Each week Ross Rubin contributes Switched On, a column about consumer technology.
In the decade that WiFi has blanketed home networks across the United States, several technologies aimed at using existing wiring in the home have met with limited success. These have included MoCA (Multimedia over Coax, which has been adopted by some service providers for implementing multi-room DVRs) and HomePNA (originally for phone lines but later expanded to coax cable as well). At least three dueling standards have also sought to bring high-speed connectivity over electrical wiring. HomePlug, the most successful of these, has had several iterations. The latest – HomePlug AV – is rated at a theoretical throughput of 200 Mbits/sec. However, power line technologies have been held back by high prices and occasional interoperability problems.
But a new approach seeks to be the one protocol to rule them all, operating over phone lines, power lines or coax. Dubbed G.hn, the ITU standard promises up to 1Gbps theoretical throughput, with real-world usage over electrical lines expected to reach between 250Mbps and 400Mbps. If that sounds appealing to you, you’re not alone. Service providers like the idea of G.hn since it allows them more flexibility than previous efforts. In fact, they like it so much that — despite G.hn’s capacity — they have insisted on quality of service standards that could limit or prevent consumers from installing it themselves after they buy adapters from retailers.
Continue reading Switched On: No new wires, one new caveat
Switched On: No new wires, one new caveat originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 25 Sep 2011 20:14:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, powerline networking
, switched on
, wireless streaming
Ruh roh. That’s the sound eliminating from Pandora’s stock price, which has taken a serious beating in the wake of two separate announcements in the past week. First off, Clear Channel and Echo Nest have teamed up to produce a self-proclaimed “Pandora killer,” with a new technology enabling IHeartRadio users to build out customized radio stations right on the app. As you’d expect, folks will be able to construct a custom playlist “based off the selection of a single seed song or artist, both online and on mobile phones,” and it’ll be featured when the app relaunches in beta form this week. In related news, Echo Nest has also concocted a Pandora-esque streaming radio feature for use in the Spotify app; it’s a gem called Echofi, and if you surf down to the source link, you’ll be able to give it a whirl. Type in a single artist, mash go, and watch as Spotify is launched and related music is spun until you decide you’ve heard enough. Here’s to competition… right?
Continue reading Pandora’s song-finding flair comes to Spotify, IHeartRadio via separate initiatives
Pandora’s song-finding flair comes to Spotify, IHeartRadio via separate initiatives originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 12 Sep 2011 12:50:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
A dozen uncompressed 1080p video feeds, simultaneously running off a single workstation. Yep, you’re looking at it. NVIDIA’s showcase piece here at SIGGRAPH was undoubtedly this wall — a monster that trumps even Intel’s CES wall in terms of underlying horsepower. A relatively stock HP Z800 workstation was loaded with the NVIDIA QuadroPlex 7000 Visual Computing System (that’s four GPUs, for those counting) in order to push four HD panels. A pair of Fusion-io’s ioDrive Duos were pushing a total of three gigabytes per second, enabling all 12 of the feeds to cycle through with nary a hint of lag. We’re still a few years out from this being affordable enough for the common Earthling, but who says you need to wait that long to get a taste? Vid’s after the break, hombre.
Continue reading NVIDIA, Fusion-io and HP drive a dozen 1080p streams on four displays at SIGGRAPH (video)
NVIDIA, Fusion-io and HP drive a dozen 1080p streams on four displays at SIGGRAPH (video) originally appeared on Engadget on Tue, 09 Aug 2011 17:50:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Google TV not worth 300 bones to ya? How’s about a cool Benjamin? As promised, Logitech has slashed the price of its Revue set-top box from $299 to $99 on its own site and at retailers like Best Buy, giving prospective customers something awfully tempting to consider alongside the prospect of running Honeycomb on their TV right away. Oh, and the much-reported nugget from its earnings about “returns exceeding sales”? It should probably be noted that wasn’t about returns from end users, which the company claims “have averaged at levels comparable to other Logitech products”, but from the distributors and retailers it sells most of its hardware to. So, you in, or are you still holding out for the 90 percent off sale that may or may not ever materialize?
Continue reading Logitech officially drops Revue price to $99 today, clarifies ‘more returns than sales’ remark
Logitech officially drops Revue price to $99 today, clarifies ‘more returns than sales’ remark originally appeared on Engadget on Sun, 31 Jul 2011 13:28:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, google tv
Like The Beach Boys’ Smile and Duke Nukem Forever before it, the US version of Spotify has been elevated to a sort of mythological status by collective anticipation. Music nerds and tech geeks all over this fine nation of ours have waited with bated breath for the service to work out all of its licensing kinks and finally make its way to our shores. In an interview earlier this week, a Spotify higher-up promised us that the service will be pretty much the same as the one that Europe has already come to love — the question, then, is whether or not disappointment is inevitable after so much waiting. Spotify gave us the opportunity to take the premium desktop and mobile versions of the service for a spin. Check out the result below.
Continue reading Spotify US premium service hands-on
Spotify US premium service hands-on originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 14 Jul 2011 15:42:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, mobile apps
Aching to ditch your cable box, but can’t bear to let go of that sweet, commercial-skipping DVR? If the folks behind PlayOn get their way, you won’t have to. MediaMall launched the beta for PlayLater this week, a service it’s calling “the world’s first DVR for online video.” The idea of a DVR for the internet sounds a little wonky at first, but it is an accurate description of the program’s facilities — pick a network (Netflix, Hulu, YouTube, etc.), a show, and an episode, and PlayLater downloads your selection to your computer’s hard drive for belated enjoyment. Simple? Sure, but not without a catch — anything PlayLater pulls down it wraps in a neat layer of DRM, locking that content to the PC that downloaded it. Time-shifting Hulu will set you back $5 a month, but beta testers (the first 5,000, at least) can score a free month just for trying it out. Hit the break for a press release and additional details.
Continue reading MediaMall’s PlayLater brings DVR to internet video
MediaMall’s PlayLater brings DVR to internet video originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 30 Jun 2011 15:52:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, internet video
, play later
We know you’ve got questions, and if you’re brave enough to ask the world for answers, here’s the outlet to do so. This week’s Ask Engadget inquiry is coming to us from Allen, who needs to cut the cord in the worst possible way. If you’re looking to send in an inquiry of your own, drop us a line at ask [at] engadget [dawt] com.
“I’m moving to a small studio and for some reason the cable connection is in an awkward place and I need a way to transmit HD quality video and audio no more than 20 feet away. What is the best wireless HDMI transmitter / receiver for this situation? Thanks!”
Without a doubt, wireless HDMI solutions have evolved in a major way over the past few years. What was once a technology reserved for those with bundles of cash is now making its way downstream, but there’s still plenty of lag issues to deal with. So, here’s the question — have you stumbled upon one that’s actually worth its salt? Let us know in comments below!
Ask Engadget: what’s the best wireless HDMI transmitter / receiver? originally appeared on Engadget on Sat, 18 Jun 2011 22:48:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Spotify may still be in tough negotiations with record labels to bring its streaming music service to the US, but the Swedish company has managed to score a powerful stateside ally, reportedly striking a partnership with Facebook. Neither party is dropping any cash on the deal — set to be called either “Facebook Music” or “Spotify on Facebook,” according to Forbes‘s anonymous sources — which will let members of the social network stream songs at the same time as friends and share their listening habits with those in their social circle. The service is reportedly currently in testing and could be launched in a fortnight, but its arrival in the US still hinges on those ever important label deals. In the meantime, we’ll all have to share our listening habits the old fashioned way: by posting on our friends’ walls.
Spotify and Facebook partner up, send Europe a friend request? originally appeared on Engadget on Wed, 25 May 2011 16:04:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
Netflix has just gone and scooped up another big content deal for itself. The movie streaming service has tied the knot with Miramax on a multi-year agreement to allow streaming of films from the latter’s extensive library. Pulp Fiction, Good Will Hunting, Kill Bill, and hundreds of others will be added to the Netflix Watch Instantly catalog on a rotating basis, starting next month. This marks the first time Miramax flicks have been available on a digital subscription service. An agreement between these two companies was last rumored in March, with a five-year term and $100 million price being mooted as the likely parameters for getting it done. Neither outfit would disclose the cost to Netflix, but the benefit to you, dear subscriber, is pretty obvious. Full PR after the break.
Continue reading Netflix seals deal to stream Miramax movies, starting in June
Netflix seals deal to stream Miramax movies, starting in June originally appeared on Engadget on Mon, 16 May 2011 05:33:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.
, breaking news
, movie streaming
We were bowled over from the start by Intel’s Wireless Display technology, which lets you stream HD content from select laptops to an HDTV (with the help of a small adapter, of course). But while WiDi’s been good for watching The Colbert Report on Hulu and streaming flicks stored on your hard drive, it hasn’t played so nice with DVDs and Blu-rays. At last, though, Intel is supporting HDCP-protected discs (along with some online content) through a free driver update. One catch: it only applies to Sandy Bridge laptops, which just started shipping this spring. If your notebook’s a few months too old, well, using an HDMI cable isn’t the worst consolation prize.
Intel refreshes Wireless Display with support for DRM-protected DVDs, Blu-rays originally appeared on Engadget on Thu, 05 May 2011 10:08:00 EDT. Please see our terms for use of feeds.