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tecStream offers Front Row on all network TVs

updated 07:10 pm EST, Wed November 2, 2005

Front Row on networked TVs

UStec today released a new digital home networking solution that enables iMac users to create an audio/video entertainment network for easy access to iTunes playlists, photos and video all through the house. offers a multi-media, all-digital network that enables users to pull up the three-dimensional Front Row menu from any television in the house. Users can play music lists, view photos and video, and watch DVDs from multiple rooms even as the iMac G5 sits in one location like the study or living room. Once the Front Row menu is selected with the tecStream remote, iMac users can operate it with the iMac remote control or with the tecStream one.

"tecStream adds tremendous value to the new iMac with IR controls," said UStec President Bill Thompson. "With a tecStream network, what works in one location works all through the house. We're finding people really appreciate the added flexibility and convenience tecStream adds to a product like the iMac."

The company says that tecStream represents the first high-capacity home network for sharing entertainment media, data and voice over a single standard Ethernet (Cat5) cable. Using patented switching technology, tecStream enables multi-room, multimedia networking with one remote control and offers easy-to-use menu that pops up on networked televisions. UStec says it is the first home networking solution to overcome the limitations of Ethernet or IP-based technologies for transporting video.

"The tecStream network improves lifestyles by giving homeowners greater flexibility with and access to their entertainment devices. For instance, iMac users who want to share playlists with friends can call up their playlists from any television - in the living room, kitchen, home theater, or basement. They can view slide shows or home videos with synchronized music on the big screen TV in the living room or home theater. Or they can retrieve vacation photos to share spontaneously with friends while sitting in the kitchen, study, or any room with a networked TV."

The tecStream network allows homeowners to include up to eight locations with networked televisions and boasts the capacity to run up to 16 independent streams of high bandwidth video (30 Mbps and higher) simultaneously. It encodes analog streams from VCRs, set top boxes and DVD players at high bit rates to provide "extraordinary" picture quality at every networked television. It also includes IEEE 1394 interface for incorporating digital recording devices such as AV Hard Disk Drives and Digital VHS decks.

tecStream also supplies a data port for distributing broadband Internet and sharing files and peripherals among home computers and a telephone jack. The built-in Ethernet capability allows users to set up a home office virtually anywhere and move it without costly and time consuming re-wiring.

At the Electronic House Expo Fall 2005, UStec will demonstrate at Booth No. 368 how "tecStream allows easy access to the iMac three-dimensional Front Row Menu - making it easy to access iTunes playlists, photos and video from any room in the house." EH Expo runs from November 9-11 in Anaheim, California.

by MacNN Staff





  1. mymacluvsme

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Did they beat Apple... it? This is the kind of entertainment network setup I was expecting from Apple sometime soon. Apple is just getting started, but they better work fast as they are not alone.

  1. eldarkus

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Did they beat apple?

    I think Apple partners up with certain people to "test the waters" for stuff like this. If this tecStream really takes off, then Apple would consider making such a device.

    I also think they are waiting for the faster 802.11 standard to come out, for faster transfer speeds. WHile this is a nice product, it still tuns over Cat5.. the thought of running Cat5 to my 3 TV's doesnt appeal to me. but wireless is a diffferent story.

  1. Lenio

    Joined: Dec 1969


    IEEE 1394 network

    tecStream includes the ability to network ethernet based data, however it actually uses the IEEE 1394 protocol to distribute data. This is the native format for MPEG2, which is what allows tecStream to perform network streams of 30Mbps. This is more than enough to cover the 19.2Mbps bandwidth requirement of High Def MPEG2 video.

    Apple's expertise is in computing, and more recently in audio and video. UStec's expertise is in home networking - tecStream is capable of much more than networking the iMac, it just happens to support Front Row very nicely.

  1. eswinson

    Joined: Dec 1969


    IR Remote

    The IR Remote really bugs me. Bluetooth would have been more "Apple-Like" then they could bundle the remote with the next version of iLife that includes FrontRow and Photo Booth. The IR remote will be frustrating if your computer ends up out of the line of site of your display.

  1. grovberg

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Calm down guys...

    Chill out. This is not nearly as cool as you think. You don't just plug this device into your TV and then network it with the Mac. This is a system where you plug ANY AV device into a base unit and it encodes that signal and distributes it to the receivers. You could accomplish the same goal just hooking the AV jacks up to a AV distibution hub and sending it to each TV. You also can't do anything on your computer while someone else watches a movie since it's just mirroring the display.

    This kind of thing has been out for awhile and is in no way made specially to work with the Mac.

    "IEEE 1394 protocol to distribute data. This is the native format for MPEG2" and "This is more than enough to cover the 19.2Mbps bandwidth requirement of High Def MPEG2 video."

    I'm pretty sure this comment is really wrong on a lot of levels. Mostly because since it doesn't have any kind of Hi Def inputs other than the 1394 (which I think about three, maybe four people have HD devices with 1394 support), why would that matter?

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