Serving & Streaming: The Best Products of 2008
Access your music and video collections anywhere in your home, and leave the discs to the shelves.
The days of popping a CD into your single-tray or multi-cartridge player and simply sitting back and enjoying a few tracks or entire album are so last century. We’re seeing movies trend that way too. It’s far too easy to store everything on your PC or a media server these days than keep track of all of those loose discs.
Ripping, downloading, streaming and serving are where it’s at when it comes to media. Storage is getting cheaper to purchase in mass quantity, and even TVs are getting into the act with networking capabilities.
If the rise of the MP3 is what started the whole hard-drive based media trend, then Apple’s iPod is certainly what helped it take off. The ability to add iPod as a source to your multiroom music system remains unquestionably important to manufacturers, and subsequently electronics installers. Biggie companies such as Crestron with its iServer and Russound with its iBridge Power Dock we found to be at the pinnacle of iPod integration this year.
Servers from Escient, Niveus, NuVo, Vantage, SpeakerCraft, Sonos and VidaBox make accessing your ever-growing media collections a snap (some as music only, others encompassing video and photos too), and were worthy of recognition.
Traditional network device manufacturers Linksys and D-Link added their touches this year to the networked media boom, and TV manufacturers such as Panasonic and Sony offer models that link to the Internet so you can pull widget info and web videos.
We don’t know how you can stream your turntable yet (though you can rip vinyl to MP3 files), but all of this networked media serving is enough to make your head spin, in a good way.
Return to full story:
- Products of the Year 2008
- Products of the Year 2007
- Products of the Year 2006