weekly … Read more
Given that the point of Windows Home Server is to allow you to store your media files, a bug in the storage process that could result in corrupted files is bound to get attention.
Microsoft has issued a support document for the 13 or so (just kidding) people using Windows Home Server, the company's latest product for those attempting to build the digital home of the future. Apparently there's a flaw in the way Windows Home Server works with certain Microsoft applications, such as Windows Vista Photo Gallery, that could result in corrupted files if you use those … Read more
Over the past six months, The Digital Home has grown from an idea that took some time to implement into a hub for millions of readers.
Each and every day, you come back to see what I'm talking about and you offer your own opinion on what you think is really going on in this industry. And while we sometimes agree and disagree, I appreciate you taking the time out of your busy day to come back for more.
And as we embark on a new year with many exciting developments in the works, I hope you continue to … Read more