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Archive for the ‘Convergence’ Category

Sling Catcher Media Extender Cares About the Consumer

Friday, January 12th, 2007

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On the heels of my AppleTV disappointment, I discover Sling Media’s new media extender: Sling Catcher, announced at CES.

Sling’s co-founder, Blake Krikorian, thinks the Catcher will succeed where all other “limited” media extenders have failed:

The Slingcatcher won’t be limited at all, he says, and will let you take “anything you have on your laptop, any type of media, any Web site, or Web-based video and project it wirelessly at the push of a button onto your television set. I can go to any site, any video content, any formatted content and get it to play on my big screen TV. That’s a huge difference between what we’re doing and what others are doing.”

via Engadget

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Popularity: 7% [?]

AppleTV - Too Crippled for a $300 Media Extender

Wednesday, January 10th, 2007

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“What’s on TV? Just about everything you’ve got in iTunes…”

Apple released the final specs on its AppleTV (formerly iTV), and I’m super disappointed.

Its hardware is impressive for a media extender:

  • AV out: HDMI and Component Video, Optical and stereo RCA audio (HDMI audio too?)
  • Network: Ethernet, 802.11 n a/b/g
  • Storage: 40 GB HDD.
  • Intel processor (video on the chip?)
  • Small and slim form factor that follows the Mac Mini’s rounded corner square design and lateral dimensions

Neat, sounds like an impressive media extender that can deliver up to a 720p video signal to your home theater over a robust wireless connection. So why am I so disappointed?

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Popularity: 15% [?]

Slim Devices Transporter Kills Your CD Player

Tuesday, December 12th, 2006

Slim Device’s self-proclaimed audiophile grade network music player, the Transporter ($1999), is highly recommended by Soundstage AV’s Doug Schneider. After going over its easy set up and sonic qualities (on par with similarly priced DACs, this is encouraging to hear as the Transporter’s quality to value ratio has been questioned by other reviews and random forum posts), he proclaims the Transporter the death of the stand alone CD transport as a high end digital source:

The Slim Devices Transporter marks a shift in the way we audiophiles play music, and I believe it signals the death of the CD transport. In fact, I think someone would be foolish to spend much money on a CD transport today. Have one, yes, but start thinking about other ways to store and stream your music — such as Slim Devices’ Transporter-SlimServer solution. It’s that good — and it’s the way of the future. It just happens to be here today.

Awesome. I can stop my search for a new CD player, ignore MSNBC’s bad advice to buy an old Playstation as an “audiophile” CD player (I looked into this a few months ago and the PS1’s are hard to source and it takes way too much work to get the game machine to sound nice (and not even “audiophile” nice, just better than many DVD players and cheap CD players), this site has info on all the mods) and be satisfied with my computer music over a network player like the Transport (or my more humble Airport Express and Sony PSP set up which I still need to find a batter DAC for than my Onkyo TX-DS989 AV Receiver).

Popularity: 25% [?]

iTunes 7 Breaks My PSP+Airtunes Setup - Airfoil to the Rescue

Monday, November 13th, 2006

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I knew I shouldn’t have upgraded to iTunes 7.

Now when streaming music to my Airport Express from iTunes 7 it takes forever to switch to the next song and worse it will just stop playing randomly. iTunes will actually get stuck at the 0:00 of a song and when you toggle play and pause it skips to the next song still stuck at zero. I have to quit iTunes at the MacMini to get the signal back to the Airport Express. None of the dot updates have helped.

So is my PSP/Airtunes Dance Party over?

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Popularity: 19% [?]

DIY Oak Tube Amp Outshines Apple’s iPod Hi-Fi Powered Speaker System

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

Don’t feel like paying $350 for the Apple iPod Hi-Fi Powered speaker system? Make one yourself (and save $50).

Found this on Hack a Day:

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This DIYer made a beautiful real oak tube mono amp and iPod dock atop a single matching speaker:

After pricing everything out, I decided to build a single mono channel to see how it sounded. $100 for the amp, $100 for the speaker parts, $100 for wood (real oak, just couldn’t use that compressed saw dust stuff). I ordered the parts and went to work. After about two weeks of working in the evenings this is what I came up with.

Though not as shiny as the Fatman iTube, this is still a cool looking project (I bet it sounds nice too) that gives the iPod some old-school hi-fi style.

Popularity: 22% [?]

Slim Devices Threatens High End Audio Establishment

Friday, October 13th, 2006

I am a streaming, losslessly compressed, digital audio playback evangelist. I believe you can improve upon the data that's trapped on your CD collection by ripping it to a hard drive and then playing it back through an affordable remote network device, like the Apple Airport Express or the Slim Devices Squeezebox 3. My advocacy for this method of musical enjoyment is tame and assertive when compared to Slim Devices' forum.

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Popularity: 11% [?]

MAX Brings Exact Audio Copying to the Mac

Friday, September 8th, 2006

max.pngSince the Windows emulation software, Parallels, has graced my new MacBook Pro, I’m reminded of all the little applications that posters on audio and video forums have produced or recommended. Exact Audio Copy (EAC) is a perfect example of a Windows only app that I’ve desired for a while. EAC promises to rip your CDs with massive error correction, making a perfect bit for bit copy of the music. 6Moons has a nice article explaining the need for EAC and its use (via Sonicflare). Unfortunately, EAC doesn’t recognize Parallel’s virtual CD drive. While looking for a fix I came across Slim Devices’, of Squeezebox fame, wiki of CD ripping technologies for the best audio quality. At the bottom of the page I found MAX, an open source Mac OS X equivalent to EAC.

MAX takes forever to rip a CD when compared to iTunes, maybe longer than real time. The extra time is due to MAX triple checking disc sectors after compensating for disc read errors. I’m planning on some more listening test comparing iTunes ripped (with its error correction on) into Apple Lossless and MAX doing the same. I’ll play the albums over my Airport Express as I’ve laid out in my Airtunes posts. I’ll also listen to original CD.

Like EAC, MAX can encode your ripped CD into almost any compressed and uncompressed audio codec. If you don’t have an Airport Express or other device that understands Apple Lossless, you can use MAX’s other major lossless format, FLAC.

The two apps, TAG and COG, are related to MAX and the three make up “OS X audio alliance.” TAG is a meta data editor for audio files; COG is an audio player that will play more obscure codecs than iTunes.

So, rip it up with MAX and report back if your digital audio collection’s sonics improve.

Popularity: 32% [?]

How to Save $600 With My Alternative to the Sonos Zoneplayer and Play All Your iTunes Music Store Songs

Tuesday, August 15th, 2006

In the same PS Audio newsletter with the Noise Harvester video, Paul McGowan linked to Sonos (also see BoingBoing’s recent post praising the Sonos). Sonos makes wireless music access points with a large handheld remote. A basic kit will cost you $999. I want to compare the Sonos feature set and my own Airtunes setup, which is a much more economical solution.

For just under $1000 Sonos provides two Zoneplayer ZP80s and a two handed Controller CR100 with a table top charging dock. You hook up the first ZP80 to your home network, point it toward your digital music collection and it streams the requested songs to as many as 32 ZonePlayers in your home. Each ZonePlayer can play music independently of the others. Additional ZP80s cost $349.

The Sonos Controller CR100 has a 3.5″ QVGA LCD screen that displays a GUI featuring navigation, playlists, album art and track listings. Its best feature is a iPod-esque click scroll wheel for scanning through your large list of songs.

The Sonos system is a great wireless audio distribution kit if you have lots of money to burn but if you want 80% of the functionality of the Sonos for 40% of the price then try my Airport Express and PSP remote solution (the Geek with Family Distributed Audio Solution or GWFDAS: read my five part series on the set up and experience starting with “PSP + Airtunes + Coverbuddy = Hi-Fi Music Server Dance Party - Introduction“).

Continue reading How to Save $600 With My Alternative to the Sonos Zoneplayer and Play All Your iTunes Music Store Songs

Popularity: 20% [?]

Mac Mini Hard Drive Failure and Replacement - Back Up Your Family Photos

Tuesday, July 11th, 2006

I've had an unusual amount of electronics break on me in the past few months. This post should serve as a warning for you to back up any important data on a regular basis. Because if your spouse finds out you just lost every last picture you took of your daughter for her whole life, she may be a little pissed—kick you out of the house pissed.

The following electronics have failed me lately: first my Diva Swans M200 computer speakers, then my external USB 2.0 fanless HD case (luckily the HD survived), then my Linksys WRT54G wireless router, and finally the hard drive in my Mac Mini.

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Popularity: 25% [?]

VH1’s Best Week Ever Parodies Mac vs. PC ads

Monday, July 10th, 2006

Last Friday’s Best Week Ever (YouTube video link) ran some not so funny, but just kind of mean, Mac parody ads (I originally watched them Saturday afternoon on my DVR). These ads make me feel bad about my hobbies, like blogging, making ironic t-shirts and mashing-up commercial works so I can call myself a participatory fan. I appreciate the parody, though, because I never feel like the real Mac ads are telling the whole story, namely the PC’s major advantage of video games.

The Second Crop of Mac Ads is Finally Here!
02:17 - July 07, 2006

Popularity: 11% [?]