The HDTV Picture Show Page 4

Another View: Home Networks

Recent efforts by several companies to integrate HDTVs into wired or wireless home networks also aim to simplify home-video and photo viewing - even if that process does entail a number of initial setup headaches. The idea is to outfit TVs with either built-in Wi-Fi capability or a separate digital-media receiver that can access and stream video and music files from a computer. A good example of an HDTV with networking capability is HP's SLC3760N 37-inch MediaSmart LCD model (42- and 47-inch versions are scheduled for release later in 2007). Its built-in media receiver lets it hook into a home network to pluck high-def video clips and photos from a PC's hard drive for display on its 1,366 x 768-pixel screen. And since HP owns the popular photo-sharing Web site Snapfish, the TV's Entertainment Portal not surprisingly provides easy access to that site for expanded photo-viewing opportunities.

If you prefer to use an outboard box to get your TV online, there are a number of options. NetGear's Digital Entertainer HD and D-Link's Media Lounge are Windows PC-oriented receivers that can stream video and digital photos over a home network and display them on your HDTV via an HDMI or component-video hookup. And Mac-heads preferring to dwell in the iTunes universe have their bases covered with the new Apple TV receiver. Although this limits you to viewing videos encoded in the iTunes-friendly MPEG-4 format (Apple's QuickTime Pro software provides the appropriate preset), both home videos and photos can be transferred to Apple TV's 30-gigabyte hard drive, freeing you from having to boot up your computer when you want to view them.

As more and more folks ditch their film cameras and analog standard-def TVs for shiny new digital models, it's just a matter of time before they discover that digital photos look spectacular on their new HDTV's high-rez screen. And the same goes for videos shot with high-def camcorders, a handful of which record at the same 1,920 x 1,080-pixel resolution offered by top-tier HDTVs. Digital technology has finally taken us back full circle to the days of the family slide-show. But this time around, once you finish reliving your summer vacation, you won't have to roll up the screen and stash it in the closet.

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