Archive | October 18, 2010

Deal of the Day – $66 – Brite-View BV-5005HD media streamer

A very big price drop for one of the best media streamers on the market, Brite-View BV-5005HD is the same unit as the re-badged Zinwell ZIN-5005HD that we recently reviewed and it is available now at Amazon for $66 with free shipping and no taxes.

The box features an extended code support with MPEG 1/2/3, MKV, h264, DTS and Dolby and basically plays pretty much everything you can throw at it up to 1080p. In terms of web clients, it has MUZEE Internet Radio and TV with more than 20,000 radio and 8000 TV stations around the world. As a bonus, you also get Torrent downloading with 3 simultaneous torrents and, even more important, UPnP / DLNA client supporting PS3 media Server, TVersity and PlayOn. I am currently using it to watch HULU/Netflix in the kitchen.

Barnes & Noble: big firmware update 1.5 coming in November on Nook

Barnes & Noble just announced a big firmware update for their Nook eReaders, due sometime by the end of November. Among other fixes, firmware version 1.5 will dramatically improve page turning speed, improve search (and we just hope it will allow search in any documents beside just the books you purchased which is the way it works now). Custom library organization is also announced and, although no details were offered, I am sure everybody reading this is dreaming at folder support.

Mimicking Nook, the new update will bring last page read synchronization across various Nook clients so you can start reading on your PC and continue on your iPhone for example, which is a welcome addition.

If you have juicy books in your Nook library, you will be able to password protect them to keep everything far from the praying eyes.

For those of you who rooted Nook and actually use the extra features coming with the custom firmware (the one I really use is searching in My Documents) it is advisable to turn automatic update off and wait until the new version is cracked. History proved it won’t take too long, and we’ll be happy to announce it once it happens.

If you want to find out more about Nook, you can read our extensive Nook hands-on review.

Nook for Android won’t be left outside the upgrading process either, with Nook for Android 2.3 coming next week. The new features include the ability to go to a certain page number, view notes and highlights and improved search.

Pandigital Novel Personal eReader launches, has ePaper and touch-screen

This is the second model released by Pandigital (the first one, Pandigital Novel 7 was extensively reviewed by us) and the difference is quite significant. Called Pandigital Novel Personal eReader the new devices is using ePaper instead LCD screens but keeps the touch capabilities and boosts the battery life to an official 6000 page turns.

Pandigital Novel Personal eReader is about 9/1 ounces heavy and sports a ePaper screen manufactured by Sipex / AUO, WiFi, GB onboard storage and, new for ePaper based readers, an accelerometer, found until now exclusively in LCD devices. Pandigital keeps the memory expansion slot also found in their previous model and you can use SD cards up to 32GB in size to fill it.

Pandigital Novel Personal eReader Specifications:

–  6″ ePaper electrophoretic display with 800×600 resolution and 16-level grayscale
– Responsive touch-screen and intuitive user interface for navigation
– Built in speaker and stereo-mini headphone jack
– virtual keyboard
– Accelerometer – Orientation sensor for automatically adjusting between portrait and landscape mode when the device is tilted
– Supports popular eBook formats PDF & EPUB
– Built-in Wi-Fi connectivity and web browser
– Expandable storage through its microSD memory card slot (supporting up to 32GB cards)
– Rechargeable lithium-ion battery (via AC adapter or USB)
– mini USB port
– dimensions –  4.88″(w) x 6.75″(h) x 0.38″(d) and weighs 9.1 ounces

The official MSRP price is $200, a tad high compared with the competition so it is obvious Pandigital relies to the touchscreen capability to differentiate themselves. We are not sure how that worked for Sony but will give them the benefit of the doubts, at least for the time being. Barbes & Noble will be again the store of choice, just like the previous model. Check after the break for the photo gallery. Read More…

Netflix goes native on Wii

As we announced, today PS3 gets native Netflix in a software update that will make the streaming disks unnecessary, however, they are not the only ones. In a nice surprise, Wii also gets this treatment and, with the help of a new download available in the Wii Shop Channel, happy Wii owners will be able to get some Netflix goodness, of course if they also get a subscription. Plans are available both in US and Canada for under $10 a month for unlimited streaming.

What is interesting about this is that native Netflix coming on Wii was absolutely unexpected, in stark contrast with PS3 announcements and demos available all over the web. Now that both PS3 and Wii have native Netflix available,  it would be interesting to know if Microsoft intends to drop the feature from Live Gold and make it available for every XBOX 360 owner, in order to stay competitive. Time will tell, but we certainly wish for it.

Universal availability of native Netflix on all of the three modern consoles poses a high threat for dedicated media streamers as Roku boxes and forces the latter ones to innovate and continue to add services in order to stay relevant.