When Negroponte first showed off the OLPC netbook circa 2006, it was far more advanced than the laptops we had on the market at the time. It had hand-cranked power, a screen that worked in full sunlight, and it was smaller and cheaper than anything we had on the market. It was partially responsible for the explosion … Read more
Recently, Roku released a preview video of an upgrade to its Netflix channel that added a more robust interface, more instant queue options, and--in a first for embedded Netflix players--the capability to search the library directly from your TV screen. According to the company, it will begin releasing the upgrade to Roku Player boxes over the course of the seven days, starting Friday, May 27.
I received the upgrade early, and was able to give it a quick hands-on test.
InterfaceRoku's current Netflix interface is something of a yawner. It is serviceable, but it does little more than provide … Read more
Add iPhone control, Last.fm, and an expanded Internet radio roster to Sonos' bag of tricks.
Starting Tuesday, a free application available at the iTunes App Store will allow iPhone and iPod Touch owners to control their Sonos digital audio system via their home's Wi-Fi network. The Sonos Controller for iPhone provides the Apple handheld with most of the same functions as the Sonos CR100 Controller, but provides direct touch-screen access not available on the latter device.
The Sonos system can already be controlled via its companion Windows and Mac software, but the iPhone Controller provides a much more convenient and accessible interface to the multiroom music system.
In addition to providing a secondary control option for existing Sonos owners, the Controller App also lowers the effective entry-level price for the Sonos. The company's two-room bundle, the $1,000 BU150, includes a ZP120 base station (with built-in amplifier), ZP90 base station (no amp), and CR100 remote. Previously, those looking for a single-room option were left with purchasing a separate ZP90 ($350) and CR100 ($400), netting out to a very pricey $750.
But the availability of the iPhone application means consumers can grab a ZP90 and an iPod Touch for $580. Still a lot of money, to be sure, but now you're getting top-notch home and portable digital music players. And existing iPhone or iPod Touch owners, of course, need only get the ZP90 or ZP120.
Sonos is also updating the product's firmware to version 2.7. The free upgrade (it's a one-touch automatic free download for all Sonos systems, available now) adds the following: … Read more