Cool Tech Reviews

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June 27, 2008

Google releases Media Server

Google Media ServerYesterday, Google released the Google Media Server:

In the old days, we used to watch a simple device called a television. Nowadays, all the stuff worth watching and listening to tends to be stored on or accessed through a computer. To help remedy this, we are pleased to release the Google Media Server.

Google Media Server is a Windows application that aims to bridge the gap between Google and your TV. It uses Google Desktop technology such as Desktop gadgets for the administration tool and Google Desktop Search to locate media files. All you need is a PC running Google Desktop and a UPnP-enabled device (e.g. a PlayStation 3).

And then you can play all your PC media files (videos, music, and photos) on your TV as well as the unique features of displaying Picasa Web Albums and playing YouTube videos through your TV.

If you are having a hard time breaking the code, UPnP is the acronym for Universal Plug and Play and Google Media Server running on your PC is technically a UPnP AV MediaServer which can send audio-visual data to "UPnP media render hardware" (the UPnP-enabled device above) which also includes the Xbox 360, HP MediaSmart LCD televisions and various networked media players.

If you have one of the right gadgets you probably already know it, but this all seems rather needlessly complex:

Imagine a world where your computer, cellphone, games console, storage devices, media streamers and other hardware all play nicely together, so that, for example, music, photos and video can reach the television or Hi-Fi no matter where in the home it originates.

That world is one which the Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA), an industry consortium backed by big name consumer electronics, computer and mobile device manufacturers such as HP, Microsoft, Nokia and Samsung, is aiming to create through support for the UPnP (Universal Plug ‘n’ Play) AV standard. For end consumers this means that any ‘DLNA certified’ device should, in theory, be able to share or access media on the same home network — a message that DLNA members have largely failed to communicate, which is especially sad considering that many people already own a number of compliant devices …

Someday, I suppose it will all work, but unless you have a Xbox 360 or a PS3 you’ll have to do your homework to get it all working.

Posted at 6:00 pm. Filed under Companies, Google, Internet, LCD TV, Music downloads, PS3, Television, UPnP, Video Downloads, Video Games, Xbox 360

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August 9, 2006

Game console interfaces reviewed – Xbox 360 versus PlayStation 3

Here’s a kind of review you don’t see everyday. Aeropause compares the user interface on Sony’s upcoming PlayStation 3 to that on Microsoft’s shipping Xbox 360:

Don’t even get me started on how horrible the 360 interface has been. It sure looks bright, but it was a crap shoot on whether the option you were looking for was in the Settings blade, or buried somewhere in the “Xbox Guide”. The latest dashboard has improved the organization of the 360 interface greatly, but has done little to make it simpler and more streamlined. Microsoft has a lot of work to do, there.

It looks like someone over at Sony has a clue about how interfaces should work.

I’m certain that not all console users would agree and in the comments on the article some don’t with emphasis on the observation that the PS3 interface being just a warmed over version of the PS2 interface.

Posted at 9:55 am. Filed under Companies, Microsoft, PS2, PS3, Sony, Video Games, Xbox 360

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February 12, 2006

Hands-on review of Sony PlayStation 3

The folks at Kikizo Games were able to kick the tires on the just released “final development PS3 hardware” courtesy of some anonymous game developers and have a lengthy review. Some excerpts:

“I think to fit everything that Sony wants in there AND leave space for a 2.5 inch hard drive,” explains one senior developer working on a final kit, who will be our guide for much of this report, “the machine would have to grow. The models they’re showing off are way too small for what they want.”

So we have a USB controller plugged into a machine and we’re playing a game off a hard disc with not a trace of BluRay technology evident in the building. “PS3 isn’t going to have writing capabilities and for us that’s of no concern right now…”

Perhaps the biggest bombshell we’ve learned in the world of PS3 development right now is that many (if not most) games are simply running in 720p – not the ambitious, bleeding edge 1080p “Full HD” standard that Sony had us so excited about.

The hands-on evidence is beginning to mount up. We’re talking about a machine barely superior to Xbox 360 – not by any significant margin. It’s certainly obvious this machine is not “twice” as powerful as 360, let alone a generational leap ahead. But the gap could become bigger: “Realistically, as libraries and experience with both machines grow, I think the PS3 will start showing things the 360 will choke at,” offers the source. “But Sony will have to make available to us libraries and new routines for that to happen – something they’ve been severely lacking at so far.”

Much more by following the link.

Posted at 10:42 am. Filed under Companies, PS3, Sony, Video Games

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