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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  |  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  |  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.

Martin Pipe  |  Sep 01, 2011  |  0 comments
To Nfiniti and beyond... Martin Pipe sorts out several different network woes with this device

Buffalo’s WLAE-AG300N works in three ways. The first is to add an additional wi-fi access point if there are ‘black spots’ in your home. Here, an Ethernet cable is run from your router to where the additional coverage is required. In the second mode, two WLAE-AG300Ns act as a wireless ‘bridge’ between two existing wired networks. Finally, there’s the ability to connect non wi-fi devices to a wireless network, by running an Ethernet cable from the WLAE-AG300N to the device.

Martin Pipe  |  Jul 28, 2015  |  0 comments

It looks like a piece of military hardware produced by Stark Industries, but what we have here is actually the X7 'soundcard' from the pioneer of that particular genre, Creative Labs. In the past, Creative's Sound Blasters used to sit inside a PC. They endowed games with a sonic accompaniment, enabled you to play music on your computer and even gave your machine 'straight-to-hard-drive' digital audio recording. Trust me, in the early '90s this stuff was revolutionary.

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.

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.

Martin Pipe  |  Sep 21, 2013  |  0 comments

I've tested a number of video processors over the years, but this one's rather different. The tiny Darbee DVP 5000 'Darblet' only caters for HDMI, and has none of the usual adjustments offered by conventional processors, such as brightness, contrast, noise reduction, deinterlacing modes or colour balance. 

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.

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.

Martin Pipe  |  Apr 19, 2017  |  0 comments

In the past, we've extolled the virtues of powerline networking, where data is basically superimposed on your mains wiring by a couple of boxes that plug into convenient wall sockets. One's near your broadband router, while the other is located where remote network coverage is required. Now Devolo is offering a cutting-edge alternative in the form of the Gigagate, a wireless bridge. 

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  |  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.

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.

John Archer  |  Nov 30, 2016  |  0 comments

While 4K/Ultra HD televisions have been around for years now, native 4K sources are still relatively scarce. Especially if you can’t afford an Ultra HD Blu-ray player, the new Sky Q Silver box and subscription UHD service, and/or Netflix and Amazon 4K streaming. 

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