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Recent AV Gadget Reviews

Griffin Twenty Airport Express Amplifier Preview

Griffin Twenty Airport Express Amplifier Preview

We really wish we knew how much the Griffin Twenty was going to cost. A single unit, very compact solution for streaming music to your old speakers you now longer have a use for we think will be an attractive prospect for many consumers. But with the price of AirPlay-enabled receivers constantly coming down, the Griffin is going to have to have a very competitive price. The subwoofer output should give the Griffin Twenty the flexibility (and bass) serious music lovers demand though the hardwired crossover at 80Hz and subwoofer auto-sensing limit the control they may want. Overall, the Griffin Twenty looks to be a very interesting product. If it can be used as a standalone amp with an optical input, it may be the go-to office solution for those looking for a way of utilizing old gear.

The Griffin Twenty is a single unit, very compact solution for streaming music to your old speakers you now longer have a use for and we think it will be an attractive prospect for many consumers.

— February 13, 2012 04:25 in AV Gadget Reviews

Marantz TT42 High-Performance Turntable Preview

Marantz TT42 High-Performance Turntable Preview

The Marantz TT42 may be a very basic turntable, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good one. While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of the high-priced offerings, it also doesn't have the price tag. At $330, you can have a brand new, high-performance, turntable for exploring your old LPs and some of the new ones that are being released. It is a bit to expensive to be an impulse buy but, for those that are wondering what the fuss is all about, it could be the perfect solution.

The Marantz TT42 may be a very basic turntable, but that doesn't mean it isn't a good one. While it doesn't have all the bells and whistles of high-priced offerings, it also doesn't have the price tag

— February 09, 2012 11:15 in AV Gadget Reviews

Netgear's Internet Adapter for Home Theater Review

Netgear's Internet Adapter for Home Theater Review

Netgear's Internet Adapter for Home Theater (XAVB5004) is a powerline solution much like the Belkin we reviewed last year except that it amps up the throughput to 500 Mbps and includes both a powerline 4-port router and a powerline AV500 "gigabit" adapter. The system is designed to deliver flawless HD video streaming and is capable of connecting up to four Internet-ready home theater devices, such as HDTVs, Blu-ray players, IPTVs, TV set-top boxes, media players or game consoles to the Internet - it's even 3D-capable. The kit includes one 1-port adapter to connect to the router and one 4-port adapter to connect to the TV and your various peripherals. The solution’s four ports are conveniently color coded for simple setup and the entire system is really plug-in ready from the minute you unbox it.

Netgear's Internet Adapter for Home Theater is a powerline solution much like the Belkin we reviewed last year. The difference? The Belkin may be prettier but the Netgear has more inputs and 500 Mbps.

— February 06, 2012 03:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Alpine INE-Z928HD AVN DVD Receiver Preview

Alpine INE-Z928HD AVN DVD Receiver Preview

Alpine was alive and well in the North Hall and the new INE-Z928HD AVN (Audio/Video/Navigation) DVD receiver is a big deal for the company. It's squarely taking aim at the 12-volt aftermarket and competing with some of the big names that have dominated that segment for some time. Alpine claims it as the first AVN system with a full 8-inch WVGA screen, but whose chassis fits into a standard 2-DIN opening. We weren't the only ones who were impressed, the INE-Z928HD won a 2012 CES Innovations Award in the In-Vehicle Audio/Video category. The INE-Z928HD include Pandora Internet Radio control and station creation from iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry smartphones. It has a built-in HD Radio receiver and is compatible with SiriusXM.

Alpine was alive and well in the North Hall and the new INE-Z928HD AVN (Audio/Video/Navigation) DVD receiver is a big deal for the company. It's squarely taking aim at the 12-volt aftermarket crowd.

— January 09, 2012 19:15 in AV Gadget Reviews

Vizio GoogleTV-enabled VAP430 Stream Player Preview

Vizio GoogleTV-enabled VAP430 Stream Player Preview

GoogleTV is apparently not dead. Today at CES, Vizio and Google jointly announced the introduction of the Vizio VAP430 Stream Player, an innovative stream player that turns any HDTV into an enhanced Vizio Internet Apps Plus (V.I.A. Plus) smart TV that incorporates the latest Google TV. The Stream Player lets consumers access tons of entertainment content and online services with web access through a fully capable Chrome browser. You can also stream photos, music and video stored on any computer, hard drive or smart phone connected to a local network and/or the cloud.

GoogleTV is apparently not dead. Today at CES, Vizio and Google jointly announced the introduction of the Vizio VAP430 Stream Player, an innovative stream player that enhances any HDTV.

— January 09, 2012 19:05 in AV Gadget Reviews

Simaudio Moon 180 MiND Music Streamer Preview

Simaudio Moon 180 MiND Music Streamer Preview

Simaudio showed off more than just their Moon phono preamplifier, they also introduced the Moon 180 MiND Music Streamer. MiND, an acronym for Moon intelligent Network Device, streams digitally stored music from a computer, Network Attached Storage (NAS) device, the internet, subscriber-based music services or a UPnP (Universal Plug and Play) enabled device to your audio system. Ultimately, MiND provides a simple means for efficient access to large collections of music, as well as the ability to organize the music to your own preferences. And, the included control software app works with the Apple iPhone, iTouch, iPad or any Android-powered device.

Simaudio showed off more than just their Moon phono preamp, they also introduced the Moon 180 MiND Music Streamer. MiND, acronym for Moon intelligent Network Device, streams digitally stored content.

— January 09, 2012 19:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Zagg HzO WaterBlocking Technology Demo!

Zagg HzO WaterBlocking Technology Demo!

Zagg has done it again. Not content to sit around waiting for the next SHIELD device, they went to work protecting your electronics products from the inside. Yes, we said FROM THE INSIDE. How? We have no freaking idea, but the demo is amazing. Zagg has figured out how to use a chemical to bond to electronics in order to prevent water from doing what water does - namely short out any electronics it comes into contact with it. How do we know it's real? Because Zagg demonstrated it in a fishbowl with an iPod that kept playing - along with a speaker connected to its headphone jack - for over 15 minutes. If this isn't hype and the process is able to be made to work for consumers, then this could be the the next evolution in manufacturing for electronics products. I just hope manufactures are willing to license it, because this is something that should come from the factory.

Not content to sit around waiting for the next SHIELD device, Zagg went to work protecting your electronics products from the inside. Yes, we said FROM THE INSIDE. How? We have no freaking idea.

— January 09, 2012 16:17 in AV Gadget Reviews

LaCie 2big and eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Series Drives Preview

LaCie 2big and eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Series Drives Preview

LaCie used the 2012 CES to announce some new Thunderbolt-driven drives. The new 2big Thunderbolt Series delivers speed, flexibility and capacity, while the eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Series allows users to connect external eSATA drives to Mac computers. LaCie's had a bunch of success with its Little Big Disk Thunderbolt Series drives and he new drives look to deliver speeds and product enhancements to Mac computers that have been unavailable until recently. In particular, eSATA support has been completely lacking, though it exists as a compatible technology on the Intel-based boards used in iMac, MacBook Pro and PowerMac computers.

LaCie used the 2012 CES to announce some new Thunderbolt-driven drives. The new 2big Thunderbolt Series delivers speed, and capacity, while the eSATA Hub Thunderbolt Series enables eSATA access.

— January 09, 2012 15:45 in AV Gadget Reviews

DISH Hopper and Joey Whole-Home DVR Preview

DISH Hopper and Joey Whole-Home DVR Preview

DISH Network is completely changing the way it does DVR - particularly as it has to do with a whole-home setup. And this really makes sense, considering that right now you need a DVR in each room in order to record your favorite shows - and those shows can't be shared from one room to the next. Now they can. DISH is introducing Hopper and Joey, a whole-home high definition DVR entertainment system. The Hopper HD DVR and accompanying small Joey set-top boxes create a whole-home HD DVR entertainment system that lets DISH customers easily record, pause, and play back shows from any room in the home. While most whole-home DVRs do not have the same DVR functionality on every TV, the Hopper and Joey whole-home system offers the exact same DVR functionality on every TV, letting customers pause, play and rewind both live and recorded HD programs in up to four rooms.

DISH is introducing Hopper and Joey, a whole-home high definition DVR entertainment system. The Hopper HD DVR and accompanying small Joey set-top boxes create a whole-home HD DVR entertainment system.

— January 09, 2012 14:50 in AV Gadget Reviews

Acer S5 and Timeline Ultrabooks Preview

Acer S5 and Timeline Ultrabooks Preview

Acer is attempting to claim the title of thinnest PC notebook in the world with the unveiling of its two new ultrabooks at the 2012 CES. While the full specifications of the Aspire S5 and Timeline ultrabooks are still being released and solidified (at least to the press) the S5 is being billed as the thinnest ultrabook to date at only 15mm thick. For reference, the current MacBook Air is 17mm in thickness. Weighing in at less than 3 pounds, the S5 features a 13.3" LED backlit LCD screen and an unusual motorized "Magicflip" panel that opens to reveal the included HDMI, USB 3.0 and Thunderbolt ports. This is the first notebook we've heard of to-date that features Thunderbolt aside from Apple products, though we imagine this will be more commonplace at CES this year.

Acer is attempting to claim the title of thinnest PC notebook in the world with two new ultrabooks at the 2012 CES, the 17mm Aspire S5 and the Aspire Timeline Ultra - both with Thunderbolt technology.

— January 09, 2012 09:15 in AV Gadget Reviews

Vizio's Laptop, Ultrabook, and All-in-One PCs Preview

Vizio's Laptop, Ultrabook, and All-in-One PCs Preview

Vizio announced a complete line of notebooks/laptops and an all-in-one PC that appears to be taking on the design trends of Apple Computer directly. Built with a stylish aluminum frame design, the new PCs look to be incredibly stunning visually and are extremely light and thin in all dimensions. The new Windows 7-based PCs are going to launch in spring 2012 and includes 2 All-in-One computers, 2 thin + light notebooks and one netbook. The notebooks in particular look to be directly aimed at Apple's MacBook Pro line and the smaller Netbook is reminiscent of the MacBook Air. This may not be enough to drive sales away from Apple, but it's great to see other companies taking such a design-focus on their products.

Vizio announced a complete line of notebooks/laptops and an all-in-one PC that appears to be taking on the design trends of Apple Computer directly - even built with a stylish aluminum frame design.

— January 09, 2012 06:40 in AV Gadget Reviews

Transformative Engineering HDS-12 & HDS-14 HDMI Conditioner/Splitter Preview

Transformative Engineering HDS-12 & HDS-14 HDMI Conditioner/Splitter Preview

In the world of home theater equipment, baluns, splitters, and extenders are the vanilla ice cream cone that was dropped in the dirt that only the weird kid will pick up and eat. Sexy or no, the Transformative Engineering HDS-12 and HDS-14 HDMI splitters and signal conditioners look to become a staple in the tool box of the custom installer. Promising to clean up HDCP handshake issues over long HDMI runs while, at the same time, providing splitting duties, the only thing we're really waiting on is a price. If they are comparable to traditional splitters (or even in the ballpark), no sane custom installer would leave the house without one.

Sexy or no, the Transformative Engineering HDS-12 and HDS-14 HDMI splitters and signal conditioners look to become a staple in the tool box of the custom installer.

— December 21, 2011 08:00 in AV Gadget Reviews

Review: IOCell NetDisk 351UNE: But Will it Stream Media?

Review: IOCell NetDisk 351UNE: But Will it Stream Media?

My past experience with network attached storage (NAS) was years ago, we called it the toaster and it held two drives with built-in redundancy; RAID 1. Mirrored drives gave my home network nicely backed-up storage via Ethernet. After assigning it an IP and mapping a drive letter to my PC I had access to Ethernet stored files. The NAS drive was great for backing up family pictures and an MP3 library. But did it stream? Forget about it! To any audio/video enthusiast affordable NAS was a major fail. The devices were expensive, complicated and slow. But that was almost ten years ago, surely the situation has improved since then – and it has. Nowadays there are several options including NetDisk proprietary NDAS system aimed at the small, consumer-grade home network admin.

IOCell NetDisk SOLO NEWFAST 351UNE, which is enough names for two devices. But a clumsy naming convention is easily forgiven because, as we'll see, the 351UNE makes good on being fast.

— November 29, 2011 16:45 in AV Gadget Reviews

Marantz CD6004 CD Player Preview

Marantz CD6004 CD Player Preview

With a similar model number, the CD6004 from Marantz was obviously designed to work with the new PM6004 Integrated Amplifier to provide an affordable but impressive two channel system. All you need to do is provide the speakers. But the CD6004 isn't built with only Marantz's other components in mind, there is a lot more to it than that. With Made for iPod/Works with iPhone certification and front mounted USB port, the CD6004 is more than a simple high-end CD player. For $500, however, you have to ask yourself if the CD6004 does everything you need.

For CD fanatics that are looking for the perfect companion for their new PM6004 Integrated Amp, the Marantz CD6004 is for you. Includes Made for iPod/Works with iPhone certification and USB port.

— November 04, 2011 07:20 in AV Gadget Reviews