I've seen the XStreamHD satellite service demonstrated for the last couple of years at CES, but so far, it hasn't actually been available to consumers. Well, that's finally about to change—the service is due to launch on April 30. It allows users to download movies, music videos, and games from a satellite to a hard-disk-based server, from which they can be streamed to several receivers in the home—in fact, up to four HD streams can be served simultaneously. Users have the option of renting or buying the content, and they can even order physical discs if they wish. Movies are downloaded in 1080p/24 format with up to 7.1 DTS-HD MA audio (Dolby TrueHD is not supported as of now), and the server can download up to two titles at once, each with a maximum bandwidth of 100Mbps per stream.
I'm always casting about for interesting high-end products to feature in this blog, so I suppose it was inevitable that I would eventually find the
FH001 speaker from a British company called <A href="http://www.fergusonhill.co.uk/">Ferguson Hill</A>. As soon as I saw a photo of this intriguing design, I knew I had to profile it here.
The Peter Gabriel-curated <A HREF="http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/display.aspx?infid=3550">B&W Music Club</A> is now providing music downloads in 24-bit FLAC (Free Lossless Audio Codec) files. Subscribers now have a choice of three formats for download. The new 24-bit FLAC format, a 16-bit FLAC version and a 16-bit Apple Lossless version. The new file format is also available for people on a free trial, who can download an EP of 24-bit lossless music. Full membership runs $59.95 for a year and $39.95 for six months. You can download one new album a month, which comes to $5 an album with the annual membership. Sometimes there are bonus downloads, making the membership even more valuable.
Online video delivery is supposed to be the Next Big Thing, leaving physical media in the dust. Among the early content providers in this brave new world is Vudu, which offers one of the best options for renting movies on-demand that I have experienced. The Vudu BX100 plays Internet-delivered movies and TV shows at resolutions up to 1080p. Most similar to Apple TV with respect to features and price, the Vudu has some clear advantages.
If you love world music, you need to head on over to <A HREF="http://www.mp3.mondomix.com/">MondoMix</A> for a touch of Cuban rhythms, Jamaican reggae, Indian Vedic chants, or beats from the Balkins. Explore the world of music in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Americas. Delve into the different genres that include Pop/Rock, Jazz, Sacred, and Hip-Hop along with the traditional sounds of the region.
You probably haven't heard of <A HREF="http://www.susanlaurenzi.com/">Susan Laurenzi</A> before but that's not surprising since this is her first CD. I don't usually use this blog to review or promote new music, however, this album is a breath of fresh air among the morass of digitized, heavily compressed, overly produced, and lyrically insignificant tunes that is the staple of today's music industry. And I admit it's a shameless plug because Susan is a close, personal friend and I have watched what she has gone through the last several years in an effort to deliver this baby. Indy artists need a lot more than good songs and talent, they have to have serious perseverance and sacrifice, especially of the monetary kind.
Like any job, once in a while a project comes along to remind us why we chose our profession in the first place, something that really gets us excited and enthusiastic again. So, it was with great pleasure and even a sense of honor that I accepted the assignment to review the Denon AVP-A1HDCI surround preamp/processor and POA-A1HDCI 10-channel power amplifier for <I>UAV</I>.
HDGiants unveiled their new HD MediaStore application during CES. While HD Giants has an online presence accessible to anyone (with Microsoft IE only), this new application was specifically designed for easy integration with top media servers running the Vista Media Center. It allows Media Center customers to purchase and download music in the WMA lossless format directly from their MCE Vista entertainment centers.
CES not only introduces all the new products we can expect to see on store shelves for that year, new trends in technologies and how we will use electronic products in our everyday lives come into full view, as well. CES is not just a showcase of the latest and greatest consumer products, it is a vision into the future.
Eco-friendly TVs that consume less power seem to be in everyone's line up now. Though by and large, I noticed they tend to be smaller sets with fewer features. Hopefully, in the years to come it won't be necessary to denote specific models as eco-friendly because we know they all are.