Kenwood encased its new 2 way speakers, the SP0001, in optical grade glass. Combined with the optional LED light stand the speakers create a haunting futuristic night listening experience. The system features two 2-way speakers supporting a maximum input of 10W and featuring an 8-ohm impedance. The playback frequency range is of 80Hz – 25kHz and is attained with the help of 6-cm cone and 2.5-cm soft dome-type drivers. The whole thing is not particularly big, measuring somewhere around 140 x 170 x 195 and weighing about 2.3 kilos. Available now in Japan for $1,050 plus $210 for each stand.
Roku has just announced that it will support streaming HD videos coming from Amazon's VOD service. Roku was already streaming non-HD content from Amazon. At the moment, there are about 500 HD movies and TV shows that users can get from Amazon. Episodes of current TV shows will be available for purchase for $2.99; recently released movies will be available to rent for $3.99-$4.99. Roku is available for $99 from the company's web site.
Microsoft recently presented its 2.4 inches square touch screen which they claim to be the smallest in the world. Instead of the touch controls being on top of the screen, obstructing the tiny view, the controls are located directly behind the display. The Nanotouch can also display your finger through the screen for increased accuracy. These tiny touch screens could be very useful for future portable gaming systems, smart phones and universal remotes.
Unlike common televisions that lose picture quality due to glare, this television has a 31 1/2″ active-matrix TFT screen with an anti-reflective window that provides indoor-quality viewing outdoors in shaded daylight. Capable of 1080i HD performance with a 1,500:1 contrast ratio, and is protected by a scratch-resistant, contrast-enhancing window. A dual-airflow system ensures the television stays cool, dry, and properly ventilated -even up to 122° F. Two eight-watt water-resistant speakers provide clear stereo sound. Includes a weather-resistant remote with rechargeable batteries, an articulating wall mount, and an outdoor dust cover. Available at Hammacher Schlemmer now.
Gizmodo has a side by side comparison of eight of the more popular iPod / iPhone docks. If your looking for a simple audio player in the $200 to $300 dollar range Gizmodo has broken down the pluses and minuses of each unit along with some general recommendations. Its a simple rundown that might help you narrow your choices and a great starting point.
D-Link is now shipping its PowerLine HD Ethernet Adapter Starter Kit. The kit is capable of transmitting high-def footage throughout a home's integrated electrical wiring system between any two devices. For $139.99 you get two wall adapters, simple push-button activation, Microsoft Windows Vista's Network Map support and a theoretical throughput of 200Mbps. Available now from D-Links web site.
The Livio Radio is the first Wi-Fi radio specifically designed around the Pandora streaming music service, offering "thumbs up" and "thumbs down" buttons on the front panel and the remote. The Livio can connect to the Pandora service through either the integrated Wi-Fi or the Ethernet port around back. In addition to Pandora, the Livio Radio also features the ability to tune into more than 11,000 standard Internet radio stations. The back of the radio has a line in and stereo out for integration with whatever other audio equipment you have. The Livio Radio sells for $150 and is currently available in the United States at their web site.
Sanyo has announced a new super-short focus projector powered by a laser. The projector has a brightness of 7000 lumens, most consumers projectors are 1000-2000 lumens bright, which should be enough to provide a good image, even in a lit room and is capable of giving you a 100" image at just 63cm away from the screen, and a 150" image at 94cm away from the screen. No word yet on pricing or availability.
If you own a TiVo HD, a TiVo Series3 DVR or a Scientific Atlanta DVR with a eSATA port in the back you can add a whole lot of extra recording space by using one of Western Digital's new My DVR Expander portable hard drives. Once it's plugged into the eSATA port on your TiVo DVR, the expander will be "married" to your DVR, instantly adding 60 (500gb model) or 120 (1tb model) additional hours of HD recording space.
Gizmodo got its hands on one of Acer's AspireRevo and tested its video playback as well as its ability to handle 3d gaming. Although Acer hasn't announced an official price they have said that it will be well under $500. According to the Gizmodo's tests what you get for under $500 dollars is, a system capable of playing Blu-ray movie with an average video bitrate of 28 megabits per second, peaking around 36 through a HDMI output with full 7.1 HD audio. Revo also ran the game Spore, albeit at 1024x768, smoothly and Google Earth ran at a usable pace. Programs without GPU acceleration didn't perform any better than any other Intel Atom system, meaning Flash based video sites like HD Hulu or Youtube HD didnt run so well.
Acer officially announced its 7.1" x 7.1" x 1.2" AspireRevo. The mini computer boasts a 1.6GHz Intel Atom 230 processor, up to 4GB of RAM, up to 250GB of HDD space or SSD, a 4-in-1 card reader, HDMI / VGA outputs, gigabit ethernet, six USB 2.0 sockets, audio in / out, and Windows Vista Home Premium / Basic. The system also has a 9400M intergrated GPU and is capable of handling 1080p, Blu-ray decoding, DirectX 10 and even mildly demanding 3d gaming. The AspireRevo is designed to be attached to the back of any TV display or LCD with a VESA attachment.
MyDigitalEntertainer's managed to get an early unit of Netgear's EVA9150 Digital Entertainer Elite and has provided ample unboxing pictures and some hands-on impressions. According to the review, the unit has improved a lot compared to previous models from Netgear and offers 802.11n support with three internal dual-band antennas, Flickr account integration, a well-functioning YouTube application, significantly faster processor for speedy menus and smooth streaming, vastly enhanced video codec and format support including the much-desired MKV, vastly enhanced audio file format support, upconversion to HD through the HDMI output, built-in hard drive can store media and buffer over the network for jitter-free playback, and addition weather and PC access features.
Just connect Pogoplug to your home network and attach any external drive or memory stick and you can upload/download/view files from any location. Pogoplug works from a Web browser interface and you can share individual items on your drives to anyone else using their email as a unique login. The iPhone app allows streaming of MP3 files, viewing JPG files, and opening PDF/Doc files over Wi-Fi or 3G. Available from their web site for $99 dollars with no monthly fees.
Every week dozens of home technology products are released and every week dozens more are announced but never see the light of day. The web site Dark Roasted Blend has a gallery of early prototype technology that is always great to look at.
In an official press release released yesterday Nvidia now says that the first batch of "incredibly small and affordable PCs" will be coming in Q2. One of the first will be Acer's Hornet, a $149-$299 tiny Vista box capable of gaming and 1080p video playback over HDMI. The ION platform combines a Intel Atom CPU with the graphics power of a 9400M allowing a complete media experience in a form factor as small as the palm of your hand.
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