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Pioneer Phones Home with new ETAP Networking Product

Pioneer ETAP

Pioneer ETAP


  • Product Name: ET
  • Manufacturer: Pioneer
  • Review Date: September 21, 2009 15:43
  • MSRP: $1500-$2k
  • First Impression: Gotta Have It!

Pioneers new magic ET box they demoed at CEDIA was out of this world.  Its focus is downloading, streaming and storage of personal media with a home theater approach to delivering networked media in the living room.  Think of it as a Media PC without the PC.   

The network entertainment concept player, code named "Project ET," encompasses high quality audio and video playback, Internet access and home theater control capabilities all within a single set-top device.  Pioneer® differentiates its technology concept from existing players in the market by letting consumers combine their personal music, movies and photo collections with access to a choice of online content services, social networking applications and online purchasing sites.  Pioneer’s concept incorporates the convenience of a unified remote control which users can also use to easily add and remove services based on their entertainment needs and preferences.

“For years Pioneer has developed products with its exclusive Home Media Gallery function that networks DLNA-compliant products within the home theater.  Now that broadband speeds have increased to a level that lets users access high definition quality content from the Internet, we are able to consider a network platform like Project ET, which is based on a unique home theater approach to delivering networked content and services into the living room,” said Russ Johnston, executive vice president for home entertainment business solutions group at Pioneer Electronics (USA) Inc.

Emerging Internet Content at Your Fingertips

Pioneer’s concept lets consumers download and stream music, video and photos directly from a networked PC to a home theater for viewing on a large screen television.  With the opportunity to directly access new, unique content from multiple free and paid online content providers, including YouTube, Netflix and Picasa among many others, Project ET provides a new means for users to seek and enjoy new entertainment.

While retailers may be able to configure a Project ET device for out-of-the box access to specific applications and services, consumers could further customize the device with preferred applications for music and movie streaming, photo storage and playback, as well as additional control capabilities.  Pioneer has developed a dedicated web portal for Project ET owners to easily add and remove content services with a simple click of a button.  Project ET incorporates its proprietary video processing technologies that ensure pristine playback of high definition as well as lower resolution content.

Pioneer is demonstrated the network concept with one terabyte of hard disk drive storage space for uncompressed and compressed audio file storage and playback.  The device is Ethernet-equipped and has built-in WiFi to maximize connectivity.  At CEDIA, the Project ET device will include a built-in internal Blu-ray Disc®/DVD/CD player.

Living Room Control Capabilities Enhance User Experiences

Primarily envisioned as an entertainment network device, Project ET also provides a host of custom installation tools with built-in Control4 IQ technology.  A Zigbee 2-Way remote control and high definition graphic user interface allows end users to intuitively navigate their stored digital content or online media while simultaneously controlling home theater room lighting, temperature and other connected home automated products.

Some of the features demoed at CEDIA 2009 include:

  • Twitter Updates: With real-time updates to one’s Twitter messaging service, Project ET can “tweet” whatever entertainment content you are enjoying to followers with a hot-link to the movie title or music album
  • Buy It Now Button: Allows Twitter followers as well as Project ET users to directly purchase physical or digital copies of content based on the current media being played.  This includes Blu-ray discs as well.  The player can make an exact copy of content managed Blu-ray content with the default sound track. 
  • Mobile Device Streaming: Provides users with remote access to local content from the home theater system and stream it to WiFi-connected portable devices or PC, anywhere and anytime. The technology also place-shifts content, and it centralizes control of home theater components and home systems within a home theater room
  • iPhone Compatibility: Utilizing Wi-Fi, Project ET users can navigate, control and playback digital media as well as home all home theater operations with an iPhone/iPod


Initial Impressions

ETAP  via Cell PhoneI’ll take two of these today!  It was amazing to see all of the network streaming capabilities this machine has to offer without the shackles and hassles of a multi media PC.  The ability to copy what they refer to as “content managed Blu-ray discs” is pretty awesome.  The Pioneer reps also talked about the ability of stacking up to 14 hard drives for an almost limitless data storage and streaming solution.  The ETAP comes stock with an internal 1TB HD so you're ready to go right out of the box.  During the demo, we watched Blu-ray discs streamed to a cell phone which was icing on this dream cake we are all wanting to take a bite from.  Best of all, it seems the retail price is targeted to be less than their flagship Blu-ray player (around $1500-$2k).  Availability is uncertain, but you can expect consumers lining up to the door when they start shipping.

For more info, visit:  Pioneer Electronics

Unless otherwise indicated, this is a preview article for the featured product. A formal review may or may not follow in the future.

About the author:
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Gene manages this organization, establishes relations with manufacturers and keeps Audioholics a well oiled machine. His goal is to educate about home theater and develop more standards in the industry to eliminate consumer confusion clouded by industry snake oil.

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