Tag Archives: media streamer

Price cuts across all Roku media streamers line, 1080p update for XR Model

Stating a goal to sell three Roku devices in every house, today Roku announced a price cut across its entire Netflix players / media streamer line. The new prices are as follow:

Roku Model SD (standard definition) : $59 (was $79)
Roku Model HD (high definition) : $69 (was $99) (720p)
Roku Model XR: $99 (was $129) (1080p, WiFi N 2×2 dual band, USB)

Roku also announced the future availability of a software update to support 1080p up from the current 720p.

The new prices are only available on Roku’s website for now, other retailers did not adjust their prices yet. If you ask me however, in order to sell three Roku players to each house, they’ll probably have to be priced at $33 each. Still, the current price is not bad at all considering Pandora, Amazon VOD and Netflix support, but if you are interested in more functionality you should probably look at full featured media streamers as WD TV Live Plus, Viewsonic VMP75 or Seagate GoFlex TV HD (all reviewed on this website), all of them under $129, all of them streaming Netflix and supporting most of the video codecs / containers under the sun including MKV and DIVX.

Netgear unleashes NeoTV 550 and NeoTV 350 in the crowded media streamers market

In a move that places them in direct competition with Western Digital’s WD TV Live Plus and Viewsonic VMP75 (both reviewed by ReviewHorizon), Netgear unveils their latest media players/media streamers NeoTV 550 (NTV 550) and NeoTV 350 (NTV350). Both models have similar functionality, the only difference is the lack of an eSATA port and a cheaper remote for the 350 model. Both models are able to play Blu-ray discs from an external USB or eSata player and have an above average media sorting capability. Unfortunately neither model implements Netflix clients which makes you wonder what the Netgear designers were thinking. We know what happened with the Popbox media streamer launch…Check after the break for the technical specs, supported codec list and photo gallery.

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NexTV Viewsonic VMP75 Review

Since I started to collect quite a big number of media streaming boxes, I decided to review them all. Today I will review the recently released Viewsonic VMP75 1080p Network Media Player, the latest Viewsonic entrance in the media streaming market and a direct competitor to the Western Digital WD TV Live Plus which I reviewed not too long ago. Let’s see how VMP75 stands in terms of features, functionality and reliability against its quite popular competitor. Due to time constraints, I’ll split this review in two parts. The first part will describe the unpacking, box content, remote, web clients supported and DLNA/network capability. The second part will concentrate on the video codec support. During the review, I will often refer to the WD TV Live Plus experience since I consider it the current standard in terms of streaming capabilities.

1. Unpacking

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Apple iTV to be released in September for $99?

The latest rumor (and we love them, don’t we?) is coming straight from the Digg founder, Kevin Rose. He claims that he also heard rumors that iTV will use Apple iOS (which we knew already) and be priced around $99 (which we also knew from previous rumors). What we didn’t know is that the expected launch to be in September, which is just next month. Apple of course is mum on the subject, but technically wise is doable considering that most of the hardware and software platforms are almost the same between iPhone 4, iPad and presumably iTV devices.

Among the possible features, Kevin also mentioned an iPhone/iPad marketplace but for TV which makes a lot of sense and will certainly help the adoption especially if you can jailbreak it ;). In this particular case, jailbreaking the device might be mandatory because I cannot imagine Apple freely supporting MKV for example or Blu-ray/DVD rips streamed over the network. Other features might include a la carte stations with unforeseen effects for the TV/cable industry in general, MobileMe Picture and Video sharing and something obvious – iPhone/iPad used as a remote control. Now, whether Kevin Rose really heard a rumor or he made up a list of obvious applications and features, remain to be seen. Also to be seen is the 720p video playback limitation that could be due to the power of the A4 CPU…or Apple might surprise us and release a faster version for the iTV launch.

Now, with Google TV also in the works and almost priced, Apple is sure to have some competition. Eventually, both boxes might coexist and eliminate the smaller competition completely if they support the right codecs.

Boxee Box demoed (video)

Boxee Box is a media streamer with an unusual shape that was announced at the last CES. Scheduled to be shipped in the fall (early November) ans manufactered by D-Link, it was considered as the main competitor to the Syabas’ own Popbox (although since Popbox lost its Netflix client it doesn’t seem to provide too much competition anymore).

Beside playing most CODECS under the sun, one of the features that set Boxee Box apart form the competition is the inclusion of a QWERTY remote shat should greatly improve the user experience, especially while using Web Clients.

[via BusinessInsider]

Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD 1080p Netflix Media Player / Streamer Review

Western Digital made news with its WD TV Live Plus launch, supporting Netflix for the first time in company’s product line of media streamers / players. Seagate is a direct competitor with its own FreeAgent boxes and recently they launched its new member, Seagate FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD Media Player. A rather long name, accompanied by a similarly long feature list, FreeAgent GoFlex TV HD Media Player also includes clients for YouTube, Paramount, vTuner, Mediafly, Picasa, Flickr, RSS, Finance and Weather widgets and, of course, just like its direct competitor, WD TV Live Plus, it plays close to 100% audio/video codecs available. What differentiates it though from the WD is the ability to connect directly to Seagate’s own GoFlex ultra portable storage devices  altough how much benefit the average user would get remains to be seen, since the unit also features the way more popular USB ports. I’ll never understand why, from a practical perspective companies are still insisting to lock customers in a proprietary format and get a lot of hate in the process.

Hit after the break for additional images and full technical specifications. Read More…

Zinwell ZIN-5005HD 1080p Media Player/Streamer Review

1. Introduction

If you don’t necessarily need Netflix and you want to save some money, ZIN-5005HD is a good alternative to WD TV Live Plus for example (you can still stream Netflix via DLNA if you have PlayOn). I purchased a WD TV Live Plus for our bedroom and a Zinwell for the kitchen where we usually don’t linger long enough to watch full length movies, and our kitchen TV is not that large anyway. I purchased the Zinwell unit for about $69 during an Amazon Gold Box sale, at the time of writing this review, the price is still a very low $74 with free shipping and no taxes in most of the country. It plays media from your network shares, included USB ports or from a DLNA server.

As a side note, there seem to be a “review war” on Amazon’s product page between Brite-View BV-5005HD “CinemaTube” and Zinwell ZIN-5005HD. The products seem to be similar hardware wise, probably from the same Read More…

Netflix capable Viewsonic’s VMP75 1080p Network Media Player available for pre-order

Behold yet another Netflix capable media streamer, the newly launched Viewsonic VMP75. Remember when every little device had to have mp3 playing capability or else wouldn’t sell? Well, a number of years later the trend shifted toward Netflix capability. Everything from Blu-ray players, connected TVs and media streamers has to support Netflix…And I like it. The question is of course, prices being fairly similar, how to differentiate from the competitors? Viewsonic adds support for ShoutCast radio for example…and, surprise: an Internet Browse (but not flash compatible). Available for pre-order now at Amazon. Photo Gallery / Specs available after the break.

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