Roku XD Launches at Best Buy – Though it has been available online and at a few retailers since last year, the streaming video set-top box from Roku is now at Best Buy stores for about $80. It can stream up to 1080p resolution video via HDMI and allows users access to over 100,000 movies and TV shows thru the likes of Netflix, Crackle, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu Plus – though of course separate subscriptions are required for each of those. It also streams free music from Pandora, MP3Tunes, MOG, and Rdio and can tap into Flickr and Facebook. The Roku XD connects to home Wi-Fi networks via 802.11/b/g/n as well as wired connections.
Rare Instrument Dealer in Jail – Dietmar Machold, a European rare-stringed-instrument dealer involved in the shady sale of “Golden Age” instruments to the New Jersey Symphony Orchestra eight years ago, is now in jail in Switzerland. At one time one of the top three such dealers in the world, he is now accused of faud, theft and other criminal acts, and is awaiting extradition to Austria. He cheated clients by inflating the appraised value of instruments he sold or used as collateral for huge bank loans. He also refused to return instruments or to pay for those sold on consignment. The amount owed to individuals and banks is thought to be at least $35 million.
Broadband a Selling Point in New Homes – The Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has released the 9th Annual State of the Builder Technology Market Study, which finds 77% of builders installing broadband connections – making Internet access a prerequisite for any new home. The technology has become not only a selling point but also a source of profit. One in four builders said that home technology greatly or somewhat increased their revenue – a significant increase from 2008. The multi-room audio category saw the biggest percentage increase with 43% of builders proactively marketing it – up from 34% in 2009. As the housing market recovers, a greater number of builders are embracing technology as a means to differentiate their offerings and grow margins.
Polk Offers Wireless Digital Home Theater Audio System – Their four models offer wireless surround sound from a single multi-speaker unit. There are two passive SoundBars – 42-inches and 50-inches long – to go under wall flat screens, plus the SDA Instant Home Theater, which requires only an RCA stereo output from any source. The SurroundBar 360° DVD Theater is an all-inclusive HT system with a DVD player, FM/AM tuner with integrated amp, and a universal remote control. The single speaker bar delivers full-range sound with no separate subwoofer required.
Airfoil 4.0.2 for Mac App – This $25 utility from Rogue Amoeba allows any audio on Macs to be streamed thruout the home and to all mobile iOS devices – not just audio stored in iTunes. It comes with Airfoil Video Player, which lets you stream video, with the audio kept in perfect sync. A pop-up lets you choose streaming from different sources – whether ITunes, Safari, QuickTime Player or other applications. You can stream video from sites such as YouTube, Hulu and Netflix, but you can’t stream non-iTunes video. The faster the processor in your Mac, the better the Airfoil Video Player performs.