Accessories

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Mark Craven  |  Oct 15, 2012  |  0 comments

With so many iPod/iPad docks coming to market, manufacturers are having to work harder to make their products stand out from the crowd. LG’s approach with the new ND8520 is to adopt a radical, retro-infused styling – at a time when many rivals are exploring curved edges and clean lines. Looking like an oversized, all-black Rubik’s Cube will certainly help grab buyers’ attention, but what may look good on a shop shelf doesn’t always fit in well at home.

Steve May  |  Sep 04, 2012  |  0 comments

It may not be pretty, but Eminent’s EM7285 network media player is certainly advanced. Built around the Realtek RT1185 chipset, it’s compatible with a huge array of files and formats. The player ships sans hard drive, but one is easily loaded into the side if you want to store content locally; large files can be quickly moved onto it via a high-speed USB 3.0 connection. Rear-facing connections include HDMI and component with digital optical and coaxial audio outputs. There are also legacy phonos if you want to slum it. Gigabit Ethernet is the recommended network connection but there’s also integrated Wi-Fi.

Martin Pipe  |  Aug 31, 2012  |  0 comments

Once again we have to thank the hackers for something cool. An offshoot of the XBMC multimedia player that was installed on many hacked Xboxes, Boxee adds – amongst other things – social networking integration and plugin (app) support. It’s available for Windows, Linux and Apple devices, but licensed hardware products designed around the software are now available.

Steve May  |  Aug 15, 2012  |  0 comments

If you want to pipe Full HD around your home, the pro way of doing it has been via HDMI over Ethernet, utilising paired network cables book-ended by an HDMI transmitter and receiver. But now a new, more versatile standard is finding its feet. Known as HDBaseT, it allows a single Ethernet cable (Cat5e upwards) to carry lossless HD video and audio, plus 100BT internet and control, over 100m without any signal problems.

Steve May  |  Jul 23, 2012  |  0 comments

AV enthusiasts have long argued the merits of interconnects, debating the pros and cons of construction and the relative benefits different cables bring to sound and vision. But when streaming from networked devices and across the ‘net itself, the very nature of what constitutes AV cabling is thrown into the air. When Wi-Fi and Ethernet are the required delivery systems, black art babbling gives way to more practical concerns.

Danny Phillips  |  Jul 11, 2012  |  0 comments

Philips has taken time out from making feature-rich TVs to grab a slice of the growing music streamer market, bring some considerable design flair to the party. The Wi-Fi enabled NP3700 picks off tunes from devices on your network (or from ‘net radio services and Napster) and pumps them out of its built-in stereo speakers.

John Archer  |  Jun 19, 2012  |  0 comments

If you’re reading this magazine, chances are you love a big screen. In fact, for some of you, even ‘big’ won’t cut it. You want MASSIVE. This would be fine, were it not for the fact that going truly massive where video screens are concerned means either spending a fortune on a king-sized plasma TV (such as Panasonic’s extraordinary 103-incher), or else trying to accommodate a projection system.

Adrian Justins  |  Apr 26, 2012  |  0 comments

Once synonymous with blank audio cassettes, TDK has made a welcome return from the industrial wilderness to the consumer arena with a range of quality headphones.

Ed Selley  |  Mar 19, 2012  |  0 comments
(Pac-) Man in a suitcase Steve May takes his games console on the road

It’s not everyday you see a game system in a suitcase. But that’s what we have here. The G155 Gaming and Entertainment Mobile System (hence GAEMS) comprises a low-lag 720p 15.5in screen and console-securing straps, net bumpers and a foam base to hold an entrapped games system (Xbox 360 or PS3 slim).

Ed Selley  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments
Real-deal multichannel cans Genuine 5.1 from any Dolby Digital source? Steve May plugs in

These surround sound headphones ship with their own Dolby Digital 5.1 decoder module and employ a quartet of dedicated channel drivers in each ear cup. Peel away one of the felt pads and you’ll uncover a pair of 30mm drivers, one for the front left/right and the other for a surround channel, plus a 23mm driver for the centre and a large 40mm driver to handle the .1 LFE.

Ed Selley  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments
Media in your pocket Unstylish but affordable, this tiny media player has a lot going for it

Better known for its range of quality home cinema speakers, Crystal Audio is now tackling the burgeoning multimedia-playback market with a diddy little player that occupies much the same volume as the plug that powers it. Of course, the diminutive size of this solidly-built aluminum enclosure restricts connectivity, although the essentials are there. First and foremost is the HDMI output, which is necessary for hi-def.

Ed Selley  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments
Affordable excellence The Screenplay MX TV Link excels where some more expensive players falter

Finishing off pretty much where I started, Iomega’s Screenplay MX TV Link is a device very much in the vein of the PicoHD5.1.

Ed Selley  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments
Xtreamly appealing This do-it-all device will certainly find fans amongst the technorati

From one extreme to another; no fewer than thirty-six PicoHD5.1s could fit into the glossily-finished slab that is the Linux-powered iXtreamer.

Ed Selley  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments
Black box of tricks Netgear's NeoTV player offers plenty of features, but some niggles, too

It may not boast all of the ‘gadgets’ of the iXtreamer, but the NeoTV 550 will still give media moguls plenty to sink their teeth into. It’s made by Netgear, a company with a good track record in network equipment (I used its ReadyNAS Ultra 4 as one of our servers during this test).

Ed Selley  |  Oct 30, 2011  |  0 comments
Looking to the future MKV3D support and BBC iPlayer access are two of this device’s key talents

he Popbox network player shares has come from the same school of design as the the Netgear NeoTV 550. It’s black, it’s rectangular, and kinda ugly. But don’t let that put you off.

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