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Rob Sabin Posted: Oct 02, 2011 0 comments
Price: $600 At A Glance: Excellent tonality • Good imaging • Cumbersome WiFi setup

I've never been a big fan of paying for brand names for their own sake. Build quality? Yes. Performance? Absolutely. Aesthetics? Sure. Ease of use? Certainly. Each of those has value, and it often makes sense to pay more, even a lot more, for any one of them. But sometimes, in the course of shopping for whatever, you encounter an entry from a well-respected or even elite brand that at first glance seems so outlandishly priced you have stop and wonder: what am I really paying for here?

Suffice to say that was me when Bowers & Wilkins first suggested I take a little ride with the Zeppelin Air, the company's $600 iPod dock...

Brent Butterworth Posted: Mar 08, 2011 0 comments

DVD, say your prayers. Blu-ray Disc, better get your affairs in order. Judging from the new A/V receivers Pioneer introduced on Monday at the W Hotel in San Francisco, one could easily conclude that the old "hard" media formats have pretty much played out.

Geoffrey Morrison Posted: Feb 16, 2011 0 comments

If you're a Comcast subscriber and an iPad user, make sure you download the XFINITY TV app. While not the streaming app widely hoped for, it's at least partially there. The killer feature is that it lets Comcast subscribers stream TV to their iPad from anywhere there's a WiFi signal. No 3G streaming yet. Before you get too excited, there's some limitations.

Kim Wilson Posted: Jan 19, 2011 1 comments

Price: $399

At A Glance: Single-box solution • Easy setup and operation • Perfect for smaller rooms, garage, and outdoors • Integrates with existing Sonos systems • Product now called Play:5

Sonos, a leader in low-cost, wholehouse audio, has made it possible to inexpensively stream audio from a computer to multiple A/V systems using one or more of its ZonePlayers. The $399 Sonos S5, the newest ZonePlayer, is completely self-contained. It incorporates its own power supply, amplification, and internal speakers, which allows audio streaming from a wide variety of sources without a dedicated sound system. It can serve as your main (or only) ZonePlayer or as an extension of an existing Sonos system.

Daniel Kumin Posted: Oct 12, 2010 0 comments

Like some 40 million other people, I love my iPhone. It’s always with me, serving as everything from trail-finder to stock ticker to guitar tuner to, occasionally, mobile phone. While fumbling in the dark with the minimum three or four remote controls that my ever-shifting A/V system requires just to watch a movie, I’ve often wondered if there was “an app for that.”

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Mar 21, 2008 0 comments
Plant a seed, grow an iPod docking system.

My first impression of the mStation was that it had grown out of the ground. Having just uncrated it, I knew it hadn’t really sprung out of the carpet, of course. Yet somehow it seemed more like a young stand of trees than a floorstanding iPod docking system. If I waited long enough, would this self-contained trio of cylinders erupt in branches and leaves? No, and yet there was something organic about it. The pair of metal speaker tubes seemed to rise up from the base, while the subwoofer drum suspended between them seemed to levitate in midair. In addition to having a whiff of the arboreal, it also resembled a headless robot.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Feb 11, 2008 0 comments
It's all been leading up to this.

Airport crowds, metal detectors, ticket prices, and malodorous seat neighbors notwithstanding, now is a really good time to be a commuter.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jun 05, 2007 Published: May 06, 2007 0 comments
What's the key to portable video? Lots of slots.

The problem with a moniker like Picture Porter Elite, classy sounding or not, is that it conjures up notions of a digital bucket of sorts, compatible primarily with still photos. That is far from true for this well-rounded portable media player. Its roots are in the realm of the memory-card reader, which began its life as a PC accessory and later became a freestanding device with its own onboard data storage. You could insert cards while out in the field and safely archive their contents onto the unit's built-in hard drive, thereby freeing up the precious removable media real estate so you could snap new pictures and/or lens new video. A small LCD let you interface with your multimedia content. To expedite the transfers, it displayed file names, file types, and so on. The Piture Porter Elite uses a bigger color screen and has the necessary decoding so you can view your images and movies. Throw in music playback just because everyone everywhere is listening to MP3s, and you begin to formulate a sense of what this device can do. It also connects to a video source and records content to play back on the go later. Or you can park the Picture Porter Elite next to an audio/video system, patch it in with the included cables, and view all of the content on your TV. You can zoom, pan, and rotate your photos or easily print them via a simple USB connection to a PictBridge-compliant printer. The FM radio has a bold, clever graphic user interface and is a nice bonus. (The included headphones serve double duty as an antenna.) There's even a voice recorder with an embedded microphone and a pre-loaded game: It's Tetris, even though they call it Matrix.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Jan 26, 2007 0 comments
It's just so Buck Rogers. Or maybe Dick Tracy?
Mark Fleischmann Posted: Dec 30, 2006 Published: Dec 03, 2006 0 comments
The company that made Steve sweat.

SanDisk has been building on their position as a Flash memory-card manufacturer to offer music players. Search Amazon.com, and you'll find that the company's solid-state players come up as often as their highly rated SD cards, putting them at the forefront of iPod competition. The Sansa e280's main attraction—a compelling one—is 8 gigabytes of storage, making it one of the most capacious memory-based players out there.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 30, 2006 0 comments
Liten Up Baby, I'm in Love with You

Music, movies, and other multimedia applications aside, no one can touch Nintendo in the world of portable gaming. From the first Game Boy in 1989, the intuitive user interface, the addictive gameplay, and the cutting-edge hardware design ensured that seemingly every man, woman, and child on the planet would essentially buy at least six of each new handheld model, based on Nintendo's most recent sales figures.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Aug 17, 2006 0 comments
It's a cell phone—and so much more.

As I was packing for a recent trip, I was amazed at the number of electronic gadgets I've amassed over the past couple of years—and how many I need to bring along to keep me both accessible and entertained for the long hours away from home and office. I once joked with Sony that adding calling features to their PlayStation Portable would make it a perfect device. But, in the meantime, I do appreciate any cell phone that allows me to do more than check voice mail, and, as such, the LG V phone is a small wonder.

Nikhil Burman Posted: Jul 19, 2006 0 comments
It folds open like open like a book, but there's no literacy required.

Summertime for many of you means travel time. And let's face it, folks—long plane flights can be a dreary hell. A good book helps, and, if you can sleep, that's the best way to kill time, unless of course drink carts and people headed to the bathroom keep bumping your shoulder every five minutes. But a portable DVD player can really help the time pass, and perhaps even help you forget about the tight space you're packed into.

Mark Fleischmann Posted: Jul 05, 2006 1 comments
Hearing the world in black and white.

I'm equally happy with my iPod nano and my IBM Windows PC. So, please don't mistake me for one of those sycophants who never has a bad word to say about Steve Jobs or a good one to say about Bill Gates. The little iPod nano has earned my admiration simply by being a good companion. When I'm not plugged into it, I hardly notice it. When I am, it's easy to get along with and rather entertaining.

Chris Chiarella Posted: Mar 24, 2006 0 comments
Game Boy Micro + Game Boy Video = The world's smallest movie player?

I've been intending for some time to write about at least one of the many developments on the Nintendo handheld gaming front, but what would be my Home Theater hook? The Game Boy Advance generation eventually offered Game Boy Advance Video, which provides playback of third-party content on little Nintendo flash memory cartridges, but these were typically just episodes of recent, kid-only fare from Nicktoons and Disney. And then DreamWorks surprised many folks, myself included, by licensing three of their animated feature films to Majesco Entertainment, the major player in GBA Video. So, I finally had my software, but what about hardware?


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