Google Voice Announced

Google Voice is a new Google service that offers "one number for life," so that one incoming call to that number gets forwarded to all your other numbers - work, mobile, home or hotel room. Users get free calls across the United States and international rates cheaper said to be currently cheaper than Skype. Landlines, computers and cellphones can all access its services. Voicemails are automatically transcribed and sent as e-mails or text messages, and there are loads more features, including smart handling of SMS messages, free conference calls, switch phones during a call, the ability to listen to a incoming voice mail before taking a call and call recording. Available now to current Grandcentral users but check out the video features to find out what they have planned.

Panasonic's Blu-ray VHS Combo

Panasonic's DMP-BD70V is the worlds first (and maybe last) Blu-ray and VHS combo player. The device features multi-format playback allowing the user to play VHS, CD, DVD and 1080p high definition Blu-ray Discs. Not only that, all video formats will be given a 1080p up-conversion as well. The system also comes with a built-in SD memory card slot and USB 2.0 port, making it easy for you to view and share both digital still images and videos. Available starting in April for a retail price of $399.95 .

HP Home Server Reviews

The EX-487 is the second generation of HP's MediaSmart server line. It runs on Windows Home Server, a flavor of Windows dedicated to network attached storage. In addition to the regular features of the Windows Home Server software HP has additional software for easy setup for clients and router and web-based media sharing functionalities that are quite advanced. You can not only access your files and computers remotely, but the MediaSmart Server will act as a web server that can share media files or even stream them directly to another computer over the web. If you're in the market for a home server these two in depth reviews from We Got Served and MediaSmartServer.net should give you an idea what to expect.

Sata 3 Drives Available By Years End

Seagate has just showed off a new hard drive that boasts a SATA 3 interface that allows it to transfer files at burst speeds up to 6 gigabits per second, or a real-world 600 megabytes per second. This is double the theoretical maximum of 3Gbps of the current SATA 2 interface and quadruple that of SATA drives, which peak at 1.5Gbps. Apart from faster speeds, SATA 3 will also be more energy efficient, while the higher throughput will be largely achieved by improved native command queuing . The SATA 3 hard drives are still in prototype stage, though Seagate promised to bring one to market before year's end and AMD is planning to revise its current 750-series chipsets and future mainboards to support the new interface.

Sony CMT-Z100iR

Sony Insider has leaked images of the CMT-Z100iR, Sony's latest mini sound system. Features include an ipod dock, slot loading cd player, USB port, two 20W speakers, touch panel controls, a 3.5mm audio-in jack, bass/treble adjustments, an integrated AM/FM radio and remote control. There is no firm release date or price, though Sony Insider seems to think it will fall in the $150-$250 range.

The Beatles: Rock Band Announced

Although technically not something we usually cover at Hometoys, the announcement of a Beatles version of the popular music game Rock Band was to good to pass up; who doesn't want to be one of The Beatles? Scheduled for a September 9th release the game will be available for the Xbox 360, PLAYSTATION 3, Wii in a stand alone version or bundled with the instruments. No word yet on the songs list or specifics on what the instruments will be included but here's hoping they include a replica of Paul Mcartney's Höfner 500/1 "Violin Bass" . If you unfamiliar with what Rock Band is watch this video from the Conan O'Brien show.

Foot Controlled Mega Remote

This might be the world's largest media center remote. It's made with two flexible Dance Dance Revolution mats from the PlayStation 2, hacked to control Windows Media Center with your feet. Video and the instruction on how to build your own mega remote can be found here .

ATI and Nvidia Announce New Chips

Yesterday both Nvidia and AMD ATI announced new high-end mobile graphics solutions. ATI launched what is the world's first 40nm GPUs : the ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4860 and ATI Mobility Radeon HD 4830. Both GPUs support DirectX 10.1 games and HD content as well as being energy efficient for increased battery life. The HD 4860 mobile GPU supports GDDR5 RAM with almost twice the performance of GDDR3 RAM. AMD says that by utilizing the 40nm technology it can build the GPU in a smaller ASIC die size, which in turn allows the discrete GPU to be used in smaller notebooks. NVIDIA also announced a set of new mobile GPUs : the GTX 280M, GTX 260M, GTS 160M and GTS 150M GPUs. NVIDIA claims that the GTX 280M is the world's fastest mobile GPU and offers 50% more performance than the previous generation of mobile enthusiast level GPUs. One important thing to mention; the mobile GTX series does not use the same chip as its desktop counterpart but instead uses the G92 chip used in the 9800 GTX+ desktop cards.

Dummy Security Camera

Sometimes security is designed to be barely noticeable, so as not to detract from the main event or draw any attention. Other times, it is deliberately obvious to tell would-be wrongdoers "don't even think about it". The Dummy Security Camera with Blinking LED lets any hooligans know that someone could be watching their every move or at least taking some video footage of their devious deeds. $12.99 from Thinkgeek.

Motion Sensing Light Adapte

Smarthome's Screw-in Motion Sensing Light Adapter fits right into an existing light socket. The adapter has a motion sensor that has 360 degrees visibility, up to 16 feet away, and you can adjust both the light duration and the sensitivity. No wiring needed and fairly cheap at $24.99 at Smarthome's webpage or through Amazon .

Remote With Wireless Speaker

Asahi Electric Corp (Japan) has introduced a TV remote control with a speaker. The unit consists of a remote control with a 30mm-radius speaker and a receiver unit for wireless connection. The idea is you might want to hear the TV from a distance, but without increasing the overall volume too much because you're in the kitchen, or because your spouse is sleeping next to you or because grandpa is the only one who needs a sound boost. The RC-25SP Universal Speaker Remote will be available soon for around $40.

Wireless HDMI Up To 30ft

Gefen announced its Wireless HDMI Extender , a device that provides users with cable-free HD extension for up to 30 feet within a line-of-sight. Resolutions supported by the device range from basic 480i through to 1080p and is HDMI 1.3 compatible. The Gefen Wireless HDMI also doubles as a High Definition video switcher. There are three High Definition video inputs (2 HDMI and 1 Component) that are selectable by the transmitting unit. The Wireless HDMI Extender is available for order from the Gefen website and priced at $1,000.

The SmartSwitch

Peter Russo and Brendan Wypich of Stanford University developed the SmartSwitch , a light control with tactile feedback that helps you "see" how much energy is already being used, whenever you try to flick the switch. If the total energy consumption in the house is low, the SmartSwitch is easy to flip. But if the consumption is higher, the SmartSwitch is physically harder to flip, thanks to a brake pad within the mechanism. The idea is that people will use this tactile feedback to decide if they really really need that light on or not.

Cable To Offer TV Programs Online Soon

A number of big name US cable companies are looking to offer online companion packages to their pay-TV subscribers. The Wall Street Journal is reporting that top cable providers (namely Comcast and TWC) and TV networks are looking to assemble a large collection of online programming and deliver it only to subscribers. According to Reuters these projects could become available as early as this summer. The cable companies are hoping these services take a chunk out of the growing number of people watching online services like Hulu.

The Iriver P7

The iRiver P7 portable media player features a 4.3-inch, 480 x 272 resolution LCD touchscreen and 35 hours audio or 7 hours video battery life. The P7 supports playback of MP3, WMA, WAV, OGG and FLAC formats and MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4 Simple Profile, MPEG-4 Advanced, Simple Profile (B-VOP only), Xvid, WMV 7/8/9, RM/RMVB, H.264 video formats. There is also an optional cradle available that has a built in speaker that allows the portable device to double as a bed side media device. The unit will be available soon in Korea with a North American release still to be announced.

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