Developments in the Blu-ray/HD DVD format war kicked into high gear in the past couple of months. November and December saw the bulk of the long-delayed HD product lines finally hitting store shelves: Blu-ray players from Sony, Panasonic, and Philips; the PlayStation 3; the Xbox 360 HD DVD add-on; and the second-generation Toshiba HD DVD players. In the new year, both camps came out swinging at CES 2007. With so much news to process, we've taken the opportunity to collect all the major developments into one easily digestible chunk.
It's been a year since we were first introduced to Monsoon Multimedia's Hava device, a placeshifting product that delivered a handful of features--Wi-Fi connectivity, multicast functionality, and Windows Media Center integration--not found on the category-leading Slingbox. Hava went on to release its flagship product in late 2006, and the company has since licensed the technology to Pinnacle, which sells a Hava clone called PCTV To Go.
At CES 2006, Hava was showing off a new entry-level product called the Hava Gold HD. It's housed in a different enclosure than the Hava Wireless HD, and it loses that … Read more
Silex Technology America's new wiDock is a pretty hip iPod dock that lets you sync your iPod wirelessly (if you just can't wait for that feature to show up in the iPod itself) via a built-in 802.11b/g module. Its 3.5mm stereo audio and S-Video outputs let you use the wiDock with your home stereo and television set, as well. The dock also has an IR sensor on it that lets you control playback with a standard Apple Remote. Not a bad product at around $120, though maybe not as cool as one with wireless USB, … Read more
The Sherwood Newcastle R-972 will deliver HDMI 1.3 connectivity, six HDMI inputs, lossless audio decoding (Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio), and a graphic onscreen user interface when it's released in August for $1,500. (Note that the back panel image shows four HDMI inputs, but Sherwood has pledged that the shipping model will include six.) The product becomes the first officially announced receiver we've seen that incorporates all of those bleeding-edge features. Its step-down model, the R-872, offers similar HDMI and lossless decoding capabilities with "only" four HDMI inputs and a text-only onscreen interface, … Read more
Samsung was the first to roll out a Blu-ray player last year, and now they're the first company to roll out a standard form-factor player with HDMI 1.3. The new BD-P1200 offers many of the same features as last year's BD-P1000: 1080p playback; DVD upconversion to 720p, 1080i, and 1080p; and a stylish design. The BD-P1200's HDMI output is also compatible with the consumer electronics control (CEC) format, which should enable compatible products to send commands between each other--for instance, a CEC-compatible TV could send commands to the BD-P1200 and tell it to turn on and … Read more
At CES 2007, Zyxel announced the DMA-1000, a digital media adapter for serving up multimedia files from the PCs in your home to your home entertainment system. The small adapter resembles a wireless router and, in fact, supports both wired and wireless connections via Ethernet and 802.11g Wi-Fi. In addition, it offers a USB port so that you can play files from any USB-based storage device, such as a flash thumbdrive or an MP3 player.
The DMA-1000 supports high-def streaming (1080i) and includes an HDMI connector, as well as S-Video. Unfortunately, 802.11g throughput is insufficient for HD streams, … Read more
As reported last week, Warner Brothers announced yesterday at CES its introduction of a new disc format that will contain both HD DVD and Blu-ray versions of the same movie, so it would work with either type of player. Warner calls the new format Total HD.
The studio fleshed out a few more details at the press conference. It announced that major retailers Best Buy and Circuit City, along with online retailer Amazon, will stock the discs when they appear in the second half of this year. It also specified, according to Reuters, that the discs could be either single- … Read more
These are probably the greatest gadgets I've seen at all of CES. Massive HDTVs and supercharged game PCs are great, but they can't compare to products fashioned to look and act like the galaxy's greatest astrodroid.
Electronics company Nikko, best known for its remote-controlled cars, has announced a DVD projection system and a wireless, networked Webcam, both based on Star Wars' R2-D2. The nerd truly is strong in these ones.
The R2-D2 DVD Projector is a 480p home-theater projector that looks just like the beloved robot. The 20-inch-tall projector features built-in speakers, an iPod dock, a memory … Read more
Speaker wires and A/V cables are the bane of any home theater system. In recent years, most mainstream manufacturers have offered one of two options to cut the number of wires: produce virtual surround systems that offer only one or two speakers (plus a subwoofer); or utilize a wireless rear speaker module that eliminates the need to run speaker cables the length of the room (but still necessitates quite a few cables of its own). But true wireless A/V systems have remained elusive.
Enter Neosonik. The start-up hi-fi company is using CES to highlight its home theater technology … Read more
If you're not wandering the floors of Macworld, CES, the Detroit Auto Show or, for that matter, the neighborhood grocery store, you'll likely need some equipment of your own to virtually experience the spectacles in comfort. That's where Empower Technologies comes to the rescue with its iMedia Chair showcased this week on various displays this week.
Not only does this Barcalounger on steroids have a built-in 15-inch LCD, but it also boasts a THX-certified surround-sound system piped directly from your iPod controlled by a separate 3.5-inch touch screen, as BornRich points out. We also appreciate the … Read more