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DAC32: A New Squeezebox Alternative From Germany

This week I was tipped to the availability of a new streaming music player from PolyVection in Germany. Their DAC32 is a nondescript little device that emulates the venerable Logitech Squeezebox.

The company has a nice little historical explainer about the Logitech Media Server & Squeezebox. We got our first Squeezebox back in 2004 (I think) well before Logitech acquired Slim Devices.

DAC32 is essentially an embedded host for Squeezelite, the very same player that is bundled with PiCorePlayer for use on Raspberry Pi. DAC32 includes the host platform & digital-to-analogue conversion (DAC) in a tidy, integrated package. Connectivity is provided by onboard 2.4 GHz b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. Power is 5 vdc via a standard coaxial connector.

DAC32 streamer front

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Reality Check: Vivo Offers Logitech Brio Webcam

I’ve used the Logitech’s Brio webcam since its introduction. It’s been mentioned hereabouts many times, including a detailed review. It’s a solid product. Recommended.

That said, given the pandemic, Logitech webcams have been hard to get over the past year. The sudden surge in work & school-from-home has created massive demand for webcams and headsets. Brand name products were in very short supply in Q3 & Q4-2020. The shortage seems to be easing up now.

When inventory was low or non-existent, companies like VoIP Supply offered off-brand or generic products for prices very close to the big brand names. Now that the situation is easing up, real Logitech products are once again available. Although, don’t expect many discounts.

This brings me to the real reason for this post. An ad for a Logitech Brio appeared in my Facebook feed today. Reseller Vivo, based in Utah, was offering it for $199, reportedly marked down from $218.

I find them offered on Amazon for $186, making the Vivo offer not unreasonable.

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Logitech Rally: A New 4K PTZ Webcam

It was almost 5 years ago that I first posed the question, “Where are the USB 3.0 webcams.” They seem to have finally arrived. Logitech’s Brio is now over a year old. Their MeetUp product, not exactly a traditional webcam, is well suited to smaller meeting rooms, aka “huddle rooms.”

Vaddio and PTZ Optics each have several models available, although they remain focused on 1080p models. A USB 3.0 webcam can deliver uncompressed 1080p30 to a host application, which means that the application doesn’t need to specifically configure the camera for MJPEG or H264 modes.

Logitech Rally Camera

Earlier this year, Logitech teased the availability of a new webcam. This new model, known as Rally, rides atop their webcam lineup, a 4K PTZ camera for video conferencing applications.

As to the basics, Rally connects to a host via USB 3. The connection on the camera itself is USB 3 type C, with a 2.2m C-to-A type cable provided. USB is the sole interface, which sets Rally apart from some of its competition, which may also provide SDI or Ethernet interfaces.

The camera supports UVC 1.5, able to deliver uncompressed, MJPEG or H264 encoded streams. It can deliver 1080p, 720p at 30 fps and 60 fps.

A 15x lens with a 90 degree field-of-view fronts a 13 megapixel sensor delivering up to a 4k30 stream.

The PTZ mechanism provided +/- 90 degrees of movement left-right. Tilt range is from +50 to -90 degrees. When turned off the camera swings down to the –90 degree position effectively providing a privacy shutter.

When mounted upside down the camera automatically senses this, inverting the output image. This makes ceiling mounting a especially simple.

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Hacking the Logitech C920 & C930e Webcams

Until recently I did not know that this was possible, but people are hacking the venerable Logitech C920 and C930e webcams. The hardware hacks allow them to be used with a diverse range of high-quality, low-cost, CS lenses.

What started as a series of hacks by Saulius Lukse in Vilnius, Lithuania has turned into a small enterprise. At his Kurokesu site he now sells various things related to his adventures in optics. That includes machined metal cases to refit the internals of the C920/C930e. Korukesu C920 webcam kit

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Logitech’s Brio 4k Webcam Pro

There’s a new webcam in the house…errr…home office! Yes, I have received a sample of Logitech’s latest, the Brio 4K Webcam Pro.

Even before the sample arrived I had a great conversation about the Brio with Dave Michels. Dave captured that discussion for publication on his blog.

I’ve put the Brio through a few simple experiments and learned a few things. At least superficially, it does what it says. Connected via USB 3.0 it delivers a 2160p30 (aka 4k) stream using MJPEG encoding to vMix and OBS.

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