Deal alert: Free HDMI cables

Posted in Deals by Ruslan Ulanov on the May 6th, 2010

If you need an HDMI cable (or three) for your new Blu-ray player, now here’s a deal for you…

1 Sale a Day sells a pack of 3 (yes, that’s three) gold-plated, 6ft, 1080p HDMI v1.3 cables for [drum roll]… $0.00 (that’s correct, ZERO, NADA dollars).

P.S. You will still have to pay the shipping, which is anyway cheaper then buying those cables anywhere else. So hurry, you have less then 6 hours left.

MyMovies for iPhone released

Posted in Software by Ruslan Ulanov on the March 21st, 2010

Here’s a piece of news I was waiting for…

My Movies for iPhone Light is now available in the iPhone App Store, and to support it, My Movies Collection Management and My Movies for Windows Home Server 3.13 have been released in final versions.

30 iPhone Apps for your Home Theater

Posted in M@H by Ruslan Ulanov on the March 11th, 2010

Mike Flacy of Audio|Video Revolution came up with a list of 30 “must have” iPhone applications for Home Theater buffs.

The categories of apps reviewed range from Movie Management to Universal remotes, to TV Guides and from Audio/Video Calibration helpers to Reference materials. Most apps are available from the AppStore for free, but then there are those that could cost you as much as $150 (Ouch!).

Some of the apps were new to me, while others I use on a daily basis. In any case the article is definitely worth checking out. So head on to Audio|Video Revolution website for details.

Here’s the complete list of apps mentioned in the review:

  1. Pocketflicks
  2. Now Playing
  3. RunPee
  4. IMDB
  5. Redbox
  6. HippoRemote Pro
  7. Flpr
  8. iMastercontrol Pro
  9. Remote (Apple)
  10. BoxeeRemote (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

My new gadgetry overview

Posted in Hardware,M@H,Software by Ruslan Ulanov on the February 24th, 2010

It appears I landed on Santa’s “Good Kids” list last year. He was quite generous this past holiday season and — with a little help from my friends and family — brought me some really nice gadgets. Dust has settled since and I had to spend some quality time with my new gear, so I decided to give them a quick rundown in this post, saving the juicy details for the future.

The luxury of touch

Touch Screen

Touch Screen

The idea of controlling Windows Media Center through touch interface was hunting me since I played with one of the first HP TouchSmart systems on the shelves of Costco. I already had HTPC, so I didn’t want to buy a new system. The obvious solution was to just add touch-capable display to my own HTPC. Searching high and low, I was soon discouraged, since all available touch screens were way too expensive – a 12″ displays are sold for over $500. But I managed to find one that fit my budget and works quite well with Windows 7 Media Center. Beware that in many cases drivers for Vista or Win7 could be hard to find or even unavailable, so check driver availability BEFORE you invest in a touch screen.

Movies on the go

DVD headrests

DVD headrests

For some time now I’ve been looking to upgrade my car’s headrests with nice LCD ones to entertain little passengers during long trips. Paying over $2000 for a DVD package on a new car doesn’t make any sense to me. For that much money these days you can buy a TV, a blu-ray player and a truckload of movies. Unfortunatelly none of those portable DVD players I saw in stores met all my requirements. Partly due to the lack of support for the multitude of media formats available today, partly because many kid’s movies I have are from a different DVD region, so none of the players sold in US could play them. But now I have headrests that could do all that and then some (like playing games with 4 included joysticks or reading media from all major flash cards).

Being able to watch a good movie in the car, on your netbook or other mobile device, like iPod Touch, while you travel is nice. Watching movies on a big HDTV screen is way better. So you have two options: 1) use a cable to connect your mobile device to a TV and jump from the couch every time you want to pause, rewind or skip or 2) buy a tiny HDD Media Player that can hold hundreds of HD movies and could be controlled with an infrared remote. What’s your choice? #2. I thought so. That’s exactly what I did. And at $25 for the HDD enclosure with IR remote control this deal is hard to beat. (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

Deal alert: 50% off PlayOn software

Posted in Deals by Ruslan Ulanov on the February 24th, 2010

Yugster has done it again! This time you can get PlayOn streaming software for half off the sticker price.

Don’t delay though, the deal is only for one day (2/24/10), so head on to Yugster and push that “I Want One” button now!

PlayOn unlocks the power of your Wii, Xbox 360, or PlayStation 3 to watch your favorite movies, shows and videos from Hulu, CBS, Netflix, YouTube, CNN, ESPN and more streamed right to your TV. It’s wireless. And, there is no need to purchase a new device, connect messy cables, or worry about your cable bill. It’s no wonder we were named one of The Top 100 New Innovations of 2009 by Popular Science Magazine.

PlayOn runs on your Windows PC and streams to your gaming console, giving you access to a wide range of Internet content on your TV — Hulu, Netflix, YouTube, Amazon VOD, and many others.

PlayOn is Simple to Set-Up and Easy to Use
To enjoy PlayOn, you need a networked PC, and a Wii, Xbox 360, or PlayStation 3. PlayOn also enables you to stream your personal videos, photos and music from your PC to your Home Entertainment Center. It takes less than 3 minutes to set up – and we’ll show you how.

Take a Look at What You Can Watch With PlayOn! (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

High speed media streaming for your home

Posted in Hardware,M@H by Ruslan Ulanov on the January 25th, 2010

HomePlugDo you want to set-up a high speed local network for streaming HD videos from your WHS in one room to your media center in another? No problem – use Cat-5 or Cat-6 Ethernet cable to connect two (or more) systems. That’s the most robust and fastest LAN solution available today for the home (we’re not even considering the optical networks here). The Cat-6 cable can support a 100oMbps network speeds.

But what would one do if there are no Ethernet cables running inside the walls of the house or if you are renting and not allowed to rip the walls off to make a cable drop? Here are a few alternatives available today. (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

Media Streamers will rule the world

Posted in Hardware by Ruslan Ulanov on the January 14th, 2010
Zyxel DMA-1100p

Zyxel DMA-1100p

In my search of a DLNA-compliant device to distribute Music and Video from my Media Server to the TV in the kitchen I looked through many sites and reviews, but then I stumbled upon a very nice and clean list of available Media Streamers on ProductWiki website.

It provides a great outlook on all the major (and some minor) players on the market along with MSRP and reviews on most of the boxes. Unfortunately, there’re not enough reviews on the site yet to make it a primary source for choosing your next electronic toy, but the nice design with clear pictures and short descriptions give you a good starting point for research.

This time around I decided to give a try to Zyxel DMA-1100p Digital Media Theater. Newegg has a very seductive price on it right now, so I just couldn’t pass it up. (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

Deal alert: TwonkyMedia apps are on Sale

Posted in Deals by Ruslan Ulanov on the January 8th, 2010

PacketVideo (PV), the creator of the most popular premium media server available today** is running a promotion till the end of this month.

You can get the TwonkyMedia server and TwonkyMedia manager at 50% of their retail prices.

Coupon code TWONKYMEDIA-2XX9-A for the 50% off discount expires on 1/31/2010. 50% discount cannot be applied to previous purchases.

(continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

Panasonic to Add Skype Software to VIERA HDTVs

Posted in M@H,News by Ruslan Ulanov on the January 6th, 2010

Skype and Panasonic Announce Collaboration to Add Skype Software to VIERA® HDTVs

Collaboration takes VIERA CAST™ -enabled HDTV connectivity to new level, offering voice and video communications via HDTV.

Osaka, Japan – Panasonic Corporation, a worldwide leader in High Definition technology and built-in TV web entertainment, and Skype, a leader in internet communications, today announced a collaboration that will enable consumers to make voice and video calls over Skype™ on Panasonic’s line of 2010 VIERA CAST-enabled HDTVs planned for launch in spring 2010.

This collaboration takes Skype to another platform, in addition to the computer and the mobile phone, which is the technology heart of the home, the television. Skype on your VIERA® delivers many familiar Skype features including:

  • Free Skype-to-Skype voice and video calls
  • Calls to landline or mobile phone at Skype’s low rates
  • The option to receive inbound calls via a user’s online Skype number
  • Skype voicemail, if you have it set up
  • Being invited to participate in voice conference calls with up to 24 other parties

(continue reading this article and leave comments here…)

Small form-factor HTPCs For Your Living Room

Posted in Hardware by Ruslan Ulanov on the November 25th, 2009

While searching for a new HTPC for my living room I found a few off-the-shelf models that you might find worth your while.

Any of these HTPCs will run you under $500 for a base model, but some manufacturers allow upgrades, like Blu-ray drive, RAM, etc., that could easily double the price tag. Also some of these systems are sold without keyboards, mice or monitors (‘coz you’ll be connecting it to a large screen HDTV anyway, right?). You’ll need to make sure you have a spare set at least for initial setup.

These systems are quiet (or nearly silent) and relatively good looking, so they should have high WAF for placement in your living room. (continue reading this article and leave comments here…)