Archive | June 7, 2011

How to use AirPlay with XBOX 360 and Windows Media Center

AirPlay is certainly a very popular feature and pushing photos and videos everywhere around your house is many people’s dream. In my case, I have my house full of XBOX 360 units connected as Windows Media Center (Windows 7) extenders to access live and recorded TV. They work quite well and it is probably one of the easiest way to stream live/recorded video if you don’t want to deal with multiple DVR units (and own a bunch of XBOX 360 – can get them on eBay for under $75 even with the DVD unit broken)

What if you want to use AirPlay and control your XBOX 360 with your iPhone? Thanks to  Thomas Pleasance there is now a simple way to do so. There is a catch though: It won’t work directly to your XBOX, instead you’ll have to use it as an extender. Fortunately, this works perfectly with my setup and I’ll briefly describe how to do it:

Step 0: Make sure you are running Windows 7 on the server and you registered your XBOX 360 as an extender

Step 1: Install Bonjour print Services for Windows from Apple’s website. Read More…

Apple releases iBooks 1.3 with read-aloud feature

Apple just released a new iBooks app version 1.3. Beside several bug fixes, the major new feature is read-aloud that works with certain children books in the iBookstore. The main difference from let’s say Kindle 3 is that read-aloud uses a real person to narrate the books and  some books will help your children read along by highlighting the words as they are spoken. The new feature closely resemble the interactive books available on the Nook Color since last year. Some books even have video clips and other interactive features integrated. The new 1.3 update also increases iBooks speed when very large books are opened.

Read-aloud is very simple to use and iBooks allow automatic page turning and volume control from inside the application.

via iTunes

iPhone iOS 5 beta already got its own jailbreak on launch day, iPad 2 jailbreak still out of reach

This must be one of the quickest jailbreaks ever – and it comes again from our trusted Dev-Team. Its member musclenerd tweeted earlier in the day with the big announcement. Why so fast? Because the current jailbreak method is based on the popular limera1n vulnerability. The only problem is that this jailbreak is tethered, meaning you’ll have to re-apply it if you ever reboot your iOS based device. We are quite sure that an un-tethered method will follow, especially since there are still several month until the release iOS 5.0 will be publicly released. Meantime, we are still waiting for our iPad 2 jailbreak which Read More…

Nook Color has a competitor in Viewsonic ViewBook 730 at $250

We knew it was bound to happen sooner or later. After all, the gadget prices are dropping faster and faster and eventually, we had to get some reasonable good tablet at Nook Color price point of $250. We didn’t know until today which company will launch it – Viewsonic. Their new Android tablet ViewBook 730 retails for $249.99 and brings the following:

  • 1 GHz ARM Cortex A8 CPU – faster than Nook Color which runs at 800MHz
  • front facing VGA camera
  • 512MB RAM
  • 8GB storage memory
  • Android 2.2
  • microSD expansion slot, up to 32GB
  • 7 inches 800 x 480 with 400:1 contrast ratio and 380 cd/m2 brightness – LED backlit
  • 5000mA/h battery designed to last between 8-10 hours
  • mini HDMI output
  • mini USB for charging / PC link
  • audio jack for audio out (3.5mm – standard)

We don’t know yet whether the screen is resistive or capacitive, however it comes with a pen so 99% chances the screen is resistive (ouch). Compared with a Nook Color, the ViewBook has a cheaper screen with a lower resolution (no competition for Nook Color’s IPS 1024 x 600 wonder), no capacitive screen but faster CPU, HDMI out and VGA camera. It is up to you what device you’ll prefer. ViewBook will also come with the Amazon Android Appstore, Amazon Kindle and Amazon cloud player. To be shipped this month.

Check after the break for a ViewBook 730 video clip / additional photos. Read More…

ORB BR Review (PS3) – adds media streaming capability to your networked Blu-ray player

Orb BR is the latest products coming from ORB, a California based company specialized in digital media streaming solution for your home. Initially announced during CES 2011, the Blu-ray disk that will sell for around $20 is designed to transform any Blu-ray player equipped with a network connection into an ORB machine, just better. Among the most important features you’ll get local content (video, audio and photo streaming) plus a variety of online services like Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Video on Demand up to 1080p.

I got Orb BR quite a while ago and followed its progress through a series of beta versions. I was (nicely) asked to postpone my review until the release day, which is today, so here it is!

1. Setup

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ORB BR is out, brings Internet streaming to PS3 and other connected BR Players

Announced during the latest CES, it is finally out. ORB BR is a very cheap and effective way to add media streaming functionality from various sources to your connected (and Blu-ray live capable) BR player. The Orb BR will retail for just $19.99 which is indeed a cheap way considering the functionality and supports both local and online content. I played with ORB BR during the last several weeks throughout the entire Beta program and I have to say I am impressed. Both local content and Netflix / YouTube / Hulu streaming perform flawlessly (check our full hands on ORB BR Review) and local content also works well, including 1080 MKV files.

iTunes library is also supported and, since integration is currently king, you can use any PC/iOS/Android Orb Controller not only to select what you want to play but also as a hub to search for content, aggregated from multiple sources. It doesn’t matter where exactly the show is located, you can search for it and stream it automatically to your PS3.

There are two different versions of Orb BR, one designed specifically for PS3 that ships now, the other for generic connected BR Players that will ship next month.

Check after the break for the ORB Press Release

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