The H2O iDive 300 is a speaker that works underwater and also features built-in housing specially designed to fit an iPod. Connection is done inside the speaker housing so that your iPod remains safe from the water. The unit works with several current and previous model iPods. The iDive is waterproof up to 300ft, making it a perfect solution for those who’d like to listen to music or watch video while scuba diving, free diving, or snorkeling. The H2O iDive is designed to allow video playback to be conveniently seen underwater directly through the speaker. The iDive 300 is being sold for $349.99, and is immediately available for purchase.
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Garmin is a pioneer in the GPS navigation system market. Their latest entry is called the GPSMAP 640. The GPSMAP 640 is ultra-portable, powerful, rugged (even water-proof), and touch-screen navigator equipped (super-bright 5.2” WVGA). The navigator offers an extensive collection of street maps and charts to help with navigation, and the unit features a high-sensitivity GPS receiver that will work in many locations other similar solutions will not. Browsing through the unit’s menus is intuitive, and the GPSMAP 640 responds via tap or drag operations. An optional GXM 40 antenna is also available (sold separately) that provides a graphical display of XM WX Satellite Weather data, including NEXRAD, wind speeds, visibility, severe weather storm tracks, etc. The system is targeted for both United States and worldwide markets. The Garmin GPSMAP 640 will soon be available for $1,199.99.
We have reviewed numerous options in network media players, ranging back to the now defunct GoVideo D2730 Network DVD Player. While every option has a shortcoming here and there, the DViCo TViX M-6500A Network Media Player is overall the best option we have thus far reviewed. In addition to the network playback support from a PC or NAS, it also offers internal hard drive support for playback without any external source being powered on. The new M-6500A features a black aluminum enclosure, Sigma’s latest SMP8635 processor, HDMI output, increased main memory, and more.
Formats supported for playback include WMV9, WMV-HD, DIVX, XVid, HDV, MKV, H.264, VOB (DVD layouts), ISO, MP3, WMA, FLAC, WavPack, PCM, DTS, and more. Unfortunately, the player does not support WMV8.
Another beneficial feature of the TViX player is the bi-directional USB support. That is, the unit can be connected to the PC to transfer files to and from the internal drive and external drives (USB slave) and USB flash drives can be connected as an additional source for video playback. The latter is particularly useful for single-use content since users can simply copy a desired file onto a USB flash drive, connect it, and immediately play the video. Both NTFS and FAT32 are supported for media file systems.
In addition to video, the player also offers music playback and image display. All multimedia formats can be streamed via a LAN connection, played from the internal HDD, or accessed from an external USB device.
As for shortcomings, while the DViCo TViX M-6500A Network Media Player provides excellent overall format support, we have experienced playback trouble with some AVI videos. The fact that high-definition formats and video content as fully supported (HD 1080i/720p/1080p Video output) is indeed a plus. However, due to the player’s UI being specifically designed for hi-def display, if you have an older TV that does not support HD or does not support it well, the UI will be difficult to read. Remember that having a LCD TV does not automatically mean that it is HD-ready. In fact, we had to replace one of the test LCD TVs for this very reason.
The TViX M-6500A sells for about $399. Note: The TViX M-7000A model also exists. However, it is not readily available in the US. Also, feature-wise, it is almost idential to the M-6500A, while costing more and possessing a shape that does not fit well with most home theater systems.
Nintendo has officially announced an upgrade to the DS portable gaming console. It is called the DSi, maintaining the trademark double-screen (DS). The new unit features a larger 3.5" display, while becoming 12% thinner than the previous DS model. The DSi does not include a GBA cartridge port, which means the console can no longer play GameBoy and GameBoy Advance games. Otherwise, the DSi is extremely feature-packed, including cameras, paint software, advanced web browser, music playback, SD slot, internal storage, and more.
The DSi will launch on November 1st (Japan) with a cost of ¥189,000 (about $178 USD), which is in-line with the current DS model. Dates for International releases have not yet been announced.
As we utilize more and more electronic devices in the digital home, controlling them becomes an important issue. No one wants to keep up with or sort through a dozen different remotes for various devices in a home entertainment system and surrounding electronic equipment. The Logitech Harmony Universal Remote Control is the perfect solution. After reviewing numerous different remote control options and actually using Logitech Harmony remote controls for years, I can whole-heartedly recommend the Logitech Harmony remote control to anyone seeking a solution. I prefer the 880 model’s buttons and additional display items, while others prefer the touch-screen and interface upgrades of the Harmony One. However, both remotes use the same intelligent system, making either an excellent choice.
Both models support 15 or more devices. The device database is extensive, and is perfect if you have lost a remote control or have a damaged remote. Otherwise, you can also program a device from an existing remote control. The setup wizards are intuitive and enable easy setup of devices.
One-touch operation is provided for operation, including turning on a device and any other component(s) that may be required to use it (such as turning on a TV also when playing a DVD). Buttons can be customized for specific tasks. Backlighting is provided for the buttons as well as the LCD display. The remotes are also rechargeable via the charging station, with low battery notification available when in use.
The device compatibility for the Harmony remotes is incredible. You can control a televisions, satellite or cable box, DVD player, video recorder, digital media player, TiVo or other PVR, game console, amplifier, stereo, or even a PC or home automation setup. More than 5,000 brands and 225,000 devices are supported.
Sony has released three new Walkman players from the S, E, and B series that suit the needs of different tastes and budgets. The S and E series products also offer full video playback support, including DRM-protected WMV files. The Walkman players allow users to enjoy music from various download stores in addition to stored audio files. The simple drag and drop file transfer makes copying music, videos, and podcasts onto the players quick and easy. The players support most popular audio and video formats, and offer high quality audio and video performance.
Prices range from $45 to $180, depending on the model and storage capacity.
The LG DP889 combines a portable DVD player and digital photo frame into a single 8" display. It features internal memory for up to 250 photos, a 3-in-1 memory card slot, USB port for direct connection to a digital camera, A/V input and output, and full DVD / DVD±R / DVD±RW / Audio CD / CD-R / CD-RW support. The LG DP889 is available online from Circuit City for $200.