Dec 29 2006

News - Synology - DS-106E NAS Server Review

Storage is something we all need more of, kinda like money :-P Well, NASes have gained a lot of popularity in the last year, and Synology (who?) have come out with a NAS that allows you to install whatever size HD you please. Not bad to drop a 750gb in there & let it stream to your heart's content. But at $300, is it really worth it? Maybe we should do a guide for how to build your own NAS out of older, slower PC parts for free, eh??!??! Innocent

In my opinion, Synology has taken about 90% of the hassle out of tasks that previously were difficult or cumbersome to setup. The ability to host a website with a few simple clicks, to setup a FTP server, or to even share files with friends is brought to you in one simple, yet elegant package... and that package is the DS-106e from Synology. Throughout every test that I performed, the features of the DS-106e  performed outstandingly.




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Dec 29 2006

News - DIY Hardware News

Welcome to today's edition of DIY Hardware News. If you see something I have missed, feel free to post it in the comments or go ahead and submit it to news <at>

bit-tech: 2006 Awards

Futurelooks: ECS KA3 MVP Extreme

Digital Trends: MP3 Players under 300 dollars XFX GF 8800 GTX

Pro Clockers: Scythe Any Samurai CPU Cooler

PC Stats: abit Fatal1ty An9 32X nForce 590 SLI

Overclock3D: Asus P5B-E S775

PC World: Top Software Trends For 2007

Bjorn 3D: Mushkin 2GB XP2-8500

Dec 29 2006

News - TV Compass LCD Remote

I gotta agree with Engadget that we'll probably see this at CES. That's what I love about this time of year, you get to hear about all these cool toys soon to come. And looks like it's gonna provide a healthy dish of remotes for everyone's liking.

...which takes a few Windows Mobile interface cues, mixes in some WiFi and a LCD, and manages to do little more than its smart remote peers, just with a little more ugly. The remote, which just recently passed through the FCC, does all that usual channel-changing and home theater control stuff, plus adds in WiFi for programming guides off the internets.




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Dec 29 2006

News - The HDTV Dilemma:Pay for TiVo's Recorder

Wall Street Journal goes into a little analysis regarding whether one should pay for TiVo or use the cable company's DVR boxes. Kinda common sense really, TiVo better be better for $600 box & $13/mo compared to the Cable Co's $10/mo fee. And it is, but is it *that* much better to balance out the cost? Hopefully it at least pushes the Cable Co's to improve their product.

The worst problem is that the Comcast box flubs the basic functions of a DVR. It is maddeningly slow at responding to commands sent by the remote control to pause, play, fast-forward and rewind. You press pause and nothing happens. So you press it again. You try to return to normal speed after fast-forwarding through commercials and the unit takes so long to obey your command that you badly overshoot the resumption of the program. 

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Dec 29 2006

News - Zgiga TV Turns You Living Room into Modern Art

This is a really neat gadget, assuming of course you have the budget for it. Price isn't mentioned in the article nor on the product's page, but I'd imagine it'd be up there.

If your 42-inch plasma isn't getting enough oohs and ahhs from your neighbors, maybe this will. The Zgiga TV 2 is a hyrbid TV/shelf unit that combines the latter with a multi-format Blu-ray/HD DVD player called the Zgiga Cube (in black).




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Dec 29 2006

News - Belkin's Cable-Free USB Hub

I'm really not sure the demand for this type of device, but I'm not surprised to hear that it has speed issues over wireless. Plus, are you really going to trust your backup USB hard drive to backup all your files without a hitch through this? How patient are you going to be just to have this wireless? Oh, yeah, and it's friggin $200!!!!

File transfer using the Cable-Free USB Hub was significantly slower than copying files with the memory card reader connected directly to the computer. The last line of the chart shows the Cable-Free throughput as a percentage of the directly connected throughput. Even taking the best results, the Cable-Free hub performed only at 1/5 the speed of the wired transfers. My test files for the SD card consisted of 1GB of video files I shot on my Canon SD550. Transferring these files from the card to my computer took 1 minute 49 seconds. The same files took 10:56 using the Cable-Free Hub.




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Dec 29 2006

News - Medion MD RIM 1000 UMPC in the wild

The potential with UMPC's is there, it's just a question can they become affordable. But how cool would it be to integrate this bad boy into your home configuration--stream tv, control everything--since it is basically the size of one of those expensive remotes. :-)

The Medion MD RIM 1000 UMPC sure beats the Samsung Q1 and Q1b, and perhaps even the Sony UX180p. Why? Because it’s more usable thanks to the integrated slide out keyboard and touch pad. Other features include a 6.5-inch touch screen, 802.11b/g WiFi, Bluetooth 2.0, integrated GPS, DVB-T tuner and web cam.

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Dec 29 2006

News - Keian intros KDVD850HDMI upscaling DVD player with DivX support

Not a bad alternative especially at only $91 assuming it comes out in the US, this player will upconvert your DVDs to 1080i, and your DiVx files as well. I doubt it'll look as good as through a properly configured HTPC, but you can't beat the price & potential. But again, at such a low price, you have to wonder how long it'll last.

Aside from kicking plain ole DVDs up to 1080i via HDMI, playing back DivX files, and touting the admittedly strange dual microphone inputs for that karaoke flair, this unit also touts the ability to render picture-based slideshows and play back MP3 / WMA from USB thumb drives or flash memory cards (SD, MMC, MS, xD).




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Dec 29 2006

News - DTS Licenses DTS-HD Master Audio Technology to World-Leading IC Companies

AGOURA HILLS, Calif.--(BUSINESS WIRE)--DTS, Inc. (NASDAQ:DTSI) today announced that 10 major integrated circuit (IC) manufacturers have licensed DTS-HD Master Audio and / or DTS-HD High Resolution Audio, DTS high definition multi-channel audio technologies for the next generation optical disc formats, Blu-ray Disc and HD DVD. The manufacturers will incorporate DTS-HD Master Audio and DTS-HD High Resolution Audio into chips they are currently designing for their customers in the consumer electronics industry that are producing HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc players, A/V receivers and Home Theater In-A-Box components, as well as the PC and automobile markets.

In addition to DTS-HD technology, the IC manufacturers have also licensed DTS-HD LBR (Low Bit Rate) for Secondary / Sub Audio and / or the DTS encoder for transcoder usage within the next generation HD DVD and Blu-ray Disc players. The new IC licensees are...

Read the rest of the press release here.

Dec 29 2006

News - Run Slingbox on Linux

With MythTV & the likes being so popular as a Linux Media Center, it's nice to see the Slingbox community come up with a resolution for those users to be able to use their Linux OS with their Slingbox. Not the most seamless install in the world, but hey, it gets it working!

This is a tutorial on how to get SlingPlayer to work with Wine, not how to install and use Linux. I'm assuming that the users of this tutorial will already have a good understanding of how Linux (the Ubuntu distribution in particular) works, and has all the necessary hardware (such as network, wireless, and graphics cards) installed and working. With this in mind, I'm providing detailed installation information on how I got SlingPlayer to work with Ubuntu. This might not work 100% for everyone.

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Dec 29 2006

News - 52 Fantastic Floorspeakers

Floorstanding louspeakers, I think, give a home theater the final touch it needs to become a true theater in your home. After all, should your flat panel TV get all the looks and glory. If you have been inspired by finely crafted introduction, head on over to Electronic House and check out their slide show of 52 different brands of loud speakers. Each slide has the MSRP and a summary of the speaker.

From the article:

Today’s specialized loudspeakers are no longer just the left and right speakers for either your home theater or stereo system. Most are magnetically shielded so they can be placed right next to that new big-screen HDTV. There are many varieties of floor-standing speakers: two-way (with a woofer and tweeter), three-way (with a woofer, midrange driver and tweeter), four-way (with two woofers, a midrange driver and tweeter), and a combination type with several drivers. Some models feature sophisticated electronic crossovers, while others include built-in subwoofers.


Dec 29 2006

News - Pay for TiVo's Recorder or Settle for Cable's?

This question was posed by The Wall Street Journal today. It is an interesting dilemma no doubt. On one hand, you have a cheap 10 dollar a month DVR from the cable company that is not even on the same playing field as TiVo. However, TiVo demands a pretty serious price tag for its Series 3 HD DVR. I guess in the end, if you have the money to pay for the WAF of the TiVo, its a pretty easy decision to make.

From the article:

This latency problem didn't affect just one dud of a Motorola box. In our home, we have four of these units, and three have the problem. All, of course, share the capacity limitations and user-interface problems.

In the program grid, even on a 50-inch, high-definition screen with acres of room, the Comcast box displays just four rows of stations at a time. Until recently, there was a fifth row, but now that has been replaced by an ad. The ad not only sucks up space, but also is aggravating because it gets selected each time you reach the bottom of the grid screen.

Advertising is fine, but in this case, sacrificing 20% of an already paltry information screen for an ad just shows contempt for users.

By contrast, the basic TiVo grid shows eight rows of stations at a time, and offers an alternate view that packs in even more information using two vertical columns: one displaying stations and the other showing a list of shows scheduled in the coming hours.



Dec 28 2006

News - DIY Hardware News

Welcome to today's posting of DIY Hardware News. Feel free to list any additional HTPC hardware news in the comments section or submit them to news <@>


The Tech Report: nForce 590 SLI round-up

Overclocker Cafe: HIS X1950XT IceQ3 Turbo

Bjorn 3D: GeForce 7950GT

Techgage: Asus P5N-E SLI

Hardocp: MSI P965 Platinum

Digital Trends: Best Products Of 2006

Tech Power Up: G.SKILL F2-6400CL6D 4GB Memory Kit

Pro-Clockers: Super Talent DDR2 T1000UX2G4 memory


Dec 28 2006

News - I-O Data unveils internal / external Vista-approved TV tuners

Seeing how IO Data hasn't really had any TV Tuner presence that I've heard of for Media Centers in the past few years, I'm not sure if these will hit the shelves--and even if they did, not sure I'd recommend them since I've never seen a review. But competition is a good thing, so hopefully this just makes Hauppauge & Avermedia work that much harder on their cards.

Both units feature S-Video / composite inputs, 10-bit DACs, noise reduction capabilities, and the assurance of functioning perfectly in Microsoft's forthcoming operating system. Optionally, the couch-dwellers out there can spring for the IR remote kit (¥4,230; $36), which provides your standard volume, channel, and playback controls, as well as a few "Media Center-centric" buttons to keep your PVR on track




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Dec 28 2006

News - VIA intros Mini-ITX mobo for the living room

Via's making a name for themselves building super low wattage motherboard/cpu combinations to be used anywhere you'd like, so your home theater would be a great fit since: low wattage = low heat = low noise, which everyone knows increases WAF.

Barely wider than a DIMM, the VIA EPIA EX features an embedded C7 processor and VIA's latest chipset with integrated graphics, the CX700M2 "system media processor." This chipset allows the EPIA EX to support a nice range of high-resolution output formats, including HD Audio and HDTV display resolutions of 720p and 1080i, along with hardware-accelerated decoding of MPEG2, MPEG4, and WMV9 video. The board sports an array of appropriate output ports, including DVI, S-Video, composite and component video, and both coaxial and optical digital audio.




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