Tag Archives: Media Server


Sookbox Sookbox is a small box that will acts as a media server for your videos and music. This not only includes music on your local server, but also music that is stored in the cloud and on services such as Pandora or Spotify. The software includes an internet browser. You can access your Sookbox through an ip address from anywhere. The Sookbox includes four HDMI outputs, 16 analog audio outputs and 1.5 TB of storage capability. You can connect to your TVs and receivers either wired or wirelessly. The wireless connection works with a dongle that you connect to the TV. Everything is controlled through an app which will be available on Android or iOs. Sookbox is currently still in beta. The control has an open api and they are looking for developers.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of Geekazine. and Daniel J. Lewis of the The Noodle.mx Network and the Audacity to Podcast

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A Second Look at the Roku XD|S

I’ve decided that I am going to start reviewing products after I have had them for awhile. I’ve noticed that most reviews are done when the person has just brought the product or they have gotten it for a review. After you have had a product for awhile, problems may come up that weren’t there in the beginning. Also updates occur that can improve products. The first review of this type is on the Roku XD|S.

I’ve had the Roku XD|S about three months now and at this point I’m not sure I did the right thing when I brought it. I do like the Roku’s ability to get online content, which is the main reason I got it in the first place. However one its biggest weakness is  beginning to bother me and that’s its inability to stream media that’s on your home network . They did add the ability to attaching a USB hard drive to the Roku directly since I purchased it. This works great if you you only have one TV. If you have multiple TVs then you are out of luck, because  that hard drive is invisible to the network. I am not sure why the Roku was designed this way, my best guess is it was a way too appease the content providers so they could get the rights to online content, or maybe it was just an attempt to keep the cost down. What ever the reason, it has made a product that could have been great just good. I know what you are thinking but you knew it didn’t have this capability before you brought it. You would be right, however at the time I brought it I was more concerned with getting media from the Internet. I did take a look at the Boxee Box and the Google TV but both were significantly more expense and were still getting the kinks out. At this point in time I am looking at the Apple TV to fill in the missing ability. I also have to admit AirPlay has made the Apple TV more interesting to me.

I wish that someone would combine the capabilities of the Roku and the Apple TV, with the Apple TV UI. Am I sorry I brought the Roku, a little, it does on line media great, but it’s inability to stream media on my internal network is annoying. If you already have something that streams the media on your internal network, then the Roku is a great addition, but alone it maybe lacking.


DLNA For The iPad And More

Jeffrey stops by the DLNA booth, but before we get to that, if you want to understand what DLNA is, the we recommend you visit their Wikipedia page.  They are showing off some cool devices with that act as DLNA servers, such a home media server, Droid X, laptops, TV’s, Blu-ray players, and an iPad.  Their new iPad app allows user to stream content from a server or upload content to a server.  With over 200 companies manufacturing DLNA-compatibles devices (and more coming) it could become the defacto standard for media content.  For more information you can visit the DLNA website.

Interview by Jeffrey Powers of The Geekazine Podcast.

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Iomega TV with Boxee – Media Streamer and NAS

Iomega becomes the second manufacturer to offer a Boxee-based product with their brand new Iomega TV with Boxee. Available in two variants, one as a media streamer device with no storage, the other with up to 2TB of storage built-in. The devices also offer NAS features such as DLNA server, iTunes server and access to your Iomega Personal Cloud.

Available from late February at $229, $299 and $349 price points. You can register to be notified of availability at the link above.

Interview by Todd Cochrane of Geek News Central.

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TiVo Premier

I have been looking at various media boxes, that would allow me to stream media to my TV from both the internet and my own network. I have looked at the Roku, the XBox and even the Google TV and all had their pluses and minuses, then I realized that I already had a solution right in front of me, my TiVo Premier. With a little additional software, it does everything I want a media server to do. First the TiVo without any additional software allows you to do the following

  • Record shows both HD or SD from cable or off air
  • Play Netflix videos (requires a subscription)
  • Plays Amazon Video on Demand
  • Plays YouTube Video*
  • Plays Online Videocast
  • Use the Rhapsody Music Service (with subscription)
  • Listen to Pandora
  • Listen to Live365
  • Listen to Podcaster
  • View photos on Photobucket
  • View photos on Picasa
  • Watch Music Videos from Music Choice
  • Home Movies by One True Media

The first addition I would recommend is TiVo Desktop, which allows you to play music and view photos that are on your network. On Windows it also allows you to transfer shows to your computer for viewing. To do this on a Mac you need the Roxio Toast Titanium software. The second thing I would add is a piece of software found under Google Software code called PyTivoX. PyTivoX allows you to play videos that are on your network thru your TiVo. Once you download and install it go to preferences and click on Streambaby which is under the SB icon. Then click on the plus buttons and add any folders with videos you want to view on your TiVo. On the TiVo these videos can be found under “Showcases and extra” at the bottom of the list or under Now Playing on some TiVos

There are a couple of problems I have run into when using the Premier TiVo. The first is YouTube has never worked correctly. After logging in (which is a pain to do) you should be able to pull up your subscriptions and favorites. I can only pull up my subscriptions, my favorites never show up. I have tried several fixes, but none seem to work. I really don’t watch YouTube that often on my TV, so it not that big of a deal for me, but for some people this maybe a deal breaker. I also don’t understand why YouTube is listed twice once under Find TV, movies, & videos and then again under Showcases & extras. If you are on a Mac the number of online videocast are limited to what is available when you first go on TiVo. With a PC you can purchase Tivo Desktop Plus and your choices become almost limitless. There is a solution to this on the Mac, simply add the folder on your computer where you download your podcast to your PyTivoX list and you are set. The biggest negative of course is the price, a subscription for TiVo is 12.95 a month, plus what ever you pay for cable. The final negative is the UI is messy and its hard to find where stuff is at first. There is a rumor that Hulu Plus is coming to TiVo which I really hope happens. If Hulu does come to TiVo this is a sure sign that TiVo is trying to leave its dependency on cable behind. I know that TiVo is not the answer for everyone, but for me it works.

The High End Of Media With Vidabox

Vidabox (pronounced Vee-da-box) is a high-end computer/entertainment manufacturer.  This is a comprehensive whole-house solution for those who want the best, but are also willing to pay for it.  The Home Theater PC’s, Media Servers, and Controllers are all top-of-the-line and they are all ready to take your home to the next level.  And, the customer service is top-notch.

If you are looking for an end-to-end solution then this may be where you want to begin.  They have Media Centers, servers, extenders, and accessories.  You’ll still need to go elsewhere for your TV and A/V receiver, but they’d be hard-pressed to compete in that area with such heavyweights as Pioneer, Samsung (for TV’s), Yamaha, and Harman-Kardon (for receivers).

The Media Center PC’s come in a range of options with storage going from 2TB to 18TB, with the higher end being a RAID5 solution.  Blu-Ray drives are standard on all versions, as is Windows 7, built-in card readers, and TV tuner cards.

The servers are rack-mountable and range in storage from 8TB to 44TB.  Like all servers, they are headless – no monitor, keyboard, mouse, or remote is needed.  All servers are RAID-enabled.

They also make extenders with several different models available.  That will allow you to expand your Media Center and server out to your whole home.

But, perhaps my favorite products are the accessories.  A while back I reviewed the wireless keyboard/mouse with RF, which I have used for more than a year and absolutely love.  They also have something called the vController which is compatible with iPad and allows full remote control of your home entertainment system.

This system is not cheap, but if you want products that give you everything possible in today’s world of ever-changing home media then it may be the best solution that money can buy.  Combine it with good TV’s and receivers and you’ll be set.  And Windows Media Center has lots of home automation plug-ins available if you’d like to really expand what all of this hardware can do.