By Lisa Johnston
New products on display at the American International Toy Fair, held in N
ADS Tech broadened its assortment of networking products with the addition of a wireless 802.11g card to its Media-Link Digital Entertainment Receiver and unveiled a new branding effort to enlighten customers on product interoperability.
The new Media-Link with 802.11g card, for a suggested $249, can be used with either a wired Ethernet network or the quicker 802.11g wireless networks to deliver digital entertainment content from a PC and the Internet to televisions or stereos.
Users access PC-saved content through a television menu via remote control. The device features composite, S-Video, and component (Progressive and Interlaced, DVI) video outputs for TV connections. Audio is reproduced with stereo, RCA and SPDIF digital audio (optical and coaxial) outputs.
Thanks to the new wireless 802.11g card, the Media-Link can stream audio and video files from Windows PCs at up to 54 MBps, allowing users to transport multiple audio and video streams simultaneously.
Once connected, the Media-Link receiver identifies PCs on the network automatically and provides remote-control access to their stored entertainment files and can deliver digital media content from up to 14 PCs on a network. Users download a server program to a PC to direct the Media-Link to saved content.
File support includes MPEG-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, MOV, AVI, DivX and Xvid video files, MP3, AC3, AAC, WAV and WMA audio files, as well as JPEG, BMP, GIF and PNG image files. Users can also browse Web pages or stream Internet radio through the media link.
The company also introduced the Instant Music, an external USB 2.0 analog-to-digital audio converter for a suggested $59. The device is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux-based computers and converts analog music sources into digital music files. It connects to the computer via USB and to a stereo via RCA or SPDIF digital audio inputs/outputs. It converts to MP3, WAV, Windows Media 9 Audio (WMA) or AAC audio files.
The unit is bundled with Nero Mix, Nero SoundTrax and Nero Wave Editor software for creating playlists, editing start/stop times or adding cross fades from one track to the next.
The device comes with a 6-foot USB 2.0 cable and a 6-foot RCA audio/video connection cable with a turntable grounding wire.
The company also inaugurated a branding effort to help consumers match compatible ADS products. Called Media Entertainment Evolution and symbolized by a “me2” logo, ADS Tech will apply the logo to over twelve of the company's products to convey interoperability, including the new Media-Link.
According to Mike McCoy, the company is broadening its assortment to appeal to dealers who are paring down the number of vendors they deal with. The challenge at retail has grown acute as disparate buyers grapple with converging products, McCoy said.
“Do you sell the Media-Link next to the computers or the TVs or the networking products— well, that depends on who the buyer is,” McCoy said. “Some buyers get caught up in the interface the product uses — like USB — and not the purpose of the device.”
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