Pioneer Elite PRO-940HD Plasma HDTV & HP MediaSmart SLC3760N LCD HDTV Those Who Can't. . .Cheat

Those Who Can't. . .Cheat
Streaming media to your TV from an Apple computer is a trickier task, as most digital media receivers are PC-centric. Apple plans to enter the ring with their own digital media receiver, tentatively named the iTV, sometime in the first quarter of 2007. If you can't wait—or your heart is set on one of these media-friendly TVs—you'll have to get creative.

Elgato Systems offers a software program called EyeConnect ($91.35) that lets you stream content in your iTunes, iPhoto, and Movies folders to any UPnP media receiver. It also lets you stream TV content you've recorded with Elgato's EyeTV tuner. You can download a free 30-day trial of the software at www.elgato.com.

HP also sent me their MV2020 Media Vault ($550), a 500-gigabyte external storage drive that connects directly to your home network via Ethernet. This device can automatically back up the content on your networked computers, but it also has a MediaShare function that lets you stream its content to any UPnP media receiver, which worked very well in conjunction with the HP MediaSmart LCD. Mac owners can't use the advanced PC software to manage the Vault, but they can still use its backup and media-sharing functions through their home network. It's not an ideal media-sharing solution for the Mac, but it works.

Neither of these methods lets you stream iTunes video downloads or AAC music files, protected or not. For that, you must wait for the iTV.

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