The launch of the 450Mbps segment of the 802.11n specification was sort of backwards. We saw some of the first routers last year in the September – October time frame. Then at CES we got our first glimpse of one of the new 450Mbps wireless adapters. This was the TRENDNet TEW-687GA that we just finished testing. But we are not going to stop there as we have another 450Mbps adapter from TRENDNet in the lab. This one is more PC specific and connects over USB 2.0. You lose the universal appeal that the 687GA had but gain more on portability. So let’s introduce the TRENDNet TEW-684UB 450Mbps Dual Band USB wireless adapter.
Home Theater PCs, Streaming Media devices, and other homer entertainment electronic devices are an interesting market. It is also one that has died and been resurrected more than once. Right now it is on an upswing with devices from multiple companies dropping products on the market. We have been taking a look at a few of these not only from a technology perspective, but also from a usage standpoint. Some of these are very basic with limited functionality and, to be honest, are not worth the price that the manufacturers are asking. However, as with any product, there are ones that stand out. We are taking a look at one of these today in the form of the NETGEAR NeoTV MAX.
Yesterday Apple released iOS 5.1 for Apple TV. It brought few new things but nothing spectacular. The most noticeable is custom network configurations that can be set up by the Apple configurator. This application allows a user to configure and control multiple iOS devices they have in household. The latest update brings some new features beside the usual stability and performance fixes, so users will now be able to save multiple iTunes accounts and switch between them. Also Apple has added support for Shared Photo Streams and AirPlay broadcasting from Apple TV to all other devices.
Netgear has decided to upgrade their existing line of media players and has come out with three new ones. They hope that these will be decent competition for Apple TV and Roku's streaming boxes. The basic model the Neo TV will be available for $49.99, while the NeoTV Pro and NeoTV MAX will go for $59.99 and $69.99 respectively. The new line will have HTML 5 support and more content sources compared to previous models, also it will have Push2TV media streamer for pushing media from smartphones or laptops to the big screen.
Western Digital is expanding their product line. The Hard Drive maker (and maker of home media players) has decided to attempt to dive into the home networking market. To do this they are introducing a new line of routers called My Net. According to Western Digital My Net is designed to optimize the viewing of online streaming media services and online gaming.
The Netflix App for Android devices has finally received a face lift! The lists of titles for viewing has been dramatically increased, the user interface has been greatly improved with short cuts and new features, and things have been moved around to be more user friendly and easier to navigate.
At CES in Las Vegas a flood of smart televisions showed up, they are special because of their characteristics that combine the TV and a computer inside of the same device. However, the NPD Group conducted a research study of American customers with smart TVs, indicating that people are almost always ignoring the advanced capabilities of their smart TVs. Additionally they found that of all the services and applications they are offered they use only those that allow streaming of video, film and TV.
If you're a Last.fm user and you pulled three euros a month for a subscription, you probably did it for two reasons: to see who visits your profile and for the possibility of listening to internet radio. Last.fm's radio works in a way that you type in the performers name, genre or one third of the tag by which you want to perform a selection of music (or choose friends whose music collection you want to listen to), then the stream will immediately initiate. That is a great way to listen to music when you do not know what to play, or if you just want to discover new bands.
Sony in the recently released FAQ, announced that a new PlayStation will not be able to serve as a media server, and will not support playback of audio CDs or MP3 files which was quite upsetting for users who also use console, beside just for playing, to enjoy other multimedia content.
One of Hulu's first investors, Providence, decided to sell its stake in the streaming media company for $200 million, which is twice as much they invested in Hulu back in 2007. That investment gave them a 10% stake and an independent position on the company board. They decided to move from the company back in April and earned themselves a decent amount of money. With Providence moving out the only investors left are NBC Universal, Disney and Fox. This move could have a huge impact on Hulu's future, as Providence made some big moves in their past like bringing Disney in as a new investor.