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Ed Selley  |  Apr 02, 2011  |  0 comments
Fast mover takes it all in Chris Jenkins warms to this plug’n’go storage

NAS (Network Attached Storage) drives are becoming the solution of choice for storing a wide range of digital media, including downloaded movies and TV, music, images and CD/DVD/Blu-ray rips. Speed, capacity and reliability are essential, and Buffalo’s Linkstation Pro LS-VL has all three.

Ed Selley  |  Mar 07, 2011  |  0 comments
One-stop media shop fits the bill Martin Pipe finds plenty of reasons to recommend this multimedia player

Take the optical disk drive out of a recent Blu-ray player and replace it with an HDD compartment. Squeeze the result into a glossy black box with roughly the same dimensions as a Mac Mini (complete with the external power supply) and you have the Eminent EM7080. The Realtek-based device is a flexible multimedia workhorse that sports two front-panel USB ports for Flash drives or HDDs, plus an eSATA terminal.

Ed Selley  |  Mar 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Dream streaming all the way Martin Pipe rates a powerline adaptor with near 1Gbps claims

We’ve come a long way since the late 1980s, when British company Curran, sold pairs of innovative adaptors interconnecting RS232 serial devices via the mains. The speed? A whopping 9,600 bits per second! Today we have speedier (and cheaper) devices like this product from Solwise, which - if your mains wiring and connected electrical-appliances are up to scratch - boasts speeds of up to 882Mbps. ’.

Ed Selley  |  Mar 07, 2011  |  0 comments
Freeview+ HD scrubs up well This PVR marries style with substance says Grant Rennell

There’s no shortage of little black boxes on the market these days, Freeview+ HD PVRs included. Kudos to TVonics then for being bold with the HD500. But has it gone far enough with its features?

Ed Selley  |  Mar 07, 2011  |  0 comments
No strings attached HD beaming Martin Pipe bridges the gap between PC and TV with this HD transmitter

Unusually, the Veebeam HD wirelessly sends whatever is on your PC (or Mac) desktop to a distinctively sculpted black box, which is, in turn, connected to your TV. The device sports a composite AV output for your set and an HDMI socket. There’s also an optical digital audio output, which will give better quality PC audio (especially from music) if fed into your AVR. Your computer must run Windows 7, the Vista turkey that preceded it, or Mac OS 10.5/6.

Ed Selley  |  Feb 16, 2011  |  0 comments
Cut to the core Cliff Joseph still isn’t won over by Apple’s revamped rental box

The new-look AppleTV replaces the original 2007 model. It’s smaller than its predecessor, measuring a mere 3.9ins wide and deep, and just 0.9in high. The reduction in size – and price cut from £200 to £100 – was made possible by removing the hard disk. This means that the AppleTV can only be used to rent and stream video now, as there’s no way of buying and permanently storing anything on this model. However, you do still have the option of buying content using iTunes on your Mac/PC and then streaming them to the AppleTV over your home network.

Ed Selley  |  Feb 15, 2011  |  0 comments
Rock it in the socket... Wi-Fi not reliable enough? Martin Pipe networks via his mains

Powerline networking is a convenient way of bridging the network ‘gaps’ in your house without recourse to hard-to-hide CAT-5 cable or undependable Wi-Fi. The Livewire packs two powerline adapters; plug one into the mains sockets at the network gear end, the other in the remote location for which access is required; connect the Ethernet cables, press the ‘sync’ button on one of the Livewires, and it will seek out and then pair itself to the other. Easy!

Ed Selley  |  Feb 15, 2011  |  0 comments
Spreading the net far and wide Serious about home media servers? Then go large. Martin Pipe has...

A speedy and convenient means of backing up data and distributing multimedia files, the well-built DS410 can accommodate an impressive total of 8TB in its four drive bays.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 20, 2011  |  0 comments
Smoothing the sound waves Martin Pipe lets this Finnish bass 'doctor' tame his sub’s room modes

It’s a sad truth, but the average living room isn’t suited to sub-bass. Room modes (aka standing waves) can create havoc with the lower frequencies, and can contribute to a response that is often far from smooth. However, insert this useful device between the amp’s LFE output and your sub’s line-level input, calibrate the listening area with the supplied mic, and a series of test tones will allow the 8033 to analyse the response and apply correction, so that the overall LFE response is as flat as possible.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 20, 2011  |  0 comments
Discretely off the wall An in-wall module solved Martin Pipe’s Zone 2 audio issues

This ingenious stereo tuner-amplifier module is the same size as a double mains socket and is designed to fit into a surface or flush-mounted wall box. The KLAB20D includes a FM-only tuner with 10 presets, auxiliary inputs and an efficient 20W per channel Class ‘D’ amp. One of the auxiliary inputs is a 3.5mm socket, accessible from the unit’s front panel and thus ideal for plugging in iPods, personal CD players and so on.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 20, 2011  |  0 comments
Pride of the mounties Chris Jenkins hangs out with a super-thin wallmount

There’s little point in wall-mounting an ultra-thin flatscreen TV if the bracket is so bulky it makes the set stand out from the wall; hence the demand for thin and flat wallmounts.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 20, 2011  |  0 comments
Tiny TV terrier just wants to play Chris Jenkins checks out the latest and dinkiest media player

As the baby in the WD TV lineup, the Mini is perhaps best connected to your SD bedroom TV, rather than to your HD living room set.

Ed Selley  |  Jan 19, 2011  |  0 comments
Get HD on the go Kevin Gallucci catches up with TV remotely thanks to Sling Media

Sling Media’s Slingbox PRO-HD is finally available in the UK, after being on sale in the US for over a year. Its key advantage over the original Slingbox Solo is HD support; where the original model was restricted to only streaming standard-definition, the PRO-HD is capable of streaming 1080i hi-def via component. In addition, Sling Media has added a Freeview tuner to enable users to stream over-the-air broadcasts as well. This is a handy feature that allows those who don’t have a set-top box to still enjoy the convenience the Slingbox provides.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments
Nero plays while video burns Martin Pipe explores a comprehensive software suite

Many PC owners will be familiar with Nero’s ‘Burning ROM’ – this disc-writing software is, after all, bundled with many drives and PCs. The Nero Multimedia Suite 10 now takes matters on a step further by enabling users to create and organise content as well as commit it to disc. When the software is installed, you’ll find a collection of applications that cover a wide range of tasks including video/photo editing, soundtrack mixing, DVD authoring, video (re)compression, disc-burning and even the backup or recovery of important computer data. Some of these programs link to others, as and when they’re needed.

Ed Selley  |  Dec 29, 2010  |  0 comments
The great media escape Break multimedia free of your PC with this bijou NAS, says Martin Pipe

Many of us now store photos, music and video on our PCs to stream to our TVs over a network. But doing so does have its flaws. Using a PC as a media server means coping with operating noise, power consumption and susceptibility to malware. A far better proposition is to copy content to a NAS with inbuilt media server, such as this inexpensive Verbatim MediaShare. The PC can then be turned off, until it’s needed again.

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