This week on What Hi-Fi? we saw Amazon announce the launch of its Google Chromecast rival, the Amazon Fire TV stick, Sony revealed an update for its SRS speaker range, and there were more rumours swirling around concerning Apple's new TV box and a music streaming service.
This week's selection of reviews offered (spoiler alert) three five-star efforts. We kick off with the excellent Q Acoustics 3020 standmount speaker, followed by the Ultimate Ears Megaboom wireless speaker and then the Onkyo-N7050 CD player/streamer combo.
The Amazon Fire TV Stick (not to be confused with the Fire TV box) is available for pre-order in the UK.
The streaming stick - which works in a similar manner to Google's Chromecast - connects to the TV via HDMI and offers users access to a huge library of apps including Netflix, BBC iPlayer, Amazon Prime Instant, Spotify et al, as well as the ability to 'throw' content from mobile devices to the TV.
The Fire TV Stick is out in the UK on 15th April and will cost £35.
April will see Sony update its SRS range of wireless speakers.
The SRS-X55, SRS-X33 and SRS-X11 will all feature NFC technology, with the speakers boasting the LDAC codec which Sony claims is able to carry three times more data than existing wireless audio codecs. The X33 replaces last year's X3 and comes in a smaller form factor, too, while the X11 is the smallest of the lot (a cube 6cm tall) but packs in a 45mm driver and 10-watt amplifier.
The X55 is out in April with the X33 and X11 following in May. Prices for the speakers are still to be confirmed.
Last week rumours were abound of Apple launching an online TV service, this week's speculation sees the Cupertino based company getting ready to launch a new version of its TV box. We'd imagine the two could launch in tandem...
The speculation refers to upgraded internals, a revised app store, Siri-enabled voice functionality and possibly the inclusion of Apple's long-mooted music and/or video streaming services. Rumours point towards a big reveal at the Apple WWDC event in June with a release not long afterwards.
READ MORE: New Apple TV box rumoured for June release
More after the break
"There’s a familiar look about these speakers, but otherwise almost everything else is new"
We had a soft spot for the Q Acoustics 2000 series' ability to offer great performance at a sensible price, and the company's latest 3000 series may have surpassed that standard.
While on the surface there's little discernable difference between the 3020 standmounter and the 2020i, everything on the inside is brand new.
Putting the speakers through their paces we were massively impressed by the performance, from the dynamic range to the depth of their soundstage, the 3020s excel.
At this budget price they offer fantastic value.
MORE: Read the full Q Acoustics 3020 review
"The Megaboom is a great addition to UE’s family of wireless speakers"
Ultimate Ears has decided to 'go big or go home' for its latest wireless speaker, the Megaboom.
It looks like a bigger version of the Boom speaker and it offers improvements in sound and battery life. The Megaboom's ability to disperse sound is a standout feature, as is its versatility, adeptly playing whatever music we threw at it.
Speaking of throwing, this speaker is so tough you can launch it at a wall and it won't break, (it's water resistant, too). Not that we'd actively encourage this behaviour...
MORE: Read the full Ultimate Ears Megaboom review
"There aren’t many products that can spin CDs and stream files from one box for such an affordable price"
Is the C-N7050 a CD player or a high-res streamer? Yes, both. And a fine combination of the two at that.
In the C-N7050, Onkyo offers a composed, enjoyable performance whether you're playing music from a disc or streaming.
For £350 this offers great value for anyone wanting to jump in to the world of hi-fi.
MORE: Read the full Onkyo C-N7050 review