Xbox 360 launches new SmartGlass app for smartphones and tablets and updates Bing search. The combination make the video game console one of the best media streaming experiences available for home theater.
Ever try to stream a video from your library only to find that it won't play it—or find that certain files don’t appear on your media player when you browse the folders where they are saved? The problem could be that your media player doesn’t recognize those file formats.
The FCC has ruled to allow the National Cable & Telecommunication Association's (NCTA) to scramble (encrypt) basic cable. While the cable companies claim that it is more cost-effective and easier for customers if they can scramble all signals sent to homes, the new ruling ensures that people who don't pay for basic cable can't access it without a cable box or CableCARD.
Price: $200 At A Glance: Bluetooth and IR universal remote control • Lighted extended keyboard • Access live TV and streaming sources in one place • Global search includes live TV
When I decided to review two Google TV media streamers back to back, I thought there would be little difference between them. After all, Google TVs run on an Android platform, and both the Sony Internet Player with Google TV and Vizio’s Co-Star would have most of the same apps— pre-loaded apps or those available through the Google Play Android Market. I was surprised to find that there was more difference than I had expected. Sony knows home theater, and as with its other media streaming devices, low-quality video appears nicely cleaned up for viewing on a big screen. I’ve been unable to get a straight answer from Sony on what’s under the hood that improves the picture. Still, picture quality of identical content is noticeably better with the NSZ-GS7 than its competition.
Digital media streaming has exploded in recent years. It’s everywhere—from sharing digital photos (does anyone print photos anymore?), to streaming a missed TV show on Hulu Plus, to watching high-definition movies on Vudu. Internet and router speeds have increased to accommodate streaming high-quality audio and video. Find out what DLNA certification means and why it's important.
Price: $100 At A Glance: Bluetooth-enabled for pairing with remote control and headphones • Access live TV and streaming sources in one place • Global search includes live TV • Universal remote with touchpad mouse and QWERTY keyboard
Two years ago, the initial launch of Google TV on the Sony TV and Logitech Revue media streamers was a real disappointment. I was excited to try out the first of the new generation of Google TV devices, but found them plagued by a preponderance of blocked content and haphazard navigation. Vizio's Co-Star media streamer is among a couple of products (along with Sony’s NSG-GS7) now taking the lead as the Google TV platform inches closer to Google's goal of pulling together content from online, home media libraries, and live TV in a single device.