Roku showed a network media player that is simply a large dongle that connects directly to your TV set. Shrinking the already small Roku 2 design even more, the new device doesn’t reduce the content or experience.
The Roku dongle will connect to an HDMI port on your TV. It will not come with its own remote. Instead, once connected, you can use the TV remote to navigate the Roku’s home screen, channels and to control playback.
Dish Network will bring Blockbuster@Home and an expanded version of HBO On Demand and Cinemax on Demand to customers who haven’t been able to stream movies and TV shows because they have slow internet. “Dish Unplugged” will stream content directly to the “Hopper” DVR via satellite.
Price: $99 At A Glance: Vastly improved picture quality • More responsive, motion-sensitive, Bluetooth remote • Tiny footprint • Wide variety of content providers
Roku has released its newest generation of media streamers, including the top-of-the-line Roku 2 XS player. Perhaps you haven't given Roku much thought as a serious addition to your home theater. Its earlier models gave more attention to the quantity of media-streaming partners than to the quality of the pictures they were streaming. The Roku 2 XS may change your mind as it changed mine.
LG’s new feature, the “Picture Wizard” aids the average viewer in optimizing the TV’s picture by offering onscreen examples of what is the optimal setting. They can then see the effect of the changes they’ve made in the setting as compared to the onscreen examples. Setting adjustments in the Picture Wizard include: black level, white level, color, backlight adjustment, tint, vertical sharpness and horizontal sharpness. Calibration made easy.
Hitachi showed a prototype of a motion sensing TV that could be controlled simply by waving your hand in front of its sensor. On screen circles and arcs help you determine the volume levels and other controls. Simply applaud the end of your show (clap your hands) to turn the TV off. It’s estimated that this won’t be available until 2010 or 2011.
Panasonic showed a prototype of a TV remote control that works on technology like that of a mouse touchpad on your laptop. Actually, it is equipped with two touchpads and is motion sensing. A point and click technology, the secret is in the onscreen navigation and onscreen virtual remote. Turning it sideways you can thumb-type—like you would for texting—on the onscreen virtual keyboard. The cartoon thumbs that appear onscreen to show you what you are clicking on definitely add a comic personality to this interface.
HDMI Licensing LLC, who won a Technology and Engineering Emmy for their contribution of the HDMI™ single cable audio and video standard, has announced the development of a new HDMI specification beyond the current 1.3 version.
While not final, it is expected that the new standard will include transfer of Ethernet over the new HDMI cable. The other significant addition will be an “audio return channel.” Currently when a source—say, your HD satellite—is connected directly to a TV, an optical audio cable must be connected to an AV receiver to hear your satellite programming in surround sound. This new bi-directional feature brings it back to a single connection that will send the sound back to AV receiver without the need for an additional cable. Woohoo! We’re getting closer to a single cable connection, I’m all for that type of simplicity. Go HDMI!
The Samsung BD-P4600 full-featured player has been designed with more than a “touch” of the red color to go along with their TVs. The whole unit is a deep red. Designed to hang on the wall, or sit angled to show off its good looks on a shelf, Samsung simply added good looks to its best Blu-ray Disc player. Featuring Netflix and Pandora for streaming media, this player can use Samsung’s $39 wireless dongle so the user doesn’t have to find other solutions (like powerline adaptors or running long lengths of Ethernet cables) to connect online. Sleek enough to keep your interior designer happy.
With networked TVs and media sharing devices we can get online content from partners like YouTube, Netflix, CBS.com, etc. Now Boxee offers a software solution that creates an easy meny to find online content that works on computers including Macs and Linux-based operating systems. What’s really cool is that you can put the software on a flash drive and add it to an AppleTV. This adds the capability of watching many online streaming video partners including video streaming like Netflix, Hulu, CBS.com and MTV to the previously limited partners on AppleTV.
After Tom Hank’s fun snarky intro to Sony’s omnipotence in the electronics and content market, we were treated to Sony’s vision for upcoming products. It started with glasses with a portion of the lens devoted to little video screens. Imagine walking through your real life while watching a picture-in-picture movie.