You might be wondering why I am even talking about a hard drive here on Ultimate AV. However, Click Free is not just any portable hard drive and it can really come in handy for those of us that are starting a serious digital media collection. Click Free drives have embedded software that will automatically transfer data from your computer to the drive. As we collect more and more digital media, we need to find more efficient ways to transfer and manage our files.
Sony's latest AV Receiver as well as some new Sony televisions will be Digital Living Network Alliance (DLNA) compliant, enabling easy access to digital photos, music and video that is stored on a PC or other DLNA servers. In fact, if there is any key theme running through this year's CES, it would be NETWORKING.
Tivoli Audio known for their high-quality desktop radios has added networking, making it possible for them to stream from Internet radio stations around the world. It also allows access to stored media on PCs from any room in the house through a wireless or Ethernet connection. Using the front panel readout, you use the supplied remote to scroll through your media or Internet stations. The basic unit has a single speaker, and a second speaker can be purchased to listen in stereo.
If you just need to have your media accessible where ever you go, Seagate's Free Agent Theater might come in handy. Pop in one of their Free Agent portable drives into the slot on top of the Free Agent Theater, then plug the unit into a TV. It has it's own GUI for you to navigate through your media. A huge design misstep (in my opinion) is no HDMI out, only component and composite video. Also, no coax or digital out, only analog (RCA) outputs.
During CES they commission pretty much every large vehicle they can find to shuttle attendees from one venue to another. Vegas has purchased some very old double decker buses from England and put them into service as tour buses. Here we are outside the Sands/Venetian Convention Center and heading out to the main Las Vegas Convention Center. How many Convention Center's does one city need?
Dubbed a Digital Media Receiver for the serious enthusiast with a large library of digital media files, Netgear introduced the Digital Entertainer Elite. With a substantial 500 GB hard drive that is upgradable to 1TB, the Digital Receiver plays 1080p content via HDMI and is capable of Blu-Ray quality (according to the company spokesperson). The real question is how will you find or rip media equal to Blu-Ray quality to even store on the device?
When the press conference for CISCO filled to capacity they announced it could be watched from the Press Room. Several of us headed over to find them still trying to get the feed linked in. However, once they did there was no audio, only the Power Point slide show. But wait, you can view it online. Everyone pulls out their laptops, heads to the URL, only to find a screen that says you must register first. OK! Logging in now...uh but you don't have the most current version of Real Player. Honestly, I didn't know that people were still using that. I haven't come across that in so long that obviously I didn't have the most current version. A quick download, but the site didn't recognize the plug-in. NEVERMIND
Both Samsung and Sony announced partnerships with Yahoo. Integrated into their top line TVs customers will have access to the Yahoo Widget Engine, to expand and personalize their TV experience. It adds on-screen applications that provide real-time information such as weather reports, stock ticker updates, financial news, Yahoo! Video, Flickr images, and much more content to come.
Sitting next to an IPhone, you can see that Netgear's new Internet TV Player is pretty small. Hook it up to any TV (and yes there is HDMI) and you can browse the Internet right from your TV using your existing home network. You can stream TV shows and videos from a wide selection of channels in full screen HD. There are icons you can click for key sites such as CBS, ABC, YouTube and more. Its possible to search via pre- programmed interests, too. Moreover, you are not restricted to just US sites, you can check out sites originating in Europe and Asia. The Internet TV Player will hit the stores sometime this summer for $199.