27 February 2007

More big guns

For some reason I keep stucking to serious media servers recently. This is my latest discovery -- S1 Digital Media Server

Pretty amazing tech specs:
  • 3 terabyte RAID storage
  • Full 1080p Video Output via HDMI, DVI, Component or VGA
  • 7.1 or 5.1 Channel High Definition AudioOutput audio via S/PDIF
  • Dual HDTV and SDTV Tuners (Four TV Tuners!)

Damage about U$ 7500

13 February 2007

Some more serious sh*t

Being extremely proud about my Half Terabyte Media Server, equipped with RAID5, Gigabit ethernet and Twinky software, its hard to write about product, following.

Looking for serious media server. having exess of U$ 10 000. Dont look further, if You are living in the States.

NiveusMedia Denali Edition

With scaling of DVDs up to 1080p resolution, and a 7.1 pro audio solution that boasts a 115db Signal to Noise Ratio, the Denali not only manages your entire home's digital media collection, it does it with the finesse that has made the Denali the industry's reference point in media center excellence.

Some key facts:

  • 1.5 Terabytes of Storage
  • Playback DVDs at high resolution 720p/1080i/1080p
  • four built in television tuners (2x NTSC & 2x ATSC)

12 February 2007

Xbox 360 connected!

Today I connected new Xbox 360 to my Media Server via wireless adapter. I was absolutely positively surprised. Setup was quick and easy. Just enter WAP key, select server connected and bingo! I also tester wired setup, what was even easier. Just plug and play!

I have 42" Hitatchi 1080i HD plasma and my Xbox is connected to that via HD Component cable. It allows to exploit full 1080i capability of my plasma. A tad confusing is digital audio connection. You have to buy separate optical cable and it connect to the Xbox-end of the cable!

Xbox 360 functionality as media player:

- Plays music: Yes, MP3 and WMA

- Shows digital photos: Yes, at 1080i HD resolution!

- Streams video's from UPnP media server (TwonkyMedia): NO (plays only from Xbox Hard Disk)


- Very good graphical interface

- Super visualization during music playback

- Very good quality in photo slideshow, shows also large 10 Mpix JPG photos >3 MB size

- Very quick srolling in the lists (artists, folders, albums, etc..)


- Doesn't stream videos from 3.-rd party media server (TwonkyMedia)

- Doesn't support all sorting/grouping features of TwonkyMedia UPnP server. You have to scroll through all 300 artists + 400 composers, to find one. No useful index feature, TwonkyMedia provides.

- Messes up all artists and compusers. Xbox combines artists with composers, producing 800-artist long list, instead of true 300 artists. Not standard UPnP behaviour

Conclusion: Very powerful and aesthetical graphics and fast CPU raises Xbox to very high level among other media playesr, pitty not streaming videos.

New digital media products from BIG PLAYERS

There are lot of niche players in digital home market. Also few bigger SOHO network company like D-Link and NetGear. Good news is that old slow mainstream hi-fi companies are jumping to bandwagon: Yamaha, Onkyo and Philips. So. You may find now 10/100 LAN connectors among with most usual connectors on the backplane.


Yamaha has good reputation in home cinema systems and receivers. New models RX-V2700 and RX-N600 has media player functionalityes, added to pure good old receiver.

RX-V2700 features

  • 7-channel powerful surround sound: 980W=140W x 7 RMS; 1,295W=185W x 7 Max
  • Digital ToP-ART with superior audio-grade parts and devices used throughout
  • Pure Direct for higher fidelity sound reproduction
  • 3 in/1 out HDMI (Ver 1.2a) for handling digital signals including Super Audio CD
  • Assignable amplifiers for bi-amp connection
  • 1080p compatible HDMI (3 in/1 out)
  • High-definition video up-conversion
  • Up-scaling (480ior 576i to 1080i/720p)
  • De-interlacing (480i/576i to 480p/576p)
  • Wide-range video bandwidth (100MHz -3 dB, 1080p compatible)
  • Network Receiver functions
    (Internet radio, PC music files, USB portable audio players and flash drives)
  • iPod compatibility via optional Yamaha YDS-10
  • Compressed Music Enhancer
  • Improved YPAO sound optimization with 6 system memories
  • GUI on-screen display (6 languages: English, French, German, Spanish, Russian and japanese)
  • Superior zone control with additional zone remote unit and zone multi-language OSD
  • Upgraded CINEMA DSP with 22 DSP programs
  • Dolby Digital EX and DTS 96/24 compatibility
Very interesting feature is MP3 music artifact removing: Compressed Music Enhancer

RX-N600 features

  • 6.1-channel, powerful surround sound: 570W=95W x 6 RMS; 145W/Ch Max (for Europe);
  • 810W=135W x 6 Max
  • Digital ToP-ART and High Current Amplification
  • 192kHz/24-Bit DACs for all channels
  • Playback MP3/WMA/WAV music from a PC
  • USB flash drive/music player compatibility
  • Play Internet radio
  • MusicCAST Client compatibility
  • Compatible with iPod via optional Yamaha YDS-10
  • Compressed Music Enhancer
  • On-screen display
  • 3 HDTV compatible component video inputs
  • Component video up-conversion
  • Digital video processing with TBC (Time Base Corrector)
  • Quad-Field CINEMA DSP and 14 surround programmes
  • Night Listening Enhancer (Cinema/Music) and SILENT CINEMA

Onkyo has also serveral new stream-able receivers. They look lika good old-school AV Receiver, but backplane reveals ethernet connection.

Internet Features:
  • 30 Internet radio random presets
  • Ethernet port (Homenetwork)
  • Net-Tune Protocol Function
  • MP3, WAV, WMA decoding

What exactly is Net-Tune??? Is it UPnP compliant? All what I found from the marketing matherials, that You have to install Net Tune Central server software to Your PC or home media server and starrt listening MP3, WAV and WMA music and Internet radio. Most probably it is just another entry level UPnP server.

10 February 2007

D-Link DSM-520 from eBay

Today I ordered my second media player D-Link DSM-520. It will be my main player, connected to my home cinema and 42" plasma via component HD.

Why I chose DSM-520? The only reason was HD 1080i ability. I have 21 000 hi-resolution digiphotos in my server to share and also I have 1080 HD plasma to show them to my family and guests. Previously I used to show it in PAL, wat is onli 480 lines. So, the resolution improvement will be 2 times horizontally, what is vlearly visible!
It cost me just 205 €, so, quite cheap!

08 February 2007

High-End Audiophile Media Players

There are number of $ 150-250 players out there, available from internet shops and huge electronics superstores.
But there are lurking some serious pieces of art - toys for purists. Some of them are here:

Olive Opus U$ 3 900.00

  • Plays music from UPnP server
  • Plays internet radio
  • No video, no photos
  • Killer fact: internal 750GB drive hold up tp 2100 loseless CD-s.
Helios X5000 U$ 579,00

  • Plays music
  • Plays internet radio
  • Plays 1080p video
  • Shows shared photos
  • Killer fact: High Definition Upscaling up to 1080p (1920x1080) resolution

Slim Devices Transporter U$ 1999.00

  • Plays music from UPnP server
  • Plays internet radio
  • No video, no photos
  • Killer fact: balanced gold-plated XLR outputs

So, audiophiles, the ball is Yours!

07 February 2007

Best players, on the paper

Information about media players is so scattered. You have to work all day long in very specific forums and make elaborate web searches to get some overview about new UPnP media players.
If I had to buy few media players, then here are my choices:

TOP 5 Living-room / home cinema

For use with HD LCD or plasma. They all comply my minimum requirements:

  • High Definition (HD 1080)
  • Play's music, photos and videos
  • Component output for HD
  • HDMI output
  • UPnP compliant
D-link DSM-520 http://www.dlink.com/products/?pid=438
Pixel Magic HD MediaBox http://www.pixelmagicsystems.com/products/media_players/hd_mediabox.htm
NeoDigits Helios X5000 or X3000 http://www.neodigits.com/
NetGear EVA8000 http://www.netgear.com/Products/Entertainment/DigitalMediaPlayers.aspx
Kiss DP-600 http://www.kiss-technology.com/?p=600en

Requirements for bedroom are:
  • WiFi built in
  • 1 box design, speakers included
  • Easy, to use
  • Built-in LCD screen
  • UPnP compliant
Philips Streamium WAK3300; WAS7000; WAS700
Pinnacle SoundBridge Radio
Acoustic Energy WiFi Internet Radio

06 February 2007

I found!

Today I found the product I need. http://www.neodigits.com/
Model X3000

  • It streams 1080 HD video from UPnN server
  • It has both component and HDMI ouput
  • It looks business

I will wait and cool down few days before I most probably order it. Only $ 450.-, shipping included.

Who are reading My blog?

My blog has been up and running about 1 month. At very beginning I started measuring traffic with Google Analytics www.googleanalytics.com . It is very illusttrative tool with different charts, based on very little information of my readers.

All together, readers from 15 different countries visited my blog.

Top 5 Countries
#1 USA
#2 UK
#3 Canada
#4 Swizerland
#5 Australia

I wondered about Swizerland!? Who are these watchmakers, reading my media server blog?

Music in the bed

Tried today to use my Dell Axim X3 as media player, to acess my vast collection off media server. Simple Twonky web client, what works fine on PC, doesn't function on my axim.

Then I tried Rudeo Control http://www.rudeo.com/ but it is so limited in trial period, that very hard to say is it good or not. In some extent it works, but then I experianced quite weird behaviour. Can't recommend.
I have to look further...

01 February 2007

New media project

From today I start photographing estonia art. It is big fun to have good art collection in Your media server. Also displaying them on the 40" HD plasma.

My idea is to make hi res photos, no distorsion, perfect white balance and exposure. Aim is to capture life-like images.
Each image will be about 1,5 - 3MBytes on disk, at least 5 Mpix size, JPEG HIGH quality compression.

Ran out trial

Today I ran out of 30-day trial period of TwonkyMedia server license. It's time to make credic card transaction over internet :) There is no other substitute for me to Twonky currently. MS Media Connect 2.0 and 3.0 are free, but doesn't work so well. MS is slow and overloads server CPU with simple tasks, like browsing in the library.