Swann DriveEye recorder


Dashboard camera more than handy toy

There is an entire category of YouTube videos of car crashes and near misses. Many of the videos come from Russia and Eastern Europe, where dashboard-mounted cameras are common.

The cameras are not commonplace here, but they've been getting some buzz. One is the Swann DriveEye Ultra Portable 3MP HD Vehicle Recorder (available at frys.com).

There is a motion detector that can record a minute of video each time it detects movement. This is handy for keeping an eye on your car or anywhere you point the camera. There also is a gyro sensor in the camera that can tell if you've been in an accident. If you've been hit, the camera will save the current video to a protected directory on the memory card for easy retrieval. The video from the DriveEye is impressive, as is its ease of setup and the fact that it just does its job quietly and stays out of the way until you need it.


Roku 3


Roku keeps plugging along with updates

You just have to cheer for a company like Roku. The plucky Saratoga, Calif., electronics company is going up against some of the biggest tech companies in the world. And yet, Roku is not only surviving, it keeps innovating and pushing the industry forward.

"The thing about Roku is they understand the market really well," said Dan Rayburn, an analyst who covers the online video market for consulting firm Frost & Sullivan.

On Monday, the company announced an updated lineup of boxes and some new features in its software. One feature called My Feed notifies users when new movies they are interested in are available to stream or rent. Another allows users to search for movies or TV shows with their voice, by simply pushing a button on their remote controls or in an app on their smartphones. Neither feature is revolutionary. But they're emblematic of Roku's approach to the market — and its consistent updating of products.

"The thing I love about Roku is it's simple, it's easy. If I give it to my mom, she'll know how to use it," Rayburn said.