Like its siblings in the Slingbox family, the Slingbox AV lets you stream media over the internet. That means you can plug the Slingbox AV into your home cable box, TiVo, or other audio/video equipment and then watch live or pre-recorded video on an internet-connected computer or mobile device.
The Slingbox AV is one of the cheapest models available. You can only plug in one audio/video device at a time using the S-Video or composite inputs. This box also does not support HD video. If you're looking for HD, you either need an adaptor or the Slingbox Solo. If you want multiple inputs and/or HD video, you should check out the Slingbox Pro. But if you're just looking to save money and stream content from your TiVo to your mobile phone, today's a good day to buy.
At least that's the somewhat sarcastic conclusion I'm jumping to. As I started watching the east coast feed, an email bounced into the TV Squad inbox from reader 'Jay.' He noted that when he tried to record The Middleman on his PC, he was greeted with an error message. I had to wait three hours for the regular airing on the left coast, but I dusted off an old Media Center PC and got that very same error, as you see in the picture. I like to think that Wendy is showing her shock and outrage at the snafu in that shot. But wait, there's more ... after the jump.
The update also paves the way for the BBC to roll out a set top box with iPlayer features. Earlier this year the BBC announced plans to roll out the iPlayer software for existing set top boxes including the Nintendo Wii video game console. Now it looks like the BBC might also be planning to build its own box.
The device would work like a Windows Media Extender or an Apple TV, in that you'd plug the box into your television and connect it to your home network so it could access the internet. It's possible that the BBC isn't really planning to put out a box with its own name on it, so much as work with hardware makers to add iPlayer software to future devices that may also be able to access content from other networks, play DVDs, or perform other services. You can think of the box as sort of the BBC version of the Netflix player by Roku.
Now it looks like ATI is back in the game with the ATI All-in-Wonder HD. This PCI Express card has enough oomph to capture HD video and to play back HD video on your PC. It features DirectX 10.1 support, an MPEG2/VC-1/H2.64 decoder, and Vista and AMD Live! certification. It also packs a DVI port and HDMI jack.
On the TV tuner side of things, the AiW HD can handle SD, HD, and ClearQAM signals.The card should be available in July for $199.
Fortunately, members of the MythTV community have figured out how to make the box, which was designed for Windows, work with Linux. Setting up an HD-PVR to work with Linux and MythTV isn't quite as simple as getting it to work with Windows. You need to compile the driver from source. And the driver is still in alpha, meaning it hasn't been tested very widely yet, so there's a good chance it simply won't work on your system. But if the early reviews are anything to go by, there's a good chance it won't work perfectly with your Windows system anyway.
[via Brent Evans]
What makes the ZvBox a bit different from other media extenders is that it works with your home's existing coaxial cables. In other words, you plug it into your PC so it can connect to the internet, and into your wall so it can broadcast throughout the house. Now any TV plugged into the wall can pick up your ZvBox content.
ZvBox makers ZeeVee were showing off the device at CONNECTIONS 2008, and eHomeUpgrade got chance to shoot some video of the $499 box in action. A few things I learned:
- The ZvBox remote controls your computer, so whatever your PC is doing is what shows up on the TV
- The other side of that coin is that you can't use your PC to do something else while someone is watching ZvBox content
- There's a good look at the web video interface, with content from Hulu, Jaman, YouTube, ABC News, and other sites
But while the TP1D comes in white and packs a 320GB hard drive, the TP1DQ comes in black, has a 500GB hard drive, and a Blu-Ray burner (the cheaper model comes with a dual-layer DVD burner).
Both machines are due out in Japan in a few weeks, with the TP1D selling for the equivalent of about $1400, while the TP1DQ will set you back about $1850.
The Lian-Li Tyr X2000 computer case certainly hides away all the nasty bits on the back of the unit. But unlike its peers, the X2000 is a horizontal, tower case. It's still pretty sexy looking, but it's probably not going to fit on the any shelf on your TV stand.
The case has plenty of room for the media center components of your dreams though. You can slap in up to six SATA hard drives, and there's space for 8 PCI cards. Throw in a couple of dual-tuner cards, a zippy little CPU and a ton of storage and RAM and you could theoretically build a little monster capable of recording up to 16 TV shows at once. You know, if you can find 16 things worth watching during the summer.
But does that make Windows Media Center a failure? MSNBC seems to think so. In an article on Microsoft's hits and misses during Bill Gates tenure, MSNBC calls Windows Media Center a miss.
It's true that other products like TiVo and generic set top boxes have been more successful at infiltrating the living room. Not only do these consumer devices let users record and pause television, but in many cases they're letting users access internet services without a TV.
Meanwhile, few people want to stick a computer next to their television set. But that might not be the point. Windows Media Center might not be as familiar a name as TiVo, but the software is powerful and well thought out. And high end home theater PC makers have been designing fancy computers to take advantage of the software for years. And a growing number of companies are releasing Windows Media Extenders that let users access media on a PC connected to a home network without sticking a PC next to the television.
What do you think? Is Windows Media Center a hit or a miss? Keep in mind, MSNBC considers Halo a hit and Clippy a miss. So what I'm really asking is whether MCE fits in the same category as Clippy.
[via Chris Lanier]
The post has dozens of pictures showing early TiVo prototypes, remote controls designed by third parties for boxes like the DirecTiVo, and even a bunch of prototype shots showing early designs for the backlit TiVo Series3 remote.
Probably the most interesting bit is head of consumer engineering Paul Newby's look ahead at the future of the TiVo remote. Future models could have a QWERTY keyboard, a touchscreen or both.
As you can tell from the screengrab, Cannon PC isn't ready to sell a consumer model with 6 CableCARDs just yet. But the company wanted to show that it is possible. Windows Vista Media Center only includes native support for 2 CableCARDs, so the trick isn't just designing a system with a huge hard drive, massive amounts of RAM, and space in the box for 6 tuners. The company also had to adjust the software to allow additional CableCARDs.
You can see the results yourself in a YouTube video posted by Cannon PC.
But when Vista launched, the only media center extender available was the Xbox 360. Now that Linksys, D-Link, and HP have all put extenders on the market, EngadgetHD's Ben Drawbaugh decided to throw three extenders together in a cage match.
So if three enter and only one can leave, who wins and who gets beaten into a bloody pulp? We'll let you click through to the full review to find out. But here are some of the highlights of the battle between the Linskys, D-Link and Xbox 360 extenders:
- Picture and sound quality is pretty decent on all three boxes, but the Xbox 360 does the best job of showing photos
- The Linksys extender boots up way faster than the others
- The Linksys extender is the cheapest, but all three devices cost between $240 and $300
- The Xbox 360 has the noisiest fan and overall operation
- The D-Link and Linksys extenders support several video codecs that the Xbox 360 does not.
- The Xbox 360 plays games, the other extenders don't (unless you count games designed for Windows Media Center)
It's one of the eternal questions in life: what do you call your remote?
Tim Dowling over at The Guardian has a story about all of the different names that TV viewers have for that little device that saves us from having to walk across the room and has probably contributed to the onslaught of ADD we have. All of the names we've all heard are on the list, such as "clicker" (my mom used to call it that), "flipper" (which was popular with Frank on Everybody Loves Raymond), "wand," and "changer." Of course, The Guardian is a British paper so you're going to get some words that Americans really aren't familiar with, such as "tellychanger," "podger," and "hoofer-doofer." Most people I know just call it "the remote." We should come up with a different name for it. "Binky" is good, but that's already taken for pacifiers. How about "the glooptron?"
I call mine "Jessica."
[via TV Tattle]
With our ever expanding channel lineups it is getting harder and harder for a new show, especially one tucked away on cable with no big name stars attached, to get noticed. Seeing a network release a show online before the premiere isn't new, but seeing one release a pilot on P2P networks with no DRM is a bit more original. And that is just what the folks over at Spike have done with their new show, Factory.
The network has made the show available on its website, at downloadable video stores like iTunes, and in working with the Jun group, on P2P networks. Although my first reaction at the mention of Limewire was surprise that people are still using Limewire, I do agree with their thinking behind the move. Todd Ames, marketing VP at Spike, said they went with the P2P as an acknowledgment of "what people are really doing, and the way consumers are really looking for content." He also notes that there are no plans to make any additional episodes available that way, but it's a step in the right direction that they are paying attention to the viewers.
While you can use it to play videos, music, and photos stored on your PC, the MediaSmart Connect has a few other tricks up its sleeve. You can access online radio and video streams using Windows Media Center. And the MediaSmart Connect has 2 USB ports and an HP Pocket Media Bay for additional stroage which lets you access media stored on a hard drive.
The box supports a bunch of formats including MPEG2/4, DiVX, XViD, DVR-MS, WMV, WMV-HD, MP3, WMA, AAC, JPG, BMP, GIF, TIFF, and PNG. You can connect it to your home network via an Ethernet port or over a wireless 802.11a/b/g/n network.
The MediaSmart Connect should be available for preorder later today for $349.
[via The Windows Experience Blog]
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