The C-200, the followup to the popular PopcornHour media streamer is now available for pre-order for $299 directly from their webpage. The C-200 contains an upgraded Sigma SMP8643 667 Mhz processor, HDMI 1.3 out, two SATA slots, a drive bay for mounting your own HDD, DVD or even Blu-ray drive. It supports more than 30 codecs, including MPEG 1, 2, 4, AVI, H.264, Xvid, MKV, Windows Media and has a has a built-in download utility, eliminating the need to rely on your PC to download files from the Internet. Popcorn Hour also makes it easy to download and stream content directly from popular Internet sites like YouTube, Blip.tv, Revision 3 and dozens of other online content sources. Engadget has some videos of the Blu-ray interface and other features.
Iogear has just released it's Avior line of peripherals. The line includes wireless audio and video receivers, power-line stereo systems, switches and the usual audio/video cables. The Avior 4-Port HDMI Control Center can hook up four HDMI devices, ranging from Blu-ray players to computers, which can all then be accessed and switched through one 2.4GHz wireless keyboard with built-in trackball. The 4-Port HDMI Control Center is HDMI 1.3 and HDCP compliant and is equipped with IOGEAR's Display Emulation Technology which reads and remembers the monitor's parameters (EDID) eliminating any delays or change in video resolution when switching between, HDMI devices and computers.
Vacuum inventor James Dyson unveiled his "Wrong Garden" fountain at this year's Chelsea Garden Show. Inspired by the works of MC Escher, the water in the fountain appears to flow uphill, cascading over the top of a series of four ramps. To achieve the illusion of water traveling upwards water is pumped out of the tops of each ramp, cascading water down both the ramp and over its edge. Bubbles rising inside each ramp give the illusion of water flowing uphill, and all together it makes it look like the water is defying gravity. BBC Source.
Asus's Eee "Home Theater PC in a keyboard" might be available as early as October according to DigiTimes and its Taiwanese industry sources. The keyboard PC made its debut at CES but it's launch has constantly been pushed back, first from June to August and now to October. The good news is the price is reported to be in the $400 to $500 range. French site Blogeenet has got its hands on an actual unit and they have discovered some actual hardware details including a 1.66GHz Atom N280,Nvidia ION chipset and a 5-inch, 800 x 480 pixel touchscreen. Watch this video of the touchscreen interface at work.
Sony has taken the wraps off of a new line of streaming audio products, dubbed "Altus." The four debut products will be available exclusively through Best Buy. All of the products use Sony's proprietary S-Air wireless technology to communicate with one another, which means that other S-Air-compatible products--including many of Sony's recent home theater and home audio systems--can stream audio to the Altus products. The lineup includes the ALT-SA31iR ($700): an iPod/iPhone docking station and two high-output wireless speakers alongside an AM/FM tuner and S-AIR remote that can stream to other S-AIR receivers. The AIR-SW10Ti ($400): an iPod dock consists of a compact docking station with two built-in speakers and a wireless sub-woofer. The ALT-SA32PC ($500): an S-AIR transmitter that connects to your PC (via USB input) and two wireless speakers.
Japanese design company Nendo have created a wireless speaker shaped like a bird cage. Called Music Cage, the speakers can play music from a computer over a wireless connection or from a bluetooth enabled mobile phone and is available in black or white. Unit can be either stuck on a table or suspended from the ceiling. No word yet on the quality of the sound.
Designer Joey Roth's Ceramic Speakers boast only 10 watts of output per channel, though each 4-inch full-range driver is housed in an acoustically dead porcelain and cork chamber that should do quite a lot with quite a little. Made from porcelain, wood and cork, Roth chose the materials not only for the aesthetic appeal they add to desktops, but also because porcelain's density and "acoustical deadness" rivals that of wood or plastic enabling the cone shape. Due out in October, Roth will be accepting pre-orders via his site starting September. No official word on pricing yet, but Roth expects they will be in the $400-500 range.
Dell hasn't officially released any specs for their tiny Dell Inspiron Zino HD yet but what they are saying is that it will have "desktop parts". This could mean this small unit might become a real option for people looking for a living room media PC when its released this fall. Slashgear has pictures of the unit including the back ports and it looks like it will have four USB 2.0 port, two eSATA ports, HDMI, audio in/out, a serial port, a card reader and an optical drive. If the hardware is something other than an Intel Atom this could be very interesting as the unit is only a little bigger than an external hard drive.
Onkyo's new TX-NR807 Home AV Receiver allows users direct access to Pandora, Rhapsody, Sirius Internet Radio, vTuner streaming radio services, or access MP3, WMA, FLAC, Lossless, Ogg Vorbis, and AAC files from any computer or storage device with it included Ethernet port. The TX-NR807 has six HDMI 1.3a inputs, 1080p video upscaling of all sources using the powerful Faroudja DCDi Cinema processor chip. On the audio side it has a full suite of surround processing, including lossless Dolby TrueHD and DTS-HD Master Audio. The Onkyo TX-NR807 is one of the first receivers to incorporate Audyssey DSX technology, which allows the back surround channels to be retasked for front-wide speakers to expand the width of the sounds stage, or for front height speakers to provide vertical ambiance effects. The receiver also includes Audyssey MultiEQ room calibration technology, plus that company's Dynamic Volume and Dynamic EQ processing. Dolby ProLogic IIz processing is also included to provide an alternate implementation of height channel technology.
The Logitech Harmony 900 is similar to the existing Logitech Harmony One but adds both a charging station and RF to IR control adapters. The remote itself is PC programmable; has excellent button layout and design that now includes new Blu-ray-centric buttons; and a high-resolution LCD that offers a touch-screen interface and touch-sensitive buttons for navigation of onscreen menus. The Logitech Harmony 900 will retail for $400 and Cnet has a detailed review of the until and they declared it hands down, the best universal remote control they've ever tested.
Engadget has a run down of what they expect to come out of Cedia 2009, mainly focusing on what Microsoft and Windows Media Center. Predictions include a DISH Network Tuner, a Zune video store for Windows Media Center and Windows 7, Blu-ray's Managed Copy support and new cable cards from ATI and others.
Hitachi has just announced the Deskstar7K2000, the first 2TB hard drive to run at 7200rpm. The drive uses the a standard SATA II interface, has 5 platters, 32MB of cache and is Energy Star-rated. Hitachi didn't reveal pricing, but said they will be shipping the drive immediately.
LIT's Underglow LED lighting kit let you morph any piece of furniture into a colorful new canvas. Just secure the color-changing LED tube(s) to the bottom of your furniture, plug in to an outlet, and set them to the color you want. The included remote control lets you select your colors of choice, or program the LEDs to cycle through colors gradually or step through them one at a time. The basic LIT Urban Underglow kit sells for $209.95 (USD) and includes a 37-inch RGB LED tube, mounting hardware, power supply and a wireless remote control for changing colors. Additional tubes available in 37-inch ($87.95) and 19-inch ($74.95) segments, which can be joined together for larger installations. There's even a rechargeable battery pack available for wireless installations ($64.95).
Crestron has announced the release of their entry level automation solution aimed at competing with Control4's pricing. Prodigy requires no system design, no wiring and no expensive installation. The Prodigy Composer software guides the integrator through a few simple steps using basic drop-down menus and check boxes. The software provides all the logic and creates touchscreen interfaces automatically in the background. The wizard is intuitive so anyone can get a system up and running in minutes without any training. The system starts with the ZigBee-compatible (802.15.4) PMC2 controller and PLX2 two-way ZigBee remote sold as a package for $700. For a whole house solution Creston is offering a $5,500 sample system which included four zones of audio, one thermostat, 15 wireless light dimmers/switches and an in-wall touchscreen.
Trusted HDGuru Gary Merson says the Panasonic TC-P54V10, a 54-inch plasma 1080p set, is "the new king of HDTVs." The next level up from Panasonic's well received G10 plasma line, the series uses the same NEO PDP panel but adds significant features including three color modes (up from two), user-controlled gray scale setting, 96Hz refresh rate for 24Hz sources and a thinner profile. The set is available now in 50," and 54″ diagonal screen sizes, with the 58″ and 65″ versions due sometime in August. HDGuru has a full in-depth review of why this is the new go to replacement for Pioneer's discontinued Kuro plasma HDTVs line.
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