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Tag Archives: Streaming Media

Diamond VStream Wireless Video Streamer Reviewed. Verdict: Hassle-free 1080p HD Streaming

By Paul McCollum

One of the few things we are missing, here in the future, (besides our rocket skates) is high quality wireless video. Audio compression has made great advances but video is lagging, literally. Several companies have released products in the past few years but all have been plagued with connection problems or bandwidth issues. Diamond’s new Wireless USB variant, VStream Wireless HD Video Streamer, may finally have all the components to deliver high definition video without wires or the headaches.

The VStream consists of a compact receiver for connecting to an HDMI input on your TV and an even more compact USB dongle to plug into your PC. The slim Certified Wireless USB transmitter sends video data over Ultrawideband to the remote unit to bypass any Wi-Fi traffic. The same dongle can also flex up to 90 degrees to best angle to the receiver. Since Windows recognizes VStream as another DisplayLink’s USB monitor, you won’t run into any problems streaming NetFlix, Hulu and YouTube to your HDTV. DisplayLink driver, however, isn’t HDCP compliant so Blu-ray and iTunes movies won’t work with VStream. In terms of picture quality, there’s some bit-grate degradation at 1080p, but you will have to be comparing the wired HDMI and VStream to really see the difference. For sale at roughly $108, it is definitely competitive in the space. Detailed video quality and wireless range data is available at Everything USB.

[Full Review @ Everything USB]

Netflix Streaming Goes Disc-less On Wii As Well

By Chris Scott Barr

Last week we were excited to tell you that you would soon be able to ditch your Netflix disc when streaming movies on your PS3. Yesterday, you were finally able to do that. What we didn’t expect was to find that Nintendo’s console was getting the same treatment. That’s right, pop out that red disc and throw it at someone, because you’re not going to need it anymore.

It seems that the exclusive deal inked by Microsoft back in 2008 has finally expired. The deal stated that Netflix wasn’t allowed to have installable apps on any other gaming console. Thus, they worked around it by shipping out special discs. Since you weren’t technically installing anything to the consoles themselves, Netflix you were still able to stream content without Microsoft’s deal being breached. Sneaky Neflix, very sneaky.

[ Netflix ] VIA [ Dvice ]

Hulu Inches Closer To A Paid Subscription Model

Hulu

By Chris Scott Barr

It’s been nearly a year since I dropped my cable subscription, and I couldn’t be happier. Between Hulu and Netflix streaming, I have little desire to ever switch back. Of course there has always been that fear that Hulu would switch over to a paid subscription model. Now it seems that a paid model is coming, but it’s not nearly as bad as it could have been.

The current proposal is to continue offering the latest 5 episodes of current shows for free. However, users could pay $9.95 a month for what’s called Hulu Plus. This would get you the entire back-catalog of episodes, rather than being limited to the latest ones. There is no word on whether paying the fee would free you from watching the ads or not.

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Infinitec “Infinite” USB Drive Isn’t Really

infinitec

By Evan Ackerman

Infinitec is introducing what they’re calling the “next generation” of USB flash drives, the Infinite USB Memory (IUM) drive. Rather than storing data on internal flash memory, the IUM pairs with your computer, forming a wireless data transfer link. So, whatever device you plug the IUM into sees it as simple USB flash drive, while behind the scenes the IUM is streaming data directly from your computer, making available as much data as you care to give it, hence the “infinite” moniker. This isn’t some kind of infinite cloud storage thing, however, it’s just that the capacity of the IUM isn’t limited by the hardware on the IUM itself.

I can’t immediately figure out how the wireless bit works, but it’s going to be one of two ways. The first, which seems most likely from the way the IUM is described, is that it uses your laptop’s wireless card to transfer data. This means that if you’re out of range of your laptop’s wireless signal, your IUM loses its functionality. The alternative (and I don’t think it works this way) would be that it somehow connects to your laptop over the internet, which means that the IUM would function anywhere it could get WiFi access, possibly allowing you to set up secured access points ahead of time.

Whichever way it functions, I wouldn’t really think of this as a USB flash drive at all, for the simple reason that you can’t use it to back up or transfer data independently of your laptop. It’s more of a wireless USB network adapter, in that it gives any USB compatible device access to the data on your laptop via a local (ad-hoc) wireless network. This is definitely a handy capability, although its usefulness is limited to electronics with USB ports but without a network connection that you don’t want to plug your computer into directly (although there is something to be said for ease of use, which the IUM certainly appears to offer).

The cost for this convenience is $129, which seems rather steep to me, although (for what it’s worth) it’s generally equivalent to the Eye-Fi Pro, which offers the same kind of wireless ad-hoc network functionality.

The Infinitec IUM Drive goes on sale July 1.

[ IUM Drive ] VIA [ ZDNet ]

Netflix Streaming Coming To PS3’s Later This Year

Netflix_PS3

By Chris Scott Barr

Back in August we told you that Microsoft had signed an exclusive deal with Netflix, making the 360 the only console which could stream their movies. Well it would seem that either the exclusive deal was carefully worded, or was only for a very short period of time. Why? Because the company just announced that later this year the PS3 will get a similar treatment.

That’s right, PS3 owners will soon be able to stream the very same movies to their console, with the added benefit of not needing to pay for something like Xbox Live Gold. The downside is that in order to stream the movies, you will need a special Blu-ray disc. This will be provided free of charge to all Netflix subscribers who request it. A minor annoyance, likely in place due to the existing agreement with Microsoft. There’s no word on exactly when this is going to be rolled out, but you can reserve your Netflix Blu-ray disc now.

[ Netflix ] VI A[ Crave ]

Microsoft Inks Exclusive Deal With Nexflix, But There’s Hope For PS3 And Wii Owners

xboxnetflix1

By Chris Scott Barr

I’ve been enjoying being able to stream Netflix to my 360 for a while now. What I don’t enjoy is paying for a Gold subscription in order to use it. One could argue that most 360 gamers already keep themselves at Gold status so they can play games online. That’s great for them, but I rarely play anything on my 360 with people online (I do most of my online gaming with my PC). I have both a PS3 and a Wii as well, and I’ve been hoping to hear something about getting Netflix on one of those, since neither charge for their online experience. Well finally we’ve heard something.

It seems that Microsoft has managed to sign an exclusive deal with Netflix, making them the only ones with a console that streams movies from the service. There’s no word on just how long the exclusive deal is, but I’m guessing it’s no less than a year or two. I’ll give Microsoft one thing, it does add more value to a Gold subscription. It’s one more thing for them to cite when people complain about Sony offering online play for free.

On a related note, PlayOn seems to be an interesting alternative that lets you stream Netflix (along with Hulu, YouTube and several others) to your TV with a PS3, Xbox 360 (without paying for a Gold Membership) and soon a Wii. I haven’t had a chance to test it out myself, but I’ll let you guys know when I do.

[ Microsoft ] VIA [ CrunchGear ]

Popcorn C-200 Settop Box Announced

popcornc-200-sb

By Shane McGlaun

It seems like every other device that comes out today is designed to allow streaming of media from the Internet to your TV. The feature is being included in many Blu-ray players, new HDTVs, and some game consoles can stream content as well.

Syabas has announced a new settop box called the Popcorn C-200 that is set to launch in July for $299. The device is capable of streaming 30 different video formats from the Internet to your TV including MPEG 1, 2, 4, AVI, H.264, Xvid, MKV, Windows Media, and more.

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