Accessories

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Martin Pipe  |  May 20, 2015  |  0 comments

The appeal of a soundbar is obvious, but here we have something a little different – the Somle Silent White, a substantially built and easily-assembled TV stand with fixed-height (150mm) glass equipment-shelf and a integrated soundbase thrown in.

Adrian Justins  |  Mar 05, 2015  |  0 comments

One For All's Smart Zapper is yet another gizmo released to work in conjunction with its Nevo app (some readers will remember the Nevo name from its pro-grade universal remote days). It's a small, battery-powered IR blaster with eight re-assignable physical control buttons, which connects to your smartphone or tablet using the Bluetooth Smart standard (compatibility is not universal and generally requires the latest versions of Android or iOS). It's controlled by the free-to-download app. So you get a touchscreen universal remote (and don't have to deal with multiple apps), plus a cutesy regular handset to boot.

Steve May  |  Feb 24, 2015  |  0 comments

These days anyone can cast music like a graduate of Hogwarts. With wireless and multiroom hi-fi du jour, a simple swipe can throw an entire discography to multiple rooms. It’s enough to make spinning a humble CD seem positively prehistoric.  

Steve May  |  Jan 25, 2015  |  0 comments

Faster than an Apple TV and thinner than a Roku, Amazon’s Fire TV streaming player is a little box with big appeal. It’s so good in fact, that it might make Prime Instant Video subscribers out of all of us.

Martin Pipe  |  Sep 28, 2014  |  0 comments

Dune HD's Base 3D shows how media player manufacturers are rising to the challenge of Smart TVs, tablets and the latest Blu-ray players. Although not ridiculously expensive, the Base 3D is easy to install (it even checks for new firmware when connected) and offers plenty of features that you won't find on non-specialist gear. It's very much a media player for the serious AV enthusiast.

Steve May  |  Sep 27, 2014  |  0 comments

With commercial 4K content still conspicuous by its absence, a solution for UHD TV owners is to make their own. Photographers have long been capturing images in excess of eight megapixels, but the Panasonic GH4 is the first Micro Four Thirds system camera to offer 4K shooting modes.

Gordon Kelly  |  Sep 24, 2014  |  0 comments

A few years ago Bluetooth was a dirty word in the audio market. Apple AirPlay and Wi-Fi Direct offered higher-quality, lossless, wire-free streaming and Bluetooth was reserved for budget speakers that looked bad and sounded worse. How times change. 

Steve May  |  Aug 14, 2014  |  0 comments

 

The prospect of high-performance wireless surround headphones should be a mouthwatering one for home cinema enthusiasts. After all, it’s not always possible to run your AV system at full throttle, so the idea of multichannel private listening has great appeal. 

Martin Pipe  |  Jul 16, 2014  |  0 comments

Essentially standing on the shoulders of IT giants, the Devolo dLAN 500 WiFi combines two established networking technologies – Wi-Fi and powerline – in a manner that's so obvious, I'm surprised it's not more widespread.

Mark Craven  |  Jul 15, 2014  |  0 comments

Over a decade since the launch of its iconic Evoke-1 DAB radio, Pure has moved into other areas, notably multiroom audio with its Jongo range and digital TV with the super-slick Avalon PVR. Yet the Evoke name lives on, and in its latest iteration, auditioned here, now adds Bluetooth connectivity to the usual mix of DAB radio and pleasing design. 

Martin Pipe  |  Jun 13, 2014  |  0 comments

Synology's DS214play offers all of the standard NAS functionality (including mobile device access and RAID configuration), plus the company's powerful DSM operating system and the ability to download apps that expand the unit's versatility. But the icing on the cake is audio/video transcoding, which is made possible by a dual-core processor and hardware-acceleration. Typically, trying to play something that your playback device can't handle will reward you with stubborn rejection or even a crash. The DS214play sidesteps this by converting, on-the-fly, the selected file into something that your player can cope with.

Martin Pipe  |  Mar 03, 2014  |  0 comments

Last year we reviewed the Roku LT, a cute streamer with Wi-Fi hookup, slick interface and neat handset. It offers loads of on-demand content, arranged into a grid of channels that can be added to or removed from as you choose. Among them are BBC iPlayer, Sky's NowTV, Demand 5 and Netflix.

John Archer  |  Feb 27, 2014  |  0 comments

Considering what a success the Xbox 360 has become since its 2005 launch, with its groundbreaking network play and ever-growing media portal/hub functionality, the Xbox One’s journey to shop shelves was surprisingly uncomfortable.

Ed Selley  |  Feb 20, 2014  |  0 comments

Having left the DAC market alone for the best part of twenty years, Arcam is making up for lost time with an increasingly extensive range. The latest arrival is the irDAC that replaces the earlier iDAC. While it looks similar, the irDAC boasts more inputs (which are now 192kHz capable) and is completely revised internally to include a new DAC chip, improved jitter reduction measures and extensive power supply arrangements. 

Martin Pipe  |  Feb 03, 2014  |  0 comments

Microsoft's Windows 8 operating system cannot even play DVDs – never mind Blu-rays. This seems strange, as modern PCs are more than capable of handling movies from disc, and can be connected to your AVR and display with the same ease as a conventional Blu-ray spinner. The basic (and free to install) VLC media player can deal with DVDs and Blu-rays amongst other things, but if you want more sophistication then Cyberlink aims to please.

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