Tags Posts tagged with "Audio"

Audio

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Google Talk with Voice and VideoGoogle is always working to release new and effective Internet solutions.  Continuing in this tradition, Google’s Talk messenger application has recently been updated with video and voice capabilities.  The new release is not meant to be a contender to Skype, as it does not possess the ability to connect to the standard phone network or voice mail support.

The audio and video is high quality, though.  Since Google Talk’s video traffic goes through Google servers, it’s expected to be more consistent as far as the connection then Skype since Google has endless bandwidth and server space. If you’re using an older computer, the PC may suffer poor performance during usage since the application utilizes a lot of resources.  There are no such issues with any recent system, however.

Straying from the path of other video chat products, Google Voice and Video uses a proprietary plug-in instead of Flash. A miniscule download of 2MB supports Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Google’s own Chrome on a PC as well as Firefox on a Mac.  Details have not yet been released on support for other platforms, such as Linux, but ports for them may come later. Google Video and Voice made its official public debut at midday on Tuesday, November 18th. Now that Google provides Voice and Video, users have access to a vast array of tools with one login, including email, voice, chat, and soon even SMS. If Google ties in Youtube and Google Docs better in the future, the Google account will be nearly unstoppable.

Google’s Voice and Video is quite simple to use.  When the option is available, a "Video & More" button is shown in the chat messaging window.  Once selected, the plug-in will be installed and immediately accessible for video calls with friends.

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Western Digital has released the new WD TV external HD media player that works in conjunction with one or two external hard drives to playback video, audio, and view photos at up to full high definition quality (1080p).  The device automatically sorts video, audio, and image files into corresponding categories for convenient navigation.  The player’s interface presents the option of thumbnail or filename browsing.  Thumbnails are extracted from movie cover art, album covers, and photos.  The media library functionality can also view all media files by type in a single menu, no matter the physical location of the files.  Multimedia content can be arranged into categories such as album, artist, genre, and date.  Similarly, search is provided by title, artist, genre, filename, and partial filename.  For photo viewing, the WD TV supports custom slideshows with transition effects and background music, as well as zooming and panning.  Video and music playback supports all the common commands you would expect, such as fast forward, rewind, pause, etc.

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The WD TV offers HDMI and composite video connections. ArcSoft MediaConverter 2.5 is included with the packaging for photo, video, and audio file conversion in case file compatibility is an issue at any point.  However, the WD TV player provides comprehensive format support. 

Video formats supported include AVI (MPEG-4, XviD, AVC), MPEG-1/2, WMV9, MOV (MPEG-4 and H.264), MKV, and H.264.  MP3, WMA, OGG, PCM WAV, AAC, FLAC, AIF/AIFF, and MKA are supported for audio.  JPG, GIF, PNG, TIF/TIFF, and BMP image formats can be viewed.  PLS, M3U, and WPL playlist formats are also recognized.

Aside for the player itself and the conversion software already mentioned, the packaging also includes a stand for WD My Passport hard drives (although any type of USB drive can be used), a remote control, composite AV cables, AC power adapter, and installation guide. The WD TV provides a simple, affordable solution for playback of PC video formats.  Note that the WD TV does not currently offer network support/streaming functionality.

Pricing for the WD TV is expected to be around USD $125.00, and will be available through all major retailers.

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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.

DViCo M-6500A Network Media PlayerAnother 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.

Blaze Media Pro is a powerful all-in-one audio and video converter for CD, MP3, WAV, WMA, OGG, MPEG-1, MPEG-2, AVI, WMV, MOV, Flash (SWF and FLV), iPod, PSP, 3GP, etc.; editor; recorder; CD/DVD ripper; audio, video, data CD/DVD burner for DVD, VCD, and SVCD; and much more.  Joe Tex from Shareware Junkies has written a review for the all-in-one multimedia software that gives newcomers an idea of what to expect.

"The installation of Blaze Media Pro is easy and intuitive, you can place the program files where you want them.

It has been awhile since we have done a review of Blaze Media Pro and WOW what a change! Now Blaze Media Pro does everything but wash the dishes.

Can you believe it? Simply amazing is what I have to say. With Blaze Media Pro I’ve been able to save lots of money because it does so many things. For instance I was just going to go out and look for a good program for burning CD/DVDs and as I’m sure you are aware most of the top names in that business are bloatware and cost lots more than Blaze Media Pro.

Don’t get the idea though that Blaze Media Pro because it does all of these things isn’t sophisticated, for instance I have on my computer some high end studio recording hardware. Windows recording software won’t find it, and it took me half an hour to get Adobe Audition to find it and it then took a reboot to use it. Blaze Media Pro found it right away and it was ready to go. It even has a built in Audio Tag editor!

If there something in the Audio/Video field that Blaze Media Pro doesn’t do and do well I sure don’t know what it is.

In conclusion run don’t walk to the Blaze Media Pro website and download it.  I guarantee you will like it."

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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.

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