RealTime IT News

Prismiq has First 11g Set-top Video

New buyers and existing owners of the Prismiq MediaPlayer entertainment unit can now get the latest software upgrade to let the product connect to a home network using 802.11g or 802.11a.

The MediaPlayer is a set-top box, about the size of a hard cover novel, which can connect to a home LAN via wireless or wired (it has an integrated Ethernet jack). The unit scans the hard drives of all systems on the network as you specify, tracks the digital media available, and permits playback of that media on your home stereo system or television -- giving you access to Internet-based video and audio in the comfort of your living room.

The new MediaPlayer software is version 3.1 (running on embedded version of Linux), and is available to anyone for free. Wireless support is via PC Card inserted in the back of the unit, and only a limited number of cards are supported (they are listed online -- 11g cards supported include the Netgear WG511 and SMC EZ Connect SMC2835W, which they recommend).

802.11g is the latest ratified WLAN standard from the IEEE. It specifies a theoretical speed up to 54Mbps and because they share the 2.4GHz radio frequency, it's backwards compatible with the ubiquitous 802.11b standard (which runs at 11Mbps tops). 802.11a also runs at 54Mbps, but is not compatible with the other two standards.

The higher speed of wireless on the box should help improve the video transmission on the wireless LAN, according to Brad Kayton, vice president of marketing and business development at Prismiq.

"In our case, the video is the selling point, the true application of the high speed wireless," says Kayton.

The $249.99 MediaPlayer was first unveiled late last year and is now available at Buy.com and ThinkGeek.com. It comes with a remote control, and there is an optional wireless (infrared) keyboard for $49.99.