Archives For brent

allvid-cable-gateway

The AllVid battle lines between the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) and the National Cable & Telecommunications Association (NCTA) are being drawn. AllVid is a possible replacement for and enhancement of CableCARD technology being discussed by the FCC and now a group of companies from the electronics industry that have formed the “AllVid Tech Company Alliance.”

The Alliance was created to provide a unified voice for consumer electronic companies to lobby the FCC and NCTA to create a more open cable “AllVid” home video gateway solution to supersede the existing and limited CableCARD regime. AllVid Alliance founding members including Google, Sony Electronics, TiVo, Best Buy, Mitsubishi Digital Electronics, Nagravision and SageTV.

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My favorite home music server is getting better. Today Sonos released this teaser video showing off their new Android Controller (much like their very popular iOS Controller) for the Sonos music system. Like the iPhone, iPod touch and iPad apps this one will be free. According to the Sonos Twitter feed, the Android app will be available sometime in March of this year. Additionally, Engadget notes the Android app will feature voice search capabilities – a feature currently unavailable on the iOS variants. If you’re currently controllerless, you may want to check out the community developed Sonos Android app until the official software lands next month.

This post republished from GeekTonic.

ipad-wall-mount

The iPad makes an ideal touch-screen interface for a high-end custom home theater room, home automation setup, or home security system. Yet for many of these applications there’s a need for a wall mount solution so it fits in aesthetically and with a good way to power the device. Vidabox, LLC, a well-known media server and integrated control systems company offers an elegant solution to meet this need with their new VidaBox iPad mount ($159) and iPower charging station.

I have the florentine silver iPad Mounting Frame in my home to check out. And it’s made from excellent quality materials that will look stunning in your high-tech home. The frame allows you to semi-permanently mount your iPad onto a wall and transform your iPad into a seamless home automation touch-screen.

Installation was very easy. The frame is delivered assembled. You detach the top of the frame by unscrewing the two hinges. Slide the iPad into the frame and then connect the iPad cable through the rear cutout of the frame. Ideally you’ll likely want the iPower add-on available separately from Vidabox.

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A year ago I was on the hunt for a new clock radio with an iPhone/iPod dock built-in. One would think finding such a device would make for a pretty simple shopping trip right? Well there are now several options out there to choose from and while I started with pretty simple needs here, my inner-geek pushed me to find a clock radio that handled more than just the typical tasks. Enter the Sony Dream Machine IFC-CL75IP.

I just needed a simple clock radio right?  Yes this is true. But, as I often do, I added a few extra requirements to my clock radio want list:

  • Dual Alarm
  • Dimming Display
  • Large time display
  • iPod/iPhone dock – for charging and possibly playing back music…

That list actually fits several available clock radio options. But I chose the one that had the cool factor going for it. Read the rest of this entry »

Can something as geeky as a digital photo frame work for the technophobe? Might it actually be possible for mom and dad or even grandma & grandpa to survive with a digital photo frame? Up until now I’d have answered no, but I have in my possession something that just might be the solution – the ideal geeky, yet easy-enough-for-mom-to-use digital photo frame!

The 10″ Kodak Pulse (~$175) is amazingly simple to operate, has a excellent options for getting photos onto the frame with it’s own e-mail address and Facebook photo integration (among others) – plus the touchscreen UI for managing photos and the slideshow is ideal. If you’re looking for the perfect off-the-shelf digital photo frame that is easy enough for the folks to use – look no more. The Kodak Pulse is one of the best gadgets you can buy – I’m sold on this digital photo frame and plan to gift it to a lucky family member.

Read on for my take on the 10” Kodak Pulse which is basically just a larger version of last years 7 inch digital photo frame. Read the rest of this entry »

If you spend much time manipulating multimedia on say a HTPC, creating videos or ripping DVDs, there will come a time when you need to dig deeper into specific file composition to understand more about it. My favorite tool for this sort of job is the free, MediaInfo.

I’m currently transcoding a number of HD videos and, in doing so, I need to know what each video file is made of.  Information like the video format, bitrate, codec, subtitle information etc. MediaInfo provides these details and more:

  • General Information: title, author, director, album, track number, date, duration…
  • Video: codec, aspect, fps, bitrate…
  • Audio: codec, sample rate, channels, language, bitrate…
  • Text: language of subtitle
  • Chapters: number of chapters, list of chapters

MediaInfo supports a large number of media formats including: Read the rest of this entry »

Cloud Engines, Inc, has unveiled the new PogoPlug Pro ($99), their latest version of the multimedia sharing device.

Pogoplug allows users to easily and securely access, share and stream their media content from anywhere without uploading.  The Pogoplug device provides a way to connect your external USB drives and other devices to your network and then access content on those devices over the web.  They also provide apps for iPhone, Android, iPad, BlackBerry and Palm as well.

This hardware refresh provides users of the new Pogoplug Pro all features of the earlier generation Pogoplugs, plus the ability to connect up to four USB drives and print from any mobile device. The Pro also adds built-in wireless connectivity along with a nice, new non-pink enclosure.

I use one of the first generation Pogoplugs along with a few hard drives that no longer “fit” in my HTPC server.  It’s a great solution for my use that just works.

This post republished from GeekTonic.

Early this summer, Sonos announced they’d expand upon their success with the iOS Sonos Controller by bring the experience to the Apple iPad.  Now, the free Sonos iPad Controller app is ready and I was lucky enough to give the new app a quick try this morning with my Sonos System.

The updated Sonos Controller UI was built specifically for the iPad to sensibly utilize the extra screen real estate. Using the controller you can view your zones, your music and what songs are playing – all at once.  All screens work in landscape or portrait mode. Searching for an artist and music with the virtual keyboard works well and browsing through your music collection and the online music choices is simple much like the iPhone and iPod Touch app before it.  You can also browse, search and drag and drop to create your playlist on the fly. Get a complete view of what’s playing in every zone, complete with full-color album art, elapsed time of a song, and more. Group your zones together or play different songs in different rooms – without interrupting music playback.

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