Tag Archives: Review

Craig CMP 738a Review – $75 Android tablet from CVS

Introduction

When I first saw this tablet at CVS, I was curious on multiple levels. I was curious what a $75 ($99 originally, but $25 coupons are floating around everywhere, they are actually easier to find than Craig tablets in stock at CVS) can offer. I was curious if it can be rooted and I was curious if my 7 year old will be able to use it successfully (and I won’t care that much if he breaks it). I bought it, played a couple of days with it without rooting it, that I realized is rather limited so I was able to install two different custom ROMs, one based on Android 2.1, the other based on Android 2.2 (full details about how to root Craig CMP 738a here). Both of them hugely increased the Craig CMP 738a speed and response time transforming the crippled  $75 device into Read More…

Boxee Box Review

1. Introduction

Boxee Box is without question one of the most awaited media streamers for this year. The reason? The way things look right now, it might well be the only box that actually can successfully replace a home theater PC in both CODEC support and extensibility. Promising a full range of audio/video codecs, media library with automatic artwork downloading and also web clients for popular services as Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Pandora, VUDU and even Netflix, combined with an open development platform supporting Adobe Flash 10.1, a Webkit based browser and QWERTY remote control, many feel that boxee Box is currently the media streamer to beat, not Google TV or Apple TV. For a long time, there has been an uncertainty about the capability to stream Netflix but yesterday the people from D-Link confirmed Netflix support to come sometime by the end of the year, so I won’t touch this issue until the next firmware release.

Don’t get me wrong, I am a huge gadget lover and I actually own and use every piece of equipment that I reviewed on this website, however I don’t  like the idea of turning my PS3 to watch Netflix, XBOX 360 for a nice Twitter of Facebook client, my HTPC for some exotic codec that nobody else supports, etc. I think everybody keeps waiting for the mystical “do it all” box (aside from a beefy HTPC that needs its own power plant) and the open nature of Boxee Box might help it become that box.

2. Boxee Box Unpacking Read More…

Samsung BD-C7500 Review and Samsung Apps

1. Introduction

Without a doubt, Samsung BD-C7500 looks really nice. Described as the world’s slimmest Blu-ray player BD-C7500 brings not only good looks in the equation but also a large set of media streaming features, a fast boot time and a plethora of web clients thanks to Samsung Apps store, the first store by my knowledge to offer applications to run on both TV and media streaming boxes / Blu-ray players. Let’s not forget that Apple TV doesn’t support applications and Google TV’s Android Marketplace compatibility will only arrive next year.

While Blu-ray capabilities of today’s players are fairly good and I doubt many of us could perceive differences in the output quality, especially on a HDMI connection, the media streaming and web clients implementation differ wildly, and this is what makes the subject of today’s review. The screenshot and observations should apply to all Samsung 2010 Blu-ray players and connected TVs implementing Samsung Apps. Most of the Samsung TVs released in 2010 support Samsung Apps and all of Samsung’s new Blu-ray players including BD-C8000, BD-C7900, BD-C6900, BD-C6800,  BD-C5900, BD-C7500, BD-C6500 and BD-C5500.

2. Samsung BD-C7500 Unpacking and Design

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Dish Network VIP 922 DVR gets DLNA Video support – Review

At launch, Dish Network’s flagship DVR  – VIP 922 shipped with a DLNA client, however it was only able to play photos and music. We released a full review for it several months ago and since then, VIP 922 got quite a number of software updates. One of the latest updates brought in a surprise – DLNA Video support, although somewhat unfinished. Let’s take a short look and review it.

All my media in installed on a server running Windows Server 2008 and I am using two DLNA server packages at the same time: PS3 Media Server and PlayOn. Both software packages are stable and are working fine with other DLNA clients I have (WD TV Live Plus, PS3, XBOX 360). Read More…

The new Apple TV available at Amazon for pre-order

The new and improved Apple TV is available now for pre-order at Amazon for $99 with no tax and free shipping. Announced several days ago during Apple’s conference on September 1st, the new box is much cheaper than the predecessor and supports Netflix streaming as well as Flickr and YouTube support. Hardware wise, it provides 720p output, WiFi 802.11n, HDMI, optical and USB port. Check back for a review when the units become available.

The box also supports high definition TV Show rentals for $0.99 and can be remotely controlled using your iPhone / iPod Touch.

Kindle 3 Review


Kindle 3 is the latest Amazon take in the eBook readers market and it does not disappoint:  It is smaller and lighter, comes in two colors and ads WiFi to the specifications list. I received mine on Friday from Amazon and had the whole weekend to play with it, so here is my experience. Before starting, I want to add that I also own Kindle 2 and Barnes and Noble’s Nook for quite a while, so my review will not only go through all the Kindle 3 functionality but it will also compare its features and usability against the other two devices. In the end, I will add a series of functionality tips and tricks destined to improve your experience.

1. Kindle 3 Unpacking

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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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Buffalo Nfiniti Wireless-N WZR-HP-G300NH router Review

I bought the Buffalo Nfiniti Wireless-N WZR-HP-G300NH router because my good old Belkin started to die after about 2 years of heavy usage and I also got a pretty good deal from Amazon. I looked around for a while for a decent N router under $100 that also had Gigabit ports and some kind of NAS functionality and WZR-HP-G300NH seemed to fit the bill. If you look on the WEB, you will also find out that it provides DD-WRT compatibility which is certainly a bonus, and it is claimed that it provides a higher transmitting power than other routers on the market. Let’s put these claims to test and see how it performs.

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Pandigital Novel 7 color multimedia ereader review

Following a deal found by my wife, I decided to buy the Pandigital Novel 7 color multimedia ereader due mostly to its price ($127 after rebate). I already have a Nook, but the Internet browsing experience on an eInk screen is less than optimal compared with the LCD screens. The Pandigital Novel 7 seemed like a good fit both for price and form factor. Let’s see how it fared in terms of performance. The present review also is the first review where I’ll ask my wife to play with a new gadget for a while and post her impressions, from a non-technical user perspective.
Pandigital is well know for building budget photo-frames, so it comes as a surprise that they entered in the digital eReaders field, especially with competitors like Amazon and Barnes & Noble. However, their approach is different: for a comparable price build an eReader with a color LCD screen that should offer additional functionality beside just of an eBook reader, very similar with what Apple has done with their iPad but in a form factor more compatible with reading, and for a price also closer to that of a popular eBook reader.

1. Unpacking

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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…