Friday, June 30, 2006

home stereo: TuneStage turns your iPod into a wireless remote

The problem with most iPod docks that hook up to your home stereo is that it's a huge pain to control it from afar. Even when it comes with a remote, the remote is generally clunky and it's tough to go through menus on a tiny screen from 20 feet away. Didn't these companies realize that the iPod is already the perfect controller for itself and is remote control sized? Belkin finally did, releasing the TuneStage nano. A Bluetooth system that turns your nano into a remote control, it allows you to listen to all the music on your iPod on your home stereo without having to tether it to a receiver. Simply hook up the Bluetooth receiver, plug the small transmitter into the bottom of your nano, and you're all set to wander up to 30 feet away while streaming music to your stereo. The Bluetooth signal is more than strong enough to send your music without any loss in quality, but make sure to charge up your iPod every once in a while. There are drawbacks to becoming unchained from the stereo, after all. The TuneStage nano is available now for around $180, a version for the bigger 5G iPod should be out later this year for the same price. — Adam Frucci

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

home stereo: Home Entertainment - music to your ears?

Not so long ago, watching films at home was a hopeless experience. You could only buy or rent poor-quality videos with a grainy picture and bad sound. The experience was terrible when you compared to the big-screen, surround-sound cinema.

Now, though, the advent of DVD and home stereo surround sound means that watching movies at home doesn't have to be inferior to watching them in the cinema. In fact, many people now think it's better - after all, it's cheaper, and you don't have to put up with other people making noises while you're trying to watch the film. Home entertainment systems (also known as home cinemas) are getting cheaper, better and easier to construct all the time.

So what are the ingredients of a home entertainment system? Basically, there are three things: a source of high quality video and audio, a display for the video, and speakers for the audio. To begin with, you should look for a DVD player. Although you can get DVD players for nothing now, you should get a good one if you're going to use it as part of a home entertainment system. Cheap players may output inferior quality picture and sound, and might even have trouble playing some DVDs at all.

The next step is a big television, either flat with an LCD or plasma screen, or perhaps even a projection TV - be careful with projection though, as it can break if you plan to use your TV for video games. You should consider getting an HDTV version of whatever you choose if you want to future-proof your system and make your films look just that little bit better.

Finally, you should get some good surround sound speakers, together with an amplifier or stereo system to drive them. Although you can get systems now with ridiculous numbers of speakers, Dolby 5.1 is still the best system to go with, as it is the most widely supported.

John Gibb is the owner of home entertainment, For more information on home entertainment please check out http://www.Home-Entertainment-guidance.Info

home stereo: TV Wall Mount And Widescreen And Flat Screen And...

Not long ago a TV was a TV, just a television set. Yes, there where sets with some extra features, stand alone home stereo speakers for example, but it was easy to pick your choice. Now you have a lot more options to take into consideration and a number of terms to learn.

So let us see what kind of guide lines we can give you.

TV Wall Mount - These TV:s sell more and more but are considerably more expensive. They are called TV wall mount as they are so thin, 2-5 inches, or 5-10 centimeters. The picture is completely flat and the set should be connected to digital systems.

The number one reason to buy a TV wall mount is the fact that it doesn´t require any space on the floor. Today you can choose one of two techniques, LCD and plasma screens.

The LCD technique is best for screens up to 30 inches and they cost from just under $1,000 up to $3,000 USD. An LCD screen can also be connected to your computer, no problem. One disadvantage can be on some screens, there is a delay in showing the picture, which can be rather annoying with fast movements like in football and other sports.

The plasma screens works better for really big screens, 32-50 inches. The prices are coming down but often start around $2,000 USD. The internet is of course the best place to start your search for a TV wall mount, LCD or Plasma. Also remember that the prices given here are probably higher than what you can find out there!

The TV techniques are developing fast, like the computer industry, so if you are not in a hurry, wait and the prices will drop. Especially for a TV Wall Mount. It is always more expensive when the technique is new. A great place to start your search for a TV wall mount is through consumer reports. They give you unbiased reviews of the best TV wall mounts out there.

If you want to experience the best of a sports game, nature or action movie, as you almost where there, you are probably ready to spend a lot of money . Then you will of course choose the widescreen and home movie equipment with a plasma or projection-TV.

There are some practical things to consider for a TV wall mount. How much is the weight of your particular TV model? Can you mount it on the wall in a safe way? Make sure that any mount that you consider is able to comfortably handle the weight of your TV. You will need a strong, sturdy equipment that can handle the weight. If the wall itself is the weak point you should perhaps look for another alternative than wall mount. Or secure the equipment to the floor or the ceiling.

Many TV models have specially made equipment for a wall mount. You can also find good universal mounts available.

It used to be that the only wall mounts were a set of metal brackets that mounted to the wall and the TV hung on those brackets. Which made it harder to move the screen. Now you can find flexible wall mount units that actually let you extend the TV from the wall and turn it to adjust the viewing angle too.

In the ads for TV sets you will always get a long list of features. Don´t care about that list for a start. It is the picture on the screen that is of most importance. If the picture is bad that is the thing that will be most annoying. Use your eyes and compare several types of TV sets in a shop even if the environment is light and very different from your home. Bring your favorite picture to the shop and ask to have it shown. Now you can get a better understanding of the quality of the screen, the colours etcetera.

The sound is easy to forget. But a bad sound can destroy the most wonderful picture. It is great if you can listen to the sound more privately or try to be there when there are few customers. Stereo sound is the most common but is not necessarily automatically hifi-quality. You can often get a better sound if you connect the TV sound to your own equipment or put up extra speakers.

A TV wall mount will in the coming years be the most sold TV equipment. The prices will go down and the weight will be reduced considerably. They will be easy to mount and with great sound and picture. To put it simple, it is the future.

Keith George always writes about valuable news & reviews. A related resource is TV Wall Mount Further information can be found at Home

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

home stereo: Stanley Miller II

Stan Miller answers your questions about the latest gadgets and helps you sort out matters of the Web and computers.

Q: Dave of Wauwatosa - I might as well post my question a week early, as I'm bound to completely forget it. With the WoW expansion coming out by the end of the year (and also with a number of game updates since you stopped playing), do you see yourself getting back into the WoW addiction, or is there too much on other fronts (PS3, etc.) to make you want to go back?

A: Stanley Miller II - Dave, the Burning Crusade Expansion is tempting, and I am sure I will renew my account for a month to try it out. But any time I spend on World of Warcraft will be for editorial purposes and not for recreation. Don't get me wrong, WOW really is an amazing game, but it's a time sink I can't afford, especially since it's summer. I am going to be very eager to hear what local World of Warcraft players have to say about the expansion when it launches, though. But after two level 60 characters, countless instance runs and mob grinding, I think my hardcore days of WoW are over.
Q: Thomas of Santee - Which would you recommend the Palm 700 or blackberry

A: Stanley Miller II - The Palm Treo 700p or the BlackBerry ... what? The BlackBerry 7250? Or the 7130e? I am a big fan of the Palm OS. It's interface is fantastic -- simple and intuitive. In my opinion the BlackBerry interface isn't as good. It's good, just not as good. These smartphones are going to share several functions, including e-mail, PDA sync, Internet access and a lot more. The difference is how you access those features, and that is very much tied to personal taste. I personally enjoy a very easy interface, so I like Palm a lot.
Q: Bill Nachmann of Franklin - Hi Stan, I always appreciate your advice. How do I hook my 3000 song iTunes computer PC library up to my nice stereo/receiver? I don't have an iPod now. What would be the least expensive way to hook it up and get the full effect of my PC iTunes library on my killer stereo speakers?

A: Stanley Miller II - Bill, the answer depends on the proximity of your computer to your home stereo system. The solution could be as crude as running a cable from your sound card to one of the stereo's audio-in jacks, to a wireless home media adapter, to an Xbox 360, to a Windows Media Center PC. It also depends on what you want to spend. I recently reviewed the Squeeze Box from Slim Devices, a wireless music-streaming system that worked very well. There are many other competing products, including the Sonos Digital Music System, as well as various media adapters from networking companies like Linksys. I use my Xbox 360 to get the music on my computer upstairs to the stereo downstairs, and it works pretty well considering that is not it's primary function. Media PCs can be a bit of overkill unless you are interested in breaking out all kinds of media, including digital pictures and video as well as music, on your entertainment center. I'd advise you to take a hard look at the Squeeze Box or Sonos as a possible solution.
Q: jake of london - can u rap

A: Stanley Miller II - Sorry Jake, I can't rap. I also don't play basketball very well.
Q: Mary Lehman of Muskego - How is the latest personal gadgets and Web trends having an impact on the newspaper business?

A: Stanley Miller II - Mary, I'd say the growth of video both via streaming on a PC and downloaded to devices like the iPod and PlayStation Portable are definitely shaping the newspaper business when it comes to how we augment our coverage and add value online. For example, JSOnline has aggressively expanded its use of video, including the somewhat recent rollout of the TechWatch video demonstrations I do every other week. I think video is going to be very important to what newspapers do in the future, and I think we need to be very creative in what we do. We are off to an OK start, but we need to be willing to experiment.
Q: Meagan of Milwaukee - Any suggestions for some good wireless outdoor speakers? Is there anything worth buying on the market now, or would it be better to wait?

A: Stanley Miller II - Meagan, check out Paradigm's new Stylus Series v.3 outdoor speakers. I haven't had a chance to test them yet. But Paradigm has won loads of awards. Paradigm sells six different models in this series, including two new stereo/mono models, providing what the company calls a dual-directional soundfield for more flexibility in outdoor placement. One speaker allegedly provides two-channel sound in smaller areas, and multiple speakers negate the sound imbalances that happen outside when people are closer to one stereo speaker than the other. Also, definitely check with the experts at Flanners, they typically give excellent advice.
Q: Mike of Glendale - Why do IT departments place so much value in certifications? I have found that companies seem to be enamored with them. Today, it seems that a solid work ethic is being over looked. I have heard many people say that the “experience of working” is the best training they ever received. Unfortunately I have worked with many certified lazy people. What is you opinion? Will it ever change?

A: Stanley Miller II - I'm not an IT expert by any stretch of the imagination, but I know a lot of techs. Certifications mean standardization, at least in theory, and I think that is where IT managers see value. Managers want to make sure their employees have certain skillsets, and certifications establish that. I don't see that changing, just as I don't see certain expectations for other levels of professional education across other industries.
Q: Mark of Austin, TX - Would you recommend a TREO 700P or 700W? Or some other smartphone? Why?

A: Stanley Miller II - Mark: 700p because the interface is easier. Why do something in six steps when you can do it in two or three?
Q: John of oak Creek - what advantages does the palm 700 have over the latest blackberry phones

A: Stanley Miller II - John: a digital music player and a camera immediately come to mind.
Q: Lori of Fox Point - Thanks for doing these chats, Stanley. I bought a Tungsten E Palm a little more than a year ago from Office Max. I also bought the extended warranty with the promise that if I had a problem with the Palm, I can bring it in a get a new one. I'm sure there have been abuses, the sales clerk was practically telling me to "upgrade" once a year--but then I did have a real problem. For some reason, the battery drained a forced me to do a hard boot to get the Palm going again. THEN...without me knowing it, the Palm reset to an earlier date, I performed a hotsync and lost data! Office Max is not helping me with their extended plan. I can't be without a Palm as I use it for my small business. When purchasing a small, new gadget are extended warranties worth it? Thank you.

A: Stanley Miller II - Lori, personal electronics fail. My iPod's battery recently permanently died on me, and the timing of the failure put it past the extended warranty had I decided to buy one. I usually never go with extended warranties, but if you decide to, you need to scour the fine print, which will typically take a lot longer than most people feel comfortable with when in line at Best Buy. One word of warning: sometimes warranty replacement will allow for the manufacturer to provide you with a refurbished replacement instead of a brand-new device, and that can lead to frustration down the line. Ok everyone, I have an interview in 5 minutes and need to get going. Sorry for the late start, and thanks for coming out! If I didn't answer your question, visit my blog regularly, I plan on answering them there over the next week or two.

Monday, June 19, 2006

home stereo: How to Backup Your Computer Files

As I write this, it's early December, and try as I might, I can't remember what my new year's resolution was last time around. One thing I can say with near hundred percent certainty is that whatever...

by Christian Carvajal

As I write this, it's early December, and try as I might, I can't remember what my new year's resolution was last time around. One thing I can say with near hundred percent certainty is that whatever it was, I failed to keep it. Maybe you're the same. Maybe you resolved to quit smoking, lose weight, or read more. We all make promises with ourselves, then fail to keep those promises. Worst of all, those promises might be exactly what we need most. Consider this: When was the last time you backed up your computer files? Last month? Last year? Never?

Let's make a new year's resolution together, you and I. Let's promise to back up our computers. It's important, I promise. Just yesterday the automatic backup feature in MS Word saved me about an hour's work when my computer froze up. Given that I haven't backed up my computer in almost a year, I can't even imagine how much data I'd lose if I suffered a power surge or hard drive failure. It can happen to the best of us, and often does. Even high end hard drive manufacturers report an average failure rate of between five and eight per thousand every year. That may not sound like much, but let's face it, somebody has to be those five to eight people. Feeling lucky? There are about 185 million household PCs in the U.S., according to Computer Industry Almanac, so that means about 150,000 hard drives fail each year. But even if your drive stays intact, about a tenth of all computers suffer minor data loss in any given year. A power surge, the magnets in your home stereo speakers, or even an accidental nudge can affect data storage. According to a report from the ONTRACK data recovery service, data loss can be caused by natural disasters (3% of cases), computer viruses (7%), software problems (14%), and plain old user error (a whopping 32%). Now, I'm sure you never hit a wrong keyboard button, but do you have a button on your computer that prevents a bolt of lightning? I didn't think so.

WHEREAS our data is important, and disaster can befall even the most noble and undeserving of us, BE IT RESOLVED that you and I shall back up our computer files forthwith.

Amen, brothers and sisters. Now, where and how do we start?

STEP ONE: Choosing Favorites

Not all files are important enough to preserve for posterity. The most critical files on a computer are its operating system files. If you're a good little consumer, you bought the operating system and kept those CDs handy and secure from data loss. If you're not, then remind yourself to go stand in the corner later. The drones at Microsoft did not work for years just to watch you steal their work. It's people like you that keep Bill Gates from buying his second planet. Now that you've been suitably chastised, either go buy a legal copy of the operating system, or include the necessary files in your "must back up" list.

The same principle goes for software applications. Maybe you bought an ad and spyware blocker you really like, but the company that coded it has since gone out of business (perhaps because other consumers weren't as scrupulous as you). If so, include the files you need to run the app in your must list.

Now it's time to look at the remaining files on your computer and prioritize. If you're not a digital packrat like me, it may be possible to save everything. If so, congratulations. I don't have ten gigabytes of portable media at my disposal, so when I back up my computer, I'll be leaving a few gigs of MP3s and questionable Windows Media files at risk. One of the first things I will save is the folder I use to save my writing assignments, because that data represents money in my pocket. I'll back up my email address book, plus my digital photography and fiction writing efforts. I can live without "Milkshake" (what was I thinking?), but the guitar piece my friend recorded and sent to me is going on the list. Your results may vary.

STEP TWO: In Which I Tell You Where You Can Put It

That's right, this is the section in which I'll tell you where to store your data. It's not a good idea to put backup files on another drive on the same computer. That defeats the whole purpose. Duplicating your files on another computer in the same LAN is almost as risky, because computer viruses can spread as fast as an imaginary Anna Kournikova JPEG. You need to find a portable storage medium that can hold all the files on your must list. Your options include floppy diskettes, portable hard drives, optical drives, tape drives, and remote servers. We'll look at each in turn.

Hard diskettes, the old familiar 3.5" squares, hold up to 1.44 megabytes of data. They're cheap, but 1.44 MB is less than two percent of the ten gigs of data on my hard drive. Even if each of those files were smaller than 1.44 MB (and each weren't), I'm not keen on the idea of buying, labeling, and storing fifty diskettes. Next idea, please.

Most computer experts rely on removable hard drives for memory backups. The most popular of these drives are the Zip drive from Iomega and the ORB drive from Castlewood. They're relatively inexpensive and hold up to two gigs of data. Basically, you'll save your data on a Zip disk, then transfer it from the disk to the portable drive. The catch is that removable drives fail about as often as regular hard drives. They may even be more susceptible to damage from dust and rough handling. A sub-option here is to use a permanent hard drive as a removable drive. At up to two hundred gigs, conventional hard drives are bigger than removable drives, and prices have dropped enough in recent years to make this idea practical. Whatever kind of hard drive you decide to use, make sure to keep it isolated from dust, magnetic charges, and static electricity.

Optical drives use a laser to store information, rather than a magnet. Even if you're not a tech junkie, that's probably enough information to give you a clearer idea what we're talking about: namely, CDs and DVDs. Less common are EO (erasable optical) and WORM (write once, read many) media; they're less common because they cost over $1000 per drive. CDs, on the other hand, cost less than a buck and can hold up to 650 megabytes. DVDs hold up to five gigs and cost about fifteen dollars apiece. Most computers nowadays have either a CD or DVD writer (or both), but write times can be slow. My CD writer, for example, works best on the 300 kilobyte per second setting—if then. I'll be using the remote server option. At $250 and up, tape drives are more expensive and slower than hard drives or optical media, hence less common, but also extremely reliable.

Remote servers are third party companies that store data online for a fee. This is a great option for broadband Internet users, especially people like me who don't own a reliable data writer. SkyDesk runs, Back-Up Solutions maintains, and Iomega hosts iServer (, once a free service, now charges ten bucks a month for up to five gigs of storage. Promotions and other rates change, so it's a good idea to shop around before selecting a remote storage service.

STEP THREE: Git 'er Done

Now it's time to put the files you want to save on the storage medium you've chosen. There are several ways to do this. Your CD writer, for example, may come with proprietary disk writing software. That application may even include a backup option. If it does, and you're more familiar with that software than Windows features, then that's the way to go. Otherwise, backup is still relatively easy on all MS operating systems since Windows 98. Windows 98, Windows ME, and Windows XP Professional include a built-in Backup utility. To run it, just click on Start, then Programs, then Accessories, then System Tools, then Backup. How easy was that? If you're using the XP Home edition, you may need to add the utility manually. If so, insert the Windows XP CD into your disk drive and wait for the "Welcome to Microsoft Windows XP" screen. (You may need to double-click the CD icon in My Computer.) Then click on Perform Additional Tasks and Browse This CD. In Windows Explorer, double-click the ValueAdd folder, then Msft, then Ntbackup. Double-clicking on Ntbackup.msi will install the utility. Once it's installed, you can also run the program by clicking Start and Run, then typing msbackup.exe (Windows 98 and Windows ME) or ntbackup.exe (Windows XP) in the Open field. Click OK, and you'll be off to the races.

Incidentally, the Windows XP Backup utility also includes a bonus application called the Automated Recovery Wizard. This creates a bootable floppy that initiates backup if the hard drive must be replaced. Other options for "disaster recovery" include BackUp MyPC from Stomp (, $79) and Norton Ghost 9.0 from Symantec (, $69.95). Ghost actually allows users to duplicate the contents of their computer over the Internet. Both have earned stellar reviews from top PC magazines.

Don't let another month go by without protecting the files you value most. My girlfriend justifies her messy car by saying she "lives out of it." Well, I live out of my computer. It's not just my office; it's the home of cherished memories in the form of pictures, MP3, and other data files. I'm resolved to keep it safe.

About The Author

Christian Carvajal is a contributing writer to, which provides tips and tutorials to individuals interested in buying, upgrading, and/or maintaining laptop computers.

Copyright Christian Carvajal -

home stereo: Mini Ipod, Music And Everything In A Box

The smaller version of Apple iPod is the iPod mini. It is a small audio player. The release of this audio player was on February 20, 2004. The machine was from Windows PCs and Macintosh, and with support from Linux and other UNIX work likes. The devise got the same sensitive touch scroll pad, but in..

by John Rivers

The smaller version of Apple iPod is the iPod mini. It is a small audio player. The release of this audio player was on February 20, 2004. The machine was from Windows PCs and Macintosh, and with support from Linux and other UNIX work likes. The devise got the same sensitive touch scroll pad, but instead of four touch notches, the buttons are made mechanical for easy navigation. The wheel is the "click wheel". You must push the edge of the wheel inward over one of the four levels of the iPod for full access to one of the four labels.

There are two almost identical generations of iPod, the difference is with their battery capacity and storage. They are both 3.6 by 2.0 by 0.5 inches and weighs 102grams. The case composes of anodized aluminum. The five first generation colors of iPod were green, blue, pink, silver and gold. Because of the unpopularity of the gold version, they dropped it to the second generation. In the first generation, the button labels are colored grey, in the second generation the buttons were colored matching the color of the iPod case.

The first generation battery can last up to 8 hours. The users criticized the short duration of the battery. Because of that, Apple released the second generation claiming an 18 hours of continues play. Nevertheless, the only problem with the second generation is that they no longer contain FireWire cable or an AC power adaptor. This is the reason why the price of the device was reduced.

At the bottom of the device, you can find dock connector, specifically Hi-Speed or FireWire, which connects to the computer device. The battery of the unit is being charged when connected to the computer. It has a hold switch at the top and headphone jack and a jack for connecting some accessories. It supports AIFF, WAV, AAC/M4A, MP3 and Apple Lossless audio formats. Integration to iTunes and iTunes Music Store was retained as well, allowing for true Auto-sync between the software application and the iPod mini.

Special features:

• With 128 kbps AAC format that can hold up to 1000 songs

• Super lightweight music device with 4GB hard disk drive

• With FireWire that is used to store data

• 138 by 110 pixel resolution, 0.22-mm dot pitch

• It weighs 103 g

• Up to 25 minutes anti skip protection

• Its audio formats support AAC, MP3, MP3 VBR, AIFF, WAV and audible

iPod mini accessories:

• AV connection kit- used to connect your iPod to your home stereo or television. You can now share your favorite tunes, photos and movies to your loved ones.

• Radio remote- you can listen to your favorite Fm radio stations and control it with a convenient wired remote. In addition, an earphone comes up with shorter cable that perfectly fits your remote.

• Apple remote - Universal Docks support this. It is plugged in the Dock, connect to a television or stereo and be ready for a control of everything.

• Universal dock – is convenient for home charging, it also used to connect your iPod to home audio system. It also lets you connect your iPod to television for slideshow of images.

• USB power adapter- you can charge your iPod even with the connection to your computer.

• Camera connector- use to transfer photos directly to your iPod.

• In-ear headphones- it offers quality sounds with bass response.

• USB cable- a cord used to connect your iPod to your computer.

About The Author:
John Rivers is editor of Poddies Net. A Blog site featuring news, reviews, and how-to information related to the iPod.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

home stereo: $16K headphones and other iPod necessities

Belkin booth

Most iPod owners are familiar with the name Belkin, as the company has released a steady stream of iPod accessories over the past several years. And although Belkin’s presence at HES was focused mainly on the company’s high-end PureAV audio/video accessory offerings, they took some time to show Playlist a number of upcoming—and potentially upcoming—products.

First up was the TuneStage nano, an iPod-nano-fitting version of the Plays of the Year-winning TuneStage. Like the original, the TuneStage nano uses a Bluetooth transmitter connected to your iPod to send the iPod’s music wirelessly to your home stereo or powered speakers, letting you use your iPod itself—with its famous Click Wheel and on-screen interface—as a “remote.” However, because the TuneStage nano connects to your iPod’s dock-connector port, it works with the nano (and, based on our observation of the design of the demonstration model, with the 5G iPod [with video]). In addition, with the TuneStage nano, Belkin officially supports pairing the TuneStage’s transmitter with A2DP-capable Bluetooth headsets, headphones, and auto head units. The TuneStage nano will retail at the same $180 price as the original and should be available in July. On a related note, Belkin told Playlist that a version of the TuneStage designed specifically for the iPod (with video) will be released in September; that model will be available in black or white and will feature new wireless technology and a new receiver design.

The company was also demonstrating the new TuneTalk Stereo, an accessory for the iPod (with video) that lets you record CD-quality audio. The dock-connector-port add-on provides two omnidirectional microphones for recording stereo audio, as well as a 1/8” (3.5mm) minijack input for using an external microphone. A switchable auto-gain feature can automatically set recording levels, and a USB-mini port on the TuneTalk lets you power/charge your iPod while recording. Also included with the TuneTalk is a plastic stand that lets you place your TuneTalk-equipped iPod upright and a spacer that lets you use the TuneTalk Stereo with many iPod cases. The TuneTalk Stereo will retail for $70 and should be available later this month.

Belkin’s TuneTalk Stereo

Belkin also showed us the upcoming TuneCommand AV, an audio/video docking cradle that lets you connect your iPod to your home stereo for playing music and to your TV or home theater system for showing video and photos; like other similar products, it also charges your iPod while docked. The RF-based, eight-function wireless remote, identical to the one used in Belkin’s standard TuneCommand, has an advertised range of 120 feet and works through walls. The $80 TuneCommand AV will be available later this month.

Finally, Belkin gave Playlist a sneak peek at one other interesting piece of potential gear: A tube-based stereo amplifier with built-in iPod dock. What we saw was clearly a prototype, with a rough metal enclosure and off-the-shelf switches and knobs, but it’s an interesting product nonetheless. Like Scandyna’s Dock, you slide your iPod in the dock cradle, connect a set of quality bookshelf speakers, and you’ve got an iPod stereo system. I call the product “potential” because Belkin hasn’t decided whether or not they’ll actually produce it.

home stereo: Living out loud

GEAR | We checked out some speaker systems to go with your MP3 music collection. Here's what we thought.
By Ricardo Baca
Denver Post Pop Music Critic

Everything we do has a soundtrack - or a playlist, to use modern terminology.

We work out to Bloc Party and Kelly Clarkson, garden to Sonic Youth and Neil Young, and shower to Radiohead and A Tribe Called Quest. We drive to a pensive playlist of Akron/

Family and Sam Cooke - unless it's late and we're tired, which is when we rely on the workout playlist. We clean the kitchen to the Flaming Lips, Elvis Costello and the Dandy Warhols.

But what happens when we're mobile? What do we listen to out loud (not in headphones) when we're camping, boating, picnicking or hitting the beach? More important, how do we listen to it? How do we amplify sound from our MP3 players when we're on the move - something Colorado's outdoor-loving populace is known to do with great fervor?

The market recently has been flooded by speaker sets designed for MP3 players that mimic home sound systems in that they fulfill every possible audio need. They have bass boosts and surround sound. They're battery-powered - or they're fueled by an internal rechargeable battery. They have a dock that charges your iPod, and they have remote controls to allow you to skip that song that you simply cannot hear right now.

Speakers have turned out to be the best-selling iPod accessory, an exploding $5 billion market, according to Envisioneering Group. And all the major players are at the table - including Bose, Klipsch and JBL. The speakers come in every imaginable shape and size, from the curvaceous Klipsch iGroove to the rudimentary boombox design of the Logitech MM22 to the sterile couture of Apple's own iPod Hi-Fi Home Stereo.

But before we get too technical, let's talk situational.

These speakers, like the MP3 players they were manufactured for, truly do change lives. Say your kitchen isn't wired for audio. Instead of blaring the stereo sounds in from the living room, you could have a docking station underneath the spice rack or atop the refrigerator. Simply plug the set's headphone jack into your iPod (or iriver or Jukebox) and you're connected to your catalog.

The bigger change comes in the outdoors, where these devices - when paired with MP3 players - can change the experience entirely.

We used to camp in silence, breathing in the pure mountain air as much as the crystalline silence. Sometimes we'd open the car doors, blare some music and run the battery down - but still, your musical and portable options were limited.

Last weekend, my family took to Wellington Lake outside of Bailey armed with my iPod and portable speakers. And here's what it sounded like.

We cooked breakfast with the Old 97s, soaked our feet in the stream to Slim Cessna's Auto Club, sipped tea with Hem and read in our tents to The Flying Burrito Brothers. We fished to a playlist that was all Scissor Sisters, X, Electric Six, Photo Atlas and Fat Lip, and we watched the sun set over the lake with "Moon River," June Carter

Cash and Sufjan Stevens.
Sure, there are still quiet moments camping. But with the 15,000-plus songs on my 60-gig iPod - and the accompanying Logitech MM22 speakers that fit in my pocket - the mood-setting options were unlimited. And when else will you have such uninterrupted time to introduce your friends and family to music they should know about?

There are niche products, including '50s-radio-styled iPod docks and Hello Kitty iPod speakers. But the bread and butter are the lifestyle speakers - the Bose set in the kitchen, the Logitech set on the backpacking trip. There's a reason behind the $5 billion in sales - and it's all about expanding our life playlists and soundtracking our experiences.

Pop music critic Ricardo Baca can be reached at 303-820-1394 or


... sound rules
Two of the best iPod speaker systems, whether your budget is beer or champagne, are these units:

Logitech MM22, $44.99: Ideal for car-camping or trips to the beach, this cheap set-up works on four AAA batteries and can take a beating. Although not overwhelming, it's enough sound for a small picnic. Best of all, the price is right.

Bose Companion 3, $249.99: This docking system gives you money-is-no-object fidelity without the four-figure price tag. Bose brags incessantly about its sound, and the Companion 3 - with its Acoustimass subwoofer and two deceptively small satellite speakers - delivers. The tones are full, the mix is sharp, the range is broad and the distortion is minimal.|Ricardo Baca


Looks count, but ...(clockwise in the above picture)

1. JBL Onstage 2, $118: As much as JBL would like you to think that this round wonder can fill an entire room with music, it doesn't. Distortion comes early and often, and the dock is difficult and often faulty.

2. Logitech MM50, $149: Forget about this model. It has overemphasized bass, tinny treble sounds and lacks real volume.

3. Klipsch iGroove, $249.99: While this system is stylish and convenient, it's not very good at delivering high frequencies and big rock/hip-hop sounds. Turning the volume up to 10 doesn't help, either.

Friday, June 09, 2006

home stereo: Satellite Radio: Installation Costs

The cost of a satellite radio installation is broken down into two different groups, the startup (installation costs) and the monthly subscription to either XM satellite radio or Sirius satellite radio. Receivers and mounting hardware, the cost of ...

by Scott Fish

The cost of a satellite radio installation is broken down into two different groups, the startup (installation costs) and the monthly subscription to either XM satellite radio or Sirius satellite radio. Receivers and mounting hardware, the cost of activation are all start up costs. Recievers are available for your car, your home, your computer and now portable receivers are available. So how much does satellite radio installation really cost?

Satellite Radio installation costs are broken down as follows:

Activation costs are the amount that both XM Satellite Radio and Sirius Satellite Radio charge to start service. Activation costs vary, where $5.00 with Sirius and $9.99 with XM will get you ready to go. Telephone activation is $15.00 with Sirius and $14.99 with XM. Monthly subscription costs then play into the cost, but these depend on some factors. Recent media campaigns are dramatically dropping the cost of installation and activation, both XM and Sirius are offering free activation in some instances.

A typical cost of a car satellite radio installation can vary depending on whether you use a Satellite radio which is dedicated only to satellite radio reception or if it also can play CDs.

The typical costs are detailed below:

Receiver $75 - $125
Radio $125-250
Antenna $60.00
Labor $80.00
Activation $10
Total $400 - $600

Typical costs for a home satellite radio installation:

For this to work, you must choose to install a dedicated stereo receiver unit. Common AM/FM receivers are very similar to satellite radio receivers. Your auxiliary input is used to connect and a antenna is used to receiver the streaming content.

The typical costs are detailed below:

Receiver $150-$300
Antenna $60.00
Activation $10
Total $220 - $370

Portable units are now being offered and can give you the ease of using your satellite radio anywhere you want! Each room in your house would require a home kit, which includes antennas, output cables, and power supplies. Home kits offer flexibility and ease of use as they can be plugged into your home stereo, computer, and boom boxes. Portable satellite radio installation costs are as follows:

The typical costs are detailed below:

Receiver $120
Home Kit $140
Boombox X 2 $100
Activation $10
Total $370

About The Author

Scott Fish is the owner of Top Satellite Radio which is a resource for consumers seeking the history and facts about satellite radio. We also sell electronics related to Satellite Radio. | Quick Access:

Copyright Scott Fish -

home stereo: Sirius Radio - Everything You Ever Wanted to Know

Sirius radio, or more generally satellite radio, came out just a few years ago. If you've never listened to satellite radio or heard about it, this article is your lucky break. In this article you'll...

by Nick Smith

Sirius radio, or more generally satellite radio, came out just a few years ago. If you've never listened to satellite radio or heard about it, this article is your lucky break. In this article you'll find out what satellite radio is and how it works.

What Is Satellite Radio?

Just like the name indicates, satellite radio uses satellites and related equipment to broadcast radio channels to car or home radios. The concept really received its impetus in 1992 when the FCC set aside a chunk of radio frequency for what they called Digital Audio Radio Service (DARS). Five years later, Sirius Radio and XM Satellite Radio purchased licenses from the FCC, and both companies started putting the pieces into place to be able to start broadcasting.

Conventional radio waves can only travel 35 to 45 miles before they die out. The signal for satellite radio services is broadcast more than 20,000 miles above the Earth's surface. Programming on satellite radio is subscriber based, meaning you pay a monthly fee to descramble the signal from the satellites. But, most satellite radio service comes commercial free, so you don't have to worry about channel hopping. Channels include music, talk radio, sporting events, kids programs, and news.

The Who's Who of Satellite Radio

There are currently three major players in the satellite radio game: Sirius radio, XM satellite radio, and WorldSpace. Sirius radio covers North America, including the continental U.S., Canada, and Alaska. XM provides service in the continental U.S. WorldSpace is developing coverage in other parts of the world (Asia, Africa, Europe, and South America) and are definitely the most ambitious in terms of client coverage (a potential of 4.6 billion clients covered on 5 different continents). Each company uses different satellite technology and methods to provide service in their respective areas.

Satellite radio equipment, such as car receivers and home stereos, are sold at a variety of consumer electronic stores, and are starting to become standard installations in new cars. Conventional radios cannot receive satellite radio transmissions, so picking up the service usually entails purchasing a receiver, though some kits are available to make conventional radios satellite-radio compatible.

Because of the different technology each company utilizes, receivers are not compatible with every company. For example, if you subscribed to XM but then wanted to switch to Sirius radio, you would need to get a new receiver that was compatible with Sirius. Some satellite television companies include satellite radio service in their channel packages, and you can receive the transmission through your television satellite dish.

How Does Satellite Radio Work?

This is the cool part. The music, talk show, sporting event, etc., are recorded digitally in a studio, after which the message is encoded. The encoded signal is sent to the satellites from ground stations (Sirius radio based in New York; XM based out of D.C.). The satellites then relay the signal to receivers in your car or at home. The receivers contain chipsets that decode the signal and play it through you stereo. In urban areas where taller buildings might block the signal from the satellites, ground repeaters or transmitters are used to resend the signal, eliminating pockets of dead space.

XM uses two satellites to cover the continental United States with their signal. Sirius radio uses three satellites to form a satellite constellation. The way they are set in orbit ensures that each satellite spends about 16 hours at a time covering the U.S. and that there is always at least one satellite over the U.S. at any given time. WorldSpace satellites beam three signals each to increase the amount of territory they are able to cover with their three satellites. All three companies have reserve satellites ready to launch in case one of their satellites stops working.

Satellite radio technology looks like it's here to stay. It is ideal for those that live in areas where normal radio reception is poor, or for those willing to pay a little each month to not have to listen to commercials. Chances are good that soon every new car you buy will have satellite radio installed, and that more and more homes will be equipped for it. I have only covered the basics. It is definitely worth your time to find out more about what each company has to offer.

About The Author

Nick Smith is a client account specialist with – More Visitors. More Buyers. More Revenue. To find out how to get Sirius radio with your satellite TV service, check out

Copyright Nick Smith -

Sunday, June 04, 2006

home stereo: An MP3 Player Accessory - the Perfect Way to Customize a Portable Audio Player or Just Add a Cool Look

Everywhere you look today people are listening to personal audio players. And many look for ways to personalize and/or enhance their experience. That's where the mp3 player accessory comes in.

Designer skins, carrying cases, arm bands and neck s

by W R Kirk

Everywhere you look today people are listening to personal audio players. And many look for ways to personalize and/or enhance their experience. That's where the mp3 player accessory comes in.

Designer skins, carrying cases, arm bands and neck straps are accessories that make a fashion statement. An amplified portable speaker system gives you room filling sound. Listen to your playlist through your car radio with an FM transmitter, or your home stereo system with audio interconnect cables and docking accessories.

Check out the iPod accessories, like high-tech iPod headphones that can rival a concert hall experience. Regardless of your player's brand you'll find add-on accessories to heighten your listening enjoyment. Recharge your mp3 player with a docking station, in your car, or even with an accessory that uses a 9-volt battery. An mp3 player AC adapter conserves your batteries while recharging them. And you can use it anywhere in the world with international adapters.

Hi-tech earbuds and compact headphones with noise cancellation provide studio quality sound. Share your songs with a Y splitter and second set of headphones. Add battery powered portable speakers and share your playlist with friends at the beach or a party. Choose from a variety of Bluetooth, wireless or wired remotes. There's even a combination flashlight/laser pointer accessory that plugs into the headphone jack!

The list of mp3 player accessories for grows every day. Do a little browsing and you're sure to find that perfect accessory for your player.

About the author:
Learn all about MP3 players and accessories: different types, how they work, features, comparisons and more - plus free music download tips and info at A-Z MP3, Your Complete A-Z Resource for MP3 Players, Accessories and Information. © 2005 All rights reserved

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home stereo: 5 Ways to Enjoy Your Music Files

OK, say you've got one thousand of your favorite MP3 songs sitting in your hard disk. What's the best way to enjoy those files? Most of us probably will use the Windows Media Player to listen to thos...

by Gary Hendricks

OK, say you've got one thousand of your favorite MP3 songs sitting in your hard disk. What's the best way to enjoy those files? Most of us probably will use the Windows Media Player to listen to those files. but did you know there are other more innovative and interesting ways playback MP3, WMA and WAV files?

Let's take a look at the five methods.

Use MusicMatch Jukebox

If you think most that most PC programs for playing digital music look like the built-in Windows Media Player, think again. There are programs out there that go far beyond the Windows Media Player in functionality. One great example is Musicmatch Jukebox from Musicmatch. Musicmatch Jukebox is quite simply the world's best digital music player. It supports playback of various music formats like audio CDs, MP3s, Internet streams, WMAs, WAV files and more. You also get CD burning, music ripping and music organizing capabilities. The Plus version even allows you to automatically tag your music files with detailed info and album art!

Use a Portable MP3 Player

Portable music players like the Apple iPod, Creative Nomad and Rio Nitrus have taken the market by storm. You don't have to be confined to your desktop PC or laptop to listen to digital music! The portable music players can allow you to take your music anywhere. The compact size of MP3 and WMA music formats means that you can literally take a jukebox of thousands of songs whereever you go! You may also want to check out my review of the top 5 portable music players here. There are also other portable music options, including handphones with MP3 support.

Use a PDA

The latest Pocket PC or Palm-based personal digital assistants (PDAs) can also act as music players. Pop in a large memory card (e.g. 64 MB) and you can store many MP3 or WMA files. Then hook up a headphone, launch the music software in the PDA and you're good to go! I personally own a HP iPaq 2210 which effectively keeps track of my appointments and doubles up as a music player.

Use Your Car Stereo

This is my favorite way of listening to my MP3 collection. I recently bought a car stereo that can playback native MP3 songs. This means that I can pop in a data CD containing hundreds of MP3 files and the car stereo will play them! This does not work on conventional car stereos. If you own a conventional car stereo, but still want to listen to your MP3 songs, one way is to create an audio CD from your music files first. The car stereo will then have no problem interpreting and playing back the audio CD. Of course, in this case, you'll be limited to about 14 to 17 tracks of music only.

Use Your Home Stereo

If you're a music lover, you probably already have a home stereo. Use it to listen to your MP3 music files! However, take note that Like car stereos, conventional home stereos will not be able to play back native MP3 songs. You will need a newer home stereo set with MP3 playback capability. New models from Kenwood, Panasonic, Pioneer and Sony usually have MP3 support.


As you can see, there are many ways to enjoy that digital music collection of yours. My favorite methods of listening to digital audio files is via a portable music player or the car stereo. Of course, you may have your own preference - some people like to listen to music off their desktop PC or laptop. Decide which method(s) is suitable for you and go for it!

About The Author

Gary Hendricks -

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