Accessories

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Ed Selley  |  Jul 15, 2011  |  0 comments
What's the Stor.e? Cliff Joseph goes on a file frenzy with Toshiba’s 1TB media player

There’s no shortage of ‘multimedia hard disks’ available these days, and they’re handy for people who want to store photos, music and video files and play them on a TV or music system. However, most of these devices are produced by specialist hard disk manufacturers and they aren’t always as user-friendly as they could be – so I was curious to see what additional expertise mass market brand Toshiba would bring to its Stor.E TV+.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Whizzing media about the house Wi-fi networking and a USB media server impresses Martin Pipe

If all you need is the ability to stream multimedia files to various players around the home, then this device is for you. The 4420 has a server that’s fully uPnP compliant, and boasts a feature you won’t find on the average NAS – the 4420’s integrated wi-fi capabilites enable you to set up an additional access point, or bridge any networking ‘gaps’ in larger homes.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Only half the picture? An HD tuner for PCs for £30? Martin Pipe discovers the catch...

This neat dongle adds terrestrial digital TV reception to a Windows PC. But let’s get one thing straight from the beginning – the packaging (and product name) may suggest HD happiness, but the tuner is DVB-T only. Some other countries use the DVB-T standard for HD broadcasting, and the AVerTV Volar HD may well be ready for them. But in the UK, it’s SD-only folks – although manufacturer AVerMedia has said it will release DVB-T2 standard devices in the second part of this year.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
The buffering slayer Adrian Justins tries a networked media player that saves buying a new TV

The DPS-1000 is aimed at anyone who wants the benefits of a connected TV. It’s not the neatest-looking solution (think doorstep sandwich with ventilation holes), but it’s more affordable than replacing your main TV, and at least its black plastic fascia looks classy.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
No-strings audio from a box Martin Pipe tries out a nifty package aimed at cable-phobes

This solid pair of black boxes, from speaker manufacturer Teufel, will let you send two channels of audio wirelessly. This is a handy concept if you can’t run wires to rear speakers, or simply want hassle-free, multi-room music. The cigarette box-sized transmitter sports a couple of phono sockets, which are fed with the relevant outputs of your AVR or audio system. Rather larger is the receiver, the internal amp of which can drive speakers directly. A nifty circuit automatically switches the RearStation 4 into standby in the absence of audio. Additional receivers can be bought for £180 and any number can be partnered with a single transmitter ‘within range’.

Ed Selley  |  Jul 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Looping the loopthrough Adrian Justins reviews a 'bot that remembers viewing habits

How do you stand out in the crowded Freeview HD PVR market? Excluding media streaming and DLNA networking is hardly in keeping with the Freeview zeitgeist, but the DTR-Z500HD boasts a couple of handy features that look compelling. One is a built-in HDMI switcher and two, it can make basic, TiVo-style recommendations based on your recording history so long as metadata is provided by each broadcaster for the shows you choose to record.

Ed Selley  |  Jun 17, 2011  |  0 comments
As thick as a brick, but smarter Adrian Justins organises and manages his media collection via USB

Out of the box, this is a non-networked version of AC Ryan’s PlayOn!HD media streamer, but you can add an optional £20 wi-fi dongle to change that. My sample came with a pre-installed 1TB HDD and there are 500GB and 2TB versions.

Ed Selley  |  Jun 17, 2011  |  0 comments
When I’m streaming Windows Replace your media player with a PC, says Chris Jenkins

The popularity of video downloading means that media players are becoming increasingly essential, even if your PC media source is in another room. But what if the PC is small enough to tuck under your TV? Enter Acer’s super-compact Revo 100.

Ed Selley  |  Jun 17, 2011  |  0 comments
Faster than a speeding bullet... Chris Jenkins tests out the zippiest external Blu-ray burner on the market

While a Blu-ray/HDD recorder can cost you around £400, if you have a laptop, it may make more sense to add an external Blu-ray burner to it at half the cost. Buffalo’s 12X external drive is ideal.

Ed Selley  |  Jun 17, 2011  |  0 comments
Multimedia megastore Adrian Justins gets acquainted with a 1TB media player

The ScreenPlay is a no-thrills, hard drive-based storage device for easy multimedia file playback. With no networking functions, it’s down to you to stream your media via a USB drive or laptop after installation.

Ed Selley  |  May 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Well served for little outlay Martin Pipe builds a media server and has change from £100

Networked-attached storage (NAS) is damn useful. In addition to providing a convenient means of backing up important data stored on your computers, today’s consumer-orientated models typically incorporate a DLNA media server.

Ed Selley  |  May 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Wacky streamer can confuse Adrian Justins ponders the promise of a flawed fancy

Boxee Box acts as a conduit between your TV and an unrestricted universe of online entertainment including movies, TV shows, music and photos. It also lets you share your favourite content via Facebook and Twitter.

Ed Selley  |  May 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Mains-lining to the video vein Martin Pipe tries a networking solution that bridges wi-fi and powerline

Powerline networking, which uses your home’s mains wiring to transport data, has become quite popular. But there can be messy cables to deal with, and when you discover that one of your items is ‘wi-fi only’, and there’s not enough signal from your existing router, this product comes to the rescue. This kit consists of 200Mbps HomePlug AV network adaptors, incorporating a Wireless 802.11n extender.

Ed Selley  |  May 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Terrestrial Terminator Martin Pipe tries the world’s first PC tuner to support DVB-T2

Until now all of the digital terrestrial tuners sold for use with PCs complied to the old DVB-T standard. But all HDTV transmissions employ the newer and more efficient DVB-T2. The T2 290e, a tiny and stylish USB 2.0 dongle, is the first to be compatible with both. It can be used with notebooks or installed on desktop machines.

Ed Selley  |  May 28, 2011  |  0 comments
Player courts the net Martin Pipe likes Sony’s first standalone networkable multimedia player

There must be plenty of readers who have spent the best part of a grand on a cutting-edge full HD TV, only to discover that its replacement model is ‘network-enabled’. Increasingly popular, this feature enables you to stream video from various websites, install widgets and play video content, music or photos stored on devices connected to your home network.

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