Geek News: Latest Technology, Product Reviews, Gadgets and Tech Podcast News for Geeks


Tag: Media Player

Belkin turns your iPad into a Media Player

Posted by Alan at 10:38 AM on January 17, 2013

Belkin, a company who has been known for its routers, is branching out into other areas, not for the first time. Now the company wants to turn your iPad into a personal media player that you carry around. Not that iOS was not already capable of that, but Belkin want to enhance it.

The device comes in the form of a case and much of what it does is enhance sound level and quality — something Apple seems to struggle with. Although, to be fair, many other mobile devices do as well.

The cover, named the Thunderstorm, not only adds an enhanced speaker, but also a stand, to help with your movie viewing. The case is available now, although the Lightening Connect version is not. It retails for $199.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central for the TechPodcast Network.

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WD TV Live at The Gadget Show Live

Posted by Andrew at 12:27 AM on April 23, 2012

WD TV LiveWestern Digital’s TV Live series of media players has been around for a couple of years and they’ve gained a sizeable following with over 3.5 million devices sold. The 3rd generation WD TV Live has been released recently and Daniel Mauerhofer was kind enough to give me an interview at The Gadget Show Live.

The new WD TV Live model introduces wi-fi connectivity which was absent on the previous model and it’s now been localised for the UK market with the inclusion of iPlayer and Spotify. Coming in two models, one without an internal hard drive (£99), which is available now, and a second which will have a 1 TB drive and will be available later in the year (approx. £129).

As ever, there’s a complementary remote control app for Android and iOS devices, which looks pretty useful; it’s certainly more than just a button-for-button replacement of the IR remote control.

My personal pet peeve in this area was that media players seemed either play from the local network or stream from the Internet but it was a rare device that could do both. The WD TV Live does both so it’s a thumbs up from me.

Diamond Wireless Range Extender and Set-Top Box Preview

Posted by Andrew at 8:31 AM on February 15, 2012

Diamond Wireless Range Extender WR300NI remember building a PC many years ago and at that time, Diamond Multimedia was one of *the* graphics card companies. I even seem to remember that it was VL-bus card, so that dates it to a pre-Pentium era. Anyway, it’s great to see that Diamond is still around when so many others have fallen by the wayside. Todd interviews Louis Kokenis from Diamond Multimedia on the latest products.

The Diamond Wireless Range Extender has three functions in one. First, it’s a wireless repeater that eliminates deadspots in wireless coverage. Second, it’s a wireless bridge that will connect a wired network device to the wireless network and third, it’s a standalone wireless access point, creating wireless hotspot from a single network point. With regard to the last mode, the WR300N’s small size means that it’s great for travelling and creating a wireless network in a hotel room. On-sale now for around $60.

Diamond will be introducing an Android-based TV set-top box that combines web browser, media player, ebook reader, game console, anything that can be downloaded from the Android Market. It won’t be tied to any particular media provider as it will either be able to download an app, e.g. Netflix, or else it will be able to browse to any website and play media directly. Sounds cool, especially if it runs ICS.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central and Steve Lee of NetCast Studio for the TechPodcast Network.

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Sony Connects Up At CES

Posted by Andrew at 7:30 AM on January 10, 2012

Sony LogoSony‘s CES focus this year is on electronics, content and network services combining to deliver high quality entertainment anytime and anywhere. Supported by a slew of product announcements, new connected devices range from TVs, Blu-ray players and A/V receivers through to tablets, smartphones and PCs and on to camcorders and mobile music players. Sony is combining these with online services for music, video and game delivery, creating a great user experience (as they say). TVs, PCs, smartphones and tablets are key to this experience as the four main devices used for entertainment.

Sony is committed to designing technologies for every aspect of consumer entertainment – in or out of the home, on the go, in the air, at work, at play, or wherever life takes you,” said Kazuo Hirai, Executive Deputy President, Sony Corporation. “When these products are combined with Sony Entertainment Network (SEN), which offers innovative services like Music Unlimited and Video Unlimited, as well as PlayStation Network, the user experience is truly unmatched and only made possible by a company like Sony.”

The Bravia TV line has been expanded in all three areas; entry level BX, step-up EX and flagship HX. Brightness and contrast levels have been increased and picture quality improved with Sony’s X-Reality and Motionflow video technologies. In particular the latter helps to reduce blur caused by rapid camera movements which is often a problem with LCD screens. Sony is sticking with the Google TV platform with a new network player and Blu-ray player featuring Google TV. Certain Bravia models will link seamlessly to these devices to provide Google TV features directly on the TV.

Sony Xperia ion smartphoneSony’s Vaio range of computers will continue to be updated with more entertainment feature and new designs that fit with consumers’ needs and increasing mobility. At CES, Sony will be demonstrating new technologies and prototypes for a range of technologies including glasses-free 3D.

In the smartphone space, the Xperia brand has done reasonably well, but increasing the smartphone share in North America is now one of Sony’s highest priorities. Sony Ericsson will be subsumed into Sony Mobile Communications and all new phones will carry Sony branding. The latest addition to the Xperia line-up is the Xperia ion, Sony’s first LTE smartphone coming with an HD 720p display and aluminium body. Also new is the Xperia S which comes with 3D image capture.

Sony Bloggie LiveOn the imaging front, no less than 13 new Handycam camcorders are being unveiled. A new image stabilisation system called Balanced Optical Steady Shot has been developed that controls the complete optical path from lens to sensor as a single floating unit. This reduces handshake blur by up to 13 times compared to the previous models. There’s a new camcorder model with a built-in video projector that has improved brightness and enhanced audio. The trusty Bloggie range now has a “Live” model which will live stream HD video over a Wi-Fi connection and there’s an unboxing over at sister channel TPN.tv. Of course, Sony has a bunch of new Cybershot digital still cameras.

Z Series Audio MP3 PlayerFinally, it wouldn’t be CES if Sony didn’t announce a Walkman or two. The new Z series of MP3 players comes with an application interface and connectivity to both Sony’s Music Unlimited and the Android Market. Content can be played from Z series devices either wirelessly using DLNA or via HDMI to Bravia TVs. To further improve the audio experience, no less than eleven new Balanced Armature earbud-style headphones are now available as well.

That’s it – a quick overview of the products on show at CES by Sony and they all look like fun.

Miro 4.0

Posted by KL Tech Muse at 7:29 PM on May 24, 2011

Miro just came out with version 4.0. and its a clear hit. If you believe in supporting open source application, you have to try Miro. Miro is a open-source music and video player. It has been around since 2005 and was originally known as the Democracy Player. It is a part of The Participatory Culture Foundation a nonprofit foundation. You can use it download, watch, and listen to video and audio podcast. You can also add sites such as YouTube and Ustream and watch them within Miro. It is available for the Mac, Windows, and Linux.

With the newest update to Miro 4 it has become even better. The ability to buy mp3 and applications directly from the Amazon or the Google store within Miro has been added. Music stored in your Amazon Cloud Player can also be played within Miro. You can also add your iTunes music and movie library to Miro. Adding these libraries to Miro has no effect on ITunes, Miro simply points to the appropriate folders. If you have an Android device you can convert and sync music and applications to these device from Miro. I can see Miro being use with any Android device as iTunes is used with iOS devices. You can play almost any video format within Miro including HD video.  You can also use Miro to convert videos into mp4/h264 formats which are playable on most portable devices. If you have Miro installed on multiple computers within the same network you can now stream and transfer media between these computers. YouTorrent is built right into Miro and is really fast. You also have access to media that is available from ClearBits which provides hosting and distribution for open license media.  These are just some of the features that are available within Miro.

When upgrading from Miro 3.5 to Miro 4 I did run into a problem, when I added my ITunes library. It imported the library itself rather quickly, however it did take awhile to import the metadata. In fact it froze up a couple of times, if you have a slower machine like mine (Mac Mini 1.66 Ghz Intel Core Duo) I would recommend deleting the application and then downloading Miro 4. This seemed to fix the problem. Before you do this make sure you export your podcasts as an opml file, so they are easy to add back in. I have been using Miro since before it was Miro and I have always liked it, and it gets better with each version.

 

Innovation or Death in the PMP Market

Posted by GNC at 8:49 AM on May 6, 2009

Every single day sees the launch of numerous, unremarkable, and short lived portable music and media players.  Shiny black, white, red, glossy screened players with a shelf life of about 14 days.  If you watch very carefully you may even see one in use by someone in the general public.  Maybe.

Since Apple invented the iPod it has cornered innovation in the personal media sony-pmx-m70-pmp-4player market.  Surely Apple is not the only company with innovative ideas.  What are the keys to innovation?  Finding a need and filling it.  Finding a problem and solving it.  Finding a market that is untouched or with room to grow.  Innovation is more than copying the features of a competitor and adding a slight twist.  Have we reached the end of innovation in this market?  What more can be added to the music, video, wifi, phone, recording, and camera gadgets?

Perhaps the next wave of innovation will come in content and delivery.  iTunes could use a revamp in the search and listing functions of it’s free media.  Hulu.com is gaining more and more traction, but is fighting Boxee at every step.  RSS may be really simple, but few people use a RSS reader or podcatcher.  The Amazon Kindle has brought a library into the home, but focuses on paid content.  The problem with most of these?  They are either proprietary or to complicated for the average consumer to implement.  I want to watch video on my PMP but how do I get it, do I have to resize it, compress it, etc.  This is a nice shiny gadget but what now?  That is why you seldom see one of the dozens of new PMP’s on the street.

Innovation is there for the taking.  Competition is fracturing  and flooding the market instead of uniting it.  The physical PMP gadget market is reaching a point of critical mass.  Wikipedia defines critical mass as a “socio-dynamic term to describe the existence of sufficient momentum in a social system such that the momentum becomes self-sustaining and fuels further growth”  Who will be the people to cause this tipping point?  What will be the next idea to pull the market through to another few years of exponential growth?   You may have the answer.  Let’s hear it.