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Tag Archives: youtube

LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader Review

Introduction

In our never ending quest for the perfect media player / streamer, we got one of the LG newest products, the LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader, put it to the tests and produced this review for your reading pleasure. Let’s see what it is about:
Announced at CES 2011, the LG ST600 Smart TV Upgrader was advertised as a cheap solution to transform your TV into a connected set with access to a myriad of web services and applications. During the official press release, services like Netflix, Vudu, Pandora, YouTube, CinemaNow, Hulu Plus, Amazon VOD, NHL GameCenter, NBA Game Live, and MLB.TV were announced as well, also an integrated web browser and the capability to run Apps from the LG App Store (social capabilities include Facebook and Twitter access). The box would be an official competitor to other boxes that we reviewed including Boxee Box, Google TV, Roku or WD TV Live Plus. Does it provide? Read away… Read More…

Sony SMP-N100 Review – Network Media Player with Wi-Fi, Netflix and Hulu Plus


Introduction

Since I cut the cable cord a while ago, I am constantly looking for solutions to improve my TV watching experience. At this point, I am using a PS3 in living room and ROKU / WD TV Live Plus boxes in every room I have TVs. Recently Sony released a new media streamer box that offers streaming functionality similar (but improved in several ways) to their flagship entertainment product – Playstation 3.  The box is rather cheap at only $89  so I decided to give it a try. It got shipped fast enough and the results are described in this review.
The box includes the main media streamer box, the external power brick adapter, the remote, user manual and the good old red white yellow analog audio video cable. Why Sony did not include a HDMI cable in the year 2011 is beyond me.

Tech Specs

Codecs, Inputs, Outputs: Read More…

Samsung TV App store reaches 1 million downloads

If you need any more convincing an App store is the way to go for a company, search no more. Every company creating an app store has been successful, including Samsung. Not too long ago we reviewed Samsung BD-7500 Blu-ray player and the applications that ship / are available for download and we had a rather good impression. Now, Samsung announces that the number of applications downloaded from their store reached a cool 1 million and while this doesn’t really compare with iPhone App Store for example, it is impressive nonetheless.

Samsung App Store launched in March 2010 and the Samsung Apps are available on their 2010 models for Blu-ray Players and certain TV sets. Among the most notable examples we can find Netflix, Vudu, Google Maps, AccuWeather, Blockbuster, USA Today, YouTube, Pandora, Picasa, Games, etc, over 200 in total. Most are free, for some you’ll have to pay.

Currently, various manufacturers are using App stores to differentiate themselves from the competition. However, when everybody will have an App store, expect to see some deals signed and who know, maybe we’ll see Samsung App Store implemented on Roku media players, or any such combination.

Samsung Apps are built on a SDK Platform created around open standards including XML, Java Script, Adobe Flash Lite 3.0, etc. Eventually, Samsung App store will provide applications for all their platforms including smartphones.

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…

Boxee Box ships today with Netflix and Hulu Plus coming by the end of the year – did you order yours?

Good news ladies and gentleman, the long awaited boxy media streamer code name Boxee Box manufactured by D-Link is currently shipping. Long awaited because is one of a very few media streaming boxes to support a browser (and a good one, nonetheless, WebKit based with HTML 5 support), Adobe Flash 10.1, a QWERTY remote control and compatibility with every codec under the sun including MKV, XVID, DIVX, h264, etc.

This is not all, as everybody probably wondered, the box will support both Netflix and Hulu Plus before the end of the year, it is confirmed!!!! (see Boxee blog)

The supported resolutions include 1080p and the box has a DLNA client and can also access your network shares (really cool if you have a home server). Compatibility with Adobe flash ensures easy development and the box will ship at launch with over 400 software applications and web clients including popular ones as Twitter, Pandora, Last.FM, Amazon Video on Demand, Digg, Revision 3, CNN, YouTube, etc. Mine just shipped today and will post a review as soon as I get it.
One more thing, if you used Boxee software or Windows Media Center with some kind of audio / video library software like Media browser, you will be glad to know that Boxee Box supports the same features, displaying the artwork, movie covers, etc via automatic downloads.

Full codec support list:

  • FLV/On2 VP6 (FLV/FV4/M4V)
  • H.264 AVC (TS/AVI/MKV/MOV/M2TS/MP4)
  • MPEG-1 (DAT/MPG/MPEG)
  • MPEG-2 (MPG/MPEG/VOB/TS/TP/ISO/IFO)
  • VC-1 (TS/AVI/MKV/WMV)
  • MPEG-4 (MP4/AVI/MOV)
  • Xvid (AVI/MKV)
  • WMV9 (WMV/ASF/DVR-MS)
  • DivX 3/4/5/6 (AVI/MKV)

Deal of the day – $99 Western Digital WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player with 1080p MKV and Netflix

This ($99)  is probably the lowest price I have ever seen on the very popular Western Digital WD TV Live Plus HD Media Player / Streamer (WDBABX0000NBK-NESN ). The Amazon cannot advertise directly such a low price so you’ll have to click and see the discounted price.

I got one myself (full review here) and it works extremely well. The interface could use some tweaks because is rather simple, but no other players beat WD TV Live Plus HD (a mouthful) in terms of video CODEC compatibility. It supports both DLNA client and PC network shares access, a complete codec support including MKV, DIVX, XVID, MPEG 2 and 4, DBD ISO images, it even supports DVD menus from ISO images and folder rips. Everything up to 1080p.

WD TV Live Plus HD also supports a variety of popular web clients including Netflix (the new interface with categories), Pandora, YouTube, Flickr, etc.

Video Codecs – AVI (Xvid, AVC, MPEG1/2/4), MPG/MPEG, VOB, MKV (h.264, x.264, AVC, MPEG1/2/4, VC-1), TS/TP/M2T (MPEG1/2/4, AVC, VC-1), MP4/MOV (MPEG4, h.264), M2TS, WMV9

Subtitles – SRT, ASS, SSA, SUB, SMI

Audio Codecs – MP3, WAV/PCM/LPCM, WMA, AAC, FLAC, MKA, AIF/AIFF, OGG, Dolby Digital, DTS Read More…

Sony Google TV Review


1. Introduction

2010 is certainly a year where media streaming boxes really flourished. From cheap dedicated media streamers like WD TV Live Plus and Apple TV, going through (although unreleased yet  Boxee Box) and ending with more expensive (for now) Google TV boxes from Sony and Logitech (Revue) there is enough diversity to satisfy everyone. The questions are: Do they succeed in offering a truly enjoyable experience? Which one is better / simpler to use / easier to integrate in your existing Home Theater?

Google TV’s entry in the media streamers market is here and it hopes to bring more than mere streaming. Its main purpose is convergence and the ability to search / reach for your media in a unified manner, while enjoying the comfort of your own couch. Does it succeed? We’ll try to find out in Review’s Horizon ambitious take to review this complex box.

2. Sony Google TV 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

Read More…

Western Digital WD TV Live Hub media streamer launched with 1TB, 1080p, DLNA and MKV support

The latest entrance in the media streamers crowd comes from Western Digital who, while a storage company, found a good way to charge a premium for their storage devices by building some media streaming functionality around them.

The WD TV Live Hub is based in part on their very successful WD TV Live Plus line (review here)  and packs a 1TB hard-drive inside as well. The box scores additionally 1080p video playback, an HDMI 1.4 and Gigabit Ethernet connectors, a fairly good web client support with Netflix (including movie categories browsing), Blockbuster, Pandora, YouTube, Flickr, AccuWeather, MediaFly and even Facebook.

The video codec support was historically one of the strong points for the entire WD TV Live line and the WD TV Live Hub doesn’t disappoint either, playing pretty much every video format under the sun like Divx, XVid, MKV, h.264. MOV, MPEG 4, etc. The box includes a solid UPNP / DLNA support as well and it plays well with DLNA servers as PlayON or PS3 Media Server.

The Western Digital WD TV Live Hub media streamer is available for $199 at BestBuy or WD’s online store.

Check WD’s full Presss Release, photo gallery and full codec support after the break. Read More…

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…