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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.

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.

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  |  Aug 25, 2011  |  0 comments
Hammer cracks volume nut Late-night volume changes can be avoided, finds Martin Pipe

This system uses Dolby Volume, which is a technology designed to intelligently ‘normalise’ loudness to avoid the annoying volume jumps familiar to late-night telly addicts, when broadcasters turn up the sound for adverts. The tech, which was modelled on psychoacoustic research conducted by Dolby, is integral to recent TVs, AVRs and this Volume Stabiliser.

Mark Craven  |  May 28, 2015  |  0 comments

I'm partial to the concept of a dedicated internet radio. These days the trend is towards using your Smart device to store/stream music in conjunction with a Bluetooth speaker, but taking your phone/tablet out of the equation can sometimes be liberating. However, the £220 Encore, from new-to-the-UK American brand Grace Digital, suffers from such a painfully overwrought control experience from its top-panel buttons and supplied handset that you'll be downloading the free app for your smartphone as soon as you can. 

John Archer  |  Jun 21, 2013  |  0 comments

For some hardcore gamers, winning isn’t enough; posting videos online for all to see is the only way to satisfy their egos. If this sounds like you, then the Hauppauge HD PVR 2 Gaming Edition, a standalone PS3/Xbox/Wii video recorder, is right up your FPS alley.

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  |  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.  

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  |  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.

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.

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.

Mark Craven  |  Dec 21, 2013  |  0 comments

Kaleidescape's cinema one sees the American media server specialist lowering the price point at which technophiles can enter its world of slick music and movie jukeboxing. Well, sort of – the asking price of £3,300 will still be too much for many, particularly considering the less-than-perfect way it enables Blu-ray rips to be played...

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.

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.

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