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Ceton Echo – Windows Media Center Extender Watch Live & Recorded TV/HDTV Access Personal Media Libraries on Any TV on Home Network, HDMI Interface, Remote Included
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: more than 1 year

Pros: * It's not an Xbox 360 (it's small and completely silent).
* It can easily be concealed behind wall-mounted LCD TVs (an Xbox cannot).
* It's energy efficient.
* It works most of the time, on most channels (see cons).

Cons: * It works most of the time, on most channels ... meaning (a) premium movie channels are generally unwatchable (frame rate issues make bad video stutter) and (b) it occasionally crashes on the other channels (not a ton, but maybe once every ten operating hours?).
* Don't count on it playing your video files (poor codec support, at least at bit rates associated with high quality).
* Don't think you can power it via USB cable from the TV.
* The remote is terrible. I replaced it with original Xbox 360 Media Center remotes.
* One of the TVs I have set up with an Echo - an older LG LCD - has some issues with detecting the HDMI signal from its Echo. The TV basically goes into "no signal found" mode, and there's no apparent way around it other than randomly turning on/off both the TV and Echo until they handshake and see each other. I have not seen this with any other HDMI devices with this TV, pointing to at least some sort of compatibility issue the Echo has with older televisions.
* Quality control is not a strong point. Besides the FreeScale (onboard chip) issues, I think they probably went too bottom-of-the-barrel in choosing an overseas manufacturer. Meaning, you may have to RMA (with Ceton).
* All software development (firmware updates) from Ceton has completely stopped. Meaning, the aforementioned issues aren't going to get any better. Ever.

Other Thoughts: I have purchased two of these (both over a year ago) for my own home setup, and now six total for my in-laws' setup (yes, you read that right). Across these eight devices, two have had to be RMA'd (25% failure rate, which seems high).

Since neither of these households (mine or my in-laws') watch premium movie channels, the annoying stutter qualifies for us as "not that big of a deal." If you are a premium movie channel viewer, however, then these devices are not for you.

The gains to me of having a small box mounted to the back of a TV are worth putting up with its performance quirks, in my opinion (as compared to the Xbox 360). I would suggest having a 360 around somewhere else in your setup, too, as it is a more reliable extender overall. Makes troubleshooting a lot easier ("wait, is this messed up on the 360, too?").

Probably my biggest frustration with this whole product is what appears to be the demise of Ceton. They dreamed big (and marketed it to be big), and then played a game of rolling back expectations. I'm sure they learned a lot from this, and won't repeat the same marketing mistakes (big talk) going forward.

I also wish they didn't show up in WMC enthusiast communities (thegreenbutton.tv) - where they've largely been absent since this thing started to show less and less promise - and talk about/post links to their pending legal matters with Gibson (that are totally unrelated to WMC). This is the opposite of operating the business with class.

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Asante Voyager-1 1280 x 1024 MAX Resolution RJ45 Wireless 1.3 MP CMOS Day/ Night IP Security Camera
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 month to 1 year

Pros: Feature rich, very easy to set up. It's an IP camera for about a hundred bucks!

Cons: Motion detection algorithm is a bit flawed, at least it seems to be to me. Natural light changes (rising/setting sun) appears to set off motion detection, making it useless (for long-term operation).

Other Thoughts: I haven't been using this as a security device (yet), mainly because of the aforementioned issues with motion detection. I have used it for brief periods of time, and things as simple as time-lapse capturing what my dog does all day in our kitchen (very funny). I experimented with features like sending me an e-mail when motion detection events occur, but that's actually extremely annoying (a person walks by, and you get five+ separate e-mails containing a 1280x1024 image). My personal solution was to upload to an FTP server (in this case, my Windows Home Server). This worked very well, especially in the case of seeing what the heck my dog was up to (I then browsed the shared folder on my network).

Overall, this camera is definitely worth the little money that it costs. Is it a completely polished "solution" device? Probably not. I would put this product into the category of "lots of features, none of which that it performs exceptionally well." Again, it's a hundred bucks!

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Asante Voyager-1 1280 x 1024 MAX Resolution RJ45 Wireless 1.3 MP CMOS Day/ Night IP Security Camera
  • Verified Owner
  • Owned For: 1 day to 1 week

Pros: Features, features, features! While this is my first security-oriented camera, I don't think I'm easily impressed ... but this thing does not leave much to be desired in my opinion. Want to set a schedule (say, when you're at work, week days) to have this thing monitor a door and - if it detects motion - send an e-mail containing a video or image, upload the same to an ftp server, or upload to a web site (although I'm not sure how this last one works yet)? It does all of these and does not leave anything to be desired in the feature department, in my opinion. Read the cons to see why this is potentially a mixed blessing.

I am very impressed with the "area" of the CCD to detect motion. It is not "all or nothing" by any means, you can easily set the detection window(s) to be as small (or big) as you like.

Cons: While this thing is feature-rich, the documentation is anything but rich, as is navigating the settings side of the user interface. If you're not a hardcore techie, enlist the help of somebody else getting it setup at least the first time. You'll be able to monitor it okay - they did fine making this side of it - but trying to navigate the settings in say the e-mail sending trigger is a bit hairy if you're not familiar with various protocols (like SMTP). Of course if you're already knowing that you want to upload pictures to an FTP server, you certainly possess all of the knowledge you need to make this thing work for you.

My only other con would be that the night-time LEDs are, well, not exaclty inconspicuous if that's what you're after. Meaning, they're not entirely infrared, there is a dark red glow to them for sure ... if you expect this to be not just functional but completely hidden to a would-be intruder, you might be a little bit disappointed by the ring of LEDs.

Other Thoughts: I am really, really impressed. Probably a great way to augment any security system (or arguably replace?). Don't get a call from a company like ADT X minutes later saying there's activity (potentially a false alarm) in your home. Have this thing send you an e-mail with a video and/or pictures, and see what's up for yourself (and call the police yourself if need be). Furthermore, I'm guessing the police will be a bit better responding if you call them saying you can actually see someone inside your home, as compared to a "house check" call from ADT. They want to catch property thieves, not do "house checks" to find 9 out of 10 of them are false positives.

My only decrement of an egg is for the unclear documentation inside the settings side of its web page. If they clean this up and make this more user friendly, this is a must buy for this price.

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BRETT R.'s Profile

Display Name: BRETT R.

Date Joined: 01/05/05

  • Reviews: 11
  • Helpfulness: 8
  • First Review: 05/30/07
  • Last Review: 04/07/14
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