Posts Tagged ‘streaming’

Bluetooth is a wonderful thing, and since the likes of Apple have created AirPlay, our devices can connect to others to release our playlists from the palm of our hands. 

The problem most of us face, is having to move on with the times….yes we all have the iPod, iPhone or Android handset, but our sound systems do not connect wirelessly, pushing us to connect our lovely portable devices via AUX and leave them by the sound system’s side. 

OK, you could go out and buy a whole new sound system, plenty of Samsung, Onyko and Pioneer Amps now include AirPlay, but you will have to part with around £500 for the pleasure. 

In come the guys at Audioengine who bring us the B1. This little device is an adapter designed solely for Audiophiles (doesn’t mean the rest of us can’t get involved), with high-fidelity output that directly connects into your sound system. It lets you stream audio wirelessly via Bluetooth from your smartphone or Bluetooth enabled computer with superb sound quality. 

The B1 is housed in aluminium which oozes quality and sets to warrant the price tag. It measures 1″H 3.5″W by 4″D and has an adjustable antenna on the front. On the back panel we find the RCA stereo output for your receiver, a 24-bit digital optical output, and a micro USB port for power through the included power adaptor. The RCA cable is included in the box. 

B1 Rear

Under the hood, the B1 includes a 24-bit upsampling DAC (digital-to-analog converter) which provides the high fidelity music. This device will work beautifully with high quality music files and will play them at their best. A lot of the other devices on the market tend to make your music sound worse, this device will never degrade what you have and that is the beauty of it. 

The B1 supports the aptX codec and both the A2DP and AVRCP Bluetooth profiles and is simple to set up, with the iPhone 5S taking just seconds to pair. Inside the box you get a small drawstring carrying pouch in addition to the USB cable and power adaptor if you want to travel with it. 

This device performs well, sounds great and is the epitome of wireless audio for 2014. If you like your music and find that nothing out there does your playlist any justice, then give the B1 a go…..this is a force to be reckoned with!

£140 here in the UK or $189 for the US. 

Audioengine-B1

Just as we thought that the next real estate to be conquered by the big firms was your wrist, the living room war stepped up a gear. All we have heard recently is new watches coming out that will connect to your smart phone, but the real money is to be made in your house with you sitting in front of your TV.

TV habits are changing. Sitting down and watching programmes live is a diminishing hobby where people’s lives have become busier and we just have no time to fit in with a broadcasters time constraints. The generation of streaming is here, where at a touch of a button we can watch most series and episodes of our favourite shows at any time WE want.

As internet speeds get faster, streaming is not such an annoying task. We will see no more “buffering” or “Downloading” messages as the speed of our broadband just excels. We were lucky enough to speak to one of the top people at one of the big Tech firms and the future they see for viewing habits is very different. We will be sitting watching shows and if you want you can hook up to see other people’s comments from services like Twitter directly on-screen. Whether this be for football cup finals or the finale of your favourite series, you will be able to see the opinions of the rest of the viewing community live as if you were sitting with them right in your home (of course you have the choice not too.

Amazon have been looking to get into this action for a while, and why not? They have the e-reader market pretty much cracked, so the TV side would have been obvious. The problem is, the competition for the living room is becoming pretty congested, as the likes of Apple, Samsung, Xtreamer, Xbox, Roku and Chromecast already sit comfortably.

The Amazon Fire TV is aiming to be a little different. It comes with a Bluetooth remote control, loads of apps (which includes Netflix) and also puts gaming front and centre with the option of buying a dedicated games controller for the box.

Amazon Fire TV

Inside a quad-core processor is the brain with a dedicated GPU and 2GB of RAM which Amazon says should make operation smooth and pretty fast. Dual band Wi-Fi, 1080p support and Dolby Digital Surround Sound via the HDMI are also included.

Controlling this power is the Android OS which means that lots of the existing Android marketplace apps will run on this unit along with the competitor Netflix. Amazon’s own streaming system Prime is also supported along with music services like Pandora, iHeartRadio and TuneIn which are coming next month.

The optional controller is an interesting addition, as none of the others (other than Xbox and Playstation) have this and they will be looking to take of advantage of the Android eco-system. Having this library to call upon makes it a better buy than an Apple TV as the latter will only allow you to AirPlay devices from your other OS device and not run games of its own.

Controller

Having a wider apps library to call on makes the Fire TV instantly a much better gaming companion than an Apple TV. With an Apple TV you can AirPlay a game from your iPhone to your TV, but it doesn’t have a games library of its own.
Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/amazon-fire-tv-vs-apple-tv#CJDDYbKQltwEEQOy.99
Having a wider apps library to call on makes the Fire TV instantly a much better gaming companion than an Apple TV. With an Apple TV you can AirPlay a game from your iPhone to your TV, but it doesn’t have a games library of its own.
Read more at http://www.trustedreviews.com/opinions/amazon-fire-tv-vs-apple-tv#CJDDYbKQltwEEQOy.99

Other than the controller, this is just another TV streaming device on the market, not offering an awful lot more than the competition. If you are trying to compare this with the Apple TV, then it is just another Android vs OS argument, so we would suggest sticking with what ever eco-system you are already in.

When launched, it will probably be around the £99 for us UK people, but at present it can be bought for $99 in the US.