16
Sep/10
0

Wireless 7.1 HDMI audio – Summit Semiconductor

Summit Semiconductor and Hansong Technologies have teamed up to offer the first full 7.1 complaint HDMI wireless audio hub to home theater fans. The device is a small HDMI audio hub that has AV receiver connectivity and high definition audio decode capability. The device is aimed at use with digital TVs, Blu-ray players, game consoles, and more.

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The device has optical and coax digital audio inputs and supports DTS-HD Master Audio and Dolby TrueHD audio format. It also has stereo analog inputs for devices like the Wii, iPhone, and MP3 players. The hub also has calibration features built in to optimize the sound for the room.

The hub is compatible with all Summit Wireless enabled speakers. Once set up and paired with the appropriate speakers the system can send audio wirelessly to speaker systems ranging from 2.0 to 7.1 so you don’t need to run wires all around your home.

14
Sep/10
0

HDCP ‘master key’ unlocks HDTV copy protection permanently

Just as the MPAA is preparing to offer movies to customers at home while they’re still in theaters by limiting playback to DRM-protected digital outputs only, the HDCP protocol they rely on may have been cracked wide open. All devices that support HDCP, like Blu-ray players, set-top boxes and displays with HDMI inputs, have their own set of keys to encrypt and decrypt protected data and if keys for a particular device are compromised, they can be revoked by content released in the future which will then refuse to play. Now, posts have been floating around on Twitter about a supposed “master key” which renders that protection unusable since it allows anyone to create their own source and sink keys.

Who discovered this and by what technique isn’t immediately clear, but as early as 2001 security researcher Niels Ferguson proposed that it could be easily revealed by knowing the keys of less than 50 different devices. Hardware HDCP rippers like the HDfury2 and DVIMAGIC have been around for a while and various AACS cracks easily allow rips of Blu-ray discs but if this information is what it claims to be, then the DRM genie could be permanently out of the bag allowing perfect high definition copies of anything as long as the current connector standards are around. While it’s unlikely your average user would flash their capture device with a brand new key and get to copying uncompressed HD audio and video, keeping those early releases off of the torrents in bit perfect quality could go from difficult to impossible

25
Jun/10
0

Blu-ray BDXL finally out

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The Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) today announced the finalization and release of the specifications for BDXL™, the new multi-layer recordable Blu-ray Disc™ format with up to 128GB of capacity. With the completion and approval of the specification, manufacturers can now obtain licensing information and license applications needed to begin production of the high capacity write-once and rewritable discs and hardware.

Targeted primarily at commercial segments such as broadcasting, medical and document imaging enterprises with significant archiving needs, BDXL™ provides customers with triple layer 100GB RE (rewritable) and R (write-once) discs and quadruple layer 128GB R discs. Possible consumer applications include capture and playback of HD broadcast and satellite programming in markets where set-top recorders are prevalent.

“The BDA worked diligently to create an extension of the Blu-ray Disc™ format that leverages the physical structure of the design of the disc to create even more storage capacity,” said Victor Matsuda, Blu-ray Disc Association Global Promotions Committee chair. “By using the existing Blu-ray™ technologies, we have created a long-term and stable solution for archiving large amounts of sensitive data, video and graphic images. We expect further growth of the Blu-ray Disc™ market as the introduction of 100GB/128GB discs will expand the application of Blu-ray Disc™ technologies.”

The BDXL™ specification was developed with specific market segments in mind, and newly-designed hardware addressing such markets will play back or record BDXL™ media. However, because the new media specifications are extensions of current Blu-ray Disc technologies, future BDXL™ capable recorders can easily be designed to play back existing 25GB and 50GB Blu-ray Disc™ formats.

31
Mar/10
0

Cisco’s E-Series wireless home routers

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Cisco today unveiled a new line of Linksys® wireless routers, designed to let its core audience of tech experts and enthusiasts take their home networking experience to the next level. The new, streamlined product lineup sets a new precedent for simplicity, power, and performance and makes it easy for consumers to find the right technology to fit their needs. The line also includes new Cisco Connect software, which gives users tools for easier customization and control of their home wireless experience.

“Linksys pioneered the first home router 10 years ago, and 50 million units later is the world’s leading provider of home wireless routers,” said Jonathan Kaplan, senior vice president and general manager of Cisco Consumer Products. “The new E-Series caters to Linksys’ core technology-minded consumer base, with a simplified product line-up that is ideal for today’s sophisticated home network user.”

Cisco Connect Software: Simple Setup with Advanced Capabilities

With the addition of the new Cisco Connect software, the new Linksys E-Series is designed to make it easier for users to customize and control their wireless network settings to match their preferences. With a quick and easy setup, the software auto-assigns the WPA security passkey and SSID. Once configured, users can use Cisco Connect to easily manage their wireless home network by:

* Adding multiple Internet-capable devices to the network
* Setting parental controls for each computer or device
* Giving visitors password-protected Internet access on a separate guest network
* Customizing advanced settings and changing the network SSID and password

For the advanced user, Linksys’ advanced features are still available through the default IP address (192.168.1.1).

Product Descriptions and Pricing

The new Linksys E-Series line offers a full range of technology options to help users find what works best for them. The new line, including a USB Wireless-N Adapter, is available immediately at Amazon, Staples, Linksys.com, and soon at Best Buy, Target, Wal-Mart and other leading retailers.

Linksys E1000 Wireless-N Router (MSRP: $79.99)

* Wirelessly connects computers and other devices at transfer speeds up to 300 Mbps
* Uses four Fast Ethernet (10/100 Mbps) ports to directly connect wired devices
* Ideal for general wireless Internet usage and home office productivity

Linksys E2000 Advanced Wireless-N Router (MSRP: $119.99)

* Includes four Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 Mbps) ports for faster file sharing with other Gigabit-enabled devices, including computers, hard drives, and servers
* Features selectable dual-band (2.4 GHz or 5 GHz) technology to help avoid interference, allowing for smoother file transfers and media streaming
* Ideal for connecting computers, gaming consoles, Internet-enabled HDTVs and Blu-Ray players, and other wireless devices at transfer speeds up to 300 Mbps

Linksys E2100L Advanced Wireless-N Router with Linux OS: (MSRP: $119.99)

* Utilizes the Linux operating system for flexibility to customize the network
* Uses four Fast Ethernet (10/100 Mbps) ports to directly connect wired devices
* Built-in UPnP AV Media Server streams entertainment content to an Xbox 360, PS3 or other compatible device
* USB port provides connectivity to storage devices for file sharing at home or over the Internet

Linksys E3000 High-Performance Wireless-N Router (Dual-Band): (MSRP: $179.99)

* Features simultaneous dual-band (2.4 GHz and 5 GHz), high-performance Wireless-N technology for smoother HD video streaming, wireless gaming and file transfers
* Includes four Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000 Mbps) ports for faster file sharing with other USB port and provides connectivity to storage devices for file sharing at home or over the Internet
* Built-in UPnP AV media server enables streaming of entertainment content to an Xbox 360, PS3 or other compatible device
* Optimized for entertainment, ideal for connecting computers, gaming consoles, Internet-enabled HDTVs and Blu-Ray players, and other wireless devices at transfer speeds up to 300 Mbps

Linksys AE1000 High-Performance Wireless-N USB Adapter: (MSRP: $69.99)

* Provides Wireless-N capability to Windows desktop computers and laptops
* Selectable dual-band wireless-N – connects to either a 2.4 GHz or 5 GHz wireless network
* Includes USB extension cable and adapter base for improved wireless connectivity – ideal for hard-to-reach USB ports

24
Dec/09
0

HDMI 1.4 spec gets revision for 3D Broadcasting

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The drumbeat for HD 3D continues to pick up the pace, and with broadcasters around the globe pushing forward 2010 plans to bring 3D home HDMI has updated the course of its latest HDMI 1.4 spec to ensure compatibility between displays and boxes. Quite simply, existing cable and satellite hardware isn’t going to be held to the same requirements as Blu-ray and videogame equipment rocking the 3D sticker and expecting compatibility with displays on the way, since they won’t be passing the same high quality, high bandwidth dual-stream 1080p images anyway. Additionally, some broadcasters are pushing for HDMI to officially support “Top/Bottom” 3D transmissions they plan to use, which sacrifice resolution while saving bandwidth by shoving left/right images into a single frame. While that should add an entirely new angle to the line counting and claims of “HDLite” (get ready for 3DLite) all viewers can do is wait to hear when or if their hardware will get a software upgrade to 3D (like the one we expect will allow the PS3 to play 3D Blu-ray discs) in the months and years to come, once there’s a standard everyone can adhere to of course.

23
Dec/09
0

Yamaha sound system soundbar, sub-infused receiver

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We’re always leery of “world’s first” claims, but we’ve definitely never seen an AV receiver with a ginormous port on the front. The unorthodox device you’re inevitably peering at above is one part of the two-piece YHT-S400, which looks to provide cinema-like sound in areas where space is hard to come by. The 31.5-inch long soundbar measures just 2-inches high and is designed to fit in front of most 32- to 50-inch HDTVs without blocking the screen, while the accompanying “first-of-its-kind subwoofer-integrated receiver” provides the power, the bass and the connectivity. A trio of HDMI inputs are included, and HD audio signals from Blu-ray Discs are accepted via linear PCM transmission. It’s up for grabs now at $599.95, and if you’re hoping to add iPod or Bluetooth support, Yamaha’s YDS-11 and YBA-10 adapters are fully compatible.

22
Dec/09
0

Low cost Oppo on the way

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One of the most well respected Blu-ray player manufacturers out there mentioned on its Twitter feed that it plans to announce a lower cost option in early January 2010. We interpret this to mean that during CES, in a few weeks, that all the details will be revealed. This is certainly good news for Oppo fans, although we really wonder what sacrifices we’ll have to make to take advantage of the lower price. After all, it isn’t like it’s as simple as dropping a few streaming features.

The new oppo will come with 1.4 hdmi cable chipset.

18
Dec/09
0

HDBaseT tech carries HD video, audio and internet over Ethernet

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Valens’ HDBaseTTM extends current digital connectivity technologies with first ever full HD multimedia content and Ethernet via a single 100m/328ft LAN cable

Valens Semiconductor, a fabless semiconductor company, announced today that it will demonstrate the first ever convergence and high quality transmission of uncompressed high-definition (HD) video, audio and Internet via a single LAN cable, creating a seamless end-to-end entertainment and networking experience in the home environment.

At the 2009 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES), taking place January 8 – 11 in Las Vegas, Valens will introduce its HDBaseT™ technology in South Hall 2, Booth 27006. Valens is working towards creating HDBaseT as the new digital connectivity standard for HD multimedia distribution by overcoming the limitations of current wired and wireless technologies, while ensuring content rights for Hollywood studios and other content providers.

Valens’ VS100SK (receiver) and VS100SR (transmitter) ICs, the first to implement HDBaseT, will be commercially available during the second half of 2009. A source side implementation, VS100SR is designed for use inside Blu-ray DVD players, set-top boxes (STBs) and other HD source equipment. A sink side implementation, VS100SK is designed for use inside HDTVs, projectors and other display equipment.

With the growth of the HD market, consumers are looking for a way to connect TVs and other display equipment with entertainment devices, such as a Blu-ray DVD player, for in-home converged distribution of HD multimedia content. This demand to access and easily distribute HD content to any device at any time has caused consumer electronics manufacturers and content providers to push the limits of existing wired connectivity technologies, such as HDMI, MOCA and HomePlug, and emerging wireless technologies, including 802.11n, WHDI and WirelessHD.

While some existing technologies are limited in terms of bandwidth and cannot support uncompressed video, others are limited in terms of distance, reliability, flexibility, overall system cost and cost of installation – all pressure points for the end user. The demand for in-home converged distribution of HD multimedia content and the lack of adequate existing technologies are driving the industry towards a HD digital connectivity standard that increases distance of data transfer, expands distribution, extends the range, simplifies installations and lowers overall system cost.

Valens’ HDBaseT technology is optimized for video application and can connect all the entertainment devices at home by providing the 5PlayTM convergence of 8Gbps of uncompressed full HD digital video, audio, 100BaseT Ethernet, power over cable and various control signals. HDBaseT overcomes the limitations of HDMI and other current technologies as the first technology to enable long-reach wired connectivity of uncompressed HD multimedia content via up to 100m/328ft low-cost single standard Cat-5e/6 cable. This enables both point-to-point connectivity and full multimedia distribution with higher reliability, longer distance and lower cost cable, while supporting all existing and future content protection schemes.

“The market for HD content continues to grow and evolve as the end user increases content consumption. But today, connectivity and distribution of video, audio and Internet in the home entertainment environment are inconsistent,” said Dror Jerushalmi, CEO, Valens Semiconductor. “HDBaseT is revolutionizing the multimedia distribution of uncompressed HD multimedia content via a single LAN cable. There is no technology on the market today that is better positioned to be the future HD digital connectivity standard than HDBaseT.”

In addition, Valens’ HDBaseT technology offers a combination of media distribution and content protection that provides studios and CE manufacturers with a high level of content security and high quality transmission of uncompressed HD video, audio and data in a home environment.

12
Nov/09
0

Getting the best audio from PS3, without HDMI

Once you’ve actually decided what hardware to purchase, avoided the perilous purchasing decisions involved in finding cables, but actually setting it up can trip up the newbies among us. Suck is our friend David’s problem, trying to figure out if lossless audio is a possibility for his HDMI-less receiver:

“I read your article and I would like further advice. I have the brand new PS3, which I’m going to use with a 1080p Sony Bravia – the video is fine..HDMI to the tv. The problem is that I have an ONKYO THX 7.1 system (really 5.1), and there is no HDMI, so I plan on using an optical audio cable from the PS3 into the receiver. How do i get the best sound? Will the PS3 decode the trueHD (or whatever it is) and send the full spectrum of sound across the optical to the receiver? Will NOT having the HDMI to the receiver affect my sound, or will the PS3 internal decoding send a perfect lossless sound to my non-HDMI receiver?”

Just in case our HD 101 explanation wasn’t enough (First off, S/PDIF transmission — over either optical TOSLINK or coax — does not have the bandwidth to carry Dolby TrueHD or DTS-HD MA signals. If you connect your Blu-ray player to your receiver with optical or coax, the audio will “fall back” to Dolby Digital, DTS or two-channel PCM — lossless, but only two channels,) any tips on how David can get the highest audio quality possible out of the equipment he has? Of course, if you think replacing one of the components is a better choice, that’s always an option as well.

28
Oct/09
0

JVC joins the Blu-ray player game

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Sub-$200 Blu-ray players certainly aren’t new — heck, some guys have been doing it since the year 2008 — but you’ll never catch us kvetching about a little more competition. JVC has today introduced (in the briefest way possible, might we add) its newest Blu-ray player just ten months after deciding to play the BD game here in the States. The ultrathin (and “now available”) XV-BP11 should slide into just about any AV rack, bringing Blu-ray / DVD playback, AVCHD support, HDMI 1.3, a USB socket and compatibility with a slew of audio formats. Curiously enough, the outfit doesn’t bother to mention if this thing is Profile 2.0, but we’re guessing (read: hoping) that it wouldn’t do something as ludicrous as charge two bills for a Profile 1.1 deck in late 2009.

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